Sunday, December 18, 2011


I'd like to be able to tell you that I am perfect. That I have always been focused and kept my priorities straight. But I'm not going to. It would be a flat out lie. I don't like to lie and I'm really not that good at it. What I am going to share is that my life became crystal clear for me this past week.

I used to be a bit of a perfectionist. I like things in their spot. I like neat and tidy. I always have and probably always will. But then life throws you a curve ball and you have to choose how you will react. So here is what I have chosen. I will always make time for family and friends. I will worry less about how clean my house is. I will order take out to make more time with people. I will say I love you everyday. I will be spontaneous. I will give more than receive. I will hold my loved ones a little tighter. I will walk my dogs a bit longer. I will remember all of this a month from now. A year from now.

It shouldn't take a life threatening illness to change your perspective on life. And for me I don't believe it has. What it has done is renewed my perspective. My family is most important to me. And my friends. Without your support and prayers this week may have been unbearable. We felt everything. We felt sadness. We were scared. We are optimistic. We feel your love for us. In return know that we love all of you, too.

Life isn't perfect. People aren't perfect. But do you know what is perfect? My daughter is crafting in the next room. My healing husband is taking a nap on the couch. I can't stop looking at him. He's where he belongs. My dogs are quiet. I'm posting a blog on time. My life is simply good.

©2011 Ann M. De Broux

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Hello Everyone,

Just a quick update. Scott's surgery went well. The doctor is confident that the cancer didn't spread beyond the prostate. We will know this for sure in a couple of days when the pathology report comes back. Scott is resting well and under great care. He even got out of bed and stood for a few minutes this evening. We so appreciate all of your warm thoughts and prayers. They are indeed working. Enjoy this Christmas season. Hold your loved ones a little tighter. Thank you for loving us. We are truly blessed.

Ann and Gracie

Thursday, December 8, 2011

My Christmas Wish

This is the season when we get cards from people all over the world telling us about their year and how their family is doing. It was my plan to write our Christmas letter this weekend and do the same. But then Monday happened. I was at work and got a call from Scott. Actually I missed a call from Scott. I was taking a class at this time and couldn't get right back to him. Plus, I thought to myself, he never calls me during the school day. And then it hit me. He NEVER calls during my school day. I said to my friend next to me, "I think I should try to call him back." I excused myself from the class and tried to call. No answer. I breathed a sigh of relief and went back to class. Two minutes later he called again. We only had a few minutes left in the class and I didn't answer the call. We got back to our office. The office phone rings and it's for me. A call from the administration building. Ann, you need to call home immediately. There is a family emergency. No one wants to get this call.

Of course a million things race through your head while you find a private place to call. It felt like an eternity before I reach Scott. When I do get him on the line he tells me he needs to find a place where he can talk to me freely. My knees buckled and I actually sat down on the floor. Please tell me. Please. Oh God, please let my family be ok. Finally he says that he had a doctor's appointment and was given the diagnosis of prostate cancer. It's pretty aggressive is what he says. He keeps talking and my head is spinning. I stand up and say I'm coming home. I went back into my office and all of my coworkers ask if I'm ok? No, I say. Scott has prostate cancer and I need to go home. There were many hugs and offers to drive me home. I felt that I could drive. My friends asked that I call when I get there and to let them know if there was anything they could do.

I honestly don't remember the whole trip home. I did get there safely. Holding Scott was my first move and telling Gracie was the second. I'm still not ready to talk much about that. We notified family and friends. We talked about all of our options. We did what family members do. We supported each other. We cried. A lot. And yes we laughed, because that's what we do. It's our medicine. Since Monday life has been a roller coaster ride. We got the surgery moved up a week. We have family and friends coming to visit. There are plans for food. And for help if we need it. Gracie has so many offers to do things that I hope we have time to see her! This is all good. I have the most supportive friends at work. They are amazing and I couldn't feel more blessed. Scott has friends at work, too, that are wonderful.

Our families are not here in town, but they are on their way. We have some coming this weekend. And next weekend. And for the holidays. They said they would bring all of the food. We know they are all good for laughs, too. The prayers that are being said for Scott are being felt. They are powerful and next to family, friends and the fantastic surgeon, they are the most important thing to us.

So instead of writing my traditional holiday card, I'm writing this. We are loved and we are supported. We hope more than anything for a good report on Tuesday after Scott's surgery. We promise to keep you posted and please keep the prayers coming. This is my Christmas wish.

©2011 Ann M. De Broux

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thank You

I was going to list all of the things that I am thankful for in this post. But you all know them already. I am thankful for family, friends and health. Then there's the obvious shelter, food, water and health insurance. This just didn't feel right to me. And while I was thinking about what I was thankful for, I happened to be vacuuming and the thought of being thankful for vacuum lines in my carpet passed through. I didn't want to sound petty. I really do like the lines though. Makes me feel like I've accomplished something.

So instead I decided to live right in this very moment and thank my husband, mom, dad and sister for giving me this weekend. Thank you, Scott for going to Florida. He's teaching a class and makes a nice chunk of change when he does so. He loves to teach and does it well. It fills his cup. Thanks mom, dad and Amy for taking my girl for the weekend. I know that everyone all around had fun. So guess where I am and what I am doing? I'm home alone and loving every minute of it. Some may be offended by that comment. Not my intent. Not at all. I do still have the dogs. But for thirty-six hours I fed only myself and when I wanted to. I took more than one nap. I read and went through magazines. I did a little bit of cleaning. A lot of dog walking. And the biggest accomplishment was that I finished Christmas shopping for my girl. A special thanks goes out to ladies at the mall for wrapping everything. My donation to their cause was well spent.

I miss everyone. I don't like to spend much time away from them. I almost filled my weekend with coffee with friends and a dinner out, but stopped myself. I really needed to recharge. It felt great. My cup runneth over. My heart is full. I love that my family did this all for me. I guess it all does come full circle. I really am most thankful for my family. In this upcoming holiday season please remember to live in the moment. This is a season of joy and each moment with family and friends should be savored. Simply enjoy!

©2011 Ann M. De Broux

Friday, November 11, 2011

This Is A Little Embarrassing...

You know when something dawns on you? When you are hit upside the head with a reality? This happened to me this week. It hit me in the middle. Really. My middle.

I am constantly running around at my job. Up and down stairs. Often carrying a lot. This may be the most active job I have ever had. Besides waitressing. I have been slowly, but surely, losing a bit of weight. I must say I'm a little proud of this. Don't worry, you would still recognize me if we ran into each other at the mall. It's not that much weight.

So, the other day I'm making dinner. Trying to stay within our healthy guidelines is sometimes a challenge. We make it work. Our meals are simple, but delicious. On this particular evening I was making my seasoned potatoes. Yum. We all love them. They are easy. I cut up the potatoes, toss them in olive oil and season them with black pepper and a variety of seasonings from Penzey's Spices. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes. I always make a huge baking sheet full of these spuds.

Scott had just finished grilling our main course. I pulled the pan of potatoes out of the oven and set them on the stove. I then reached above the stove for a water bottle. SIZZLE. OUCH. I can't believe that just happened. What you ask? This is the embarrassing part. I singed my muffin top. Yes, you read this right. My muffin top. You know the extra bit of weight around your middle. Or should I say around my middle. Are you kidding me? My shirt raised a tiny bit when I reached up into the cupboard and my bare skin touched the edge of the sizzling hot pan. This resulted in a burn. On my tummy. About two inches long.

This spot is most sensitive. It's my waist. The irritation from my pants and belt are endless. I'm always one to look for the best in things. So here goes. I have been hit right in my middle and have been reminded that a lighter and healthier lifestyle is in my best interest. And one more thing. Perhaps when I am cooking I should wear an apron.

©2011 Ann M. De Broux

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Week In Review

Sorry. It was another one of those weeks. The kind where I just can't find the energy or time to sit down and write. This is silly because I actually find that when I do write, I have more energy. Weird, right? Maybe it's my coffee. Anyway, it's one of those weeks where nothing bad happened to me, just busy. So, here goes:

Scott and I celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary on Monday. And yes, for those of you who don't know it was Halloween. I made it that way so he never forgets! Just kidding. It was the only autumn Saturday left on the calendar that year. We've had lots of great times with the date.

Gracie and I ordered Avon from our neighbor. We got our order on Wednesday. It was very retro for me. Brought me back to my childhood. I couldn't wait to look through the small catalogs, place my order and wait in anticipation for the delivery. I'm now living this through Gracie's eyes. Brings me back. So does the smell and feel of Dew KIss lip balm! Simple joys.

I had a student bring me a candy bar. My favorite. He's now my favorite. Remember, I say that to all of the kids I work with. And I mean it. It doesn't lose it's meaning when I share that feeling with all of them. I enjoy these young people so much. My days fly by and I hope I am making a difference.

We had our carpets cleaned this week. I feel like we have a whole new house. It made me want to purge and clean like the president was coming. I started Friday night and worked all day yesterday. Therapeutic. My family finally made me sit down and we watched four hours of Hallmark movies. Loved every minute of it. Especially the family part.

Speaking of family. Please love, appreciate and hold yours tight. You never know when things will happen. Please don't live a life of regret. When you don't have the time is when you should take it. Every minute counts. This week I learned of a friend and her family and a loss that is too hard to even imagine. Children are not supposed to die before their parents. So please take the time to make the time. Nothing, NOTHING, trumps time.

With that said, I am off to church with my family. I have warned them that I am feeling lucky today and I am ready to beat them in whatever games we play. Chinese food will be picked up on the way home and of course there's a Packer game to watch. This has been a good week. I hope yours was a good one, too.

