Happy Birthday to a lovely lady

Today, March 5, is my Mom’s birthday.

When I think of Mom, I think of the time the two of us went to Savannah together for the weekend. I was worried about what we’d say to each other for 72 hours of togetherness. It was the first time in some years we’d spent that much time just by ourselves. What would I say to her all weekend? Would it be awkward?

I needn’t have worried. The minute I picked her up she started chatting about anything and everything. She chatted happily all weekend, the extrovert. All I had to do was listen.

Another memory I have of Mom is of her making cocoa for me and my brother after school on cold, rainy days. And of her being the Girl Scout cookie captain for five years running – as well as the Cub Scout den mother for my brother’s pack. (Never forgot one of the Cubs eating so many cupcakes he made himself sick.)

Mom was the modern day Centaur, as Erma Bombeck said – half woman, half station wagon. Or in her case, a light blue 1970 Ford LTD. She chauffeured me and my friends to kindergarten, ballet class, piano rehearsals and later high school band practice.

She was a dedicated worker. She was never late to her job as a nurse – in fact, she’d get uptight about her schedule and be ready 30 minutes before she had to leave for her afternoon shift, just to give herself time to relax. In my memory she didn’t get sick and hardly took time off. At her retirement party the organizers limited the 10 speakers on the program to two minutes each. That was after the presentation of the plaques from the mayor and the governor.

For all her talents, Mom was not Julia Child – and she didn’t pretend or try to be. She was firmly out of the WASP (White Anglo Saxon Protestant) mode of cooking – boil it to death because water is a spice. I couldn’t eat green beans after I left home until I discovered steaming.

But Dad liked his green beans that way – and he was the one she was cooking for, not us kids. She always catered to him, making him a priority. Cookies Dad liked – he got them. Dishes he liked – he got them. Even today she cooks a hot lunch for him most days. Funny tale about that: right after they moved into their current patio home community, Dad got a part-time job at the model home across the street. Mom would cook his lunch and carry it over to him each day at noon. One day the neighbors reported that a few minutes after they saw Mom return home, she was back out the door to go to Dad – with a ketchup bottle in her hand.

Mom understands loyalty, fidelity, service and love. A 54-year marriage (and counting), as well as a 25-year career, is proof.

Happy 75th Birthday, Mom. May you have many, many more.

Mom laughing
Mom (far right) with my Aunts: Anne, Marlys, Audrey and Elaine; at the Rust Family Reunion in Downtown Sioux Falls, Sept. 2012
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Quick Takes

Some of my favorite blogs do a “quick takes” style post once a week. This weekend (and week) has been too crazy for me to think of any type of organized topic or essay, so that’s what I’m going with today!

1. Exhaustion

I’m exhausted by my new schedule. Last week was the third week in a row I’ve exercised for 3 days during the week. The workouts are a combination of stretching, some cardio, core work and strength training. One hour each – at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday and Thursday, and 8 a.m. Saturday. Yikes. By 10 p.m. (now) I can barely keep my eyes open. I’ll keep you posted on how well it’s going – but now, I’m getting up those 44 stairs from the ground to my second floor office a lot quicker. I only huff and puff once, at the last landing.

2. Oscars

I’m not watching the Oscars tonight. Why? Not because I’m not interested in who wins … I’ll look online for that info. And I’ll definitely want to see “who wore it best.” What I can’t understand is why, in 21st century America, our biggest award show has to honor entertainers. I’m not trying to disparage actors and others in the movie industry, but just questioning perspective. Where are the dramatic award shows for scientists? Why don’t we have award shows for returning soldiers? Or firefighters? When will an award program for teachers be televised nationally, on broadcast television? I’d like to think that a small business owner who built a business out of nothing and now employs hundreds of people could one day get a big award and the ovation she deserves, too.

3. Angel Food cake

Today I made an angel food cake to celebrate my Mom’s birthday (which is actually March 5. We’re getting in an entire birthday week here!) I used a mix and it tasted great – but it sure looked funny. Not sure what happpened – when I released it from the bundt pan (after cooling it upside down on a bottle like the instruction said) one side of the cake was all fallen in. Nothing a ton of frosting couldn’t fix … if only I was going to frost it. Ah, well, with Cool Whip and berries, it still tasted great.

4. This darn weather

Today it was cold. Yesterday it was colder. Last Thursday it was 32 degrees – and two days before the temperatures reached 70! This is why people get sick! I’m ready for my consistent 80 degree days now, thank you.

5. CBAP prep

So how did my resolution to up my studying go for my Certified Business Analysis Professional exam? Well, this past week: I blew off studying Thursday night (and watched The Big Bang Theory), got too busy to study Saturday and finally forced myself to study today, Sunday. Two hours! Go me.

5. Lunch at work

Salad again … sigh. Sticking to this plan of eating mostly lean meats, fish, chicken and vegetables is hardest at lunch. I don’t think I was made for low-carb. But it is working ….

6. Paleo

That reminds me (and I’m cheating here with this take) – I’m going to have to post on some of the Paleo sites I’ve been reading.

7. Something to make you smile

Here’s a day brightener …. watch this and you’ll feel wonderful! Keep going through the first 90 seconds…then get ready to dance.