Top Ten Things to Do in a Weekend

Since retiring, my weekends have a little different focus than when I was working full time.  Here are ten things that I generally use my weekend for:

1.  Spend a morning with Doug.  He used to get up and go to work on weekends just the same as any other day of the week.  Now he stays home Saturday mornings, and we get to have tea together and chat.  Sometimes we even go out to breakfast.  I love going out for breakfast, but Doug never really had time for it; now he is making an effort for us to spend more relaxed time together.

2.  Going to church.  This happens every week unless one of us is out of town.  Worship refreshes my soul: singing, praying, reading the Bible. 

3.  Lunch at Su Casa.  Every Sunday after church, we go to Su Casa restaurant in Fennville.  Great Mexican food; they don’t even give us menus any more.  In the winter, I have small chicken soup nad Doug has a small beef soup.  This is not your usual soup: it comes with huge chunks of vegetables and a chicken leg and chicken thigh.  You are supposed to take the meat off the bone, wrap it on a tortilla, dip it on the soup and eat it.  I also add rice to mine.   Our little town has some awesome restaurants, and people come from all over Michigan to eat here.

4.  Reading.  The weekend is when I can spend some quality time reading more than just a few pages at a time.  This is a great perk of retirement.  Instead of planning for the week of lesson plans, I can use that time to read.  My Kindle has made this super easy; I can just download the latest and greatest novel in a minute or under.  I may be also spending a few more dollars than I used to on books, but it’s supposed to keep my mind sharp, right?

5.  Watching favorite TV shows on DVD.  I have always loved TV; I admit this with no guilt.  However, I have not always had time to watch the shows that I liked.  I am slowly collecting seasons of some of my faves that are no longer on.  Also, we have never had cable or satellite – only antenna – so I could never have seen some of the shows that I wished I could have seen.  DVDs to the rescue, and the time now to watch them!

6.  Baking.  I like to bake, but Doug and I try not to eat sweets.  I can bake now on weekends and spend time searching for some healthier alternatives to traditional dessert stuff.

7.  Playing the piano and singing.  My singing voice has gotten out of practice, mainly because I didn’t practice 🙂  I was never that great at piano playing, but passable.  Now I find myself having time to do both.  I usually find myself doing both at the same time, which can lead to some “interesting” sounds coming from my music room.  Note that I only do this practicing when no one else is at home!

8.  Laundry.  With just Doug and I around, I can get all the laundry done on Saturday, which is great!  I try to get it all done in one day, and then I don’t think about it until the next Saturday.

9.  Take extended weekend trips.  Not that I’ve done this very often, but it is nice to be able to do it when I want to.  For instance, Doug and I went to New Orleans on a long weekend.  (I blogged about our trip: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3)  Since I generally don’t work on Mondays or Fridays, this makes four-day weekends almost every week!

10.  Fun shopping.  Sometimes during the week, I go shopping and do errands.  I used to have to do errands on the weekends.  Now if I go shopping, I can just go for the fun stuff, like clothes, or just window shopping!

Some parts of my weekends have changed and some have stayed the same.  One thing for sure is that they are more relaxing.

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Dawn’s Early What?

Last night I posted a sarcastic status on Facebook about Christina Aguilera’s messing up the words of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”  I admit that I have relented on my sarcasm a bit.  From my teeny-weeny singing experience ( solos in church ), I have just the merest inkling of what it must be like to stand in front that vast crowd, not to mention the TV audience.  Even super stars are human and prone to getting spooked by such statistics.  It doesn’t take much to psych yourself out and lose focus on the moment.  I guess I will cut Christina some slack for messing up the words.  I could do without the thousand extra notes and embellishments that some artists want to put into their individual renditions of our national anthem.  I like it best when the melody is pure just as it was written.  However, it is notoriously difficult to sing, so I think all the sliding around the musical scale is to cover up the fact that they cannot hold the notes.

I wonder, though, about when and if our students are learning our national anthem.  I always thought it was a given, but recently I was talking to a student who was trying out for a part in a musical.  As part of the tryout, he had to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner.”  Why, I don’t know, as it is hard to sing, as I mentioned before.  He admitted that he did not know the words.  At one point, he sang “danserly” for “dawn’s early.”  He actually wrote “danserly” on the board to illustrate his point.  He thought “danserly” was a word? 

I hope this is not typical of our students’ knowledge of the national anthem, not to mention other elements of our heritage.  We need to celebrate all of our diversity but not lose sight of our collective culture as Americans.  Schools – teach the national anthem.  And please provide the words written out so future students don’t have to resort to “danserly.”

Just in case, here they are:

Oh say, can you see

by the dawn’s early light

What so proudly we hailed

at the twilight’s last gleaming

Whose broad stripes and bright stars

Through the perilous fight

O’er the ramparts we watched

Were so gallantly streaming.

And the rockets’ red glare,

The bombs bursting in air

Gave proof through the night

That our flag was still there.

Oh say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave

O’er the land of the free

And the home of the brave?

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Singing, worshipping, reading, resting, and being entertained – a perfect Sunday!