©2011 Ann M. De Broux

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Pure Kindness of Neighbors

So this weekend was met with much excitement. We were headed to the cottage to pull the boat out of the water for the final time this season. Truth be told, any excuse to go north is a good one. We love it up there. So the count down was on. Friday was here and I was watching the clock. This is something that I rarely do. Time always seems to drag on when you watch it. But I couldn't help myself. I was excited to go. Almost like a little kid. I couldn't wait to see the leaves and go for a walk in woods. Swish, swish would be the noise I made as I kicked the fallen leaves. And the smells. The smells of autumn transport me to my happy place each and every time.

It's 1:00 p.m. I get a text. I know this because my pocket vibrates. I can't check it though. We have a strict rule at school that the students may not use their electronics and the same holds true for us, the staff. I use my phone as a timepiece. I don't wear a watch. As I am punching out of work, I check the texts that I have received. The first one reads, "I've sprained my ankle." The next one says," going to the doc at 2:00." And then no more. I make a phone call and find out that indeed there has been a bad sprain. And even worse. A bone chip floating around in the ankle that will require surgery. Really? My first thoughts are for the comfort of my husband. How do you feel? Should we stay home this weekend?

He wants to proceed with the weekend plans. So up north we go. I drive, of course. He's on crutches. Not much that he can do. So we call upon the huge heart of one of our neighbors. A call is made and we feel relieved. He will help us with the boat. He will drive it to the landing and help us trailer it. What a guy. He helped us. We joked. We did a little story swapping. Lots of talk about fishing. Then there were the handshakes and hugs goodbye. The reassurances that if we ever needed anything else...

I'm telling you, this is the stuff of life. I certainly wish that Scott had not been hurt. I would take that away if I could. But if there had to be a silver lining to the story it is this. When you need a friend and they are there for you, your heart is full. Your life is blessed. And times like these make you want to pass it on. And you know what? You will.

©2011 Ann M. De Broux

Saturday, October 15, 2011

I'm A Cheater

No, not on my taxes. No silly. Definitely not on my husband. Are you kidding me? I love that guy! I'm a cheater in other ways. So have you heard of the trinity of cooking? Yep. It's the combo of carrots, celery and onions. Chop these veggies up and away you go. Make a slab of meat a delectable roast with the trinity. Turn a simple broth into a soup to die for with the almighty three.

So what's so exciting about carrots, celery and onions you may wonder? Well, sit down. I'm always one to share with the masses when I have a life changing moment. These veggies actually come in the deli section, together and all chopped up. Shut the front door! Do you know what a change this has made in my life? It sounds so simple. Chopping up vegetables? Not difficult, right? Wrong. I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed these days. I do know that I am not the first woman to return to work full time after staying at home to raise my child. The raising of Gracie is still happening. That will not stop. My house still needs to be maintained, and all the other stuff that goes along with being a wife, mom, daughter, sister and friend, they are all still a priority. I love all of these parts of my life. And I love my new job. I really couldn't be happier. This job found me and I truly thank God for this every day.

So back to the chopped trinity. It's the little things in life that can complicate every day happenings. It's also the little things that can make the biggest difference. So now that I can take the fifteen minutes that I used to spend chopping veggies I use them to play cards with my girl. Or I may spend the time walking my dogs. Or having a relaxing cup of coffee with my man. This little cheat is making a huge impact on my life and leaving time open for important times that simply make life worth living. Before I sign off I must give credit where credit is due. This finding of the trinity was made by my sister, Amy Ruth. And yes, she is sitting here right now. And yes, she did mention that it would only be right for me to give thanks to the one who actually made the discovery. Thanks, Amy. You're the best!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Trifecta Weekend

So if you know me you know that I don't get too excited about what I wear. I like to look nice and certainly appreciate being comfortable. You know that I wear dark colors to hide spills. We've been through all of this before. But this past weekend, I had to wear many colors. Blue for the Brewers, red for the Badgers and green for the Packers.

What a weekend it was! Wins all around. The trifecta of sporting events for Wisconsinites. I love this stuff. Good food. We grilled steaks last night. I whipped up some homemade salad dressing. A great meal was thoroughly enjoyed. Today, little smokies in barbecue sauce, pickles, olives---yum. The best part of today was that we had family visiting and we enjoyed watching the Brew Crew and the Pack with them.

There were a couple of other trifectas in my weekend. In one evening I got a haircut, did the laundry and cleaned the bathrooms. You laugh. Don't worry. I'm laughing, too. These days life is super busy and I do find satisfaction from little things that really are big things if they get out of control. The Saturday trifecta was that I grocery shopped, paid bills and took a long walk. Why am I speaking in threes? Well, I've decided to reinvent the "bad things happen in threes" saying. I want good things to happen in threes from now on.

Really. Why is it so easy to focus on the negative things? Impending doom is all the rage. I don't want to be part of that. I want to find success in little things. I'm ok with filling my half full cup drop by drop. It takes less energy to be positive than it does to be negative. The rewards are so much better, too.

Maybe bad things do happen in threes. The one thing I do know is that good things, even great things are just as likely to happen in triplicate. And here's my proof. I just emptied the dishwasher, tucked my beautiful girl into bed and am posting this blog. I'm celebrating right now.

©2011 Ann M. De Broux

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Time To Do It

Ok. It's time. The seasons are changing. The temperatures are dropping. The sweaters and sweatshirts are making an appearance. You may be pulling them out from under your bed. Or perhaps hauling storage containers up from the basement. No matter where these clothing items have been, it's still time. It's time to purge.

Purging should be done at least once a year, but seasonally makes it less of a burden, I think. Time to let go of those clothes that don't fit. The ones that aren't in style. The sweatshirt from high school. Unless you are in high school, of course. We did a little bit of this at my house last week. New school clothes were purchased and had to find a home. For the first time in a long time, I, too, went school shopping. I needed more of a wardrobe for my new job. The days of being a tshirt/sweatshirt and jeans wearing mama are still around, just not every day. So my task began. Daunting, that's what it was. Until my 11 year old fashionista came along. She helped me shop and she helped me find room for the new. That meant getting rid of some of the old.

She was very diplomatic. A negative nod of the head. A raised eyebrow when I tried something on. Lots of smiles. These were all subtle indicators that outfits were good or bad. This worked in the store and at home. My point being that this task can be more enjoyable with the help of another. A second opinion is a wise move. The company makes the time fly. There are sure to be laughs in store.

So now that the Halloween decorations are making their yearly appearance, it's time. Make your choices. Make room. And donate. There is always a need for that. Make another person's day and let your closet breathe.

©2011 Ann M. De Broux

Sunday, September 11, 2011

What A Difference A Week Makes

So I missed posting to my blog last week. It was Labor Day and we returned home very late. The week before I had two interviews with the school district. I knew I would be subbing as a Special Education Assistant. I had also expressed an interest in a more permanent and full time position. But two interviews in one week? Wow.

Both of my interviews went well. I was offered both jobs. I know that I am blessed and I do not take this for granted. But there was a certain pull towards one job that I couldn't deny. I had the opportunity to meet the staff and work with them as a sub and this is where I knew I wanted to be. The team is amazing and I couldn't imagine myself anywhere else. I am honored to work with them.

So the home front. Well, I was thinking I would be subbing at the start of the year, remember? I had let much fall to the wayside. Historically, schools don't need subs early on. So in general I had left my house a mess. It needed a good cleaning. Groceries needed to be bought. Laundry needed to be done. And the rest of the stuff all households need. Bills needed to be paid, the lawn needed to be mowed. Where is the simplicity in all of that?

Breathe, Ann, breathe was my mantra for the week. We as a family made it through. We will make it through all of the weeks ahead. Especially because I did all of the laundry. We cleaned the house and did the yard work. I just got done making 15 sandwiches and put them in the freezer. I made out the menu for dinners for the week and we have all of the food we need. Just finished paying the bills. And I am a little embarrassed to tell you this, but I'm coloring my hair right now as I type. It's all about multitasking.

You know what is really making all of this work? It's my home team. Scott and Gracie are pitching in wherever they can to help.
This is called getting the job done. And this leaves time for us as a family. I am in love all over again. Even the dogs are doing their part. Normally they are like clockwork, but for some reason they let us sleep in a bit this weekend. Thank you Bailey and Sweet Pea.

So in one week my life has changed a great deal. I feel all for the better. My family was there for me and I was there for them. I'm renewing some of my old organizational skills. I'm making things that we have to do simpler, so that we have time for what is really important. Each other.

©2011 Ann M. De Broux

Monday, August 29, 2011

One Man's Junk...

You know the saying one man's junk is another man's treasure, right? It's practically a prerequisite to have a junk drawer in your house. I remember looking at houses a little over a year ago. As we would walk through each house, I would comment about a drawer in the kitchen that would make a nice junk drawer. Our realtor said she hadn't heard a comment like this before. She said she had heard things like, "great cupboard space, nice work area," but never what terrific potential junk drawer! Glad I could spice things up a little.

So last week I was looking for a pair of scissors. Shouldn't be a difficult task. The scissors should be in the junk drawer. We have three pair that are fairly sharp and meant for general purposes. I open the drawer and there is not a single pair to be found. Come on. Three pair? Not one in its intended storage space. I have drilled my mantra into my family's heads. Everything has a home. Use it, and return it to its home. I guess on this particular day all three pairs of scissors had appointments or were on vacation. I looked in the usual places. The office was the first place. Nope. Then Gracie's room. No luck there either. To the basement I went. I did a quick scan and found nothing. Back up the steps and out to the garage. There they were. All three of them. How could I be mad? Gracie and some friends had been crafting. They are so creative. It brought a smile to my face.

