Sunday, January 30, 2011

This past weekend my family celebrated the last Christmas get together of the season (that is right, we are a little slow!). My sister and her girls got us these awesome aprons. Pictured with me are Amanda, Jessica, Maddison and my great niece, Rylee. I love these aprons! We rented a building in our area and spent the entire day together visiting, playing games, cooking and eating. It was such a great day. We were all there except for our son, Josh, who is in Alabama, and my nephew, Tristan, who lives out of town and had to work. All totaled, 24 of us were there. I hope to post more pictures of some of the activities we enjoyed.

Friday, January 28, 2011


I got a call at 6:30 this morning. Of course a call that time of day always makes ones heart race just a little. It was my husband telling me that on the way to work he had hit not one, but two deer (bucks no less). I could tell by his voice that he was okay, but shaken up. It has been foggy most of the week, and this morning it was hard to see your hand in front of your face. The really good news is that he was not hurt, was driving about 25 mph (on a back country road with no traffic)and the deer actually jumped up and ran away. The bad news is his truck did not fare as well. He has a new F-150 that he is so very proud of. It now has a broken head light, grill and bumper. This makes for one sad man. I think once in awhile things like this happen to remind us that life can be dangerous. Even though the call was not a happy one, it made me (again) stop and count all the blessing in my life. Thank you dear God for looking out after my husband!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

And the winner is. . .

Over my lunch hour today I went to the local library and quickly checked out 6 books. Since I didn't have much browsing time, I went to some of my favorite authors and grabbed one or two of their books that I haven't read (I don't think I have read them, I will soon find out). Authors included: Wally Lamb, Jennifer Weiner and Anita Shreve. When I got home,after careful examination, I decided to start "Rescue" by Anita Shreve. Actually, since it is a new book, I only have 2 weeks to return it, so I thought I had better start with it. Anyone else ever read Anita Shreve? The first book I read by her was "The Pilot's Wife". I have read several of her other books and enjoyed them. When I have finished the book, I will let you know if it is a "page turner" or not. I think it might be!

Pea Soup!

I feel like talking to Mr. Winter and asking him what else he's got to throw at us this season. It all began in November with unusually cold weather. Then December hits with rain, early snow and colder than normal conditions. We don't even want to talk about January so far. Finally, when there is hope of some of this $#%! melting, the fog rolls in. Coming home from a meeting last night, there were layers of fog. This morning, it appears to have settled in for a long visit. I will probably regret writing this because the one thing we have not had too much of this year (yet) is ice. I think I would take all the above combined before I wished for ice. If memory serves me correctly, one of the worse ice storms we have had was in late February or early March. I guess we are really not out of the woods yet with this winter. It has been such a long month of January, I just feel like it should be about over!
On the bright side, it is supposed to be warm(er) for the next two days, and then get much colder on Saturday. But NO snow or rain in the forecast for the weekend. I am oh so grateful for that bit of news, since we have family traveling here this weekend. It would be so sad to have to cancel because of the weather.

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Change Will Do You Good!

I have been perusing other blogs for the last few weeks. And here is what I have discovered:
1. There are a lot of creative people out there.
2. Cupcakes are the "in" food right now.
3. Families with young children somehow find the time to blog. If I remember correctly, when I was a stay at home mom with young children, I was lucky to get dressed during the day.
4. My blog is bland, boring and benign. Therefore change has come to The Common Touch. Now that I know where I have to go to make these changes, expect more in the future. I lack that discriminating eye, you know the one where a talented person squints one eye, tilts their head and makes a suggestion that will turn Mona Lisa from a drab woman to a masterpiece. Right. . . I don't have that eye. But for now, you will have to settle for a brighter, lighter Blog from me. Heaven knows that the scene outside our windows could use some color (besides gray and white!).
Please, Please, Please leave me a comment and let me know what you think of the new design and colors. After all, change is good for us all!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Broken Record

