Friday, January 28, 2011


The other night Joe picked up the memoir I am currently reading and asked, "Why did you choose to read this book? Why are so you interested in someone's life who you don't even know?"

It's a fair question. For this book, I confess, it was nothing more than seeing it tucked amongst other memoirs at the library and thinking Oh, that's a nice cover.

Reading a bad memoir is like being forced to spend time with someone you don't like very much, who talks too much and too loudly about nothing at all. Except, when you want to, you can close the book and tell that person to stop talking in a way that we only dream of doing in person. Unlike the cloying, obnoxious friend of a friend we're stuck talking to at a party, you don't have to finish the conversation; you can interrupt them mid-sentence and return them to the library post haste.

But reading a good memoir is like making a new friend. In a good memoir you are drawn into a person through their writing much in the same way we're drawn into a person we might meet: through an enjoyable conversation, similar interests or a compelling personality. With a good friend we can relax and enjoyably talk or listen for hours about nothing.

We all have something to say, don't we? We all have something to contribute. I think those who've found a way to do it in print help make life just a little bit more lovely. Thank you, memoir writers. Keep writing about your lives in your warm, genuine voices, and I promise I'll keep reading.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Behind the Scenes

Real life here today, folks. Dish washing, cleaning up, et cetera.

Take heart! There is joy in the mundane.

Take this, my laundry pile.

This is all our dirty laundry from this last week. Now, I know some of you are all, "Seriously?! That seems like an awful lot amount of laundry! "  While others of you are saying to yourselves, "Cate is a total amateur. A week's worth of laundry and that's all she has?"

Doesn't matter what you're thinking. Because whether it's a lot or a little, it has to get done. People around here seem to like having clean clothes to wear.

And I am taking joy in doing it.

Nope. That's not right. I still hate doing laundry. But, I find my joy in seeing the pile diminish. I take joy in tomorrow when (hopefully!) my laundry room floor will be empty again and I can close (and lock!) the laundry chute door and pretend there are no dirty clothes in the house until next Wednesday, when I'll do it all again.

Well, except I'm not sharing my laundry pile with you every week, because that would just be weird.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Yep. It's a flight of stairs. Whoopdee-doo. That is all it is. I'm not going to try and assign some big meaning or anything to this post or picture.

I tried to write a blog post earlier. I've been writing and deleting and writing and deleting until I finally just said, "Screw it." But then I told myself that I could come up with something--anything-- if only I would look. And then I saw my staircase, and it happens to be one of the few areas in my home right now that doesn't have riding helmets, schoolwork, books, shoes and other annoying, unputaway things lying about.

And I like it. See that oil right up on the landing that my grandmother painted? Isn't it beautiful? And the prints I received as a Christmas gift running along the wall next to the stairs?

I walk up and down these stairs endlessly each day. Up and down. Up and down.

And yet it took searching for a blog post to remind me to sit back and appreciate the stairs and the landing, an area that I walk past every day without noticing yet, when I take the time, I remember that it contains lots of items that I know please my eye and elicit good memories. If only I would remember to slow down and look!

Monday, January 24, 2011


Elisabeth. Old enough to know sucking her fingers is babyish, but still young enough to want the comfort of a well-worn blanket and a familiar habit as she nervously anticipates a shot at the doctor's office. I love the juxtaposition of her size and the maturity in her eyes right alongside the babyish habits.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


We parents were invited in to watch Elisabeth and her classmates' ballet class earlier this week. These videos are entertaining, to me, because Elisabeth is my daughter. They may be interesting to some of you with some sort of connection to us or to our family. For everyone else, I apologize. Indulge me.

Like every other girl in the room, save one, E has on the required pink tights with a white leotard. She is one of the few (only?) with her hair thrown up in a loose bun.

The short, brief glimpse into the studio.

A longer peek, for the truly interested.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Football Obsession

Look. If you lived anywhere near here and could feel the hype practically oozing out of football fans around these parts, you would understand why all I can think about is Sunday's game

Packers. Bears. The winner goes to the Super Bowl. With these two teams composing possibly the biggest sports rivalry ever, is it any wonder that I've been occupying myself with trash talking with Bear fans (please, please, please, Packers, win on Sunday so I can save face) and reading the following sports related blogs which, if you're as crazed about this game as I am, you will want to check out?

They are both updated multiple times daily, so check back frequently, or add them to your feeds.

I also like the Journal Sentinel's Packer blog. Lastly, Packer Geeks is worth checking out too.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Packer Game: The Real Deal

I think you can go ahead and call me a real Green Bay Packers fan now. Why? What's special about now when I've been blathering about the Packers on this blog for far too long (I am well aware most of my readers don't give two hoots about the Packers, or any football team, for that matter)?

Well, I'll tell you. Though I've been to Lambeau Field before to watch the Packers play football, I've never been when it's been cold and miserable. It's easy to go to Lambeau in September, or even October, when it's all warmish and easy. It's quite another when you have to start thinking about how you'll keep yourself warm on those cold, metal benches a few weeks before the game and borrow necessary items as needed. So, last week was my first real cold weather game, and I totally rocked it. And, by rocked it I mean I looked like a tool but was completely warm and had lots of fun.

