Saturday, August 13, 2011

A Little of This, A Little of That

I went to see a Josh Groban concert this week. This man is a musical genius. Does the fact that I love his voice make me a Grobanite? I cannot say enough good things about this concert and his music. Let’s be clear though---he’s pretty dorky. . . but in a good way. He was charming and charismatic and made you feel as if you were in a much more intimate venue than a stadium.

Which, by the way, the Bradley Center in Milwaukee is a great place to see a concert!! We live about an hour from either Milwaukee or Chicago and for some reason seem to attend most events in Chicago, so this is the first time I have ever seen a show at the Bradley Center. I will absolutely make it a point to head north from now on—it was a breeze to get there, we found close parking and the stadium was smaller than what we're used to in Chi-Town.

My friend Gina and I got a good chuckle out of this couple in front of us who were wearing. . . .wait for it. . . .earplugs!!!! Earplugs at a Josh Groban concert?!? Wha?!

I mean, it’s not like we were at a heavy metal show, for crying out loud. Is there a reason for this that maybe we don’t know about? Anyone? There wasn’t a head nod or a foot tap to be found and they sat in their seats while everyone else screamed and clapped for an encore performance. Looking at them brought back a memory of being unhappily married and I almost wanted to tap her on the shoulder and say, “Sweetie, Get. Out. Now. You two are clearly not having fun, either at this concert or with each other.”

I didn’t get many pictures; I don’t really like to be one of “those people” who is constantly messing with their phone or camera while not really enjoying the music because they are too busy fussing around to do so. You know what he looks like and you probably know his music. If not, please do yourself a favor and listen to Weeping, Awake, You Raise Me Up, and You Are Loved.

It felt good to get out of the house and do something. I have felt that ache in my bones lately. Turns out that commercial on television is right---Depression really does hurt. I know this sadness that I feel is situational and I know it will get better, so I keep trying to just put one foot forward and smile. And buy stuff online. Looks like Country and I will be attending Cirque du Soleil next week. (Hey, the tickets were 50% off as the show is almost over. Can you blame me?) I haven’t felt like doing much this summer, between feeling crummy from the injections, feeling crummy from the pregnancy and feeling crummy that I had a miscarriage, so it is a nice feeling to have something to look forward to.

One foot forward.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


Looking back, when I started this blog, I never dreamed that somewhere down the road I'd be writing about the subject of infertility.  Trying for a baby was somewhere in the back of my mind; not yet a reality.  And yet, througout this past year and a half, I've felt comforted by speaking from my heart onto this blog and every once in awhile, seeing your kind words of encouragment.

After a year of struggling to get pregnant, and then almost six months of seeing a fertility specialist, still with no concrete answers of "Why?", countless appointments, tests, blood work, injections, and finally, artificial insemination, I was pregnant.  Finally.

And I am so heartbroken to say, that one month after I heard those sweet words of "Congratulations!!" from my doctor and nurse, that I have miscarried.

Seeing it on the screen makes it a bit more real.  As I type this, tears are streaming down my cheeks and there is a fogginess in my head. 

Did this really happen?

It seems like a nightmare; one that I know is not going to go away easily or soon.

Please hold us a little closer in your hearts right now.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thursday, July 7, 2011

I Love it When We're Cruisin' Together

On Sunday, my brother Neil, Gina and their boys stopped by the house in Neil's newly restored Chevelle.  It's been a slow process to restore this car. . . .what's that saying?  When you have the time, you don't have the money and when you have the money, you don't have the time?  Not to mention, Neil and Gina have their hands full these days with the boys.

As I was out in the driveway taking pictures and talking with them, Gina said, "I bet this isn't quite what Neil had in mind when he set out to restore this car; driving around with the wife and kids."

Well, Gina, maybe that's not quite what he had in mind, back when he was younger and single.
  But I think it's even better.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Summer, So Far

It’s been rainy, cold and very non-summer like here in Northern Illinois. For someone who lives for the summer sunshine, I feel incredibly neglected of my Vitamin D.

I learned a very unfortunate lesson this year with my garden. I had a huge truckload of manure/compost delivered and I spread it everywhere, including on top of my garden soil. I had read a book about weed-less gardening and it suggested that you not rototill your garden as it “churns” up the weeds and allows them to get all of the sun/air/water that they need to grow. Instead, you’re supposed to mulch like crazy and let it be and you will have very few weeds. In my haste to spread the manure/compost, I somehow got a little confused. As in, this stuff is not mulch. It is rich. Very, very rich. And unfortunately for me, my little tomato plants that were started from seed didn’t stand a chance. After about a month of hoping and fussing that they’d take off, I had to accept the fact that they were not going to grow. And then, I had to break down and buy plants for my garden. I rarely buy vegetable plants. Every year, I start most everything from seed indoors or else put the seeds directly into the garden. It’s not that I’m opposed to buying plants; I just really love the satisfaction I feel dropping those seeds into tidy rows and loving them until they produce more food than we can eat. It’s a process for me; one I love dearly. The lady at the nursery where I bought the plants confirmed what I had suspected---too rich. So when I put the new plants in, I tried to scrape away as much of the manure/compost as I could so as not to “burn” them.

Stangely enough, everything else seems to be coming in just fine.  Are tomato plants tender?

Hello little radish.

