Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

Dear Mom,

My stepdaughter Robyn and I made spiders for Logan’s school Halloween party. Figured Halloween was a good time to display them.

It’s also Frank’s birthday – so Happy Biooo-thday Frank-enstein! I always have to incorporate some kind of Halloween message on his birthday—after all he was born on Halloween.

When Ruthie and I were little, you had us make our own costumes with brown paper grocery bags. On the bottom, we’d cut out a big enough circle to go over our heads and then two smaller circles on either side for arm holes. We’d then get out the crayons and color some kind of picture on the rest of the bag. Ruthie had a BooBoo mask and I had a Yogi Bear mask, and every year we’d Trick or Treat in the neighborhood. Yogi Bear and BooBoo, year after year. I often wondered what the neighbors thought—there they are, the Moellering girls, so creative. Did people laugh behind our backs? We didn’t care so long as we got the goods. I couldn’t handle when someone asked me to do a trick or if I had a joke. I’d shake my head no and feel my heart drop thinking I wouldn’t get any candy, but they always gave me some anyway—probably felt sorry for me with my costume and all.

Have a safe and fun Halloween and booo careful.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

National Novel Writing Month

Dear Mom,

I’ve decided to do the NaNoWriMo which is writing a 50,000 word (fictional) novel during the month of November. For those who might be interested in my progress, I plan to post here daily my accomplishments even though I’ll be posting on the NaNoWriMo official site.

Why I’m causing myself more work, I’m not sure but that’s how I roll—heaven forbid should I keep things simple.

Since I need all the help I can muster, I pulled out my totem.

Ruthie reminded me to bring out a totem every time I write to trick the muse that it’s time. I’ll be using my silver spoon from the Hilton in Minneapolis—and no, I didn’t steal it. It was given to me. A fun memory with two dear writing friends. I’ll also keep a picture of my Great Aunt Helen (Lena) Moellering whose story I’m obsessed with finding out, but I keep coming up empty handed. And so I’m going to make up my own story about Lena. Maybe then I can quit obsessing over her and finish up other stories I have to write.

The photo was taken from a family photo probably in the early 1900s. The date of Lena’s exact birth is unknown—about 1896—so my guess she’s about 7 or 8 in this picture. Guessing age is not my thing, maybe she’s 10.

Wish me luck as I’ve never been good at fiction, which is going to be tough. I also always write in long hand, but for this project I plan to type on the laptop. That too is going to be different for me. Ah, those secretarial skills will come in handy now.

And Great Aunt Lena, wherever you are, I’ll be open to your help ☺.

Monday, October 25, 2010

My Power Wagon

Dear Mom,

I finally got out in the yard to take care of the weeds before they invaded the house. There’s this wild, native, invasive—but pretty looking—plant. See the plant with the rounded leaves? That's the culprit, trying to take over the phlox.

I decided it looked cool and let it grow. It took off like the moles around here and the next thing I know it’s choking the life out of all my plants. I’m in the third year of trying to keep it out of the garden area and under control. It really is pretty in the spring—tiny purple flowers bloom—especially when it’s covering the ground like a blanket.

While fighting that, I came across another plant that is acting the same way. This water plant has variegated leaves of pink, green and white with scraggly edges. It made its way out of the water and on to ground—also choking out my other plants. It’s more invasive than the other. You know the ole saying, if you can’t beat 'em, join 'em—and I decided to create an area of its own. Maybe it will be happy in its own little section. I gave it lots of love.

The path that I had created was now gone—covered by mulch, weeds, dirt, etc. Again being creative, I decided to line the path with more rocks.

Here's what it looked like before. Do you see a path? It's supposed to be in between the boxwoods (left) and the hosta (right).

My husband had bought me a power wagon several years ago. I gasped at what he paid for it and wondered whether he had any sense. Who would pay that kind of money for a motorized wheelbarrow? The first time my little sister and I used it to create a dry (rock) creek bed, we used the DR Power Wagon. Just once it paid for itself—saving wear and tear on our backs, the ease in which we gathered and hauled rocks. We loved the DRPW.

When creating my path, I decided it wasn’t worth the hassle to get the DRPW since it meant hauling it out of the barn, driving it through the woods, down the hill and into the back (the only way to get back there with a powered machine) and so I carried one big rock. Was I crazy? I went and got the DRPW. And filled that puppy up with rocks (that came from our woods).

Isn’t she a beaut? Oh, and my husband—he has LOTS of sense.

Oh and did I tell you that the DRPW also has a button you can push and it dumps your load for you?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Breast Cancer Awareness Month or Love Yourself Month

Dear Mom,

Forty years ago, I don’t believe October was Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Medical procedures, awareness, and the way in which patients are treated are so much different now than when you were going through treatment.

