Tuesday, June 29, 2010

lists of lists

We have a very big event coming up: our family migration north. We're I'm  organizing and sorting and packing up food and sheets and towels and more food and a few day's clothing and oh, yeah, ten people. And the dog. I don't really think dogs need a vacation, but whatever.

Anyway, I am giddy, thinking about having my FOUR children, TWO daughters-in-love (oh, heck - just call them my kids, too ... so SIX kids), Katie's friend and newest family member Ari at our shack at the lake.

But gracious, it's an undertaking, getting all these ducks in a row. And lists. For a few days there, I couldn't quite focus on the tasks at hand. I'm a little slow and disorganized at times. While preparing for a graduation party a couple of years ago, a teenaged friend said, "Mrs. Haller knows what needs to be done, but not how to get there." I guess that sums it up. But it's all good now.

Anyway, the end result will be fabulous!

Friday, June 25, 2010

belated birthday wishes for Jill

I didn't forget my newest, sweet daughter-in-love's birthday this week. We took the makings for a salad bar supper to their house and celebrated Jill's special day. But the busy-ness of the week got in the way of a blog post. Sorry, Jill!

Just a delightful young woman we sometimes call Jilly Bean. I don't know why.
I nto many things: decorating their cute house, hosting friends and small group, looking for good books to read, yard sales and general bargain-hunting.
L oves anything green, as well as sponges, salads, organizing, front porches, her husband (my son) and family and God.
L aughs easily and often!

Happy 23rd birthday, Jill. I am thankful to call you my daughter!

photos by Katie Haller

Monday, June 21, 2010

the fathers in my life

Last year, and three hours into this year,
the fathers in my family underwent some big changes.
My husband Bill received the unexpected news he would become a grandfather.

Here he is about a year later, out to dinner with Ari,
our incredible granddaughter.

My son Dan became a father.
Though young, he is already a loving and devoted father.

My dad transitioned into a new living arrangement. He also became a great-grandfather for the very first time.

Fathers are so very important. It sickens me when TV shows and ads portray men as weak, incompetent or dispensable.
I cannot imagine how our children would have turned out
without their father. How thankful and blessed I am!

Listen to your father, who gave you life.
Proverbs 23:22

Friday, June 18, 2010

re-name this blog!

It's time. To change the name of this blog. "Halfdozin" just doesn't seem to fit anymore, especially since I rarely nap and really don't sleep as much as I'd like.

So ... help! Send me some name suggestions, quick as you can. I'm a writer, but not a very good namer. I might even get daring and change the template, colors and such.

I'm waiting.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

the drive-through

Ah, the fast-food drive-through. It's my constant source of ... laughter!
I don't know how it all started. Getting the giggles in drive-throughs. But I do.

Maybe it was the night I ordered our pajama-clad kids into the van for a surprise destination. Woo-heee, sundaes at the McDonald's drive-through! But several facts aligned to make it rip-roaringly funny.

1. The kids and I were all in p.j.'s and/or bathrobes. Bill was not. He's a little too proper for that. It struck me, at the most inopportune time, that the young drive-through clerk might think Bill was taking the looney cases for an outing from the nut house.

2. I believe it was around Christmas, and a special sundae topping was being offered. Some sort of balls. Trouble was, the clerk asked if we wanted "nuts and balls" on our sundaes. Well. With three adolescent boys in the backseat, that question caused an uproar of laughter. And I was no better. Home we went, in our bathrobes, eating our sundaes with nuts and balls, giggling all the way.

Or maybe all this silliness started the time we were returning from a funeral, along with Grandma. Everyone piled into McDonald's for potty, treats or what have you, and I decided to pull the van near the door so that Grandma wouldn't have so far to walk. At precisely the moment she walked out the door, I realized I was idling in the drive-through lane. "Hurry, Grams, hurrrrrr-y!" I muttered to myself. One car, two cars, three behind me. Proper Bill appears, lifts his hands to ask, "what are you DOING?" and I vigorously point to his mother. The boys catch on quickly, and hustle their Grandma to the van, virtually pushing her in the side door and slamming it shut. I could barely drive, I was laughing so hard.

