28 December, 2007

Patience is Fleeting...

I am such a crab...I am so angry at the work printer...I spend weeks designing something and getting the print setup just right...and then it takes hours to print...and my parents are on their way here and I should be home cleaning up the house...oh well, guess they are going to see it "lived in". :)

And the worst part is: I can't even think of something decent to blog about...no brain cells left...

So, instead, I decided to gripe. And yes, I feel somewhat better now.

...if only my blood pressure would drop...

26 December, 2007

A WHITE Christmas

Ah, winter in Wisconsin...finally!

This is the first Christmas since I moved back to the midwest that we have had a white Christmas.

And, I am again reminded and humbled by the fact that the driveway isn't magically cleared, but painstakingly cleared by my husband late at night and early in the morning. Guess it makes that basket of laundry waiting in the basement a little more tolerable...

Despite our unusual snowfall, I am grateful this Christmas for my warm home, my loving husband, and my reasonably good health.

I just hope that the snow respects its place in this world and stays far away from the travel path of my family this weekend...or else beware the wrath of a disappointed wife, daughter, and sister!!!

16 December, 2007

My Weekly Menu

Okay, so I should seriously be using this time to write my book, but this short form thing is way more fun!

Dinner stresses me out. I get home at 4:00 and if I don't have a plan in mind for dinner, we're doomed. I hate having to decide what to eat when I am tired from the day, I don't like having to go back out and get any missing ingredients, and I need mental time to work up to cooking after a long day. This is where the menu comes in...

Sure, it sounds antiquated...it may sound silly...but no matter what it sounds like, it works! I never understood why my mom did it. It just seemed obsessive compulsive. But I will tell you this: once you start, you'll never stop. Doing my menu eat week is comforting...it is stress relieving...and dare I say, it's fun!

Reasons for a menu:

1. You have to think ahead about what you have to each night and plan accordingly (ie: I have many 6:00 meetings...this means an early dinner and less time to prepare so quicker meals...)

2. You only have to shop once a week because you know what you are going to be eating for the week.

3. You eat sooo much healthier because you aren't as tempted to pop in a frozen dinner or order in...

4. You save money because you quickly learn how to use the early meals components or leftovers to make a completely different meal the next night!

So for the sake of example, here is my menu for the week (actually it is for about 10 days because I want to shop for Christmas at the same time...no point in extra trips during this time of year!) Enjoy!

SUN: Indian food, cous-cous, chicken
MON: (Kevin Class) Pan-fried tilapia, rice, veggies
TUES: (Am Meetings) Whole wheat spaghetti, leftover red sauce, veggies
WED: Soup from freezer, salad
THURS: (6:30 Kevin Meeting with Dentist) Cincinnati Chili
FRI: 5:30 Dinner @ Friends
SAT: Tuna toastcups, baked apples from freezer
SUN: Kevin cook, pork steaks, fried potatoes, corn
MON: (Kevin Work, 9:30) Christmas Eve @ Kevin's aunt and uncles - bring chocolate fondue and fruit for dessert
TUES: Egg sandwiches for breakfast - turkey, potatoes, veggies, and cranberry sauce for dinner
WED: Leftovers, lots of leftovers

My Hubby...

Often I feel overwhelmed by my week and all of the work that needs to be done. I work all day and then I run errands and attend extra meetings before Kevin gets home. When he gets home, I cook dinner. Then I fold laundry, clean the cat box, or balance the budget. It never seems to end and I never seem to have enough time in the day or energy in my body. And then, I look over at Kevin in front of that evening's hockey game or his e-mail and I wonder to myself, "What exactly does he do for this household?"...

And then it comes to me. He: cleans the bathroom with bleach because I don't like the way it makes my hands feel, cuts the lawn, takes care of the yard, deals with the plumber and the cleanup when our old house pipes block up in our basement, changes the laundry when I am too cold or too comfy to go downstairs, puts away his laundry when I fold it, makes me tea morning, noon, and night, cooks dinner on whatever random night I put on my weekly menu, handles the construction projects in our old house, deals with the dentist when his rates have gotten astronomical, washes the dishes I seemingly ignore when I "clean" the kitchen, brings me the laptop when I am too lazy to get up and get it, takes the trashes out EVERY week on trash night, picks up whatever random ingredient i've forgotten after a long day of work and classes, and generally provides a consistent sanity to our household.

