Sunday, October 6, 2019

Where I'm From

I am from Coffee Creek, from Barbie dolls and bicycles.
I am from the loving warmth of the big house on Morgan Avenue.
I am from the snowball bushes & the huge vegetable garden. 
I am from Sunday dinners and huge, extended family Christmas parties, from Jankowski and Povlock and most importantly from the loving arms of Casey and Louise.
I am from the well loved and the stubborn.
From be home when the lightening bugs come out and be nice to your little brother.
I am from the catholic faith. I'm from catholic school and Sunday mass and trying to live what you learned at that mass. 
I'm from the hospital in Valpo and 100% Polish, pierogis, duck soup and stuffed cabbage.
From the big wooden swing on Grandma Helen's huge stone porch, the walks uptown with Grandpa Martin, and his big copper colored Pontiac Chieftain in the garage.
I am from Dad's work shop,  Mom's kitchen, a million kids in the neighborhood, homemade Barbie houses, and siblings to play with. 
I am from learning values and morals, learning limits and boundaries, learning it's not all about me, and knowing I am loved.
I am blessed.
I am happy.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Disney World Family Vacations

One of the big things on my bucket list was going to Disney World with the whole family.  All 15 of us! I had to face the fact that was never going to happen. It wasn't so much a money thing as it was an age thing. Our grand kids range in age from two to twelve with the possibility of more to come. By the time the two year old was old enough, the twelve year old would be ready for college and would she even want to go then. Then too, would there be younger ones who came along who would be too young?  I had to come up with a new plan and I did. 

June 2017, who took our youngest daughter Abby and her husband Myles and our oldest daughter Cindy and her husband Ryan and we took an adult trip. We had such a great time. I had never been on an adult trip to Disney. We did 12 and 14  hour days and had a blast. Here's a few pictures of our adventure.

Fast forward to June 2018. We were off to Disney with our daughter Sarah and her husband Nick along with our three oldest grand kids, Natalie, Lizzy and Jack. Once again, we had another great trip. The kids were the perfect ages (12, 10, 8) and it was their first time at Disney. So much magic, so much excitement, so much love. It was a perfect week!  Here's some pictures to prove it.

We could have stayed another week and still not seen everything. The girls got to meet princesses, Jack got to do Jedi training, there was almost no rain and the adults had just as much fun as the kids did. It was the perfect vacation!
One last thing, if you are ever thinking about getting the Disney Memory Maker package, do it! It was some of the best money I spent on this trip. There is no limit to the number of pictures that you can get and they are taken by professionals. It takes the pressure off of you to get all the shots and you can relax and have fun. 

Saturday, May 28, 2016

It Was 45 Years Ago Today!

It was May 28, 1971. I was upstairs in my bedroom with two of my best friends getting ready for a first date with an older man. I was 16 and just finishing my sophomore year of high school. He was 19 and had been out of school a year and working in the construction field operating heavy equipment. My mom and dad weren't sure if this was a good idea, but they were willing to give it a try.

We had met the week before at the Port. It's a local root beer stand where all the kids cruised and hung out. Believe it or not, it's still there today. They still have drive up dining in your car and the car hops wear roller skates. The food trays attach to your car window. I kid you not. He actually asked the girl I was with out first. To this day he claims he was just getting information about me.

Whatever the reason, tonight was my turn. I began to hear the distant rumble of his car engine. My God that car was loud. I would learn later that there was no sneaking in late in that car. You could hear it coming two blocks away. My heart began to beat faster and I was nervous. The only older guys I had dated in my limited dating experiences were just a year older than me and still in school. I take a last look in the mirror. My friends say I look awesome in my lime green hip hugger bell bottoms and white sleeveless shirt with lime and yellow trim. My hair is long and flowing and my make up is perfect. I head down the stairs that lead to the foyer which is right next to the living room where he will be waiting.

