Monday, February 23, 2015

Monday morning musings...

So, it is Monday morning, after a busy Sunday, and I am suffused with a positivity that only caffeine and sunshine can bring.

We had a lovely family dinner here last night with the Honcoop Family…and not that the dinner was lovely – the people were. The house was echoing with loud conversation, punctuated by the screeches – some happy, some not – of the kids as they played.

It is good to visit with these people that mean so much to us, to hear what is new, what is going on in their lives. I’m grateful.

And I’m tired…and my knees and hips hurt because I made the foolish choice to wear shoes that I deem stylish while I worked in the kitchen last night. I’ve said it before and I was reminded again: I am so old that I get injured wearing cute shoes.

This reminder may require more caffeine suffused (or infused?) positivity.

When I walked this morning, I had to reduce my planned 3 loop walk to 2, as my joints were starting to send up complaints. So much for the intent to pass the 10,000 mark for steps taken this day.

I have succumbed to the latest fitness trend, and purchased a JawboneUP Move – a little bitty electronic device that counts my steps, and cheerleads my efforts, and tracks my sleep. And now I am quite enamored of checking to see how well I am doing as the day progresses.

I had my doubts about how much such a device would motivate me, and have been pleasantly surprised that I am quite interested in tracking everything I can!

The good news is that I do not have to put in much extra effort to reach 10,000 steps per day. I feared that step count would reveal that I am just barely above a slug when it comes to activity.

And now the bad news…I do not have to put in much extra effort to reach 10,000 steps per day. So I am fairly active – and still far from fit. {sad face}

That little gadget also tracks my sleep, wonder of wonders! And the good news is that most of the time, I am sleeping at 95-100%  of my need.

And the bad news is that I am sleeping at 95-100%  of my need…and often still feel tired when I awake.

So far the readings I am tracking are revealing one thing: I’m pretty wussy.

I sleep well, but don’t feel like it. I’m fairly active, but still not fit. And I feel like doing more will just be too much…

My relationship with the JawboneUP device could become love/hate. But on the other hand, the evidence is in, and tangible, and inescapable. I can’t brush it off. I really should do something about it.

I hope the little cheerleader they put in there is up to the task…Because I’m gonna need her.

And maybe another cup of coffee too.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

It's the Dead of Winter...

Author's Note: Blogger and I are not getting along when it comes to posting you'll have to imagine cute pictures of sleepy little Frenchtons as you read this...And just be thankful that I didn't feel the need to make up for the 1000 words each picture is worth.

As usual, I didn’t think it was going to happen, BUT…the winter doldrums have set in. I don’t think I’m the only one suffering from them either. I’ve heard from numerous people that they are feeling lazy, unmotivated, bored.


Me too. It’s a feature of late Januray throughout February, in my experience. I’m trying not to care. Or worry about getting things done. My goal is to keep my head above water, and not castigate myself for all the stuff I should be doing…All those plans I made in the heat of new year fantasies  and new beginnings fervor. By now, I should know myself well enough to predict that this will be a most unproductive time for projects of duty, e.g. washing walls and windows, organizing the garage, trying to get maintenance type projects out of the way before the yard work begins. Letting go of plans will not reduce the lack of productivity a whit – but I won’t feel so bad about it.


That’s an improvement…not the improvement I always strive for…but one that I can enjoy.


And so, with that introduction/explanation/true confession, I bring a most random post, covering a wide range of info.


Those of you who are my Facebook friends already know that our son-in-law, Jon, had surgery a week ago. A severely herniated disk, that had been making itself known for a few months already, demanded that it be tended to immediately -- I mean IMMEDIATELY -- by causing terrible, terrible pain. So, a month and half after saying their vows, the newlyweds tried out the “in sickness and in health” clause. I’m happy to say that they left no doubt that they meant what they said on their wedding day! They are persevering through the trials of traumatic pain, surgery, and now, recovery. Thankfully, Jon feels less pain now than he has for quite some time – but he still has a ways to go before he is back to normal activity. Oh, the boredom he is enduring! Fortunately, he is now feeling well enough to tolerate having two little dogs keep him company…


Not sure that is a blessing, but it cuts down on the boredom…as long as you don’t mind picking up the shredded paper that Olive makes when SHE feels boredom.


