Monday, December 17, 2012

A Christmas Letter

Merriest of Christmases
to you all!!

This year has been a year of change. Moving into a supervisory position at work and working primarily from home has been interesting to say the least.  I am off every other week, which has increased my time at home with Gary and so far we are still in love!  Gary is becoming quite a gardener and he stays busy with working out and investing.  We have been traveling more.  Took the camper out a few times this summer and also visited Wyoming in the fall for our 25th wedding anniversary.  That is beautiful country!


   My boys are in and out of our house.  I had them both home for 6 months as Dan decided not to continue his graduate work at Michigan but to pursue a different Masters Program at Eastern Illinois in Historical Administration.  He worked at the Peabody Estate in Oakbrook cataloging collections until he left for Eastern. (The price and course of study was right)

                 Thom completed one last semester at COD and worked the summer at the forest preserve again.  He left for Valparaiso in August to pursue a business degree.  He lives in a German speaking residence and he is involved with the a cappella group Hooked on Tonics.

 Early in the year I lost my cousin Steve and his wife Donna, both to illness. We are all so saddened by this loss.  But on a happier note, two of their daughters both gave birth this year, Lindsay and Brian had Myles and Lisa and Kenny had Emery. I love new babies! 
                 So change is abundant. Some of it good, Some of it is not so good, but Gary and I have a lot to be thankful for and we hope you have many blessings in the year to come!     

Wishing you a beautiful Christmas
 Season and a very prosperous and healthy 2013

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Elections in the Rearview Mirror of my Mind

Political campaigns; I have seen a few.

I have participated in a few and I have watched a number of them with vested interest.  There is nothing more disappointing than putting your all into a campaign and losing.  So my heart goes out to all those who fought to have Mitt Romney elected. On the other hand there is nothing more exciting than a win on election night.  So I am especially happy for my nephew who worked for President Obama’s reelection.

My first experience with an election was in 1972.  Richard Nixon was trying to stay in the Whitehouse.  He ran on an ending the war platform.  Vietnam was a Democrat’s war and Nixon was the choice to end it with dignity.  And he did, one year after his election.  His choice to allow Watergate to occur made me feel betrayed but opened my eyes to “real politics”.  I did not campaign for him; I worked the polls on Election Day.  It was a wonderful experience.

Four years later I am proud to say I worked to help Jim Thompson obtain the office of Governor of the state of Illinois.  That was the last time I was seriously involved in a campaign.  I was not very involved with Ford, although I am pretty sure I voted for him.  I remember how everyone felt as Gerald Ford was punished by our nation for the sins of his predecessor.

During the Carter administration I began living overseas.  It was interesting to hear the world turn on Jimmy Carter when Iran held the US captive.  I really liked Jimmy Carter but as it turned out no one else did.

I came home to vote in 1980.  I voted early, absentee.  I remember not really knowing who to vote for.  My Dad still liked the peanut farmer but Ronald Reagan really sounded like he could bring it all together.  I honestly can’t tell you who I voted for in that presidential race, but 4 years later I voted for Mondale.  Can’t tell you why I did that, really, except that I felt like Reagan had too much power… as though the country was under a trance.  It was like I expected it was like during the Roosevelt administration…that no matter what was happening the sway of the personality ruled.

Four year later, in 1988, I just could not bring myself to vote for Dukakis, and I liked that kinder, gentler Bush.  I thought he did the right thing by protecting Kuwait.  I thought he did the wrong thing by not taking out Saddam Hussein when he had the chance. 

And then Billy came along in 1992.  I really liked Bill Clinton and voted for him in both elections and felt really betrayed that he could throw his reputation away for a tickle and a pinch.  He was so middle of the road.  It is a road that I really like.  He changed so many things for the better in this country.  By the time 1996 rolled around I was really sold on his hands across the aisle, wheeling and dealing  politicking.  There was no choice with Dole, as he was so very conservative in a southern, religious right, sort of way.  I do not like the mingling of religion with politics in any form.  It gives the government the right to tell you how to run your religion.

What can I say about George W. Bush.  I actually voted for Al Gore but became glad he didn’t win when that whole Florida voting problem occurred.  I think most people were voting against Bill Clinton.  I am glad we had Dick Cheney as the Vice President.  There were many things that the Bush administration did that I disagreed with.  I can’t really recall anything specific but I disagreed enough to vote to Kerry in the next election.

