Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I Need to Stop; A Goodbye

I've been thinking about this for some time.

It is time to say goodbye here, to stop blogging.

The reason is that I simply have nothing to say.

Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while know that I have been struggling.

I'm not the same person I was when I began this blog a year and a half ago.

Much has happened, and much has been lost.

I feel as if I am in a bit of a state of stun.

You know how you feel, or would feel, after a hard slap across your cheek?  That immediate stun, a moment of incalculable numbness and silence, before you awake and feel and react?

My whole life is in that state right now.

It looks as if my daughter will never be home here with us again.  She is too disturbed, and we are simply not enough for her.  She will go on to live with a family more suitable to her needs. 

It looks as if most of my family cannot comprehend this reality and quiet blame and mistrust has chilled into stone-cold silence.

And I don't know how I'll ever get over this.

I thank God Almighty for my son and for my husband.  For despite all my grief and all my loss, I am still a rich woman.

But I simply have nothing to say here.

I have tried to stumble along, trying to find my voice again, my humor, my style.  It is not there.

I can't find anything to say that I think anyone else will care about or that will be worth your time or my time.

Everything seems trite.  The truth is, I have only deeply personal things on my mind and in my heart right now.

And the deeper things are stuck in a stunned pause.

So I will have to say goodbye here.

And thank you all -- every one of you -- who ever saw my name and felt persuaded to see what I had to say that day.  You have done me a kindness that I cherish beyond words.

I will still be around to read your blogs here and there.  While I seem to have nothing worthwhile to say, you all certainly do, and I look forward to stopping by to say hello from time to time, checking in on each of you.  I would miss you terribly if I didn't.

I think I will leave this blog here and maybe some day I will be this person again.  I can't bear to just delete it.

So thank you once again for coming by.  It has meant more than I could ever, ever express.

I wish you each peace, joy, and love . . . the greatest of these is love.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Peace Doves

My beautiful pigeons.

They look like peace doves.

Peace. . .

In the words of the great Jeff Smith today, 

"I bid you peace."

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


"You are worthy of being helped."

I heard that on television this morning, and it stopped me in my tracks.

This is an issue for me.

Whenever I need help with something, I feel ashamed.

Or dishonest, as if I really could manage without the help and, therefore, I am . . . not worthy of the help.

I often get defensive or even combative when someone tries to help me with something.  

This has caused issues in my marriage from time to time, for marriage is a lifetime of teamwork, of giving and of receiving.  Receiving with an open and free heart is very difficult for me.

I have begun to realize I feel unworthy.

Of course, various circumstances in my life have brought me to places where I have been forced to ask for help.

I do and can ask for help. . . I am certainly not saying that I do everything myself, without help from anyone.

But all the while I am receiving that help, I secretly and silently browbeat myself for it.

This adds conflict to my heart, my life.  It disquiets my soul.

My husband is a generous and gracious care-taker, helper.  It disturbs him that accepting help is so difficult for me.

I could spend many hours and probably many dollars analyzing how this came to be in me.

But I think my time would be better spent repeating that beautifully illuminating sentence above,

"You are worthy of being helped,"

and working to synthesize it into my heart and into my soul.

I am worthy of being helped.


And so I bring this to you, dear reader . . . do you feel worthy of being helped? 


Monday, February 14, 2011

Extra Love Today

Sometimes people bemoan Valentine's Day 
as a "Hallmark Holiday" ~

Or they say they don't need a special day set aside for expressing love, 
that it should be done every day.

Yes, it should be done every day.

But I think it is lovely to think of Valentine's Day as icing on the cake, 
a little insurance, a day to do that little extra thing, 
add that extra sweetness ~

What a good reminder it is ~

And, to me, any reminder to do the out-of-ordinary is welcomed ~

So, then, to you, Dear Readers, I say:

Happy Valentine's Day.

Wishing you all much love, today,
All year long.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Inspiration and Aspiration

Ever been to Amsterdam?

It's one of my favorite cities.

Bicycles are everywhere, and it is fun to see how people personalize their bicycles to fit their personal styles and functions.

If I ever move to Amsterdam, or achieve likewise coolness, I will buy myself one of these . . . and then choose a bicycle to suit it.

What is it?

It is a "Crocheted Bicycle Dress Guard," of course -- keeps your skirt or coat tails out of the spokes as you're riding.

Or perhaps I prefer this style . . . can't decide.

