Archive | Grab Bag Special Saturdays RSS feed for this section

Stupid Distance

14 Sep

Today is my sister’s birthday.  According to facebook she’s 85, and since I’ve never had reason to doubt anything else that I’ve read on everyone’s favorite social media site, I don’t know why that wouldn’t be true.  I wrote this post back when Stacy was just an early octogenarian, but it’s exactly how I feel today, too.


Did you ever have one of those days when you really just wanted to whisper something in your sister’s ear that made her smile no matter what else was going on?  And it certainly wouldn’t hurt if you were both wearing matching polyester green outfits.

Or even if you don’t have coordinating clothes, don’t you want a day to hold her safely onto the vinyl ottoman and tell her that you love her?

Yeah, me too.


Look What I Uncovered

10 Mar

My plan today was to grab and album, scan a picture, type a few quirky descriptions, and call it a blog.  That was before my random pick turned out to be this photo:

Okay, I can’t help myself, here are a few quirky descriptions:  My shirt?  Velour.  My sister?  Cute.  Me?  Not so much, but a little tanner than I knew my body was capable of being.

This picture was taken on a family vacation to Denver where we stumbled upon this rhinoceros fossil that was found in, yes, squint to read it folks, none other than Ainsworth, Nebraska.

I vaguely remember being told by my parents that it was discovered very near our house, in fact I know the exact spot just north of home from which I imagined it’s excavation took place.  And yet, this was something that I don’t remember ever being talked about in school, or in town history.

After a few, very brief google searches, I have determined that this was discovered by resident and paleontologist Morris Skinner.  The name is completely familiar, but I might just be confusing it with Skinner’s Motor Court – the only thing in Ainsworth I can think of that bare’s the name.

So what’s the story?  If you know, tell me.  In the mean time I plan to put on my straw fedora and do a little digging of my own.  This could be the new Baby Goo-Goo mystery of the year.


Uncheckered Pants, um, Past

18 Feb

Yesterday was a really important day, but it was also sort of a unexpectedly hectic day.  Suffice it to say that the complimentary valet service at Devos Children’s Hospital ER is super awesome, and that all Babies are improving in health.

Still worried?  Here’s a picture I just snapped a few seconds ago to prove to you they are just fine:

Anyway, yesterday was kind of difficult, so I didn’t get a chance to blog about what made it special.  February 17 is our Gramma’s birthday.  91 she turned.

So, in light of Grab Bag Special Saturday, I picked up the nearest old photo album and pulled out this 1976 shot of she, Grappa and myself.

I’m sorry, we need to address Grappa’s pants right away so we can concentrate on what a wonderful woman our grandmother is.


Was that enough?  Does more need to be plaid, um, I mean said about them?  Okay, good.  Let’s groove on, uh, move on.

GG (by the way, that’s what we call her since the birth of our children, G.G. for Great Grandma, get it?), so GG has always looked just like that. Her perfectly coifed hair is the result of her standing Tuesday morning appointment.  Her elegant demeanor is also unchangeable and proves comfortable leaning aside a pick-up, holding babies, volunteering for the Hospital Auxilary, leading Bible Study at the nursing home, washing dishes after family gatherings, folding church bulletins, warning her granddaughter against bossiness, and defending her husband’s choice of clothing.  All things this beautiful nonagenarian still manages to do on a regular basis.

Well, okay, she probably doesn’t have to defend Grappa’s crazy slacks anymore, but who amongst us could?

Gramma, we love you.  Happy Belated Birthday!




Stupid Distance

21 Jan

Did you ever have one of those days when you really just wanted to whisper something in your sister’s ear that made her smile no matter what else was going on?  And it certainly wouldn’t hurt if you were both wearing matching polyester green outfits.

Or even if you don’t have coordinating clothes, don’t you want a day to hold her safely onto the vinyl ottoman and tell her that you love her?

Yeah, me too.


