When the Bathroom Sink is the New Dishwasher…

Our kitchen renovation goes on. The Crankee Yankee is in the process of putting up a pretty handsome wooden valance over where the sink will be, as well as putting up crown molding all through the kitchen. Things are coming along pretty well, all things considered. Now that the stove has been re-wired and is back in place, I can cook again—with reservations.

Without a dishwasher or kitchen sink, I wash the cats’ dishes, silverware, mugs and such in the bathroom sink. Last night I made hot dogs and beans, which meant using a frying pan for the hot dogs and a large pot for the beans. All well and good until I realized I would have to clean them both in the bathroom sink. Let’s just say it was an exercise in time and space…but it all got done.

Then there is the fun task of remembering where we stashed stuff such as pot holders, carving knives, various pots and pans and all the kitchen doo-dads. You would think that, since we were the ones to pack up everything in the first place, we’d know where to find everything, but no. I never made a list of where things were, I just thought we would somehow remember…ha, ha—fat chance!

Our conversation has devolved into grumbling and growling “do you remember where we put the <insert just about anything here>? Really, we are idiots. But at least we are idiots in a new kitchen.



Happy Easter!

Happy Easter to us all;

Those who celebrate and those who call

Each family member and friend

To send them joy and hope that hearts may mend

And leave anger, fear and hurt behind;

To honor the day and fill the mind

With Easter days past

With family, friends and joy at last;

May we all remember this day and what it means

And see beyond the hopes and dreams

Of lasting peace and lasting love

With help and remembrance from above.




The Night Before Easter

My grandmother always made a huge feast for each and every holiday. Of course, birthdays were a priority, but she always made the holidays extra special. Easter meant a lot to her, and although she never made a big deal about religion, she saw and understood God in all things.

Years ago when I attended an Episcopal church, the minister would ask for people to volunteer to spend an hour with Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. We would pick an hour to sit in church as if we were there in the garden with him. I always chose the hour from 3:00 am to 4:00 am. In that time sitting there in church, I thought about what it must have felt like to be facing death in the next day.

Even though Jesus knew who he was and what his mission entailed, it had to have been frightening to know what he would face the next day. He asked his disciples to come with him, and was saddened that they fell asleep while he wrestled with the thought of what was to come.

We humans feel fear and doubt, anguish, sorrow, loss and betrayal. It is hard for us to face unpleasant things, and often we do whatever we can to avoid that pain and sorrow. But unpleasant things are part of life, and I’ve come to realize that it is those hard times that make us stronger and more flexible. We are all fallable beings; we don’t like pain or trouble or fear or loss, but these things are part and parcel of our lives.

Fortunately, there are so many good things in our lives that they help us get by the hurt and fear of the bad things that come our way. In times when I have felt lost or misunderstood or forgotten, I think of my friends and what family I have left. I know I am not alone in the times I too am in a garden of my own Gethsemane.

May this be a wonderful Easter for us all.
















Rompers for Men??

Ok, I’ve seen everything now. I honestly do not know where this particular fashion statement came from, but evidently the following are the new “casuals” for men. I kid you not; check these out:

AIDEAONE Mens Casual 3D Printed Short Sleeve Rompers Zip Jumpsuit with Pocket S-XXLUideazone Men Summer Shorts 3D Printed Bro Romper Jumpsuit One Piece Romper OutfitsRAISEVERN Men's Rompers Male Zipper Jumpsuit Shorts 3D Printed One Piece Slim Fit Outfits Bro Short Sleeve OverallsONSEME Male Romper Summer 3D Printed Short Sleeve Bro Jumpsuit Overalls One Piece OutfitsUideazone Men Summer Shorts 3D Printed Bro Romper Jumpsuit One Piece Romper OutfitsLoveternal Men's 3D Printed One Piece Jumpsuit Button Short Sleeve Pants Rompers Overalls

Evidently, these “man rompers” are casual dress for around the house, mowing the lawn, playing with their similarly dressed toddlers, or, Heaven help us—doing the shopping. Am I missing something here? Aren’t these togs sort of a big baby’s onesie?

Look, I’ll admit I’m not up to date in the latest fashions, but really—who are buying these and wearing them?!?

Life During a Kitchen Renovation

As you may know from my previous posts, the Crankee Yankee kindly sent me to Hawaii for two weeks in order to renovate our 1953’s kitchen. It was a great deal; I stayed in Oahu and took wonderful tours every other day, and I loved every minute of it. While I was basking in the Hawaiian sun, the Crankee Yankee and his brother were demolishing our old kitchen. According to him, it was a majorly dirty job. As he puts it, “you really do not want to know what we had in the walls (i.e., mice and bugs and their “leavings.” Yuck.)

When I came home, everything was stripped to the bare boards, all ready to be covered in plywood, then covered in formica. Actually, it didn’t look bad at all, and since I came home on March 13, we have been in major fixit mode. The formica is up on the walls, as well as the gorgeous gray cabinets with beautiful nickel handles. I’ve unpacked all our dishes, glass ware, utensils, etc. and put them all up in the new cupboards. So far, there is loads of room for everything.

As our new countertops and sink are not ready to install, so we are still using paper plates (so much easier not to have to wash dishes in the bathroom sink!) and cups, and using our microwave and Keurig coffee maker. Funny how you get used to things like this; seriously, it’s not bad at all. As the stove isn’t hooked up yet, we go out to lunch or dinner more often than usual, but for the time being, it’s not bad at all.

