Thursday, May 10, 2012

1 Birthday cake
5 friends
6 am
packing 43 lunches
90 minutes in
105 degrees with
40% humidity.
YUP, that’s
Bikram Yoga. 

It is my honor to create memorable birthdays for my friend LaNae for the past few years, and the next several.  We’ve done lunch with friends, spa days, up north weekends.  This year was different than any of those.  

I asked her to reserve the date and trust me.  SHE DID!!  Having NO idea, I just gave her some instruction; It’s gonna be a ponytail day, be awake at 6am and trust me.  And SHE DID!!  It would have been a piece of cake to spread the word with 20-40 people who would have loved to celebrate, but this was low key.  This was just 5 chicks who have what we need and enough to share.   Wait, wait, wait, not JUST 5 chicks.  These are outstanding women, pillars of grace and strength.  It could be mistaken as schizophrenia, multi faceted personality: humor, compassion, faith, tenacity, courage, perseverance and love.  There was not a silent moment during the 11 hours we were together… well, wait, there was, and that was the greatest discomfort or challenge of the day, the 90 minutes in the yoga studio. 

Drive in to Detroit:   We passed out 40+ lunches to just plain folks.  We thought maybe it had been a while since some of them had a fancy lunch packed just for them and delivered in with a happy wish. 

They were all so gracious and offered Birthday Wishes to LaNae, blessings from God and even warnings for us to be safe on the streets.
 The price of each lunch came out to $2.51, which consisted of a hefty ham and cheese sandwich with a gourmet dressing and lettuce, a piece of fruit, a can of pop, a bag of chips and of course as slice of  LaNae’s double chocolate, colorful birthday cake.  A napkin and fork were of course included.  The colorful ribbon and tag from LaNae added a nice touch.  I would have gladly provided these lunches as a catering job for $8.00 each. 

I don’t know when I will do this again, but it felt so good to share LaNae’s birthday with this group of friends and to meet so many new friends that we may never see again.  Next time you plan a birthday celebration for a friend or family member, what will it be?  What do you have to celebrate?  And if you ask me to be in charge, brace yourself and TRUST ME, I’ll be making plans at LuLu’s Table.  

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Express Gratitude

It’s never too late to say I’m sorry, please forgive me or thank you.  General etiquette is that thank you notes for a wedding gift need to be sent within a year of the wedding.  Yikes, that’s a long time.  You can have a baby by then, and then you have baby gift thank you notes to get out.  (And you run the risk of giftgivers thinking you ungrateful for wedding gift, and may be less-generous in baby gifts.)

We are taught to have a thankful heart, to be thankful for all we have and show gratitude all the days of our lives.  My momma taught me.  I clearly remember the burial of my dad; my dear sweet mom hobbled over to the grave digger after dropping her rose in the ground, and thanked the grave digger!!!  For her it was natural and necessary. He provided a service for her.  For him it may have been a tad uncomfortable, he was about to perform the final end to her husband’s earth experience.  For me it was the way my mom did things.  Today I was at that same location, looking at the stone that bore the names STAUB Charles H.  Ruth G.  One stone, as they are “Sealed for Eternity”.  I was with her when she purchased that stone, and I recall one day going to see it once placed.  It had her name and date of birth and a blank, her death date yet unknown.  We talked about the thought of that, and she was very comfortable with her impending death.  She never neglected a thank you and rarely had anything to apologize for.  Then I drove around the block to see the Mattsons; William and Lillian.   Their stones were separate, yet side-by-side.  The ages of theirdeaths were sad to me:  he, just 40’s and she only 62. 

Gratitude welled up in my heart.  I spoke quiet tender words to deity, then, I drove toward the office and with a lump in my throat, choking back tears, went to the desk and thanked the staff for keeping my family safe.  As we hear reports of cemeteries mistreating decedents, and gravesites being desecrated, I am thankful that my parents and grandparents are able to rest in peace.  I think they were surprised with my expression of gratitude, but paused to ask my family name.  The gentleman, though said nothing, nodded his head, understanding my thoughts and concerns. 

