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