Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas! See you in January!

SH and I will be eating beef tenderloin stuffed with blue cheese, polenta, and tiramisu. Church Christmas Eve, then Christmas day spent in PJs eating when we feel like it and watching movies. We will visit my mom later in the year when it's easier to travel to Colorado.

Thank you all for reading. Having an audience is the best present I could have.

Well, that plus SH's stepdaughter* had a baby girl in October, so now we have three bonus grandsons and one bonus granddaughter. THAT is the best present ever.

* Remember he married a woman 14 years older than he is.

** However - it would not be out of the realm of possibility for us to be grandparents if we had started early and our children had started early.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Wisconsin 101: My people

Last week, I had the sad event of attending my great-uncle's funeral. He was married to my dad's mother's sister. It was sad, but it was also fun, because not only did I see my dad's brothers and their wives and my dad's cousin, I also met new -some degree of - cousins I had not met before.

It was sad but not that sad - when a person lives to 95 in mostly good health and has had a happy life with great kids and great grandchildren and a great wife (and with fabulous nephews and great nieces), you can think, "That's a pretty good run."

SH and I stayed for the reception. I was late getting in because I was gabbing with new to me cousin - child of my dad's cousin whom I had not met. Oh man! This woman is fabulous! I have the coolest people in my family.

By the time I got to the food, it was almost all gone except for the dessert. Woman does not live on dessert alone, but woman sure wants to take dessert home.

Fortunately, I had my new purse - the orange thing you see below THAT I LOVE - which meant I had room to wrap and stash leftover little cheesecakes. We are still eating those little cheesecakes.

I asked my dad's cousin's lady friend (I hate using the word "partner" - they are not in business together) if she thought it was OK to take leftovers.

She said absolutely - the retirement home residents were already starting to cruise for leftovers.

"The family might as well take them home," she said.

But that's not the main thing I wanted to talk about.

My great uncle was 95. My great aunt is 92. She is beautiful and elegant and sharp. I have really good genes.

I have even better genes - my dad's cousin said, "We're related to the oldest woman in Wisconsin! She's 112." He showed me photos of my aunt Helen at Vi's birthday party this summer. "Vi and Helen are cousins," he explained, which means Vi is also my cousin of some sort through my grandmother.

I googled Vi and discovered that yep, she is reportedly the oldest woman in Wisconsin and that she lives two blocks from me.

Two blocks.

There is an old folks' home by us.

I stopped by to meet Vi last night, but she had already gone to bed. "Oh just wake her up!" the nursing assistant said. "She just went to bed."

"When I am old and asleep, I do not want people to wake me up!" I said. But I did get close to Vi's bed - the door to her room was open - and whispered, "Vi! Vi!"

She did not awake.

However, she started talking in her sleep. "Oh, you shouldn't have!" she said. "That's so nice! But I don't have anything for you!"

I was tempted to wake her up just so she wouldn't have the distress of thinking she had been caught empty handed. But I didn't.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Life with engineers #65

SH and I were visiting our friends Bonnie and Gary (the people who have brought bacon grease to our house and who had two jars of it waiting for us when we arrived). 

Gary is also an engineer.

Their house has several places where you can turn the lights on and off from more than one location, as in you can turn the lights on at the dining room side of the kitchen and off again at the den side. Or at the bottom of the stairs and then off again at the top.

Got it? Multiple locations to turn lights on and off. A system designed to make life easy - a system designed so a person can always have light when a person wants it.


This is a huge advantage and one we do not have with our basement stairs. If I want to go downstairs to watch TV in the dark, I can either go downstairs in the dark, which is a little dangerous, especially in an old house with stairs that are not to code, or with the lights on, which means I either have to leave the lights on or I have to turn on the basement lights and then walk back upstairs to turn off the stair lights.

I am always torn between extreme laziness and my fear of death by falling down the stairs.

I would like very much to have a light switch for the stairs light at the bottom of the stairs. That is technology working for us.

SH and Gary agreed that they would walk up or down the stairs IN THE DARK rather than have the downstairs light switch be in the down position to have the lights on.

They. Would. Risk. Death. just for an aesthetic principle.

At least with SH, this is the man who is completely untroubled by having four shaving cream cans on the bathroom counter.

