Thursday, December 31, 2015

Oh, Deer!

This post is to illustrate that one should be careful about what he wishes. 

A couple weeks ago, Mr. Rellim came upon a literal herd of deer in our neighborhood.  He honked noisily and attempted to corral them by driving recklessly up and down the street.  He said he really wanted to eliminate the population in our area.

Fast-forward a few days and BAM!  He got himself a deer.  It was raining and foggy and he was driving through a wooded area near his place of employment.  The deer jumped from the ditch and tried to clear the car.  Unfortunately for Vixen - or Blitzen, Mr. Rellim got him with the windshield.

Fortunately for Mr. Rellim, the deer only got the windshield.  The rearview mirror rocketed into the backseat and Mike was sprayed with some glass splinters, but no human injuries were sustained.

The windshield was replaced within a couple days and Santa may have to recruit for the next delivery date.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Home on the Ridge

This is funny if you know my parent's address is on Timber Ridge.  The sign is crafted by my sister Jamie using old lumber and license plates.  Someone asked if a tetanus shot came with the gift too.

The cousins also gathered for a photo.  Quinn stood behind the group "so no one could fall on my head!"  Austin used his head to hold Evelyn on her branch.  And Rachel will likely never wear that shirt in public again if she sees this photo.
My sisters and I squeezed together for a selfie.
And we made it home before the rains came down.  Merry Christmas to all!

Monday, December 14, 2015

December Concerts

The kids both had concerts this month, with one more to go!  Rachel sang Second Soprano with the Jenny Lind singers for Christmas at Augustana.  Quinn donned his formal concert attire for a collaboration with EIU orchestra and choirs.  He sings Baritone with the high school advanced chorus.  They did The Hallelujah Chorus for a encore.  For an encore!  It was amazing.

All the grandparents joined us for the road trip to Rachel's college and supper at a Mexican restaurant.

Mr. Lincoln

Finally, we had the chance to visit the "new" Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum.  I didn't realize that I was blocking one of the kids.  Sorry, fella.  Great place to visit.  Mark your calendar for a visit.

Love and Marriage

Mr. Rellim called on the way home.  We had the same idea for supper.  I said sarcastically, "That just goes to show how well we know each other.  It's like you can finish my  . . . (dramatic pause inserted here)"

Mike said, "Thoughts!"

Me - "Try again."

"Words? . . . Sentences!"

Me - "You complete . . ."

" . . .me."

That's about as romantic it gets around here.  Unless you count when he washes the dishes.

And I do.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Not Impressed

My four-year-old niece, Evelyn was studying a painting by Monet and declared, "Who drew that?  They really messed up!"

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Not Quite the Lotto

I completed most of my Thanksgiving grocery shopping today.  I say most because as I was checking out, I realized that I had forgotten to pick up the turkey.  "The turkey?" you say - "She forgot the turkey?!" 

Yes, I forgot the turkey.  But guess what?  As the register receipt printed out, the cashier said, "Oh look!  You've earned a free turkey!"

I'VE EARNED A FREE TURKEY!  And that's better than millions in the lotto anyway because Illinois isn't paying.  And what would I do with all that money?  Just buy a bigger turkey.

Happy (almost) Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

The Rellim Boys

Mr. Rellim has two brothers.  There are six boys (so far) in the next generation.  This is a snapshot from the recent baptism of the youngest, Crew Axel.  His big brother, Cole is attempting to escape Uncle Mike's arms.  His bigger brother, Clay is hiding his face - embarrassed from nearly burning down the church, I think.  But maybe the Priest should have thought better of allowing two busy boys to bounce around  a large burning candle on a precarious perch.

Just as a point of reference, our son, Quinn is standing in the back and up a step.  He looks like a little dinky boy.  But guess what?  He is 6' 1" and weighs 200 pounds.  These boys eat a lot of pork chops.

Peter Pan

My friend's daughter is volunteering at an orphanage in China for a year following completion of her undergraduate degree in Communication Disorders and Sciences.  One of her jobs is to teach English to the children since most of the adoptive families speak English.  An orphan who speaks some English is more "marketable."  Yet not all children have been adopted into families by the age the Chinese government has determined the orphan must be "released."  That age is 14.  Fourteen.

