Attack of the Dust Bunnies

A dear friend recently told me that she was "tackling some pre-spring cleaning projects" on the weekends. I should preface this with a bit of background about her. Stef is one of the most creative, organized, giving and incredibly hard-working people I've had the gift of knowing. Not only is she the Martha Stewart (but much kinder) of the tri-state region, she has her MBA and is extremely successful career -wise. That probably isn't a just description of her, but you'd have to know her to understand how truly awesome she is. I don't get how she does it. She and her husband have even helped us with many of our projects around the house. Painting the bathroom, re-decorating with the things we already have, and the like.

That said, the fact that she is working full-time (most likely more than your average 40 hours/week) made me stop dead in my tracks. Here I am, home all day, moping around in my pj's and sleeping way too much when I could be taking advantage of my time and getting some much needed housework done. I don't mean the regular cleaning; I mean things like clearing out accumulated "stuff", cleaning behind and under furniture, and getting the closets relatively functional. So anyway, thanks to Stef, today I made a list and vow to finish it before I go back to work (if that ever happens). I accomplished item number one: Cleaning our bedroom. I was appalled at the things I cleared out from under the bed. I even flipped the mattress, trashed the yellowed, yucky bed skirt and dusted and vacuumed every surface. I am feeling pretty proud of myself at the moment. I'm hoping it was just what I needed to get some motivation back.

Tomorrow is our long-overdue date night. We are just going to an early movie and dinner (and probably to sleep early too), but it will be some much-needed adult time for us. We always come home from date night feeling renewed as a couple and it helps us to stay on the same page. Besides, Murray will get a special night at his Grandpa and Grandma's house, one of his four favorite places to have overnights.

I'm off to wrack my brain for something to serve for dinner. I forgot to take anything out of the freezer this morning, so it may have to be grilled cheese and tomato soup.

Update. . .Finally

Emilie's Crew:Roxane and me:

The Cathedral of St. Paul:

The dome of the Cathedral:

The Catholic Spirit, where Emilie worked:

Buca di Beppo:

Note: This is a combined post that I began writing on Monday and have finally finished today.

To my new reader: I'm thrilled that you found my blog and are following my posts. However, I haven't been able to find your comment, so if you be so kind, would you mind commenting one more time? I would appreciate your help. . .I would like to know more about you!

With the weather today, I opted to keep Murray home instead of trying to navigate the wind and roads to daycare even though she did have it open). It turned out to be a terrific day. We played all morning and then we took a three hour nap. Being a stay-at-home mom keeps looking better and better.

I haven't heard about the job yet, but I am praying that the dreaded "you weren't the candidate for us but we enjoyed meeting you" letter doesn't arrive tomorrow and that I will receive the "We think you are perfect for the job" phone call. I'm expecting the former, but time will tell.

The journey, you ask? Here goes:
Roxane arrived at our hotel at about 3pm on Saturday. I was thrilled to see her! From there, we prepared for Emilie's party and arrived at Buca di Beppo right on time (the only time we were prompt for anything that weekend as it turned out). Although only nine of us were all able to gather together, we were a darn fun group. We talked, laughed, cried, and laughed. I can't describe how amazing it was to meet these kindred souls that knew Emilie.I wish I had the words. You will find new links to some of my new found friends' blogs, lutherliz and marketingmama.

On Sunday morning, I woke up a bit late (I didn't even hear Roxane getting up) but we made it out of the hotel on time (or so we thought) to attend Mass at The Cathedral of St. Paul. The problem was that I punched in the address to Buca instead of the Selby Avenue address for the church. After driving past the Cathedral, arriving once again at Buca and turning off the voice that is Tom Tom, we "reached our destination". (after waiting for the slowest train in the history of trains). Thanks to Roxane for trusting her instincts versus relying on electronics.
When I was telling my Grandma Kate about our adventures, she reminded me that she grew up just down the hill of the Cathedral of St. Paul, which is where we parked. I thought it was so neat that we were right there, where my history begins. God was on a mission and it so much fun to discuss with Grandma the area and her childhood (which I'm quite familiar with, but it is awesome to be able to picture her neighborhood).