This brings us up to this election.  I have never felt that any of our previous presidents was moving us away from our basic philosophy.  Barack Obama has a different vision for the US and I hope for all those who voted for him that it pans out well.    I have nothing against the man.  I voted for him as our senator from Illinois.  But the White House is no place for someone who cannot cross the aisle, and no matter what the media suggests, the beliefs and feelings of those people need to be respected and taken into consideration.  I have always considered myself a social liberal and a fiscal conservative.   I do not vote on women’s rights (we have them), abortion (It’s already legal and won’t be going away, no matter what anyone spouts) or any number of hot button topics that try to pull at a voters heart strings.  I vote with my pocketbook in mind.  So we’ll see what that looks like after the next 4 years, what the dollar does, where inflation goes.  I hope this new vision helps.  In the meantime buy US savings bonds! Support your country!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

October 21 2012

The Canvas that is Autumn

Sometimes fall memories are so palpable they push in on my reality and color it with shades of sepia.  There is so much about this time of year that gives me comfort.  Although disliking school with a passion in my later teen years, September and October were always thrilling to me.  Not living close to where I went to school, my summer was filled with neighborhood kids, but when the grass turned crisp and the grasshoppers appeared it was time to put away running bases, freeze tag and backyard tents.  It was time for school and the season that followed.
I have such warm memories of autumn.  I can remember sitting in my Aunt Elaine’s kitchen watching her and my mom chat.  It was a warm and inviting place, playing with my cousins.  Trips were made to Uncles Ray’s farm for produce. My mom and dad would be canning in the kitchen and talking about how someday they would have a farm.  Of course, this did occur, but not soon enough for me.  I always thought that we would move to the country.
  I would wait each year for the appearance of “injun summer” in the Chicago Tribune.  It would be published about the time that we would all be raking our leaves.  Don’t get me wrong, I am all for banning leaf burning, but there is something about the smell of smoldering leaves wafting thru the air on an autumn evening. It was one of those things that brought neighbors together. 

And our annual foray to Bell’s apple orchard in Lake Zurich was the non-Halloween highlight of the autumn season.  The smell of a fresh apple, the snap it makes when you first bite into it, brings a yearning for an orchard that has gone the way of so many others.  I can close my eyes and see the bushels of Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Jonathans and Macintoshes.  After our visit the smell of my mom’s kitchen was overwhelming.  Apple pies, apple cake, apple bread and caramel apples.  My grandma would make baked apples and my brother and I would be the recipients. 
My husband and I, of course, created new traditions as our children were born...the pumpkin farms, the weekend to Door County for pumpkinfest and newly discovered apple orchards. I have discovered, as our children have grown and flown the coup, that creating traditions is a continuously changing canvas upon which we splatter new hues depending on where we are in life.  But yet there are times that the pull from the past takes my breath away and for a single moment in time I am transported back to the autumns of my youth.  They are such good memories.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Changing my look

Coffee, cool morning, late summer feel to the air, It is going to be hot today.   I wanted to change the look of my blog but find that I have very limited abilities in this department.  Think I will keep it like this for awhile.  My husband Gary enjoying the view in Ephraim Wi.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

I love Just a Pinch!
My son the Rugby Player

My son the Photographer

My Edison Park August

The dog days of summer
 It brings sweet memories of riding my bike up and down the hills formed by new construction at Peewee Park. I can smell the hot tar being poured into the cracks of the street outside my home. I remember standing with my eyes closed awaiting a cool breeze to hit before a storm and the smell of oncoming rain that would permeate the the air.  The grass was crisp and, when mowed with the push mower, gave off a perfume that could lull me to sleep. I spent endless days doing nothing and imagining everything. I spent those endless days of August longing for the first day of school… my youth in Edison park.

   The busy days of summer were over.  YMCA Camp or, in my earlier years, the day camp at the public school called "Social Center" were only memories.  While friends were on vacation I would sometimes spend my days reading, lying on my bed watching my violet flowered curtains blow in the breeze.  And there was the day dreaming, always the day dreaming.  I was a dreamer in every way.

The trip to 6 corners for my new school clothes would happen every august.  This was always so much fun in my earlier years until somewhere around 6-7th grade my taste in clothes took a definite turn to the left from my mom’s taste.  There was joy, argument, tears.  I remember the sales ladies intervening, giving advice to both my mom and to me, to find a medium ground.  I can’t imagine that happening today.  But my Mom would listen to them, after all they are the fashion experts and I would listen to them, after all, weren’t they really on my side? And eventually, at the end of the day, I had a working wardrobe for my first day of school …This all happened at Sears.  Then there was the trip to the store for school supplies.  I loved crisp white paper and unsharpened pencils and new pens just waiting to be used.    Not to mention the lunch boxes.

Labor Day weekend was the last hurrah.  I thought the day after labor day was the beginning of fall.  I hated those 90 degree autumn days. The dog days of summer..always waiting for the next season, always waiting.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Deep thoughts for a bright June day

Just read an article about the lack of spirituality of our country. So sad, it is so satisfying to lose yourself to spirituality now and then.  It helps you find your center, your purpose in life.

