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Top 10 Ways to Say I Love You

Top 10 Ways to Say I Love You

Even if our mailbox doesn't contain any Valentine's Day cards this week, people have said "I love you" in these ten ways.

Valentine’s Day will soon be here. I have a stack of cards ready. One for the Man of Steel, others for our kids and grandkids, and one for Mom. Whether or not any cards arrive for me, the people in my life have already said “I love you” to me and others in the following wonderful ways.

10. My sister and her husband invited us to spend a week in Phoenix with them during the dead of winter.

9.  My kids announced plans for a 60th birthday party for the Man of Steel next month without prompting from me.

8.  God provided a way through a process I’ve been trying to navigate for a couple years.

7.  My sweet, shy one-year-old granddaughter smiled when we played peek-a-boo.

6.  My brother mentioned how much help it is when I pick up library books for Mom and take her to appointments.

5.  During a weekend with our daughter-in-law, the meals she prepared were all dairy-free.

4.  When I told Mom I loved her, she said, “I know.”

3.  A friend sent a Valentine ecard.

2.  The Man of Steel slept in the guest room for a week so I wouldn’t catch influenza from him.

1.  When it was time for Papoo and Grammy Jo to go home at the end of our last visit, our three-year-old grandson cried and said, “I don’t want you to go.”

How has someone said “I love you” to you this week? Leave a comment.

Top Ten Differences Between Phoenix and Iowa

Top Ten Differences Between Phoenix and Iowa

What's the difference between Iowa and Arizona? This list's top ten is a good place to start.The Man of Steel and I are home after a week in Phoenix visiting relatives. During this, our first winter vacation to warmer climes, we noticed these ten differences between Arizona and Iowa.

10. In Iowa, you’ll see trees similar to this one being propped up,

treebut you’ll only find these in Arizona.

cactus9.  Iowa hiking paths are strewn with wood chips or gravel. Arizona hiking paths are strewn with boulders poking every which way and then topped with large rocks so the boulders become even more hazardous.

8.  The walkways to airplanes in Iowa sport large thermometers right outside the airplane so passengers know the walkway is a balmy 20 degrees and not below zero like the great outdoors. Passengers in Arizona walkways don’t want to know that walkways in Iowa are a balmy 20 degrees.

7.  In Arizona, people sport flannel scarves for walks in 68 degree weather. In Iowa, people sport flip flops when the temperature is above freezing.

6.  Iowans shiver while drinking morning coffee outside Starbucks. Arizonans shiver inside while sipping their AM java.

5.  Arizonans carry yoga mats over their shoulders on morning walks. Iowans carry snow shovels.

4.  Arizona grocery stores carry delicious avocados and terrible beef. Iowa grocery stores offer the exact opposite.

3.  Arizonans put their dogs in purple and pink strollers for outdoor walks in the winter. Iowans put their dogs in black and gold, red and gold, or purple and gold sweaters.

2.  Arizona has more urgent care pet clinics, pet spas, and upscale pet stores than pediatrician offices. Iowa has more urgent care clinics for little people than pet stores.

1. In Arizona dogs wear sunglasses. In Iowa, eye wear is limited to adults.

What makes your Arizona/Iowa top ten list? Leave a comment.

Strange Christmas

Strange Christmas

Our house doesn't look much like Christmas this year, but with a little effort, it'll soon feel like it.The 2015 Christmas season has been a strange one so far. All our family gathering were or will be at the homes of other rellies. ThanksChristmas with extended family at my brother’s on Thanksgiving weekend. Christmas celebration with both our kids and their families in Minnesota last weekend. Painting walls with our daughter and son-in-law in Wisconsin over Christmas weekend.

Like I said it’s been a strange one.

Add to that the Man of Steel’s bum back and my bum hand, and we made a tandem executive decision to not decorate the house for Christmas. No garland. No twinkly lights. No bowls filled with ornaments. No Christmas card holder. No holiday mugs. Not even our Christmas tree.

As the Man of Steel likes to say, we’re jiggy with that.

Only two reminders of the season have graced our home during the Advent season. The first was the stunning, homemade macaroni and glitter glue Christmas tree I created for my hand therapist. The tree sat on our dining room table for as long as it took me to painstakingly glue each piece of dried pasta to the oh-so-cleverly-hidden styrofoam cone with my left hand. Which is a really long time for someone who’s left hand has always let her right hand hog the glory.

But the fruit of my labor is no longer on the table.

Because I gave it to the hand therapist last week. It rendered her speechless. Apparently four weeks of therapy has not been sufficient time for us to get to know one another well. If we’d known each other better, she would have realized the tree was a gag gift. And I would have realized she’s too kind and caring to believe one of her patients would give her a gag gift.

The Christmas tree now graces the counter of the hand therapist’s room.

So only one vestige of Christmas remains at our house. It’s the growing mountain of Christmas cards and letters from friends and family. They just keep coming even though last year, for the first time since 1982 my Christmas letter never got written. Actually, that’s not true. It was half-written when we got the call that a room was open for Mom at the assisted living facility where she now lives. By the time the move was done, Mom’s finances were once again in order, and she’d adjusted to her new home, it was Easter.

This year, I’m drawing a line in our strange Christmas sand.

I promise that this year’s Christmas letter will get written and sent. Not by Christmas. But maybe by the New Year. It may not look a lot like Christmas around here, but with every Christmas card I send, it’ll feel like it.

Merry Christmas!

Three Thoughts for Thursday

Three Thoughts for Thursday

Italian Wedding Soup, leftovers, and stir fry–perfect meals for Thanksgiving week other than Turkey Day.You know how all the Thanksgiving week attention is focused on the Turkey Day meal? Well this year, we discovered how important the before and after meals are by inadvertently serving the perfect dishes on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.

  1. Perfect supper the day before Thanksgiving: Italian Wedding Soup.
  2. Perfect food for the day after Thanksgiving: Leftovers, especially tapioca fruit salad for breakfast.
  3. Perfect Saturday supper the night before the company leaves: stir fry with l-o-t-s of veggies. Cashew Chicken for instance.

What are your perfect meals for before and after Thanksgiving? Leave a comment.

Three Thoughts for Thursday

Three Thoughts for Thursday

Safety Check for Paris, Mom's answer to "I love you," and lovely lunches in this week's 3 thoughts.

  1. Thankful for the Safety Check for Paris Facebook feature that showed a friend who lives in Paris is alive and well. Heartsick and praying for those who didn’t receive such good news.
  2. Mom’s answer to my “I love you, Mom” at the end of our last visit? “Thank you. Good to know.” Gotta love her!
  3. Coffee and lunch in my home town with a friend from high school. Lovely!

What’s been lovely about your week? Leave a comment.