What if you only received today, what you gave thanks for yesterday?  What do I want to be sure I have every day:  a relationship with my Savior and membership in His church, my loving family and my shelter. 
I am thankful for
Citizenship in this great country
Heritage and posterity
Property to farm
The physical strength to farm
 Simple acts of kindness
All things great and small
Absence of danger and threat of danger in my daily life.
I am thankful.  Often I pause during the day to express my thanks to my God.  I take a moment to thank the cleaning person in the public rest room, the bagger at the market, to compliment a lovely dress or flattering hairstyle on a stranger.  

Once I cross to the other side, it will be much more difficult to show such expressions.  But for today, I am thankful for all that I have at LuLu's Table.  

Saturday, February 25, 2012


The personal challenge for the next 40 days.  “40” has some significance.  The Israelites wandered in the wilderness for 40 years.  Moses was on the mount for 40 days.  Jesus fasted in the wilderness for 40 days, Noah survived 40 days and nights of rain.  I’m not “lenting”.  I’m starting on Tuesday, February 28th, and will complete my challenge on the Saturday before Easter.  A friend who saw my post on FB felt inspired and she sent me a link on an30 day challenge. ( Matt Cutts: Try something new for 30 days | Video on 30 days is going to come and go; will it be meaningful to you?  Good thought.  I will watch this clip several times thru the challenge, I’m sure.   

Thinking about what I should do, I decided to go with what I really need to do most, and what I have put off doing consistently all my life.  I have plans.  I am going to spend 1 hour a day exercising for 40 days.  (I may be able to make this a way of life, but I’m not going to state that at this point.)  I know that it isn’t wise or healthy to do strenuous exercise every day, so I will incorporate breathing exercises and relaxation exercises in with the plan.  I have a decent collection of work out DVDs of various types and will move the dining room set and use that hardwood floor there as my studio. 

The Runtastic app on my phone will post to facebook daily.   Really?  Yup, really.  … I think.   

The Firm has several, and the one I like best is a work out that will “burn 500 calories in an hour”.  The leader’s name is Kelsey and she is a wild woman.  She talks the whole time and has a really sweet voice and says things like “ok, girls, let’s party” as the music cranks up and the 5 chicks really work it.  UGH!!  Sweat, sweat, pant, pant, gasp, gasp.  But I’m not going to hate Kelsey.  That girl has sculpted arms and strong legs and could kick my trash with a smile on her face!!

Suzanne Deason has some nice yoga presentations.  I like yoga because you sweat without pumping your heart and getting all out of breath.  It feels kind of graceful.

One yoga instructor started us out with a breathing exercise.  If I light some fragrant candles or oils, dim the lights and put on some nice spa-ish music, the breathing and relaxation will be a great benefit to me on my non-work out days. 

Jillian Michaels was a beast-woman on The Biggest Loser, but on her own releases, she is very encouraging and mild.  

Hartland pool has a good water aerobics class on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5pm with Cheryl.  I hesitate to do that in the winter months because it’s so cold coming home. 
I also have a TOTAL GYM.  J-man got sucked into an infomercial with the Texas ranger guy and Christi Brinkley.  I did actually use that for a while and the Pilates work out was fab.  It actually did change the way by bod was shaped.  It was much more work for “easy storage” than they demonstrated on tv.  That sucker is heavy, so I put it away and didn’t pull it out again.  Maybe it’s time to find a place for it. 

They say if you work out, you can feel it in 3 weeks, the family will see it in 3 months.  I wonder if there will be a physical change.  Hmmmm.    Guess I should buy a dress to wear on the weekend that I end this.  If I can find something on sale, maybe even from a re-sale shop in a size 10, that will be part of my plan. 

If you’re interested in joining me on a 40 day challenge, let me know.  We can cheer each other on, and whine to someone who will truly understand.  

I’ll be a size 10 in 42 days, so for now I need to go clear the dining room floor and move LuLu’s table.  

