Thursday, October 21, 2010

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Party's Over

It was great. It was different. In NJ when I threw a party most of the people were in one room. Here in Madison they were all over the house, upstairs and downstairs and outside. It's hard to play the hostess role with people that spread out.

And did they eat! I guess it's a tribute to my cooking, but I think I should have made more. Everything turned out the way I'd planned except the potatoes could have been a little crunchier. But there wasn't one chunk left so I guess they were all right.

All in all, it was a perfect housewarming party. The house was filled with family and friends, all seemed to be having a good time, all of our hard work was appreciated, and it's all a blur to me. That's usually a sign of a good party. If I don't have time to focus on "what's wrong", then usually nothing is. After so much planning, it just all seems to go by so fast. My head is spinning.

I was especially moved by all my family who traveled two hours to be here. How great that they made that effort. I've simply got to get to Sheboygan to see them more often.

But for now, exhaustion is settling in fast and my bed is beckoning louder and louder.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What I Did Instead

I imagine it happens to most people who live long enough. This feeling Peggy Lee sang about so morosely--"Is That All There Is?" The idea that the life you are leading, the activities you are involved in, and the people you spend your time with are pretty much set. You drive the same old roads, shop in the same old stores, go to the same old church, same post office, same doctor, mall, theater, etc.

I suppose for some people this feeling can be weathered to some extent. Maybe an exotic vacation or two. Many decide to split their year between two different climates.
It was very early this morning when I realized what may have happened to me had I NOT moved from Oak Ridge, New Jersey to Madison, Wisconsin.

I mean there were a lot of things I didn't like about NJ, but I had a pretty good life there, lots of friends and activities. Except for all the necessary driving, life was not bad. And everything isn't so rosy in Madison either. I mean no place is perfect this side of heaven.

But this morning I had a sudden insight into the mindset of women who leave their husbands and children and just go off and start a new life. They just can't take the mundane any longer. Sure, it's irresponsible, inconsiderate. Maybe even callous and hateful. But I think I now understand their mindset a little better. I'm not sure I could have done that, but I really needed a change.

What I did instead was to pack up my family and furniture, sell our house, leave all my friends and move to Wisconsin. My husband was luke warm about the idea. He'd have been happy staying in NJ. My daughter went beyond hostile and is only now inching her way back to a degree of normalcy. I don't think some of our friends at church can still believe we're gone for good--even seven months later.

It hasn't been easy in a lot of ways, but I know it was the right thing to do. I'm absolutely exhausted from all the unpacking, renovations, rearranging, cleaning, etc. But underneath all the fatigue, I feel good. I see hope for so, so many new things in my future.

So I guess this old dog is going to share a psyche with her inner puppy for a while. It'll be a little like growing up all over again only this time I will know more and worry less.

Throwing a Party

I'm planning a party. It's intended to be a housewarming and I'm excited to have my family and friends here. My kitchen will get a real workout and I'm happy about that. It's a little short notice so I'm not sure how many will be able to attend.

Parties are such a lot of work. Planning the menu, shopping, cooking, cleaning the house--getting yourself ready (I tend to forget that one). It seems like it's frantic work up till the first guest arrives. Then it all becomes a blur and all of a sudden they're all gone! Still it's fun and a nice challenge.

The photo I've included is from one of my more successful Christmas Parties. Always lots of work and lots of fun. We always sing Christmas Carols (everybody does) and almost raise the roof. Tons of food, beautiful decorations, roaring fire, great company and music to boot. A perfect way to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

October 12th, Any Year

We celebrate Columbus Day. Well, a little bit anyway. In our family we celebrated my parents wedding anniversary. It was always, somehow, an easy day to remember. Maybe Columbus and his travels had something to do with that--when I was young I didn't think too much about it. One year my sister and I saved up our allowance and were very proud to give them four little orange juice glasses with oranges painted on them. They're long gone now, but I still remember them--I bet my sister does too.