Pan Pan is one of the boys in the orphanage who will soon turn 14.  The English workers call him Peter Pan.  He plays three instruments.  He speaks a little English.  He has not yet been adopted.  He is blind.  Unless he finds a forever family, he will be "released," likely to beg on the streets for his meals.  Winter is coming.

My friend's daughter asked if we would pray for Pan Pan and for his forever family.  Perhaps he will not have an earthly forever family.  And there are so many more stories like his in China - and around the world.  My heart breaks for them.

I also think about my own son.  Had he been born to different parents in a country like China his story would have been much different.  So I'll pray for Pan Pan and I'll thank God for my country and my family.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Twenty Years Old

I bought a new pair of jeans - the stretchy, leggings-like jeans.  But I got the kind with a higher waist that allows me to sit and stand without advertising my underwear.  I wore these jeans to a professional meeting a couple weeks ago.  Feeling a bit self-conscious, I asked a colleague, "How do these look?  I'm not trying to look twenty years old or anything . . ."

"Don't worry," she said, "you don't look twenty years old."

"Ummm . . . thanks?"

Friday, October 09, 2015

Not the PC Type

My friend, Steve complained of my lack of blog posts and told me, "You're slipping, Kurth!"  Well, I've worked to remediate that today.  Here goes:

My parents are staying with my sister's four-year-old daughter in her new home while my sister is away on business.  I talked to Dad yesterday, who told me about this game he and my niece, Evelyn play called "Where in the World?"  Basically, they "travel" to different windows or corners or balconies in the home and pretend they are in different countries. Evelyn guesses what country they are in based on my Dad's accent and what they will be doing while in that country.

In Evelyn's favorite country, my Dad reportedly says, "Hola, chica!  Let's eat rice and beans then go to America where we can get everything for free."

Just reporting the news here.

Shower Beer

It's been a busy week.  Perhaps I've been a little grumpy with my family.  Perhaps.

When I finally started to relax in a hot shower, Mr. Rellim popped his head in and said, "I've got something for you."

"No, thank you!" I said, a bit grumpily.  A bit.

He laughed, then handed me a cold beer.  "It's a 'shower beer,' explained Mr. Rellim, "Haven't you ever had a shower beer before?"

I had not.  But now that I have, I'm wondering if eBay sells any shower cup holders.

Trojan Up!

That's the rally cry for our High School - CHS Trojans.  And tonight is the Homecoming game, but Quinn decided to work instead.  "I went to a football game last year," he said, "and the only thing that happened is some girl started social stalking me and thought she was my girlfriend!"

"Well, wouldn't you like to have a girlfriend?" I asked.

"No way!" Quinn shouted, "First, it's fun and nice, then you are supposed to sit and listen to her talk for hours and return texts at all hours of the day and night.  The next thing you know, you're running an errand to Wal-Mart to pick up tampons!"

How Far South?

In the continuing series:  "How Far South Do I Live?" we report on a First Grade teacher introducing the "wh" questions words to her class (who, what, where, when, how, why).   She has each word written on a flashcard and asks the class to repeat the word after her then create a sentence with that word.  For example, when shown the flashcard "why," a student volunteered, "Why are we at school?"


When shown the flashcard "when," a student volunteered, "Did you win the game?"

"Well," replied the teacher, "that is one meaning for /wIn/.  We are talking about the other kind of /wIn/."

The other kind of /wIn/?  How far south do I live?

Wednesday, September 16, 2015


Two Kindergarten students on two separate occasions described their sleeping arrangements in their home.  One boy told me (amidst moderate stuttering), "I sleep next to my step-brother's bed in a sleeping bag.  If he sleeps somewhere else, then I can sleep in his bed."  A little girl from another family attempted to describe the chair that she sleeps in.  I thought it might be a recliner.  But she didn't understand the word "recliner" and she also gave me a funny look when I attempted to demonstrate how a chair can recline.

And I'm disappointed in the nap of my carpet.

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Go, Illini!