One of the funniest mements in our travels happenended on the way home. We were looking for a Target, so we took the Wayzeta exit. To the right was a Holiday, but when looking toward the left, we assumed we'd wind up in the business district, therefore, finding a Target. Approximately fifteen minutes later, we found ourselves once again at the Holiday with no Target in sight. Oh boy, did we laugh. We headed back on the "motorway" (tom tom again) and found the Target store in Alex, which Rox is familair with.

I can't end the saga of our journey without mentioning Roxane's Aunt Betsy. We met up with her for brunch after Mass on Sunday, and what a thrill it was to meet her. She is incredibly bright, sophisticated, and just all around wonderful. I am so thrilled to have met her! I do hope to get together agian.
UPDATED: January 27th, 2010:
I've been slacking again. I'm not sure what is causing my writer's block this time, but there it is. Nothing much has occured in the Beckerleg household since my Monday post (see above), but I do have some pictures to post. Big thanks to Roxane for sharing them with me since my camera was on the fritz.
Let's hope this writer's block is over for the time being.
Thanks for reading,

Breaking the Silence

I apologize for my silence lately. I am on day seven of a cold that I can't seem to shake. When one can hardly move, creativity and the desire to write leaves one's brain. It was only this morning while preparing for Mass that I was "writing in my head" again. With that, I knew it was time to post once again and get back on track.

I still feel awful and am wondering how long this will last. I can't taste or smell a thing and haven't been able to since Monday. I even attended a gourmet food and wine dinner and while I enjoyed the company of my "date" Rose, she had to describe the aromas and taste of the food and the wine that accompanied each course.

There is so much I want to write regarding our big adventure to Emilie Lemmon's gathering, but before I do so, I need to catch up on Roxane's posts. We experienced a celebration that I'm not sure how to put into words, but if you are curious before I can write more, check out Roxane's post from the last week. I'm positive that she can describe the events more eloquently than I can. That being said, I met some wonderful new friends (God bless Emilie for bringing us together) and was even able to experience Solemn (or High) Mass at the Cathedral of St. Paul, which is located next door to The Catholic Spirit, where Emilie worked, as well as our new friend Christina.

The saddest part of this journey that we took together is that my camera wasn't working, so again, for pictures, check out Roxane's site.

I'm going to cut this post short because I'm still under the weather, but know that I will be back tomorrow with more. In the mean time, GO VIKES!

Driving Miss M.

I did it. Drove on 35w that is. All by myself, except for my good friend Tom Tom. It was kind of a mistake, but none the less, I managed to cruise my way to Super Target in the middle of rush hour. I even had to stop at one of those "one car on green lights". I am super proud of myself. I know it sounds silly to all of you who drive in heavy traffic on a regular basis, but keep in mind that I've been terrified of driving on the interstate (even in Fargo) since I crashed my father-in-law's truck on the the BOD (bridge of death - I94 west-bound from Moorhead to Fargo). So I'm feeling pretty darn good right now and even asked Craig if I can drive tomorrow while we visit friends before I check into the next hotel for the second leg of my adventure.

Speaking of hotels, we had a bit of trouble last night. We were settled in for the night; Murray was asleep and Craig and I were having a nightcap. When I went into the bathroom, I was accosted by an extremely potent aroma (not what you might be thinking). It almost smelled like lighter fluid. Craig went in check it out. I certainly wasn't over-reacting (which I tend to do). We called the front desk, who sent maintenance to our room and his response was, "Well, I don't know where the smell would be coming from." With that, he left. The odor kept getting stronger and there was no way we were going to sleep in 407, so the front desk moved us to another room. We had to re-pack everything, move a sleeping Murray and his pack and play, and then unpack everything again. I love this hotel, but I'm getting a bit frustrated. When Craig and I stayed here in December, the front desk gave someone else a key to our room, and they walked in while I was in the room. They did give us free breakfast coupons, so I suppose I can't complain. Anyway, that was the Beckerleg drama for the night.