Friday, December 18, 2015

I get to meet Tish Jett!

 You guys, I got to meet the glamorous Tish Jett! You know Tish - from A Femme D'Un Certain Age. I love love love her blog. I am not fancy or stylish or elegant but I like to read about women who are. Tish makes it all seem so accessible and I like the way she writes.

She lives in France, of course, but was in Chicago for a while during her US book tour (you need to buy her book about style at any age!) and she invited me to an event hosted by the French Chamber of Commerce, so onto the train I hopped, slightly worried that my red cocktail dress would be found wanting, but Tish is as kind and gracious as she is elegant, so not one word of criticism from her - not even a lifted eyebrow.

She is witty and fun and absolutely lovely and I feel privileged that I got to spend an evening with her. Her friend Janice of The Vivienne Files was also there and she is also lovely. I want these women to run my wardrobe and makeup and fashion and style and everything.

I also got to eat. There was so much food. There was too much to eat. I can't eat more than one or two macarons at time, especially after I have already eaten lentil soup made by the 40something chef with tattooed knuckles who - no joke - asked for my phone number and I had to tell him I am a married woman. Unfortunately, he was rude to Tish, so we wrote him off, but even so - still nice to be asked for a number.

There were all these pastries and I wasn't that hungry so I started wrapping them in napkins and throwing them into my purse.

And then Tish got us leftover cheese from a cheese vendor. And she got us each a baguette from the baker and I walked from the hotel to the train station the next day with a baguette sticking out of my bag and feeling very, very French. It. Was. Lovely.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Life with an engineer #76

Me: Do you think we could aim for a 75% reduction in the number of active shaving cream cans?
SH: I don't want to waste any, but when I am in hurry, I do not want to take the time to get the last bit out.

Me: OK. But - could we aim for it?

SH: We have the space for them.

Me: Not the point.

Monday, December 14, 2015

The working life: The time a box of crayons threw up on me

And this, my friends, is why I am no longer allowed to dress myself.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Life with an engineer #2,414

Me: Hey! Bruce will be here in 20 minutes. You need to get ready.

SH: No. He will be here in 30 minutes.

Me: Same difference.

SH: It's a huge difference.

Me: Oh because those ten minutes change what you need to do in the immediate future?

SH: Yes.

Me: This explains so much.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Marriage 801, Lecture 235: Fancy

SH: You got fancy soap for the bathroom?

Me: I hate that soap that is there.

SH: But I got some fancy soap.

Me: I know, but it does not have a dispenser.

SH: I was just going to put it in the Softsoap bottle.

Me: No!

SH: What?


SH: But you don't care about things like that! You don't care about appearances! That's why you have white bath towels.

Me: I totally care, which is why I have white bath towels. I want simple and elegant.* I don't want mass market brands.

SH: I didn't know you were a snob!

Me: I am.

* Granted, the new soap is not simple or elegant, but it looks French. French!

Monday, December 07, 2015

Chats du jour

It's been a while since I have posted any cat photos, hasn't it? I don't write much about Laverne and Shirley here these days. I put a lot on facebook about them because I think they are hilarious and I also think that the main point of all the computing power I have at my fingertips - more power than NASA had when they sent the first man to the moon - is to share cat stuff.

This scene describes most of Laverne's day - waiting until she can get more food. She sucks up all of her food (the right side of the dish) and then looms over Shirley, asking, "Are you going to eat that?"

I don't know if Shirley does it on purpose - I kind of hope so - but she takes about ten times as long to eat as Laverne does.

It makes Laverne nuts.

I have to supervise because Laverne has been known to pull the dish away from Shirley and eat her food. Now Laverne knows to at least pretend that she is not breathing over Shirley's shoulder.

Friday, December 04, 2015

Life with an engineer #543

SH: I threw away the dead flowers and rearranged the good ones.

Me: Thanks.

SH: There were only two, so I had to put them in positions 2 and 4.

Me: Uh huh. 

SH: Although I suppose they could go in 1 and 5 instead.

Me: Sure.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Life with an engineer #9,631

SH: I put some clementines on the shelf for you. They are going bad.
Me: You need to learn to eat those.
SH: You're a lot less picky than I am!
Me: Clearly.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Life with an engineer #24,562

Me: Peppers or mushrooms?