Mr. Rellim and I met my dad in Champaign last night for the opening game of the football season.  Just as we arrived, a severe storm blew in, trapping us in football purgatory.  Stadium staff would not let us stand outside the doors and would not let us take our seats.  We were corralled like cattle, restricted to wandering in the concession/souvenir areas for nearly three hours.

Not one to give up on a live game, we could not convince Mr. Rellim to leave when the storm finally ended.  To keep our spirits up, Mike said, "The game will start soon. See all those people running to their cars?  They will be re-drunk soon and we will have fun!

The other great thing was when we received an impromptu personal serenade by The Other Guys.

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts

A local group had about 200 boxes of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts leftover following a fundraiser last Saturday.  Quinn came home with a box on Thursday.  He was pretty excited because he had offered the group $5 for the box.  Instead the group's leader gave it to him for free. 

Why?  "Because," explained Quinn, "the boxes had been 'improperly' stored."

I nearly gagged.  He smiled because he had eaten four doughnuts before I threw out the rest.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Food Editing

Rachel is at school.  Quinn is at work.  Mike and I didn't feel like cooking.  But we do get a kick out of calling the restaurant where Quinn works and ordering for home delivery.  I ordered a Philly Cheese Steak and onion rings.  (I learned the hard way that the Italian Beef is not the same sandwich.)  Mike ordered a DoubleDog and Waffle Fries.  The DoubleDog comes with a small bag of potato chips.

When Quinn arrived with our delivery, he announced, "That will be $16.25.  By the way, I ate your chips."

What?!  I asked him if he ate other customers' chips too.  "No," he replied, "only yours.  You don't need them anyway.  You got waffle fries."

Mike gave him a tip anyway.  And I laughed.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Sisters Three

I was home taking care of post-op Quinn (He's doing very well, by the way.), while my sisters had a good time at a county fair and sent me a snapshot.  I guess we all do look a little alike.


It's going OK.  But I do have some observations to make about this new age:

1.  Ten o'clock pm is getting stinking late.  Rachel walked out the door on Friday night at 9:00 pm and said, "Don't worry, I'll be home early."  I just stared at her with a dumbfound look on my face.

2.  There are definitely more "sparkles" in my hair.  My dad teased me about it one day.  I don't think he realizes that my three younger sisters color their hair.  I'm too frugal to bother right now.

3.  I understand why old people insist on sleeping in their own beds.  Who doesn't like her own pillow best?

4.  I hurt my knee while washing dishes tonight.  What the?!  Too much twist when rinsing?!  I had to go scrounge up a compression sleeve from Rachel's room.  I can't believe I found it.

5.  A poem came to mind the other day that ends, "Quiet down, cobwebs.  Dust, go to sleep.  I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep."  My baby is beginning her second year at college.  She forgot to pack her pillow.  Luckily, it doesn't matter so much to her at 19.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Senior Snapshot

Quinn had a few photos taken before his senior year starts.  We are off to St. Louis for a septorhinoplasty and lip scar revision.  In a week or so, he should be able to breathe from both nostrils.  In a few months, he should have a great lip contour with a smaller lip scar.

"Remember my face!" he told his sister as she left for work this morning.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

New Glasses

Quinn needed a new prescription, but didn't want new frames.  I pleaded with him to try on a few pairs just to check them out.  He finally relented and chose these.  Unfortunately, I would have been better off avoiding the confrontation and saving $350, but he is handsome.  And these "nerd" glasses are back in style.


A few years ago our church opted out of the traditional Vacation Bible School and began an all-day program that lasted a couple weeks.  I was hesitant to volunteer because, well, it was all day.  And last week as I attempted to corral, entertain and teach 19 grade-schoolers, I tended to complain quite a bit.  Maybe it was because the middle school helpers were more trouble than help.  Maybe it was because I had to take a kid to the ER after he broke his clavicle playing a game on my watch.  Maybe it was because the music was entirely too loud.  Maybe I was just being grumpy because things didn't always go my way.

