Wednesday, October 29, 2008

October 29, 1992

I grew up without my father around and it was never a big deal. The man I was closest to growing up was my grandpa Hal. I remember one day when I was graduating High School he made a comment about not knowing if he would go to any of his other grandchildren's graduation. I brushed it off not beleiving a word of it and not wanting to imagine a world without him. He was only 70 and surely he'd be around 10 more years for my 2nd oldest cousin to graduate - his mother lived into her 90's. He was healthy and only vice was chewing cigars (a habit I found SOOO gross!). Less than 2 year later he died after a 2 month battle with cancer.

He died on October 29 and his funeral was on Halloween. I am the oldest grandchild by 10 years and that Halloween was so surreal to me. I was 19 which meant my oldest cousin was 9 and then there were 6 others all younger than him. While I cried they played. While my family mourned, they went Trick or Treating. Now, as the mother of children who are the age my cousins were I understand the need for normalcy, but back then it was odd.
I remember the cold day at the cemetary in Illinois and how poingant the service was on Halloween. While it seemed creepy, it also seemed fitting.

This is honestly one of the hardest days of the year. Things have gotten better, but this date is etched in my mind forever. My grandfather is the closest relative I have ever had pass away. (well, except my father, but since I had virtually no relationship with him, it's hard to say he was a close relative). I loved my grandfather so much and I wish and hope he can see all that has happened since he left 16 years ago. I am married and have 2 wonderful children - his great grand children. My cousins are all almost our of high school, and some out of college.

I have such a small family and sadly virtually no contact with my extended family. I don't have any siblings (and neither does my husband, so no aunts, uncles or cousins for my kids - is that weird or what?!) so I have my mom and my inlaws and of course my grandfathers wife, my wonderful grandmother. That's it. Sometimes I wonder what my grandfather would think of the fact that our family has lost so much contact with each other. The last time we were all truly together was at his funeral. Perhaps his death meant the loss of a lot more than just him.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Couponing Success

Because money is tight, I am trying to be more frugal & stay on a budget. One of the main things I have always wanted to do, and yes, it sounds silly, was to use coupons to shop very cheaply. Over the years I would clip my coupons, but I think I spent more than I would have otherwise BECAUSE of the coupons. I had heard about those websites that would tell you how to basically use your coupons to buy things on sale for cheap or free. Because I live where there are no major (ie chain, nationwide stores) these sites never had a list for Madison that was worthwhile. Recently I discovered that they are finally including Copp's! I know... it sounds silly, but it makes me happy. Today I went to the grocery store and had I NOT shopped the specials or used coupons I would have spent $140, instead I spent $70. 50% off. I think that's a HUGE success! Granted, I now have bread for the next 3 weeks (as long as it doesn't get moldy, we should be good!) and sadly, Hamburger Helper that should last for years (I am reserving that scary stuff for when my family is here over the holidays and I need something that can be cooked in large batches, fast and cheap. Cooking for 7 people for 2 weeks calls for some short cuts here and there). Oh yeah, and in my previous weeks I have stocked up enough broth and diced tomatoes to make chili for the entire winter season. But this is a good thing. Now when I want chili, I have the fixings and I don't have to go out and drop $15 on overpriced ingrediants that I got for probably 75% off through couponing.
My site of choice is . You get to try it for $1 for 4 weeks and if you like it, you pay about $10 for the 1st list for 3 months. I have definitely saved $10 in one week, so it is worth it. I am thinking I will need some shelves for my stockpiles of cereal and canned goods soon. I am also enjoying the variety. This is enouraging me to buy things I might not otherwise get and do a few different things.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Fall Part II

This past Sunday I was supposed to work, but ended up not having to go in. It was an incredible day - clear and WARM! Normally in October, the temps do not get up to 80 degrees in Wisconsin, but on Sunday it did. Because the folliage was at or near peak this weekend, we headed about a hour north of here to Mirror Lake State Park. This park was just outside the Dells, but you'd never know you were so close to the insanity of that area. It was so serene and peaceful. We were there for only about 2 hours, but we had a nice picnic and walked some of the short trails. Fall is definitely my favorite time of the year. The weather is so nice and the colors are radiant.

After spending some time at the State Park, we headed over to see Lake Delton. The lake broke through the road over the summer, devastating the area and destroying houses and ruing the summer tourist season for the area. The Lake is supposed to be filled again next summer, so I really wanted to at least see what it looked like with no water. It really was amazing to see this large area filled with weeds that is usually a recreational lake. I didn't take any pictures. There were lots of signs to keep away the gawkers and I didn't want to stop and be one of the millions of people who oohed and ahhed. I am sure the residents are sick enough of it.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


It's been way too long since I posted to this blog. A lot has changed in the last 3 months. My daughter turned 5 and started Kindergarten. My son is in 3rd grade and is now swimming competitively with a local swim club. He has his 1st meet this weekend.  My daughter is determined to swim on the Gators team next summer, although I am not so sure she will be able to make it across the pool in less than a year.

I now work about 5 hours a day in the morning on the week days. It's odd... for the last 4 years I have worked primarily evenings and weekends and in a blink that changed. I am still getting used to getting up at 6:15 in the morning and also having more time with the family in the evening. It's a bit different to get used to. 

I can't believe that fall is here already and Halloween is just around the corner. Our family LOVES Halloween and it's almost time to put up the decorations. Before you know it Christmas will be here!

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