Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Kick the Can

Many of us made many life-defining decisions, often before we really knew ourselves.  Some, as this video explains, are living lives by default, jumping around casually in their professional and personal lives, or NOT choosing anything at all - this "benign neglect" according to Meg Jay in the video below, is a waste of your precious time.  If you are a twentysomething or have one in your life, I highly recommend that you sit down, soon, for 15 minutes and watch this:


Monday, October 28, 2013

October 28

I'm remembering October 28, eighteen years ago - another blind date, set up by a kindhearted friend.  A 6 pm date.  A one hour date, in the light of day, one coffee.  No alcohol, no dinner, no obligations, little awkwardness. 

My littles were locked in, my eleven year old delegated to the role of authoritarian, not only over her younger brothers, but also the one who was appointed to make the call if a call needed to be made - after all, my cell phone contract only provided 20 minutes of service per month.  I made it clear that they would not call about opening the marshmallows or changing the channel.  We ran hard all day outside - we changed to our storm windows on that Saturday and made our usual park pilgrimage - and then they were fed and I hit start on a movie, kissed their heads, locked the door, and headed to North Liberty to meet a guy from Cedar  Rapids.

They didn't call, and barely noticed that I had been gone, that I had met a "friend", that I danced back home with new ideas and opinions about my worthiness, and about our future.

Thursday, October 24, 2013


We saw Lee Daniel's The Butler and it arrived on the same day as a video clip from an old neighborhood friend, fellow parishioner, Pat.  What struck me in both, was the parent/child relationship - the dreams we have for our children do not always play out the way we expect and yet, we actually win when we embrace our adult children's right and responsibility to make their own life choices, the ones that work for them.

At the heart of this valuable, entertaining movie, with the backdrop of the civil rights movement, is a father/son relationship.  The father, all too trite but somehow still intriguing, does not approve of the son's choices - in this case to join the cause of the Freedom Riders and challenge those who supported segregation, even after the Supreme Court decisions against it.

In the neighbor clip, I'm so touched as this very solid and unwavering Catholic dad from Minnesota proceeds to the temple for his son's wedding ceremony.  Pat is the one in the long white robe with blue scarf and headpiece - see below.  He is goodness, the one who is winning here and so is his son, the groom, who rides in on the horse at the end of the clip.  Tell me, isn't this what love is all about? 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Gifts of Marriage

Yes, of course:  companionship, partnership, maybe financial security, maybe children.

But American bishops a few years back emphasized something else - a primary benefit of marriage is directed toward the salvation of others, that marriage helps us lead others (e.g., our spouse and children) to the Lord - in the "where two or more are gathered" way.

Now emptying the dishwasher doesn't seem too big a deal.

So it is with a lot of satisfaction on this day that I share a strategically-sent note: 

Kate:   It's nice that we can't see the future... because things turned out exactly as they should have.  I am glad you married Mike Maloney then... and I'm glad you're married to Shawn Steil now.

Me:     I loved your dad…and I love your dad.  And, I’m so happy to have you to love.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


I'd like to give credit where it's due - not sure who said it, but it floated in my inbox and I must share.  Pour a glass of wine and repeat this a few times:

Comparing yourself to others is an act of violence against yourself.


Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Maloneys!

The wedding of the year occurred last Saturday (10.12.13) when Matt married Kelly.

There's so much to say and so few pictures on my phone.

I've consoled myself about my lack of documentation - that's a good sign, really.  I had the time of my life.  I felt like a queen (hair, mani, pedi, facial, makeup...) and I watched our prince marry his princess.  It was magical.  I had no time to look down at my phone (certainly no pockets!) so I'm hoping the photographers come through...