Then it was the last day of camp, and it was my turn to teach the lesson to the combined group of approximately 100 kids, ages four through 13.  The lesson was about how Paul was committed to God and committed to sharing the good news about Jesus.  I got a little preachy with the kids.  In examples they could understand, I challenged them to put God first - before sports or video games or even Frozen songs.  Then I invited them to come forward if they would like to commit themselves to Jesus.  I think about 80 kids started walking toward me!  Now, I realize these kids weren't all "new" commitments, but I was still shocked at the number.  Mostly because I have never seen anyone accept a "live" altar call at this church.

So the moral of the story is God is good and works wonders amidst chaos.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Goodbye, Good Buy.

I bought a kitchen table at an auction a few weeks ago for only $15.  It was an oval-shaped solid pecan with Queen Anne legs and an extra leaf.  But it was a little too big for my space.  I realized this after I woke up Quinn and called over one of his friends to move it into the house.  Then I had them move it out of the house.  Then I borrowed a truck to haul it to the consignment shop.  I did get $40 for it.

And the best part of the day was when the three of us climbed into the old truck and Quinn made his friend sit in the middle.  His friend was determined (and I repeat) - was absolutely determined not to accidentally touch me on the way home.  Instead, he kept leaning toward Quinn, who kept shouting at his friend to quit touching him.  And the shouts just drew more attention to the mom driving the 1970 pickup with two seventeen-year-old boys sharing the front seat.  Because no one was really sitting in the middle.

Solution: Lock the Door

Last night's dinner conversation began with a question from Rachel to her brother:  "Why don't you put your underwear on first when you're getting dressed?"

Monday, July 13, 2015

Thank You, Mrs. Jackson

President Andrew Jackson built a beautiful home in Nashville, Tennessee.  I was partial to his wife's addition to the property - Rachel's Garden.

Fist Bump

Why travel to Greece, when you can explore a full-size replica of the Parthenon right here in the USA?  And raise your hand if you've ever had the privilege of fist-bumping a gargoyle?

Hello, I'm Johnny Cash

Just a snapshot from the Johnny Cash museum today. It reminded Mr. Rellim of a near- incident at the World Pork Expo in June.  I'll have to get more details...


My husband loves me so much that he took me to see Dinesh D'souza on our wedding anniversary.  Romantic, huh?

  And now I have a new (signed) book to read:
To top off the day, we spent time with friends we haven't seen in years.
Happy Anniversary, Mr. Rellim!

Thursday, July 09, 2015

The Pink Box

"Where is the pink box?" asked my four-year-old niece, Evelyn.

"I don't know what you're talking about," replied my sister.  "Tell me more."

"I got it for a present from Quinn and Rachel's house," explained Evelyn.

"You'll have to describe it to me," insisted her mother.

"Well," said Evelyn, "he is tall and has brown hair and lives at Aunt Marcie's house."

"I know who Quinn is," laughed my sister.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Still, the Dog

Quinn perforated his ear drum a few days ago while diving at the local pool.  It was the first time he had dove (dived?)  been diving in a few years.  The visit to the ENT was the first in eight years and we started an antibiotic ear drop and began the waiting game.  (Heal, ear!  Heal!)  His hearing is only mildly affected, but he still complains he can't hear me - unless I'm calling him to eat.

While talking about the protocol for keeping water out of his ear, Quinn leaned back on his bed and made dramatic sweeping gestures while lamenting, "Why is my life so cursed - bad ears, asthma, face scar, allergies?  My life is so sad!"

"How is your life so sad?" I asked.

Quinn quickly replied, "Do you see a dog sleeping here at the foot of my bed?"

The boy really wants a dog.

Dumb Ways to Die

I turned on the garbage disposal and swished my hand around the sink to push the little food bits into the hole.  While doing so, my forearm hit a metal spatula resting precariously on the side of the sink.  It fell into the garbage disposal handle-first, then quickly shot out and stabbed me near the top of my diaphragm. 