Made by Darkandstormydays on Etsy, they are a vision of beauty and functionality, and I had to show them to you.

Someday, I aspire to be riding a bicycle in a long, flowing skirt without a care in the world.

I just decided that. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Chicken Coax

Go out and play in the snow . . . don't be a chicken!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Chickened Out . . . And In

Wow, thanks for all the interest and support on yesterday's post.  I had no idea this little dilemma was so relatable!  I was thinking that maybe I was needing a slap across the kisser to snap me out of it.  Well, once again, thanks for "gettin' me."

What did I make??


I am a lucky girl that I have such an understanding husband.  He just laughed and shook his head and told me how funny I was.  Yah, I'm a laugh a minute.

Then my sweet boy presented his thing-of-beauty report card and we celebrated by taking him out for dinner.  He picked the place, Noodles & Co.

Now, today I put on my big-girl panties and committed to a meal.  Here's what cooking . . .

My Roast Chicken

1 7.5 lb roaster chicken
4 large onions
8 potatoes
4 slices bacon, cut in half
4 TB butter, cut into pieces
fresh thyme
fresh rosemary
salt & pepper
1 8oz carton baby bella mushrooms, quartered

Preheat oven to 350.

Wash and half or quarter potatoes and onions, put in bottom of 9 x 13 pan.  Rinse chicken and place on top of potatoes.  Place one more cut up onion inside cavity along with one half slice bacon and one piece butter. 

Run hands between skin and meat.  Salt and pepper in there and push in several sprigs of the fresh herbs.  Arrange bacon on top of breast skin.  Sprinkle bits of butter over the chicken and vegetables in pan.

Place chicken in oven, uncovered, for 30 mins for every lb. of chicken. *When there is 15 minutes of cook time left, sprinkle in mushrooms and return to oven for final 15 minutes. 

Allow chicken to rest, covered with foil, for 10 minutes before carving.


Spicy Cranberry Chutney**

1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup water
3 cups fresh cranberries
1 Granny Smith apple - peeled, cored and chopped
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

In a saucepan, combine brown sugar, raisins and water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and stir while simmering for 5 minutes. Stir in cranberries, apple and lemon zest; simmer for 10 minutes more.

Stir lemon juice, ginger and pepper flakes into the mixture before removing from heat. Serve chilled or at room temperature.


I was going to bake something for dessert, but the oven seems to be giving off a lot of "newness" smell (yes, I washed it out first), so I covered my chicken and have decided to forgo the baking for a while longer until it is broken in.

It's beginning to smell yummy!

Monday, January 31, 2011


I'm hiding.

This is one of the stupidest things I've ever done.

Supper is in one hour.

And I have no idea what to make.

That's not that unusual.

But it is when you consider that I got a lovely, brand-spanking new stove today.  Brand-new.  Blue-plastic covering the door-front new . . .

And it's so pretty!

And it's so clean.

I cannot decide what would be the best thing to make for her maiden voyage.

A simple, basic supper doesn't seem fitting . . . but it is only a Monday night.

Perhaps a cake?

My husband suggested a roast chicken, but it's too late for that now.

Now I'm down to easy, I-didn't-put-much-thought-into-this kind of meals.

But that doesn't seem right.

And I can't very well put some sort of ghastly frozen thing into it for the first time.

A cake then?

But what about supper?

Would you all laugh if I ended up getting takeout?

Okay, okay  . . . never mind.


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Happy Campers

It is a white, frosty Saturday morning here, and my whole brood is snug inside and all is right in the Lemony Renee' world . . .

The puppy is dragging around his toy rubber chicken; a Christmas gift. He is systematically chewing the toes off and having so much fun doing it.  A little ghoulish, but he's happy. 

Lester is sitting here on my monitor, all puffed up and content.   I love this little bird; she brings me peaceful companionship and all she asks in return is that I let her sit on my head every now and then.

And my husband and my son are where I left them last night . . . on the floor of the family room, sleeping bags spread out in front of the fire . . . this is their version of winter camping.  They cook convenience foods over the open fire of the fireplace and do decidedly "guy things" all evening, night, and the next morning.  Last night, I believe there was a late-night sledding adventure, a nature walk, and home to another log on the fire and a first lesson in poker.  Ten hours later, the poker continues (I suspect they slept at some point, but I can't be sure)  and my son just came streaking through here proclaiming that he just got a straight . . . hair still all askew and wearing his "happy camper" t-shirt, he was quite a sight.