Jon’s going to be so glad to go back to work…


Olive and Angus stayed with us for several days while Jon was in the hospital, and after. They are good little dogs…except for when they are not…which is about a 50-50 proposition. You can count on them to be good at two different times of the day: when they get up in the morning, and when they go to bed. In between is when we have problems…


Oddly enough, they LOVE to go to bed. They are waiting for you to say it’s bedtime. When the magic words are spoken, they fly up the stairs and leap onto the bed, and have a little wrestling match of joy. They wait, poised to take their positions while you get ready to crawl in. Once the hoomans are in the bed, they burrow, or snuggle, and rapidly drop into the heavy breathing of peaceful sleep.


As the pups find their spots, I just can’t help look over to The Farmer and laugh. Quite ungraciously, I have to remind him that I had to sneak around and force my hand when it came to getting a house dog…And now, at his behest, the littles get to sleep in our bed.


I’m not sure what has happened to him…But I find it quite marvelous, and incredible!


And a little crowded.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Being sentimental is a lot of work...

A tradition that will never die! The mandatory family photo before gift opening...accompanied by a level of incompetent camera operation  that first makes us cringe and eventually makes us laugh.
So – we had a good Christmas time. I really enjoyed it this year. I guess it seemed like a breeze compared to getting ready for a wedding. And the wedding had gone so well that I was full of satisfaction as Christmas time started, and nothing could go badly enough to wreck that sense of good will.

Being of good will, and also tired, I had a much more relaxed outlook on what I expected of the holiday season and I learned a few things. The most important truth that came home to me this year was that being sentimental is a lot of work. I determined to cut back on that. All these “But we always have…” and “It has to be on…” and “But our favorite things must all be present or it isn’t Christmas”…sentiments really stress me out! Oh yes – there are some things that should never change, but there are a lot of things that don’t matter a whit. And I put a lot of effort into them…What for? 

I got to contemplating this a year or two ago when my mom mentioned, at our family Christmas party, “…and I have the flashing lights out!” She said it so triumphantly that I had to query…”Oh – what for?” “Well -- I always have some flashing lights on when you all come for the party!” Uh—sorry Mom, I never noticed. 

Poor Mom…all that work to maintain a tradition that we were unaware of. 

Anyway, that got me to thinking about some of the things I made sure were done just the same way every Christmastime…even when it was pretty hard to accomplish…and took note as to whether there was any evidence that anyone else noticed. If I doubted it, that “tradition” was done – and few others that I found especially obnoxious were jettisoned as well. 

It’s so freeing to not be sentimental!!! I mean, what did I think was going to happen if we didn’t put all the kids old ornaments on the tree?? Would none of us have any fun if they were absent from the branches? I know that I would have MORE fun if I didn’t have to find places for them all…and still for years I fussed over them.  

And I have to say that this whole “let’s give the kids an ornament each year and then they will have enough to decorate their own tree when they move out” ritual sure backfired…No one wanted to take their ornaments when they moved out. The little bears and snowmen and trains and angels just didn’t fit any theme tree they decided to create. So the ornaments stayed at my house, and my tree was perused for these themeless wonders…. And they would report an absence if I hadn’t put all of them out. 

Well, let freedom ring! Let the white dove stay in the box of kid ornaments that is stashed in a closet waiting for little grandkid hands to lovingly destroy! They don’t fit my theme anymore either…My theme is “guiltless”!  

I think I’m going to have to admit that sentimentality has just a little bit (or maybe a lot) of superstition in it. Just like the guys who don’t shave, or always wear the same socks, or do the same ritual before the game, we have to do the same rituals to win a Happy Christmastime. We don’t dare stop because what if that little action is what our victory hinges on… 

I decided to go on faith that a Happy Christmastime, and a Happy Life don’t hinge on superstitious sentimentality. I dropped some rituals, and didn’t even wait for the other shoe to drop. And nothing bad happened! Even though we had turkey dinner leftovers, and then pizza, on Christmas Day, we had a wonderful time together. 

