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The Beeping Closet



It’s Sunday morning.

Early Sunday morning.

How early, you ask?

Early enough.

And there is a beeping that has me mad.


Let’s go back though to Friday night.

Friday night we attended a musical put on by a local playgroup.

“Nunsense” is a hilarious take on a group of nuns trying to raise money to bury some of their fellow sisters 

who had passed away while eating a soup poisoned unknowingly by one of the nuns  who was also the not-so-great cook.

Lots of laughs, enjoyable singing and involvement with the audience led to a fun night with our friends and family.

Which led to feeling a bit energized after the show.


So since we weren’t quite ready to go to bed,

we thought we would catch up on some of our recorded shows.

“The Taste” was first on the list,

and we couldn’t wait to find out which contestants would go home and what fantastic spoonfuls would the judges get to take a bite of.

We love this show because first of all the judges are great chef’s who obviously know what they are doing when it comes to the kitchen, also they are entertaining with their sarcastic wit, or delicately described dishes or their ability to know that one missing element that needs to be added to make a perfect spoon.

The contestants are a mix of wonderful stories you hope leads into winning

and over confident people you don’t mind seeing go home.

I mean this one girl just will not listen to her mentor, Nigella.

She needs to go home!  Yet she is still there and not because she can cook.  

She just skates on by.   Making food not quite horrible enough to send her packing.

This is what makes a great show- 

a controversial player staying in the game while clearly they should not be there when compared to the competent and likable contestants.

You are cheering for the good and booing the bad.


Well, when we finished that show,

I had to watch American Idol.

I mean this season (so far) exceeds the last 5 years in watchability. 

Harry Connick Jr. just absolutely makes this season worthwhile.


It was late and we should have just gone to bed,

but no…

And so it was after 1:30 when our heads hit our pillows.

We knew,


we knew that the next morning would come quickly.


The alarms went off at 7:00 a.m. in harmony.

We had to get up and pack and get the dogs stuff ready and shower and be ready to go

for my father-in-law and step-mother-in-law who were picking us up. 

We were going to St. Louis to ultimately see our nephew in his high school play.


Boy, did we know we were going to be tired.

But I took a shot of delicious Nespresso and prepared in a hurry.

Off we went with a stop at Costco.

A long stop.

Have you been to Costco??

I mean every few moments you have to stop and try another sample.

(This is not a bad thing.)

What we sampled:

a shot of juice (made from a juicer they were pushing- no thanks),

pretzel bread  (so now we have to create a party to use the 16 rolls purchased thanks to the sample),

orange slices,

pear slices,

a cracker with huge amount of spinach dip (absolutely had us thinking about getting the vat of dip),

a burrito,

pasta and to finish it all off,

several samples of “Fitz” rootbeer.

This should have been enough for the whole day,

but of course this was just an appetizer for lunch.


Next up we went to lunch,

I know I know,

but we were just going to have something light.

Edgewild is a winery and restaurant.

The decor is  rustic modern and ambient.

A mix of wood beams and metal, we felt cozy and comfortable.


I chose to try the fish tacos

(of course I think it was named something more spectacular).

It was grouper with cabbage, cilantro and an avocado cream sauce.


This was the best fish taco I have ever had!

The texture was a perfect blend of crunchy and soft and the flavors were amazing with a subtle kick in the end.

Definitely this chef was inspired by “The Taste.”

We had to share some dessert, I mean you don’t have a delicious main and then forget the dessert.

So we shared a half-baked chocolate chip cookie with cinnamon ice cream.

Gooey and chocolatey goodness.

Now our meal was complete.


After lunch and our Costco provided appetizers we probably should have worked out or walked a couple of miles,

but what did we do?

We checked into the hotel and watched a movie.


Our nephew’s play was a mystery.

Based on Agatha Christie’s “Ten Little Indians,”

basically these 10 characters were getting murdered one-by-one.

Who did it?

Our nephew.

He was confident and convincing.

We were proud and happy to have had the opportunity to witness his moment.


The after-party was at my sister-in-laws with pizza and salad and dessert.

We had a great time catching up with family and suddenly it was time to go back to the hotel.

Once again we were up late and were planning on getting up early on Sunday,

which leads me to Sunday morning.


At 5:30 a.m. I was sleeping beautifully sound,

that was until there was a loud beeping.

Brian thought it was my phone alarm.

I thought it was his.






It kept screaming at us.