Amazing as it may seem it snowed most of the morning. We have had a mostly lazy day. . . with the exception of doing some laundry (me) and driveway blading (him). I watched Social Network and really enjoyed it. It did leave me with some questions, though, so I may have to do some more reading on Mark Zuckerman and Sean Parker. Then we watched Last Song, which I thought was entertaining, but very predictable. I finished Hell's Corner this morning, and would recommend it if you just want to do some reading to pass the time. It was not a page turner (my definition of a really good book is if I keep telling myself, one more page).
Supper is now in the oven, and I am getting things organized for the week. Randy test drove my car down the driveway, and said that it was still hard to maneuver and slick. I think I will go in with him again tomorrow, which means packing a breakfast and a lunch. Oh, I am so tired of winter, and we have a week of January left! Note to self: avoid buying a Fusion again. . . even though I like it, it doesn't get around well in the winter. Another 4 wheel drive may be in my future. It is going to be a long week, but next weekend we are having family in for a final Christmas event, so there will be something to look forward to!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Mason decided to take a break from playing and just read. He is a very active little guy, so when I saw that he had perched himself in a chair with a blanket and a few books, I was surprised. He just read outloud to anyone who was willing to listen!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Winter Wonderland

Maddison was goofing around the other day with her hair clips. She wanted me to take a picture of her and she just laughed and laughed at how silly she looked. Some time later we were talking about the color of peoples eyes. She commented that I had blue eyes and brown hair. I told her that I used to have blonde hair, but it just kept getting darker until it turned brown. She seemed surprised at this information. Then I added: Soon, I am going to have your mom lighten my hair so it will be blonde again. She got a serious look on her face, grabbed my neck and hugged me tight. She said: "Don't do that Mimi. . . I want you to stay just the way you are". Wow. . . What can I say? I am rethinking my blonde highlights now!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

It's Snowing (Again!)

Here is a trivia question for you. When was the last time that our area has had two separate snow storms of 6 or more inches by this time in January? Give up yet? 1993. I think what the weatherman was trying to tell us is that we are in for a unusually harsh winter. As if we couldn't figure that one out on our own!
We are apparently in the heart of the snow storm and they predict that we will have 6 to 8 inches before this storm has passed. It looks like after just 3 days of car freedom, I am going to be hitching rides again for awhile. So, it is back to work at 6 a.m. for me tomorrow. I have lots of work to do, and I don't really mind getting there early. I have two big reports to write and a grant application to complete.
It had just begun snowing as I was driving home tonight. It was a beautiful snow, and I found myself wishing that we could enjoy it during the daylight! If we have to put up with the bad weather, we should at least get to enjoy the beauty of it.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Let's Be Positive

This time of year it is so very easy to be a negative person. The weather is gray, the holidays are over, and resolutions are being tested. It is sad that I have to remind myself to be positive. So here goes my attempt at drawing up the positive and pushing down the negative:

1. I have a job that I love (mostly) that helps pay the bills and allows me to be who I am and do what I love.
2. My family is wonderful. There are bumps in the road, but I have a plethora of people I could call on if I needed help or comfort.
3. My health is good. And believe me, I don't take this for granted. My mother in law died at the age of 45, and my mother at the age of 52 (I am now 53)
4. I live in a house surrounded by nature, in a town without much traffic or major crime and in a state and country where democracy rules.
5. Every day I get the opportunity to "pay it forward" and help other people. Some days I do better at this than others, but I don't have to look very far to find a person in need that can be helped.

Here is what I am pushing down: the forecast (5-7 MORE inches of snow). Wouldn't be so bad except I just got my car out yesterday after it was snowed in for a week! The laundry. I mean, really, does it ever end? And it is just my husband and I! My sedentary lifestyle. . . why, oh why don't I like the Y as much as I do. . . reading, or writing, or TV or shopping, or working, or . . . you get the idea!!! See, when you see it in writing, there is really no comparison. My positive list is so much more impressive that my "push down" list. Thank you and good night!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Quote from Dr. Phil

I am not a big Dr. Phil fan, but he was discussing arguing between a married couple and this is what he asked:

Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?