No one even asked where their ornaments were…{insert wink, and satisfied smile}. 

Now I can’t wait to jettison some more sentimentality during the rest of the year!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Christmas Decorating...

I have a love/hate relationship with decorating for Christmas. In the earliest years of my career as a homemaker, I would not allow myself to decorate until December 1, which I considered the official start of Christmastime. It was hard to wait.

Now, decorating seems a lot more like work than highly anticipated fun. Still, it isn’t Christmastime without the decorations…So I pull out the bins, and have the house in a jumble for a couple of days before it is all accomplished.

And when it’s done, I feel so satisfied…because I like having decorated, as opposed to decorating.

However, I have noticed, in observing some other homes, that my decorating style lacks thematic elements.

I love and admire the themes I’ve seen in other homes. Trees with color coordinated ornaments and lights…Vintage Shiny Brite themes…Christmas Around the World with Globes of all sizes…Let it Snow…Collections of Snowmen…Ice Skates & Sleds…Hot Cocoa Stations…Tables set with Mason Jar Snowglobes…

 I have a sister who has a “Winter Woodland” theme in her living room, a “Merry & Bright” theme for her kitchen, and themes I can’t even remember for the rec room, and her bedroom!

Her bedroom!! If my bedroom has a theme, it would be “I’m Wearing Christmas Pajamas”. Of course, that’s only good when they are not in the wash.

While my sister is busy creating a Winter Woodland, and making her kitchen Merry & Bright, I realize that my decorating style is more along the lines of: “Where Shall I Put This?” Or “This Doesn’t Really Fit Anywhere, But I Got It On a Screaming Deal After Christmas Last Year”.

But that’s just a little too honest, so I am going to go with Eclectic…That’s what my style is: Eclectic…so, so Eclectic.

Usually when I start decorating, I think where I am going to put all this junk stuff? And by the end, I’ve run out of stuff and I’m wondering what to put on that last empty shelf…which is a problem I always try to solve after Christmas by purchasing some random item that is a Screaming Deal.

And so it goes each year…but in the end, it seems like Christmas to my themeless eyes, and I love it.

But understand that you might think you see a mish-mash when you look around…

Let me educate you…It’s Eclectic.

Monday, December 15, 2014

This Kid...

Exactly one week after Caitlin & Jon’s wedding, we packed up a U-haul to move This Kid to Olympia.

Jess has spent most of the last year working for State Senator Andy Hill, most recently managing his re-election campaign. Jess’ performance in that responsibility afforded him the opportunity to gain a new title…

…One that he had hoped for a few years ago when he began his employment in legislative support.

We’re quite happy for him, and proud of him! And to brag, just a little, Andy Hill’s campaign was one that was targeted by the California billionaire who wanted to see Andy defeated. This brought a million dollars into the campaign coffers as Senator Hill’s supporters determined that it should not happen.
Seattle Times picture of Jess and the Senator on Election Night.
My baby! Managing a million dollar campaign??!! His second win as a campaign manager for a Washington State Senate race??!!

Perhaps I should start treating him like a grown-up…

Anyway, his new position necessitated a move to Olympia -- and out of the room he had rented in Bellevue for the past 2 ½ years. He is ready to have his own place again; and I am ready to empty The Storage Unit formerly known as Dillon’s Bedroom in our home.

We packed the U-haul promptly, headed south to his home in Bellevue for the last few larger items there, and then finished the journey to his apartment in Tumwater. It didn’t take long to unload, and arrange his things.

He even has trees around his place to enjoy!
I took the time to put up all the Christmas d├ęcor.

While we were there, the Comcast guy came and before we left for dinner, he was set up with internet and TV. Home sweet home!

We celebrated over dinner at Ramblin’ Jack’s – and what a dinner!