I get up (tired and now angry) and start the search.

And then I found it.

Locked behind a closet door.

The beeping seemed to taunt us,

“You can’t get to me.  Beep!

Wake up.   Beep!”



So it was 5:30 on Sunday morning and we were tired but

we got up and got ready for church and went about our day.

No pleasant nap mid-day,

but a busy flurry of activity.


Sleep lost,

will never be found again.

And time well spent is never regretted.

The moral of the story?

Don’t give up the people and things you enjoy just for some sleep.

Yes I can get cranky in the morning after little sleep,

but nothing a little coffee can’t fix.

Oh- and the other moral-

bring some noise canceling headphones to your hotel.











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A (Self-Titled) Professional Shoppers Guide to Gift Giving



This is a print.

A signed print by a local artist of a local subject matter.

A historic ice cream parlor with the view to our capital.


I am psyched (does that word date me?) to have found this as a gift for my step-mother-in-law.

A lady who has everything and needs nothing.

What started as concern,

“what could we possibly get her?”

has ended in confidence that she will love this.


I mean we haven’t given it to her yet, but still…

I just know it is going to be loved.


I consider myself to be a shopper.

A professional when it comes to Black Friday,

Standing in line to wait for a big deal,

and shopping for gifts.

This does not mean that I am always perfect at it and that I don’t have a problem finding that perfect something 

for the hard-to-shop-for people in my life,

but it does equate to hours, if necessary, devoted to the art of it all.


I can be a perfectionist,

questioning my gut,

feeling overwhelmed by my choices or lack of,

nearing tears as I sort through my cart.

That decision,

the one that ends in parting with that all too precious money,

can seem as if I am in a game show.

The spot light brightly glowing on my face as I make my decision,

the timer running down and music playing anxiously in the background,

the host and audience waiting for the final bell to ring and for my all too important pick to be made.

Is this the perfect gift?


I have to go through those emotions though to get to the part where I connect with the right present.



my mom has taught me the gift of thoughtfulness.

To listen and ask questions and get to the heart of who someone really is.

Once this is done,

you forever have an image that reflects not necessarily what someone says they want,

but the inner sanctum of their very being.


I start out with a panic.

Oh my gosh,

I forgot so-and-so’s birthday and have to find that gift that says ,

“I am thinking of you and not just anyone, but YOU.”

There is pressure,

I have given a lot of good gifts in my life 

and probably a lot of not so great ones.


So I have to stop and get in the mood

by remembering what I know

not only about that person but in general.


I have learned through experience that if you can give personally by making a craft or food item 

it must be to someone who really does appreciate that.

Do they have that around their house?

Even if it is thoughtfully given because your literal blood, sweat and tears went into it,

if a person doesn’t like knitted hats and has never worn one they may not appreciate the effort and time and love.

Normally I don’t have to worry about this as I am not much of a “crafty” person.


You can often see what someone wants in what they give to others.

Do they often give you books or movies or candles?

Those are probably their interests.


Do they love to spend time with you?

Sometimes a person really wants to just go to lunch or for a coffee together or 

to have a game night or gab session.

Truly my sister is someone that would rather have you give the gift of time,

preferably an activity like ice skating or bowling or a fun dance class.


What do they converse about?

It is so sweet when you speak to a family member or friend or stranger and suddenly their eyes light up and they can’t stop talking.

Everyone has interests.



It’s about finding what makes someone want to get up in the morning.


   Is there a local coffee shop that has special coffee beans or scones?

Numbers and science and geeky things? (Nothing wrong with that.)

      There is a great series called “Brain Games” (Nat Geo channel) that you can find on DVD.

Books and language and poems and writing?

        What about a writing workshop magazine or new pens and paper?

Technology or religion or soap or cleaning or games or music or photography or sports?


I ultimately go through a process.

Here it is:

1.  Panic.   Uh-oh.  What do I get?  It has to be perfect.  

2.  Where do I go?  O.k.  my favorite shops (mostly local), which I love more than large chain retailers,

are going to be number one on my list.

3.   Go to the shops and start thinking of that person.  Truly who is she/he?  Likes and dislikes.

Love language and what they give to me.  Have they mentioned anything recently or have we done something together that was special.

Example:  when we went to a play with friends, we picked up an ornament from the venue while they weren’t with us.

(I love this part and spend a lot of time just concentrating on all of the beautiful aspects of this person.)