My big sister from another mother came over to visit us today. Tricia used to be a lifeguard and swim teacher, so she taught Murray and I some basic things about learning to swim. She is absolutely wonderful with children, and well, I guess just wonderful in general. I am thrilled that we were able to connect again. We spent about two hours in the pool until Murray decided it was time for lunch. Thanks Tricia!

Craig is sick and feeling pretty down. He suffered through his meetings today and after my run to Target for Sudafed, he's resting in bed. I feel so bad for him; he sounds awful. Tomorrow he has to go home by himself with Murray, so if he's still ill, he'll have to find someone to take Murray.

I'm off to take Murray to the pool one more time before bed. Craig will have some quiet time, and little one can burn off some energy.

Weekend Getaway

We arrived in the cities at about 5:00pm. After a quick stop at Marshall's to buy Murray some swim trunks (we forgot the most important item on the packing list), we finally got to the hotel. Murray and I have already been in the "POOO" (the pool), talked with Grandpa and Grandma via Skype and room service was just delivered.

Craig has meetings tomorrow, so Murray and I will meet up with family for breakfast and a pool day. I'm hoping my Aunt and cousins can make it over as well. I also have a good friend that I will try to meet up with sometime during our stay.

Craig and Murray are leaving on Saturday, and Roxane will arrive. We are attending a celebration of the late Emilie Lemmon's life (it would have been her birthday). The fun part about the adventure is that all of us who have connected through Emilie will get the chance to meet in person. On Sunday Roxane and I plan to attend Mass at the St. Paul Cathedral (I've always wanted to experience Mass there) and then have brunch. I am relaxed, happy and looking forward to the next few days with family and friends.

The interview went well, but my enthusiasm may have been a bit over the top. When asked what one of my short term goals is, I replied, "to secure this position". Laughter all around. I'm hoping I didn't botch it. Anyway, the interview lasted almost three hours and consisted of meeting with several different committees and departments. There are eight finalists so the competition is pretty stiff. I'm relying on God and his plan and if it doesn't work out then I'm certain He has a different idea in mind.

I just tried to take a picture of Murray eating room service (walleye fingers) on his tray in the big chair, but of course, the batteries in the camera are shot and I forgot to bring fresh. I'll have to pick some up tomorrow. You'd be surprised; I'm learning the city and with the help of Tom Tom, can generally get where I need to be. I'm definately not ready to navigate the interstates, but I can at least manage the suburbs without an anxiety attack. I'm making progress.

It's almost Murray's bed time, so I will say goodnight now. Sweet dreams all; more tomorrow.


Playing Catch (Up)

I've been slacking on posting, but certainly not on purpose.

Tomorrow is the big day; my on-site interview. I am so excited and Craig has been drilling me with questions such as, "If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?" or, "if you were an animal, what animal would you be?" He's also coached me on several other questions of which I had answers to (he approved). I'm feeling nervous, though nervousness is a good thing; a cocky attitude doesn't generally get a person where one wants to be. Right now, it's all in the hands of God.

From Msgr. Mike Foltz in our weekly bulletin: "It might interest you to know that we are a young parish community. Seventy-three percent of our parishioners are 49 years old or younger. This puts your pastor in the older crowd and the minority. Now you know why you hear a lot of child like noises at some of our Masses. Praise God for the sound of life. Parents, please keep bringing your (God' s) children to Jesus!" Enough said.

We celebrated my mother-in-law's birthday on Sunday; then braved the wind and went to the pond so Murray could skate. Once again it was a huge hit. . .

I've only been back to work for three days. I can't believe the difference it makes in my daily life, especially going from part time to full time. I've always been a person who hates to stand around at a job, so I've been asking a ton of questions (especially regarding the new software in the bookstore) and am learning a lot. I'm probably driving everone nuts, but I am eager to learn. My favorite duty though, is helping a student help find his/her books. I love scanning the aisles and matching the book with the class and professor. Every time I pick up a book, I want to read it (especially the grammer and English texts), so I've written down several titles that I plan to pick up for myself. I just hope I don't make a huge mistake - I'm learning so much so fast - but if I doubt myself, I always ask; better to follow protocol than to confuse everyone. And I do have to say, the student workers and the bosses are incredibly patient and helpful. It's wonderful to come home at night and feel that I've helped someone.