Sunday, February 12, 2012


I sewed in high school.  I had some great outfits, some were actually modified patterns/original designs.  I love fabrics and textures.  I made the dress for my wedding reception (I wore Dawn’s for the ceremony).  I sewed a few Halloween costumes for the kids.  I learned that sewing was NOT less expensive than buying and I was busy.  I started buying and not sewing.  Oh, wait, Mattson was in scouts, so I sewed merit badges on his sash.  Then he became an Eagle Scout so I gave my sewing machine away.  My mom found out that I didn’t have a sewing machine, so one day I got a delivery.  That lady…. She said she just couldn’t imagine me not having one.  I am thankful for that. 
Of course she was right.  Every grandma needs to sew for her grandchildren.  (we recently acquired the treadle machine that J-man’s Nana had used to mend their jeans).  I made the dress that Nora was blessed in… the fabric was the skirt of Kirstynn’s wedding dress.  I hope another baby girl that we love can wear it one day.  I made the white pants that Kyree wore for Matt and Alie’s wedding ceremony.  I sew for my grand children.  When Marley said she wants a blue princess dress, she got the best Cinderella dress a LuLu could make.   Nora has the idea that “LuLu can make it”.  With J-man’s help, we have not yet disappointed her.   Ummm, a Tinkerbell costume, a red dress…. She knows if she sends me a picture, I’ll make it.  Everyone needs an apron, my kids have one that I made for them.  

I took Nora to the fabric store and started teaching her.  “What do you think that fabric is for?”  “A blanket”.  Good.  “This is corduroy, this is pinwale corduroy, and this is wide wale corduroy, this is seersucker, and yes, you can have sparkle fabric, but it can be an accent, so let’s pick out the main fabric, then the secondary, the contrasting, and finally the sparkle.  Then we look for the pattern.   She chose 8, I narrowed it down to 3 and she made the final decision.  Of course that means 3 dresses, for my 3 little grandgirls.  Next time we’re in Marley’s neighborhood, she can pick out the fabrics and pattern, and 3 more dresses will be made. 

Here is one of the the new dresses, it's Nora's.  Marley's' will be the same, Ava's similar.  


I am glad that my mom sent me that sewing machine, because I am creating some fun dresses at LuLu’s Table.  

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


I’m not really addicted; my spa-going does not jeopardize my life (it enhances it), relationships(it prolongs them) or livelihood (I only go if all my bills are paid), but I think I “spa” more than many women I know.  Every woman (except those who are phobic) should go to the spa sometime, just to know that the experience is available. Price is a factor with me (always is) and I have learned to get the most for the least.  There are different types of spas, and I know many that are good for different things.  My favorite spa, for example, does not do a good couples massage. I think it was a mis-thought in construction, but I do know where to get the best couples massage.  The spa near my house has a very nice steam room for $10.  The best spa pedicure is in Northern Michigan (the room and the girls there make it extra nice.)  There is a whole magazine about spa-going!!  The top spa in the United States a few years ago was Mii Amo in Sonoma, AZ.   Funny, that February Brenda and Don were getting married in AZ. 

IT WAS FABULOUS!  No question.

I had just come out of an exceptionally difficult year and needed a physical/emotional experience (my spirit was flourishing).  I took a yoga class, learned to do some meditation in their grato.  I took full benefit of every square foot of that place… in door and out door pools, oh, and the massage I got was “Watsu”.   It was a life-changing experience (mostly because my life was needing to change).  I specifically relish the time I spent journaling.  I had a yellow legal pad and took a sofa with comfy pillows in the sun and began to write and cry and nap and cry and write.  Spa attendants checked on me and brought me a beverage, but let me feel totally comfortable in my space.  I went back a couple years later.  I was far-less pathetic, but I loved it just the same.  I will go there again.

Spa-ing is like vacationing.  There is joy, anticipation and excitement in planning, and relief and sweet memory long after return.  When a friend is in a near-melt-down state, I suggest a spa day.  The best in Michigan is Immerse at the MGM in Detroit.  They really know how to do it right.  It doesn’t cost an arm and a leg but it is worth a million bux.  (I’ve never had a million bux, but I don’t imagine it would feel much better than the spa.)

Occasionally I plan a Girls’ Day at the spa.  One such day was 2 weeks ago.

  My sister and 15 wonderful women arrived as early as 8:30 and stayed as late as 6pm.  It was fun to jump in and out of the pool, whirlpool, steam room, nap, lunch and just “be” and be with people I enjoy.  We’ll do it about 3 times a year and we will be better wives, sisters and mothers for it.  It is a wonderful physical experience, appealing to all senses.  The staff is very helpful and the atmosphere is clean and calming; you know you are someone special. 

