Ten on Tuesday: Empty Nest Edition

  1. MM at the beach, June 2012
  2. This young man has moved out. 
  3. It was a little weird to see the truck pull away today.
  4. I’ve been re-reading Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.
  5. The raw, honest look at the relationships between women (mothers, daughters, girlfriends) amazes me and makes me cry. Not every scene will resonate with everyone but there is a lot of painful truth in that story.
  6. I saw this article (click through if you haven’t seen it) and it hits me on several different levels. First and foremost, why pay for insurance if it is just going to hit a catasrophic cap and stop paying for your health care when you have cancer?
  7. My mother died from a form of colon cancer (appendiceal cancer) that wasn’t discovered soon enough. She ignored the warning signs (hello, poopstrong) because of other health issues at the time. I will now be the first to tell you that if Dulcolax isn’t helping you become regular again, get yourself to the doctor, STAT!
  8. Wedding update: today I’m taking care of me (beauty parlor visit), tomorrow the out-of-town family begins arriving. It’s been a year since I have seen some of them. It’s Tuesday and Saturday is coming soon!

What is happening in your life this week?

Are Men Just Happier People?

Happier? I don’t know about that, but they definitely have an easier life than a woman. Don’t believe me? Check all that apply:

  • Your last name stays put.
  • The garage is all yours.
  • Wedding plans take care of themselves.
  • Chocolate is just another snack.
  • You can never be pregnant.
  • You can wear a white T-shirt to a water park.
  • You can wear NO shirt to a water park.
  • Car mechanics tell you the truth.
  • The world is your urinal.
  • You never have to drive to another gas station restroom because this one is just too icky.
  • You don’t have to stop and think of which way to turn a nut on a bolt.
  • Same work, more pay.
  • Wrinkles add character.
  • Gray hair makes you look distinguished.
  • Wedding dress $5000. Tux rental-$100. **
  • People never stare at your chest when you’re talking to them.
  • New shoes don’t cut, blister, or mangle your feet.
  • One mood all the time.
  • Phone conversations are over in 30 seconds flat.
  • You know stuff about tanks.
  • A five-day vacation requires only one suitcase.
  • You can open all your own jars.
  • You get extra credit for the slightest act of thoughtfulness.
  • If someone forgets to invite you, he or she can still be your friend.
  • Your underwear is $8.95 for a three-pack.
  • Three pairs of shoes are more than enough.
  • You almost never have strap problems in public.
  • You are unable to see wrinkles in your clothes.
  • Everything on your face stays its original color.
  • The same hairstyle lasts for years, even decades.
  • You only have to shave your face and neck.
  • You can play with toys all your life.
  • One wallet and one pair of shoes — one color for all seasons.
  • You can wear shorts no matter how your legs look.
  • You can ‘do’ your nails with a pocket knife.
  • You have freedom of choice concerning growing a mustache and/or a beard.
  • You can do Christmas shopping for 25 relatives, on December 24, in 25 minutes.

Yep, men have it easier than women!

More Gender inequalities:


If Laura, Kate and Sarah go out for lunch, they will call each other Laura, Kate and Sarah. If Mike, Dave and John go out, they will affectionately refer to each other as Fat Boy, Bubba and Wildman.


When the bill arrives, Mike, Dave and John will each throw in $20, even though it’s only for $32.50. None of them will have anything smaller and none will actually admit they want change back.

When the girls get their bill, out come the pocket calculators.


A man will pay $2 for a $1 item he needs.*

A woman will pay $1 for a $2 item that she doesn’t need but it’s on sale.

*Unless he is a tightwad (and I say tightwad with affection, ala Amy Dacyczyn) – in which case, he will only spend 25-50 cents for a $1 item.   


A man has six items in his bathroom: toothbrush and toothpaste, shaving cream, razor, a bar of soap, and a towel.

The average number of items in the typical woman’s bathroom is 337. A man would not be able to identify more than 20 of these items.


A woman has the last word in any argument.

Anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument.


A woman worries about the future until she gets a husband.

A man never worries about the future until he gets a wife.


A woman marries a man expecting he will change, but he doesn’t.

A man marries a woman expecting that she won’t change, but she does.


A woman will dress up to go shopping, water the plants, empty the trash, answer the phone, read a book, and get the mail.  (Unless that woman is me… then all bets are off!)

