Funereal unreal

When I was in my last month of college before graduation, I took a career and aptitude test. The test results said that I should be a funeral director. Seriously?? I didn’t go to school for that. Was it the school’s plan to have me stay for a few more years?? Why didn’t they do the test before I picked a major??

I could see myself being a good funeral director. I am very serious, calm, and have a deadpan demeanor about me.

But sometimes I have a strong urge to laugh when least appropriate. Maybe that is a common fear of extremely self-disciplined stoic people. Let loose…quit being so serious…but do it to the extreme…laugh at a funeral…swear in church…dance and sing down the aisles of a grocery store…scream in the library..

It probably wouldn’t have worked well for me.

A few months ago, right when my MIL was in the last few weeks of her battle with cancer, her husband Darryl’s job of several decades was on the line. The company that he was working for got bought out. He lost his job as a forklift driver and his hours got cut in half. Just what he needed with the mounting medical bills coming in.

Over the years, he had other second jobs to make ends meet. He cleaned a clinic, plowed snow, and was a chimney sweep just to name a few. He worked as much as possible before work and after work. Plus he maintained a large garden, fished and hunted for food, fixed his own vehicles, and chopped his own wood to heat his house. One time he even cut his leg with a chain saw. He was even good at sewing and stitched up his own leg to save a doctor’s visit. Not at all squeamish…

Maybe you know where I am going with this..

Right now Darryl is working part-time cleaning the meat room. Not a fun job. The last time I saw him, he showed me where he got electrocuted on his finger. Eccentric man, that Darryl. So I didn’t think it was all that strange when he told me he asked the funeral director if he had any work..

Now Darryl has a new second job. He will be picking up bodies. Fifty bucks a stiff. I can picture Darryl now with a couple of bodies in the back of his pick up truck…

We briefly talked dead seriously about starting a new family business…


27. My favorite body part


Day 27: What is your favorite part of your body and why?

Listen up everybody! My favorite body part is my ear. Sounds kind of wacky, doesn’t it?? But hear me out…

My dad is a very large man with small features. He has small blue eyes, with tiny little ears and nose. The only large feature that he has is big full lips. He has given me all of these features along with his wispy wild not straight nor curly hair.

For a very long time, I had long hair that covered up one of my best features. My best endeavors to control my hair left me with comments of ‘did you stick your finger in a light socket?’. It has been so much easier since I cut my hair. But anyway, back to my ears..

I think I have the perfect ears because they are so tiny. They don’t stick out or have a weird shape to them. I have only met one other person with smaller ears. This can be an issue finding ear buds that fit, but that really is my only complaint.

What I like most about my ears is how they function. I can hear sounds in ranges that most adults can’t hear. I also have the ability to voluntarily shut off my ears to sound. Both of these gifts are pretty rare from what I’ve heard. As I mentioned before, I can hear a pin drop in my neighbor’s house. This has given me a great ear for music and singing.  

11. Ten pet peeves

Day 11: Describe 10 pet peeves that you have.

1. It drives me crazy when people don’t use their blinkers. 

2. Laziness is a big pet peeve of mine. Especially when people spend a lot of time making up lame excuses for it when it would’ve taken less time to do the work.

3. Being late.

4. Chewing food loudly and not closing their mouth. 

5. Lights left on in an empty room. 

6. People that don’t move over when I am on the road biking or running and almost hit me. 

7. I hate it when someone tries to change the music in my car while I am driving or tries to control MY environment. I don’t care what you do in your house, just don’t tell me what to do in mine.

8. It drives me nuts when people tell me they are going to do something and don’t do it.

9. I hate it when people give me unsolicited advice when they have no idea what they are talking about.  To add to that, I hate it when people tell me what to do in general. What makes you the expert on my life?

10. I hate it when people ask others for help, then complain about what they receive. 

1. List 20 random facts about yourself

Ok, not only will these be random facts, some of them are downright weird…

1. I am left handed.

2. My blood type is AB. Not only do I have the rarest blood type, but I am the universal receiver baby! That means I don’t have to feel guilty about my fear of needles.

3. My personality type is ISTJ. Everyone in my house has a different personality, however we are all ‘T’s’ meaning that we are all thinkers versus feelers. Which also means that our house is full of debate versus drama. Lol.

4. I have incredibly good hearing. This has given me a natural ear for music. It also means that I wake up when a pin drops at my neighbor’s house.

5. I have the rare ability to voluntarily control my tensor tympani muscle. This means that with concentration I can close my ears off to sound without covering them. This has been a great gift when I can’t handle the sound of people loudly chewing.

6. I am a texture person, not a taste person, when it comes to food. I can’t stand eating onions, mushrooms, cooked green beans, shrimp, or chewy meat because of the texture. But, maybe, if you put these items in a blender I would like them.