We love fresh basil in salads and of course, pesto.  I found this pretty purple basil plant at a Farmer's Market in Michigan and had to bring her home.  I'm excited to make basil-infused vinegar for salad dressings.  Yum.

What do you get when you have lots of rain, cool temps and lots of manure?  Mushrooms!  They are everywhere.

The "Cedar Grove" in all it's glory.

And some tid-bits of Mother Nature. 

 My most favorite rummage sale starts today.  I look forward to this sale all year long.  Seriously.  It is run by a Boy Scout troop and held in a church parking lot.  When I see those huge white tents go up, my heart starts to race.  Then, usually on Tuesday the trucks arrive.  Huge, massive trucks full of treasures.  You see, a very affluent neighborhood has a neighborhood garage sale and everything that’s left gets donated to this sale.  Thursday is opening day.  Sometimes I’ve gone after work on the first day, sometimes not.  Usually my plan is this:  there is so much stuff crammed onto the tables that on Thursday, the first day, it can be extremely overwhelming.  I find that the best time for me to go is on Friday after work.  By then, they only have Friday night and Saturday morning left and they are anxious to move things out, so they start selling brown paper bags for $10 and everything you can fit into that bag is yours.  That may sound like a lot, but you can fit a ton of stuff if you know how to cram it all in there.   This sale is a little different for me in that I really go for the clothing.  Usually, at any given rummage sale, I don’t even bother looking at clothes, but at this sale, it is a guarantee that I will come home with 2-3 bags full of Gap, Express, Banana Republic, J. Crew, and various other brands of clothing.  Last year I also found a McCoy planter that when I looked it up online, I found selling on Ebay for about $40.  Score!!  And also, by Friday night, a lot of stuff has been sold but there are almost always still unopened boxes underneath the tables!!  So, I start digging and filling my bag with as much as I can.  I'm in trouble.  This is not very conducive to my purging of "stuff."  Ah, stuff.  I love stuff.  I guess the beauty of buying 98% of my clothing used is that I can pretty much have an entire "new" wardrobe on a pretty regular basis.

Have a great weekend, friends.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Back to the grind. I hope everyone had a lovely Memorial Day weekend. Did you get to spend some time with your family and friends? Maybe grill out, run through a sprinkler, and try something new? I hope so.

Country and I packed up the dogs and headed to Michigan to the barn house for the weekend.

It was grey and gloomy the entire time we were there. But we tried to sneak in some walks and gardening in between storms.

Have you ever tried to weed a garden bed that is practically a pond? No? It’s great fun.

In classic Melanie –style, I took one thousand eight hundred and twenty three pictures of the dogs.

And I have not one good picture of any of the people that we spent the weekend with. You’ll have to use your imagination as to what they might look like.

Oh wait, I lied. Here’s one of Country’s sister’s hands chopping an onion. See how blazingly speedy she chops that onion? So fast I couldn’t even get a good picture. Or maybe it’s that I am still learning aperture, etc. so often my pictures turn out like these. But really she cuts those onions so quickly!!

Said sister with said onions made the best. damn. French onion soup I have ever had in my life. I ate two bowls and wanted more. And more.

Justice ran and ran through the field. Then ran some more.

Tripp was on his own agenda; eat grass, walk three feet, eat grass. Maybe moo a little bit.

But after two nights, we were ready to come home and sleep in our own beds. We knew it was going to be beautiful yesterday and didn’t want to end up driving home in horrendous traffic while it was gorgeous outside, so we headed home late Sunday night. After dinner, of course.

We awoke to glorious sunshine. I worked in the gardens all day long. I live for this time of year.

And then in the early evening, we headed over to my parent’s house for a little BBQ action, which is exactly what I needed. I’ve been throwing myself a pity party because our first month of fertility treatment resulted in a big fat negative. I know, I know, it’s only the first month of meds. But it was the 15th time we’ve tried. 15. It’s been a long time to ache for something so badly. Anyway, I really want one of these:

Is he not the sweetest thing? This is Leo. As in Leonardo. He’s my brother’s youngest son and even though we’re not in Georgia, he’s a peach through and through.

Yes, I did change the subject and I think the transition was quite nice.

And remember this little man?

He’s turning in to such a. . . . . toddler? Little boy? I’m not sure what I’d say about Ryan because he is not quite 16 months but sometimes seems so much older than that. As in, he’s been speaking in complete sentences for so long now that it seems silly to think that he ever babbled. And A-B-C’s? Fahgettaboudit.

These two sweet little boys have changed every family gathering for the better.


I am thankful for them and my family and for all of the troops that make it possible for me to head off for the weekend and take one thousand eight hundred and twenty three pictures of my dogs and then return home and have a great night with my family.

And a special shout out to my dear friend Heather who is a nurse in the service and probably one of the bravest people I know. Thank you for all you have done for this country.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


My heart has been a little tender this week, thinking about all of the people who lost their homes from the tornados and storms. Here I was, feeling pretty darn good about myself for being featured on one of my favorite sites, Better After, and there are so many people out there that have lost everything. Their pictures. Maybe a wedding dress, grandma’s ring. A lifetime of treasures. Perhaps a pet. Hopefully not a family member or friend.

With that being said, I chose not to post anything house related this week.

Have a great Memorial Day weekend, friends. Squeeze everyone a little tighter this weekend.