Saturday, December 29, 2012

Enemy vanquished!




The above is the note I found with these photographs.

I am glad for the note because I was sure to be confused by the state of the roll of toilet tissue without an explanation. 

Is this enemy living in your bathroom?  If so, please keep it "restraind" or your cat may be called into service protecting you!

The Hopeful Romantic

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Things I Am Thankful For

So, I wrote the title of this post first and began a list.  Yup, I am thankful for most of the things we are all thankful, friends, my health, etc.

All true, but pretty boring.

I am not here to entertain anyone, except maybe myself!  I just like to get my thoughts out into the world. 

So, on this Thanksgiving morning, I am thankful for so much.  Including anyone who stumbles upon my blog and finds a moment of worthwhile distraction.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

In celebration of Fall!

Yes, I know it is not Fall if you are checking your calendar, but the cooling weather is promising all the things that Fall bring.

Some of the leaves on the trees here are already putting on their decorative colors.  I am looking forward to a coo, but sunny day when they will be most beautiful.  I know that right after that I will be trudging into the yard with my rake and bag to collect said leaves, but the lovely show makes it worthwhile!

Bundling into sweaters and sweatshirts to go outside gets me out the door for a walk quickly!  My dog will be more bouncy after his walks in the cool air and a trip to the Bark Park will see him stretching out and running for all he is worth instead of trotting off to the shade trees.

Soup!  As much as I love gazpacho, a lovely bowl of hot soup cannot be topped!  (Except with cheese, crumbled bacon, green onions, chopped tomatoes...well, you get the point!)

There is so much more to love about Fall, but right now I am going to join my dog in the backyard for a little night air, cool night air, that is!

The Hopeful Romantic

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

My Brother

This post may not be of the same tone I generally try to live my life by.  We all get down and the best way I know how to deal with hurt is to write.

My brother died last week.  He was too young to pass, but his health just never could catch up to his spirit.  He always made me laugh...always!  He was quick to find the funny in a situation and I have to think very hard to remember him being cross or angry.  It just wasn't in his nature.  He was not perfect, but none of us are.  He was my brother and I loved him.

You will notice that I call him my brother.  Not my step-brother, just my brother. 

It may be just me, but "step" can still carry a negative connotation.  His father and my mother blended our families when I was 7 and he was almost six.  I can't remember ever introducing any of my siblings as anything other than "my sister" or "my brother".  When we were young most of the people in our small town knew how we became family.  Mostly, I didn't want to put any negativity into the situation.  (Guess I was the Hopeful Romantic way back then even!)

Since my brother died, I have heard some people refer to me as "the step-sister".  They may not mean anything by it, but I feel it detracts from the memory of my brother.  And, yes, it hurts my feelings. 

I don't want this to be about me, but I know Phil never said "step".  I was just his sister.

To borrow from the Bard, A brother by any other name would smell as sweet.

The Hopeful Romantic

Thursday, July 5, 2012

One Calmer Dog and One Happy Mama!

The list of things my dog, Mack, likes is simple. 
  • He likes to eat.  Mack, being like so many dogs, will eat most anything.  Save for broccoli tops and liver, he gobbles it up without nary a second thought.  Raw liver, that is!  That is a story for another time!
  • He likes walks.  What dog doesn't?
  • He likes car rides.  So many new things to see and smell. 
  • He likes going to the Bark Park.  Correction, he LOVES going to the Bark Park.  For him it is a two-fer, it is a car ride and the Bark Park!  Lots of new friends, plenty of room to stretch out and really run and a whole lotta sniffing going on!
  • He likes Dr. Sheppard, the veteranarian.  We have trained Mack to not lick people, but try as I might, he covers Dr. Sheppards face with wet kisses every visit.
  • He also likes us, and the feeling is mutual!  Ah, puppy love. 
Thankfully, the list of things he does not like is even simpler (read "shorter")
  • Going outside in the rain.  He will cross his knees and wait, given the choice.
  • Baths.  Lots of rain, all in one place.  This boy does not like to get wet!
  • Thunder.  Fireworks.  These two get lumped together.  For Mack the loud noise of either is just more than he can handle.
We have tried acclimating him to loud noises by feeding him with booming noises in the background.  He only seemed more stressed.
We gave him supplements meant to calm him.  We did see some change in his behavior, but not enough for us to not worry about him.
Mack in his "thunder shirt:"
Lately, I have heard about using a thunder shirt.  So last night, just before the fireworks began in earnest in our neighborhood, I found an old tshirt and decided to give it a try.  Couldn't hurt, right? 