Still smiling, I returned the scissors to their rightful home and noticed what a messy home it was. So I did a little purging. This cleaning out business is therapeutic. Really. I found a few things that could definitely be tossed. For example, a bra extender. What's that? Well, about twelve years ago, pregnant as a pumpkin, I was feeling a little uncomfortable. Yes, the bra was a little binding. I went to a department store to buy new ones and the sales lady suggested this little hook and eye contraption. Her logic was that I was only going to be this chest size temporarily, so why not buy a temporary fix and spend all of my money on nursing bras. Well, in theory this was a good idea. In truth, I never used the puzzle piece bra extender. And I never will. I'll toss that.

I tossed and recycled a few other things, too. I feel lighter and less burdened. I'm not kidding. The scissors are safely tucked in for the night. My junk drawer is tidy. I have a few things for Goodwill. Perhaps someone will buy these items and to them they will be treasures. One never knows.

©2011 Ann M. De Broux

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Change of Season

This past weekend I was at my cottage in northern Wisconsin. I could hardly believe it when I saw a few trees changing colors. Sometimes in Madison I feel like we live down in the deep south. I know that I'm exaggerating. The temperatures are different from what we had been used to in Appleton. It's always a little hotter and a bit more humid. This makes sense, I guess. We are an hour and a half south of Appleton and in a different weather pattern. And the same goes for the trip from Appleton to the cottage. Another hour and a half north and again it's different.

Hence the color change in the trees. I get this meteorology. I really do, but still, from the time I leave my house and get to my cottage, hopefully three hours later, I've passed through three different kinds of weather. Not always, but it does happen. I will be 45 shortly and I know these changes in season and weather happen every year at approximately the same time. And do you know what? I need it. I need a change in weather to remind me that I'm not in a slump. I need to have a change in season to get motivated to spring clean. I need relief from the heat. In the winter I crave the warm after the extreme cold. It gives us something to look forward to. Herein lies a little danger. We need to appreciate the time we are in. The season we are in. Try hard to live in the moment. Don't spend so much time planning for tomorrow, or next week, or retirement, that you forget to live for today. Even if today is crazy busy and you can't wait for it to end.

I love the changes in season. It gives me an excuse to purge my house. Not that I need one. A new season gives me holidays to enjoy with friends and family. A new season gives me an excuse to hibernate and read. New seasons always can be counted on. My favorite season is on it's way and I can't wait to smell the leaves, enjoy the colors and make lots of soup. I'm getting ahead of myself. Tonight I will grill burgers and enjoy my time on the deck with family and friends.

©2011 Ann M. De Broux

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Howdy Folks

It's been one of those weeks. I'm sorry and will be back with you as soon as I can be. Maybe even later this week!

Monday, August 15, 2011

What Really Matters

I find myself worrying about things that don't really matter in the long run. I'm not a so called worry wart, but I worry just the same. I should say that I worry less than I used to. That is a gift that age has given me. Words of wise older people in my life now ring true. I have been told that worrying is useless because it is a waste of time. I have been told that worrying doesn't change things. This is also true.

But what if something or someone is completely out of our control? What if there is nothing that we can do? Is it better to worry or do nothing at all? I just read a little piece of knowledge that worriers actually are proven to live longer. This, I find hard to believe. I guess there are statistics to back it up, but still...

When I find myself in a situation ripe for worry there are a few things that I do. First, I give myself the worst case scenario. To some this may seem like a negative thing to do. For me it prepares me and sets into motion the feeling of things can only get better. Then I try to think logically about the situation. I evaluate it. I dissect it. I try to come up with solutions or things that I may be able to help the situation.

There are times when tears and laughter are appropriate. I have a wicked sense of humor and love that same trait in others. We all know that comedy and tragedy are closely related. And this is the final thing that I do. I pray. I am a spiritual person. I don't force my beliefs on anyone. For me this is important. This is what really matters. I take stock of all that I have. And by this I don't mean possessions. I mean faith, family and friends. I make each day count. I try to live a regret free life. This is my focus and to me this is what really matters.

©2011 Ann M. De Broux

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Simple Thank You

In this day of technology it's rare that we get mail. I mean of the hand written variety. Everything is emailed and texted. We chat online. We talk on the phone and we Skype. But how often do you get mail that actually has hand writing on it? I used to write thank you notes every day when I worked in marketing. If I met with someone or talked with someone on the phone, I was sure to send a hand written thank you with my business card. This gesture was commented on more than once. A colleague once said, "where do find the time?' Another person said, "your mother must have taught you well." Well, she did. After holidays and birthday celebrations we always made time to thank relatives and friends for their time and gifts that we received.

I was busy writing thank you notes after our wedding. I believe I had been writing for many evenings in a row. I'm not complaining. Where was Scott you ask? He was there. For moral support anyway. Initially he did help. After many questions like, "what would you say about the purple vase? And how do you thank someone for towels? Or what's a duvet?" I said I would write the notes. In hindsight, I do believe that he was aware of what a duvet was. We were very fortunate to have received many kind gifts. But I was at the hand cramping stage. I would take a break and step away from writing for a while. On this particular night I was almost to the end of this labor of love. A family member had been sweet enough to write down who had given what gift and almost always had put the card with the gift to eliminate any issues of who gave us the gift. Until the last two gifts. The cards had fallen off of the gifts and we had no way of knowing which card went with which gift. One gift was a large bowl. This bowl was colorful and could be used for many purposes. I have mixed cakes and cookies in this bowl. I have filled it with fruit and used it as a centerpiece. The other gift was a stock pot. The super heavy variety. The kind that you can make a double batch of anything in. What was I to do? I contemplated for a long time. Do I call the people and explain the situation? No. Sounded too tacky to me. Should I do some behind the scenes detective work and start calling people in the family? No. The risks of the two gift givers finding out are immeasurable. So I did the next best thing. Because both gifts were from family. And because both gifts had to do with eating. I did what anyone in their right mind would do. The thank you read something like this, "Thank you for being part of our wedding day. It was wonderful to have you with us. Family means so much and your gift will help us in gathering our family together in many future celebrations and meals."

Whew! If that wasn't the chicken's way out I don't know what was. It is now nineteen years later and I still don't know who gave what gift. I guess it doesn't really matter. I hope that the important thing was this. A gracious gift was given. This same gift was graciously received. A simple heartfelt thank you was sent. I believe that was all that was needed. Thank you, mom, for teaching me well.

©2011 Ann M. De Broux

Monday, August 1, 2011

Tale of Two Cities

Two places that couldn't be more different. San Francisco, CA, and Townsend, WI. Gracie, my mom and dad are in San Francisco. Scott and I are in Townsend. Gracie and my folks are enjoying the Christmas gift that she was given. My mom and dad are wonderful at thinking outside the box. These "experience" gifts are absolutely priceless. They are in their third day of this trip and already it is a hit! They have a room with a view of the city. They have eaten at Mel's Diner. They are learning their way around on the bus and subway systems. They have been to Fisherman's Wharf and are headed to Chinatown today. They will have lunch and tour a fortune cookie factory. Tomorrow they will fly kites in Golden Gate Park. The list goes on. We love the phone calls that we are getting with all of the colorful explanations of the places they are seeing. Scott and I have been there. We can relate.

Then we tell Gracie and my mom and dad what we've been up to. Not much really. We joke that we're in training to become sloths. I'm sort of kidding. We did the mandatory maintenance around the cottage. We have run a few errands. We've seen some people we know. We have eaten well. The dogs have been joining us in our laziness. We watched a movie. We nap and laugh. We will go boating. They can relate when we tell them what we are doing in return. Gracie, mom and dad have experienced our cottage, too.

No matter where you vacation. Whether your time is filled with education and touring and brand new experiences. Or if your time is spent reclining in your lawn chair on the deck, reading and watching an otter swim by. Vacations are a time to enjoy. Big or small, they add so much to our lives. And we'll all have tales to tell when we get home.

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Mom's Love

This story is from 1993. I was on my way home from work and decided to stop by my in-laws house to say hi to Evie, my mother-in-law. She was at home all of the time. Not working anymore. She had undergone chemo and was recuperating. I thought I would stop by and just say a quick hello. I knocked softly in case she was sleeping. I opened the door and walked in equally as quiet. Evie? I called. In here. And there she was stretched out on the couch listening to some sort of nature sounds. Actually, I think it was whales and oceanic recordings. I asked if she was meditating. As much as I can, was her reply. She added, I wish I would have taken more time to do this earlier in my life.

When we had visited a while I said I should be going. Stay, she said. I said you're tired. I know she said. I'm always tired. And I know I'm dying. Will you stay? Of course I will. Let's make those fabric wrapped fruits that I have on my kitchen table. A crafter I am not. I don't think so. You know I'm challenged in that department was my excuse. I'll teach you was how Evie responded to that. We cut, shaved and shaped styrofoam circles into "fruit." Then we ripped fabric strips and glued them onto the fruit. In the end we laughed and cried and I actually did learn how to make a craft that day. We cleaned up and I started to bid my farewell. Evie said, call Scott and see if you can stay for dinner. Oh, I don't want to impose. Family never imposes was what she said. We stayed for dinner and enjoyed a lovely meal and great conversation. Hugs and kisses were exchanged and Scott and I went home.

What I had planned to be a quick visit to say hi turned into a four hour talk, craft session and dinner. I don't regret a minute of it. It was one of the last times that I was able to spend alone time with Evie. It is a day I will always remember. I will always cherish. She shared things with me about life that are priceless. She told me stories about her son, my husband, that no one else could ever tell. Sweet memories. She taught me that it's ok to meditate and take time for yourself. It's ok to throw your plan for the day away. It's ok to try something new. And it's wonderful to take time to be with the ones that you love. You never know how many of those precious moments you will have. I am so blessed to have known such a beautiful human being.

©2011 Ann M. De Broux

Friday, July 15, 2011

Automatic Always Best?