And then we headed back to Lynden, feeling so content that our boy is happy, and doing what he enjoys, and comfortable in his own place.

It doesn’t get much better than that!

Friday, December 5, 2014

November 29, 2014...A Day That Will Go Down in Honcoop Family History...

Well, we did it.

We had a wedding 11 weeks, to the day, after Jon and Caitlin became engaged.

To be honest, prior to the engagement, not a little thought was put into the possibility that a wedding would occur in the near future. We were not bereft of ideas. But no idea became a plan or was executed until after the engagement took place.

Then we were busy with finding vintage tablecloths, gathering vintage jars and vases for flowers, making pennant banners of vintage fabrics, and filling in details along the way.

When you have a short time frame, it helps you to keep things simple. It wouldn’t have mattered anyway, as simple was the way Caitlin wanted to go. It just reduces the number of choices available, and that makes decisions easier.

So on Saturday morning, November 29, our family – meaning Cait’s siblings and parents – and Jon’s family – siblings, nephews, nieces and parents – gathered at the Mt. Baker Rotary building with officiant, Sean Taylor for the ceremony. It was as simple as could be. They said their ‘I do’s’, and their vows. The groom kissed the bride, and they were married! We all clapped and cheered…hugs all around.

I have to say that the bride did look fabulous, and the groom, looking pretty spiffy himself, had a big smile on his face when he saw her come down the aisle.

What a delightful ceremony! Relaxed, comfortable, with some laughs, and sweet memories…

Afterwards, the bride and groom ventured out in the cold and wind to get some pictures. The Lady in the Stone House, who helped Cait choose the fabulous dress, kindly lent her grandma’s fur coat to the Bride for the outdoor pictures. I can’t wait to see – and show off! – the pictures that the The SNAPsisters took that gorgeous, but freezing day! And -- full disclosure -- the pictures you see in this post all belong to The Lady in the Stone house, because I didn’t get any – not a one! Too busy having a good time, and that’s not all bad – especially when you have photographers amateur and professional who will share. (Check the SNAPsister's link for the wedding pictures. I'll let you know when they are up.)

While the Bride & Groom were gone, the last minute preparations were put in place: caterer, photo booth, cupcakes, favors for the kids.

At noon, extended family arrived to greet the newlyweds and for pictures. At 1pm, it was time for brunch.

Breakfast food is Cait’s favorite, and Hilltop Catering did a great job. The quote of the day from a lot of the menfolk was, “Every wedding should smell like bacon…” It was quite delish!

Caitlin had the brilliant idea to make favor bags for the kiddos…because she wanted the kiddos at the celebration. The wedding coloring books, crayons, finger puppets and candy were a hit…and the unlimited pictures from the photo booth didn’t hurt either. Happy kids! Oh! They were so cute! And some little girls followed the Bride everywhere…They were sure she was a real live princess!!

The grown-ups had fun with the photo booth too, and lots and lots of visiting took place. For me, it was a relaxed, enjoyable, comfortable afternoon of celebration.

Our introvert bride did a masterful job of staying engaged throughout the day…I don’t doubt that she didn’t have much left to say for the next couple of days. Fortunately, her Groom is not unaware of her introvert needs. And they were in Whistler for a few days of relaxation and rest, so she could recover from the effort.

And now, the two are one family…We are so happy for them!

And for us! We have new relatives who we enjoy, and think much of…and will look forward to getting to know better as the years go by.

A year ago at Christmastime, we didn’t even know who Jon Tuben was. Since then, we have trusted him with our daughter’s heart…and have no worries about that. They are good together.

We had a wonderful day celebrating the great things God gives us. Thanks to all who have rejoiced with us. It was a blessing!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

A.W.L...Absent WITH Leave...

It’s been a long time since I have blogged, but I know that you all will be forgiving because I have the very valid excuse of being engrossed in planning a wedding.

And, yes, I have been engrossed…but not totally immersed. There have been a lot of decisions to make, and people to contact, and plans to formulate, and actions to execute. But I have not been overwhelmed, and all-consumed.

