...random thoughts, opinions and secrets on children... aging... cooking... crafts... nature... and whatever else I deem curious...
~Copyright 2015. Hootie~

Sunday, August 30, 2015

People Watching....

Ever find yourself with time to fill when you are out in public?  I don't travel often enough that I have free time to spare while in an airport, but what a great place to watch people.   Tonight I am at my blogging spot and I'm trying to decided what I'd like to write about.  Hmm...look at me...I'm looking at others.  I wonder what others think when they look at me.  

Here's a snippet of what I think might go on in their brains...
Look at that hair...OMG, does she ever comb it?  What a curly mess.  

Those glasses...wow...not a good look, she should try contacts.  

Who does her make up? or She needs make-up.   
That lipstick....not.  her.  color.  

Good Heavens...Are those real?  She should cover them up!

Where does she shop?  
How old does she think she is?  
That style...  

I think, as human beings, we scrutinize others to make ourselves feel better about ourselves.  I wish we wouldn't do that.  I know not everyone does. But look at all the reality shows that are on television these days.  We judge.  We feel our opinions of others matter, when really, they don't, and shouldn't.  

If something makes us feel good about ourselves, then we need to embrace that.  In that same line of thinking, I also believe we do things to ourselves because we think it will make others like us better.  We live in a society where we place too much emphasis and worry on what others might think.  

My hair...its naturally curly.  I love that is has a mind of it's own.  It took me a LONG time to come to terms with that.  I tried with all my might to straighten it when I was a teen. I spent too many years trying to tame the beast that is my hair.  Now, I love my crazy mess.  Do I comb it?  Upon occasion.  

My glasses...I used to wear contacts, but I can't any more.  At least I cannot for any length of time, and if I do, then I can't read.  I LOVE reading.  Giving up my contacts made my eyes healthier.  Fingerprints on glasses are annoying, but glasses are cool!  

My make-up...I love being mostly natural.  I like mascara and a little blush, and really, I love seeing myself in the mirror looking natural.  I want to be able to get caught in a rain storm and not feel the need to hide because my make-up (or my hair) has been compromised.  

Italian genes.  Yes, they are real.  I recall watching The Producers...I enjoyed Uma Thurman here: "When You've Got it, Flaunt It....enough said.  

In the past year, I have fallen in love with wearing dresses.  I shop wherever, and whenever I can.  I love Mulberry Cottage in Nashville, IN and Zulily online. 
Age is just a number, but I think I am the perfect age for me.  
I will wear what ever style makes me happy.  I LOVE flowers and patterns.  

I was born in the era of flower children.  I really would wear flowers in my hair every day if I could. Lace, flowers, bell style sleeves, etc. I feel less constrained these days.  I'm sure it has everything to do with gaining my independence.    

I try not to judge.  I wish more could live that way as well.  

~Lisa Kroll
Author's after note:  When out shopping today, I did see a very, purple Mohawk.  I'll admit my first thought was  - WOW, now THAT'S purple!  

Saturday, August 22, 2015


Tonight, as I was texting with my sister, we were discussing potholes.  

***A pothole is a type of failure in an asphalt pavement,[1] caused by the presence of water in the underlying soil structure and the presence of traffic passing over the affected area. Introduction of water to the underlying soil structure first weakens the supporting soil. Traffic then fatigues and breaks the poorly supported asphalt surface in the affected area. Continued traffic action ejects both asphalt and the underlying soil material to create a hole in the pavement. (Wikipedia, Potholes)

My sister and I were actually talking about driving into a pothole unexpectedly.  Some potholes cannot be avoided, nor can one avoid all potholes.  When we hit a pothole, we learn what to do to survive.  We take inventory of damage done, and then move forward.  

I've hit a few potholes in my life.  This morning I hit another.  My iCalendar is wonderful, except it reminded me of an event I really did not need reminding about. Hitting the pothole this morning made me stumble back into a place where I second guess myself.  I was all ready feeling a little cautious.  Feeling like I had been starting to exposing my inner self too much...sure my flaws are going to be seen.  Then I hit the pothole.  It shook my soul.  Made me feel like it was a cosmic reminder that I am not perfect.  It reminded me that someone once saw my flaws.  

Tonight however, I am growing through this pothole.  I am taking that cosmic reminder as a message that although I am not perfect, I am me, and that I am just fine as I am.  I am strong and I am capable.  I am consciously reminding myself that there are certain disorders where people project their own flaws onto others.  Empathetic souls, are willing to accept those flaws as their own. They take responsibility and try to make things right, or better.  I know today, I am only responsible for myself.  

As for my feelings of exposing my inner self too much...we cannot live life without risks.  Risks can lead to rewards.  Risks can make our life richer.  No apologies for who I am.  