My daughters are both very slim, so I dug through what my eldest had not taken with her and voila!  A shirt I was sure she would gladly donate to her boy!

Mack was very helpful in getting the shirt on.  He ducked his head through the opening and allowed me to get his front legs through the arm holes.  I think he thought I had given him a new toy.  He turned in circles and tried to bite at the collar.  He only did this for a moment and then he lay down with a sigh.  The fireworks had just started and before I got the shirt on him he was getting a bit antsy.  But now with the shirt snuggly swaddling him, he calmed right down. 

The fireworks continued for about 3 hours.  Only once or twice did Mack pace briefly and whine.  Other than that he lay peacefully on the floor in front of the couch where my husband and I sat.  Not sure why it worked, but it did!

We did take the shirt off before bedtime.  The fireworks were done by then and I wasn't sure putting him to bed with the shirt was a good idea.  

Today as soon as I heard the first boom of thunder in the last afternoon, I slipped the shirt on and once again it worked its magic.  Now it is my turn to sigh!

The Hopeful Romantic

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Mental Block

Some things make me laugh out loud!  Not just lol, but really laugh.  It can be silly video, corny jokes, sitcoms (love, Love, LOVE The Big Bang Theory!)  But what made me laugh just now was none of those.  It was a game I was playing.  You know, the kind where you have a bunch of random letters and you have to make as many words as possible before time runs out?  I had played several rounds and was picking up speed.  Something in my brain kicks into gear when I do something repetively. 

I had guessed all the 3 letter words; they are pretty easy to get quickly.  The longest word in this game is 6 letters long and there only seem to be so many ways to re-arrange the letters into words that qualify in this game.  So I had the 6 letter words done too.  I always seem to struggle with the 4 and 5 letter words.  There are certainly some obscure words in those lengths.  I especially have a block on words that begin with vowels.  Even though I know I have this challenge, they are the words left too often at the end of the round!  I am working on that!

So, like I said...I had all the 3 letter words, all the 6 letter words and even all the 5 letter words!  I was cruising!  I was typing frantically against the diminishing timer and there was just one word left.  I glanced at the timer...10 seconds left!  Think, THINK!  I started typing in words that were not really words and getting the friendly message about how they were not playable.  The timer ran out...Dang!

As soon as the timer expires all words not previously guessed are filled in.  I like this.  It helps me learn new words and reminds me that typing fast is not always the most accurate way to play this game.  Didn't I just a type in a few of those words now taunting me as missed?

Anyway I digress.  The one and only word I did not guess that game was "obey".  Not such a big deal, but it made me laugh.

My husband and I wrote our own wedding vows before our marriage a bit more than 11 years ago.  At one point we were comparing notes and he told me I had left out "obey".  Ha ha, I told him I had not left it out, it just wasn't part of wedding vows in this modern world.  With a silly grin he persisted to insist I insert the word.

Fast forward to the big day.  We are standing with the pastor getting ready to recite our vows.  He mouthed "obey" and I, being the charming and well bred lady I am (ha ha ha!) stuck my tongue out at him.  It was a small chapel and all of those in the audience saw very plainly what had just transpired.  They did not know why I had stuck out my tongue, only that I had.  I am a big fan of silliness and fun.  It just seemed to fit.  You did see the picture of my wedding shoes a post of so ago, right? 

Nowadays whenever my dear sweet and silly husband reminds me I should obey,  I remind him that he was the only one who uttered that word on our wedding day. 

And that is what made me laugh!

The Hopeful Romantic

Monday, May 28, 2012

Daughters and Friends

How do parents find a balance between being so incredibly happy for their children who move away for a wonderful job and the emptiness that is caused by that move?

Now that both of my daughters have moved out of my house I am officially an Empty Nester .  Wow, does that sound strange!

The youngest moved a few years back.  She lives close enough that we can have lunch together.  We phone, email and text to keep in touch and share as many Sunday dinners are our schedules allow.  I am glad that we remain close, but I was an emotional mess when she first moved out.  She is my baby and I just wasn't ready to let her go.  Even if it was just across town!  It was just so foreign to not see her every day. 

Now my oldest, freshly graduated from college, has been offered an internship in another state.  A state not so close.  The job offer I am sure will follow this internship will not bring her closer to home. 

