Bonus Level: The List

​I’m still hearing from people how much they enjoyed the posts on how the Dearliest and I met, and I’ve had thoughts for a while on a few extra stories to share.

In Level 1 I mentioned a list of requirements and preferences when it came to a relationship with a guy. I started it at first as a joke (because I was never getting married, you know), and there were only three things on it.

“A Christian, speaks English, taller than me.”

Then I entered college, observed all kinds of young men, and realized that even if I didn’t want to date, a list would be a good idea. A couple of the guys who asked me out genuinely wanted to know why I said no. I wanted to have more of an answer than, “I’m here to learn, not date.” The List helped me flesh out why certain character qualities and habits were important to me…and why I found some repulsive.

Then I met a guy I actually came to care about. The problem was, he didn’t meet even half the things on my list including the #1 most important thing to me. Still, I started revising the list to make allowances, and when you start compromising on character, it never ends well.


When the whole situation finally ended, my list became twice as long as it had been. I’d learned there were some things I needed. And some things I couldn’t tolerate. A co-worker chided me once for having it at all. I bit my tongue and didn’t point out that his lack of one hadn’t helped him any. Instead I simply mentioned I used it to avoid certain things, not to actively seek “the non-existent perfect man” or however he phrased it.

The List didn’t change again. There was a young man who came close once, but after a few months I had to acknowledge that “close” wasn’t enough. It was Providential because less than 6 months later the Dearliest entered my life, and it wasn’t long before I realized he met the List completely.

The rest, as they say, is history.

The List 

(somewhat abridged, because this is a public blog and all)

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Basil Harvest

tmp_17894-WP_20180723_15_44_58_Pro2107430591I am determined to do right by my basil this year. The plants have been trying to bloom for nearly a week (I kept pinching off the heads), so I finally cut them down, leaving 4 or so inches.

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My 5 little helpers used scissors and hands to cut, pull, and sort the leaves. Most of the basil ended up in the dehydrator, but 2 quart bags went into the freezer and one bushy stalk went into a jar of water.tmp_17894-IMG_20180723_20502390894694

Hopefully we’ll do this again in another couple of weeks. If I can make marinara and pesto all winter long with my own basil, I will be most happy.

Diving Back In

For the first time in at least 12 years, I went swimming in a pool. A real pool, with lane markers and life guards and diving boards. I love swimming, and I was pleased to discover it’s very much like riding a bike–you never really forget how to do it.

A few things have changed in those years. I float a lot more easily now (haha!), and my eyes are worse so I couldn’t rely on them hardly at all. I defaulted to swimming by sound, which was new and fascinating. Swimming underwater, I learned to tell how deep or near to the surface I was based on how my movements sounded, also how close I was to the pool side.

I learned a new stroke (side stroke) courtesy of a friend I shall call Lara, refreshed myself on the strokes I knew, gave up on butterfly (because hellllooo, upper body strength which I Do Not Have), and pulled off 3 dives before feeling like I was pushing my luck. I knew a belly flop was just waiting for me to try one more.

During one of my many breath-catching breaks, I caught a moment of sparrow life. A mother sparrow chirped a long series of notes from the maple trees lining the fence, then a flurry of feathers and younger cheeps answered her. Five fledglings appeared in a cloud of awkward flight, their wings beating rapidly, a chorus of excited chirps sounding very much like “look at us!” They flew a rough semi-circle over the pool and across the neighboring grass before returning to the maple tree. Their mother sounded very proud.

It was strange being at the pool without any children. I’d not left Indy for that long before, and when I realized it was half an hour past closing time I felt a wave of worry and imagined all sorts of scenes involving tears and fussing because Mother hadn’t been home for 2 1/2 hours.

He was fine. Hadn’t fussed at all, wasn’t super hungry either. The other kiddos reacted with squeals and comments like:

“Did you get wet?”

“Yes, she got wet! Look at her hair!”

“What’s that smell?”

“Can I touch your hair?”

“Can I touch your swim suit?”

“Did you win any races?”

And variations several times over.

A wonderful evening, with wonderful family and friends.


Wet, tired, happy.

Grandpa’s Visit to Hamburg, circa 1938

During a recent video chat with my parents, my dad told me this story about my grandpa.

In 1938 Grandpa worked on a freight ship out of Texas. One trip took a load of cotton overseas to Hamburg, Germany, and when they landed the captain had two things to say.


“We’ll be here three days, but I strongly recommend you stay on the ship.”

“If you get off, don’t pick anything up.”

Legally, anything picked up off the ground had to be reported to the authorities, and you really didn’t want to get involved with the government.

Grandpa came back from that trip and went to his dad, saying with the things he saw (including a warship under construction), he knew a war was coming. He dropped out of college and pursued everything he needed to become a pilot, because when the war came he wanted to be flying airplanes.

Tuesday Ramble


Today I woke up exhausted. Over a week of 5 or less hours of sleep will do that. Can’t complain, though. Definitely need to get Indy on more solids. He’s rejected all the usual first foods, has no interest whatsoever in oatmeal, yams, pears, bananas, or avocados. On a whim I tried scrambled egg yolk, out of desperation I tried a little of my no-knead bread. He likes both of those, so there’s hope.

Then he grabbed roasted zucchini off my dinner plate and made it clear he wanted more. I have a zucchini lover. How weird is that.

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