I help the Crankee Yankee as much as I can, and honestly, it’s all kind of fun. Who knew?


The Pond in Spring

It’s been a while since I walked around our town pond, so I bundled up (the wind was pretty fierce as well as cold) and headed down there. In my mind, our pond is a lot like Garrison Keilor’s tales of Lake Woebegon. I call our pond the “Pondillaquent,” and I always come up with stories about the inhabitants and their habits.

All the ice has gone out, and the edges of the pond were full of bright green algae. There were no turtles or blue herons or frogs to be seen yet, but there was a couple of ducks and a pair of cormorants on the water. Seeing as how they were dipping below the surface, there must be enough of something to eat.

One lone redwing black bird was scouting the reeds on the edge of the pond for his lady-love’s future nesting ground. As he was the only one, I’m sure he got the best spot for his future kiddos.

As always, there were plenty of seagulls soaring overhead. I often imagine their chats as they fly over the freezing water: “Hey! Why did we leave the ocean to go to this pond? It’s WAY more cold than the ocean! AND there are no fish here!”

When I walk around the pond, I always think of my grandmother, who taught me everything she knew about the habits of bears, rabbits, squirrels and birds. She taught me kindness and empathy for these creatures, and how to approach and respect them. I realize now that she probably was sort of an animal empath; all creatures seemed to come to her, knowing that they were safe.

Every evening, my grandmother would load up a large pie plate with leftovers. She would remind me to stay quiet and move slowly as to not spook our dinner guests. Usually the raccoons came for the first “seating,” and I remember the thrill of patting a real live raccoon (fortunately he was too busy eating to get upset about it).

She once told me about the skunk who got his head stuck in a peanut butter jar; he was trying to lick up the rest of the peanut butter at the bottom of the jar. She heard him bumbling around, opened the back door and said: “go up to the stone wall and swing your head into one of the rocks, and you’ll be free.”

And wouldn’t you know, that little skunk somehow understood. He managed to break the jar in two neat pieces, finished up the peanut butter, and went on his merry way. These and so much else I remember when walking the “Pondillaquent.” These are my own “Lake Wobegone” stories.


A Must-Read Book

Recently I picked up a book called “Please Stop Laughing at Me,” by Jodee Blanco. I quite literally could not put it down. It is a true story about how Jodee was cruelly bullied in grammer school and high school. From the back cover of “Please Stop Laughing at Me:”

“Activist and youth advocate Jodee Blanco has written the book that has inspired a movement in our nation’s schools, and that is swiftly becoming an American classic. It is the first book written by a survivor of peer abuse. Inspired by the thousands of letters she receives from students, parents, teachers, and adult survivors, Jodee has committed her life to turning her pain into purpose, becoming one of the nation’s most sought-after keynotes speakers, seminar presenters, and crises consultants. Her story of survival and forgiveness has drawn the attention of the national media, as well as recognition from the United States government. Jodee is also the author of “Please Stop Laughing at Us…One Survivor’s Extraordinary Quest to Prevent School Bullying,” the sequel to this book. Please visit Jodee’s Web site, http://www.jodeeblanco.com for more information.

I cried my way through this book, and I also looked up Jodee Blanco’s website. Scott Pelley did a segment about Jodee’s work with children, and it was outstanding. It is said that many school shootings happen because the shooter was bullied to the point that he/she could not live with the pain and hurt any longer. This of course does not warrant all school shootings that sadly have happened too many times.

Should you read Jodee’s book, it will change your life forever. I am going to attend my 50th class reunion this summer, and, although I was never really bullied, I certainly did not fit in with the “cool kids.” There was a boy I worshipped and I used to pray that he would talk to me, get to like me and even take me out on a date. I told my dad about my little fantasy and his brutally frank reply was this: “You aren’t his type. He won’t ever date you, because you’re not a cheerleader or part of the school elite.”

As much of a crusher as that was, it made me realize my real social worth. However, our school started a drama club and pledged to have two shows every school year. Each year there would be a musical and a dramatic play. The first musical was “The Music Man,” and I got the lead role of Marion the Librarian. From that time on, right until the last of my senior year, I was in plays. Sometimes I got a lead part, other times I was in the chorus. But it didn’t matter; theater changed my life and gave me a goal, a purpose and something to be good at.

On stage, playing a part, I wasn’t me; I was the character I portrayed. It was so much easier to be that person than be me. In a show, you learn the lines and know what lines the other people in the play have. You know what’s coming, and you know exactly how to react to the other players. It’s nothing like real life where you don’t know who is going to say what and when. Theater was my safe haven, and no one and nothing could hurt me while I was in a play.

These days with social media and cameras on everyone’s phones, no one in school can be sure that they won’t be photographed naked in the shower after gym. They can’t be sure that someone may betray their trust by emailing everyone a private talk only meant for one person’s ears. It has to be nerve-wracking to be a school kid today.

In the segment Scott Pelley did on Jodee Blanco, she said to her student audience: “It isn’t about the bad things you do, but all about the nice things you don’t do.” I have been so moved by this book, and I hope that you will take the time to read it yourself. It is a massive eye-opener.