Category Archives: life is good

Art Appreciation with Kepler

No school or work yesterday for us. I recently saw the Swoon exhibit with my friend and I was eager to share it with Greg and Kepler. Seizing the day, we ventured downtown to the Contemporary Arts Center.


(Just as an aside, first of all, the sky did not look like this since it was snowing! Secondly, as I have only approached the museum from the north, on the ground, I didn’t even know how cool the exterior is until I searched for images!)

We’ve been places with Kepler. He likes to rush on to the next thing. In an art museum, that can make it a little challenging to just … let … art … flow over you. (H/T to the character of Nick from the Big Chill for that phrase.) After a little flitting about, I noticed he settled down and started responding to the emotion of the pieces.

I loved seeing his response to the different displays. He had Greg’s iphone to carry around and snap photos. I had him take a picture of me in front of this Swoon piece because he looked at it and said, “Mom.” He sensed the maternal aspect of the woman and associated it with me.


His favorite piece of all was on the top floor in the Unmuseum. It looks like an old Airstream trailer, but is actually fabricated out of signs from Route 66. And it ROCKS! Like, literally. You can stand inside and rock it back and forth. He decided that he would like to have it in his room. So, we are thinking about how we can create something kind of similar for him.

And I’m just going to mention my ketogenic diet here again because prior to starting to eat this way, I would NOT have dreamed of going downtown to the CAC. I would have been laying around waiting for my next feed, like Fiona and her ilk. I have so much energy now. I love feeling good. It’s so precious after feeling so bad for so long. And we made some sweet, sweet memories.

The Swoon exhibit is marvelous, as is “A Shout Within a Storm” by Glenn Kaino. And if you haven’t been to the Unmuseum, (trust me), you want to go.

As Kepler’s (and my!) favorite book, Only One You, says, “Appreciate art. It is all around you.” Good advice indeed.

But Who Vacuums the Dryers of the Wealthy?


One thing I noticed during my whirlwind month as a UPS driver helper is that people who have large houses clearly have someone else to help with a lot of things such as landscaping and housecleaning. I also noticed that landscaped gardens and pristine entryways (the only part of the houses I actually saw) appeal to me.

It All Begins with the Pilot

Just ask the people on Sully’s flight. But I speak of the Honda Pilot, our Honda Pilot that worked fine for all those two years and then unceremoniously died on the side of the road. After six weeks of hemming and hawing, to-ing and fro-ing, fricking and fracking, pro-ing and conning, we made the decision to sell the Pilot as was, and we began the search for a new vehicle.

I Love all of You Who Do Not Have a Garage

Once again, we purchased a vehicle in the summer that does not fit in our Hobbit garage. Which was all fine and good until cold weather appeared. The high school senior who resides here now drives the Camry, which does fit in the Hobbit garage, and is all snug on the cold mornings, backing out with her garage door opener button and excellent sound system and most importantly, complete lack of the elements affecting her ability to get going in the morning.

The Joys of Dressing a Child for the Cold

As any and every parent knows, dressing a child for the cold weather takes approximately 45 minutes and yields a good 3 minutes of outside time as a reward. When one’s child must ride the Big Yellow School Bus® to school, one embarks on that whole rigamarole with the gloves and the hats and the coats and the shoes and socks and the scarves and the backpack and the extra paraphernalia for gym class and music class and the sock drive for the month of January.

Which Brings Me To Closer To My Point

Kepler looks forward to the bus every day. He asks me at night whether he is going to get to ride the bus in the morning. So, we have no problems when it’s time to get all the gear on for the trek down the driveway to the bus. Currently, though, we are navigating some new gloves (see Blaze Orange Glomitt below) which take some time because getting the fingers one per opening is eluding us at the moment. But I’m nothing if not patient and I work those little tiny fingers in and out of the slots until finally the right ones are in the right place.

I chose the pic for the Glomitts, but look at these other things: seclusion mitt? break-up mitt? a stand-up comedian could have a field day

Then, since we are also still developing fine motor skills, I help with zippering the coat, putting on the tricky socks, locating the hat, scarf, and aforementioned paraphernalia.

Today it only took 6 hours minutes to get it all done, and off he went with my “Be careful on the sidewalk walk in the grass it might be slippery” admonishments going in one ear and out the other. Slowly, he walks. Carefully, he makes it down the stairs and all the way to the end of the driveway. I watch from the window waiting for the exciting school bus to arrive. When suddenly . . .

. . . he becomes aware that Nature is Calling. Right now.

Back up the driveway, up the steps, carefully across the sidewalk, gingerly across the porch, when he decides oh never mind, so back across the porch, down the sidewalk, to the steps, when oh yes mind and he come back again. At this point, I know I am going to be driving him to school, as well as reupholstering him with all of his winter gear.

Remember the Garage and the Elements?

Yeah, my car greets every morning perched on the driveway, his little windshield wipers raised to the sky in greeting, his little side mirrors tucked in, his little windshield taking on whatever rain, moisture or snow comes by in the night. So, now I get to prepare my car for a drive, even though my major plan for the morning was going back to my snuggly bed.