A man will dress up for weddings and funerals… if you make him do it!


Men wake up as good-looking as they went to bed.

Women somehow deteriorate during the night.


Ah, children. A woman knows all about her children. She knows about dentist appointments and romances, best friends, favorite foods, secret fears and hopes and dreams.

A man is vaguely aware of some short people living in the house.


I probably won’t be around much for the next week or so… something to do with a WEDDING and visiting friends and relatives, and getting a boy ready to go to scout camp, and oh yeah, a WEDDING.

* Not all wedding dresses cost $5,000. Rapunzel found hers for less than a tenth of that price!
I’m proud of the lovebirds for finding ways to have a beautiful wedding at a fraction of the cost.

More Pie: Necessity is the mother of Invention

a little slice of heaven: rhubarb custard pie

Last week I shared the above photo but failed to show the pie from which it came — so here it is:

“lattice-top” hearts on Rhubarb Custard Pie

Rhubarb Custard Pie


It is difficult to get a good photo at 11pm. **

[click on any photo to enbiggen]

I don’t make lattice-top crusts because they frustrate me to the point of wanting to give up and never make pie again. About ten years ago, I solved the problem and have kept the secret weapon in my baking drawer ever since then.

I like to use my heart-shape cookie cutter to vent my “normal” top crusts and one day it occurred to me that I could use the same cookie cutter to make cut-out shapes to lay on top of the pie.

Voilà! An easy cheater’s version of the lattice-top pie crust that looks fancy enough for company (and family members you want to make feel special) but causes almost no frustration at all.


**Why bake so late at night?

We don’t have A/C in our house.Most of the time, this oversight is a non-issue, but on a hot day, anything that puts out significant heat — like the oven or dishwasher (exception made for the computer) — has to wait until we can use fans to blow the hot air out and bring cool evening air into the house to keep us from overheating. And since it always cools down here at night, my husband keeps getting fresh pie.
Of course, this means that you don’t get to eat pie for a bedtime snack… but you do get to eat pie for breakfast!  🙂

Musical Mancake: an open letter to Mrs. G.

Dear Mrs. G.,

For more than four years now I have enjoyed mancake with my coffee. I commend you on the excellent and varied menu.

While I am particularly fond of the Firth flavor, I have also appreciated some of your more unusual  specialties. However, I have yet to see Zuill Bailey at Derfwad Manor. Please allow me to introduce you to him.

[Please note: Unlike a majority of my posts, not a single one of these pictures belongs to me — sad, but true. However, each and every photo is linked to the site where it was found.]

Zuill Bailey is widely considered to be one of the world’s premiere cellists. His own website presents excellent qualifications:

“His rare combination of celebrated artistry, technical wizardry as well as his engaging personality has secured his place as one of the most sought after and active cellists today.”

Did you catch that? One of the most sought after

Zuill Bailey_10

Having the pleasure of being at one of his recent performances, I can attest to the warmth and expression with which he plays his instrument — a 1693 beauty — and WOWZA! He can make that cello sing!

You’d be doing yourself a favor to stop right now to watch and listen to him play:

In my research, I came across an excellent review by Jane Coyne in which she writes,

“Bailey doesn’t play notes. He plays sounds and feelings. His cello is as beautiful as he is, but after watching him play it for awhile, it almost seems as if he becomes one with it and that he is dancing freely as an extension of it. His performance is simply a joyous experience for all. A living lesson in phrasing, his every stroke begins with absolute clarity. His fingers are fast and articulate, and he plays with a wonderful combination of strength and smoothness.”

And Commerce Press declares,

“Having Bailey around is an event.  Not only is he one of the world’s finest cellists, he is also known as a caring human being.” 

What do you think? Does he make the cut?

Sincerely yours,

MTM: Musical and Magical

I’m not a fan of hot summer weather, but last week I was more than happy to spend some time outdoors. On Wednesday and Thursday evening, Mozart and more was being played in my favorite city park.

Duncan Gardens at Manito Park

My friend ~A~ had two tickets at a table and invited me to join her for the evening on Wednesday. For our ears, there were 3 talented sopranos; an octet of horns, oboes, clarinets, and bassoons; a bassist and a guest cellist. For our eyes, there was the brilliant pink in sunset clouds, the expressions on the musicians’ faces and the candles lit midway through the evening.