Prayers for G. You know who you are. Sweet dreams.

Lazy Days

My dear sister pointed out that I was on facebook last night. Admittedly, I was (oh, the shame) but only to change my settings. So there you have it. I wasn't cheating anyway; I did say that my last day would be Friday. :) Thanks for keeping me in check, Mags!

I have had the had the laziest Saturday. It's too cold to do anything outside, leaving me with not much motivation to do anything inside. It was my turn to sleep in, so I finally hauled myself out of bed at 10:00am, only to return to it at noon while Murray napped. We're up and at 'em again, although it's nearly 3pm. Murray and Craig are in the kitchen baking cookies while I have a few minutes to blog. Since my baking attempts generally turn disastrous (last week I put a pound of butter in the batter instead of a cup), Craig figured his only hope of ever having fresh baked goods in the house was to do it himself. At least Murray will have memories of baking with someone, even if it's not me. On deck, brownies.

I don't really have anything else to share today. Maybe I'll find that blogging every day isn't such a good idea. After all, I don't want to bore you. I guess I'll have to come up with some topics to discuss. If anyone has any ideas, leave me a comment or send me an email. I would even be interested in researching said topics.

Stay warm.

Back at it, at Least, Temporarily

I received a call yesterday from my mother-in-law (she is the the textbook manager at a local college). If you aren't familiar with this time of year, for universities everywhere, it's book rush. Book rush equates to extreme craziness for campus bookstores. Some colleges tend to hire extra help during these periods because students have classes and there just isn't enough full-time staff to cover the chaos. So, at the last minute, the temp that was previously hired backed out and Mary needed help. I worked the fall book rush in 2002 and had a blast, so of course when Mary offered me a two-week gig in the bookstore I was thrilled. Today was my first day. The students are much friendlier than I remember, especially the student workers who are training me in. They don't treat me like a dumb old lady newbie and their knowledge of all things related to the bookstore is amazing! I just love being surrounded by stacks and stacks of books; the colors, the smells, the sound of brand new book spines cracking. Hmmm. . .maybe I should study library science? Anyway, it was very short notice, but it's nice to be out of the house and contributing to the family income again.

The other good news I have is that I must have passed the phone interview because I was called today for an on-site interview. I'm thrilled. They are interviewing four candidates, including myself. If it doesn't work out, I'll know that God has other plans, but I'm still praying.

If you have travel plans this weekend, please make sure you have emergency kits in your cars. When DH traveled a few weeks ago, I asked if I should put together some safety items for his trip. Here's how the conversation went:
Me: Do you want me to pack some candles, matches, a flash light and batteries etc?

Craig: No thanks, I have a blanket in the car and I always stop and get a candy bar when I get gas.

Me: Hysterical laughter.

Does he really think that a blanket and a Hershey bar will save his life? Sheesh. Anyway, on my to-do list this weekend is to assemble a real emergency kit, candy bars and all.

I'm off to start the weekend. More tomorrow. Tomorrow or Sunday we plan to take Murray to open skate (indoor arena), so I will post some pictures. As for the moment, snuggle in; it's only going to get colder!


I'm On a Mission

Dear Readers and Facebook Friends,
In a recent post, I discussed chasing one's dreams. After some soul-searching, prayers, and many discussions with DH, I have decided to make some life changes. One of them directly affects my communication with all of you, but it's a decision that needed to be made. It's simply an experiment, but if it works, fabulous, if not, no loss. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? Anyway, as of Friday, January 9, 2010, I will be on hiatus from Facebook. This isn't meant to be as dramatic as it sounds. I've just decided that I have been spending entirely too much time checking my status, messages, and the like. I need to cut out some of the non-essentials in life so that I can pursue what I've always wanted to do, which is (for fear of sounding like Ross from "Friends), to concentrate on two of my dreams; music and writing. Let me tell you, both need a lot of work if I want to go anywhere and I need all the extra time I can get! I have finally re-discovered the passion that I've been missing for so long; I've actually ached to feel this way again! This unemployment time has been such a blessing in disguise. God must have realized that I needed some time to sit down and re-evaluate. Thanks to my awesome piano student, I can hardly walk by the piano anymore without sitting down to play - I haven't felt that way in years. I've had lots of time to think about finding out what I really want to do with my life. I'm about eight years behind, but no worries! I'm on my way and I feel better mentally than I have in a long time.