It was a series of events, that I do not ever want to forget:

Wednesday - All day spa date with Kate
Thursday - Dinner invite from the happy couple - a thank you dinner that included only the 4 parents, held at Vino's - the restaurant where they had their first date ten years ago this month
Thursday late - Karaoke with Laurie, Steve and Dan (among others) at Miguels
Friday - Bridal lunch at the Cedar Rapids Country Club
Friday pm - Rehearsal and dinner at Shores Event Center, complete with heartfelt speeches from Shawn, Jeanne, Karin, Laurie, Steve, Dan, Barb, Kelly, Matt...and me!
Friday late - after party at our hospitality room
Saturday am - Griddle with the Groom! for the men and Bagels on the Bridegroom! for the women/children
Saturday - beautiful, modern, classic 2 pm wedding and reception at The Hotel at Kirkwood Center
Saturday late - after party at our hospitality room
Sunday - Newlywed Brunch at our home and later gift opening at Krapfl's

Two favorites

Friday, October 18, 2013


Happy birthday to the love of my life.

Your life is a gift to all who interact with you.  My every crisis is easier, every thrill is heightened, every challenge is smoother because you choose to actively go through it with me.

So what do I get you?  How do I demonstrate my gratefulness for what you give me?  There's an Amazon package on its way, of course I didn't pay extra for shipping (ha!) so it will arrive next week, and when it does, I hope you recognize that I am absolutely clueless when deciding how to gift you back.  There's no purchase that aptly provides the message that I want you to get:  that your contribution to my life will stay with me forever, that I recognize what you bring me.

Oh - and you might be happy to know that Microsoft has released Windows 8.1 today - hip husband - and it promises to be an improvement.

As soon as I find the bacon, I'll be heading home to celebrate with you.  Chill the wine.
Love you AND like you.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Happy Dan Day!

As Mark Twain famously wrote, "I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead."

I saw this quote today and I immediately thought of my brother Dan, the birthday boy today.

Happy birthday to a favorite.

You've taught me so much over the years - like the difference between 'eager' and 'anxious', how to spell words such as 'a lot' and 'no one', the perenially confusing 'fewer' and 'less', and, of course, how to slide through an almost-red light without drawing attention.

Dan, Karaoke, and Miguels:  A Winning Combo

Here's a treat for you, for your birthday, Danny boy - I know you will eat this up as fast as that birthday cake I saw in front of you on FB:

Friday, October 11, 2013


It has been a joy watching Matt and Kelly prepare for their wedding day (TOMORROW!) and marriage.  From my perspective, it's been such a joyful journey.  I feel compelled to share that, and did, tonight, at the rehearsal dinner:

When Matt was a little boy, when it was time to go to church, our other children would be piling into the mini-van, and I would catch my breath and realize that Matthew was nowhere around – that he was still inside.  I’d find him hiding behind the couch and would have to cajole and convince and grab him by the arms and pull him out.  He didn't want to go to church.

I know I won’t have to do that tomorrow.

Matt will be pacing, and eager to see his bride, marry his girl…formalize what he has known for a very long time – that Kelly is the partner for him, his missing piece, the extra part that makes his life so sweet.

One of the things that I admire about them as a couple – their response to each other.  It’s palpable as if to say, “What do you need?  How can I help?”

10 years ago...shortly after Matt & Kelly started dating, I think I became known as the "hot tub overseer" – I had to!

It's obvious that they were crazy about each other then and, the nice thing is, it's obvious now.

And if they were getting in that hot tub tonight, I'm available...I mean, they're not married yet!

When I first met Kelly, I liked her immensely.  She had a fashion flare, to be sure, but, even at 17, what seemed bigger than that, was her value for all things family.  She respected and represented the values her family taught her and I liked that.  She treated my boy nicely and I liked that, too.

And I must say...If the engagement is any indication of the next fifty years, I'm going to be a happy mom and mom-in-law...

I’ve had so much fun talking to you about Mac fonts and dendrobium orchids and many other details that you have shared with me.  Thank you for including me in the planning of your marriage and I look forward to enjoying you in your new married life.  I’m proud of you both and love you so much.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

God wants...

Spiritual fruits...Not religious nuts!

(As seen on a bumper sticker during Saturday morning errands)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

It's Harvard, baby!

Cooking and science - that's interesting!  And enrolling in Harvard's new online course (free!) sounds compelling, too!  It's the latest EdX offering, available to anyone in the world with an internet connection.  These MOOCs (massive open online courses) are ramping up and getting better and better!  45,000 individuals have signed up for this one, which starts next Tuesday (October 8):