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.