And The Comedy of Errors Begins

We bought the car in the summer, so didn’t think to check and see if there was a snow scraper included. Not that there should have been; I’m just used to having a snow scraper in permanent residence in my vehicles. But this morning, I discovered there is no snow scraper. And unlike the high school senior who can just jump in the car and GO GO GO, my car takes hella preparation. So, back in the house I go, scanning my overly decluttered home for an extra scraper, can’t find one, settle on the litterbox scoop, and head back out. All of this for a 3 minute drive, mind you.

Got the kid dropped off at school and decided to use the $5.00 coupon I managed to have on my person rather than leaving it at home to purchase myself a new scraper at the hardware store. The scraper is $4.49. Bonus! I’m not even going to have to shell out any money. The decidedly serious cashier says, all alarmed, I can’t use that coupon on a sale less than $5.00. Oh. My. God. I try a few things — can you charge me more for it? Can you just make up a charge for something like “Used Air while in Store?” But no. She suggests a Reese’s Peanut Butter Christmas Tree, something I need about like I need the hilarity of the morning. Finally decide on a whatever, and now I OWE $1.49.

Do I have $1.49 in my wallet? Well, yes, but it’s in the form of a $50.00 bill. Blanche does not appear to be willing to take my $50, so I charge the $1.49. But at least I have a scraper now.

Maybe Getting Closer to my Point Now

When I get home, after the 60 minute process of getting my son to his school which is 3 minutes away, I decide oh what the heck I’ll stay up and start on the laundry. When, much to my surprise, I discover this:


The lint screen. Did someone wash a black sheep in here? What the heck? This was from one load, by the way, and I couldn’t see anything that would have done such a dastardly thing to my lint screen. So, of course I cleaned the screen, and then noticed that some of the sheep had escaped around the edges, and I realized it was Time to Clean the Lint Screen Area.

The Three Hour Stove Cleaning

Years ago, I heard Dr. James Dobson speaking about how his wife had gone to clean the stove and ended up really deep-cleaning it. What the point of the lesson was I do not remember, but I think it was something like stay focused on what you are actually trying to get done.

But really, that lint screen showed me that there was subterranean needs in the lint-al area, so I finally located a screwdriver, flashlight, vacuum cleaner, important vacuum cleaning attachment, ETC. And now that puppy is all clean. And it’s 9:42, and something that normally would be completed by 8:00 has brought me all the way here, JUST now ready to look for some sustenance, get STARTED on the laundry, and get started on the day.

And you, my considerate readers, got the opportunity to read about the last 1 hour and 42 minutes in fine, minute-by-minute detail, so all is not lost.

All this to ponder the question of who vacuums the dryers of the wealthy. Alas, I do not have an answer, but I am going to presume that there are people out there who are available for hire. Perhaps I’ve found my new calling.


Kids — All That Energy and So Little Time

A few years back, dearest Val accidentally removed the tile wall from the shower. Totally not her fault. But, it required a major overhaul of the bathroom. At the time, one of the greatest ideas I had was to install a laundry chute, making the process of getting the clothes to the washing machine easier than you can imagine.

One of the things that I’ve noticed over the years is that my kids, from time to time, find the laundry chute entirely too difficult to use. Granted, you DO have to raise a door in order to place the clothes in the chute, and if you have a LOT of clothes, you might have to stuff them down with your foot.

I always love it when I go into the bathroom, just minding my own business, singing a little ditty, and go to get a washcloth out of the cabinet. And what do I spy? Dirty clothes sitting ON TOP of the laundry chute door. Did he/she not notice the door was closed? Was he/she too intent on getting back to the computer or tv? Does he/she feel it is not his/her job to lift the door and that should really be left to the parents who have nothing to do but clean up globs of diaper droppings?

The funny part is that I almost always know who did it because he or she was probably just asked to pick up the clothes in the family room, or do a sock search-and-rescue. I especially love it when the dirty socks are FLUNG into the cabinet, mingling their icky odors with my face washcloths.

Just another sweet family memory that we will no doubt laugh about when these children grow up and start bringing home fiancé(e)s and spouses and we sit around the table telling funny stories about the kids. Can’t wait!

Welcome to My Kitchen

In the evenings, I usually retire to my bedroom to escape from the sound of the television in the family room. I snuggle up in bed with a great book and my bottle of water and read until Kepler comes in to go to sleep, at which time I go to sleep as well. Am I a party animal or what? (Note that my accompanying photo is also a public service announcement. Am I am civic-minded gal or what?)

Well, last night, my lovely diapered son had one of THOSE diapers and the rest of my lovely family rose to the occasion, bathing him, changing the diaper, fumigating the rooms, etc. which I deeply appreciate. Truly and deeply. They are all great with taking care of Kepler.

This morning, though, as I walked through the kitchen, I noticed they had, uh, forgotten something. How to say this. There was a largish, hardened clump of something. Something that by the looks of it had escaped from that bad diaper last night. (Sorry to all you childless people for whom this is probably incomprehensible).

Don’t worry. It’s all cleaned up and disinfected now. And while we were at it, we pulled the refrigerator out from the wall. I think, maybe from the looks of what we found under there, it may have needed to be done a little sooner. But it’s done now and everything is sparkly and clean and we really enjoyed those raisins. (not really!)