No blood was spilled, but I now have a healthy fear of the minor appliance and try to keep the area around the sink clear of sharps.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

I Really Don't Get It

"Today's decree," Justice Antonin Scalia fumes, "says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court. The opinion in these cases is the furthest extension in fact... This practice of constitutional revision by an unelected committee of nine, always accompanied (as it is today) by extravagant praise of liberty, robs the People of the most important liberty they asserted in the Declaration of Independence and won in the Revolution of 1776: the freedom to govern themselves." Chief Justice John Roberts agreed, noting with poignancy, "If you are among the many Americans -- of whatever sexual orientation! -- who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today's decision. Celebrate the achievement of a desired goal. Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits. But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it."

And I don't understand how this is an issue of civil rights.  I see it as a straightforward redefinition of a centuries-old partnership in order to be included in the benefits reaped therein.  What is the next term to be redefined - oh wait!  That happened Thursday when the Justices decided "state" can mean "State and Federal Government."

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Apology Tour - Rellim Style

I woke up Quinn Saturday morning at 11:30, then called him again every five minutes until about noon.  I needed his help with something outside.  Finally, finally, he emerged from his room and came outside and began shouting about how rude it was to wake up a growing teenager and how unprepared I was to have not scheduled this favor with him the day before.

Mr. Rellim and I loaded him and his big mouth into the car and ran the errand.  Then Quinn was escorted around the neighborhood by his father to make a personal apology to each person he frightened with his rude and disrespectful outburst toward his mother.  I love that man I married.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Time for a Nap

Need a reality TV show?  You should have followed my mom, Rachel and me the last two days on our St. Louis outing.  Mom napped while sitting up straight a few times and I wondered how she could be sleepy enough to manage such snooze snippets, then I shared a room with her and Rachel for a couple nights.  When the air conditioner wasn't loudly blowing icy air at my head, it was making a "Grrrr-Chunk!" sound to turn on or off.  When Mom started snoring, Rachel would shout, "Grandma!  You're snoring!" - or just whistle loudly in the direction of her bed.  When Mom wasn't snoring, I poked her to make sure she was still breathing.  When Rachel and I were both asleep, Mom would comment loudly about how hot it was, or how cold it was, or how loud the air conditioner was or ponder why she couldn't get to sleep.

When Mom and I tried to watch a movie, Rachel insisted that she needed the TV off to get to sleep.  When we reluctantly turned off the show, Rachel promptly got out of bed, turned on a light and started eating Doritos.  When I turned the TV back on, Mom quickly fell asleep and started snoring, which somehow interfered with Rachel's snacking and texting (now that she had given up on trying to sleep).  When Rachel decided to sit in the hotel hallway in her PJs to get away from such annoying roommates, Mom woke up to the sounds of "drunk underage baseball players coming down the hall*+" and went out in her PJs to convince Rachel to come back in the room. 

I'm home now and starting a late lunch for Quinn, who just finished taking his ACT.  Then, time for a nap!

*I have no idea how someone can intuitively know what drunk underage baseball players sound like.
+I imagine I will be regaled with a story some day. 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Happy Birthday, Ginny!

Mike's mom celebrated her 70th birthday this spring with all her grandkids in attendance.  That's eleven so far (with one still "cooking").

Monday, June 08, 2015

Does Anyone Keep Gloves in the Glove Box Anymore?

I had a feeling that answering the following question was not going to be the end of the conversation that Saturday evening at 9:53 p.m. . . .

"Uh, Mom?  I can't find that proof of insurance thing.  I thought it was in the glove box, but it's not."

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Grandma Phoebe

I had a vivid picture in my mind of two people running to embrace one another.  It was a black and white 1940s sort of scene.  Five minutes later we received a call telling us that Mike's Grandma Phoebe had passed just a few minutes earlier.  She would have been 97 years old in August.  I smile when I remember her because she was a good woman - an optimistic lady - who lived a good, long life.

Nobody's gonna smile when they think of me trying to sing a well-known hymn (When We Meet Again) at her funeral.  Mostly at funerals I just try to breath.  At Grandma Phoebe's I tried to sing, but made it about four bars before my voice broke.  Rachel walked up to sing with me, so I tried taking the alto part since the high notes were not working so well.  "Actually," Rachel told me, "the alto notes weren't working so well for you either."  I guess I'll just stick to breathing at the next funeral. 

Here she is on the occasion of her 95th birthday with her son, Terry.