Great line, that I think happens to be true. People tend to argue about the silliest things. . . and I think that eventually takes a toll on a relationship. I am not big into posting quotes, but I felt like this one was important.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Maddison wrote this letter to her Dad yesterday. I think she may be ready for him to come home! Aside from a spelling error or two, I think she did a very nice job. She was so excited that I could read it. She is a kindergartener and is learning to read, but is encouraged to write words as they sound. I posted this on my facebook page, which will get to her Dad a lot quicker than the U.S. Postal service.

The Bloggers World

When you view a blog site, the top section has a "View Next Blog" and an arrow. Lately I have been exploring this area and have had my eyes open to a whole new world. There are hundreds (probably thousands) of blogs on cake and cupcake decorating. And then there are artsy blogs, full of people showing off their talents in a variety of art activities. Quite a few young families have blogs featuring photos and some commentary on what their young children (especially babies) are up to. I am quite sure that these sites are wonderful for families separated by long distances. I have happened onto blogs about work related activities (investing, physical therapy, engineering). It is amazing the difference in the look of these blogs and the more creative ones. Another popular subject is blogs about home decor and decorating. I would say on the sites I have observed, food seems to be the most popular. I have been looking for some blogs similar to mine, but have not found many. I think that blogging has not been discovered by the over 50 bunch yet. Most of the blogs seem to belong to people under the age of 40.
Each blog I read is like reading a mini novel or autobiography. It is odd to peek into the home and life of someone you don't know and probably will never meet. I have seen some wonderful stories of adoption, overcoming huge obstacles, travel and illness. A recent blog site touched me deeply. It was written by a woman named Edi, who left her job as a pediatrician to be a stay at home mom and home school her children. This is one talented woman. She had a beautiful home which she decorated herself, including a garage turned home schooling room. She loves to cook and shows off many of her amazing looking products. She is a devoted Christian, takes breathtaking photos and to top it off, she writes in a way that draws the reader in instantly. What caught my eye was the most recent post which showed her home burned to the ground. Before Christmas a fire destroyed her home and all its contents. Fortunately everyone was able to get out of the home unharmed, including the pets. So, from this post I went backwards and got to see her home before the fire and all the work she put into making her home beautiful. It was a strange experience for me, but somehow inspiring. Other sites have also been about overcoming or working through a major life stress. It makes me again realize how lucky I am, and also know that people all over the globe (because there are blogs from many countries in many different languages) have an amazing power to overcome hardship and adversity. Think about it. . . sitting in my little rural home in mid America I can be touched by lives in an urban Australian setting, or learn about holiday traditions in Germany. This Internet thing may just catch on!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Home (Again)

Well, I made the decision today to take another day off work due to the snow packed driveway. The last two days I rode in to work with my husband and arrived before 6 a.m, and got home at 5. I usually only work half days on Friday, so that would have made a very long day for me. What to do, what to do? Since I spent most of my snow day on Tuesday cleaning, that leaves the dreaded laundry room closet left to clean out. . . Oh my. . . I don't want to do it. I have been putting it off for several years (yes, it is that bad). I cannot possibly waste enough time today to avoid this project. So, here is a promise. I won't post again until the closet is organized. Here I go. . . or maybe I could just have one more cup of tea?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Just the Facts Ma'am

Okay, here are a few things that I know for a FACT:
1. I will never, ever have my home featured in Better Homes and Gardens
2. My style will never make the covers of magazines, or impress the most lackluster of tastes
3. I will never wow anyone with my talent in (pick one) art, music, dance, charm, craftsmanship etc
4. There will always be people in my life who are smarter, thriftier, stronger and nicer than me
5. I will always fall somewhere between excellent and poor. . . more in the average range

These things I also know to be Factual:
1. People will love me just because, and in spite of the above mentioned facts.
2. I will keep trying to improve myself, but probably won't make any giant leaps in abilities or talents
3. Even though I have shortcomings, people who love me won't really care
4. Most of the "stuff" that bothers me about me is superficial.
5. When you get to the heart of me, you can find some pretty good stuff.

