Posts Tagged With: skating

Random 5 – Christmas Vacation awaits

It’s almost here! Christmas vacation – so close I can taste it but don’t dare spend time thinking about it for I know I’ll be lost in dreamland if I do.

Soon we’ll step away ~ the ache in my shoulders serves as constant reminder of the need for some down time.

Our boys and grands and daughter in law and girlfriend will be here Friday night – we’ll nosh on appetizers and home-made treats, play games and tell stories. We’ll pop Christmas crackers and open presents and for just a few hours my heart will feel like it could burst.

We downsized this year in more ways than one:  Yes a smaller house but now there’s smaller everything – Christmas Eve will be just Hubbs and me, youngest boy and his girl – a whole new experience yet cozy and I hope, delightful.  Christmas Day winds down to just us 2.  What a change – no more bed-head grands tumbling out wide-eyed and bushy tailed.  They will be back at some point but there’s other family to see and that’s OK, too.  Hubbs and I will linger over brunch and later watch a movie, we may doze in our chairs, who knows.

Just the topic of Christmas vacation elicits so many conversations between us; for growing up in two different countries we share many similar memories:  Late nights at Aunts/Uncles,  sledding with cousins, and dinner at Grandma’s  on Christmas day (1pm sharp!).  Then “lunch” at 4:00 with skating-sledding-sliding-snowmobiling- all that snow, to follow.  Days later – time off to enjoy our new things, figure out board games or learn new skills – wood burning, pottery sculpting or jewelry making kits – those were all the rage in the 70s even if our finished results were less than spectacular!

Random 5 – after a rambling – ready?

  • Assorted chocolates.  Remember being a kid and someone would bring a box of chocolates to the family party?  Sometimes the treats were good but often times not.   Hey what’s this? (( big bite )) Ewww — orange marmelade swirl! Gag, retch, blah. Or how about hey what’s this one? It looks promising, like maybe there are nuts and caramel inside …. Nope, foiled again.  Strawberry cream delight!  Glach!  What is this? Is this mayonnaise?  Toothpaste?    Flash forward 45 years ~ I was gifted a gourmet box of chocolates this week.  Where are they?  In the office lunchroom. Nope,  after all those years, I do believe “you never know what you’re gonna get.”  My office mates are happy and I’ll take a pass, thanks!
photo from

no thanks

  • Yesterday I found myself awake in the middle of the night – too many things racing in my head. At 4:00 a.m. I got up and made a list, thinking that would help.  Wrong. At 4:30 a.m. I started the coffee and showered, and was at the office by 6:00.  Arriving in the dark I laughed out loud because 1) I had my security code with me but 2) not the outside door badge.  Sipping my coffee I decided to give the outer door a try – voila it opened.  Sometimes what made perfect sense at 4:00 a.m. doesn’t translate so well later.


  • Last minute Larry’s.  This is a phrase I’ve coined for the co-workers who’ve had the same project or looming deadline as I have – we’ve had it for weeks but they always arrive skidding to the finish line expecting me and others to save them. Nope.  Out-of-office is going on and your boat is yours to save.   How’s that for Christmas spirit? Ha!
Amen said the choir!

Amen said the choir!

  • Leisurely reading – I’ve almost forgotten what that feels like.  Yes I’m going plant my face in a book and not come out until the coffee’s gone. I hope it’s howling, snowing and blowing all the while.  I hope while I’m tucked in there, sipping coffee and reading, relaxing and enjoying.   I hope. I hope. I hope.


  • Pauses.  It’s important to pause.  Pause to give thanks, pause to savor Christmas memories in the making. Pause to listen to little ones.  Pause to hug the big ones. Pause for kitchen kisses.  Pause in traffic to let someone in.  Pause to shut the door, breathe, and turn it all off.  Pause to allow for wonder.  Pause to know good news is soon to come.


Merry Christmas to all! 


Categories: Beauty, Faith, Family, Fun, Grief, Growth, Holidays, Home, Humor, Joy, Life, Personal, Quotes, Seasons, Thoughts, Wisdom, Women, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Random 5 Friday and a time for Home

It’s Friday! Time for 5 random thoughts. Here we go!

1.  Hubbs has a cold.  Call the CDC.  Seriously. He’s moaning and limping around as if he’s dying. Every move is announced.  Every. Move.  I’m doing my best to help and comfort him but … it could be a long winter.

Vicks, Puffs and a hot toddy ~ he'll be OK

Vicks, Puffs and a hot toddy ~ he’ll be OK

2.  Like other parts of the country, winter slammed into us on Monday.  Employees in ‘da U.P. (that’s Yooper for people who live in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula) received 35-42 inches of snow in 2 days.  Yesterday, here in Grand Rapids, we got a light dusting and everyone lost their minds and forgot how to drive.  It could be a long winter.

Photo from

3.  At the office we had some difficulty switching our system from a/c to heat.  Last year we switched it on our own and managed to successfully blow cold air …  harder.  It’s finally pushing  heat and employees are no longer wearing “Oliver Twist” gloves at their desks.   It could be a long winter.

It was that cold. Image from

It was that cold. Image from

4.  When I was a kid we couldn’t wait for winter!   We couldn’t wait to use our toboggans and super slider snow skates and crazy carpets.  And snow days?  Snow days were the BEST!  Farm kids were designated a “town buddy” to stay with if bad weather picked up -as it often did.  And who could forget two – count ’em – two whole weeks off for Christmas break to snowmobile, snowshoe, ski, skate, slide and more? Now – as an adult – winter is just not as much fun. It’s work. The “s” words that brought so much joy have been replaced with new ones: scrape, slide, swear and soldier through.  Every year I try to get out to do some of the fun “s” words but … It could be a long winter.