Winter Warmth

14 Jan

Winter finally arrived here in Michigan this weekend.  I want to hate it, but it has that snow-globe, brighten-the-gray, picturesque ambiance that is actually melting my heart instead of freezing it over.  This is the kind of snow that makes you understand how Narnia under the rule of the White Witch might have seemed like a good idea at first.

But it wasn’t, remember?  Let us not ignore the main message behind C.S. Lewis’ most beloved work:  Winter is Bad.  Spring is Good.

Okay, so maybe that wasn’t the main message he had in mind, but I don’t think it was accidental either.  In fact I think he was rather on to something with the whole “Always winter and never Christmas” bit.  I would be winter’s biggest fan if the season ended on January 6, too. (That’s right folks, I’m taking one more stab at pointing out to you that the 12 days of Christmas occur after December 25.  I’m relentless like that.)

But it doesn’t.  In fact this year it didn’t even get a good go at whitifying the area until now.  So I suppose I can cut the season a fortnight or so of slack.

But do you hear that, Winter?  I want you out of here by Jan 31.  No exceptions.  In the meantime, thank you for your tree outlining beauty, and your ability to give me an extra day or two home with my husband.  You’re pretty cool.  Which is also what bothers me about you, but I will ignore that as long as I can knit warm wooly goodies, and snuggle into my flannel sheets every night.

So, I bet you’re wondering where I’m going with all this bipolar polar opining?   Here:

Doesn’t she look like the coziest damsel on the block?  That bright red warm-up suit was my Dad’s from his Lutheran High wrestling days.  That’s right, my Mom married a stud, and then she got to nap in his clothes.  It’s one of the most awesome plans to acquire comfy sleepwear I’ve heard to date.

There are so many other things I love about this photo, the lines of the couch, my Dad’s coin collecting jugs on the end table, the bottom of the treble clef sign that Mom made out of some sort of orange rocks.  And that linoleum?!?!  Isn’t that the bee’s knees in floor covering?  What I wouldn’t give to have a little of that under our dining room table.

But most of all, I love that it’s yet another picture of my Mom sleeping.  Lest you get the impression that she is a lazy woman, please know that there is no more busy body in a three county area.  Well, there might be some busybodies, but they’re too busy moving their yappers to keep up with Mom.  She goes, goes, goes all day long.  And then when she sits, she falls asleep.

It happened over bowls of vegetable soup at dinnertime, it happened with every book she ever read us, and it even happened in the middle of bedtime prayers.  The night sleep interrupted her mid-sentence was a favorite, “Dear God, thank you for oh plip . . .

We might have rudely woken her with our laughter after that one, bwe’ve thanked God for Oh Plips many times since.  Oh Plips are a source of joy for our family.

So, as winter wraps it’s blanket of snow tightly around us it’s time to take a lesson from my Mom and go slip into the warmest of my husband’s duds and hibernate.  You should, too.

Oh, excuse me for just a second.

Mom, Mom?  Wake up, Mom!  We’re at the end of the post, it’s time to get up!  Okay?




Us too! Us too!

7 Jan

I know it’s Grab Bag Special Saturday, but I need to jump on my sister’s band wagon.  But to appease all you schedule followers I’ll throw in a picture from our recent trip to Nebraska and tell you how it illustrates my point.  Or hers.  Our ours.

That,  friends, is my beloved husband.  You might wonder what’s going on around him.  In short, a lot.  I don’t want to go into it right now, but I will tell you that it has something to do with this picture.

Sorry, Mom.  I like this image so much I can’t help but use it multiple times.  I do promise a post about the whole event that brought on this behavior, but for right now let’s concentrate with the same diligence as this guy:

You know what he’s reading, right?  Yup, Hunger Games.  He started it that morning.  He finished it that night.

Meanwhile nine children combusted in joy around him.  One of them burst into a fever right before his very eyes, and yet he was able to work even that to his advantage.  He simply swooped up the child in question, plopped him on his lap for a necessary and long nap, and bode his time in Panem.