There is a day a year that is particularly difficult for me.  This year I am spending it at the spa.  I have my plans all made; I’m leaving the house at 6am to be there when they open.  I’ve the list of what I’m packing, my services are booked and I’ve even selected what I’m ordering for lunch.  This year it is a day I am actually looking forward to.  Maybe I’ll even take a batch homemade lemonade with me (future blog topic).

If you ever need any spa advice I am happy to give it to you.  If  you don’t want to go alone, I’d love to go with you.  When our last grandchild is 7 years old, I am taking Kirstynn and Alison away for a spa vacation.  I don’t know when that will be (if Miles is the last, that will be in 7 years).  I will carefully select the destination and time of year to enhance our experience.  I have a few ideas. 

But for now I’ll enjoy an occasional spa day and dream about it while I’m sitting at LuLu’s Table.  

Saturday, January 28, 2012

New Beginnngs

I’m going to start blogging …. Again. It will cover my longings for my children and their families, cooking/baking, weight loss, spiritual growth/shortcomings, emotional struggles, things that bug me, people and things I adore, things I have done, hope for, remember and dream of, stuff that will be random and likely of no interest to anyone but me. I will learn how to be a better blogger and use what I learn. It will be my vent and give additional purpose to my Sabbath mornings.

So I’ll start with the end. Attending 4 funerals in the past month, makes me wonder about mine. They were each lovely ladies, who lived good lives and loved God. Did you ever attend a funeral of a total loser? Someone who caused family and friends all kinds of pain and agony? I guess at funerals they talk about the good things we’ve done and avoid bringing up the not-so-good. I think at mine they might say: “You never had to wonder what Dana was thinking because she just said it. She had plenty of fun and was consistently inconsistent except when it came to her efforts to obey God’s will and love her children.” I hope I die before my sister. She had my mom to herself for 4 years before I was born. I want mom to myself for a little while.

I hope I die like my mom. She was busy and nothing was left undone, no words unsaid, no loose ends. All of her stewardships were in shape. The friend who found her said she even had a smile on her face. She knew we were all busy, so I don’t even feel guilty that she was there for 30 some hours alone, while the UPS man left a package at the front door and my brother and my daughter left messages on her answering machine. There was no sign of her even reaching for help. Jan Shelton said “she is the best person who ever loved me”. I feel the same way. She was indeed, the most Christ-like.

I’d like to have the undertaker sew a smile on my face. I’ve thought of how he can do the stitching; knot the suture inside the corners of my lips and run it up just above my ear and tie it off. Wouldn’t that be great to have people take their last look at me, hopefully the way they would usually see me… smiling. Sound freaky? Nawh. I’m quite sure it could be done, I hope. Guess I’d better let the kids know this is what I want. Kids: take note. :D Hey, I’m not asking for my finger to be pointing or my brow to be furrowed, or a winking eye or my hand on my hip; just a sweet smile.

If I end up bedridden, my only requests are that my kids keep my feet slothered with cream; there is plenty in my bathroom closet, (I just hate the thought of cracked old lady feet rubbing on the sheets) and soft music playing and something nice to smell, candles or fragrant plants, nice massage oil, just something calming.

But I’m alive now, so I guess I’ll do my best to live happy and love lots at LuLu’s Table

Saturday, February 20, 2010


My February 18ths usually begin with a ringing phone, followed by my parents singing me a rousing rendition of some Happy Birthday Song. It is only appropriate that since they were the first to ever share my first Birthday moments with me, that each and every 2/18 begin with the 3 of us once again. Last year was a solo. This year a memory. I miss my mom. In the past several months people have asked what I was going to do for my 50th birthday, a significant landmark day for most who have experienced it. I had no plans, no cruise, no party, no vacation, no plastic surgery, no visit to a therapist. I wanted to just do what I wanted. No accountability to anyone but MYSELF. The week before J-man and I had shared a nice "couples massage", so unless I had a migraine on that day, massage would not be planned. Hmmm..... what shall I do?

