Saturday, May 31

Time Spent in the Company of Friends


my own game
click here for the rules.

Celebrate good times with me? Slap me some commentage and leave your link if you're playing the game. I raise my mimosa to you all!

1. Soccer Mom in Denial
2. citizen jane
3. Goofball
4. Allie
5. Kate Forsey
6. CableGirl
7. DaveH Expat
8. Flower Child
9. grace

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Wednesday, May 28

A Sass Act

From an email exchange between my boss and me.
(Yeah, this is how I speak to my superiors)

From: Pjer
To: Jenn (and some other people whose names are being protected)
Subject: vergadering
Importance: High


I like to invite you to my party
Wednesday at 14.00 uur sharp…..
Are you to [sic] late; eigen schuld dikke bult, the door is closed and you get a penalty

From: Jenn
To: Pjer
Subject: RE: vergadering

Is the penalty a long story all about me? I will take it.


From: Pjer
To: Jenn
Subject: vergadering

No, you have to bake a nice tart and all the slices are for us and not for the person who received the penalty! Scary…….boehoe!?


p.s the leader is always in time

From: Pjer
To: Jenn (and some other people whose names are being protected)
Subject: vergadering


I’ll send you a nice agenda…
Jenn says: ”I (shall) want to bake a tart for the first time”!
Thank you Jenn on behave [sic] of all.


From: Jenn
To: Pjer
Subject: RE: vergadering

Hahahaha! Sure. But beware, it just might be a booger tart.


Weird that.

Tuesday, May 27

Where in the World is The Netherlands?

Mapquest Wednesday (which begins on a Tuesday)

Monday, May 26

On Being Appreciated

Just out of the shower, Sunday evening.

"Okay, pal it's time to get jammies on. Can you go get them?"

"Yeah! Uh, where are my jammies Mom?"

"Hmmm. I think I saw some on your floor by your shelves."


"These jammies Mom? You mean these jammies? Are these mine?"

"Sure looks like it to me."

"Yeah, these are my jammies Mom!"

"Okay then. Now can you go get some pants to wear under your jammies? Or are you wearing no pants?"

"I want pants."

"Go find some then."

"In my basket?"

"Yup. In your basket."


"Oh, Mom, this is a really big problem!"

"What's the problem bud?"

"There are not pants in my basket!"

"Hmmkay, let's see... How about these?"

"Hey! Those are my pants! Are those my pants, Mom? Are my pants clean?"

"Yup. I am just folding things from the laundry. Those are your pants and they are clean."

"Oh, Mom. I love my pants! You made my pants clean Mom! Oh, Mom, my pants! That's great! I love you Mom."

That friends, is my sweet dream.

Sunday, May 25

Oops, I Did It Again


my own game
click here for the rules.

Those who didn't forget (like elephants don't!):
Flower Child

Wednesday, May 21

Tuesday, May 20

Brown Paper Packages

I have some favorite things in life. A few of them are the raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens variety, but many are a bit more esoteric than that, and deeply personal to me.

One of them I shall tell you about here.

Because that's what I do here. Tell you about stuff, I mean.

My husband is a musician. A music maker of the talented play by ear kind of guy. I first discovered this about him when we had been dating for just a few weeks. On a dare, and to show what a compassionate kind of guy he is, and I suppose to ensure that the wrapping himself around my heart was complete, he took me "home" one weekend. I was homesick, he was my hero and we made the 5 hour drive from Southern to Northern Utah beginning at midnight one Friday night so I could spend the weekend with my family. Sometime mid-day on the Saturday (after sleeping in a bit) I was wandering down the hallway and heard a lovely melody being played on the piano. I remember thinking to myself that perhaps my sister had decided to really take her lessons seriously and had somehow mastered the instrument in the few months I had been away. I turned the corner into the living room and spotted my boyfriend sitting at the piano, his long fingers tickling the ivory.

I. Was. Smitten.

Musicians really do me under.

Of late, his instrument of choice is the guitar. As he likes to say, he just plays at it.
I tend to think of him as fabulously gifted.

