Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Living Near Philadelphia

I moved to the Philadelphia area about four and one-half years ago. After growing up in the mid-west near Chicago, and spending 20 years in western Michigan, I didn't think I would ever get used to certain things. I have and I haven't. Let me talk about some good things.

 2) It's green

I took this picture from the top of a hill in Valley Forge Park last week. I miss seeing the horizon, so I like to drive up to this highest point in the area and look out at it. As you can see, it's very green. We get plenty of rain without being annoying and the rainforest effect of the great Northwest.

3) The temperature

As you see in the graph at left, the average temperatures for the area are reasonably moderate. Yes, it gets cold, but I haven't had to break out my winter coat since I moved here. Yes, it gets hot, but I don't find myself saying, "Geez, we must be a mile from the Sun!" very often.

It's nice to have an ice scraper from Michigan that I may never wear out. I don't leave it in my car for  10 months out of the year, and I can drive with the windows open when it gets hot.

It does snow a little bit, and once every few years dumps a big pile on everything and then melts after a few days. I promise that I will always make fun of the way things seem to close-up around here for 1/4" of snow or worse - the threat of inclement weather.

1) A few special people
There are a number of people here that I have come to know and love. There is a special girl and I have a best buddy - and a handful of people I trust.
That's the good-thing that makes a place feel like home.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Two Little Good Things and One Big, Big, Awesome Good Thing!

Yeah, so lots of stuff has been happening around here lately . . . busy, busy, busy! Soon we will be able to slow down just a bit because summer vacation is on the way! Yippee! It's hard to believe because it seems as though the school year just started - then, I blinked! This leads me to my first little good thing:

2. The Last Day of School - TODAY! Of course, I will miss my daytime peace and quiet, but I won't miss getting up early, making sack lunches, helping with homework, or starting dinner at 3:30 p.m. so the kids can eat before their extracurricular activities.

Cupcakes from Sweet Ali's Bakery Hinsdale, IL

3. Cupcakes with Friends - I really, really like baked goods so much so I think it's perfectly fine to eat them for lunch. I got together with some good friends on Wednesday to enjoy some scrumptious cupcakes! The only bad thing about our cupcake run was that I ate just one chocolate-chocolate cupcake, and I didn't bring home any extras to eat later. I suppose that will be my excuse to go for some more cupcakes another day soon.

1. And now for the Big, Big Awesome Good Thing!

it . . .

I am a candidate for a double lung transplant at the Cleveland Clinic! We are happy, scared, overwhelmed, and relieved that the long evaluation process is over, and that it has resulted in a positive outcome. We are thankful to God for this blessing, and for everyone who has prayed for me, T, and the kids. Our journey is far from over, and there are many details to work out in preparation, but we are hopeful! Now, a new waiting period begins.

Stay tuned . . .

Friday, May 10, 2013

Memorable Moms

In celebration of Mother's Day, it's Friday fun on the blog today with a nod to the moms we grew up with - not our moms, but memorable mamas from the big and small screens. Enjoy these good moms, then go call your mother.

2. Movie Moms

Sue - M'Lynn Eatenton played by the adorable Sally Field in one of my very favorite movies, "Steel Magnolias." The film portrays motherhood and friendship in a heart-breaking, but humorous way.
 "Oh, God. I realize...as a woman, just how lucky I am. I was there when that wonderful creature drifted into my life. And I was there when she drifted out. It was the most precious moment of my life.” ~ M’Lynn speaking to her friends about the death of her daughter Shelby.

Brian - In Savage Steve Holland's classic teen movie, "Better Off Dead," Lane Meyer's irrepressible mom was played by Kim Darby, who broke onto the big screen in the John Wayne movie "True Grit." To me, she was the comedic version of all mothers. She tried a little too hard and had no idea how funny her unaware awkwardness was. I can't have fries at a restaurant without hearing her voice say, "Fronch Fries" and a list of other traditional Fronch (French) dishes.

3. TV Moms

Sue - Marion Cunningham played by Marion Ross in "Happy Days." Lovable and spunky Mrs. C. always managed to keep Howard, Richie, Joanie, and even the Fonz in line. "Sit on it Fonzie!"

Brian - Florida, played by Esther Rolle, from "Good Times", along with her husband James, always tried to make the best of things. She consistently played a mother who, above all, cared for the condition of her children's hearts. It didn't matter if they were successful, so long as they were honest. It didn't matter that they didn't have much, so long as they had each other. As a family, they clung to each other and rallied against the systems that kept them in the projects.

1. Animated Moms

Sue - Jane Jetson voiced by Peggy Singleton in the cartoon "The Jetsons." Jane seemed pretty hip as a mom and she cooked dinner by pressing a button. I wish I could do that!

Brian - Marge Simpson
Oh long-suffering-not-too-bright-innocent-but-wise Marge! Though she is animated, she embodies the mother who still manages to stay classy (seriously... pearls), and still really loves her "Homie" even when he's a complete buffoon. Marge is voiced by Julie Kavner, who we got to know during her 1974-78 stint on Rhoda as the title character's sister Brenda.