I got half way down the stairs and I see him....smoking a cigarette!!!! Are you out of your freakin mind!?!? My mother hates smoking and had tried to get my dad to stop for years. This is not the way to make a good first impression. I can feel the blood rising to my face. I just need to not make eye contact with my mom and get him the heck out of there. We say good bye and we are finally out the door.

I begin to regain my normal body temp and breathe a say of relief. I don't know him well enough to tell him he's an idiot. Of course, that will come later. We are double dating and the other couple is in the backseat. I say hello and we are on our way to the 49er Drive In (it's still there too) to see the romantic classic PATTON. Nobody told us that it was a 12 hour movie and I'm late getting home on the first date. My dad is cool about it because we were seeing a war movie. My mom wasn't thrilled, but she wasn't going ballistic or anything.

I saw him the next day and the next day and the next day and every day there after. With the exception of a huge fight in 1972 that lasted for two days, we have never been apart. We got engaged on November 19, 1972 and were married on September 8, 1973. When I think about the time frame, I can't believe that my parents let that all happen. I got engaged when I was a senior in high school and married three months after I graduated at the age of 18. We had our first baby when I was 20 and he was 23.

I think the main reason we have stayed together with no major problems over the years is this. We were so young. We had no expectations of what marriage should be. It was what it was and we were happy. We grew up together and made our own adventures along the way. We built a really good life. We had excellent examples in both of our parents. They had been together forever and were both happy in their marriages. We are still happy together and I am blessed to have that all these years later. I can't imagine my life with anyone else.

My plan for the rest of the day is to convince Dick that going to the drive in is a good idea. It is supposed to rain and I don't know what is playing, but I don't care. It is Saturday, May 28, 2011. 45 years later and I think we need to mark the occasion.  The only problem with that is that we are babysitting our grand pup Duncan for the weekend.  Would he like the drive in?

I know that I have posted this picture before, but I love it. It just looks like us. Happy and relaxed. That is pretty much how we are now. We don't fight. What's the point? If we get mad now, it's over quickly. We have a good life. We have four beautiful daughters who have chosen wonderful men in their lives. We have five perfect grand kids that are the lights of our lives.

Life is good and we can't ask for more than that.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Stream of Consciousness

The older I get, the more it is proved to me that some of the people that I thought were my friends really aren't.  They are people that I have known for years.  They are in different circles of friends.  Some of them overlap into more than one group.  People I thought I could trust.  People that I thought had my back.  But, not so much.

Oddly enough, I am okay with this fact.  I'd rather know than keep on going thinking differently.  If I have learned nothing else in my older years, it's this.....

Don't get me wrong.  I have lots of friends.  Some of you I have met right here on this blog and you mean the world to me.  I have some wonderful friends who have been my friends since we went to school together.  Friends I have met through work and my kids.  Friends who I love like my family and that love me right back.   

I'm just happy to have finally figured out who's who.

The five minutes went so fast writing this week.  Stop over at Jaime's and check out all the #SOC posts and join in, if you'd like.  It can be so good for the soul.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Old School Blogging / ABC's of Me

I have not blogged since spring.  It has been an amazingly busy spring and summer.  I kept saying I was going to get back to blogging, but just never quite made it happen.  When I saw Old School Blogging was back tonight, I knew I had to do it.  You should too.  It's fun and here's the link to join in.  Here are my ABC's of Me!!

A- Age: 60 and I love it!!
B- Biggest Fear: Deep water and most especially deep water in the dark.  The scariest time ever was when I got tricked into getting on the Staten Island Ferry at 10:30 at night.  At least I got some good pictures of the NYC skyline.

C- Current Time: 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday
D- Drink you last had: Tall Bacardi and coke with lime
E- Easiest Person To Talk to: My best friend, Vickie!!
F- Favorite Song: Tough question, I have so many.  If I have to pick just one, I'd say Roll Me Away by Bob Seger.
G- Grossest Memory: The Porta Potty at a Jimmy Buffett concert.  Needless to say, I didn't have to go as badly as I thought.   
H- Hometown: My hometown and my town for the past 60 years is Chesterton, Indiana.  It's small town America, but getting bigger all the time.  Somewhere I have a picture of the gazebo in the park downtown, but I can't find it.
I- In love with: This awesome and amazing family!!!