Lots of things are automated these days. We have ATMs. We can check out our own books at the library. We can run our car through the car wash without a person in sight. At the doctor's office you can fill a prescription without a pharmacist. All of this is for the sake of convenience. And believe me, I am all about efficiency and convenience.

But here is where I draw the line. Automated toilets. If you are a parent of a young child you know that the automatic flushers can literally scare the crap out of the kids. Well, what better place to be you say, than on a toilet. Right. My own offspring was scared to death of these things when she was four. These toilets are incredibly loud, have a gust of wind involved and are just plain scary. I had to do a lot of convincing on a trip that we had taken to Maine. We had just gotten off the plane and into the bathroom we went. She sat down to do what she needed to do and at the end of her business she was so traumatized that it took the purchase of candy and a stuffed animal to bring her back. From there on out she would have me enter the bathrooms and push the stall doors open and announce to her whether these toilets were "safe" or not. I felt like a cop doing a search for a criminal in the stalls. Instead, I was on the hunt for the big bad automatic flushers.

On this same trip to Maine we were shopping at one of my favorite stores in one of my favorite towns. Anyway, we were shopping and I needed to use the restroom. I inquired. The clerk, a very handsome young college student, suggested that I use their new facilities. State of the art toilet. The most ergonomically, efficient toilet on the planet. I'm game, I said. In I went. Indeed I was comfortable. I did what I needed to do. I was no more than a centimeter off the seat and the toilet flushed. Efficient beyond words. The g-force of this flushing was something I would have never imagined. And it's something I don't want to experience again. Ever. Suffice it to say that one doesn't even need toilet paper! I gathered my wits about me, washed my hands and exited the restroom. Scott was waiting to use the facilities. I told him he had better not consider sitting down because he will forever be a changed man. With a really high voice. The clerk happened to overhear our conversation and was convulsing with fits of laughter. He thanked us for making his day.

So after many giggles at the expense of my girl's fear of the auto flushers (of course we never laughed in front of her), I could now relate. We have adapted to this modern marvel. We have faced our fear and can enter a restroom without breaking into a cold sweat. Efficiency is good. Convenience is even better. All for it. Auto flushers? Jury is still out on that one.

©2011 Ann M. De Broux

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Simple Touch

Yesterday in church I was reminded of something that happened a while back. We were at church and during the Lord's Prayer we hold hands. At the end of the prayer I always give a little extra squeeze to the people I've been holding hands with. Sometimes I know these people. Sometimes I don't. On this particular Sunday I was holding Scott's hand on one side and an older gentleman on the other side. At the end of the prayer, the older man leaned close to me and said that it was nice to be back in church. It was nice to have a little bit of human contact again. He said thank you to me. I thanked him in return. I don't know this man. I don't know his name. I'm not sure of his story. Where had he been? Had he been ill? Was he a snowbird and had spent his winter in Florida? I don't know. I do know that he had a need for human contact. A simple touch.

I come from a touchy family. Lots of hugs and kisses for everyone. We joke that we have the longest goodbyes ever in my family. Some may be uncomfortable in these situations. I know folks who are not comfortable with this kind of greeting or way of saying goodbye. This is ok. But after recalling the story I told about holding hands in church, I really got to thinking about the power of the human touch. I remembered studies that my class talked about in college. There was this study done relating to how much babies were and weren't touched and held in the first year of life. This study was conducted by testing orphans raised in third world countries. The people that were operating the orphanages were overwhelmed and unable to do much more than meet the basic needs of these babies. To hold them and to cuddle was out of the question. These babies had to be bathed and clothed and fed. Everything was done quickly and efficiently to the best of their abilities. There was no extra time for loving and cooing and cuddling. When a fortunate baby was adopted, they often didn't know how to react to sweet and loving attention. The newly adopted baby had to be taught how to accept love and touch. This study broke my heart then and does to this day.

I think we underestimate the power of touch. The small touch of receiving change from a store clerk. Shaking hands with a friend. Holding hands in church. The reassuring touch of a nurse or doctor. Even if only for a few seconds. This is the stuff we live for. It's simple. It's free and it's yours to give. A simple touch from you could mean the world to someone else.

©2011 Ann M. De Broux

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Creatures Of Habit

I know. Today is Tuesday. In my mind this is Monday. The holiday is throwing me off a bit. This is a work day. Not a play day. Big difference. So all day, at least so far, I have been off a day. Even yesterday when my dad asked if I had written my blog, I said I have until tomorrow. Completely thrown off. Out of my routine.

We were up north this weekend and the power went out. This is livable and sometimes even fun. Flashlights and candles. Spooky stories. You know the drill. After a while it gets old. You flip on a light switch. No light. Oh right, no power. You open the refrigerator and think the light bulb has burned out. Wait. Your brain catches up. Again no power. My neighbor got up in the middle of the night and realized we didn't have power and ran right into the wall. Pure habit. He thought he was at his other house. I woke up on Saturday to still no power. I thought maybe I should run into town and see what's happening. What if the gas station has no power? I won't be able to buy ice, coffee and a paper. Then I remember that I have internet access on my new phone (which I am still getting used to by the way. I have butt dialed at least a dozen times and if one of the calls has been to you, I apologize). So I Google WPS and find out that there are twelve power outages involving almost five thousand customers. We are one of those customers. Terrible wind storm last night. I grab my keys and some money and hope that there is power in town. Just as I am about to step out the door, the power comes back on.

I can make Gracie laugh hysterically when I shift my "new" car. New is in quotes because it's my new, used car. I'm used to the shift located on the steering column. This car has it on the floor. So when I grab at the place I expect it to be I turn the windshield wipers on. Cracks her up every time. Aren't we funny creatures, we humans? We love a routine. We wake up and go to bed by the sun. We eat at designated times. We put things back in their place and expect them to be there when we go to use them again. Oh wait, that's a dream of mine! We are able to adapt, thankfully. It sometimes takes a while, but we do adapt. Off to reset my weekly clock. Maybe by the end of the day I will know where I am.

©2011 Ann M. De Broux

Monday, June 27, 2011


Oh technology, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. We all have Internet these days. We need it, right? We have computers and phones and all sorts of other do dads. So what's my gripe today about technology? It's that it doesn't work half the time. And those times are always when you absolutely have to send an email, download a resume or write the blog that you promise to post on Mondays.

It started at our house last week. It was as if our Internet was possessed. It quit. Went kaput. Kicked out. You get the picture. No big deal. Just shut it all down and restart. Everyone has a need to do that. Five minutes later same thing. Total shut down. And this went on and on all week long. Scott has tried his best to diagnose and fix this issue for us, but nothing has worked at this point. Honestly, the fact that I am actually typing at lightning speed and this thing hasn't kicked out is amazing me. What else is amazing me is how much I truly rely on the Internet these days. My blog is on it. My banking is on it. I communicate with friends and relatives by it. Frustrating when it doesn't work. I try not complain much, but this one has me a bit nutty. Especially since right this very second my computer kicked out again. For such a simple girl, this computer business really complicates my life.

Computers and cars. One of my windows in my car inexplicably dropped into the door and refuses to return. It will be fixed in a day or two to the tune of a bazillion dollars. These two things can really get me going. I'm venting a bit here. We all need them. Some would say that we can't live without them. Well, I'm still alive, but couldn't be more frustrated. Oh wait. Yes I could. The trifecta was complete this morning. The dryer decided to go on strike. So here I am in the library posting my Monday blog on Tuesday. I am now breathing deeply and searching for my zen place. Actually, I may have just found it. It's in the library. It's for adults only and it's called the "quiet room". Ahhh.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Need Someone

Today I was needed. Just a little. By my daughter. I loved it. She is at the age of massive independence. I love that, too. And yes, she needed me to get her moving this morning. It had been a fun and long weekend. Plus it was foggy outside. Who wants to get up under those circumstances? Not me. But I did. So did the rest of the family. This was Gracie's first day at College for Kids. I drove her with a friend to the meeting place for the beginning of this extraordinary three week school. I was excited. She was excited. Her friend was equally happy.

We left early and got there on time. With a few minutes to spare. Thankfully, because when we parked I led them in the wrong direction for a block and we had to turn around. Oops. Far from perfect am I. We arrived and found the assigned lines/meeting areas for each group. The girls had to part ways and wished each other well. I had one of those moments of not real panic, but just an uncomfortable feeling. I looked around and saw not one familiar face. All new to me. They were nice faces, but new ones just the same. I thought silently, my baby is off to be with complete strangers. I know, they are all decent, screened and fine individuals, but...

I had this overwhelming thought that projected me into the future and also helped me revisit the past. This is my job. To guide Gracie to new things. To expose her to the world. To give her opportunity. Like her first day of preschool. Like the first day of kindergarten. Like the first day of school last year in a new town. I will get her there. That is my job. What she does after that is her job and hopefully her joy. It is my joy to see her grow up. Very soon she will be off to real college. Not just a three week class in the summer. I know, this is a few years into the future, but it will happen so fast.

So, it was time to leave. I had calmed my internal freak out down and turned to Gracie to say have a great time. I said I will pick you up right on time. She said ok. I turned to leave and felt a light touch on my arm. Mom, will you stay a little longer? Of course I will. All she needed was a few more minutes. A few more kids arrived and she got her tshirt and folder. And I stepped back just a little. She turned and gave me the signal. The I'm ok smile and a little wave. My job was done. I walked back to the car with a huge smile on my face. My girl will have a terrific time. I know it. And I was needed. She still needs me. My day has been made. Make some one's day today and need them.