My musician really does me under.

When the big kids were little kids he often sang them off to sleep with a private concert in the hallway near their bedrooms. This was the first tutelage in music appreciation for Ian and Emma and both could sing every word to not only "Puff the Magic Dragon" but also "Bye Bye, Miss American Pie" before they were in kindergarten.

It's these little things that make me happy.

So, music is a constant background in our home. Often that is our own homegrown concert courtesy of the musician I married. He plays, he sings, he entertains with spontaneous improvisational blues performances. I love to listen to him play whether it is in earnest or in free-play, and I find myself still smitten over him. Just nearly everything about him. For years now the show is often complemented with dance performances and do-wop backup by the children. I love that too.

That definitely ties it.

Saturday, May 17

It's What's for Breakfast


my own game
click here for the rules.

I like mine with chocolate. You?

You playing? Tell me so and leave your link,

I will have Ian flip one for you too.

1. Goofball
2. Kate Forsey
3. Soccer Mom in Denial
4. citizen jane
5. Allie
6. Isabella
7. Flower Child
8. brocasarea

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Thursday, May 15

These Are the Things I Think About

Things I brought home from the good ol' US of A:

  • Peanut butter.
  • Grape Jelly.
  • Jolly Ranchers, Starburst, Peppermint Patties, Reeses Peanut Butter cups, and Twizzlers. (well, the Twizzlers didn't make it home, I ate them all in flight)
  • Souvenirs for everyone at my house.
  • Including the WICKED PISSA beer glasses I bought for Don.
  • Peanut Butter crackers.
  • New clothes from Target. (All hands over hearts for the beauty and wonder that is Tahr-jay)

Things I left behind in the Boston area:

  • My heart.
  • It's all wrapped up in 3 redheads, a big guy who runs marathons and a darling curly haired blonde.
  • I miss them all.

Things I forgot to bring home from America:

  • Milk Duds.
  • Cheesy microwave popcorn. (but not because I didn't look for it, I couldn't find it anywhere. MY theory is that New Englanders have too much respect for their bodies than to ingest such a concoction, but still it was a request from a friend, and I failed in the quest to locate and return with it. Does anyone know where I can find such a silly product?)
  • Goldfish crackers.
  • Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.
  • Baking Soda.

Things I tried to bring home from the States, but being that I am a dork and completely spaced the whole "liquids on an airplane restriction" had confiscated at Airport Security:

  • A jar of Molasses.

Things I have as seemingly permanent souvenirs of the weekend trip:

  • Random trinkets and sparkly things from nearly every shop I visited.
  • Several hundred photos.
  • Jet lag.

Monday, May 12

Hanging My Hat

The wheels of my two suitcases call out a rhythmic cadence as we pull them across the cement tiled walking path. In my head I can hear Andrew calling out his countdown to "our house" by inspecting each of those preceding in the row with a cheerful "Is that my house? No." as we walk past. I have loved every minute of my 4 days away but the excitement of being home is mounting with each step as Don and I approach our front garden. Having already lingered in the arms of this man-I-am-crazy-about at the airport reunion I am looking forward to throwing my arms around those kids-who-make-me-crazy when I step in the door.

At our arrival home, Andrew looks up through the large front window (which desperately needs cleaning) and through the glass I can hear him inhale sharply, then see him grin broadly. He calls out "Are you home Mama? Did you get back from Boston?" I smile at him and shout "I'm home" which he answers with an exuberant jumping celebration while pumping fists in the air and shouting "YEAH!". I practically trip over myself as I push open the front door and pull my suitcase in behind me.

I am not even through the front hall when my independent 14-year-old Ian has me in a lock-grip hug. It's a stellar moment with my oldest boy. Then Emma peeks her head around the door frame and with a grin, a kiss and a hug welcomes me home too. My Andrew surveys all the hugging, the greetings, the plethora of luggage I have hauled home from the United States (without much concept of what it may contain in the way of pop-tarts, peanut butter, and cheez-its) and then looks at me and says "You're home Mama!"