~Lisa Kroll

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Let It Go!....The Launching of a Princess*....

*technically that should read "Let it Go!...The Launching of a 'Friend' of the Princesses"

Tomorrow my baby turns 21.  Wow!  Years go past so/too fast.  Don't blink friends, your children will grow up before you know it.  

My daughter is a stunning to the eye beauty - note: biased mother. 
As her mother, I am very proud of her.  I am excited for her future, and I am excited for her next adventure which starts very early on Monday morning.  

In January of this year, she told me she wanted to go to an audition for a college internship.  She asked if I would take her.  Through the many years of ballet, I took her to all but one of her auditions.  I'd like to think I was a rock for her, but that sounds presumptuous.  I did learn to read what she would need.  Snacks, photos, names, numbers, etc, but mostly just someone to take out her stress on or share her joy.  What ever was needed, I'd handle it.  After all, I am her mom.  

Her audition this time was over in Columbus, OH...five hours away.  My baby had her heart set on this.  I was in.  On the eve of her audition she was getting nervous and started feeling under the weather, was tired, etc.  Stress can do interesting things.  My daughter and I have always been hard on one another.  I love her so much, and unconditionally.  IMHO, stress makes her hostile towards others.  I know she loves me.  She has always needed to be able to release her stress, and know that I will still be there for her.  I will always be there.  No.  Matter.  What.  She was thinking of NOT going to this audition.  I drew the line...I was heading to Columbus the next morning at 5 a.m. and she could sleep in the van.  She could suck it up for a few hours, IF she really was sick.  

On Sunday, March 8th, the two of us headed to Columbus, OH.  On the way there she told me it could be a six hour audition.  I was skeptical.  No way was this going to be a six hour audition!  None of her auditions have ever been that long!  This was different.  We arrived at a fairly decent sized, but not super large, dance studio.  She was number 149 out of nearly 250 college-aged students who had arrived for this audition.  

The audition WAS six hours long.  It was an elimination, elimination, elimination audition.  Participants would audition and then wait to see if they made the cut.  I had been sitting in the front of the dance studio just listening.  Each time numbers were called, I had my head down.  I did not want to see her face IF she was dismissed.  My baby made it through six hours of learning dance routines.   She and I did NOT hear her number called.  

With a Dinglehopper after the audition.  

Her talent, paired with her beauty, led to body measurements being made, head shots and full body photos being taken.  She was thanked for her time and then told they'd be in touch.  

On Monday morning, my daughter leaves to start her four month college internship at Disney World.  Officially she will be a character performer.  I believe she is to be dancing in the parades.  She also will get to be "friends" with the princesses...Disney code won't let me say more.  As a Disney junkie...I am so excited!!!!!  

Guess where I will be heading in October on my fall break?  

My sister tells me that in a few years I can go to work at Disney World too.  She says I can be the Fairy Godmother!  LOL!  I could do that, and you know I'd love it.  :) 

Until then...I need to let my baby go.  

~Lisa Kroll

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Mike Dooley, Have you been in my woods? The Universe...

 Over the past two years, I have worked at being proactive in my life.  I have always been a joy-filled soul, but sometimes even joy-filled souls need a little boost.

  At 10:37 a.m. every single day, I get a message on my iPhone from an app called The Secret.  The Secret shares knowledge that is true, simple, practical and a reminder that we are daily responsible for the joy we bring into our lives.

  Not long ago, I subscribed to a free email notification called Notes from The Universe.  Inspirational words are sent to me via email on Monday through Friday.  I love it!  The story of The Universe Talks is here:  TUT.  Mike Dooley is there person behind the inspiration.

  Last week when I was walking Winston in the woods, I ran across these notes tucked against the base of several trees....

"You are figuring out how to have energy for what is important!"

"You have beautiful skills that will carry you in your life." 

"You have gained so much important perspective;
the hard times have not been for nothing."

"It hasn't been easy for a while now.  I know you are exhausted."  
"I believe you will find joy again.  I know it feels like a risk." 

"Your strength amazes me.  I know you have learned so much."
(I'm working on flipping this photo.)

"It's good that you've been doing what you need to to take care of yourself."  

" (Heart) You are important." 

"You have been doing the best you can."

"You have grown so much.  You are making changes not adapting."

Who wrote these?  Did you know I would see them and smile?  
Mike Dooley...are you visiting near by?  

Thank you, Universe.  

Thursday, July 30, 2015

I was...therefore I am.

I was born in Indiana.  I am a Hoosier.  