I have so many ideas and plans and the time has come to execute them. Slowly, but surely, I hope to learn, gain insight and someday, with God's blessing, maybe will be the next Lori Line or John Steinbeck. Even if I don't achieve fame and fortune, at least I'll have the knowledge that I fought for what I believed in, what I wanted for myself, my family and my God.

Fmily and friends will never take up too much of my time, it's my own addictive personality that eats at me (I tend to check Facebook about every five minutes, so yes, it's gotten out of control). However, I beg of you to keep in touch via email, blog, or phone. I desperately want to hear from you! Despite the fact that I won't have the immediate contact that I've loved having with all of you, don't be surprised if you receive a good old fashioned snail-mail letter from me. Now that I'm making more time for writing, I hope to post every day instead of sporadically. Again, please keep me posted while I'm "on leave". You can always leave me a comment here, email me at or call any time!

"I Fall Down Couch"

To the contest winners: Your prizes have been mailed and you should receive them tomorrow. I apologize for the wait - it's been a bit crazy around here.

I had a bit of a medical scare over the weekend, and am pleased to report that it turned out to be an infection and not something more serious. I can't tell you how relieved I am and have said many thank you prayers. Now it's just a matter of the antibiotics to kick in and I should be back to my old self.

Murray update: We are constantly amazed at how much he's learning. Everyday it's something new. Lately, we are thrilled that he is using two and three-word phrases. Yesterday, for example:
Me: "Please sit on your bottom, or you will fall off the couch."
Murray: "NOOOOO!"
Three seconds later, Murray responds: "I fall down couch". Hysterical laughter and giggling follows.

I just love this new form of communication. Now, if we could just break him of the whining habit. . .

I have a phone interview this morning, for a position that I'm extremely excited about. I won't say more until I know more myself, but some prayers would be appreciated.

Brace yourself for the snow, soon we'll be shoveling. . .again. At least it's good exercise!

"The Impossible Dream"

I've been thinking a lot lately about dreams. That is, what you ultimately want to achive in life. Even if your dreams and goals seem unattainable, it's important to keep on reaching, so, to inspire us all, I've typed the words to "The Impossible Dream" from the musical play "Man of La Mancha" written by Joe Darion and Mitch Leigh (excuse the punctuation, this was adapted from a piano book so it's written in "piano puncuation"):

To dream the impossible dream,
To fight the unbeatable foe,
To bear with unbearable sorrow,
To run, where the brave dare not go.
To right the unrightable wrong,
To love pure and chaste from afar,
To try when your arms are too weary,
To reach the unreachable star!
This is my quest, to follow that star,
No matter how hopeless,
No matter how far;
To fight for the right without question or pause,
to be willing to march into hell for a Heavenly cause!
And I know, if I'll only be true
To this glorious quest,
That my heart will lie peaceful
and calm, when I'm laid to my rest,
And the world will be better for this,
That one man scorned and covered with scars,
Still strove with his last ounce of courage,
To reach the unreachable stars.

Isn't this beautiful? The message that gets to me the most is this: When I die, I want my heart to be peaceful and calm, because I HAVE dreamed the impossible dream and worked to achieve it, even if it didn't come true.