Only a few minutes later the five of us congregate in the living room (loot distribution will soon begin) to visit about our collective time away from each other. It's a great family moment. Kind of one of those that you wish you had every time you were all in the same room together.
Andrew pats my leg to get my attention and then with a definitive move to cross both his arms and his legs, he shakes his head back and forth slightly as if in wonderment and awe over the moment too and says "I am just so happy that you are home, Mom."

Home is such a great feeling.


P.S. Don't miss this photo at 1 Picture a Day. You may just recognize someone... and the feeling she is describing here.

Saturday, May 10

Friday, May 9

Shooting Boston

Thursday, May 8

Almost Paradise

In case you missed the subtle message behind my Wordless Wednesday (which incidentally was quite full of words) post this week, I am in Boston for the weekend.

In Boston.
By myself.
Visiting my friend.
In Boston.

Can I get a Whoopee?

Yeah, I hear ya.

I arrived here last night (Massachusetts time: 8:00 p.m. My body clock time: 2:00 a.m.) and after a short visit with Allison, a quick meet and greet with her husband, and a gaze at three sleeping angels tucked into their various beds, I climbed into bed myself and (mostly) snoozed the night away. There was that brief moment in time when I heard Allison's darling 4-year-old wailing from her mom's room in the night that there was a stranger sleeping in her bed (Think Goldilocks reversed... a strange Mama bear in her house sleeping in HER BED!) and there was that other brief moment in time when I really, really, really had to pee so I had to leave the comfort of darling Goldilocks' bed and make my way to the bathroom. Other than that I slept well and woke rested and ready for my first day's adventures in Boston.

Did I mention I am in Boston?

First stop on the tour today was an absolute highlight for me. A moment in time not soon to be forgotten. You see, I got to be the guest in a first grade classroom this morning. The classroom is that of a certain big brother to Goldilocks mentioned above. In this class they are studying The Netherlands.(*ahem* That's where I am from) So with some cajoling and finagling and general over the top 'please, please, please let me come talk to your class while I am in Boston', I scored an invitation from the teacher to come and talk to the kids about what it's like to live in Holland.

Can I get a Yahoo?

That's the spirit.

We talked about windmills and wooden shoes.
We tasted Hagelslag and Drop.
We discussed money and Her Majesty Queen Beatrix's status.
We read stories and learned vocabulary words.
We pondered canals, polders and oceans.
We puzzled about the possibilities of a visit from Sinterklaas.
We practiced those crazy Dutch diphthongs and consonants. (oh! That "g")
We salivated a little over stroopwaffels and speculaas.

I should mention I brought chocolade for everyone, so I think even the kids would agree that all for all it was a worthwhile experience.

For me, it was a little piece of it-doesn't-happen-often-enough teaching heaven.

Can I get a Hoera?

Just a little louder please.

Monday, May 5

The Love Bug

Andrew made his appearance in our lives five years ago today. His debut to our family included all the usual ways a baby makes its way--maximum discomfort giving way to pain and then ultimate awe--when after a very long night and day of induced labor the nurses laid his purple-smoogey-pug-nosed self onto my belly. And Don and I met our third child.

His arrival in our lives marks the beginning of change for our family. I can never be sure if the surprise discovery (after a 7 year gap) of being pregnant was the impetus for all that change or simply coincidental. But you can well mark the year 2003 as that time and place where movement was afoot. Movement which ultimately brought our family across the ocean to uncharted (to us) territory as residents of a country, not our own.

There is not a minute of that journey I wish had been any different.

And truth be told, there is hardly a minute of life with Andrew in it that I would trade for anything. (There are a few sleepless nights I would reclaim, and let's be honest the temper tantrums of toddlerhood are not my favorite, but all for all it's all good.)
Having Andrew makes life an every-day-is-a-new-discovery adventure.
And I am so glad to be along for the ride.

If you are looking for cuteness and memory of just what I mean, you can read the archives of the Andrew anecdotes here.

But whether you take the time to walk down five-years of memory lane with me today or not, please add your voice (It's Music Monday after all) to the song we are singing here today.