7. I am a first born.

8. I ran in two marathons.

9. I have a Bachelor’s degree in something totally unrelated to what I’m doing now.

10. I have been with the same person exactly half of my life.

11. I have been married for 19 years. We have also been business partners for half that amount of time.

12. I found my first gray hair at 27.

13. I have 3 teenage children.

14. I love doing laundry, but hate dusting.

15. I read the whole Bible cover to cover.

16. I am double jointed and can touch my thumb to my arm.

17. I have 3 brothers, but no nephews.

18. I have 2 nieces, but no sisters.

19. I have a black thumb.

20. I like to clean.

Wow, that was a little harder than I thought it would be! 

Please comment if we have anything in common…..

 I’m thinking if we have zero in common, you have already moved on to another post…

1 to 5, casual reader…

5 to 10, follower maybe getting emails every time I post…

10 to 15, new best friend….

15 to 20, when can you move in??…..

20 or more….Wait, is that humanly possible?? Twins separated at birth?? Nope, that negates number 7 then…Lol..

Thanks for reading (putting up with me)! 

What is it about anyway?

I suppose that some of you are wondering what my blog is about anyway…The easy answer is…I don’t know..I write about many different things such as travel, parenting, growing up with an autistic sibling, sailing, working with my husband…You name it, I probably wrote something about it…What can I say? My life is complex. 

My life is changing so much this year. I’ve been experiencing more change now than I have in almost 2 decades. Even for the better, change is difficult for me. I hate the uncertainty. 

With that being said, I am surprised that I haven’t structured my blog yet. Monday is parenting talk, Tuesday is autism day, and Wednesday I post a picture. I take every other Friday and the third Thursday off, etc…It may come down to that someday. Oh the thought! Putting my blog into neat color coded organized compartments…except that sometimes life is messy..

I’ve decided to change things up around here and do a 30 day question thingey. I haven’t run out of things to say…this isn’t a challenge, no one challenged me and I challenge no one. I’m not putting my name on the bottom of an old fashioned chain letter and sending the person on top a dollar. 

There, now I can tell everyone that I am working towards embracing change…

Who knows?? It might be fun!

Shopaholics amnotathis

I have a confession to make…I hate shopping!

I can almost hear your collective gasp…

I don’t own a million pairs of shoes.

Maybe it’s the bright lights. I feel blinded when I walk into the store. Then the changing rooms! There is nothing like trying on clothing while in a bright spotlight that highlights your every blemish and flaw. Seriously, maybe stores would sell more clothes if the rooms were dimly lit. But that makes me think of a swanky run down lingerie store with one buzzing flickering light bulb. You just can’t seem to win that one!

Then there is always the mother with tons of crying kids…Do you need to get out that bad?..the elderly health nuts that use the mall as a track for fast walking…Can you not afford a gym membership??…The teens that are trying to look cool…Do I have time to do a survey??…Would I like a “free” sample??…Messy changing rooms…Long check out lines…Aarg..

Plus shopping is sooo boring. Rack after rack and row after row of boring drab garb that lacks inspiration.

Oh, and my ex-boyfriend Brad owns a sword kiosk at the mall. There’s that! I have seen him there before and quickly walked by looking in the other direction. Sometimes I imagine Paul and Brad swirling around the mall in a sword fight. Now that would be exciting.. I probably would need something new to wear for that.. Hmmm.. Yeah, no..

Maybe I don’t like shopping because my mom would take me clothes shopping for 12 hours straight when I was a kid. She always made me try on ugly clothes that she thought were sooo cute. Then if they fit, she would buy half of them. I would end up carrying heavy bags of clothes I didn’t even like around the mall for hours. I would go home sore and miserably exhausted.

I always felt guilty when my mom would buy things for me. I still feel guilty about buying things today regardless of whether I can afford it or not. Do I really need this?? I know the one I have is falling apart, but there is duct tape. Okay, maybe I am not that extreme..

Do I $80 like how this dress looks on me? Probably not.

I don’t like grocery shopping either…

Online shopping, barely tolerable.. I could sit and think about what color to choose for hours and by the time I decide, the item is gone..

But I had to break down this week and go shopping at the mall with Paul for dress clothes. He apparently does not know how to match clothing. Also, I’ve heard that athletic shorts and old race shirts don’t exactly make for proper business attire. Our sales guy said that he was sick of seeing Paul in the same old dress clothes that he has been wearing for years…

Paul will be traveling a lot this next month. It all starts this weekend with a conference on the west coast, then a few weeks after that he will be flying out for a meeting on the east coast. In between all of this there are trade show booths and public speaking.

I had to take one for the team. But I had a little help. I violated my general principle of no drinking during the week and went on a beer flight. Cindy said that having a few cocktails always helps her tolerate Christmas shopping. Not bad advice since I find shopping to be a mild form of torture.