When my younger daughter moved out I worried that there was so much I had not taught her.  Was she really ready to be out on her own?  Whenever we were together I would ask her to call when she got home so I would know she was safe.  Sensible from my point of view; worry wart from hers. 

Now her sister has moved out.  I still worry about her being safe, but maybe not quite as much because she is older.  Probably because I am older.  I am still learning to focus on the good and positive in my life than worry about what might happen.

I thought this move out would be easier.  Not because I feel any less for my oldest, but because I had done this before.  I found things and people to help fill the hole.  I spent more time with my husband, my friends and projects that always seemed to get shifted to the back burner.

Boy, was I wrong!  Having a child leave your home once does not prepare you for another one to leave.  In some ways this one leaving was harder. 

I say this because I have come to a time when I count both of my daughters as friends.  I was one of those parents who refused to be my children's friend while they were growing up.  (Insert wise old saying about children needing parents, not another friend.).  We cook together, shop together, go to the occasional movie together and sometimes just hang out.  I love this new facet of our relationships. 

I think it is because we are friends that I am struggling more this time.  Don't we all grieve when a friend moves far away?  The routine of our lives becomes interrupted.  A commercial for a new movie makes me think I will have to ask her if she wants to go with me.  I see the cheese she especially likes in the fridge and think I will have to remind her to use it while it is still fresh.  Then I remember she doesn't live here anymore. 

So back to my original question.  "How do parents find a balance between being so incredibly happy for their children who move away for a wonderful job and the emptiness that is caused by that move?"

I know what I will do.  I will spend more time with my husband and my friends.  I will spend more time with my younger daughter while trying to not smother her and instead enjoy this new adult relationship.  And I will phone, email, text and even snail mail to my oldest daughter.  I will be incredibly happy for this new adventure she is on and I will miss my friend.

The Hopeful Romantic

Saturday, May 26, 2012

11 years ago

My wedding shoes!
11 years ago today I put on a beautiful wedding gown, some fun red shoes and walked down the aisle to my beloved.  I remember I was so excited to see him!  All I really wanted to do at that moment was give him a big hug, grab his hand and walk out of the chapel.  So much hoopla leading up to the event and I was just ready to be married.  The moment passed and we proceeded with the ceremony. 

As in most marriages, there have been good and bad times.  Neither of us were youngsters and maybe a bit set in our ways.  There was a learning curve to be sure!  I had been married before and was nervous to not repeat whatever had added to the end of that union.  He was a life long bachelor.  Need I say more? 

The best thing I can say about our marriage is that we have fun.  We laugh...a lot!  Mostly at ourselves and each other.  We seem to find humor is the most mundane of things.  I love that I go around with a somewhat silly grin on my face when he is near.

We went out to eat tonight to celebrate these past 11 years.  Our server at the restaurant politely asked if we had plans for this holiday weekend.  I told him, "Just spending time with each other."  Yup, sounds like a plan to me.  I am prepared to go back to work on Tuesday with sore smile muscles from that silly grin.  That sounds like a plan, too!

The Hopeful Romantic

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

An Ode To Tuesdays

Friday has got to be one of the best loved days of the week.  After all, TGIF!  No celebrating Monday.  Enough said about that!

Personally, even though Fridays are good Tuesday gets a nod from me.  This has nothing to do with the calendar.  It is only one day after Monday, but it is just two days before Thursday which is one of my days off.  The office I work in is closed most Thursdays, so you can see why I like Thursdays!  Still doesn't explain the Tuesday connection though.  Tuesdays are short days at our office.  We close early and those who want to stay to catch up do.  Those are pretty good reasons to like Tuesday, but the best reason is lunch with Chris! 

Chris and I work together.  The mood is never heavy when we are together.  We laugh, joke, sign (mostly me) finish each others lines and generally just have a darn good time together!  She is the reason I love Tuesdays.  We go out to lunch on Tuesdays and the food is just a backdrop.  We catch up on each others lives, share office stories, purge about husbands, children, jobs, etc.  And we laugh! 

We decided a long time ago we are kindred souls.  Our histories are very similar, but more than anything I think it is our outlook that drew us together.  Our glasses are neither half full or half empty...they are just too small to hold everything without spilling over. 

We do see each other away from the office, but she is my sanity while I am there and part of the reason I look forward to going to work.  It is a quieter place when one of us is gone.  Once I was relating something to my boss that had happened earlier that day.  I asked, "Didn't you hear Chris and I laughing?"  He said, "You are always laughing!"  Yup, sounds like us! 