4.  What do I NOT want to get.  This is huge in eliminating shops and aisles.  Things they already have.

Things they dislike or don’t have any interest in.

5.  Go through the store I am in-   slowly.  

Praying that God lead my decision, I often look at an item for a while.

Actually I don’t see people around me or pay much attention to others because of my focus,

which is why I may ignore someone calling my name until they are in my face. (Sorry.)

6.  I put something in my basket/cart/hands and just keep looking.

All the while trying to connect with what they will do when they open the gift.

Does this sing to my heart?  (As cheesy as that sounds, it has to really get me excited to give this gift to a particular person.)

7.  Just get it.  Make the purchase and leave the store.

(This may take me a while and it may mean texting/calling others to get their opinion, but ultimately my heart does know.)

8.  Wrap it up and anxiously await the moment it is opened.

9.  Now sometimes on the rare occasion,

I may find something else and have to return the first item but most often I am happiest with the very first thing that spoke to me.

So, just keep your heart open.  


Now I will say that most of the time

if I go through the process slowly,

the person I am giving a gift to is surprised  and happy and says the fated words that my ears long to hear,

“You always know just what to get me!”


The secret is knowing who you are shopping for and there are people closest to me that are harder to shop for than others,

(Why is my husband harder to shop for than a stranger?)

but at the end of the day,

I must say that I can shop.

A self-proclaimed professional.

And you can be too!

Get out there, go on,

you can do it.




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Heart On Fire


On the rare occasion,
has the ability to set my heart on fire.

Have you felt it?

The deep passion
To move
To speak
To sing
To dance
To stir the flames.

I can’t sit still.
I must spread love.

What started as an ember,
A twinkling,
A spark, really…

Became a white hot
Spreading wild bursts through
My spirit.

When someone,
speaks the truth,
My heart responds.

“Let’s go!”
“Who can I share the good news with?”
“Is it me or is the sun brighter?”

I float through the glory filled day.

Praising God
With conversations
And simple acts of kindness.

A smile
An opened door
A helping hand
A loving word
An invitation
A simple gesture to show
“You are cared for.”

Rapidly spreading,
The fire
Engulfs all it reaches.

Don’t let the flames dull.


Extend the hands.

One person.
One match.
One ember.
Can burn through to the soul.
Can soon become one army.

The fire stoked.
The flame explodes.

Next Time
God willing
I will be the one to start the fire in someone else.


A Final Glimpse part 3

The last of the year.

Why not enjoy the last few months with family?


Bekki, Annie & I visited the St. Louis Science Center & spotted a large dinosaur.
Nothing Annie couldn’t handle!

However house hunting brought out her silly (yet still adorable) side.


A visit to my bro and sis-in-law meant having my favorite pizza!!!
Spin Pizza!

Absolutely the best service,
Family friendly atmosphere &
This chewy yet crisp crust,
The perfect blend of sweet yet flavorful, and the toppings are the perfect amount of yumminess.


Evan loved having Annie to play with
And Olivia loved spending time with her aunts,
But Coogee & Cooper had the best time getting love from everyone!





Before I knew it Thanksgiving was here!
Which meant the following :
The Macy Thanksgiving Day Parade,
Preparing a side dish (creamy mashed potatoes) to accompany mom’s humongous turkey & fabulous stuffing & dads homemade soft and tasty rolls, Bekki’s pumpkin pie & this year a cherry meringue pie (a surprisingly hit!) & Melissa’s crisp salad,
A prayer where everyone shares what they are thankful for,
And of course
The strategizing, mapping & planning of Black Friday (or this year Thursday) shopping.




And then…
Out of the blue…
My shopping senses were tingling.
We must go now!
There was a great deal on a tv that was a must for my sis & bro-in-law!


So it was a crazy 16 hours of lines and lists and phone calls and terrible coffee and more lists and ads
But most importantly great deals!
My sis and I had a 4 hour nap and then went at it again for another 4 hours.
We accomplished a lot and felt a little tired but mostly satisfied.

The weekend festivities ended with a movie night
watching “Frozen” with all of the other families that also thought it was a great way to end Thanksgiving.

I have to say
The movie was fantastic!
Hilarious and sweet with great songs and of course a happy ending.

In December I had minor surgery.
Which is a story for another day.
Briefly said-
All is well.
I have a great doctor, fantastically supportive family, an amazing husband who took care of me and I feel great.