I grew up in a suburb of Gary called Miller.  My house was just two blocks from Lake Michigan.  During summers, as a youngster, my mom would pack a bag of beach necessities, and walk my brother and me to the beach.  I recall I spent many days playing in the sand, surf and sun.  I am amazed when people do not realize that there are sand dunes in Indiana.  It was my world.  

How I wish my parents were alive today so they could fill in the fragmented memories that fill my brain.  I recall the mahogany hull of a Chris-Craft boat sitting in our garage.  I always thought it was ours from my parent's pre-me days.  Maybe it was.  Or maybe it was my uncle's, and was just stored in our garage.  Fragmented memories.   
Main entrance to The Indiana Dunes State Park

As I grew up, my parents moved from Miller to a subdivision that was well outside of their financial means.  Both of my parents had to work in order for me to have a better life.  I didn't grow up privileged, but I did grow up in a place where others might assume I was: gated community, lakes, private pool, tennis courts, club house, 18 hole golf course. 

The beach still called to me.  

panoramic...click on to see details
When I moved from Miller I believed the beach was a thing of the past and too far away.  New activities filled my life.

Freedom came my way when I received my driver's license.  My friends and I would head to the beach, which I found was less than 25 miles away from my "new" home!  My school science club camped, and studied the bogs, the flora and fauna there.  Ditch days, I mean days meeting friends from school, were spent lounging in the sun and sand.  Hiking the dunes was a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon date.  Mount Baldy found me on its top watching stars many a night.

I am an Indiana Hoosier girl.

Beautiful Porter County, Indiana
 When we moved, it was in the early 70's and we moved to the country.  Many of my friends were connected to farms.  I watched the parent's of my friends who were farmers work their butts off.  Farm fathers, sons, and/or daughters spent time in the field at different times of the year.  Farm moms were in the house...managing the details of home.  My 4-H days helped me appreciate the care farm animals needed.  I understood what hard work meant in different situations.

I watched some of my friends struggle as they ended high school and did not dream of following in their father's footsteps.

My own parents groomed me from very early on, "when you go to college..."  Never was there a, "What do you want to do after high school?"
Graeber Family Farm

I'm sure my parents influenced at least one of my friends to further his own educational dreams.  I have commented before, I was the first in my family to graduate from college.  Getting an education, as a way of bettering myself, was very important in my household.  It wasn't that my parents thought less of our neighbors.  It was that I was the daughter of a mill worker.  My parents had dreams they hoped I could live.

When I returned home a few weeks ago, I did reconnect to my roots.  I went to the cemetery to see my parents.  I spoke my accomplishments and disappointments out loud to the ghosts who would listen.  I went to the dunes and stretched my toes in her sands.  I went to the farm lands and laughed with longtime friends.  Thankfully, my car broke down and stranded me for an extra day in the land of my youth.
Sunset in Porter County, Indiana

I was invited to a bonfire.  Again, long ago friends were present.  I was reminded of the ease old connections offer.  I was also reminded of the illusions others may have of us based on where we grew up.  Where it's true that I didn't have tractors scoop tree limbs into the center of the fires I sat around, I did grow up enjoying the simple life of campfires and the outdoors.

At the old Tison Family Farm

Dale Graeber stokes the fire

I feel I have been given a second chance at happiness in life.  A second chance to remember all the good with which I have been blessed.  And a second chance to refresh my long ago friendships (insert cute emoji!).

This Indiana Hoosier girl is happy, and ready for the next adventure life has to offer her.  

Life is Short!
Love.  Live.  Enjoy!   


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Just a spectator... Mudathlon Valparaiso 2015

What to do when your sister can't meet you as soon as you thought?  
(Confession: I forgot about that time difference thing in Indiana.) 

I went and "crashed" a Mudathlon. It was a first for me.

What is a Mudathlon?  Basically, it's a race in the mud with obstacles.  Participants have a microchip they wear on their shoes which, if not lost, track their time on the course.  But a Mudathlon is also something most do just for the experience, for fun even.  A portion of the registration fees go to support a local charity.  If you want more info on the event I attended check out this link:  Mudathlon Valparaiso 2015 (it's the FAQ's page) 

A friend I grew up with has hosted this event on his farm for the past several years.  

True fact:  Georgie Molchan, aka Little Oscar, was my relative.
You know it's going to be a fun day, when the Wiener Mobile is around!  
There has been so much rain in Indiana this summer, that I'm pretty sure most of the pools of mud were natural...or didn't take much extra help.  

The starting pen
Every fifteen minutes, groups of between 100-150 participants go through the pen and start their race.  

Billy the kid officially started each heat.  

You can see one of the obstacles in the background.  

If you build it, they will come, and climb over it.
Field of Obstacles!  

Pretty sure this was a mute point.  