SH: We need a vegetable.

Me: I know. Peppers or mushrooms?

SH: Mushrooms are not a vegetable.

Me: Yes they are.

SH: No. They are a fungi.

Me: Oh for pete's sake.

Friday, November 06, 2015


Vacation for a few weeks! You guys have a great Thanksgiving. See you after!

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Marriage 801, Lecture 234: The lilies of the field neither toil nor spin

SH: Hey! You need to keep an eye on these flowers I got for you.

Me: Why?

SH: I looked today and they were almost out of water.

Me: Did you give them more?

SH: Of course! Did you think I would just tell you about it but not do anything?

Me: That's what you do with cat vomit.

SH: Well of course.

Me: What do you mean well of course?

SH: Of course I put in more water for the flowers. That's easy. But cat vomit is disgusting.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Life with an engineer, #542

SH is gone again. This happened.

I can't even.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Life with an engineer # 2,251


I love Shirley.

Those are my shoes. What are they doing there?
I knew you would ask that!
I had them out the other night to go outside because I was wearing my fluffy socks and didn't want to take them off to put on my shoes

You're not doing it right.

I don't wear your clothes and shoes. smile emoticon
you can if you want

It is possible to wear larger sizes than normal, but really hard to wear smaller ones.
we could cut off your heels

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Life with an engineer #651

Me: So the sandwiches that they have been having at work have been coming undressed.

SH: But there was some kind of dressing with the one you brought home. [I brought home half an Italian sandwich.]

Me: Yes but the sandwich was not dressed. It didn't have mustard or mayonnaise on it.

SH: You don't put mustard and mayonnaise on an Italian sandwich!


SH: What do you mena?

Me: The sandwiches don't have condiments on them.

SH: Yes, but they sent a little thing with dressing in it.

Me: It would be a huge pain in the neck to disassemble a sandwich and put the dressing on it at work!

SH: But it came with a knife.

Me: Oh man. You do not get it. Besides, I didn't even see the dressing until after I had eaten half of the sandwich.

SH: How could you miss it? It's right here!

Me: How was I supposed to see it? I didn't know it was there.

SH: But if you go through the box...

Me: Who goes through a complicated [Panera] box before eating? I was hungry.

SH: The first thing I do is look carefully through the box. I don't just grab stuff and start eating.

Me: Whatever. I don't want to talk about this.

SH: Except potato chips. I might eat those first.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Life with an engineer, #657

SH: I threw away the dead flowers and rearranged the good ones.

Me: Thanks.

SH: There were only two, so I had to put them in positions 2 and 4.

Me: Uh huh. 

SH: Although I suppose they could go in 1 and 5 instead.

Me: Sure.

(My favorite facebook comment on this: "He better be kidding about 1 and 5 as an option. That would be crazy without a flower in the "3" position.")

  Me: SH, that comment that my friend David made was hilarious.

SH: Which one?

Me: "He better be kidding about one and five as an option. That would be crazy without a flower in the three position."

SH: Well I said one and five as an option. Of course it's not ideal and I thought I mentioned that before. 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Marriage 801, Lecture 34: Working for The Man

How it worked before I got married:

Every January, I would sit down with my files and pull all the bills from the previous year - phone, utilities, credit card, insurance. I would keep the last statement in each category, the one that showed I was current with the account, and take the rest of the statements to work, where I would feed them into the shredder. I would feel a great sense of accomplishment. I like tidying things. I like discarding the past. I like eliminating clutter. (Except for investment statements and tax returns - those I keep.)

I controlled the amount of paper and clutter in my house and It Was Good. My house was clean and tidy and uncluttered and unpapered.

How it works now:

Every January, I open the file cabinet I had to buy once SH and I were married because there were more files.

I remove the previous year files from their folders and put them in a folder called "PY bills."

I take what was in the "PY bills" folder and put it in a plastic bag, then put that bag into a bin in the basement.

(In January 2015, I kept all the 2014 bills in the "PY bills" folder and put the 2013 bills in the bag.)

I ask SH if he would please consider getting rid of the old bills.