The Hopeful Romantic

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Ack! Where does the time go???

For anybody reading this (besides me!) you have probably noticed I have been gone.  Well, not really gone, but gone from here...this place I record my thoughts, musings, memories, etc.  Life has been busy, but then when is it not?! 

So, I am here, for now and this is what is happening with me and mine.

My oldest is almost ready to graduate from college and I should be cleaning the house for all the people who will be here sooner than I will be ready for.  I am feeling a bit overwhelmed!  I start something, find an item that belongs somewhere else in the house, go to put that item away and...hours later I have done a lot, but not what I set out to do!  Ack!  Again!

Less than a month after she graduates, my oldest, my first baby, one of my darling girls will be moving away.  Wow!  I am excited for her and somewhat sad for me.  I remember when I first moved out on my own...all the new things to do and learn, some scary, but mostly just exciting.  You may have caught that I said "moving away".  She is not just leaving home, she is "moving away".  That is the hard part.  Not in the same city, not in the same county, not in the same state!  She is following her dream and that will take her many states away.  Again, excited for her, rather sad for me.  Ok, let's not dwell on that!

So, this Spring, besides planting flowers, readying my garden for veggies and cleaning all the cobwebs out of the corners, I will be helping this child of mine pack up her belongings (Most of them anyway!  How many moms out there have a couple of boxes, at least, tucked away from a child no longer living under your roof?) and driving with her to sunnier climes.  <sigh>

Again...let's not dwell on that!  Too many things to accomplish before then!

Wish us both luck!

The Hopeful Romantic

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Eve Tradition

Yes, I know the year is almost a whole day old, but I faded fast last night and was snoozing well before the midnight hour.  I normally stay up until around midnight, but a couple of nights with less than perfect sleep left me wanting a nap yesterday.  Unfortunately, I never got there.  (Knew that already, huh?)  Also, my youngest had plans with friends to celebrate the year in and couldn't be two places at once.  So, tonight it is!

My family doesn't have a lot of traditions we stick to, but tonight (a day later than usual) we will have our New Year's Eve fete.  Many years ago, my youngest came down with Fifth Disease the 30th of December.  We had been invited to my aunt and uncle's house, but with a very contagious child, we had to come up with something else quick.  My daughters were not very old, around 6 and 8 as I recall, but they knew that New Year's Eve was a big deal.  Their father and I had promised they could stay up to usher in the new year (if they could stay awake!) and now with no party to go to we decided to have our own party.

We wanted to do something different for dinner and snack food wasn't special enough to make up for having to miss the party.  After a bit of discussion we decided to have fondue.  The search was on for the fondue pot.  Tucked up on a shelf in the garage storeroom, we found the green fondue pot complete with color coded forks.  After a good bath in the sink for the washable parts and a test run of the base, we were ready to go.

Now, for those thinking of cheese fondue, STOP!  It was all the rage when I was in high school and I couldn't stand it then and certainly wasn't going to serve it up now.  I am not against alcohol, but please don't put it in my food!  To me, it is just a good way to ruin the cheese and the wine!

So, now that we are clear on no cheese fondue, you have probably figured out we had the hot oil fondue type or fondue bourguignonne.  Meat and veggies cooked in hot oil.  We had sauces for dipping...a garlicky sour cream, a ranch style and a hot one with a bit of punch!  The meat and veggies were all cut into bite-sized pieces and we were ready to eat!  The girls were thrilled to be able to "cook" their own food.  There was a bit of a campfire feeling, just on hot dogs or marshmallows.  There were a few "floaters", food that came off the fondue forks, that had to be rescued, but all in all it was fun and yummy.

We even made a chocolate fondue for dessert.  We moved that to the living room coffee table so we could watch the festivities on the TV.  We sat on pillows and noshed on bananas, pound cake and apples.  So good!

When the next New Year's Eve rolled around the girls were raring to go with another night of fondue and a family tradition was born.

Tonight we are having chicken, beef, potatoes (sweet and white), mushrooms, red pearl onions and Brussel sprouts.  The sauces are made and the food cut and waiting in bowls in the fridge.  Time to go plug in the fondue pot and enjoy our New Year's Eve celebration!

Wishing you the best of 2012 and your own traditions!

The Hopeful Romantic