Friday, December 30, 2016

The Best Perspective

I would not wish upon anyone, certainly not myself, the loss of a beloved. Still, I appreciate, honor, and even thirst for this perspective. There is such indescribable, unparalleled grace in being a companion and caregiver in sickness, suffering, and the transition to eternity:

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Big Boy Playdate

Benjamin had a friend come over today to play, a sixth-grade, five-foot-eight friend. Now, before you go raising your eyebrows that it seems a little weird for a middle-schooler to want to play with my boy, I assure you, it was not the big boy's idea. Ben had been begging and begging for this boy to visit because he idolizes him. Since this boy is a good boy (and it probably doesn't hurt that I am friends with his mother) he agreed to come over and play. He and Benjamin mostly played Mario video games. There was also some Lego talk. They had snacks. The older boy taught my son important lessons, such as many fans refer to Michael Jordan as MJ. Neither could believe the afternoon passed so quickly, and, soon, it was time to pack them into the car and take them to basketball practice. (That is one of the blessings of attending a tiny, K-8 school-- fourth graders and sixth graders play on the same team.) As they walked into practice, ear-to-elbow, my son gazed up at his older role model and my heart was so, so full.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016


We've been fortunate this week-- and whenever we have the opportunity, for real-- to take in some fun, regional theater. On Christmas Eve, we saw "White Christmas" at the Ordway Theater with Grandma R. and Lisa. It was well done, a beautiful and sweet show. I am apparently the only person anywhere who has never seen the movie, so I especially enjoyed the gift of seeing it. During the finale, when snow finally falls in Vermont, there was an effect making it "snow" on the audience. The kids loved that!

Today, the girls went with Aunt Kristin and their cousins to see "Cinderella" at the Children's Theatre. They had a blast and spent the evening replaying each scene, line and character. I had a nice discussion after the kids returned with my niece Lucia about the many joys of theater. What a glorious life!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry, Merry!

It's been a glorious Christmas celebration! Details to come-- following sleep.

Thursday, December 22, 2016


Winter Wonderland, Amanda

Fum, Fum, Fum, Elisabeth 

We Three Kings, Benjamin 

We Wish You a Merry Christmas 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Monday, December 19, 2016

First High School Concert

This evening, it was Amanda's turn to entertain us by singing holiday tunes with Freshman Choir and Freshman Singers in her first high school concert. So lovely, and they'll do it again tomorrow evening, which is a good thing because Dad is out of town right now but will hopefully be back for the second round. What a great time!

Jazz Gloria

The Heart of Christmas 

Medley Christmas 

Freshman Singers: Wonderful Snow

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Nativity Story

Benjamin and Madeline had their school Christmas program this evening. It is always a fun night that really gets me feeling the season!

The First Noel

We Three Kings

I recorded Benjamin's class, too, but there's no use posting it, because he didn't sing. He was much too busy being a shepherd. Stinker.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Seasonal Sounds

It's Christmas concert season here in Krinkeland (and everywhere!) First up, Elisabeth's seventh grade and chamber choirs:


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Grades of A

My two big girls-- I love these creatures, how they are so alike and yet so different. "You might not want to recycle the newspaper just yet," I said. "You are in it." One ripped open the school section to the printed list of names and cheered, "Yessss! A Honor Roll! I know I'm in here. Where am I? Where am i? Where? There! Yessss!"

The other one said, "Wait-- I'm on the A Honor Roll? How did that happen? Cool."

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Deep Thoughts from the Third Row Seating

*huge, audible sigh from the back seat of the car*

Do I ask?  Am I being baited?  Should I bite, or just try to savor the almost silence?  Will I succumb to carbon dioxide poisoning as a result of my proximity to the exhalation?  I say nothing, but find I am holding my breath.

*another sigh*

"Life is just so hard all the time."

"Hard?!  Life is hard?!  What is so hard about life?  You're SEVEN!"

"Coding.  Coding is hard."

Well, you got me there, kiddo.

"And bridge kickovers."

Two for two.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Baby, It's Cold Inside

Add it to the list of Things That Would Only Happen in Krinkeland: We could call this The Undead Furnace. When Todd was gone earlier in the week, I began to notice the furnace did not seem to be working. By Wednesday morning, it was downright chilly in the house and the electronic readout on the thermostat said, "System malfunction, call for service." Todd got home that night, did his usual manual check and YouTube how-to search, and determined, indeed, the furnace was out. The weather has been in the 30s and 40s, and we have a gas fireplace that pumps out a lot of heat, so we were not too worried and not uncomfortable. We agreed to call a repairman in the morning.

As a lovely aside, the few friends I happened to meet and chat with that day all offered help, support, space heaters, and places to stay. Seriously, they invited me and my entire tribe to have slumber parties in their basements. And they meant it. Our friends are the best.

The repairman arrived, and he was very earnest and friendly. He had serviced our furnace one time previously; that time, it was something stupid and easily remedied and probably our fault. This time, he was downstairs for a long time. There were many trips to the truck, travails around the exterior of the house, phone calls, sighs. Essentially, he told me the furnace was fried. What he actually said was, "All kinds of junk-- weeds, pine needles-- have been sucked up into the intake and packed into the furnace and basically melted it. It's toast, and your air conditioner is in a similar condition, not far behind."

He left me with the evidence and said he would call Todd. When his bids came in, with the highest one close to $10,000, I think we both started sweating, even with the chill in the air. Todd just kept saying, "Our house is only 10 years old... this just doesn't add up..."

That evening, Todd put on his usual engineer cap, took apart the furnace again, and started ramming around. He agreed with the repairman's assessment that the furnace was packed full of junk, but he didn't agree that would be the end of the furnace. After some time and a lot of Shop-Vaccing, Todd pulled a charred mouse carcass from.The interior of the furnace. He was texting back and forth with the repairman, asking questions and getting professional advice.

Long story short: Todd cleaned out and repaired holes the mouse chewed to get into the furnace, and then relit it. He managed to not only NOT blow up himself or the rest of us but also to get the heat going again saving us thousands of dollars. The repairman came back this morning to make sure Todd had done everything safely and correctly, and to apologize for his mistake.

I am going to apologize here for often not giving my husband enough credit. What he did was amazing! (And it saved me from the urgency of trying to find work and raise funds to pay for furnace/Christmas/upcoming vacation!)

While the furnace repair was happening, this one woke up, crying and cold. I tucked him into my bed and added a layer of down, because he will always be my baby.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Lackey

I used the term "lackey" to describe my much younger self in a professional situation, while commenting on a former colleague's Facebook post.  After I posted the comment, I looked up the word to make sure I had spelled it correctly and used it as intended.  According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary:

lackey (1) a: footman, servant; b: someone who does menial tasks or runs errands for another; (2) a servile follower, toady.

Yep, I pretty much had it right... though the definition is even less-glamorous and somewhat more demeaning than I was thinking.  But I was not wrong, not inaccurate, and not being slanderous or ignorant.  People do that all the time with words, surely without even realizing it.  The name that immediately comes to mind is "bugger."  If you or anyone else has ever said, "Come here, you little bugger" to a child, please take note of the actual definition and origination of the word-- and you will NEVER use it again:

bugger (noun, British, vulgar slang) (1) used as a term of abuse especially for a man; (2) a person who sodomizes another.

Sorry, but you shouldn't stay in the dark any longer.  Now, you will never say that again.  And, if you want to know more about bad words you should not use, those you should not speak aloud and certainly should not write down on sticky notes that a classmate is likely to find no matter how mad you are at your teacher, just ask our son.  He's learning the hard way.