With that, keep on dreaming.
God bless,

Mass-Mania 2

**This post has been edited**

Tonight we opted for the Saturday evening Mass versus the Sunday morning service. We don't intend to do that again. Apparently, children are preferred at the Sunday morning 10:30 Mass. Murray behaved as well as a two-year-old is able to behave, but it was obvious that our fellow parishioners didn't appreciate having a small child at church (we sat in the second to the last pew in order to be able to exit quickly should the need arise). Murray was pretty well behaved, even more so than usual - except for when he sang out of turn and clapped for "more?" when the men's choir finished their first song. I suppose we could also add the time near the end of Mass that he shouted "mama" as loud as he could over and over until the only 2 other children in church began to repeat him, thus starting a "mama shouting war". I hauled Murray out and when he was ready to settle down, we returned to our pew. We honestly believed that we would be welcomed at any service, but we thought wrong. We couldn't believe the rude stares and shushes we received, even though Murray was trying his best (and we were trying our best) to behave. It makes me sad because I want to be welcomed in God's house no matter what service we choose to attend and tonight Craig and I both felt uncomfortable. But I do feel though, that God knows that we were there and He loves all of his unruly children, even us adults. We'll just have to sit in the "crying room" (do they still call it that?) next time we decide to go to church on a Saturday evening. I don't want to compromise anyone elses' experience at Mass; everyone deserves peace at church, no matter the religion, but where do you find balance?

My question is this: When did our religious practices become so darn political? I'm feeling pretty sad about church right now and plan to have a long discussion with Father, but I would appreciate your thoughts.

Tots, Toys, and the Terrible Two's

When Murray was a baby, toys were pretty easy to manage. His first Christmas we didn't purchase anything for him because he was only 6 weeks old. The second Christmas rolled around and we kept our buying to a minimum. This year, his third Christmas, I have to admit that I went a little crazy. Not only did I go nuts spoiling him, but so did his aunts and uncles, grandparents, great-grandparents as well as his great aunts and uncles (I prefer to refer to the greats as regular grandparents and aunts and uncles, but for posterity, I included the great because, well, they are great). Anyway, I spent a good portion of a day last week packing up toys that he no longer uses and/or has forgotten. What I realized is that the older he gets, the more little parts and pieces there are to keep track of. I feel that I spend a ton of time running around making sure that things like the Handy Manny tools are in their tool box, the Lego's are in correct bin, the puzzle pieces match up and the seventy-nine Matchbox cars are out from under foot. Don't get me wrong, we are so pleased to be as blessed as we are. It's just that baby toys are much easier to keep track of than a toddler's. Murray is super at helping to pick up (thanks to Lyn) but I stocked up on cheap see-through boxes today and with the help of Maggie's label maker I plan to get a bit more organized.

I don't think Murray received a gift this year that he didn't absolutely love. Wait, I take that back. Santa brought him a new outfit and the second he opened it, he threw the clothes aside and was digging through the box looking for more toys. Needless to say, we're going to have to reign him in. With his birthday and Christmas so close, he thinks Santa should drop off some gifts every weekend. So, while I will be sending out thank-you notes (plan for those to arrive with the Beckerleg Christmas card), we are very appreciative, especially Murray.

We had a fantastic time with my dad, Miss Maddie, Maggie and her new beau, "Q". It was just awesome to be together and of course my dad (the real live Santa) made our belated Christmas just perfect. We spent a couple of hours with my Aunt Sue, Uncle Pat, Flynn and Casey yesterday. I haven't laughed so hard in a very long time. I am so glad to have them close.

I cried when my Dad left this morning, and we all miss Maddie. Although it is quite a bit less chaotic around here without a four-month old puppy. Even so, I'd welcome her any day, any time. For being so young, Dad is doing a fantastic job of training her and she's really a sweetheart. I know that Rudy misses her; he finally had someone to play with which they did almost non-stop.

Last but not least, Craig and I didn't have a lot of time to visit with my Dad or spend time with Murray. Murray spent two days hauling my dad around the house from toys to meals, to playing and singing songs. My dad has always had a giant heart when it comes to children, but when it comes to his grandson, well, I guess even a reformed Grinch couldn't compete with my dad. Murray has him completely wrapped around his finger and they have a pretty cool bond. My cup runneth over.

Good night, friends.