And as I sit here typing this (on our new laptop!), my husband is asking me how to make cous-cous...most men won't even EAT cous-cous...forget preparing it!

Sometimes we get so caught up in our own time and energy limitations that we fail to realize that our loved ones often give more time and energy to tasks we simply take for granted.

If only I had the discipline and joy my husband does when he does household chores...maybe I'll add that to my Christmas list.

Our Christmas Message

To all our friends and family,

The snow has begun to fall softly, the scarves are drawn more tightly around our necks, and the alcohol is being poured a bit stronger. Every year this blessed season rolls around and I look forward to writing a Christmas message. Unfortunately the gift list starts to grow, the holiday parties multiply, and my anxieties about what to write increase exponentially. So this year our message is simple: God is faithful. We are grateful for both the challenges and blessings of the past year.
Let us all be mindful of the fact that God did not send us a king, a lawyer, or a corporate CEO. He sent us a baby because He knew what we needed most: love. May the love of God bring peace and joy to your hearts and home this season. Have a blessed Christ mass and a merry holy day.

Love and Prayers,Kevin and Amberly Boerschinger

07 December, 2007

A Night in the Life of Me...the Cat...

So, I've decided to let Gatsby post today...he wants to offer a window into he and his sister's life...

Hello, my name is Gatsby. I am a 18 month old male cat. I am an orange tabby. I like clean litter and regular tummy scritches.

This is my pad. I spend the majority of my free-time here. When I am not here, on my papa's lap, I am usually hanging out in my room.
This is Mouse. He's my sidekick. He keeps me out of trouble.

This is my papa. He likes to play with Phil our Wii and use our computer. I like the computer, but Papa says I can't play with the Mouse. I don't understand, I'm suppose to play with Mouse...don't y ou remember the picture?

I usually take a short nap in the evening. My job as the cat of this household requires me to be awake during the night so I can watch out for things like intrusive snowflakes and evil headlights.

This is my sister Daisy. She is angry in this picture because she wants Papa's lap and I'm there. She gets a little jealous sometimes.

She is really angry now. She's contemplating eating me...or at least taking a swipe at mama's arm...

I try not to let Doo's anger phase me. She is a bit of a drama queen. Nighttime is my chance to lay back and relax. I mean, who spends all day bug-stalking to listen to his sister whine all night? I just want a nice tongue bath and a fresh bowl of food.

These are the dudes who do all the work around here. They clean my box, feed me, and freshen the water. Usually we don't see them, but this time of year they stay around. They get busy doing their annual overhaul. You know, new beds, new toys, a general cleaning of my crib...those things their holding? Yep, a new kitty structure.

Boy, this writing stuff is tough work! I don't know how my mama does it everyday!!

What! There's a squirrel under the pine tree in the front yard??? And there's a pen lying in the hallway??? What is this house coming to!!??

I'm sorry. I have to monitor this situation. Thanks for coming along for a night in my life. I hope this gives you a better understanding about the challenges that face the domestic male tabby cat.

Dsisy here...so I took care of the whole lap situation (You can only imagine the amazing power of a stragetically placed pen in this house...), but I still have one question: why wasn't I asked to contribute to this little memoir???

03 December, 2007

Marriage: Keeping it Fresh...

Please note the title was not "Marriage: Getting Fresh" (get your minds out of the gutter)...and I do not intend to make any cute analogies to the best practices for keeping lettuce crispy (although, come to think of it, that would be an interesting post...I'll get back to you on that...)

No, this post is just more of a thought out loud. I often look at the marriages I admire and wonder how, after 20, 30, or 40 years of marriage, they have stayed so in love with one another. I am not saying that I don't believe in it because I believe it in wholeheartedly. I just want to know how!

I heard someone say recently about a couple with a long-standing marriage, "Oh they are just so cute! I would walk into her room [she had experienced an early stroke and was in a nursing home] and he would be holding her hand and they would be doting on one another. They just couldn't seem to keep their hands off one another."

I was moved by the recollection until she said with a laugh, "My husband and I stopped doing that 10 years ago!"

Sad!!! How does that happen?
More importantly, how doesn't it happen? What keeps those other marriages "fresh" like the newlywed years?

I hate it when men and women say to Kevin or me, "Oh, you two are still honeymooning! Isn't that sweet..." or "Aw, your first holiday together. Isn't that nice?"

Don't patronize me. I mean, they are not intending to, but I am also not intending for our honeymoon years to end. Sure, we will both change and the reasons we love each other will grow, but the reasons we got married won't. We got married because we believe that God brought us together as companions. We want to be with one another, care for one another, and raise a family together.