From my earliest memories, Sundays were days of relaxing and regrouping.  We always went to church and Sunday School, then lunch, an afternoon of relaxing and, in the fall, watching football with my dad.  Back to Youth Group and Sunday evening church.  Actually, Sundays were busy in terms of going places, but the pace was leisurely and undemanding.  Sometimes after Sunday night church, we would go out with some other families from church.  The kids would sit at one table, and the adults at another.  It was fun.  My mom had the day off on Sunday also because we always went out to lunch after church.  For a while, we went to a hamburger place called the Cuckoo Clock.  The building was shaped like a cuckoo clock complete with a cuckoo that came out every fifteen minutes.  It was strictly a drive up place – no inside seating just like the original McDonalds.  I always got an orange milk shake, back in the days when looking at a milk shake didn’t add 2 inches to my hips!  Generally, we didn’t have dinner; we popped popcorn and watched Mission:Impossible.

My perfect Sunday now is different.  We still go to church every Sunday, but there is no Sunday night service.  We go to a Methodist church with a traditional worship service.  While I enjoy singing praise choruses and contemporary songs, I really like the traditional hymns we sing.  Doug and I still go out to lunch every Sunday after church.  We go to Su Casa, an authentic Mexican restaurant in Fennville.  In the winter, we get soup, which is totally different from American-style soups.  In the summer, we get tortas, a Mexican sandwich, which are huge and delicious.  After lunch, it’s home where I will either read or watch a favorite DVD.  It used to be that I would have to grade papers or make lesson plans, but no longer!  Evenings we have a home-cooked meal, visit, and more reading or watching TV.   Sunday evenings are even better now that Mondays are not work days!

When I don’t go to church, my week does not start out as well as when I have listened to a sermon that stimulates my thinking about my personal relationship with God.  You see, I often don’t do this on my own in my own personal study during the week as much as I should.  Yes, Sunday is a day of rest, but most of all, the time of worship prepares me for the week ahead.  That is indeed a perfect Sunday.

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Lucy Comes to Visit

Lucy playing

I love dogs. 

This was not always true.  When I was a child, I was pretty much traumatized by a huge dog that lived on our block.  He didn’t do anything to me, but he was bigger than me and way too affectionate and I was by myself on the sidewalk as he ran up to me.  I panicked and screamed and never wanted to be near another dog.

Then we got Samantha Chardonnay.  Yes, we named her after a grape variety.  This was the first year we lived in Fennville and starting the winery.  She was a gift to us from Doug’s parents – a pure bred Labrador Retriever.  She came to us as a puppy, and I trained her.  I loved her from the first day we got her and she holed up under the seat of the car.  The car carpet was black, and I couldn’t even see her to get her out.  She was really my first baby.  When Justin was born, Sam “adopted’ him and was very protective of him and then later, Gwen.  A hit and run driver got her one winter and we were all crushed.

Then we got Coco, our second Lab, from some friends.  She was already two when we got her, but she was a very laid back dog.  The kids were older and loved playing with her.  We called her an “affection sponge” because she was always plastered to someone in the family so she could get petted.  She died of old age and we were all sad again.  After that, the kids were out on their own, and Doug and I decided not to get another dog yet.

I still find myself lonesome, however, for another dog.  They are so much company and always love you no matter what.  When Gwen told me she was going to get a dog, I was excited.  My first grand dog!

Lucy is her name.  She’s a black Lab mix and very cute.  She came to visit us for the first time last weekend.  She was adorable and very energetic!  We had so much fun playing with her.  She is just learning to not jump up, but she can hardly contain herself so she runs around and comes up to you again and jumps back.  Doug scared her by pretending to bark – she ran and hid by Grandma.  Then he pretended to chase her and she would run away, and when he stopped she come back to him and jump around until he pretended to chase her again.

Lucy

When Gwen went over to the winery, Lucy was beside herself.  She whined and rang her bell by the door (ringing the bell means she has to go outside).  I took her out after bundling up in boots, coat, scarf, gloves, putting her leash on and braving the snow flying.  She retraced Gwen’s steps, at a run, I might add.  Being small, she almost got buried in the snow.  Being old, my legs are not up to running through snow drifts any more.  We were quite a sight! 

Lucy comes with quite the accoutrements!  She had a crate where she slept and spent time when we were at the Chili Cook-off.  Apparently, this was only her travel crate – she has two more at home.  Also she has beds, blankets, two dishes, numerous squeaky toys, a rope, regular food, treats (Gwen made home-made dog biscuits!).  I can’t wait until we have the baby and the dog visiting. 

I’m glad Lucy is in our lives.  Gwen and Brian adore her, and Lucy is definitely a keeper!

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Fun with Family – Alec’s First Birthday

Alec

Alec smiling for the camera

Last weekend was the 1st birthday of my great-nephew, Alec.  I’ve been to all the 1st birthday parties of the great-niece and nephews, so no way I was going to miss this!  Alec is the brother of the twins, Richard and Arial, who are 3.  My other great-nephew, Benjamin, just turned one last Sept.  They are 4 very special, adorable kids.