I fell prey to the series in a similar way a little over a year ago.  I was painfully recovering from the birth of twins and suffering three hour feedings around the clock.  The Hunger Games were the only books that could simultaneously act as a pain reliever and middle of the night stimulant with no harsh side effects.

Well, there was that whole side effect of getting absolutely nothing else done for the duration of the books, but it was easy to pass that off on being a mom to newborn twins.  People totally bought that excuse.

What’s your’s?


A Bag Full of Christmas Cheer

24 Dec

It is Christmas Eve!

In celebration I grabbed two of my favorite elvish groupies for today’s grab bag.

Get it?

I grabbed them.

See? It’s funny.

Because today is GRAB Bag Special Saturday.

Yes? Yes.

So, take a cue from me and grab some of your favorites elfin companions (appropriately, of course) and give them a Christmas Eve Cuddle.


Sugar and Spice

17 Dec

I’m all about stretching themes these days.  So, I’ll just be really honest and admit that today’s Grab Bag Special picture is not even close to a random pull from an old photo album.  Nope, I knew exactly what digital file I was hunting for to grab this photo.  Here it is straight from the Twin’s First Month Archives:

That is just over 5 lbs. of baby girl in her very first dress.  I remember that moment like it was yesterday.  That is a horrible simile – yesterday is pretty foggy, but you know what I’m getting at.  The emotions connected to that article of clothing are quick to surface when I see the picture.

I didn’t even realize it was a dress before that morning.  The little preemie sized outfit was so tiny that the “skirt” looked like an unsuspecting ruffle.  I was new to this whole line of apparel, and so until the final three snaps gave audible closure it hadn’t hit me that my daughter was wearing a dress.

Big moment.

Fast forward fifteen months, and although our boys have finally learned to use female pronouns, and I don’t stumble every time I try to say “sister” I was once again struck with that same “Officially Female” kind of feeling.  Check this out:

A bow.  A curl.  A girl.



I Need a Nap

19 Nov

Everyone is a little tired today, so we don’t have much to offer in the way of posts.



12 Nov

Betcha can’t guess out of what decade today’s grab bag special is pulled.


Did I hear someone say the 70’s?  You are most likely correct.  There is a slim chance it might have been taken in the early days of January 1980 when my Mom was celebrating her 29th birthday with brand new aluminum pizza pans and another gift done up in my father’s specialty wrapping – the newspaper.  But even if big hair, leg warmers, and Ronald Reagan were on the horizon the 1970’s were clinging on for dear life.

First, there is that wallpaper.  Seriously bold choice.  Although, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t our parents’.  They moved into that kitchen with it’s Formica, brown fridge, metal cabinets and the most decade defining wall decor ever manufactured.

And while they can’t be blamed for those decisions, it seems like they might have been sniffing the wallpaper paste in a couple other design areas.  You can’t see this very well, but the chair I’m sitting in was a padded, beautiful, Big Bird Yellow.   It matched the BBY Formica table underneath the brown and gold madras tablecloth.

The orange bowl to the left of the refrigerator, however, is not some super-trendy serving set my parent’s received off their “registry” at Ace Hardware.  That is the most important bowl in my Mother’s kitchen.  Always has been, and unless she comes down with a mean case of diverticulitis, always will be.

That is the bowl/lid of her Stir Crazy.  You know what a Stir Crazy is, right – those fabulous popcorn poppers that have a little metal rod that “stirs” the bottom of the hot plate where the popcorn kernels await their chance to pop like “crazy.”  When it’s all over you flip the entire appliance and the transparent orange lid becomes your snack’s serving bowl.

The man who invented it is a genius.  A genius who lives down the street from us, that is.  Yup.  You read that right – one of the men who designed the West Bend Stir Crazy Popcorn Popper lives just around the corner from our house.  He and his wife retired in Grand Rapids after, one can only assume, they went Stir Crazy in Wisconsin.

And if anything can convince my parents that it’s a good idea to move to Michigan it would be the example of my mother’s hero.  I sure hope when they do move this direction she’ll let me borrow that awesome cardigan.