Believe it or not, the words just written are my best shot at a pep talk. When I look around me, I see people who have so much talent and do so many wonderful things with their lives and skills. It sometimes makes me feel like I could be doing so much more. But at the end of the day, would achievement really make me happier? Most likely not, or I would find a way to accomplish more. I have reached an age where I mostly feel contentment with my life, but at the same time know enough to admire the talents and abilities of others. HMMMM..... The Common Touch?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Well, my day of being snowed in is over, but not by choice. I decided to bite the bullet and ride in with my husband to work today. We left the house at 5:45, and had to drive through fields to make it, even in his 4 wheel drive truck. Our road was mostly impassable due to drifts that closed it overnight. On his way home from work last night, a car was stuck in the snow about the same place I got stuck last year. The driver was waiting for a tow truck to pull her out. He offered to help, but she decided to wait on the tow truck. However, this morning, her car was still stuck in the road. As we drove through the countryside, I was able to see just how beautiful this snow is. At a temperature of 7 degrees, everything looked crystalized and sparklie!
Almost every school has called off today, and many other events have been cancelled.
I really enjoyed my unexpected day at home yesterday. I combined house cleaning with some of my favorite leisure time activities for a relaxing day of accomplishment!
Someone once said that all good things must come to an end, and I guess that is the reason I am back at work today. Sleepy, but determined to get some work done.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Be a Follower!

I would love to see who reads my blog. It is easy to become a follower. You just have to click the Follow button, and put in your email address and then assign yourself a password. I can look at stats and see how many people have viewed my blog daily, but I would really like to know who actually reads it. I promise you that it is easy. When/if you become a follower, you can make comments. It is always great to have feedback. I am doing this blog for my own pleasure, but would welcome your feelings about what I write. It might result in a "dialog". I have one follower that I have never met, except through the blogosphere. I happened onto her blog, and it touched me deeply, so I became a follower so I could keep her on my "dashboard". She then began to follow my blog (thank you thrasherswife) and I enjoy her comments. I feel like I have a new friend from afar. On a sad note, I had my blog link posted on my facebook profile page, under my photo, but then I "updated" my profile page and I can't figure out how to get the link re- posted. I did put the blog address where my employment should be, but it is not as convenient.
Whether you become a follower or not, I appreciate your interest in my on line journeying. I promise not to let it go to my head if my followers list grows!

Cane River

I just finished Cane River. It was not great, but entertaining, especially if you are an American History fan. With an unexpected day off work, I am going to be starting a new book, but not sure which one. I have Red River, the sequal to Cane River, but also several other books I recently checked out from the library. I will share when I have decided.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snow Day!

The seasons second big snow storm has hit. It looks like I will be homebound tomorrow because I refuse to risk getting stuck on my poorly maintained road and driveway! I am looking forward to a day with no plans or demands. I have several things I need to do (clean out closets for one), but I may just watch movies and read. Randy will probably go to work, since he has a large 4 wheel drive truck. If I rode in with him, it would mean getting there 2 hours early, and possibly being stuck there if we ended up closing. I will post more tomorrow.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sunday, Sweet Sunday!