J- Jealous Of: People who's house is always clean.
K- Killed Someone? Ummmmm, no!
L- Longest Relationship: Including dating, I've been with my husband for 44 years.
M- Middle Name:  My middle name is Kathryn.  It is also the most over used name in my family and my grandma's name.
N- Number of Siblings: Three sisters and a brother.  I'm #3.
O- One Wish: Health and happiness for my family and friends.
P- Person who you last called: My daughter Katie to check on her sonogram results.  Grandbaby #5 is due in October.  He's a boy to be named Christopher Collins Snyder.
Q- Question you’re always asked:  Was it hard raising twins?
R- Reason to smile:  My sweet and wonderful grandkids!!
S- Song you last sang: Uptown Funk in the car on the way home from work.
T- Time you woke up:  5:15
U- Underwear Color:  At the moment I'm dressed for bed, so it's navy boxers.
V- Vacation Destination: Disney World with the whole family one day!
W- Worst Habit: I have no idea.  It was smoking for a long time, but I gave that up many years ago.
X- X-rays you’ve had: Teeth, right foot and stomach.
Y- Your favorite food:  That would be pizza.
Z- Zodiac Sign:  Sagittarius.  My horoscope for today was "Long-term trends are coming to a favorable point for you, Sagittarius. This is a good day to examine them and make some moves forward in pursuit of your goals. There's a great deal of energy working in your favor today and asking you to take charge and lead the fight toward a better reality. Get out of bed early and get moving."

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Stream of Consciousness Saturday

I was at a bridal shower today for my youngest daughter and her fiancé.  I am so happy for them, but it's kind of breaking my heart at the same time.
It's funny, but not so funny how fast time goes by the older you get.  It seems like it was just last year that she started kindergarten.  Wasn't it just last week that she got her driver's license?  How is it even possible that Abby is 27 years old, a college graduate, an amazing first grade teacher and someone's fiancé????  This time thing is just not right and certainly not fair.

Come July 18, all four of my girls will be married.  If I close my eyes, I can still hear them as little girls.  The giggles, the whispers, the yelling, the sweet little voices.  How did they get so grown up?  Nobody okayed this with me. 

I watched with such love and pride when my husband walked the first three girls down the aisle.  There is something different this time.  It's the baby.  It's the last time I will see one of my daughters walk down the aisle on her handsome father's arm.  It's the last time I will see that look on his face.  That special mix of love, pride and just a hint of sadness.  My girls are all daddy's girls.  Always have been, always will be and he eats it up.  They have such a special bond. 

It just doesn't seem possible that time has gone by so fast.  Or that the time went so fast writing this week.  Stop over at Jaime's and check out all the #SOC posts and join in, if you'd like.  It's really fun.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Old School Blogging / 12 Questions

Are you young at heart or an old soul?
I'm kind of a mix of both, but I'd have to say I am more young at heart.  I don't think I'm too old for just about anything except maybe a bikini.

Tell me about a movie/book that has changed your life.

I don't know that I would say it changed my life, but the book that made a big impression on me was The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch.  If you haven't read it, it's a great read.  I bet I look at it every few months and have lots of things in it highlighted.  It's about a man who is dying from cancer and his life lessons.  While it probably sounds sad and morbid, it truly isn't.  It's amazingly uplifting.  He was an inspiring man.

Would you like to reconnect with any friends you’ve lost contact with?

Facebook has been a great tool in reconnecting with old friends, but I do have one friend that I miss and would like to see again.  We were really good friends in school through about 9th or 10th grade.  Oddly enough, her name was Nancy too.

Where was your favorite place to go when you were a little kid?