Sunday Evening Ramblings

1.  "The problem with society is that we keep giving woman what they think they want (referring to careers outside of the home)," mused the younger Mr. Relim.  Perhaps I let him watch a little too much Dick VanDyke Show.  Or perhaps he's right.  He just needs to clear that plan with his wife when the time comes.

2.   We might need to call the repairman.  The garage refrigerator is not working properly.  Since Rachel came home from college, the appliance keeps making the vodka evaporate.

3.  I wonder how my life would be different if my Third grade teacher (circa 1978) hadn't asked me to revise my statement about what I wanted to do when I grew up.  Initially I had written, "When I grow up I want to be a mom."  I remember her telling me that wasn't an acceptable answer.  She told me that I had to be something.  I was a sharp student, but I struggled with her request and finally settled on "teacher."  She thought that was something.  But I really wanted to be a mom.

4.  I wonder how my life would be different if I had completed the application to work toward my Ph.D.  I remember calling a friend who was getting his Ph.D. while working full time and commuting 50 miles each way for evening classes.  I asked him, "Do you think I could do it?"  He said, "Yes, I think you could do it, but that's not the question I think you should be asking.  You should be asking, 'Will it be worth giving up all that time with my family?'"  And that was some wise advice.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

String Theory

Mike bought six-ounce, bacon-wrapped beef fillets for Mother's Day.  (Yum)  Half-way through eating his steak, Quinn asked, "Why is there string around this half of my steak?"

"Boy," said, Mr. Rellim, "there was string around your entire steak.  You just ate it."

After lunch, Quinn got up from the table to eat a big bowl of ice cream.  Fancy food is  lost on teenage boys.  It's quantity over quality all day long.

Hello, Blogdom

It's been a while, but it's not because I haven't been thinking about you.  It's because the stories that amaze, confuse and annoy me about my family are likely to be read by them, and unless I can spin it in a humorous fashion, they are best not written.

I'm considering enacting a rule about how many times a styrofoam cup from the gas station can be re-used.  Also, should a mother allow her son to receive an unexcused "tardy" when he consistently oversleeps for Monday morning dual-credit Trigonometry class?  And what to do about the adult-ling daughter who will be living at home this summer?  These topics and more as the school year ends.

In closing, a funny thing happened with a Kindergarten student the other day:  He was looking at a picture of a sword with a handle shaped like a cross and said, "Look!  It's a "T" for Jesus!"

Monday, March 02, 2015

Speechie Fun

Playing a card game with a couple of Second Grade boys, I asked, "Who has magenta?"

One of them quickly answered, "I have dementia!"

Texting Fun

We got home Friday night and were in bed before Quinn got home from work.  When he pulled in the driveway, he texted me, "I'm home."  He didn't know we were home because our cars were in the garage.

Thinking quickly, Mr. Rellim grabbed my phone and texted, "Your dad is hiding in the house."

Quinn replied, "No he's not!  I know you are still out."

We listened while stifling giggles as Quinn slowly moved through the house with his flashlight, checking for his dad.

Then Mr. Rellim crept out of bed and into Quinn's room.

As Quinn entered his dark room, the shouts and screams made tears run down my face.  I think I was laughing, but I can't be for sure.

Who says fun can't be free?  Of course, we aren't paying for the therapy yet.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Ocho Bing Bang!

This is how Mr. Rellim answered the telephone last night as the automated calls rang in to alert us to today's school closings.  Though decidedly not politically correct, it gave me a laugh bigger than emptying a barrel full of monkeys into a kid's birthday party.

And speaking of monkeys - I just found a small green McLean County rabies vaccination tag in my load of towels this morning.  We don't have pets.  And we don't live in that county.  Rachel drives through that county between here and college, however.  Oh, man . . . do I even want to ask?  Because lately I'm allowed only one (maybe two) questions per day before I'm accused of trying to run (or alternately, ruin) her life.  And I've already blown one of my questions today asking, "Don't you think you should wear socks outside in this weather?"

If this weather continues to blow, we might have another round of automated calls tonight from the schools.  Any suggestions for how the phone should be answered?