I may have mentioned before that I love Sundays. As a child growing up in a home where both parents were educators, somehow Sundays were a signal that the work week was closing in on us. I remember Sunday being a bit gloomy while I was still living at home. My mom was a wonderful teacher, but she would have much rather been a stay at home mom. So, when Sundays came, she would begin to think about the week ahead. Because both my parents poured their energy and heart into their jobs as educators, they worked hard to be the best they could be.
I think it makes all the difference in the world when you really enjoy your job. I love my job. This of course doesn't mean that I love everything about my job, or that it is enjoyable all the time. But I spend very little time dreading work. Now that Randy has a new job at the plant, I can tell that he no longer dreads going to work. As a part of management, he feels like he has some control over his circumstances, something he didn't have as a union employee. This feeling of control combined with the challenge of a demanding position has improved his work outlook too.
Anyway, back to Sundays. In a previous post I commented that Sunday was the only day I am unscheduled. I think everyone needs some unscheduled time in their life. This morning I slept in (highly unusual for me), had a leisurely breakfast, did a few chores and then met my family in town for lunch. Now it is back home to finish some laundry and change clothes to travel back to town for a workout at the Y. This has been a hard diet weekend, but ending it with some exercise will certainly be a good thing. There are just a few hours left in this Sunday, but I plan on enjoying every last one of them!
Maddison loves doing "projects". She gave this bird house to her neighbor. She got several kits for Christmas, including a jewelry box and beads, a knot blanket and a rock tumbler. It has become a Saturday event at our house!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Check Up Time!

Every year for the last 7 years Randy and I have scheduled a yearly check up with our doctor. The visit is free (comes under preventative health), and is recommended for people our age. Today was our annual visit. It is always good to hear positive news about your health, which is what we got today. Our physician is definitely a "good old boy". He takes time to ask how we are doing, how our holidays were and about the family. In between the small talk he goes over our blood work, checks our breathing and takes care of other check up duties. I think it is good to visit your doctor when you are well, so you will be more comfortable with him/her when you are not feeling so well. In the 7 years we have been patients of this doctor, I have only had one episode when I was sick. A pretty good track record for a 50 something person. It is quite good to have this visit behind us, but it is also good to be able to go to the doctor without dread!
I have some follow up duties to take care of in the coming weeks, but it is all preventative.
On the weather front, I am sad to report that we have had snow and colder temperatures move in today. It promises to be a cold and nasty weekend. I guess we should expect that in January!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Writer's Block

I have been suffering from writer's block the last few days. I have wanted to write, but when I have put my hands on the keyboard, nothing happended. I was reading another blog this evening and the writer's advice was to blog every day, even if it is just a sentence or two. So here goes. . .
today's feelings in words: tired, frustrated, peaceful, in control, sympathetic, lucky, blessed, weekend bound.
memories of the holidays: fun, family, bounty, love, wasted paper, games, competition, thoughtfulness, sharing, need, giving, laughter
goals for the winter: control, ambition, smaller jeans, comfort, gratitude, making the most of each minute on earth!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

January 2nd, 2011

I finished "The Confession" this morning. It was typical John Grisham of late. Not a page turner, but satisfactory if you like fiction about legal matters. I am starting on Cane River by Laita Tademy. This book was published in 2001, and was an Oprah Book Club selection. A friend who works at the Library recommended it to me.
I am feeling a little lazy today. The plan for this last day of vacation was to get going early and get our grocery shopping done for the week. However, it is almost 11 and I am still not motivated to get out of the house. I am sad that today is the last day of Randy and my 10 day vacation, but mostly I am sad that Josh is on his way back to Alabama. It has been so nice having him around, and seeing his family be united again. Only 63 days and he should be home for good.
It has been a wonderful vacation for us. We have mostly stayed home and had company in. Jim and Joanne were in for a few days from California, and we spent a great deal of time with Josh, Amanda and kids and Jessica and Scott. This time of year means major game play, and we enjoyed Dominoes, Sequence, Fast Track, Feed the Cat (Maddie's new game), and some pictionary. But like all good things, this too must come to an end.
Tomorrow is the first official day of my New Years Resolutions. That means structured eating, exercise, and close attention to frivolous spending. Now you see why I am sad and not motivated today? Actually I am looking forward to getting back into a good routine, and fitting into my jeans again. I will keep posting on the progress of the resolutions and the book! Happy New Years!