"Happy Birthday Andrew!"
Mama is mad about you.

Saturday, May 3

Enticing Destination


my own game
click here for the rules.

Sweet on the game? Move forward and leave your link.
Comments are always appreciated. Think of it as blogger candy.

1. Goofball
2. Soccer Mom in Denial
3. Mariposa
4. citizen jane
5. Kate Forsey
6. Flower Child
7. Jenny
8. Allie

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Friday, May 2


Stepping into the city of Prague in the Czech Republic is a little like stepping back in time, if only for the apparent evidence that the city has been standing there for a long time. A long, long time.

Often when I travel I am overwhelmed with that notion and the evidence of such. Coming from the western United States--Phoenix, Arizona at that--the idea that something or some things have been standing, in use, or on display for hundreds (if not thousands) of years actually blows my mind.

I like the feeling.

Walking through Praha for 4 days with Don I was struck over and over again by the history of that area. And as is (again) common for me I found myself really thinking about the history of the people who had been walking those same streets for hundreds (if not thousands) of years.

I wish I knew their stories.

Saturday evening we entered the doors of the Estates Theater in our dress up travel clothes (I put on my fancy earrings!) to take our seats in the gallery and watch a performance. The perfomance was Mozart's Don Giovanni; an opera, which incidentally made its worldwide premiere at this very theater in 1787.

It was so cool.

The following photos are my favorite images of this historic piece of architecture. And just for you a shot or two of me in my fanciest earrings. (I know you were hoping for that)

(Told ya they were fancy!)

Enjoy the flashback.


flashback friday

flashback friday hosted by 42

Thursday, May 1

Where the Heart is

I am part of an ever growing circle of friends. People who seemingly love and accept me as I am and hold no real expectations that I should be something different than just that. These are good, good people in my life.

Some of them I have never met face to face.

But none of them are imaginary.

I remember my imaginary friends. I had many. They were very small, a bit elfish in nature and they all lived in a colony in my closet. They came to play with me quite often, and usually helped me with the more tedious tasks of my five-year-old life. Like when I had to put my socks away.
Later as a school aged kid, I daydreamed often that Michael Jackson was stashed away under my desk helping me grasp the finer points of my education. I am sure it all stemmed from the Jackson Five hit "ABC", but whatever its source, for awhile Michael was the man for me.
Okay, he was a boy and he was imaginary, but whatever.

I suppose we all (if we had them) grow out of (or away from?) our imaginary friends as we learn and gain the skills to make friends (and keep them) in the real world. I haven't seen my imaginary friends in many, many years. Yet still, I remember them fondly.

Somewhere in the growing up years I discovered a book which will likely forever remain my favorite read on this planet. Of course I am referring to The Little Prince by Antoine de St-Exupery.

Best. Book. Ever.

My favorite passage between its pages being the lesson of the fox who teaches the Little Prince (upon his discovery that his flower is not unique at all but is merely a common rose which can be found in multiples in the gardens on earth) that it is the time we waste for our friends which makes them special. The thing which makes them unforgettable. That the time we spend to tame each other and become friends is valuable, maybe even necessary.

Then the fox shares with the Prince in a simple line the one truth I have held firm to for years: "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye"

Sentiment worthy of contemplation.

And implementation.

In recent weeks I have experienced a serious roller coaster ride of experience and emotion in my personal life. It's personal so I haven't really shared it, except in cryptic form here at the blog. I still don't intend to share the details but I will say that the surface is smoothing out and my feet are steady underneath me. This last in answer to the "are you okay?" query from a friend last week.

And to be honest, in large measure I am okay because of that circle of friends who asked those kinds of questions and made gestures to send me cards or emails, or picked up the phone to check on me.

Some of those friends are those I have yet to meet. But they all tell me--and I trust this--that they love me for who I am and each of them offered support in whatever best way they could offer it from near or far.

All of them wasted a bit of time for me.

This friendship and community bond I have long waxed poetic about in my life is tangible; real, not imagined. And completely empowering.

To my friends, old and new, near and far, I want you to know I see you rightly.

And you are essential.