Friday, December 16, 2016

"Home" for the "Holidays"

Greetings and Salutations, Dear Readers!  

How’s everybody doing today? Getting ready for Christmas? What’s on your agenda? Shopping? Wrapping? Writing out cards? Baking? Whatever it is, I thank you for taking a minute out of your holiday busyness to read this blog post. It’s a topic that’s been poking and prodding away at my mind, and I decided that today was the day to ask a few of life’s toughest questions. 

First, allow me to share one of my favorite Christmas songs. The lyrics go: “Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays, cuz no matter how far away you roam, if you want to be happy in a million ways, for the holidays you can’t beat home sweet home…” 

Now my questions… bear with me because I share some real thoughts in just a minute! 

  1. What “holidays” are we talking about exactly? Thanksgiving? Christmas? New Years? This span of time can be anywhere from five to six weeks in duration, which is a long time to be anywhere, especially in today’s world of so little vacation time. Ain’t nobody I know goin’ home for all those holidays! Seriously!

  1. Which “home” are we talking about here? The place where we grew up? Our parents’ home? The home where we raised our own children? Our childrens’ homes? Oh my goodness! I haven’t been in my parents’ home for a holiday in over 25 years. They’ve been in mine, and we’ve all together been in others’ homes (and even restaurants!), but not the home where I physically grew up! 

  1. So does this mean that if you are “roaming” at the holidays, (a cruise to the Bahamas, a ski vacation in Colorado, visiting out-of-town friends or family) then you cannot possibly be “happy in a million ways” because you’re not at “home”? 

  1. In which “home” must we be to be “happy in a million ways?” cuz that’s a whoooole lot of happiness, by the way, and trying to reach that degree of joy may even be (if we’re being completely truthful and candid) a little bit stressful at times. 
I know, you’re probably wondering Why can’t Katie just listen to a nice Christmas song and enjoy it, rather than dissecting it to pieces in this way? But the good news is I think I have come to some conclusions and want to share some helpful answers with you all. 

A while back, I shared in a holiday blog post, (here’s the link: that while we were growing up, my father had been a fireman. His job required working holidays, and flexibility became part of our family’s everyday life. I try to remember those same principles today as I think about my own expanding family and their present-day living arrangements.  

We were very blessed last year to spend Thanksgiving at Tony and Lesleigh’s home in Nashville. (Here’s the link to the story: ). This year we were very excited to be invited to our daughter Megan’s, and son-in-law Joe’s, home for Thanksgiving. Tony and Lesleigh drove to Tulsa from their home, and Todd and I drove from Waukesha Wis, and we were able to spend a nice long weekend together – all seven of us.  

On Thanksgiving morning, we all woke up in the same house, drank coffee and ate cinnamon rolls, played with Jakey, watched as the kids created (and we all ultimately ate) a beautiful holiday meal. We drank bloody Marys (with beer chasers) and drank old fashioneds (a number of varieties). We played some great (and one absolutely ridiculous) game that I’ll never ever forget. And when we went to bed in the wee hours of Friday morning, it was truly another Thanksgiving for the recordbooks.
The next morning, we all woke up in the same house, drank coffee and ate breakfast, played with Jakey and watched “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” (more on that another time). As Jake went in for his nap, all six of us put up and decorated Joe and Megan’s Christmas tree, and readied ourselves for our family celebration. All of us had agreed to shop early and bring our Christmas gifts to Oklahoma, so that we could all be in the same room this year to celebrate.  

When Jake woke up, his eyes lit up, just like the poets say that kids’ eyes light up, when he saw the tree lights and ornaments. It was just precious. He did tug on an ornament or two, but he stopped pretty quickly. 

Rather than all of us sharing in a SKYPE session on Christmas Eve or Day, we were able to sit in a physical circle and feel the excitement and energy of a family at Christmas time. As we listened to holiday tunes, we smiled, laughed, explained our gift choices, and showed each other how our various gift items worked. After a Black Friday trip to Lowe’s, we ended the day with carry-out pizza and the cartoon version of “The Grinch.”

On Saturday Todd, Joe and Megan worked on some home lighting projects together. After Jake’s nap we all headed over to the local “Bass Pro Shop” where Santa Claus was scheduled to be on hand. The deal was that each group would receive one free photo with him. Not bad for a group of seven! We ate an early dinner at a local restaurant, and then the kids took us to a HUGE lighting display. A large local church decorated their grounds and a nearby park with over two million lights. The event was free, and people parked their cars and walked all around. Piped-in carols played as 2,000,000 lights twinkled. It really was spectacular!  

So getting back to my initial thoughts and questions… If there’s no place like home for the holidays, and you travel 800 miles and decide to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas in the span of a couple days, whose “home” on which “holiday” are we talking about?  

I think that what I’m seeing more and more clearly, especially now that I’m older and I have children who live far away, is that “Home truly is where the heart is.” Does that sound cheesy? Perhaps. It’s true for me, nonetheless. The “Holidays” are whenever we can make them happen. “Home” can be anywhere, far or wide because ultimately, “Home” is who you’re with – the people we love and cherish the most.   