Alec’s birthday party was called “Alec’s Mexican Fiesta.”  It was held in Rick and Jaina’s (Alec’s parents) new home.  With lots of rooms and lots of circular running paths through the rooms, you can just imagine the level of energy and noise generated by the kids.  Additional friends brought their kids, too.  They never stopped the entire night. 

Benjamin telling us what fun he is having

Alec was sooooo adorable when he was getting his picture taken by various aunts, uncles, parents, grandparents, and friends. He actually poses for pictures now! You call to him, “Aleeecc” When he looks up and sees the camera, he squints his big baby blue eyes and crinkles up his nose. When the camera flashes, he goes right back to playing. I wonder where he learned that???

As usually happens with kids’ birthday parties, the birthday boy got a little grumpy, so he ended up being the first one in bed.  First, though, he demolished his very own red cake made for him by his Grandpa D.  Alec started by trying to break off pieces, but he soon gave that up and picked up the entire layer and just started munching.  His face was red, and not from being hot.  After the red cake, he was done with the birthday stuff and got whisked off to a bath and bed.  What a cutie!

Alec

Alec loves his cake

The other kids were still up and running.  Arial danced for us for a solid 20  minutes without stopping.  She twirled and used her balloon to enhance her performance.  She made me tired just watching her.  Richard decided to pretend he was invisible-you know, if you cover your eyes, you magically disappear!  When the hands went down, I “saw” him and then he would run away.  I forget how children do not tire of these games.  I know I was tired just watching them, so I bet they slept well.  At least I hope so, for Rick and Jaina’s sake.

Arial in her dancing tutu and stylish heels

I’m so glad I made it to the party. I love my nieces and nephews (the “regular” ones and the greats). Aunt Lynn is so blessed to be a part of their lives, and I love it that they come and visit me still. 

Richard making faces for Aunt Lynn

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What makes me smile

Thinking about a new granddaughter in May

Lucy, Brian and Gwen’s new puppy

My former students who greet me with hugs in the hall

My children have jobs!

“Everybody Loves Raymond”

Watching Doug “read” (also known as sleeping in the chair)

A clean house

Lots of flowers in the summer (I’m looking ahead!)

The numbers on the scale going DOWN!

Looking at Gwen’s picture when she was one, talking on the phone.

Looking at Justin’s picture when he was two, reading beside his daddy.

Laying on my new comfy mattress and using my new soft pillow – heavenly!

Watching Chicago Bears’ touchdowns!

Sending a smile your way, too!

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How not to be chic in winter

A few days ago when I was exercising at Curves, some of us started reminiscing about what we used to wear during the winter months – and had a good laugh.  One lady remembered her mom making her wear boots every day, but when she got on the bus, she took them off.  This wouldn’t be so weird except that she had to wear them until May!

This brought us to a conversation about shoe bags.  Everyone had a shoe bag, in which we carried our shoes to and from any activities.  Boots were definitely not stylish back then.  They were snow boots – we had one pair that we wore all season long, hence the shoe bag so we could change into shoes that WERE stylish.  When boots finally got good-looking, we called them go-go boots because they were worn by go-go dancers.  I got some when I was in college; they were shiny blue, tight and stretchy, and went up to my knees.  The first time I wore them I went shopping in downtown Chicago.  I don’t think my feet have ever been that sore!   The things we do for fashion.Gogo-300 Stretch Brown Knee High Retro 60's Go Go Boots by Pleaser

I recalled that when I was in Junior High, I got so mad at my mother because she made me wear tights every day.  Nowadays this would not seem odd, but tights were not “in” when I was in 7th and 8th grade.  Knee socks were styling.  You know the kind – cable knit in many different wonderful colors.  All the cool girls wore them with their cute pleated skirts.   This was another fact of my childhood – we had to wear skirts to school every day, all the way through high school.  This was my mother’s rationalization, of course, for the tight-wearing.  Wearing tights would keep the cold from seeping into my pores and making come down with pneumonia or something!  When I got to high school, I did not have to continue with the tights.  You see, there was a kind of rite of passage back in Illinois that when you graduated from 8th grade, you wore your first nylons and first high heels during the graduation ceremony, for which you also got to have a fancy new dress.  I remember that my greatest fear was that I would fall while walking across the stage.

All of a sudden, in high school I was free of tights, and we wore nylons to school – with girdles or garter belts.  Thank God, they invented panty hose before I graduated and saved me from four years of torture.

Another remembrance from my winter days in school were Hush Puppy shoes.  This was another one of my parents’ weird notions.  My sister and I had flat feet and some shoe salesman told them that we should wear these hush puppies to support our feet.  Support is good, but these shoes were ugly!  They were suede, thus warm, and laced up, came in drab colors like brown and gray, and looked like men’s shoes.  They made me feel ugly also, again comparing my disgusting shoes to other girls’ loafers and flats. 

Lifetime

Hush Puppies

Obviously, I survived my childhood just fine.  I’m sure my children would have some things to say about weird things I made them wear. 

And no, I am NOT putting any dates in this post!

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