Then came the most special night-
Christmas Eve.


My husband sings in our church choir,
This year they were scheduled for midnight.
It was glorious,
As I always feel,
The angels joined in and the stars were out and the air was crisp.
The glory of The Lord was upon us and the meaning of Christmas hung brighter than the moon.


Our family celebrated in the usual fashion ,
With sweets and treats and lots of good eats.
Plus a room loaded with presents.










We made time for playing around,
And Let’s face it,
The kids needed to work off some candy.

I had my best game ever bowled!
A 158 with a turkey (three strikes in a row) and then I bowled the usual not so great game.

And then it was over and everyone headed back home.
The Christmas blues hit hard –
And as can happen with a large family – so did the sickness.

And so while it was the end of 2013,
It’s the beginning of a new year.
Full of opportunities and possibilities and chances to love and laugh and share.
And most importantly to give back to those who mean the most to us and to those we have yet to bring into our lives.
Happy 2014!










Another Glimpse part 2


Fall came soon after our return from my brothers wedding.

I welcomed fall with open arms and a top that was hardly ever up.
My car, my new baby, my bug,
gladly whizzing people to and fro.
I was just along for the ride.


We had received the best gift from my parents,
A brilliant orange leaf maple.
Still young,
It didn’t have as many leaves as it’s neighboring oaks,
And yet those few stood out in all their October Glory.


The Cardinals were in the World Series.
Ah the Cards.
We went to the best game of the whole series.
Game 3 where we won from an obstruction call.
Crazy fun.
And then they lost.
I still love ya, Cards!


One of my favorite holidays is Halloween.
Weird. I know.
But I love the imagination and free candy and kids doing what they do best- imitating and pretending and enjoying life.
We have a part every year.
We go all out.
I enlist my friend and her kids to help decorate and set up and transform our house.

Our annual party had all the makings of a great night…
A theme- A Night At The Movies,
Games (name that movie, movie charades…),
And of course a piñata!
We had so much fun with family and friends cramming into each living space.
It was so much fun that it took me two days to clean up.




And then there was Pink!
Where do I begin?
My sisters and Kevin (bro-in-law) and I went to the “Truth about Love” Pink tour.
It was fabulous!
In my “top concerts of all time” category.
Her songs had us dancing and singing along the whole time.
We did not sit.
This was Pink!!
And she rocked.





I know you are thinking,
“Surely that’s it. ”
But my year is not over yet!
To be continued …

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A Glimpse (With Photos) part one


Since my last post in 2013,
I thought I would do a brief summary of the rest of my year.
A glimpse, with photos.
I couldn’t really remember what I did until I looked back through my pictures.
It was a good year!

The first picture being of
Our new niece.
Olivia was welcomed into the world in September and has a closet any baby would be proud of.
Shoes, dresses, onesies and
Let’s not forget about the hair pieces!!
What more could a girl want?
Oh, right…
Her family loves her dearly.
She is an adorable addition to her brother who is into her almost as much as he is to cars.

(Julia and the oh so grateful Cooper)

Another big deal of 2013
Is that my twin & her family are here from Australia for two years!!

We are so excited that my brother-in-law was able to work from home while still employed at the Sydney Morning Herald.

The family has a house, the kids are in school and they are settling in to American life-
I must say they chose the whitest winter to be here.
Which is a great thing for the kids,
Who have never had the pleasure of getting up early to find out you have a snow day.
And who have missed almost a week so far this year!
(That’s right. They have been bombarded with winter!)

Capital City Cork & Provisions

I have had some great time with my friends.
Driving with the top down, going to movies, drinking wine, playing games, listening to a book on cd, dancing, singing off key, talking & solving the worlds problems.
All of which have been accompanied by tasty treats.

We took a family trip to Georgia & South Carolina for my brothers wedding.

My family is large.
Wonderfully big.
Seven of us kids,
Spouses and their kids,
Plus our uncle
(In total there were 20 in the house).
And you have a rental house full to bursting.