I was lucky enough to witness my longtime friend's children completing this race.
The three in pink, Jared, Elizabeth and Caleigh, standing at the top of the slide were my connection...    
...and so were these two!
Christian and Chad started with the others, but ran the course a tad faster.
They came back to cheer on their sibs/in-laws.  

 Did I mention this was held at a farm?  
The mud did have a wonderful, ripe, farm smell to it.  
Growing up in the area, I definitely knew I was home!  

Participants certainly needed to keep their mouths shut when entering the muddy waters.
Additional obstacles were just walking from one area to the next!  

Almost finished! Next stop...the finish line.  

My friend, and farm owner, Dale let me know he was 'kind of a big deal around here'.  

Dale pulled the water trucks through the muck so they could deposit more clean water for the make-shift showers.  

No caption really needed...
...but showers.

As a spectator, I was not immune from the mud this year.  I was told that in years past, spectators actually stayed clean.
I noted that people pay good money to get a mud wrap at the spa.
It was just mud...it did wash off 

For the most part, I did stay clean.  I also found my girl friend!  Clearly she is a farm girl, and knew to wear her boots.
My river sandals held up fine, but wow had I realized I'd be this muddy, I would have waited
 a day on that pedicure!  

Mr. Kind-of-a-Big-Deal, Dale.
He let me check out his radio!  :) 

It was so fun to see my old friend Dale.  He was a wonderful host, was on the go constantly, and was still smiling long after the event ended.  I was told the numbers for this year's event topped 2,000 participants.  Not bad!  That meant $10,000 was raised for local charity: Girls on the Run
Kudos to all the participants.  

I walked away from the event thinking...could I do this next year?  
Yep.  But I'd have to be on a team, and I'd do it just for fun.  I'm not about breaking any times... 

Jared sporting Angel Wings! 

...and I'd definitely need Angel Wings!  


Friday, July 24, 2015

Fresh Start......Home Is Where the Heart Is

Last weekend, I returned to my roots.  
My soul needed a little kick start.  

I went to see my parents.  

I feel a certain weight on my shoulders as the oldest of my siblings.  

Neither my brother nor my sister make me feel any extra responsibilities, but as a child growing up, I knew it was my place to be there for my siblings.  I felt it was expected of me to be the strength, the leader, the one who could get done what needed to get done.  I was to be the second-in-command should anything happen to our parents.  By default in 2006, I became commander-in-chief.  Up until around January of 2013, I felt I was doing a pretty good job of being the fearless leader.  Looking back now, I WAS doing a great job...THAT was the problem.  

The journey I am currently on is one many take.  It's called Life.  

My ring was my mom's.  The center diamond was her engagement ring from dad.
I wear it daily on my right hand to remind me of my parents strong bond and love.
 Sometimes leaders need to know when they should ask for help.  They need to know when to lean on others, and whom they can turn to for support.  My family...and I do mean my siblings, have been the souls whom I know I could count on. (I have several friends as well, but tonight...) Family is an important part of Life.  Life may be filled with challenges.  Challenges make us strong.  They draw out in us who we really are deep down inside.  Challenges show our character.  I believe by example, my parents showed me how to be the strong woman that I am today.  We learn from family.  Family allows us a safe place to grow.

 There are statues at the
cemetery close to my
parents graves.  I do
not visit where I grew
up often.  When I do,
I wonder who carved
these statues?  What
i this one supposed
to be thinking about?

I liked how the light played on the feather pen of the statue below.  If you are one who believes in ghosts...what do you see?  What do you think the meaning of this picture might be?

My parents have a beautiful view of Valparaiso University.  I find this interesting since neither went to college.  
 I was the first of my family to go to and finish college.  This weekend I thanked my parents for my degrees.  It was truly because of my mom that I was able to go back to school and get my Masters.

I confessed to my parents that my life wasn't going as I had expected.  I might have even shed a tear or two.  I didn't think I would be single at the age of 51.  I am perceptive enough to know, that my parents did raise a very smart, independent girl who is going to be just fine.  I'm still on my Life Journey.  I'm still growing and morphing into who I need to be.  I'm loving life once again and I am happy.  Have you seen the movie Inside Out?  Sadness adds to Joy.  My sadness has made me a richer person.  My soul has been moved, and truly knows how to live with Joy.  I start each day thinking about what I am grateful for in life.  I end each day thanking God for all my blessings.

On Saturday, my "baby" sister and I took flowers to the graves of several of our family members.  
I think Cemetery Selfies could be a new thing.  
Wish our brother could have been with us.  

Best Parents.  Ever.
They taught me how to be the best parent I could be to my own two blessings.

Tonight's music:  Joshua Bell's, At Home With Friends

Love one another. Be kind in Life. Know that sadness will happen, but joy will always follow.