These are the best of days. 

I think I'll pour another cup of coffee and have a bit of that banana bread for breakfast.

I wish you a contented Saturday . . .

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Snow and Bananas

It's snowing . . . and the old man is snoring . . . or something like that.

We have 10" of snow on the ground this morning.

Everyone is at work, no one is at school, and it looks like a Christmas card outside.

There's nothing better on a day like this than baking and warming up the house with the smell of bread and cookies and whatever else I can scrape together the ingredients for.

Here's what I just popped in the oven -- the best banana bread, ever, and it's whole wheat!

Whole Wheat Banana Date Bread

2 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 1/2 c. mashed very ripe bananas (about 4)
1 c. packed brown sugar
1 c. chopped dates
2/3 c. plain (or vanilla) nonfat yogurt
2 eggs
1/3 c. canola oil (or applesauce if you really want to be *good*)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix it all up however you want and put it in 2 greased loaf pans (1 if you have a 9 x 5 x 3 pan).

Bake at 350* until a toothpick comes out of the center clean, which, in my oven, is approx. 1 hour.

Cool 5 minutes on a wire rack and then invert to de-pan, if you desire.

You're welcome!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Summer Over Already?

If you are not currently in the parenting business . . . parenting school-aged children, that is . . . you may not realize that it is camp-enrollment season.

I know.

Despite the current frigid temperatures and constant threat of snow and ice, we have spent the past week reading activity descriptions, comparing swimming lessons, confirming dates for things like the county fair and the scouts' camp-out, and trying to pin-point what my boy's interests will be come this summer.

And today I spent this morning enrolling him in several fabulous-sounding experiences.  Sports, explorers, horses, music.  Sounds great!

But I always get a bit of a heavy heart as I color in the various weeks that have been scheduled for my boy.  It seems like, with a stroke of a pen, I have spent his entire summer for him.  Already.  And, somehow, I miss him.  Already.

Before I allow myself to become completely depressed, I must remind myself that my boy has plenty of unscheduled time mixed in this summer.  We will laugh and we will hang out together.  We will go blueberry picking and fishing.  We will clean out closets, too, and pick through the mountain of papers that have come home from school. 

I always strategically leave the cleaning of closets and the organizing of dresser drawers for the last day before a busy camp week . . . somehow, it eases the blow of time apart, if you know what I mean.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Go Pack!

The biggest game of the most bitter rivalry will be played today . . .

Chicago, we're coming for you . . .

Da-Bears = Da-Feat!



Updated post-game . . .

Thank you, boys . . .

See you at the SUPERBOWL!

Friday, January 21, 2011

VHS Tapes, Why

I, like legions of others, am embarking on that ubiquitous new-year ritual . . . yep, you guessed it . . . de-cluttering. 

Today, I turned my sights to the ottoman and it's dirty, little secret . . . it houses a herd of dinosaurs, known in aged circles as VHS tapes.  Yes, tapes.  We bought tapes, can you imagine?

Space-wasters, easily damaged, and overly heavy when stored en masse. . . extinct some time ago, though many still lurk around my house.

Culling them today was an illuminating experience, bringing forth many, many questions.  Like . . .

When in the world did I like that movie?

Have we ever watched this movie?

Why don't we ever watch this movie?

Why can't I just be honest with myself and admit that I don't get Doctor Zhivago! 

So I thinned the herd considerably.  (By the way, Hubbo, if you're reading this, you need to review your John Wayne collection, methinks.)

And I am left with still a number of these darned things . . . and yet more questions . . .

Are we the only ones with a VCR still hooked up?

And, the most burning question . . .

Why can't I let go of all of them?

Pathetic, I am.

What about you?  

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Roses at Westminister Hall and Other Mysteries

Warmest birthday wishes to one of my favorite writers, Edgar Allan Poe.  As a literature major, I often felt that he and I shared a little wink and an eye roll whenever he was referred to as "a writer of the macabre." 

Though most people refer to Edgar Allan Poe as a writer of macabre, I never agree.  My interpretation of Poe's work often separated me from my contemporaries and professors, but I insist to this day that I am not wrong.  When you read Poe's work, do not take the graphic horror literally.  Do not believe for a moment that each character actually exists in the flesh.  Almost every Poe story and poem is actually about profound loneliness.  Loneliness is most often a character in Poe's work; it lives and breathes and taunts and creates and destroys.  Read that way, there is so much more to Poe's work.  A "writer of the macabre" is an insulting over-simplification of a brilliant body of work, an ode to loneliness.