©2011 Ann M. De Broux

Saturday, June 11, 2011

One Question

It all started with one question yesterday. I was subbing the last day of school. Our class was returning from gym and one of the students I was with was tired. She was slowly climbing the stairs to the second floor, when she turned to me and said, could I get a piggyback ride? I said this back is way too old for that. How old? she asked. Now I need to interject that I am not too old, but what you do for one may have to be done for all and this was a class of 26. My back is definitely not up to that many piggyback rides. So back to her question. I turned it back to her. How old do you think I am? She said 30? I said to her, you are my favorite. Disclaimer: I say that to all of the kids.

As I sat in the class during the last few moments, I thought of these amazing little lives. I hope that they live well. I hope that they wear sunscreen all summer. I hope they laugh every day. I hope that they eat a healthy breakfast each morning and have someone who loves them tuck them in each night. I hope they are imaginative and make crafts out of boxes and recycled bottles. I hope they breathe fresh air every day and don't get too buggy eyed from computers and televisions. I hope that they go to the library and read and get lost in the world of fact and fiction.

I hope that these beautiful little minds stay engaged. I hope they get dirty and muddy and silly. I hope that they dance in the rain. I hope that they don't grow up too fast. Just at a pace that is normal for their age. I hope that they snuggle with their cat or dog. I hope that they get to drive somewhere for a vacation. Even to the next town over. And I hope I get to see them next year so I can ask them one question. How was your summer?

©2011 Ann M. De Broux

Sunday, June 5, 2011

My Favorite Dish To Pass

So this story takes me way back. Scott and I were invited to a party in the second year of our marriage. This party was of the annual kind. Same place, same time, always once a year. It was a party with a great group of people. I was excited to go. Scott said to me the day before that he had signed me up to bring a salad. I worked the day of the party and I was at that time extremely kitchen/cooking challenged. What to do, what to do? Well, I put it out of my mind is what I did. Until I got home from work, changed clothes and announced to Scott that I was ready to go to the party. He said, where's the salad? Oops. Don't worry he said, let's rip this head of lettuce up and put it in a bowl and off we go. Silly man. I'm pretty sure that isn't the type of salad that they would be expecting. Now what do we do? I grabbed a big bowl with a lid and we drove to the grocery store.

Upon arrival at the deli counter, I did a wonder woman scan of the salad. That one? Too expensive. This one? Who would eat that anyway? Then I found the one. The price was right and the quantity was available. Perfect. I bought three pounds worth and ran out to the car. When I got in I proceeded to dump my purchased salad in my own bowl and fastened the cover. None the wiser would these party goers be. We made a normal entrance to the party and had a fabulous time. At the end of the party the containers/dishes had all been washed and lined up on the buffet. I grabbed my bowl and Scott and I went home. I was about to put my bowl away when I noticed a note inside. I pulled off the lid and there, written in beautiful penmanship, was a request for my recipe. What? Now what do I do? I'm ashamed to say that I ignored the request and hoped that this incident would never rear its ugly head again.

Fast forward to the next year. We received an invitation to the same party. I contemplated not going for fear of the salad and recipe debacle. Instead, I went to the same grocery store and bought three more pounds of that salad and brought it to the party. We had terrific time. Again. This time I came with a few printed off recipes of a salad that closely resembled the one I brought. Sure enough. The recipe was asked for and I gave it out. Over time I have found a couple of recipes that are my stand by dishes that I bring to potlucks. They are easy and are almost always gone when I go to retrieve my dish. That makes me feel good. And now I feel even better because I actually do make them.

©2011 Ann M. De Broux

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Simple Summers

This post is coming to you a little early because of the Memorial Day weekend. I won't be home on Monday until later and couldn't even imagine trying to write and post my blog via my Android phone. That phone and I are struggling. I'm getting used to it, but it sure is touchy. Let me apologize to anyone that I may have accidentally dialed over the past couple of weeks. So back to making summer what it is meant to be---SIMPLE. Even more importantly, stress free and fun.

Let's start with the sun. I love it and can't get enough of it. In the summer I start my day off with sunscreen instead of lotion and try to be diligent about reapplying several times a day. I'm not always perfect at this, but I do try. I have sunscreen in the car, the truck and my bag. Yes, in the summer I carry a bag. It's always good to be prepared. I have reading material, water, granola bars, band aids, money and sunscreen at all times. Oh, and a hat.

Fruits and vegetables are around my house all days of the year, but more in the summer. As for meals, the easier the better. I try hard to not turn the stove/oven on at all in the summer. Lazy? Maybe a little, but they are the lazy days of summer, right? I buy meats that can be grilled or cooked in the crock pot. To make life even simpler, I marinate meat as soon as I get home. Take it out of the refrigerator just before grilling, or put it in the crock pot before starting your day. Toss a salad, cut up a few more veggies and you are set for lunch and dinner. The same goes for fruit. It is always washed, cut up and ready to eat on the fly.

Besides keeping the oven off, I do a few more things to keep the house cool and comfortable. I pull the shades early in the day. I love fresh air and keep the windows open part way almost all of the time. We are fairly energy conscious at our house. There is less need for lights in the summer with all of the natural light. Then there are the days that are unbearable and you just have to be able to sleep. Yes, I turn on the air conditioning. I keep the temp at 75 or sometimes a bit higher. Dry air feels cooler, of course, but I don't like air conditioning to be so cold that you need to grab a sweater. Speaking of sweaters, our laundry is less in the summer. I used to hang most of my laundry out to dry in the spring/summer months. Since our move to Madison, we haven't configured a clothesline set up for outside. Our yard is the size of a postage stamp, so I'm still working on this.

Type in "free stuff to do" into your search engine. Amazing ideas and deals will pop up for you. I'm sure you already have knowledge of some of these activities, but there are always new and unique events happening that you may not have known about. And there's the library. Great for a rainy day or any day really. Books, magazines, movies and music is plentiful and free. Often there are crafts available for kids to participate in. Then there are picnics. One of my favorite things to do in the summer. Ok, until August when the bees ruin all my thoughts of outside dining. Because of the earlier mentioned easy meal prep, I can pack a picnic in five minutes or less. I always have a blanket in the truck to dine on. We have Concerts on the Square in Madison during the summer months. People are welcome to spread out their picnic blankets and dine on the Capitol grounds while enjoying wonderful concerts on Wednesday nights.

The official kick off to summer is upon us. Have a fun and safe Memorial Day!

©2011 Ann M. De Broux

Monday, May 23, 2011


I'm always one for a good deal. This weekend I was after one. Four of us got up way too early on Saturday to get the $1 flip flops at Old Navy. Of course the flip flops were what got us to the store, and yes, I did buy a few other things. Excellent marketing strategy. Advertise a "loss leader" and the customer will buy more at regular price. I know how this works. I'm smart. Most of the time. Except when it comes to coupons.

I was watching television this weekend. I needed to just decompress. Gracie had a friend over and they were watching a movie upstairs. Scott was up at our cottage. I had the remote all to myself. I turned on a program about people who use excessive amounts of coupons. Absolutely amazing. It's a full time job for them. Usually the need to save money comes from unfortunate circumstances. Not always, but many times. One woman had lost her job, another was a stay at home mom and her husband had suffered an illness that made it difficult for him to work. One of the obvious places to start was at the grocery store. They collected or bought many papers. These people printed coupons from their computers. They "stacked" coupons. This means that they would use more than one coupon for a single item. They researched the stores in their immediate area and memorized the coupon policies. They researched in store deals and had club cards for particular stores. One woman spends sixty hours a week collecting coupons, printing coupons, researching online and compiling a spreadsheet of all of her deals. She goes to the store with a budget. And of course a list. She knows what her general end price will be. Somehow though, it's always less than predicted. There is always an in store sale that seems to bring prices down lower.

I got to thinking. How would this work for me? Could I devote myself to collecting and clipping. Could I make a plan and execute it to the extremes that these folks did? Well, there is one simple answer for this. No. Are you kidding me? If I can leave the house and remember my purse and list I'm doing well. I occasionally will clip a coupon. I'm lucky if I remember to bring it with me. I really admire that these people featured can buy $1200 worth of groceries and only spend $50. For me, not so much. There are really two reasons for this beyond my forgetfulness. One, I couldn't imagine stockpiling all of the items that these people do. I know that they can live for months/years on what they have gathered. At my house this would go against my simplifying. I'm pretty sure I would break out in hives just imagining all of those items in my house. And there is no way I would ever put shelving up in my bedroom to store stuff! Totally not fitting into the feng shui plan at my house. The second reason this stockpiling wouldn't work for me is that I buy almost all fresh. There are very few if any cans or packages in my kitchen. Toiletries, yes these items reside at my house, but not in excess. The packaging that comes from these item is almost always recyclable.

I shut off the television after watching a marathon of these skilled shoppers. I was exhausted. Probably from waking up with the sun to get the flip flops. I think I was also tired from watching all of these shoppers. I'm glad for them and the success that they have. I'll stick with my "looking for a good deal" kind of shopping. I'm simply just not able to be that extreme.

©2011 Ann M. De Broux

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Growing, Growing, Gone

My girl is eleven. Sometimes it seems like she's eighteen. I know that she thinks she is older than she is. At least some of the time. She's an only child. She has grown up around lots of adults. I've made sure that she has had lots of kid time, too. I never claim to be perfect. Actually, I am so far from it. But I feel like there has been a good balance in her life.

She is quite mature and very knowledgeable. This brings me to a story about her. It happened when she was five. And yes, I have her blessing to tell it. She came home from kindergarten one day with a very unusual question. I first need to tell you that Scott was out of town. For two weeks. We had some play time and a snack and then she popped the question. Daddy's carry the eggs, right mom? What kind of eggs, I asked? THE eggs mom. You know, the baby making eggs. I need to let you know that we have always been truthful with Gracie. We told her the appropriate names of body parts right from the get go. We wanted no confusion. Our parents were honest and educational with us and we wanted to pass the gift on. I then said, what made you ask this? Perhaps I should have inquired more. She said because I thought dads carried something else. I said yes, they carry the sperm. That's it, she said. I knew you had told me something different. Yes, I had mentioned eggs and sperm when she asked where babies came from. And yes, I reiterated the whole mechanics of how a baby was made, just to make sure she had truthful and accurate information.

