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!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Little Sunshine

After being pretty down about the harshness of life yesterday, I thought I owed a little cheer today.

Look what a child can do for even the most cynical and tired . . . 


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

When They Hurt

I remember when my son was learning to walk. I was relating to my mother how difficult it is to watch him fall, flinching every time. I hated to see him hurt, even if it was only a momentary jostle. My mother empathized and then added, "If you think you it's hard to take when he deals with that kind of hurt . . . just wait until someone hurts his feelings. That is excruciating."

I know what she meant now.

My son is, of course, extraordinary. He is perfect in every way. To set your eyes upon him is to feed your soul with joy and contentment. At least that's how I see him.

But I also know that my son is a bit different around his peers. He is quite reserved. And, being mostly a nature-nick, he is a bit out of the loop with many of his compulsive-gaming classmates.

That is not to say that he has no friends. He does. He has a small circle of friends. He's more into the scout crowd than the sports crowd which is a considerably bigger and more raucous group.

Imagine our joy when a new boy joined the class last year. A very polite boy, very science minded, very studious. He and my son became fast friends. An answer to my prayers.

Imagine our anguish when this same boy simply decided one day that he no longer wanted to be my son's friend. No reason given. He just dropped him. We even inquired with the boy's parents about there perhaps being more to the story. No. They were no more helpful than the boy. And now, the worst of all -- if you're 10, anyway -- he did not invite him, despite inviting nearly everyone else, to his birthday party.

My son, who is usually quite reserved and stoic when it comes to displays of emotion, is notably sad and hurt.

Being a proper mama-tiger, I, of course, am incensed. How could someone treat my boy this way? I thought it was teenage girls who did this sort of thing? Isn't this supposed to be one of the advantages of being a boy, simple friendships? And after all our coaching and cajoling to our son about being more outgoing, trusting his friends enough to really be himself. This was his first "best friend." I am crushed for him.

Thanks for listening.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Approaching Normal

Is it getting too late to say, "Happy new year?"

Every year, I think I go a little overboard wishing everyone I see for the first time in the new year a happy one.  I seem to have an almost superstitious compulsion to collect as many "happy new year"-s as possible, hoping that each one will feather my new year's nest and make for an even more wonderful year.  So, if I haven't wished you one yet:  Happy New Year!

The reason for my tardiness in this regard is a nasty, nasty cold I came down with on 12/29 and only just yesterday (1/9) began feeling human again.  Yikes!  My advice to you, dear readers:  If you feel yourself coming down with a cold right now, take it seriously -- run, don't walk, to drink your fluids and buck up those vitamins.  It is a bad one.  People around here have been being laid up for at least a week with it and the symptoms run the gambit, leaving none of the classic bad-winter-cold symptoms unsounded.

Finally, I have turned the corner.  I got out yesterday -- dressed, make-upped, even shoes on.  It felt wonderful.  In my celebration of life yesterday -- a.k.a. leaving the house for the first time in more than 10 days -- I took my family out for pancakes, the first non-saltine or broth food in almost a week.  Do you realize how delicious pancakes are?  Heaven.  Too good, really, to be eaten so casually . . . not that I let that stop me.  I had a nice little stack.

Then, off to the movies.  The King's Speech.  Wonderful film.  The performances of Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush were just magnificent.  Geoffrey Rush's nonverbal performance in this movie is breathtaking and, on occasion, heartbreaking.  Really, a beautiful movie.  Well worth the time and the ticket price -- a rare thing these days.


Now that I'm back among the living, I have much to catch up on.  Never have I been happier to do laundry!

Have a great day,

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