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms and grandmas out there. Enjoy your special day!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Good Photo Fun for When You're Feeling Bad

Oh my goodness! It's been forever since I've posted on this here blog. That's a bad thing but not as bad as the shingles which had me down for the count for more than two months with horrible pain, terrible itching, and extreme fatigue. Yikes! Thankfully, it's just about resolved and spring is finally here!

Besides sleeping and watching bad daytime TV, I kept myself busy wasted time during my home confinement by surfing the net on my iPad (love that good thing!) Yep, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram and more right at my fingertips!

What kind of entertaining things did I find out there on the World Wide Web? Photos of course! Lots and lots of photos - some good, some bad, and some ugly. Some funny, serious, or stupid. Many photos made me shake my head in disbelief, while others made me smile for a moment when I really didn't feel like it.

Since smiling is supposed to be good for you, I encourage you to check out these three types of photos if you need a little bit of "cheerapy." Yes, I just made that word up. If you disagree with my choices, no worries. There's something for everyone out there.

 2. Animals and pets: While I'm not that fond of cats, I do enjoy cute pictures of pups. I also enjoy photos and captions from Casey's Safe Haven, a rescue shelter where my friend Barb volunteers to help horses, ponies, and dogs. Another fun Facebook page to check out is The Daily Puppy, shared by my friend Ronda.

3. Food glorious food: Need I say more? I'm guilty of posting foodie photos myself like this huge breakfast I enjoyed for my birthday a couple years back. Yum!

1. Babies and kids: I'm not just talking about photos of my cute kids or those of friends and family, but adorable snapshots of children from all over the world. Precious!

* Bonus good thing: If you like to people watch but you're like me and sometimes need to do so from the comfort of your couch, check out
Humans of New York., it's a creative site with awesome photography and interesting people. HONY is on Facebook too!

Good Things Readers: Do you have fun, family-friendly photos you would like to share? Let us know in the comments section and will be in touch with the details. Thanks!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

SpaghettiOs are Good, no?

When you have kids, you often end up eating what they eat. Case in point, last week Miss O and her lil bro A wanted SpaghettiOs for lunch. I heated up two cans just to be sure I had enough to fill each Thermos but as luck would have it, there were some SpaghettiOs left for me to eat with bread and butter later that day. Yum-O - one of my childhood favorites! When I was a kid, I would pile the Os and the sloppy tomato sauce on top of the bread then fold it over to make a messy sandwich of sorts. (Yep, I still do this as an adult) It's funny how a simple lunch can stir up happy memories from back in the day. After gobbling up my SpaghettiOs, I wanted all the world to know about it so I posted this on my Facebook status:
I ate one of my favorite childhood lunches today - spaghettios with bread and butter! I know, weird . . . what's one of your favorite lunches from your childhood?
Lo and behold, several FB friends contributed some fun responses to my question, which is a good thing because I'm pretty sure most people don't give a hoot about what I'm eating for lunch day to day. Then, my friend Rick suggested I write about this very topic for my blog, so here goes nothing!

Interestingly enough, I discovered that as kids, and most likely as adults too, my friends and I enjoy eating food from these three groups:

2. Dairy . . . Cheese, butter, milk
3. Grains . . . Bread, pasta, macaroni
1. Processed protein . . . Hot dogs, bologna (and yes, I sing the Oscar Mayer jingle in my head to spell bologna, don't you?), ham, and other deli meats

OK, I know what you're thinking. Hmmm . . . many of those foods are not so good for you. I agree, but they're tasty and nostalgic. Take this comment from a guy named Brian A., perhaps you know him?
Peanut butter and pickle (dill slices), a banana, and chocolate milk
Now I'm not sure if he meant a peanut butter and pickle sandwich, but I do agree that chocolate milk and pickles make a surprisingly delicious combo. Especially if you made the chocolate milk with PDQ like we did as kids.

What did everyone else have to say? I will tell you right now. Yes, way!

  • Ham and butter sandwich - Carrie D.
  • Macaroni and cheese with sliced hot dogs or tomato soup with chunks of cheese and grilled cheese sandwiches - Sarah H.
  • SpaghettiOs and cut up hot dogs, tomato soup and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich - Rick M.
  • Minced ham on fresh white bread with American cheese - Juli T.
  • Tomato soup with popped popcorn in it! And toasted cheese... open face cheese on bread in oven - Ronda M.
  • Hot dogs and beans....and a chicken noodle concoction you could get in a glass jar....it was yummy - Leanne S.
  • Hamburger helper cheeseburger macaroni with lettuce, raw onions and tomatoes diced up on top! - Maria G.
  • Bologna and cheese sandwich, Guys plain chips, and a grape soda packed in my Snoopy lunch box and eaten outside on a blanket - Connie M.

