Friday, June 23, 2017


Hey Everyone!  I've not gone missing.  I have been spending time at our cottage and I am in such a good mindset as a result.  Maybe not so much a writing mindset...  I really and truly believe we all need to spend some honest and goodness time with ourselves.  I think I have a new best friend.  And what's more...I absolutely loved all of your comments on my last post. I woke up the morning after I wrote it; coffee in hand, birds chirping and was speechless. Some of you expressed your thoughts on your experiences raising your children, others the empty nest situation, whether it has happened or is looming.  And many of you ladies gave valuable insight into the whole realm of getting older and navigating a way through this new chapter.  I just loved the response.  Now~~~I have a secret.  It was a dark, rainy night...I couldn't wait to go to bed and watch the scary lightning and curtains whipping around the balcony doors.  So I finished up my column for the Chicago newspaper and hit publish.  Oops, that should have been Save.  Oh, yeah.  I use the same template for all of my writings.  It was there in the morning on my blog and since I had already started to receive comments, what's a girl to do?

  Note to self:  Maybe you ought to write more about what you think and feel as opposed to the everyday drivel of your life.  ;-)

I embrace each day at the lake.  The weather has been a little unpredictable but I just adjust my plans accordingly.  I've had a lot of time finishing up the guest bedrooms as far as wall art and little pieces that make it homey.  I've also been Swiffering my brains out.  The dark wood floor shows everything and it drives me nuts.  And I piddle and fuss.  Then I read or write.  Then I Swiffer again.  And so it goes.  

The weekend of Father's Day was a two youngest girls and their guys came, along with The Husband, of course, and wee little Madelyn had her first somewhat 'conscious' visit at the lake.  Her first time was at our sledding weekend in January, and as she was an infant, I'm pretty confident she will have no memories whatsoever.  

Look at this bathing suit!  She is a little Esther Williams.  And please note the matching headband.  She is a model baby, as in Emily dresses her in a new outfit everyday, sometimes two in one day, just like a supermodel with shorter legs.  Anyway, Mad loves water.  We filled a little baby pool with lake water, avoiding minnows and snapping turtles as best we could.  And since Emily had seen a muskrat the night before, she declared to anyone within earshot that the lake should be off limits for a minimum of 10 days. 

Of course you gotta love this little charmer, carrots all over her face and all.  But what I really want you to note is the high chair.  This was Abigail's when we moved to the lake 26 years ago.  She was 6 months old.  I'm going to try to dig out a picture and put them side to side.  And this little antiquey isn't just 26 years old, we found it at a church sale so who knows.  It's definitely a Jenny Lind, and The Husband painted it blue (I'm scratching my head over that), and it has been there for every visiting baby since.  It was hiding in the garage since the flood and Em pulled it out, scrubbed it down and here we are.  Sob, sob.  Of course Abby showed little, if any emotion.  "I simply can't remember sitting in it, Mom.  What do you want me to say?"

Madelyn had her first boat ride on Papa's lap.  They are loving it!  We have so many pics of babies; family and friends, who took this same ride with The Husband.  When they get older, he actually lets them hold the steering wheel.  I think I'm going to frame this.  

I adore this picture.  Her dress has little white sailboats on it.  There was another with Emily holding Madelyn and the big lake is in the background.  Most of the shots you see are taken on our bay...the lake is enormous.

All sun and fun and no land?  You might remember I did our master bedroom in a sort of country/rustic way.  A nice break from the nautical throughout most of the house.  

I was really happy to have this website recommended to me.  And when I find a great website, I like to pass it on. At King Ranch I fell in love with these cowgirl boots...have a look.

These are mine  You can't have them.

I had a lump in my throat watching the opening video.  I think most of you know that I grew up in the prairie land of Illinois.  No...not like "Little House on the Prairie" as I might make it sound, but huge corn and wheat fields, a watering hole of a lake, and skies that dropped off into the horizon.  There were an abundance of well traveled back roads that took you to out of the way places.  You could park on dirt roads and watch the sun set, or walk precariously on a fallen tree over a steam.  We'd sit on the hood of the car, illegally drinking beer and listening to Bob Segar's Night Moves.  I have wonderful, heart filled memories of those days.  So much came back to me looking at this video, and I dug out my old cowboy boots.  As you can see, I've had them forever.  You have to break those babies in and once you do, never give them up.  I have worn them everywhere and with anything, from jeans to skirts to shorts (I'm seriously thinking going to Coachella next year.  Well, only if Vanessa Hudgens goes with me).  

