Saturday, December 24, 2011

Old Nameless Motorcycle Philosopher

Today's post is a guest blog. Although the writer doesn't KNOW that he's filling in today. Its just that I could not say anything better on Christmas Eve than this Christmas card greeting.

Is there anything cuter than a two-year-child? On the cover is our little 2-year-old granddaughter, Ella Mae. (Tom & Molly's little girl) 
We are showing her because two-year-olds are just so darned cute. The other grandchildren are beautiful, high-achieving, well-mannered young people - and we love them dearly. But... they aren't two years old! (Although they were at one time.)
Accompanying this blue-eyed little darling is our new 6-month old kitty, named "Noodle." Patty calls him a "middle school" cat. (I wonder where she picked up that phrase?) He is called Noodle because at any given time he can become limp - as a noodle. He's playful - at times he's mischievous...but he's always loving. There are few things as relaxing as sitting back in your recliner, a fire in the fireplace, and a sleeping kitty purring on your lap.
Dr. Knutson had to put down our old 20 pound Josie because of a brain tumor. We found ourselves at the animal shelter a few days later and came home with Noodle.
I said to Patty on the way home, "Our old cat has just been gone just a few days and you already have a new cat." Jokingly I added, "If something happened to me, I bet you would take up with a new man right away!"
Patty casually replied, "Would people think it tacky if I brought him to the funeral?"
BAM! What a comeback! I wouldn't have it any other way. It's a wonderful life with a wonderful wife. We are blessed with a lovely family, good friends, few worries, and lots of love and laughter.
As an old nameless motorcycle philosopher once said, "Don't let a few bugs hitting your windshield spoil an otherwise wonderful ride." Take time to savor each and every precious moment on this big, beautiful blue marble in space. Try not to let the little stuff get you down.

The Old Nameless Motorcycle Philosopher just happens to be my Dad.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Cold Evening Walk

Tonight's view from the porch is a clear, starlit night. After dinner, I decided to take a walk. It wasn't too cold tonight, but I did walk briskly. It isn't often that it is not bitterly cold or too icy to walk around in the evening and enjoy the lights. Homes were glowing with Christmas lights inside and out. My walk takes me to the edge of town and I think Mother Nature's twinkling stars were as beautiful as any display I passed. It was quiet and I was ready for quiet after a very productive day of housework and holiday-work.

The week did not end the way I expected and some alone time for reflection was in order.

Since August, I've been helping to coordinate an evening meal for friends whose baby girl was in the NICU in Iowa City. She passed away earlier this week and I was honored to attend services for her yesterday. There's just no easy way through that. The pastor was amazing and said so many beautiful things when I wondered what one could say that would make any sense at all. I have never cried so deeply for someone I had never met.

One of the things that the pastor said was that this tiny little girl changed all our lives. And that is true. I will never again take for granted the power of a hot homemade meal delivered home in time for dinner. And it really wasn't just about sharing dinner, it was about giving a family a gift of time. Even in my own family's schedule, there are nights when its a challenge at the end of the day to come up with a meal. For our friends, bringing dinner a few nights a week gave them time to be together rather than grocery shopping and cooking.

I hugged my kids a little tighter last night, held them a little closer.
And I prayed for peace, and comfort, and healing.

Saturday, December 3, 2011


Today's view from the porch is a sky that looks like a gray wool blanket. No snow in those clouds here, but plenty of rain. Two words that do not go well together in Iowa are 'December' and 'rain.' It is a day to be grateful for a warm house and a pantry stocked for holiday baking.
A hot cup of coffee, Windham Hill's "Celtic Christmas," and a stack of recipe cards are presenting a day in touch with dear memories. Grandma Pearl's old aluminum measuring spoons, cookie press, and cutters at the ready. Recipes from Eugenia Johnson - my children's paternal great-grandmother who immigrated to the US from Sweden in the 1920's. Marian Sellergren's spritz recipe. Grandma's sugar cookie cutouts, with a hint of nutmeg... The house will smell wonderful very soon.
This week has been a bit of a challenge. Emily is recovering well from her long illness and is much improved over last week at this time and I am relieved that she is back on track. Last night, we played "Let's Dance" on the wii and Emily was dancing away, hair flying, arms in the air... She's a dancer that girl. It doesn't matter the music, if it moves her spirit, it will move her body. It was wonderful to watch her so uninhibited and with the energy to dance. It's been weeks since she's had the energy to get out of bed, let alone dance. It made me very happy to dance with her and to soak in her excitement.
This week, friends and acquaintances have struggled with death and loss. For some it has just happened, others are having their first birthdays or holidays without a parent. Broken hearts, whether recent or many years ago, seem to be laid wide open in December. A time filled with remembering, with doing things the way they have been done for years. The familiar music, ornaments for the tree, and simple things like cookie recipes put us in touch with those memories and the flood of emotions they bring.
December can be a melancholy time for many of us. We may find ourselves swinging between the joy of the season and reflective of Decembers gone by. In the midst of it all, recognize that it is not only normal to experience sadness and loss right now, it really is best to feel those emotions and not fight them. Honor them. Open up to feel it all, both sorrow and delight. For without allowing yourself to feel the sadness, you really will not feel the full impact of joy.
Time to warm up the oven, the house, and my heart with the simple acts of making bread and cookies. After the bites, licks, and tastes, I'll be ready to dance with my daughter again.