I am happy to say that I made it through shopping with my husband (who hates shopping too)!

Then, after I got home, my son came up to me and said that we needed to go shopping for dress clothes for homecoming. Twice in one week!!

I hope I survive!

Enjoying the present

I decided to not audition for the next community theater musical. 

Oh, I am not afraid of being on stage. I have many fears, but that is not one of them. I find public speaking and performing fascinating. 

I decided to give it up to watch Angel perform in her first college concert. She told me that she was going to be given solos that are only typically given to seniors. Watching your child perform is as exciting as performing yourself with a lot less work. 

I wish my grandma was alive to see her perform. Angel and I got my grandma’s voice. I feel very sad that I don’t have a recording of my grandma singing. With an 8th grade education, my grandma never had the opportunity to use her gift. She never sang in a choir or sang a solo in public, but she could’ve been an opera singer. She just sang to soothe her tired or crying grandchildren or in church with everyone else. The only thing she was able to do was to pass it on to future generations.

This past weekend, I was looking through old pictures with Arabella. She wanted to know who was holding her in a photo. She didn’t recognize my grandma. My children don’t know much about some of the most influential people in my life. My grandparents, Uncle Harold, and Aunt Grace shaped me into the person that I am today. 

This weekend we took the dock out of water up north. It is sad to say good-bye to the cabin until next May. My great-grandparents built the cabin in the 1950’s. What a gift! But after reflection I found that I didn’t know a lot about the giver.

I know small tidbits about my great-grandparents. Little facts, but nothing about who they really were. I know for a fact that I couldn’t pick out the pictures of all of my greats if they were in a lineup with other photos. I might have their nose, but not know them..

How soon we are forgotten. Time moves so fast. When I was a child, a day seemed long. Now a day is nothing. 

These have been my thoughts lately. 

I am so thankful for the gifts passed on to me, but so sad that I know nothing of the gift giver. It is a strange type of nostalgia. I don’t want their memory to fade like an old picture in an album. But I can’t seem to grasp onto them anymore.

Instead, I will enjoy the present…the gifts we have been given. 

There will always be another play. 



I just want to say thank you. 

Thank you for following my story.

I am not a celebrity. I am not famous. I’ve never been popular.

I don’t use fancy clip art or moving images. Once in awhile I’ll share a few photos I took. 

My site doesn’t have all the bells and whistles. I’m barely computer literate. I don’t have an IQ of 152.

Thank you for taking a chance on me, for clicking the follow button.

I’m glad you are on this journey with me.

Thank you!


Amish windows

8-2-16 001This week we got our new windows. You probably are wondering why I would even talk about something so boring as home improvements. The exciting story here is not in the what, it is in the who. We had the Amish come out to work on the project.

Let’s just clear up the boring part first. My husband and I bought a house built in the 1990’s when everyone was on the air tight energy saving kick. Having an air tight house has been great when it comes to heating bills. We barely pay anything to heat our house during the cold Wisconsin winters. However, we have had moisture issues since the day we bought it.

The moisture can’t escape. Anytime we had temps below freezing, condensation would form on our windows. Sometimes it rained inside our house with water dripping down our windows pooling into the wooden sills. Our house is like a rain forest. We  bought an air exchanger to draw the humidity out of our air tight house. But by then the damage was done to our windows. They needed replacing but we couldn’t afford to do it in our earlier years.

The picture above is the window from our bedroom. We have been breathing in black mold for years now. We tried bleach, we tried everything, but we couldn’t fix the damage done without replacing them.

We were referred to an Amish man to do the work of replacing our windows. The first step was to have him come out here to look at our windows and take measurements. He needed someone to drive him. The first obstacle was giving him directions to our house. Get out your iPhone and type in our address. That obviously wasn’t going to work. He did get lost coming out once because he had difficulty explaining the directions to different drivers. It is probably like trying to read a map in a different language.

After he took the measurements, he made the windows himself. I thought that was pretty impressive. Most people around here know that anything Amish made is high quality.

Then he came over this week with three other men. They arrived in a large diesel truck driven by a heavy set man in overalls. He looked like a rancher from Texas, not that I have ever seen one anywhere besides TV. Then he drove off.

It took the men a day and a half to complete the job.  At first the men seemed pretty ackward around me. In their culture I don’t believe that they are comfortable talking to a married woman without her husband around. I felt naked around them in shorts and a t-shirt. No matter what I wore, I don’t think that I could ever be as modest as an Amish woman. I didn’t want to offend them.

I heard the men talk a lot in German. I didn’t understand a word even though they were speaking the language of my ancestors. When they were working outside, one of the men asked another what the buzzing sound was coming from a machine. The other man replied, “I think that is what you call an air conditioner.” They were very respectful and friendly, yet we all eyed each other in puzzlement by the differences in culture.