    Pam B. shared her thoughts about SpaghettiOs with bread and butter:
    My mom used to make me that for lunch all the time!
    Well, of course she did!

    Thanks to all my friends who unknowingly contributed to this post. Let's do lunch soon, darlings!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Happy HoliDAZE - Random Good Things about Christmas

It's crunch time. Christmas will be here in a blink of Santa's eye. Have you wrapped presents, sent cards, baked cookies, planned parties, decorated the tree, fa la la la la - ed? 'Tis the season to be busy, busy, busy, but it's also a time to sit back, chillax, and enjoy the many good things about the most wonderful time of the year. So, with that in mind, here are some good things about the holidays from us to you! Merry Christmas!

Characters from stop animation TV specials by Rankin/Bass

2. Clarice: She's the gentle doe from "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer." She stands by her man, and has a sweet singing voice.

3. Hermey the elf, also from Rudolph: He's the little guy who wants to be a dentist, and he's brave enough to be himself. Spoiler alert: He saves the day at the end of the show.

1. Heat Miser from The Year without a Sants Claus: He's hot! He can sing and dance, and he has an awesome hairdo.

Holiday Parties

2. Dress Up: Celebrations call for donning festive clothing or an excuse to wear a really ugly Christmas sweater.

3. Small bites and tasty treats: If they are tiny and can be eaten without utensils they have less calories, right?

1. Libations and spirits: We're not talking about the ghosts of Christmas past, present, or future, so have a cup of cheer. Here's to you!


2. Festive wrapping paper: Topped with pretty bows, unless you're gift-wrapped challenged, then a decorative bag will do.

3. Twinkly lights: Sparkly or glowing, white or multicolored, but not over the top or obnoxious flashing.

1. Chocolate Santas: Solid is best, head first of course!

Bonus: The best EVER speech by a fictional character presented by the one and only Brian Atkinson! Please hold your applause to the very end.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The END . . .

it's near.

That's of course if you believe all the hullabaloo about the Mayan calendar. Believers trust that if Mayan predictions come true, the world will end on Dec. 21. Just 4 days before Christmas! In reality, the only thing that is going to end is this cycle of the Mayan long-count calender. It will simply roll over to a new calendar cycle. Here's what NASA has to say about it:
Just as the calendar you have on your kitchen wall does not cease to exist after December 31, the Mayan calendar does not cease to exist on December 21, 2012. This date is the end of the Mayan long-count period but then -- just as your calendar begins again on January 1 -- another long-count period begins for the Mayan calendar.

Some recent TV shows featured end of world scenarios. Check out the Dec. 11 episode of Raising Hope for a hilarious take on the topic or Glee's wacky Mayan wedding. FB comments also are popping up about the world's impending doom, like this status from my dear friend Ronda:
"Kudos to my very thoughtful hubby for presenting flowers early. If the Mayans are to be believed, the world ends on our 12th Anniversary!"
Happy Anniversary Ronda, but I do believe Sam will still need to take you out for dinner on your special day!

For the sake of this post, and because it's fun, let's say the world will end on Dec. 21. What 3 Good Things would you do before The End?' Here's what we at the Good Things blog would do:


2. Go out on the town with my hubby T: A fancy smancy date! I'm talking black tie, a formal dress with shiny high heels, a limo and driver, a gourmet dinner with champagne, the theatre perhaps - the whole shebang! Money would be no object!

3. A whole day of messy with the kids: That's right! Call the kids in sick from school, and take them on an adventure. Hike in the mud, jump in puddles, eat goopy, drippy, sticky foods in front of the TV, let them leave their stuff cluttered about the house, the cap off the toothpaste, and crumbs on the floor. Finger paint without putting newspaper down. Let them dye their hair bright colors, or roll down a grassy hill in good clothes. Just be silly and have fun! Don't clean up!

1. Tell all the special people in my life how much they mean to me: OK, that's something I (and y'all) should do regardless of what happens on 12/21! Say it in person, by phone, email, text, or note. Or by blog:
Dear Family and Friends, I love you! You mean the world to me! XXOO, Sue
Of course a post about the end of the world would not be complete without a little R.E.M.


I'd love to say that I've already done everything that I ever want to do before the end of the world. I know, however, that I haven't told everyone I know about Jesus. I don't have a bucket list or anything, but the things on my list would take more time than I have left before Friday. So, with that in mind, here are some little to-do items. Ok... mostly food.

2) Giordano's One more Giordano's pizza please!

Downers Grove

3) Steak I would want to eat one of those really awesome and monstrous steaks from Morton's or Ruth Chris' or some other way-high-end steak place. NOM!

1) She knows who she is. And it's none of your beeswax.

Other thoughts:

Since the Mayan calendar doesn't account for leap years, the world actually ended a few months ago.

If the world would end on Friday, the Jets/Titans game was the last NFL game anyone will ever see.
Now that's a shame.