I think those couples who still dote on one another after 20, 30, or 40 years have figured out one thing. Love isn't about an emotional connection. If love is just about an emotional connection, it will fade because feelings and emotions are human and humans are flawed.

In my mind, Love (capital "L" versus lowercase, "I love these shoes!") must be an ongoing sacred experience. Love is our limited opportunity on earth to partake in the companionship of God. If Love is about the continual partaking in the companionship of God, it is divine and it can never end. No human struggle can drown Love. If for 40 years, amidst the joys and sorrows of family life and financial planning, you see or learn to see your marriage as partaking in the companionship of God how could you do anything but dote upon the companion God has given you?

The catch in this explanation of the "doting" phenomenon is that each person must choose to see Love in this way. Seeing Love as the the partaking in the companionship of God is not something you understand and assent to once for all time. It is a daily and sometimes hourly commitment.

So in the end I guess my mom was right. Her simple answer was, "Because Love is a choice."

Snow...I just don't know...

"It's the snow! You know how I get. It's like catnip!" --Lorelai Gilmore, Gilmore Girls

This quote mirrors my typical sentiment and yet, I'm not sure how I feel about the snow this year.

We had our first "big one" this past weekend. It came suddenly and with a burst of extreme cold. I was not at home for this first large snow of the season and my low level of excitement may be due to its untimely arrival.

Snow, for as long as I can remember, has regularly taught me one big lesson; SLOW DOWN. It does so in three ways.

#1 Driving. The first and most practical way snow teaches me to slow down is the fact that if you drive too quickly in it you will have an accident. Even here in the midwest where most people know how to drive in snow, the number of cars in the ditch attest to the fact that we still feel like we need to get somewhere fast instead of in one piece. I have done my share of fish-tailing, spinning my wheels, and gliding on black ice. While it is 100% true that some of this can be chalked up to the crappy dealership tires currently on my car, some of still has to do with my own sense of rushing or a stupid move of another rushing driver (cutting me off in order to pass a more cautious winter driver causing me to compress my brakes and slide not-so-gracefully onto the sleep strip of the highway...always remember, turn INTO the spin...). Slow down. The slower you are going, the less quickly you have to compress your brakes in a tight spot. The same applies to life.

#2 The "stay at home" factor. Snow makes me want to curl up on the couch or in my home office and shut down for a long winter's nap (or at least an afternoon's). Who wants to go out into traffic and crappy roads? I went out this weekend and although I had a good time, I really just wanted to hunker down in my hotel room, order local take-out, and watch stupid movies all day. This snow factor reminds me that slowing down isn't just about scheduling less or running fewer errands. It isn't just about spending less time going fast, but taking that extra time and using it to slow down our minds. Do something just for you; watch a movie, read a book, bake cookies, feed your soul.

#3 Seasonal pacing. No this isn't some psychological term I learned in a book. I experienced this firsthand. I lived in southern California for my four years of high school. Southern California has two seasons; wet and dry. The wet season probably totals no more than 30 days of anything from a gentle spritz (what we would calling heavy fog in the midwest) to a more typical downpour. The other 11 months are gorgeous. Now, I am not complaining about the weather...but I am going to point out the fact that if you don't have cold and snow you don't have a natural force slowing you down at any point during the year. Think about how quickly our lives move during the summer. The weather is warm, everybody wants to be outside, and life is grand. That feeling pervaded the entire year in Southern California. The pace might have slowed slightly due to the return of school in the fall, but then the outdoor sports kicked in. When it snows it is more challenging for us to be outdoors. It is more challenging for us to move from place to place and see people and attend events. There are at least 3 months of every year where nature forces us to slow down, sometimes even to the degree of our physical bodies (I'm not thinking of anything in particular...the nice muscle-cramping I'm getting in my shoulders from the cold that keeps me from easily reaching for the pencil container on my desk...)

The snows of the midwest pace our lives in a most significant way. It reminds us to slow down. It reminds us to move less quickly. It reminds us to take time to hunker down our minds. It reminds us to stop, warm up, and get our minds and bodies refreshed for the upcoming spring.

Maybe my lack of excitement is more a reflection of my hesitation to slow down than it is an actual distaste of the weather phenomenon because I cannot completely deny a certain measure of excitement for those first soft and delicate flakes of frozen water.