The second day, the four men came back to finish the job. This time they brought along two little boys around the ages of 7 and 10. The boys didn’t seem to do any of the work besides carry a few light things. Instead they followed their dad around intensely watching him and learning the family trade. I wish that our culture had the same attitude regarding our youth instead of throwing them out into the world after high school with no job skills.

The Amish workers seemed interested by my children watching TV. They seemed fascinated to see us drive off in cars, especially the teenagers. I’m sure that they had just as many stories to tell about us as we told about them. There was nothing bad to say.

I am very happy with our new windows and the work the Amish men did.







Blessed with beauty?

I got my first plastic surgery ad in the mail this year. I tore it up in utter contempt and disgust. I personally believe the plastic should be reserved for the burned, the grossly disfigured, genetic mutations, and Hollywood stars. But I may be biased because I have always been beautiful. I feel my beauty starting to fade a little. But, guess what? I am ok with that. I always worried that I would feel angst about this, but when the time comes it is more of a relief. 

People have always said that I look a little like Nicole Kidman. My golden blonde tresses now streaked with gray. Little blue eyes, high cheekbones, tiny ears, small nose, and full sensous lips. Average height, small boned, thin frame, athletically toned, summer golden brown tan, curvy everywhere except my hips, dainty feet. 

I think that beauty is a really touchy subject. I felt some reluctance bringing it up. What is beauty? Skin deep? In the eyes of its beholder? Inner? It really is not fair! You are either born beautiful or not. No amount of expensive elixirs can change this fact. You have no control. It is coveted, but downplayed as unimportant. Inner beauty is what matters. If that is the case, a blind person may be the best judge of beauty. Because it takes a very strong person to overlook beauty. 

But what is it really like? I received a lot of positive attention over the years and sometimes special treatment. People exclaiming how beautiful I am, that I should be a model. My mom took me to private modeling classes, I got the headshots, was taught how to pose with poise, and was offered the opportunity to be a model. I turned it down and really had no passion for it at all. 

There is a dark side to beauty. It is dangerous. You have to take extra caution regarding your safety.  I have been followed home multiple times. There was a guy that I mentioned previously who passed the semi in the pouring rain on a 2 lane highway in a no passing zone to get my number. Creapy! And another man that followed me 10 miles, when my oldest was a baby in the car, down deserted rural roads. Thank God I had a bag phone in my car. I called my husband and gave him the guy’s plate numbers. The guy saw me pick up my phone and passed me. 

Or that time I went swimming with a friend as a teen and a guy came up and grabbed at me. He wouldn’t leave me alone until I promised to hook up with him later on that night. I didn’t. 

Or my friend’s fiancé who said I looked so hot that he wanted to take me in the bedroom and rape me. He said that in front of a group of guys. I decided not to stand up in their wedding. He was a cheater and the marriage didn’t last. 

Or the pastor when I said my extended family was going through a hard time couldn’t look me in the eye, ignored my requests for prayer, and refused to talk to me. Grow up!

Or the co-worker who sexually harassed me in my summer factory job whenever I looked straight ahead by making vulgar gestures with his hands and mouth. 

Or the time that a blind date took one look at me and physically ran away. After feeling rejected and crying to be told later that he was afraid because he heard I was into modeling. 

Or by trying to defy beauty, pretend it didn’t matter, and saying yes to go out with the ugliest guy in school in utter defiance of beauty to find out it did matter. 

Or being stalked by ex-boyfriends when out with other guys. Like the time my ex had my name announced over the loudspeaker at the county fair to meet up with him. Trying to hide my car. Having a rose left under my windshield wiper when I woke up in the morning. Being watched at work. 

Or being cat called while walking down the street, getting my mail, or running. 

Or going out with friends to be grabbed, grinded on, touched unwantedly, or bought endless drinks. Believe me saying that you are a lesbian to dissuade them does not work. 

Or being verbally or physically attacked by other girls who think their boyfriends are spending too much time gazing upon you. So I ended up being chased by a large amount of scum bags who judged me only by my looks and hated by women that felt threatened by my looks. 

Or receiving special treatment from a handsome, young, married high school teacher who told me how grown up I looked. He always winked at me and called me miss while addressing the other girls by their first names. 

Or the guy that said he would take me to a Poison concert if I would sleep with him. 

Or the time I had to lock myself in my mom’s car to fend off boys with condoms. 

I am ready to retire and am handing the baton down to my beautiful 17 year old daughter who has already been stalked, followed home, and hated by less fortunate girls. Feel blessed if you have a little above average looks. That is the sweet place. Don’t worry about the couple of extra pounds that you need to lose. Rip up the plastic surgery ads. Don’t fall for the trap of promised beauty. It really isn’t worth it! Rejoice in your imperfections because there you will find true beauty. A person who can love you for who you really are.