I loved going to my grandma's house about an hour away and spending a week with her in the summer.  I had cousins there that I never saw often enough and we had so much fun together.  Such good memories.

Do you enjoy being with only one or two friends, or with a large group of people?

That really depends on my mood.  I can go either way, but it seems like the older I get, the more I like smaller groups of just a few people.

What’s your “quirkiest” habit?
Wow, this is a tough one.  Maybe going back to check and make sure I turned off the straightener in the morning even when I am sure I did?

What part of the past year sticks out in your mind?

Definitely my trip to Arizona with my youngest daughter.  We left her dad (my husband) and her fiancé home and went on an adventure together before she gets married in July.  We had an amazing time and made some pretty terrific memories.
What do you use more often: your intuition or logical reasoning?
Hands down it's intuition.  I'm a logical person, but I don't usually take the time to sit and reason things out. 

Where is your favorite place to go out and eat?
Locally, it's a place called Craft House.  They have a salad there that I absolutely love.
If we are going into Chicago, there is a place we like called Sweetwater Tavern.  They have the best fish tacos ever.

What was the last song that was stuck in your head?

Uptown Funk and thank you for asking because now it will be stuck there again.

What is your ethnic heritage?

Polish, Polish and more Polish!  I can make awesome stuffed cabbage and sausage and kraut.

Give me the story of your life in six words.

A life well lived and loved!!

Okay, now how would you like to join in the fun?  You can, you know.  Just answer the questions and link up with Elaine

Monday, February 9, 2015

The Older Sister Retires

If you visit here, you know that I have spent the last year or two learning to do things for myself and do what is right for me.  It's been a journey like I have never taken before.  It's been amazing and awesome.  It's made turning 60 a wonderful adventure.
I have had to make some hard decisions along the way too.  I've had to put myself first in some situations that I hadn't before.  I always worried about what everyone else would think if I did the thing that was right for me.  I still struggle with that at times, but I'm getting better at it.  It doesn't seem to get any easier though.
I had to make one of those hard decisions last week. 
After five years of being a contributing writer for the website, The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans, I made the decision to step down.  I absolutely love everyone over at Shrinking Jeans.  I love what they do for people.  I love that people feel heard and inspired and motivated through the site.  I had just begun to feel like I wasn't doing my part to do those things for people.  I felt like my writing was getting stale and I was grasping for things to write about.  I owed our readers and my editors more and I just didn't feel like I was doing that.
I can't thank the sisterhood enough for everything they have done for me.  I got to meet people I never would have met like Alison Sweeney and Ali Vincent.  I even got to interview Ali Vincent.  I was there to cover several Self Workout in the Park events in Chicago.  I got to work out with Dolvett from the Biggest Loser.  I got to meet people from the Biggest Loser.  I got to interview an editor from Self magazine.   Little old me with a VIP press pass in the big city of Chicago.  Not once, but three times.  Who'd have ever thought it?  Not me, that's for sure. 
Mostly though, I want to thank the Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans for what they have done for me.  I found them very early in my blogging days.  They made me really look at myself and begin to challenge myself.  They helped me see that I could be so much more than I was.  I think it was them that gave me the courage to have the awesome year that I had leading up to turning 60.  They helped me learn to think outside the box.  They helped me become "me" and I will never be able to thank them enough.  To go from reader to writer was amazing and I will treasure that always.
My editors, Christy and Melissa are two of the most amazing and wonderful people you will ever meet.  They trusted me when I wasn't sure I trusted myself to do this job.  They gave me the wings to fly and I think I did.  They have been two of my biggest supporters.  They kicked my butt when it needed kicking and they hugged me tight when I needed hugging, even though we were thousands of miles apart.  That's the truly amazing thing about that place.  I have only met a handful of the sisters in person, but I feel like I have known these people all my life.   It is truly a sisterhood in every sense of the word.  I may be leaving as a writer, but I will NEVER leave as a sister!
I also want to thank my fellow writers at Shrinking Jeans.  You ladies are some of the best people I know.  I don't ever want to lose touch with you.   You have always been there to support me and love me.  It means so much.  You are truly my sisters. 
I am going to miss my little graphic below.  As it says, "she's just old enough".  She's just old enough to know that it's time to say good bye to this chapter in my life.  It makes me sad, but it makes me happy.  I know it is the right decision for me. 
Good bye Shrinking Jeans.  I love you!!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Stream of Consciousness Saturday