One chipper clerk, upon hearing me say 'Amen!' shouted out his window, "YOU SAVED?!"

I do love the drive-through. I always count on something or someone to bring a laugh to my day. Do you have any funny drive-through stories?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

safe harbor ... or open sea?

Everyone has dreams to fly as long as you have the heart to do it.
Amelia Earhart

Unless you're drifting out in the ocean, you must have heard the tale of Abby Sunderland, the gutsy 16-yr-old who attempted to sail solo around the world. And the youngest one at that. Her effort ended on Thursday by a massive storm in the Indian Ocean. The 50-foot waves got the better of Abby's boat, 'Wild Eyes,' snapping off its mast. A French fishing vessel plucked Abby from her disabled boat and she is now zig-zagging the globe back to California.

The Sunderlands are under enormous cyber-criticism for the lack of responsibility shown in allowing Abby to attempt the circumnavigation. Some say her parents ignored their legal responsibility to protect their child from danger and are narcissistic (fame, fortune and all that). Among other criticisms.

I imagine myself in the parents' shoes. It would be horrifically scary, as a parent, to permit my teenager to attempt such a dangerous feat. But then, I don't know Abby or her parents. She's spent her life on sailboats and comes from a sailing family. Her heart and soul were probably bursting to do this. Check out her blog.... http://www.soloround.blogspot.com/. Hardly a silly teen! (photo above by Abby Sunderland.)

I believe God gave us this big, beautiful world to embrace and explore its wonders. If we only stay in safe harbors, what have we gained? And if we never give our kids wings to fly, what have they gained? God made some to leap in a big way: bigger than any of us would ever attempt. They're the ones who inspire us to look and reach higher. According to Abby, "As for age, since when does age create gigantic waves and storms? Storms are part of the deal when you set out to sail around the world." Indeed.

But then, Abby isn't my daughter. If she was, would I kiss her as she set sail on her dream? Would I give my blessing as she sailed away, all alone, perhaps for the very last time?

I just don't know. Would you?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

three weeks

Just back from a whirlwind trip to our cottage way up yonder in the "wilds" of northern Michigan.  An open-up-the-cabin, clear-the-cobwebs, wash-the-windows, breathless sort of trip. I took a good book and slipped into a chair by the lake for a little reading, too.

In three weeks we'll mount a massive migration back to Michigan when ALL our children and new grandchild join us for a few days in our special family place.

We will
cook and eat yummy food
(cold food on hot days and vice versa)
lie in the hammock
gaze at the stars
explore lighthouses
bathe little Ari in the old porcelain kitchen sink
play games
roast marshmallows
or do nothing at all.
There will be lovely memories made.
I absolutely cannot wait.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

simplify, SIMPLIFY!

"We spend the first half of life collecting everything we can get our hands on, then the second half trying to figure out how to give it all away."
From the novel Multiple Choice by Claire Cook.

Is this the most succinct, marvelously pertinent observation ever? Yes! It perfectly describes the quandary in which I find myself here in the middle of life.

As young adults, we must have the STUFF. The furniture. The kitchen appliances. The framed art and lamps. The nice coffee table, end tables, kitchen table, dining room table. The book-of-the-month, year and century club and our favorite magazines. Computers and TV's. And oh, toys, the endless river of toys for the kids. A ping-pong table would be fun. And skis, skates and sleds. A desk for everyone in the house.

And before we know it, we're buried in an avalanche of "must-haves," otherwise known as "didn't needs." 

What can I do without? Better, what can I pass on to someone who will really use it? I've made a few stabs at it, but the time is coming to seriously simplify my life.

I think I'll re-read Walden this summer. 

"Our life is frittered away by detail .... simplify, simplify."
Henry David Thoreau, Walden.