TToT: A Muddled Mind

Just got back from Chicago where we took the time to see The Bean finally.  This is a shot standing in the center of the opening beneath it and looking up.  This photo is a good illustration of how my mind has felt of late….muddled and over busy.

Even muddled there are things to be thankful for this week.

Cooler temperatures, the beauty and art of the city, the freedom to not live in the city.

The engagement of a friend’s daughter… which led to a frenzy of texts between the friend and me… which served as a reminder of how much this friend has meant to me for as long as I can remember.

Working with Middle Schoolers—can’t help it.  I love them!

Silly road trips with my kids,  wrong turns and side trips that lead to adventure.

The experience of motherhood.

Coming home.


TToT: Midsummer

julygirl…back in Kansas,  there is much to be thankful for.

Little kids and their great sense of style.  How can you go wrong with a red glitter visor and patriotic tutu skirt?  Not to mention the confidence to wear it in public!

Rain that brings the temperature out of the “hazardous” range and offers a life saving drink to the outdoor plants.

Watermelon.  Cold, juicy watermelon.


Summer binge reading.  Pages4Progress encourages you to log the number of pages you read on their website this summer.  Those pages translate to monetary pledges to promote literacy and combat poverty.  Read. Read. Read!

An example of graciousness: Sunday at church an elderly gentleman mistook a decorative gem stone for a mint, placing it in his mouth and causing concern among the crowd.  I attempted to get him to spit it out for fear he would choke, but only succeeded in confusing and embarrassing him.  Soon after, a lady sitting near us reached for her purse.   Pulling out a tissue she lightly folded it into a square, leaned over to him and said, “When you are finished with what you have in your mouth go ahead and slip it into the tissue.”  Genius, unadulterated genius.  He swished the hard stone around his mouth a couple more times before discretely depositing it into the tissue.  Not only did she stave off a choking disaster, she allowed him to retain his dignity.  Her gracious act was a thing of beauty.

Sun tea by the gallon.  Cold and crisp.

Mammographic proof of healthy breasts.  And 364 days of smoosh-free existence.  I am never quite ready for my close-up.

Watching my friend at her father’s funeral this week, I was reminded of my mom’s funeral a few years ago.  My kids surrounded me with both physical and emotional support.  It is one of my earliest memories of them all three as adults, roles reversed with them caring for me.  The pride and affection of the memory is still as strong as it was in the moment; I am tremendously grateful for these three people who make life pretty much as good as it gets.




Ten Things of Thankful: Simple Stuff

Topping my list this week…running water and indoor plumbing.  We have a new toilet in the master bath.  No more middle of the night bathroom breaks where I am not awake enough to remember to go to the kids’ bathroom, but instead stumble into ours. Before I know it, I am flushing.  Flushing?!  Nooooooooo…..suddenly it dawns on me if I use this toilet and I flush, it will run forever or at least until I remove the ten pound decorative shelf from the top of the tank, take off the lid, plunge my hand, wrist and forearm into ice cold water and hold the rubber stopper tightly against the bottom of the tank until it refills.  Once full, I have to experiment, gently letting go of the rubber stopper and praying not to hear the leak which recurs nine out of ten times.  Sometimes I have to lie on the floor and turn the nozzle so that no water at all can come into the bathroom through this pipe.  Not what I want to be doing at 3:00 a.m. Such an annoying hassle and waste of water.  But now we have a new toilet with super Vormax technology.  (Thankfuls here:  plumbing, properly running water, and super Vormax technology)

grandma's soup bowls

Meanwhile, down in the kitchen…the dishwasher control panel went out..again.  We bought the Maytag because, you know, their stellar reputation.  This thing has had so many repairs they had to retire that slogan about the Maytag repairman being the loneliest guy in town. $400 worth of parts are currently on order and set to arrive any day.  Until they get here I am hand washing all our dishes.  This may sound like a gripe instead of thankfulness except that I am using the opportunity to use antique dishes that belonged to the grandmothers. These are dishes that I normally don’t use because they can’t go in the dishwasher.  I love thinking of our ancestors gathered around tables in family homes of old eating off these very same plates.  I wonder about the dinner conversation and think about the family recipes that were probably served.  I have actually enjoyed washing the dishes in a sink full of suds after dinner each night–short-term, of course.  (Thankfuls here:  the (3) grandmas who left me their dishes, family dinners, slower times, shared connections, and eventually–hopefully soon– modern appliances)

Did I mention an error light on the washer is blinking?!





Two birds–one stone.  My Ten Things of Thankful and my answer to Mama Kat’s what makes you happy.  All images are from Lake Shawnee, Topeka, Kansas.
through the fountain

Finding beauty in unexpected places.  The park through the fountain looks like something Monet painted.

Lake ShawneeWalking in a garden. Sights and smells.
public bike rackMy work, sure; but, oh, my fun.

Lake ShawneeWide open spaces–the water or the plains.  Anywhere there is an expanse of sky above me.

Lake ShawneeA finished project.  The sense of accomplishment.

bridge at Lake Shawnee

The beauty of things strong enough to stand the test of time–architecture, friendships, love.




TToT: Music to My Ears

the harpist

It is unofficially summer!  The kids are out of school, and though I still have a few more days of paperwork and organization before I can get out of there, the workload is drastically lighter.

My daughter is home for the summer and serenading me with harp music.  Kind of highbrow living to have a harpist accompanying me while I dust or cook dinner.  I could get used to this.  Also, she is working up a piece to play at church this summer which always makes my heart sing.

Although school is out we still have not had to turn the air conditioner on.  As someone who struggles with both guilt about depleting the ozone and  one long menopausal hot flash that started in 2007 and hasn’t let up yet, not worrying about whether or not to turn on the a/c is a good thing.

Several of my siblings and their offspring came to celebrate my daughter’s college graduation over Memorial Weekend.  People come and go in life, but my siblings are always there.  I am truly blessed to have both immediate family and extended family who I not only love, but also like very much.

I am thankful for the group of researchers involved in the Adverse Childhood Experiences study.  I am so excited about the work they are doing to determine the lasting affects of childhood trauma on behavior, mental and physical health, and just generally how a person relates to the world.  In a quick-fix society where we seem to treat all ills with a pill, this line of thinking could turn schools, the medical community, and mental health centers on their ears.  And maybe just maybe we can learn more and better ways to work with this generation of children that will also positively affect the next generation as well.  Every once in a while I have to step up on my social work soapbox, and this ACE study has me preaching.

It is cherry picking time.

Wishing peace and comfort to those who have been experiencing flooding.  Here the rain has been just enough to keep everything damp and cool, and to lull me to sleep on several nights.