Scott called later that night and I told him the story. He didn't even try to hide the fact that he was glad to not have been home for our conversation. Then a few days later Gracie came home from school with a challenge for me. She pulled an egg shaped piece of paper out of her little backpack. She set the timer on the microwave for three minutes and asked if I could hold this egg on the tops of my feet. This is what the daddy penguins do, but for longer amounts of time. So I played along all the while realizing that I had armed my baby with way too much information the other night. I got a little light headed. Oh no. What if she had gone to school and shared her knowledge with other kids on the playground? Crap. I needed to talk to her teacher.

I worked at the school and found the teacher before school the next day. I told her what had happened. She laughed so hard she was on the verge of tears. In all of her years of teaching kids about penguins this had never happened she said. I believe it, I said. I'm lucky that way. Life went on and we have had fun telling and retelling this story over the years. Now Gracie is taking Human Growth and Development in school. I feel confident that these lessons will reinforce what she has already been taught. It's a reminder that this growing up business happens way too fast. We should embrace it. Whether it is good times, uncomfortable times, honest times and even some bad and sad times. Before we know it our kids will be grown and gone. If we've done our job well, they will always know that they can come to us and talk about anything. Even penguins.

©2011 Ann M. De Broux

Monday, May 9, 2011

Farmers' Market

I had heard all of the buzz about how fantastic the Dane County Farmers' Market was. I sort of took it all in stride though. Really? I've been to farmers markets before. What made this one so special? Then I went for my first time about a year ago. I get it. It's everything. The sights, the smells and even the sounds. It's almost sensory overload.

The first thing I noticed was the magnitude of the event. The entire Capitol Square, all four sides and even more, is full of vendors. There is so much to choose from. Truly it's almost overwhelming. These organic growers must have marketing and graphic design in their backgrounds, too. Each tented area is vibrant with the colors of produce. The signage is literally artwork. Of course there are samples that are sure to entice anyone. There are gorgeous flowers and plants. There is fresh baking bread that makes you feel comfy and hungry all in the same moment. Musicians are scattered about the square. I heard a piccolo, a guitar, a violin.

I've learned to pace myself. I now have a system. The crowds are not as plentiful early. So that's my favorite time to go. Even when there are crowds we all move in a polite and orderly fashion. And there's always lots of discussion with complete strangers. Where did you find that? Have you had it before? Always lively talk. Everyone is so friendly. I usually make a lap around to see all of the vendors. I do a little price shopping and comparison. My second time around is buy time. I often will find a little treat to have along the way and some coffee.

Saturday was a great day to be at the market. The tulips around the Capitol were starting to bloom. The air was fresh. The smells were abundant. I unfolded my shopping bag and got busy. It was a perfect way to spend a Saturday morning. So, if I were to recommend this experience to anyone, I'm sure I would come off sounding a little too excited. Come and see. It really is an awakening of your senses. And it's good for you. How can you beat that! Looking forward to Saturday...

©2011 Ann M. De Broux

Monday, May 2, 2011

If The Bra Fits...

So this weekend I was in bed with the stomach flu. Feeling the worst I possibly ever have. I was having a pity party of sorts. No one else was was invited, just me. At a particularly low point I was considering what music I might want played at my funeral. Lots of songs ran through my head and then this one popped in. You've all heard it. It's, You Raise Me Up, by Josh Groban. And before you know it I was laughing. This song actually reminds me of something else that happened recently.

About a month ago I was shopping. From a list of course. I was reaching for something on a high shelf and I felt this undeniable snap and immediate pain. Before I go any further, I should warn you this post does have bra talk in it. No I wasn't injured. But my favorite bra was. The underwire had snapped. Man, this was the last of the four that I had bought a few years back. I loved this style of bra that much. Comfortable, no tightness, no falling straps. The perfect fit. I have a drawer full of misfits at home. Meaning misfitting bras, but I hate wearing them. So needless to say I have been in search of perfection. And a month ago after the snapping incident I found it. Again. And bought three.

I was so happy that I went to work and shared the news. Everyone must know. Everyone that is female anyway. I told my coworkers that I hardly even realized I had it on. I shared the brand and style. I really couldn't tell enough people. My life was feeling very complete. Then Gracie came home. With a friend. Gracie said, my, you look happy mom. Indeed I am, I said. It's the little things in life that can really make your day I told the girls. Like what, was their next question. Oh boy. So I explained the bra situation. Nice fit. Comfortable. And it raises me up. Then we talked a little about gravity. You know where I'm going with this. And the song popped into my head. So I sang a little to two very giggly girls. And it gets better. I can just about knock them flat with laughter anytime I see them if I simply hum a few bars of this song.

So to get back to my weekend. A funny memory made a miserable moment more bearable. I guess it is true that humor is good medicine.

©2011 Ann M. De Broux

Monday, April 25, 2011

Do You Know Why I'm Happy Today?

This is a question that has been asked within my family since Gracie was about two. My dad would say to Gracie, usually in person, do you know why I'm happy today? And Gracie in turn would reply, the sun's out, my freckles, and we're together. This tradition continues today. It gets altered sometimes. Some versions are downright silly. There is a fact that remains with all of the times that the question has been asked and answered. There is a focus on the good things, the positive things in life.

How often do we all find time to complain about something. This is a good thing. When done in moderation. Complaining can result in changes. Especially when something is wrong in life. It can be done in a positive way. A way that will guarantee an effort to make things better. That is constructive complaining. But when complaining becomes the mainstay in life? When all a person can do is make negative comments about their husbands, their children, their job or lack thereof. When fault is found in everything from purchases, to services, to food ordered in a restaurant, this is when you enter the danger zone. We all have encountered people who do this. These types of people are actually very sad, I believe. Perhaps they are not very happy within their own life situation. What they may not realize is that the constant stream of negativity isn't venting and it isn't constructive, it's actually adding to the problem or problems at hand. It may actually have become the bigger toxic problem. I certainly don't want to suggest people don't have the right to be sad or frustrated. Life is not always easy. Life is not always fair. It really is easier to complain sometimes. I do however feel that we have the ability to make change. Even small ones that can greatly impact our own lives as well as others.

So here is my suggestion. Baby steps to a more positive outlook on life. Let's all wake up each day and look for the simple pleasures in life that make us happy. Let's start with three like dad and Gracie do. It can be the same three every day if you want. Make an effort to see joy in the little things and I think it will get easier to see joy in the big things. So, why am I happy today? The sun's out, my coffee is waking me up and I'm posting my blog before 10 a.m. Whew! That may not sound like much to you, but for me on a Monday's huge!

©2011 Ann M. De Broux

Monday, April 18, 2011

My Little Slice of Heaven

This weekend was truly a slice of heaven for me. It is every year. Although last year I didn't enjoy it to its fullest with our move happening. It is a time when you can literally eat, breathe and sleep books! I'm speaking fondly of the Fox Cities Book Festival. If you love to read, and I'm assuming you do, because that is what you are doing right now, this is the place for you.

These authors from all over Wisconsin and some from out of state come to tell attendees about their lives, their ideas and their motivation for writing books. These are no ordinary authors. They are gifted authors, relating common human experiences to us. Transporting us to places familiar and places we want to be. Some of these authors are poets. One is a musician and artfully mixed his storytelling with musical numbers from his band. At times we learn parts of history that were perhaps only granted a paragraph or two in a school text book.

The venues for these talks by authors are usually libraries. My second home. Everything is familiar there. I am immediately comfortable. It is homey feeling for another reason. I see people I have met from previous book festivals. I am with my family and my friends. I see former teachers and people I have worked with. Many of these people feel like family to me. We caught up on each others' lives. We laughed, we may have cried and were certainly entertained by the stories behind the stories of these authors.

A couple of the authors have become personal friends over the years. To know people of such greatness and yet know that they are also absolutely normal folk is an honor. To meet a new author and realize his journey in writing was amazing. His personal struggle with mental illness is something he shares to help others and to help erase some of the stigma in society concerning the unknown.

So it was an exhausting weekend. There have been estimates of four thousand or more attending these events. To know that so many are still losing themselves in fact and fiction. That so many transport to times present and past. This is really amazing to me in these technological times. So yes, this was my little slice of heaven. Or maybe I should more appropriately say, my little chapter of heaven.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


It's not what you say, its what you do. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. I took a lot of journalism classes in college. It was all about words and the message that they convey. It was our job as students to relate happenings and opinions, fact and fiction, to the readers at large. To be understandable. We were to write articles that a sixth grader would understand. This is how most newspapers and magazines write. It's not that the average reader doesn't have an intelligence level higher than a sixth grader, it's that papers need to be read in a hurry. Your point needed to be made quickly and efficiently. In the words of Dr. Bob Gremmels, "brevity, brevity, brevity!"

And so has been my mantra through all of the technological advances since my college days. My emails are generally short and to the point. So are my text messages. The one place I afford myself more time and words is in my blog. So this brings me to another social media of today. Facebook. I didn't sign up for this right away. I was wary. And remember, I like to keep it simple. Then I found out that this would be a terrific way to stay in touch with a friend moving miles away. A bonus is that I stay in regular contact with cousins, aunts, no uncles yet. Friends from my past. College roommates. This is fun! Love the pictures. Truly a great way to stay connected.