P.S. Don't feel too sorry for Blake. Yes, he was the lone Bear fan in the car on the two hour drive up and the two hour drive back, but we all knew the Bear loss was inevitable, so think he'd mentally prepared himself beforehand. After all, the Bears still suck.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Thank You, Blog

Way back when I started this blog I didn't really know what the point of it was. I didn't know if I would keep up with it. And, most importantly, as a blogger, I really didn't know who I was or what I wanted to say.

It's been a few years and I now know what the point of blogging is (at least for me, anyway).

I know that, give or take a spell here and there, I will keep up with it.

And (and here's the real crux of today's post) while I don't really know that I have a point that I am trying to get across every day, I do know exactly who I am, not only as a blogger, but as a person. Further, it's because of this blog that I know my voice as well as I do in all facets of my life.

I know that probably sounds hokey, especially to those of you who don't blog, or who blog about something impersonal. I have always felt pretty comfortable with who I am, even when most of my peers didn't, but before starting this blog my life was fairly compartmentalized in the same way most peoples' lives are: work life, home life, family, these friends, those friends, et cetera. Blogging changes that, though, especially if you're writing about anything remotely real to your life. All of a sudden a conversation that is most apt to happen with These Friends is now being read by Those Friends and Those Friends are seeing a part of you they had yet to discover.

When I first started blogging I didn't share my blog with everyone; I didn't try and keep it a secret necessarily, I just only shared it, intentionally, with some of my life's compartments. That all changed when I joined Facebook. My e-worlds collided with my real life worlds in a very real, very fast way and all of a sudden everyone was telling me they were reading my blog; any shred of compartmentalization in my life had evaporated.

At first I felt kind of uncomfortable with this development; I thought knowing my audience was filled with different people wanting to read different things would limit what I might choose to write about, and would somehow make my posts more generic and less about me. I've found the opposite has happened. I know I can't please everyone, and so I only write what I care about and say what I want to say.

What I am saying, in a very long-winded, convoluted way, is that you see me here, for better or worse, and I don't know if I could have said that in August of 2006. Thanks for sticking around through awkward teenage years of my blog. I promise lots more of the mundane everyday to come, and a lot less (never!) posts about things I don't care about just to fill space.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Christmas 2010 Recap

What a whirlwind of traveling, overeating and celebration the past few weeks have been.

Christmas Eve. Here. Dad and Diana are here. They bring Alex, fresh off an airplane from Tulsa. Bob arrives around the same time, but falls victim almost immediately to a harsh stomach bug and spends the evening resting.

Those healthy feast on beef tenderloin, Mrs. Butland's potatoes, fresh steamed green beans tossed with butter and lemon pepper, roasted carrots tossed with olive oil and thyme and dinner rolls (of the most basic sort: flour, yeast, etc.; nothing fancy).

After our Christmas Eve service we return home where the kids open new pajamas from their parents and a new ornament for the tree from Dad and Diana.

Christmas morning. Here. Just us. The first kid is awake by 5:28 a.m. This after a night when I finally went to bed around 12 a.m. Still, though, what parent-- even a tired one-- could be upset with excited children on Christmas morning?

Cinnamon rolls. Stockings. Coffee. Christmas story from Luke. Presents.

Christmas afternoon. Silver Lake. Dad, Diana, Cloe and Alex are present. Blake has been stricken by a stomach bug and is home resting. 

We eat, and we eat well. Ham. Turkey. Twice baked potatoes. There was more, and it was all delicious and worth every calorie.

Sunday, December 26. Silver Lake. A day of nothing. Wonderful, wonderful nothingness. Unless you were Diana, in which case it was your turn with the stomach bug flying around at warp speed. 

Friday, December 31. Oconto Falls. Doug, Wicky, Steve, Sue, Cassandra, Cody and Cedar. We arrive early afternoon and within an hour or two the kids are ripping into their presents.

Later we feast on steaks. Baked potatoes. More decadent, delicious Christmas feasting. We stay up to ring in the new year (all but Caroline).

Nice celebrations, all. 

Tuesday, January 04, 2011


1980 Oakland Raiders. 1997 Denver Broncos. 2000 Baltimore Ravens. 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers. 2007 New York Giants.

What do all these teams have in common? They all won the Super Bowl after entering the playoffs as wild card teams.

It happens. Wild card teams win Super Bowls.

This Packer fan hopes the next addition to that list will be: 2010 Green Bay Packers.

Hey, it happens.

Monday, January 03, 2011


I can finally share these pictures that I took of the kids about a month ago. They were a Christmas gift for my mother and father-in-law, who read my blog, and I didn't want their Christmas present surprise ruined by seeing them here first.

Madeleine, 10 years old.

Hank, 8 years old.

Ellie, 5 years old.

Caroline, 15 months old.