I surely hope that I won’t find out, in less than two weeks that I should have been…

The beauty of the short timeline wedding is that there are lots of things you just can’t do…no time…Scratch it off the list. Keeping things simple is a must, and it helps to keep life on track as well. We are looking forward to a happy day, but I do not feel like this event has completely taken over our lives, which is good as I would go nuts if it did.

I hope I’m not premature in these declarations.

I’ve heard that it’s not a good thing for the M.O.B. to be nuts when the wedding day arrives…or even before it arrives. Afterwards? That is the time to be nuts…and I may be then. Certainly, I will be very tired…that happy satisfied kind of tired, I hope!

In the meantime, we have squeezed in a couple of showers, in the wedding tradition. Except not exactly…My introvert, the Bride, declared in her younger years that she would never – make that NEVER, EVER -- go to a bridal shower in her honor. These festivities seemed a scene of torture to her, where the honoree was subjected to the stares of the guests as she opened their gifts, expected to make cogent comments about each one. Frivolous and silly games were played, and way too many questions were asked about dresses, and honeymoons, and future plans. Horror of horrors, she had even heard the bride questioned about the arrival of future children!

None of their business, you know! And if you are an introvert, you know exactly what I am talking about. If you’re an extrovert, you don’t get it, and you think the introvert is ungrateful for not wanting to party with you.

Extroverts: we are wrong!

Anyway, now my dear introvert IS the Bride…and her dread of such festivities did not magically disappear when that ring went on her finger.

Unfortunately, the Introvert Bride is well-loved by her families, and they were longing to shower her with love and gifts and celebrate in the best way possible.

Such a problem to have! But it was a quandary.

As a testament to their love for The Bride, they crafted casual celebrations that would keep her discomfort to a minimum. They even offered to leave the gifts unwrapped. They left the silly games off the agenda. They refrained from prying questions, and excessive expressions of attention.

As a testament of her trust and appreciation for the love they wanted to show, my Introvert Bride compromised on her NEVER, EVER and we enjoyed two lovely family parties.

The first was the traditionally, non-traditional Likkel Couple’s Shower. Girls in attendance buy presents for the Bride. Guys in attendance buy presents for the Groom. It was a new, and admittedly, odd concept to Jon, the Groom – but he came away with some cool stuff – not the least of which was a case of Tabasco sauce and toilet plunger.

Hmm…that sounds really bad when you say it like that.

I mean someone got him a toilet plunger…and someone else got him a case of Tabasco – but they didn’t mean for those to go together.

This isn’t getting better, is it…

Well, suffice to say he got those items and an awesome flashlight, coffee mugs, Christmas light timer, a huge cast iron frying pan for camping…Guy stuff! And now he appreciates the concept of buying for the Groom.

Caitlin got lovely kitchen and house stuff – and though Jon had suggested shop uses for some of the items, they will not be allowed anywhere near it. He got his own presents, you see.

It was a fun night of teasing, joking and much laughter.

Yesterday, it was the Honcoop’s turn. All the Honcoop girls who could make it, as well as Jon’s mom, Kay, and sister, Kat, gathered for brunch at Deb’s house.

Caitlin loves brunch, and we enjoyed the delicious food and some good visiting before she opened her gifts…many more lovely things for her kitchen and new home with Jon.

The Little Girl Cousins, Madelyn and Brielle, helped bring her gifts and take away wrapping paper, and were generally a delightful distraction from Caitlin being the center of attention.

It was another fun celebration…It doesn’t hurt so much to be loved on after all!

And now we are less than two weeks from the wedding day…All that is left to do is the last minute stuff. We have thought about it so much that we are itching to do it.

It’s going to be a happy, happy day. It won’t be perfect – but it doesn’t have to be. At the end of the day, whatever happens, Jon and Caitlin will be husband and wife…with a whole host of loving people behind them who are sharing their joy.

It’s pretty wonderful.

About Me

Needing an outlet for various thoughts rattling in my head, I've created two blogs -- One about my real life ( and one where I can vent. (