Thursday, July 5, 2012

Summer Days and Lemonade

Summer is here and oh what a hot one it is! We have been lucky so far. That derecho storm of June 29 zoomed past us leaving a few small fallen branches but the electricity was left in service, thank the good Lord! I know that many others are still without power to the west of us, especially in the DC area. Seeing reports on the news with interviews of the locals who are growing impatient with the slow response of their power companies, I got the idea that these are not people who are accustomed to adversity in their physical surroundings. As usual, I am hunkering down in the house, relishing the improved system that was installed last year. We have found ourselves buying lemons by the bag, along with strawberries, and making the nicest lemonade! I made a cup for someone yesterday without saying much about what it was, and when she finally took a sip of it, her eyes opened wide and she was quite pleasantly surprised at it. Personally, I have been trying to drink water or coffee, and not sweet or artificially sweetened drinks, but have been cooling off with one of these strawberry lemonades. Funny how some simple ingredients, the benefit of other peoples' knowledge, and the proper kitchen appliance can give us a refreshing tool to get through a blistering hot day.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A long time coming........

Years ago, we looked at our little business and realized that there might be people who might want to learn how we do what we do.

Four years ago, Norb began writing a book describing how he makes his eBay business work. We have wondered if we would ever get to this day, but today is a special one to us. We are finally offering our book for sale.

We have had a few people read it before we sent it to the printers, and the response has been very encouraging. They find it to be very readable, and informative.

Just in case you want to see it for yourself.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Green Acres

It has been 8 years since we left the tropical city and relocated up the coast to a much more rural area.

I love love love stepping out on a clear night and being able to see the stars. City lights hide the cosmos. Most of us don't even notice it. I don't often enough take the time in the evenings to star gaze. In our comfy, climate controlled homes with lots of other things to keep us busy, star light can be an overlooked luxury item.

On much the same vein, I like the sky during the day too. Oh, but trees! Yes! They make me play hide and seek with the sky, but I love them just the same. I can't decide what I want around my home, all sky, or all trees. Both are glorious.

Oh, to have a gardener! I always think that I want to garden, but more in theory than in practice. Last year, I managed to plant some tulip bulbs, and was thrilled at the payoff when they bloomed in the spring. However, weeding in the summer heat is not on my list of favorite things.

There is a house sort of next door; our nearest neighbor. It isn't lived in, but the owner has been growing vegetables and selling them on a cart in front of his house. Now that is gardening! He plants, and I am happy to buy from him.

He also has a small flock of chickens. He recently told my dear hubby that he would not be able to collect the eggs for awhile and that we could do it.
The simple joy of finding an egg, or two or three, is new to me! I love it! Maybe we should get a few chickens too! I know nothing of caring for them but kids don't come with owners manuals either. They are still alive, in spite of their mother.

Some of the birds have gotten adventurous and are wandering into our yard. One of them has even decided to lay eggs just outside of the door to our shed. I have found a couple, still warm. What a joy!

So eight years after leaving the city for the country life, the simple pleasures are still out there, waiting to be discovered.

Sunday, April 3, 2011


It has been a long time since I have posted. My last post regarding my dad has an ending. He passed away, gently, on July 24, 2010. It was no great dramatic scene where he was surrounded by his family. We all knew that he was dying, but he was not in a crisis situation when he breathed his last. He just slumped, and was gone.

Those last few weeks were very hard on him. The 'nothing by mouth' order my dad described as 'torture.'
In retrospect I don't know what the right choice would have been for him in that state. The feeding tube kept him alive, but he was miserable at his limits, with his mouth exceedingly dry. This was not something that any of us knew ahead of time. And despite the experience of the health care workers who might have had a solution to his discomfort, we never had any effective answers.

Rest in peace, Dad! Enjoy that candy bar and a nice long drink of water.

Friday, June 4, 2010


For the past week and a half, I have been away from my husband and children to return to my parents as my dad becomes more and more frail.
His health has been in decline for over 3 years, and when I left my home to return to Wisconsin, I wondered if I would be in time to say good bye to him.

As it turns out, he is over the crisis, though not out of the woods.

NPO looks like a simple set of letters, but what it means for Dad is that he can no longer eat or drink. He told the nurse last night that being denied water was torture. Since he is mostly unable to speak, that word haunts me today.
Don't make the mistake of thinking that because he has become non verbal, his mind is elsewhere. Dad knows what is going on and still has his opinions. One of them right now is that he wants to go back home.

I pray that he can do that.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Thoughts from a Night Watch

The stars.

Can you even see the stars where you live? If not, they have very little part of your daily life. You know they are out there, but so is seaweed in the sea. But from time to time through the year, we become aware that perhaps we might be able to see a meteor shower if the night is clear and we are out at the right time.

Such an announcement came a few weeks ago. It was a cold night, but very clear, and since I don't live in the city with its light pollution, I thought I would give it a try to see some meteors.
First off, it get uncomfortable really fast if you are standing outside on a chilly night with your head thrown back to look at the sky. Gotta find a more neck friendly way to study the night. Ah, a reclining lawn chair should do the trick. I found something to use as a blanket and reclined. Now just to be patient and watch the sky. For a busy mom who always has something that needs my attention, lying down to watch and wait made me a little antsy. You have to be alert; there was nothing I could do to make anything happen. That requires another adjustment to my thinking.

As I lay there, flat on my back, just looking up, a feeling of the vastness of the universe came over me. There is no way to comprehend it. The order to the stars, and the thought of how many generations before me looked at these same stars, and named the constellations overwhelmed me. It was a part of the lives of untold numbers of people of different languages, cultures, and continents and they KNEW the stars in a way that we modern Americans with movies, TVs, computers, and generally snug homes with good walls and roofs don't. Our leisure time isn't spent unwinding under the night sky where we can become acquainted with the Great Bear, or Hercules
or the Hunter.

Genesis 1:16 reads, God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night. He made the stars also.
The vastness that we marvel at is written as though the stars are sprinkles on an ice cream cone.

So if your everyday life gets to feeling like more than you can handle, remember that you can go to the Creator of the Universe. He can see more than you can, and won't overburden you.

Oh, by the way, I saw only one meteor that night.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Are there things in your life that are 'too nice to use'? Things such as fancy soap, nice linens, or some lovely holiday candles? Why do we do that?

Try going to an estate sale or an auction of an estate. Many times you will find every day items that were tools in the loving hands that lived simple lives. Kitchen utensils or towels that were made for function and put to use in someone's home will show the evidence of usefulness; worn handles or threadbare washcloths. It is understandable that something be left for special days that are set apart from the mundane daily life.
But what is the signal to let the good stuff to jump out of storage into the glory of being used?

I was recently at an auction where there were boxes of fancy soaps and candles that never had the honor of being put to use. It seemed tragic to me, that some unknown person had probably received gifts from family members of gift soap or hand dipped candles and never felt that there was an occasion to put them to use. All of us leave all of our personal belongings behind eventually when our days come to an end. Use that fancy soap! Light that decorative candle and allow it to fragrance your everyday tasks. Isn't that better than boxes of these things filling your closets?
Isn't it a sign of great regard to give a gift with function and beauty? When you see something being used that you gave as a gift, doesn't it put a lift in your step? What a high complement to the maker that an instrument is used to make beautiful music!

So go ahead, use the gift soaps that some loved one gave you for your birthday and light those expensive candles. They look so much better than in a box full of stuff that was too nice to use.