I found the time glorious,
And as with everything fun,
Too quick.
Gorgeous weather.
A very delicious key lime pie.
A shopping adventure in search of (& successful in) a dress for my niece.
Playing in the pool & hot tub.
Walking at sunrise on the beach with my hubby.
Celebrating my uncles birthday.
Lots of fishing stories.
Jellyfish stings & the antidote –
Sit at the edge of the water and scrub sand roughly over the stings and then wash it off in the water.
(Leave it to my sis, the Australian, to have the answer. )
Watching the dolphins leap in and out as they moved across the expansive sea.
Eating, eating & more eating.
Wedding vows.
Dancing the night away- some of which has been captured and hopefully not used against anyone.
Laughter, hugs, yelling, more hugs, food.
Did I mention food?
Exploration of a lighthouse ,
Which actually took less time than eating our lunch.
Shopping for local art.
Packing up.
Leaving things behind.
Promising to do it all again.

Here’s a look:











The year continued as will this post.




Writing With Nora


(Nora Ephron)


Dear Friends

How should I begin a new post when I have neglected the blogging world for quite some time?

What can I say other than,

I was uninspired.

Maybe it was the fact that I was too busy living in the present.

(Does that sound cliche enough?)

Giving all I had to family and friends.

Well…could I say that?

All I had?


Maybe I was burnt out.

Too many expectations for myself on what I had to say.

I have never considered my posts “genius” or “unique” or “gutsy” or “exciting.”

They were me and what I had to offer.

Plain and simply put,

me in words.


This is my un-apology.

I can’t say “sorry” for not writing when in fact 

I am not.

And yet,

I missed the community of support that comes with blogging.

The feeling that what I have to say may matter to someone.

The understanding that we all can express ourselves honestly and openly and without guilt or punishment.

My selfish hope is that someone out there will respond and will “like” what I have to say.

That maybe the community is not as harsh as my own judgment.

Why is pushing that “publish post” button the hardest thing I have done all day?


You see I have been inspired once more by a book.

“The Most of Nora Ephron.”

An anthology of her works.


(The last time it was by “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp.

Which moved me so much, I thought I could come close to writing one thousand things I was thankful for

last year-

never make a New Year’s Resolution.  

A noble and unsuccessful attempt was made.)


Now, I am reaching into my inner writer.

You know the one,

the one that says, “there is brilliance, a story, a few great words, inspiration, a novel all locked away in my brain.”

I just need to release it through my fingertips.


Nora has done that to me.

I feel as if I am writing with Nora.

She passed away last year and I was so sad.

I love her works on screen, 

“When Harry Met Sally”  

“You’ve Got Mail”

“Sleepless In Seattle”

“Julie & Julia.”


She was,

and is,

the author I would most want to emulate.

This book connected me with some of her other equally well-written works,

but most importantly it helped me to understand her better.

I felt like I needed to know this woman who seemed to understand the world as I would like to see it.

Full of optimism and hope and love and happy endings.

And as a now known addition to that list,

 full of revisions.


What I have found is that:

1.  she is someone I would have loved to share coffee and conversation with,

2.  she and I don’t agree on everything, but we would find “our” thing and talk without reservation on it,

(probably about food)

3.  she and I share a love of food and the idea that dinner parties should be long lasting and carefree,

(in other words, plan your meal so that you can enjoy your company),

she included recipes in her books and was fascinated with the whole world of food,

4.  she was in favor of re-writing and re-writing again.  

This she felt was not only true in her books, but in life.

She said it best, “Revise now, before it’s too late.”

5.  she was very political.  She definitely had her platforms and she could have ran for office with quite a huge following,

6.  she wrote with honesty and always from what she knew.  She was in her fiction.

Sally was based on herself (in “When Harry Met Sally),

and she wrote other fiction that only needed a few name changes to make it fact,

and finally

7.  what a shame that I didn’t get the opportunity to meet her!

 I know I would have liked her for being the kind of person that wants to make the world a better place, 

one good dinner party at a time!


An odd thing happened while I was savoring every single page and word,

during one of my breaks I was thinking of how much I learned about Nora.

I thought, “but I don’t know what she did on Sunday mornings.”

And do you know that the very next article I read was about what she did on Sunday mornings?

(In case you just need to know, watch the morning talk shows and make breakfast.)

It was just the sort of thing that she would appreciate.

The little nothings that happen and mean absolutely nil to anyone but you.


Write it down, she would say.

Can I guarantee that I will post something every day?


Lesson learned, I will not make any kind of blogging new year resolutions.


I will say this,

Thank you, Nora for living up to what I would expect and more.

Now I know that while in life

you had your fair share of drama,

you had works that took ages to perfect,

there were a lot of revisions,

 but there were also a lot of happy endings.

Most of which revolved around food.