Poe was born January 19, 1809; died October 7, 1849.  He was only 40 years old.

What many people may not know is that Mr. Poe has been as fascinating in death as he was in life.  Quite predictably, there are many rumors and suspicions surrounding his precise burial plot and headstone.  Most intriguing, however, may be an individual affectionately referred to as "The Poe Toaster."  Beginning in 1949, a mysterious man dressed all in black, save for a white scarf, approached Poe's grave at the stroke of midnight each January 19th.  He would say a few words and drink a toast of cognac.  Thereafter, he would leave behind the partially empty bottle and three red roses.

This ritual continued, each January 19th, for sixty years.  The man seems to have paid his last visit on January 19, 2009.

He did not return in 2010.

The keeper of the cemetery and those who make the pilgrimage each year to witness the tribute hoped that it was an aberration and waited all night this past night, January 19, 2011.

The man, again, was absent.

It is sad and disappointing to see this very soulful tribute come to an end, and now begins the speculation about what, perhaps, has happened to the toasting man. 

Personally, this tribute has intrigued and comforted me ever since I learned of it years ago.  To think that Poe has had visitors to his grave site, celebrating his date of birth, more than 150 years after his death is so ironic and so tragic that it is beautiful. 

 AP/Steve Ruark

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

Osbourn Family Light Spectacular
Disney Hollywood Studios, 2010

Farewell, Christmas magic . . . until next year.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

My Boy's a Blogger

My little guy has decided to start his own blog!

He plans to write the blog from the puppy's point of view and, somehow, that seems right . . . boys and dogs, especially puppies, seem to have quite a lot in common.

If you can spare a moment now that then, he would be thrilled if you'd stop by and say hi:  A Puppy's Life.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

What's the Kindest Thing a Stranger Has Done?

1. What's the nicest thing a complete stranger ever did for you? 

An older woman, a stranger, once approached me in a store and said, "I feel a little funny saying this, but feel I must. . . You are really beautiful.  Really a beauty.  Such a pretty, pretty girl."  I was so taken aback, I'm not sure I said even a word.  I don't think I am beautiful, and I'm not accustomed to that kind of commentary from anyone (other than my sweet husband, God love him).  But I had just been through a devastating time in my life, a time when I was shaken to my core and felt as if I wasn't worth the dirt I walked on.  Whatever moved that woman to do that for me that day, it picked my spirit out of the trash and gave me something to smile about again. 

2. What one thing always speaks deeply to you, to your spirit, no matter your mood or what else is going on in your life?

Perhaps it sounds schmaltzy, but when I hug my son tightly and kiss his cheek, my soul recharges. 

3. How many jobs have you held in your life? How many of those were part of your chosen career field?

I've had six jobs total.  Two were in the dentistry field which, at the time, was the career path I was on.  Two were in the legal field, including having my own small practice, my ultimate career of choice. 

4. Of those jobs, how many did you leave voluntarily?

Of the six jobs, I left five voluntarily, but I was never fired or asked to leave.  One job required full-time hours when I could only spare part-time hours. 

5. How did you discover Saturday 9? How long have you played? (Thank you for joining in!)

On a different blog.  I think I have participated, on occasion since last fall.

6. What's the worst beverage you've ever tasted?

Room temperature milk, uck.

7. Is there anything in life you are "certain" about? Firm in your beliefs? Strong in your convictions?

I have found that the older I get, the less sure I am of anything . . . except that my husband loves me.

8. How did you come up with the title of your blog's posts?

I knew that I would never be able to have one of those always-cheerful, the-sun's-always-shining blogs, so I needed a title that would signify that.  I've always loved the novel title, "Of Mice and Men."  Beginning a title with a preposition seems to suggest that the reader is going places; I like that.

9. Would you consider yourself a good cook?

When I have the time, the interest, and the focus.  My natural tendency is not to be, but when I apply myself I can be.

If you want to play along, or merely read more replies, pop over to Crazy Sam's Saturday 9.

Happy Saturday!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Meet My New Boyfriend

Once our eyes met, I knew I would belong to him forever . . .

A Boston Terrier, he's my gent in a tux.

He's 6 months old.

He follows me everywhere . . .

He smells like gingerbread, somehow. . .

His name is Abbott . . .

And I love him madly.

P.S.  Hi Sophie!

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