I'm not much of a complainer, but here I go. There is one fault of this new found social media. There are opinions that are expressed by people that may be political. They may be religious. And I'm ok with opinions. I respect other's opinions as I hope they respect mine. The world would be a sad and boring place if we all had the same opinions. I must admit that I have changed my opinion because of another person sharing their opinion of something with me. So all in all I believe opinion sharing is wise. What I don't care for is the set up. I disrespect the person that baits people into passionate debate. Because it isn't debate, it becomes argumentative. And I feel the same for those who take the bait. It is almost as though both sides lose their authenticity of position when this happens. I've seen this happen more than once. It makes me sad. For all parties involved. I've heard of people leaving Facebook. Of losing some of these regenerated friendships.

Words are precious things. They have power. We should use them wisely. And sometimes sparingly. Words can hurt people. They can be misunderstood. We should write responsibly. We should think before we speak and think twice before we write.

©2011 Ann M. De Broux

Monday, April 4, 2011

Front Porch Sittin'

When I was in college a few friends and I went for a walk. It was a beautiful day and we were talking about the future. As college kids do. We were in a neighborhood that had lovely homes. Most of them had to have been one hundred plus years old. Most of the houses were well kept. One common theme for all of these houses was the big front porch. I remember porch swings. And a table with chairs around them. I remember big wicker chairs with comfy cushions. I said to my friends that I could imagine myself living here. What house was their reply? Oh, not a specific house, just a porch was mine. I went on to say you have everything you need---minus the bathroom. Places to sit, relax and visit. A place to eat or enjoy a morning cup of coffee. A big comfy chair for reading. What more could you need?

Now twenty-three years later I still feel the same. I'm not being ridiculous. I know that we live in a state with severe winters. I have not lost my mind. Not completely anyway. I think back to all of the houses I have lived in and all of the porches that I have had. It is where life is happening. You enjoy fresh air. You meet and greet neighbors. Years ago front porches were where you found out all of the news of the town. People would pass by and share good news as well as bad. It's where you get an accurate weather report. Front porches are where you watch your children grow. Games are played on front porches. Problems are talked about and solved on front porches.

Last night there was a terrific sight on my front porch. My husband and my daughter sat watching the severe thunderstorm roll in. There was lightning. And lots of thunder. Even hail. My family is the kind that runs out to see the storm. We're not the family that closes the windows and stays out of the storm. I thought about joining Scott and Gracie on the porch, but Sweet Pea was shivering and shaking from all of the commotion outside. I stayed in to comfort her. I'm glad I did. I got to witness something beautiful between two of my favorite people. I couldn't hear what they were saying, but I have an idea. Maybe we should get the camera? Remember that storm back in...? I'll bet there was counting going on between lightning bolts and thunder. Sweet conversation and laughter between a dad and his daughter. This will be a fond memory for them and for me, too.

I haven't always had a sizable front porch. And the fact is that you don't even need a front porch to have the front porch experience. It can be your driveway, your sun room, your deck. It's that place that feels like home and simply keeps you connected with the rest of the world.

©2011 Ann M. De Broux

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Small Sacrifices

I wanted to set a good example for the kids that I help teach in preconfirmation class at church. I gave up drinking soda for Lent. Doesn't sound like much of a sacrifice does it? In the scheme of life, it isn't. We all vowed to give something up. This isn't a religion lesson, but our small sacrifices are to remind us of what Jesus gave up for us. So back to the soda. I know that I have been drinking too much soda lately. It isn't the healthiest drink for you. It is expensive. And man, is my recycling bin filling up week after week. Crazy! Mostly from soda cans. So I decided that this would be the thing that I would give up for the forty days of Lent.

Not to be melodramatic, but the first few days were a nightmare for me. I wanted a soda. Everyone was drinking soda. Everywhere I looked there was a can, or a bottle staring at me. I think there were a few times I actually thought the cans were speaking to me. They were saying, "come on, Ann, no one is looking. It's ok. It's just ONE soda." Tempting for sure. For eight days I resisted. But on day nine, I slipped. I'll set the scene for you. I was about to punch the time clock at work. I had a splitting headache. Couldn't shake it all morning. A coworker suggested taking Tylenol with a soda chaser. This will help the medicine get into your system faster, she said. Well, for medicinal purposes, I took her advice. I fell off the wagon. I felt guilty about this. I did. But on a positive note, my headache did go away. When you work with 500 plus kids in a lunchroom and at recess, this is so necessary.

Home I went. I was feeling bad about my slip but I knew I would get over it. I'm human and I'm not perfect. So later that day we were out for dinner and I ordered a soda. Shoot. How easy it was for me to slip into an old habit. I finished that soda and vowed it wouldn't happen again. I've tried to remain loyal to my promise and after the unfortunate day of the headache and the absentmindedness, I have actually remained true to my word. Here's the thing. Even when I did have the soda, it didn't taste that great to me. Not like it had in the past.

Will I drink soda again? Oh, I know that I will. Will it taste good. Oh, yes it will. But to prove to myself that I can do something for forty days (almost) and be better for it? Simply priceless.

©2011 Ann M. De Broux

Monday, March 21, 2011


Picture this. There is a woman walking down the street with two dogs. In one hand she has two leashes. In the other hand she is balancing the bag for what the dogs are about to do and a squirt bottle. The squirt bottle is for the one dog that is being trained to not bark at anything that moves. She has tried voice commands and positive reinforcement with treats for this dog, but to no avail. So after a little reading, she decides on the squirt bottle. One quick little pull of the trigger on the bottle when the dog barks and this stops the unnecessary barking. The mere presence of this bottle on walks is working at this point.

This woman is feeling quite proud of herself. It's a beautiful day, the sun is shining, the birds are singing. She hears the things that you can hear when it is quiet. Birds are chirping and there is the serene sound of trees blowing in the gentle breeze. Life is good. Really good. And then they turn the corner. The woman's cell phone rings. She answers. And in the same exact moment a person with three dogs rounds the corner coming right at her. These are big dogs. The woman's are moderately sized dogs. Her dogs start barking. The three other dogs start barking. The woman with the two dogs is still on the cell phone and is trying to end the conversation. She drops the phone. She still has a handle on the almighty squirt bottle though! Squirt, squirt. Doesn't work with this much distraction.

Then the woman bends down to pick up her cell phone. In the process of doing this her dogs have chosen that moment to run circles around her. Because the afore mentioned dogs have leashes the length of horse leads, no really, they are made of horse lead rope. They have been in the family for over 15 years. Guaranteed to never break. Anyway, I digress. So the dogs have wrapped or tangled their owner in their leashes so badly that it looks like she's been wrapped up like a mummy. Now what to do? Definitely in a pickle. Cell phone on the ground. Squirt bottle has no power. Tied up like a mummy. And at this point the other dog owner passes by and says, "aren't these spring-like days so peaceful and quiet?"

Well, the walk started out that way. Quiet and peaceful. So when the woman with three big dogs passes on the sidewalk, the woman with two dogs shifts into recovery mode. First unwrap the leashes from around her legs. Pick up the cell phone. And the squirt bottle. She asks the dogs to sit and they do. She rewards them with a treat. It is important for this woman to let her dogs know that she's still the one in charge. Yeah, right. And they finish their walk.

Was the walk all that they had hoped for? Not exactly. Was it funnier than funny? Most definitely. This woman entered her house after the walk and was about to turn on music, when instead she decided to just open the window. And let the quiet in.

©2011 Ann M. De Broux

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Your family has them. So does mine. I'm talking reunions. There is always food and drink. There are lively discussions. There are lots of moments of laughter. Lots. There are some heated discussions over politics and religion. There are bets on who's team will make it to the playoffs. All of us have these types of gatherings.

We've had a gathering like this for the past several weeks in Madison. A reunion of sorts. We had it at the biggest house. The one that holds the most people. The house with the biggest yard. To accommodate the most people. The Capitol. Our house. We met some family we hadn't met before. We found out that even though we come from different walks of life and may have different views on things, we really are mostly the same.

It was great to see everybody. The uncles, the aunts, the cousins, the young and the old alike. Everyone was welcome. Even the ones that didn't quite fit in. They were welcomed and appreciated. And sometimes there was a sigh of relief when they left. But we were all polite to one another. The way a family should be.

There was music and entertainment. There were some tears as stories were told. And immediately after the tears were comforting words. Words of hope. We rallied around each other in support. Because that's what families do for one another. So now our family has received some bad news. We will rise above this. Why? Because that's what we do. We grieve for the loss and look to the future. We will make the best of life. We will forge on.

These reunions are tricky things. But when they are planned well and attended well, a sense of belonging is felt by all. And a united group of people can really make things happen. That's what is so beautiful about families. Whether it is your immediate family, your church family, your work family or humankind family. Great things happen when great people work together. And I, for one, am looking forward to our next reunion!

©2011 Ann M. De Broux

Sunday, March 6, 2011


You know how much I love words. This is a great one, don't you think? Fluidity. The action of smooth flow. There is so much in life that is fluid. The other day I was driving and my girl told me I was a smooth driver. What do you mean? I asked. She said she could hardly feel me changing my foot from the brake to the gas pedal. It was a smooth ride she said. I, of course, said thank you. There is so much in life that is fluid. Have you ever been at a house after a funeral? Or at a church gathering that includes a meal? The way people work together and set up, serve a meal and clean up is fluid. Almost second nature. Have you seen a group of women standing around and one is holding a baby? The baby starts to fuss and the mom will rock back and forth from one foot to another to calm the child. Look around at the rest of the ladies in the group. Chances are that you'll see others doing the same thing even though they are not holding a baby. It's natural.