I really have a thing for this company and I hope that not only you Western gals check it out...let's dance in sundresses in the South and shorts in the Midwest!  

So now I leave you with a few thoughts.  I've been enjoying my time, freedom and independence at the lake for over four weeks now.  Some have asked (very politely) how it works in my marriage.  Well, you know, I didn't know until I tried it.  Truth is, we both enjoy a little time apart.  We're not Bert and Ernie.  We could do what we wanted to do without any nagging or chastising about those bad habit things that drive us crazy no matter how long we've been married.  He loves to leave dirty dishes and candy wrappers all around his favorite chair and table in the living room.  He leaves a trail of clothes behind him wherever he goes, and bath towels can be thrown on the floor until there is a mountain.  Oh, and he can go to bed at 8:00 p.m. after Rachel Maddow.  

Me?  Well, I can sleep til 10 or 11:00 a.m. without anyone making me feel like a sloth.  And then again, I can stay up late on my laptop without anyone crabbing for me to come to bed.  I don't have to tell anyone to clean up their dishes or candy wrappers.  My clothes are always neatly put away and I rarely trip over anything on the floor.  I can be really gross and spit my toothpaste in the sink and not rinse it out.  At least for about 10 minutes.   I watch Rachel Maddow at 8:00 before I go into a frenzy of writing each evening.

I worry most that he eats right.  Since I've never really known him to grocery shop other than picking up jumbo sized toilet paper and donuts, I try not to get too sympathetic.  He won't starve. And we have every sort of restaurant and fast food place within walking distance.  

Me?  I sound like a primitive caveman.  I survive on eggs, avocados, cheese and nuts.  Seriously.  I'm not liking cooking for just myself so this is what I graze on all day.  Oh yes, a lot of Diet Pepsi and white wine.  So, we're doing fine.

Here's to a Happy Summer!

Jane x

Sunday, June 11, 2017


Most kids are out of school for summer break, and in the days leading up to it, the weather held promises of days and weeks of freedom.  Little league, family vacations, swimming, eating watermelon and popsicles, and just living without a schedule.

In late spring I could hear groups of children laughing and chatting as they walked past my house after school.  Through my open windows I could see young boys swinging their book bags and girls with their heads bent together whispering and giggling.

It's been a little over a decade since my own kids rounded the corner, my girls in their maroon jumpers and my boys in white polos and gray pants. My house would once again be filled with laughter, chatter and the occasional argument.

Those of you reading this may still have little people at home and are living the routine of making lunches, signing papers every evening, and being sure socks match.  As routine as that may seem and taken over your life, you just can't believe the people telling you, "Live in the moment.  They grow up so fast."

While I ramble on about my kids and yours, the point I really want to make is what inevitably happens to us.  As older parents, no one comes up to us at the church carnival and remarks, "My, you've aged so much! Time sure flies.  I remember you when you were just thirty-five!"

The truth is, just as our kids grow up and out of the nest, we face the reality that we are no longer these young, energetic and sometimes 'cool' people.  We have a few gray hairs and we don't always understand how to text on our cell phones with two thumbs.  We'd rather listen to the news on the car radio than music, and we guess the term 'chill' means ice in our vodka.  The list goes on and if you haven't realized your uncool ways, your kids will let you know.

So my four have flown the coop.  I'm happy for them in spite of missing all of that noise they generated in our house.  I marvel at how they've grown.  They have homes of their own, some even have a few rugrats that we are ecstatic over.  Still, it hits me at times; not only are they growing, I am too.  I forget that time hasn't stood still for me.  The children grew, my parents aged, but in the realm of life and in my mind, I'm still the young mother, wife, daughter.

These days I enjoy looking at the cute kiddos skipping down the street past my house.  I'm a proud mother who gave it my all and I respect this new generation of parents.  I hope they live in the moment, it goes by so fast even though I didn't believe the people who told me twenty years ago.  But shhhhhh...the next chapter is just as wonderful.