I remember winter like this.

5. On a positive note, our house feels very cozy, I’ve got plenty of books and projects to keep me busy and, once Hubbs feels better, fireside chats will return.  Maybe it won’t be a long winter after all.


Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.”
― Edith Sitwell


Which “S” words do you associate with winter?

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Family, Fun, Growth, Joy, Quotes, Random, Relationships, Seasons, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Heroes and Valentines

When I think about Valentine’s Day I can’t help but think about the year two heroes changed my perception of the holiday forever.

You see, I’d been home from school for almost a week, sick with Chicken Pox.  I was a miserable, feverish, red-faced mess. Bored and uncomfortable, I spent my days trying to stay quiet and letting Mom apply Calamine Lotion to my itchy spots.

I missed my cousin.
I missed my friends.
I missed riding the bus.
I *gasp* missed school.

My best friend and cousin, Debbie, did more than gather homework for me every day. She made me laugh as I slaved to complete the word search puzzles she’d crafted just for me. Words to search for included, “Bay City Rollers,” “Peter Frampton,” “butt,” “cute” and “groovy.”  She’d write messages to me upside down, backwards and sideways, ensuring I had to twist and turn the pages to get to her super-secret message at the end: the message that always translated to “I miss you, too.”

But the worst part of being sick was the knowing  – knowing I’d miss our much anticipated, highly celebrated Valentine’s Day party.

I’d miss lunchtime skating at the town rink followed by a hot dog lunch!

I’d miss cupcakes with whipped frosting and pink or red sprinkles on top!

mmm good;

I’d miss Valentine-themed spelling contests, teachers who’d let us put a record on the turntable and the chance to see who might slip a secret message to another.

Heyyyyyy! I think I love you!!;

And the coup de gras …. I’d miss the opportunity to place carefully selected Valentines into all those hand-decorated receptacles.

1970s punch-out Valentines;

My misery must have been obvious because one day, a few days before the party, my Grandpa stopped by on his way home from town. It wasn’t unusual for him to pop in, but it was unusual for him to come and sit with me.  Imagine my surprise when his farm-worn hands carefully pulled out a box of paper Valentines from the local grocery store!

“Here, I brought these just for you,” he said, his Swedish accent putting a ‘y’ where the ‘j’ should have been.  And, with that, he helped me fold and tear along the dotted lines, all the Valentines in the box. He also helped me fold and glue together the envelopes, because, at that time, that’s how they came – in stacks to be sorted out.

“You just write them out and Debbie can take them to school for you,” he said, smiling.  And that’s when I knew that the two of them had this all planned out … just for me!  I watched in awe as this giant of a man, as strong as an oak and with hands as broad as baseball mitts, sat and carefully folded Valentines so a little girl he knew could still be part of something that meant so much to her.

A few days after the party, and when I was no longer contagious, Mom and Dad let me attend Open Skate night with Deb at the local rink. It was Grandpa’s hand that I took when my scabby-faced self strolled into that rink and it was my cousin’s hand that I grabbed when it came time to play “Crack the Whip.”   He left us to go visit with our Dads and other neighbors and we laughed and shrieked as grade-school girls do.  And later, when we pulled our skates off our numb toes and ran back to where they were visiting and eating pie,  our faces were flushed and happy.  And that’s when we saw what we’d always known to be true – that their smiles were as broad and generous as their hearts.  And that this is what it meant to be loved –  and that love as deep and as wide as theirs had very little to do with red hearts or candy.

My Grandpa, my Dad and me!

..:: Thank you Grandpa and Debbie. I loved you then and I love you still.  Always have and always will! ::..

Do you have a favorite Valentines memory that you’d like to share?

Categories: Family, Friendship, Holidays, Life, Men, Personal, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 38 Comments

Rink life

In a northern prairie town, winter life is lived at the rink. The rink’s the hub; the rink is .. quite simply ..  where it’s at. 

As a child, our lunch time recesses took place at the rink .. we played endless games of crack the whip.  We raced, we tagged, we giggled and we chased. We’d return to school sweaty-faced and tired. (Boy, those teachers were smart.)

We cheered at Thursday night Hockey games and curled in Saturday afternoon bonspiels. We practiced for figure skating carnivals, flirted at “all skate” nights and defrosted to the sounds of local farmers card playin’ conversations, their stubbled faces obscured by the smoky blue haze encircling their John Deere caps.

When hungry, we scarfed down homemade pies, puffed-wheat cake, tomato soup, hot chocolate, coffee and cheeseburgers, always with fried onions on top.

We cooled down with a Vico (chocolate milk), bottled Fresca or a Coke pulled from the murky water of the pop machine.  We wiped our bottles “clean” with the towel, hanging there since 1968.

the old Coca-Cola chest ...

First crushes.
First dates.
First stop for Poker tournaments … on snowmobiles.

Oh how many nights I worked that Rink Kitchen! Serving up flapper pie, playing cards, listening to stories, and helping little ones tie their skates.

In summer, the old rink took a break. It stood quiet.  Oh sure … there was one glorious event in June … the 4-H Achievement day… but after that, it waited.  It waited for winter and children and good cooks and old farmers to return.

I still have my skates and that rink still stands.

And even now, on a crisp winter’s day, I can still taste one of those burgers with fried onions on top, washed down with an ice cold Coca-Cola. I’d be delighted to indulge an old-timer’s wink for I wish … I’d wish I could take one more lap around that ice.

photo courtesy of Stan F., my classmate since Kindergarten

Crack the whip anyone?

Categories: Family, Home, Joy, Life, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , | 28 Comments

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