This brings me to another type of fluidity. For the past several weeks Madison, WI, has been adapting to a new situation. You all know the details of the announcement made by Scott Walker to not only decrease benefits of state workers, but to take away their bargaining rights. This will make a difference for my immediate family with both my husband's job and I'm fairly sure mine, too. This is not going to be comfortable for us. But we have a plan and we have faith. We are not as worried as some. And we are part of a community that cares for one another. Over the past few weeks we have made our voices heard by our presence at protests. Scott (my husband) spoke inside the Capitol to the crowds of people. What an honor that was for him. We are proud of his voice and what he said.

The crowds have been amazing. The numbers are in the thousands. Even 100,000 a couple of weekends ago. More amazing has been the general concern for each other. Strangers will bring your child water and a granola bar. A person you have never met before will strike up a conversation with you. In the course of talking you discover different backgrounds. We're from different political parties. But guess what? We all seem to know what unfairness is. We walk together. We talk together. We celebrate our differences. And our similarities. We may never cross paths again. But for that brief time that we spend together we are fluid in the fact that we are for the same cause. It's really a lot simpler than many would want you to believe.

So whether it is the rising and setting of the sun. Or the routines we all find in our regular every day schedules. I wish all of you the ability to find comfort in the fluidity of life this week.

© 2011 Ann M. De Broux

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Wide Open Spaces

Perhaps I should say clear spaces. Nothing makes me happier than a cleared off counter. It soothes me. It gives my eyes a place to rest. How many times have you looked at your desk, counters or dresser top and flipped off the light and walked out of the room? Many times for me. Too many to count. I look at piles and messes and I become instantly overwhelmed. I can't see the trees through the forest. Fill in your own little analogy. I know how much I will enjoy the organization. The tossing and the recycling. And ultimately the cleared off space. I take pride in the end product. But the actual work of getting there? Ugh.

So the other day I had two very significant piles of stuff in the kitchen on the counter. Some was mine, some was his, some was hers. And a lot was ours. I made the separate pile for each member of the family. I made a pile of bills. I actually paid them immediately. I even took the paid bills out to the mailbox. I then recycled a pile of paper at least two inches thick. And I walked that pile right out to our bin in the garage. When Gracie got home from school we went through her pile. I was actually pleasantly surprised at how much she got rid of. She is famous for applying emotions to material items. She's learning and getting rather good at working through this. She said, do I love it? Do I need it? Is it special to me? Nothing more satisfying than knowing your kid is listening. Scott and I did the same with our piles of stuff. Job done. Total satisfaction.

So how did these piles get to this point? You know the story. We had a busy week. We didn't have time to go through the mail. Just life. It catches up with you. It happens to simplifiers, too. So my goal this week? Keep up with the mail and the papers from school. After all, clear counters make for a clear mind. Here's wishing you open and clear spaces to rest your mind in.

P.S. It has been difficult these past few weeks to not write about all that is happening in Madison. Believe me I have things written, but until there is an end in sight, whatever end that may be, I will save those thoughts. I am hoping for a positive outcome. Stay strong!

©2011 Ann M. De Broux

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Every once in a while my brain is just full of ideas that don't necessarily have much to do with each other. Today I'll call them tidbits. In the past I've referred to these thoughts or ideas as mishmash. Same same. And because these ideas aren't important enough to devote an entire blog to, I don't. I'll just invite you into my random thoughts.

Thought No. 1
Teach your children to eat fruit whole. Doesn't sound earth shattering does it? It is amazing though. As a mom and as a person who works around lots of kids, I can tell you this is important. I have witnessed more than one child look at a whole piece of fruit and not know what to do with it. If it isn't sliced, diced and peeled, they have no clue. Teach them how to peel a banana. Chomp on an apple. Eat a strawberry by holding the stem. This all sounds so easy. But if this hasn't been taught to them it's not. And then the frustration sets in for kids. Then the really sad thing happens. Instead of trying to eat, the fruit gets tossed. Same goes for veggies. It all stems back to the basics.

Thought No. 2
Right turns. I gave Gracie a lesson on right turns the other day. We were running errands and it was rush hour. She asked why I passed one of our stops. I told her that we would stop at that business on the way back from another stop. Why? I told her about this fantastic study that UPS did on time wasted by waiting to turn left. That most of their drivers have routes that keep them turning right unless it is absolutely necessary for them to turn left. It saves time and gas. So I told Gracie we are following the advice of UPS. We will stop at that destination on our way home when we can turn right into their driveway. Saves time and money and I'm all for it. I also told her that a student in driver's ed class, a girl I believe, is the one who came up with the idea that it is safe to turn right on a red light. Every once in a while I amaze my daughter.

Thought No. 3
I'm training for a marathon. Ok, a half-marathon. And I'm not running. I'm walking. My daughter said to me the other day that she's pretty sure she could walk 13 and some miles without training. I said, I'm pretty sure I can, too, but this is my excuse to get moving. And I have until September. I'm doing this with a group of friends. It's more about being friends and committing to something than it really is about the exercise. The benefits of the "training" though will hopefully be great. I'll keep you posted.

Thought No. 4
I've worn shoes twice since Christmas. Sounds crazy, right? Well, with all this snow I put on my boots every day to go about my business. And when I come home I take off my boots and slide on my slippers. Twice people. Two times. It bears repeating. I may be sick of snow. I'm trying not to be. I actually like snow. But it's been so cold! I haven't been able to enjoy it as much as I have in the past. So I'm looking forward to clogs, tennis shoes and sandal weather.

I'll leave you with my final thought. With all of this cold weather and all of the germs out there, I've been doing a lot of hand washing. And in my job there is a ton of hand washing, but not always a lot of time to apply lotion. So I get these tiny little splits in my skin at the tips of my fingers. Thankfully not too often. A couple of weeks ago I had a particularly bad cut/split. It would not heal. Lotion, gloves, more creams and even super glue didn't heal it. I complained about it often and to many. I'm not usually much of a complainer, but this was serious. And I had a mantra that went along with my complaint every time. You can ask anyone in my family. It went like this, "do you know that this tiny little cut at the tip of my finger hurts more than my c-section did?" And believe me after a few days they all would answer when I asked, "do you know how much this tiny cut hurts?---Yes, we know, more than your c-section." Now all I have to do is hold up that finger. No, not THAT finger. And they all reply on cue--c-section. Sorry. I'm not usually one for being overly dramatic, but it seemed appropriate.!

©2011 Ann M. De Broux

Sunday, February 13, 2011

I Hear You

About five years ago I asked my husband to have his hearing checked. We joked about it a little. But he did it. For me. He came home with the conclusion that he had "selective" hearing. Maybe the kind of hearing loss that would rear its ugly head when I needed him to do something for me. Or honey-do hearing loss. Fast forward to a few months ago. I used his car to run an errand. I started it up and practically got blasted out of the vehicle by the volume of the radio. I again suggested a check by a doctor. This time different results.

He now wears two hearing aids. He has asked us to be patient with his acclimation period. It will take a while. He hasn't heard well for years. With all of his military time and work as a cop, damage has been done to his hearing. Permanent damage. Ear protection wasn't really something that was thought of when he was in the military. And the same thing until recently with firearms training in police work. And I am going to just say this once. I'm pretty sure he played his music too loud in high school. I'm just saying.

So for many years I had frustrating times of repeating myself and raising my voice. At times I will admit I was annoyed. For this I am sorry. I mistook his not responding as inattentiveness. Not as a disability. Now I know the difference. I can't say that I have perfect hearing, but I know I hear well. I take this for granted. Or I should say, I took this for granted and don't anymore. To hear is a gift. We need to take care of our ears. And lots of other things, too.

The other day, Scott asked Gracie and me to be patient with his adjustment to his hearing aids. They are functioning at 90 percent right now. To put them at 100 percent would be too much of a shock to his system. He asked that we look at him when speaking. This helps with lip reading. It really hit me after that conversation that this is a forever thing for him. Of course I will do whatever he needs to hear and be part of conversation. I told him so. I listened and heard. And for the first time in a long time Scott was hearing, too. It was simply a beautiful day. Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

©2011 Ann M. De Broux

Monday, February 7, 2011

What Can I Say...

I woke up yesterday with more anticipation than I usually have on game day. We went to church and I am embarrassed to admit that I wasn't as attentive as I should have been. I may even feel a little guilty about the fact that I added a few things to my grocery list during the sermon. It was important. If you don't remember the ice and pickles it can ruin your party!

After church we headed to the grocery store to pick up our food and drink. I had called a week ago to order the hot beef and said I would pick it up at 1:00. We'll, I'm impatient. It was 11:45. I know I'm early. Is it ready I asked? Sure thing was my answer. Thank goodness. I could see people admiring our cart as we flew through the store. I got more than one comment of--- party? And what's your address? Ha Ha. I already have plenty of folks coming over. Old friends, new friends, friends from work and a neighbor, too.

We got home and unloaded our goods just in time for the first wave of company to arrive. Dip was made. Fruits and veggies cut up and chips set out. Some hot beef, buns, pickles and olives. Sweets, too. We ate all day long. Life is good on game day. Especially Super Bowl Sunday! That feeling of not being able to wait started. Noon passed. Then that 3:30 game time passed and I started to feel like a kid that is being told to wait and open her birthday gifts later. Ugh. I am thankful for great friends. Because of them the time passed rather quickly.

Then our team took the field. And the crowd went wild. At the stadium, but at my house, too. Twenty of us finding our spot to watch history be made. And was it ever. The game was FANTASTIC! Besides a botched anthem and some bad ads, it was a great time. Our dance party at half time was awesome. Lots of kids and adults jumping around in the living room. We have pictures. The game was AMAZING. I know overuse of caps here, but this win warrants it. I'm so proud of the Packers. On and off the field. They really deserved this win. We as fans deserved it, too. It's been so nice to have a pleasant distraction from life these past few weeks. This hope for a win has really united people. Yesterday was a great day to be a Green Bay Packer Fan. What more can I say?

©2011 Ann M. De Broux