Which reminds me, how is it so difficult for the eaters in this house to get the grapes they snitch from the fridge into their mouth? And the chocolate chips from the freezer into their mouth? Talk about be sure your sins will find you out. Not that either thing is a sin, cause neither is, but I always chuckle when I see the chocolate chips on the floor since I know they (kids, not chocolate chips) all try to be so sly. The darn grapes, though, roll under the fridge, which, as we have established, needs to be moved a little more often. But the grapes do make some LOVELY raisins . . .

Just to finish up here — under the fridge we found the following items: 5 different types of toys, a plethora of pencils, a myriad of markers, a 1/4 cup of chocolate chips, very and sundry bits and pieces of food, and, drumroll please, an envelope from last Christmas.

But let’s focus on the bright side, shall we?

This Weekend

I did not watch any movies.
I did not watch any tv.
I did not sweep my floors.
I did not cut the grass.
I did not get up early.
I did not go to church.
I did not check out any library books.

I did, though, finish the yearbook, take it Kinko’s, place the order ready to pick up on Wednesday, and starting percolating with excitement about what the finished product will look like!

I did go to the grocery store.
I did make an outstanding stir-fry dinner Sunday night.
I did use a glucometer to test my blood sugar and see how insulin-resistant I am.
I finished the Dance of the Dissident Daughter.

And now you can see why there weren’t any posts this weekend.

Washed the Inside of my Windshield Today

I don’t know about you, but we let our windshields get really really filmy and hard to see through and we wait another three months or so before we finally get around to cleaning it. Since I am being chauffeured around by Valerie these days, I figured it might be nice for her to have a clear windshield through which to visually scan the horizon as she drives. So, I cleaned it. And she’s driving beautifully, by the way.

Picking ze Blackberries

Finally, the blackberries are ripe and ready to pick. Unfortunately, there is only ONE place around here when you can pick blackberries, aside from thorny bushes along the sides of some of the hiking trails. The berries can never get big by the paths because people pick them the second they are ripe. Anyway, my mother picked me and my daughters up at 7 am this morning so we could get there nice and early.

I noticed that people seemed to be feeling rather competitive this morning. Although we got there early and started out in the front-ish of the group, many people who came later walked around the group and more toward the front in order to get to the bushes first.

This place only allows people to pick on Saturdays, so it’s a great family outing, but there are a lot of people and only so many berries. The bushes were completely picked out in less than 45 minutes. We ended up with 4 1/2 pounds, which was a far cry from the huge quantities I was hoping to get.

My companions were wanting to push forward a bit so we could get to the bushes sooner, but I just didn’t want to do that. Maybe we would have gotten the bigger berries, but I couldn’t see getting all fashed up about picking blackberries. There will be several other Saturdays to pick, plus there is a place in northern Kentucky, which is quite a bit farther away, but they pick every day. I expect we will end up with enough.

Hoping you get to enjoy some blackberries this summer . . .

Promised Photos

Greg has been wanting a pond for YEARS. Back when we lived in northern Wisconsin, we used to love canoeing through the quiet channels of the lakes, and the water plants were always so peaceful and beautiful. We have many beautiful memories from those times.

Sunday, he came driving home with the back of the van filled with a pond liner and a BUNCH of rocks. He had been to our favorite water garden store and purchased a pond kit. I could tell he was pretty motivated, because when he got home after work on Monday, he dug the entire hole for the liner, went to Lowe’s to buy sand, put the sand under the liner, and partially filled the liner with water. By this time, he was having to use the car headlights to see what he was doing, so he dragged himself inside and fell into bed. Tuesday, he finished filling the pond and got the pump placed and hooked up. And Wednesday, he stopped by the water garden on his way home from work and picked up the plants that came with the kit. By the time I got home Wednesday evening, he was sitting next to the pond, reading a book, and enjoying his little oasis. When I took the photos this morning, I noticed that the big rock in the second picture looks exactly like a heart. To me, that heart represents Greg’s love for nature, for beauty, for me and the kids, and for God. So, when I go out the front door, not only do I smile at the beautiful pond, but when I come home, I am reminded of his loving heart. Pretty cool, if you ask me.

Highlights of the Game

My family and I spent the afternoon at the Great American Ballpark watching the Cincinnati Reds play baseball. Today was Disability Awareness Day, sponsored by Mass Mutual, and we were given tickets by our financial planners. In addition to the special day, our wonderful pediatrician was given an award by Exceptional Parenting magazine and we got to see him out on the field receiving the award. He is such a special doctor, taking awesome care of all the kids, but especially Kepler, because he has a son with Down syndrome and many patients with DS, so he is just a great doctor for us.

Although the Reds lost, we all had a great time, with the possible exception of the couple in front of us who endured not a few bumps as we went in and out the aisles for various and sundry things. Sorry guys. I did ask at one point if they have children, and they said yes. I figured if they didn’t have children, all the jostling might have really been getting on their nerves, but all was well.

Here are a few photos from the trip. You’ll see that I managed to get Greg’s shoulder in one photo at least.