We brought along a bottle of wine and wine glasses from home. A simple yet rich dessert of custard with fresh berries was served, along with water and coffee.

The loveliness of linen tablecloths and classical music by candlelight, combined with being able to see the singers’ and musicians’ expressions, made it well worth the $25 ticket price IMO.

Mozart on a Summer’s Eve

Zuill Bailey was there to charm us with his cello — and charm us he did! If you have never heard of this incredible musician, you owe it to yourself to click the link on his name. He is prime mancake  one of the premiere cellists in the world. I regret not having a photo of my own to share with you.

In fact, it was such a wonderful concert that I invited SuperDad and H-J to return with me on Thursday evening. We brought folding chairs (to set up beyond the cordoned-off area for paid seating), a picnic supper, and enjoyed the music for free. While we were not able to clearly see the musicians as they played, our ears could hear, our minds could imagine, and our hearts could swell with the crescendos. In other words, it was a fabulous evening and yet another reason I love living here.

Zuill Bailey is returning in March for the 2013 Northwest Bach Festival. I think I might need to purchase a ticket.

Lucky 13

Somebody has been growing up around here:

SnakeMaster, age 1

::  blink  ::

Tonight I bid goodnight to my favorite twelve-year-old for the last time.
At dawn tomorrow, SnakeMaster officially becomes a TEENAGER. 

from left to right: Humorous-Juniorous, MusicMan, [me], Encyclopedia Blue, SnakeMaster, and SuperDad                    (family photo taken one month ago — June 2012)

Happy 13th birthday to my baby… who will soon join his brothers in height!


Cortisone, Take Me Away!

1.  I’m itchy. I’m trying not to scratch, but sometimes I can’t help it. From my fingers to the backs of my hands, to my wrists and arms, all the way up to my shoulders, I’ve got an itch that wants scratching.

2.  I could blame it on the summer heat and call it a heat rash… but no, I don’t think so — mostly because that would entail places that are not currently driving me crazy. I’ve been in this situation once before and I recognize the signs. This is all about STRESS.

3.  We are two weeks away from the BIG EVENT: the wedding of MusicMan and Rapunzel. He’s taken care of his tux and shoes, so I’m not concerned him; it’s his brothers that don’t yet have what they need — long sleeved white shirts and black dress pants and black shoes. Those boys, they keep growing! Growing everywhere except their waistlines. My guys are tall and skinny. I challenge you to find attire, long enough for their arms and legs, that will fit their slender frames. In summer, without breaking the bank, because we need it in less than 2 weeks.  SuperDad was supposed to have their footwear taken care of by now. (Okay, I acknowledge, the biggest problem was getting EB properly shod, and apparently that has been accomplished. )  GAH! I’m growing itchy just tapping out these words!

4.  Yes, I know, the bride has the entire wedding to be concerned with and the groom’s mother groom only has to worry about a simple rehearsal dinner. But back to me and my stress: how many people are actually showing up for this dinner? I mean, we aren’t being fancy or anything, but I do need to feed everyone! There’s also the teensy issue of not having a refrigerator to store any leftovers because the wedding is taking place out of town. The details are feeling like Chinese Water Torture:

drip… (napkins)…
drip… (table decorations)…
drip… (don’t forget to purchase _____)…
drip… (oh, and buy _____, too!)…
drip… (fill in the blank because I KNOW I am forgetting something important!)…
drip… (yes, I need a couple cases of water bottles, too!)…

5. I’m going to try to get through the weekend before begging for steroids, but the last time this happened, I waited too long to get the meds and my arms were marked for a month. Did I mention that the wedding is in 2 weeks and my outfit for the wedding is sleeveless?

Summer is Sunshine Season

a little slice of heaven:  Rhubarb Custard Pie

My Gratitude~Attitude List today has a definite summery feel:

  • warm sunshine
  • free rhubarb in the garden
  • rhubarb custard pie
  • live music in the park
  • sunsets of pink and orange
  • electric fans
  • Shampoo and Conditioner
  • indoor plumbing
  • dishwashers and washing machines
  • tender pea pods, eaten raw
  • red wine and candlelight
  • fresh fruit and berries

What are you thankful for today?