One particular October 12th, I did something I'm sorry for---more and more each year. It was the day (must have been a good reason it had to be this day, but I can't remember what it is) that I moved out of the house en route for Lincoln, Nebraska with my girl friend. Unlike so, so many of today's youth, I never returned, at least to live. Lincoln was a huge disappointment and my friends an I ultimately wound up in Washington, D.C. (well, Oxon Hill, MD). It's a very long story, but we eventually found jobs and an apartment there. I met my first husband, a marine, we had a daughter, we divorced 7 years later. But I digress.

As I now have grown children of my own, I realize how painful it would be if one of them were to choose to leave the house on an important date. Of course, I would probably say something that would prevent that happening. My parents just let it happen. I don't actually remember there being any mention of it being their anniversary. They were like that. Self-sacrificing. I wonder if I've ever apologized to my mom for that. Next time I see her I will for sure.

When the movie, "Born On The 4th of July" came out that date popped up again. When "Ron Kovic" decides to visit the parents of his buddy who was killed in battle, he stops first at a cemetery to visit his grave. Right there on his buddy's gravestone was the date, October 12th, . . . .it almost knocked me out of my seat. Weird, I know, but true. The day haunts me.

One Columbus Day (not sure it was exactly the 12th) I spent chaperoning my daughter's marching band as they traveled to New York City to march in the big parade they have every year. Ugh!!!!! Never again. They had all the groups lined up in the side streets which, in NYC, are like huge amphitheaters with great acoustics. These kids would NOT stop blowing their horns. I thought I'd go crazy when, in fact, I couldn't actually GO anywhere. I was responsible. I did my best to shut them all up, but once I got one group quiet, another would start up. This went on for about 3 hours before we were actually ushered into the official parade lineup. That was okay fun. I think we were even on TV for a very brief moment.

Today, an ordinary day. Except, of course, it's the 12th of October. It wasn't until I sat down at the computer that I realized I'd missed the anniversary. You see, even though my Dad has passed away, I still try to give Mom a call on this day. I know
she never forgets. It's like that with old lovers. I'll give her a call tomorrow and at least let her know I thought about her (them) even though it was very late in the day.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sunday Dinner

It started out so nice and quiet.
Then it got louder . . .

We were in an upscale restaurant connected to Hilton in downtown Madison. It was almost empty; charming unpretentious decor. We were allowed to select our own table. We ordered drinks and our meal --- all the food was fantastic, but very fattening.

About halfway through dinner Tim and Molly started talking about politics/religion/and other super intellectual stuff. While I'm intelligent enough to follow their conversation, I don't fancy myself informed enough to participate. It seemed the longer they talked, the louder they got. Of course by this time, there were a few other people in the room and I was concerned about the volume.

I was happy they were enjoying their conversation, but also happy to finally leave. Besides that I ate too much butter and garlic so I needed to walk a bit. So that's our Sunday dinner. It was all I'd hoped -- if only we'd had the restaurant ALL to ourselves.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Madison House

We arrived in Madison, WI on February 28, 2010. Our furniture arrived on March 1. It was about 40 degrees outside that day. The first thing the movers did was to open all the doors (well, two of them) and lay down cardboard and other stuff to protect the floor. Why do I mention this?

Because with all that stuff on the floors, the doors did not close
therefore, stayed open for the whole 6-7 hours it took to unload. By the time they were finally done and the doors were closed, the thermostat read about 45 degrees inside the house. It was so cold and WE were so cold. There was simply no place to go to get warm. Some of the bedrooms were a little warmer if we kept the doors closed and that helped.

So as you may have surmised from reading between the lines of the last paragraph, we had a LOT of stuff. I'm proud to emphasize "had". We had a very successful garage sale, some success on "Craig's List" and several fully loaded trips to Goodwill. And there's STILL more
to cull, but we're getting close now.

We've got new hardwood floors, new paint everywhere, a completely brand new kitchen, a new family room, office and powder room in the basement, new paint on the front of the house, new windows and door, new furniture, and that's all I
can remember right now.

I've included some "before and after" pics which I think are
self-explanatory. So I guess it's time to start living now.
We've gotten involved in a few social things which I'll expound

further on in future blogs.