Remember, I am asking this of the man who moved his 1997 phone bills from California to his apartment in Milwaukee and then to our house. In 2008.

Phone. Bills.

From the previous decade. From a house where he no longer lived. In a state where he no longer lived.

The man is a hard nut to crack.

For our anniversary this year, I pulled the bin from the basement.

I asked him to please check through the contents as I wanted to take everything to the shredding day at the library.

And he did it. (Which, frankly, he should not have had to do. Just the fact that 1. I told him it was old bills and 2. he has not had to go into that bin once since we moved into this house should be reason enough and I have to agree with my sister sometimes when she says, "I spent my whole adult life finding someone to marry only to discover that it is a lot easier to live alone" because I managed my financial life very well before I ever got married and I do not like having to discuss this kind of baloney. /Rant over)

And now all of these documents will be shredded.


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Marriage 801, Lecture 95: My husband likes how I look and nobody wants to diet so my classmates and I make a pact not to diet before our class reunion (SH has lost a bunch of weight but he has been totally stressed out and really, it's not worth it)

I have a class reunion coming up.

Of course I want to be thin. Of course I do. Because I want all the men who didn't want to date me to wish they had wanted to date me because look how good I look now.

And I want to be thin so I can wear the dress I so optimistically bought last year when it was on season close out sale at Banana Republic and I thought, "Just a few pounds and it will be fine!"

That is one of life's great lies.

Or, I should say, that is one of Womenkind's - or at least my - great lies to myself, which you think I would know better about by now, as I have finally learned not to believe the other lies I used to tell myself, ie,

1. My hair will look great if I cut it myself
2. If I buy these shoes that are a skoosh too small, they will stretch to fit my feet and I will not be hobbling after only half an hour

You would think I would know that.


1. I like to eat. I like to cook and I like to eat.
2. My husband tells me I look great the way I am. If my husband is already happy, who am I trying to please, really?

But I am dumb. So I posted something on facebook about should I lose 20 pounds by the middle of November or just buy a new dress and guess what people said?

Buy. A. New. Dress. Dummy.

Several of my classmates chimed in and said that they, too, would just buy new dresses rather than try to lose weight because losing weight is HARD. And none of us like to be hungry.

So I was going to buy a new dress but I hate shopping and I hate spending money and then I went to the Upstairs Closet where I put the great bargains I find at consignment that are fab but I have no place to wear and guess what I found?

That cute orange dress in the photo.

And then Lisa advised me on the shoe strategy.

So I am done.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Marriage 801, Lecture 43: A day late a dollar short

1 hr · Edited · 
Me: I finally set up the automatic withdrawals for my 2015 Roth IRA.
SH: You probably didn't do it right.
Me: Seven withdrawals, six accounts for a total of $6,496. I should have done this in January.
SH: But you are four dollars short!
Me:Big deal. I am not going to get down to pennies. These are all even dollars. In December, I throw in another four bucks.
SH: But it's not exact! When I did mine, I was within ONE PENNY!
Me: What. Ever.
Like   Comment   
  • Debbie, Andrea and Mary like this.
  • SH As usual, you don't care about getting the facts exactly right. I was eight cents short. It wouldn't make sense to be one cent short because that would require an odd number of transactions.
    Unlike · Reply · 2 · 1 hr
    • CF Aaaaaand -- proving my point.
      Like · Reply · 1 hr
    • SH  You're not doing it right. Getting the facts straight is not a skill that's separate from storytelling ability. It is a prerequisite. smile emoticon
      Like · Reply · 55 mins · Edited
    • Gary A true storyteller will modify the facts to better communicate the story. The details are not always important.
      Unlike · Reply · 2 · 34 mins
    • Brian CF is .06 percent off. She would have won both the horseshoe and hand grenade toss.
      Like · Reply · 2 · 9 mins

    • Write a reply...

  • Karen Who came up with this crazy idea of marriage anyway?
    Unlike · Reply · 2 · 56 mins
  • Brunhilda "you are four dollars short!" priceless....... grin emoticon
    Like · Reply · 10 mins · Edited
  • Brian And why is SH investing in corporate America?
    Like · Reply · 7 mins
  • Gary SH, you need to start your own blog. Call it "You're Not Doing It Write"
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · 1 min

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