I know that I am in the minority, but I am excited at the prospect of getting 12 to 18 inches of snow over the next 36 hours or so.  They have named the storm Linus.  That doesn't sound very fierce to me though.  I guess we'll see.

I have lived in northwest Indiana my entire life and I love snow.  Last year was the first really good winter we have had in a very long time.  It was the kind of winter we used to have when I was a kid.  There was snow on the ground for a very long time and I loved it.  It was pretty.  It was fun.

The shelf ice on the shores of Lake Michigan looked like mountains.  It was fascinating.  Can I just say that this man had no business that close to the lake let alone have his child that close to the lake?  That was just stupid, but it does give a good perspective to the picture. 

If this storm fizzles out, I'm going to be really unhappy.  The kid in me wants lots and lots of snow.  I'd like to be able to get out the cross country skis and see if I can still do it.  I'd like to go sledding with the grandkids.  I'd like to go hiking at the Dunes. 

Come on Linus!  I'm counting on you.
My five minutes are up.  Time to link up with Jaime.  If you'd like to join in, here are the rules......

1. Set a timer for five minutes. (Or keep tabs with your computer’s clock.)
2. Write freely. Any topic. Whatever is on your mind. It doesn’t even have to be completely cohesive.
3. Tag on social media with #SOCSaturday or #SOCSunday and link up below. You have all day Saturday and Sunday to join the link up. It closes Monday morning.
4. Click around and give some comment/blog love.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


I have neglected blogging for far too long.  I miss it.  If nobody is around reading this anymore, it's my own fault.  But, I'm going to try to be more regular with my posts and I want to start with some of the fun things I did over the past year before I turned 60. 

I made it my goal to try and do as many "out of my box" types of things that I could, as well as doing some fun things and improving on old things.

One of my biggest adventures was to be a nonspeaking extra in an independent film.  The film is called Knockdown and it is in editing right now.  The opportunity came through my future son-in-law Myles whose degree is in film.  He was a camera man on the film.  Here we are waiting between takes.  Sorry this is your back Myles, but it's the one where I look the best. 
 I was only there about an hour, but it was such a great hour.  One of the actors was from the movie Divergent and several others were from the tv show Chicago Fire.  Some of the other actors were actual Chicago policemen.  My daughter Abby had a speaking role.  It was amazingly awesome.  Knockdown will be entered in film festivals.  Who knows, maybe even Sundance.  I just know that I can't wait to see it. 

There was a really special man I met on this day.  His name is Paul D. Morgan and he was the writer/director/producer of the film.  I knew when I met him that day that he was special, but it wasn't until later that I really found out how special.  He's the man in the middle of the picture below.
Paul and I became Facebook friends and comment back and forth.  Reading how he lives his life and treats his friends and coworkers is inspiring.  His faith in God is uplifting.  He has a work ethic that everyone should have.  He's just a great guy and I'm happy to have met him. 

This really was an amazing day.  I never thought that I would ever be in a movie of any kind beyond our own home videos.  But, I was and it was all because of this guy.....
Myles has been a part of our family for almost nine years now and we will "officially" welcome him in July when he marries our daughter Abby.  To know Myles is to know joy.  He has such a zest for life.  You can't be around Myles and not smile.  He's just one of the best guys you will ever meet and I get to be lucky enough to have him as my son-in-law. 

To Myles and Paul, thank you so much for letting me be a small part of your wonderful film.  You made an old lady really happy.  It is an experience I won't soon forget.  You two are the best!