I recently read a friend’s blog ( who talked about breast cancer. It made me wonder why I hadn’t thought about telling you about Breast Cancer Awareness Month especially since it took your life. Silly me.

I wanted to beat myself up about it, but then realized that part of my wrist problem (yeah, it flared up again) has to do with my self-loathing. I think. It makes sense to me since medically there is nothing wrong with my wrist. I feel like it is Spirit trying to say, See what you’re doing—all this beating up on yourself is turning into physical pain. Who knows, could it lead to disease such as cancer?

I plan to make a conscious effort to be more loving to myself. If I’m able to give love so freely to others, why not to myself? Did you do that to yourself? I often wonder what you thought about in terms of your self worth. When I hear your sisters talk, they never give their selves the kind of credit they so lovingly deserve. It’s with little things, but it all adds up.

So I’ve decided I’m going to change my awareness to: Love Yourself Month (or Love Yourself Year). It has a more positive ring to it—and certainly not to take away all the good things folks are doing to bring awareness to those about breast cancer—it’s just something I need to do for me.

Love myself.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Belly Dancing

Dear Mom,

I had my first belly dancing lesson. I wanted to do some kind of exercise that would be fun, yet challenging. Your other two daughters Suzanne and Ruth agreed to learn with me.

We realized coordination skipped our family gene. Did we inherit that from you or Dad? I don’t recall seeing you dance or exercise. I know Dad danced with Clara, but I doubt he did any difficult moves like the polka or swing. I’m amazed that I can even step around in circles for a slow dance.

Belly dancing is about using isolated muscles, then incorporating that with certain movements. Chest, back, chest—moves with the right foot as you step forward. Back, chest, back—moves with the left foot—weight forward as you step. I think. There’s the upper portion and the lower portion. That in itself was hard to master, believe it or not. My sister showed her husband and he said she looked like a spastic chicken.

Now the dance steps. Flat, ball, ball, ball. (Foot flat, then up on the ball of your foot. But my brain fails to remember where my feet should go.) Then the teacher added arm movements—swinging your arms around in coordination with your feet. Yeah, right. The three of us looked like spinning tops. Either my feet moved and my arms hung down or my arms were swinging like a chimp and my feet did whatever they wanted. Moving them in unison was hopeless.

Because the classes are made to accommodate anyone—beginner to more advanced—the instructor starts from the beginning and adds a new movement each class and then starts all over again once the routine is complete. We came in near the end and after the initial warm up and beginning steps, the instructor ran through the entire belly dance (almost). We were handed silk scarves that are used in part of the routine and were told to do the best we could.

I watched the instructor and tried following her moves. I can’t believe I didn’t run into anyone. At the end of this routine, you took the scarf—after finding the end—and you’d fling it over your head. I flung it so hard you’d think I was shaking the dirt out of a floor rug. The next morning I felt like I had whiplash. I called my sisters to see if their necks hurt. No. But one sister confessed how the scarf ended up in her mouth at one point. One time she got too close to the floor fan and it nearly ate up her billowing scarf.

I gave up following the teacher because every time she went one way, I went the opposite. When her scarf was up, mine was down. I finally let loose and flung that scarf and moved about just like the time I pretended to be a ballerina as a kid and performed for you in the living room.

It was fun all right. The three of us cracked each other up—and challenging… well that’s an understatement.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I'm Perplexed

Dear Mom,

I’m perplexed. I can cook a French gourmet dinner for two, or prepare enough food for one hundred people for a surprise party for my husband without him knowing. I can transform a mud pile into a gardener’s delight, or sew a prom dress with the complexity of a bride’s gown in less than two weeks. I can move out of a home in one afternoon (okay, with some help) without the (now ex) husband having a clue. I can provide day care for 5 four year olds and 4 under the age of two in diapers, along with my three children without losing my mind, errr… okay, well, maybe I was a bit nuts by the end of the day and made a mental note—never do that again. I can change the oil in my car or I can unstop a toilet—the list is endless. But when it comes to making a DVD play on the TV, I’m lost.

Logically thinking, hitting “play” on the remote would work. Notta. After an hour and a half of hitting every button on all four remotes—yes, four remotes, nothing. Zip. I even hit the play button on the DVD player. Nothing worked. I gave up. I wanted to toss it all out of the window, but instead I grabbed a book, curled up in bed and read. God forbid if I ever have to use a Kindle.

So what’s the deal? Why can’t I hit play to watch a movie? Tell me mom, what is the lesson for me to learn?