(Actually, the celebrating began Weds with lunch with Robi and Cami, who showered me with gifts, then dinner with Beth (who has a very special day of her own on 2/19), who loaded me up with a "cupcake" themed gift.) J-man presented my gift before he left for work at 5:05am. Beautiful Patricia Locke earrings. I did not wear them until... I'll tell you later. BUT: I purchased some beautiful fabric a long time ago for drapes in my dining room. This was the day I was going to get that done. You will see that picture at the end, tho i did actually complete it that morning, because it was on the list :D. My super cool and adventerous brother called from the middle east. He's a retired Army Spy (I can only say that now because he's retired), but he is doing work for the government in Afghanistan. I didn't have him on the list, but he trumps ink. He'll be 59 this year so he's got some experience and I loved hearing from him on MY VERY SPECIAL DAY.

OK, so on with the list:

I took a private swim lesson. I could swim to save my life, but I want productive laps, so this was my first of 5 lessons. I'll be doin' underwater flips by the time I'm done. (I did have the coach take a full-on body shot of me OUT of the water, but I'll save that to look at on days when I think I'm lookin' good. I'm quite curvey still. ;D

I came out of my lesson to some messages on
my phone: SEVERAL FB wishes, and I love that, which lasted all day long). I took my messages, a voice message from Ky saying: "Yer 50!!"
Nora and Smith: Ok, I couldn't copy the audio and video part, but Nora says: "happy birthday, LuLu" and blows a kiss and gives the Princess wave. Darling.

Stopped at Meijer to pick up a few things, 3 birthday cards for friends that share MY VERY SPECIAL DAY and some chips that you will hear about later, but for now, LUNCH with friends. LaNae called me on Monday and invited me to lunch, but this is MY VERY SPECIAL DAY. I told her I would be at Applebees eating a Quesadilla Burger and Fries. I had been planning this for several weeks. So, she rallied the troops and a bunch of fun frineds met me there, to share OUR VERY SPECIAL DAY, ME and Teresa Rowe:

We dressed the same: Black pants, white turtle neck and black leather jackets, not to mention the ever-so obvious "THIS IS MY VERY SPECIAL DAY" SMILE. Here's the rest of the crowd that had lunch:
Then just some quick stuff:

New shoes: I love them. I will wear them often. Black suede pumps with platforms. Kinda sexy for black suede pumps. Size 6-1/2 of course (you can refer to the previous blog posting for my shoe story).

PostOffice: Line too long.

Car wash.

Movie: This is where the chips come in. They say "no outside food or beverages" I think they say that so that we won't sneak liqour in and get too roudy during movies, but i stuck the chips under my shirt and got in without being frisked. Melinda and Debbie took the afternoon off too, and we saw the ever so cute Valentine's Day chick flick. It was a darling show, and still is. I think I'll watch it again on DVD when it comes out. It had something for everyone. I got a free Medium Diet Pop from my frequent watchers card, or maybe they knew it was MY VERY SPECIAL DAY. My list goes on...

COSTCO: Maybe that wasn't on the list, but I needed softner salt and roses and to renew membership, so I did those things.

Quinn was next... She was sick on her VERY SPECIAL DAY. Something I have never experienced and hope she never does again. But she is still darling, isn't she?

Then to Isaac's: He was happy to see me when he opened the bag full of
7 treats. (He and Quinn are both 7 years old.)

It was dark and I knew J-man was at a meeting, so I just went on home. I had more sewing to do, but did not. I just watched Survivor and had a nice quiet evening.

THEN FRIDAY CAME: J-man did plan a dinner party with some family and close friends. I wore beautiful earrings and broach that he gave me. We ate my favorite things with many of my favorite people in celebration of MY VERY SPECIAL DAY. (Andy and Christina, Jim and Ken were unable to make it) Steve and Melinda are sitting (hidden) on J-man's left. Del and Dawn arrived in time for dinner. We had homemade pasta, Linda brought my favorite salad, the bread was perfect, Debbie made her very yummy Heath Cheescake and Kathy reminded me thruout the night that we are now in different decades (she's still 49). I love her.
It swas a fun time and yummy dinner.

After everyone left, it was a beautiful

wind-down from MY VERY SPECIAL DAY.

I got more attention than I asked for and the

thoughtfulness of my family and friends was

beyond what I could dream of.

My children live very far away and I miss them terribly every day.
The past few years have been woven with tragedy and drama.
But I had MY VERY SPECIAL DAY and I'm glad to be 50.