The way I see it, humankind will always form religious groups.  We are tied together by certain belief systems.  We believe in Jesus as our savior, we believe in not eating meat, we believe in Allah as the one true God, we believe in a homosexual lifestyle, we believe in the power of mother earth, be believe in saving the earth. 

What if the religion that we practice today grew out of people who held certain beliefs to be true, who banded together and made rules and laws to preserve the lifestyle that they had, and as we progressed  towards a more complicated belief system they made up of rules and laws to maintain the status quo.  Maybe the future will bring us new religions based on the wants and needs of the individuals of this century.
Just syain’

Saturday, May 19, 2012

May 2012

Typical snow day on Myrtle Avenue

Life keeps moving on

I received some bad news today.  The toughest dancing partner in my world passed away.  This was no old boyfriend or some past dance instructor but merely the father of some kids from the neighborhood that raised me.  
It was at someone’s wedding in 1979-1980.  I thought I was the quintessential Donna Summer dancing queen and had been such for half a decade until I danced with Michele and Mary’s Dad, Harry.  Little did I know that Harry really did know how to “cut a rug” and my smoking habit made me lose steam about half way through the dance.  Harry laughed at me and I felt squarely put in my place.  So much for my ever dancing again, at least with men who came into maturity in the 50’s.
When I called Barb, Harry’s wife, today I did so with dread, just knowing that the news would be bad.   After Barb related to me that Harry had died of a massive heart attack we began to talk.  Barb and Harry Tadda were wonderful to me as I was growing up.  Barb got me my first job as a swim instructor at the local YMCA and then later as a camp counselor.  We chit chatted about the wonderful neighborhood that raised us all. We talked about all those who have gone. About Ryan, the Kluth’s, the Mulvey’s, the Jones's, the Pearson’s, the Kolbus’s, the Thompsons, the Marshalls and so many who called the 2 blocks on Myrtle Avenue from Oriole to Talcott their home. We are really strangers now as our lives all moved on, as lives tend to do.  Strangers, but we are tied to one small street and a common history.

So in honor of Harry Tadda who died May 18 2012 a song of tribute as written by the kids on Myrtle so long ago, to the tune of  Ta-Ra-Ra Boom-de-ay!

“We live on Myrtle Street
We think we’re pretty neat.
 Come on and smell our feet
We think they’re really neat.”

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


I am in an odd predicament.  I am too old to do Rio at Carnival, too young to be on a sightseeing bus, too timid to zip line and para-sail, to active to sit on a beach.  Limbo.  When did it begin? What do I do while I here?  I have already done so much.  I have marched arm in arm with fellow students singing Yankee Doodle Dandy on Red Square, I have laid on my back beneath a sail on the open sea and gazed upon the stars, I have touched all 4 corners of our country, lived on an island, canoed, backpacked, showed my children 45 of the 50 states and spent wonderful weekends with my husband in just about every romantic place within driving distance of our home.   And yet I am still restless but I don't know what to do next.  It really is an odd feeling.  I think perhaps I will garden.


As I told my second cousin Nancy of the death of my cousin Steve I realized that to her Steve is still Max’s son, as in Max’s son died. He lost his beautiful wife Donna just 3 weeks before.  She was a good friend and a kind soul. Extended family is like the universe, it just keeps growing further and further apart.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012


I am gearing up for the big weight loss.  I really have to focus.  I think this time I am going to try counting my calories and watching my cholesterol.  South Beach and Atkins work well with me but both really make me feel  a little under the weather. I am going to try to create low fat low calorie recipes that I can post here.

I really love to cook and to create in the kitchen.  I joined a recipe club online.

I find it fun.  If I am energetic enough I may post here and there. For now I am off to bed for a nap before work tonight.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year World!

So, here it is New Year's Day 2012.. I have no resolutions for the New Year unless you want to count my daily resolution to get healthy and stay healthy.  I decided to start this Blog for myself, really, so I can go back and see  the ups and downs of my life.  I hope to add little things that might be of interest to others, recipes, quotes, my rather middle of the road political commentaries, my family photos (of interest only to out of state family) and I hope to document my rather long, slow, weight loss.  If there is one thing that I have learned, it's that everyone must change their own life on their own terms.  People use many different techniques to quite smoking, the patch, cold turkey, hypnosis.  The goal is not how you do it, It merely is to do it.  I have taken on that attitude towards my weight loss.  I decided last year that I would loose 20-25 lbs a year and keep it off until the next year, where I will do the same.  I did accomplish last years goal of 20 lbs.  I am on to this years goal of 20 lbs.  By the time I am 60 I will be a healthy weight.  And hopefully I will stay there until...well..until I am no more. So Happy New Year Let the year bring health, wealth and happiness to us all.