…and when all of that beautiful energy miraculously comes together, well, this mom/grandma really is “happy in a million ways cuz for the holidays you can’t beat home sweet home.” ...
(Wherever that is!)  

Merry Christmas to you, Happy New Year all year through, Happy Holidays, to you!!!  

Katie Kolberg Memmel is the author of “Five Fingers, Ten Toes – A Mother’s Story of Raising a Child Born with a Limb Difference” and “Silly Stories and Sentimental Stuff.” Both books are available thru Amazon as electronic and paperback versions. 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Nashville in November, 2016

Nashville at twilight

Well hi there! How’s everybody doing today? I’m good! No, wait... Actually, I’m really good. November is shaping up to be quite a month. In fact, November’s awesomeness is already in full swing! Allow me to explain...
For quite some time we’d been planning to attend the Green Bay Packers/Tennessee Titans football game, which was scheduled to kick off in Nashville at noon on November 13. Todd’s sister, who lives in South Carolina, has a son (daughter-in-law and grandson) who live in Nashville. She suggested that since we also have a son (and daughter-in-law) who live in Nashville, we should meet up for the game. It sounded like a great idea, so the plan became a reality last weekend. 

Todd and I started our drive on Thursday night, after he finished work. Leaving Waukesha around 7:00 p.m. is a good time to depart, since most of Chicago’s traffic (this time around O’Hare airport) is much thinner than it would be earlier in the evening. Todd and I talked for a while, and then put on some music. When we are on road trips, it’s always fun for us to listen to our favorite oldies but goodies – REO, Styx, Journey, Jim Croce, Bob Seeger… I bet you can tell we grew up in the 1970’s, can’t you? We stopped at a Holiday Inn Express, about four hours from home, and spent the night.  

The next morning, after a quick breakfast at the hotel, we hit the road. Our GPS said we only had five hours to our Nashville destination, but since we did have to make a stop for gas, we arrived a bit later. Tony and Lesleigh were home, and seemed excited to welcome us. They helped us carry our belongings up to their apartment and got us settled in for the weekend. Since we weren’t meeting up with Todd’s family until 7:00, we began our own little ‘happy hour’ right there in the kids’ living room. Cheese, crackers… Okay, a little bit of wine may have been involved, but hey! It was Friday, and most definitely 5:00 somewhere, am I right??? 

Todd’s nephew is the manager of a very nice restaurant in Nashville, and that’s where we all met up. It was fun to see him, his wife, and little boy, as well as Todd’s sister. The last time we were all together was for a funeral, so it felt better-than-right to be celebrating life with them this time. He generously supplied us with appetizers, which were to die for, as we each ordered dinner and taste-tested our favorite beverages. After we ate, he led us to a large entertainment space, and said we could join the audience for a country music show that was already in progress. The whole evening turned out to be lovely. 

On Saturday morning we walked to the Farmer’s Market, located just a couple of blocks from the apartment. It’s an interesting place to visit, with everything from crafts to fruits/vegetables/meats, to plants… you name it! Later in the day, we made our way downtown, and enjoyed the music in the establishments along Broadway, Nashville’s main drag. We ran into some people that Todd knows from work, who were also in town for the Packers game. Let’s just say that it didn’t seem to matter where we went, there were a LOT of people wearing Packers’ colors - green and gold!

The Packer Fan Event - Saturday night
Tony and Lesleigh acted as great tour guides. They always have several suggestions of things to do and places to see. One idea they had was to eat dinner at a place called, “Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint.” When we arrived, the line to get into the place was snaking out of the doors, and ran almost to the edge of the restaurant. Lesleigh explained that you place your order and then go find a table. It only took about 20 minutes for us to be seated, which wasn’t too bad. The food was delicious! Pulled pork (or "hog," as the menu stated), brisket, sausages, baked beans, slaw, mac & cheese, fries – just loads of choices. Oh, and of course we toasted each other with a cold draft brew, which we all enjoyed. By the time we left, the line extended for at least two blocks. “Whew, I’m glad we came in when we did!” I said.  

Lesleigh had heard of a Green Bay Packer fan event, which was scheduled to start at 6:00 p.m. We had passed the place earlier, and there had been quite a long line! Since it was already after 6:00, we figured we’d just drop by and see if we could still get in, which seemed unlikely. We’d just arrived, and were the last people in line, when a woman began moving through the line on my left. I backed up, unsure of what she was doing. Turned out, she was leading the President/CEO of the Packers (Mark Murphy) and asking fans if they’d like to meet him, get pictures with him, get his autograph, etc. Lesleigh got so excited! We were the first people he spoke with, and he posed long enough for us to get a nice photo with him. We’d only been in line for like 30 seconds – not bad! We did end up getting in to the building, but the festivities were almost over. Still, it was a blast to catch some of that high Packer energy. 
The Memmel Fam meets Mark Murphy
(my purse is under my jacket - dang, that looks silly - oh well)

To end the evening, we dropped by a place that was jam packed with people. We shoved (and excused) ourselves all the way to the very back where there were a few square feet of standing room. The band was a lot of fun and played everything from “Country Roads” by John Denver, to “Friends in Low Places,” by Garth Brooks, and “I’m Proud to be an American,” Lee Greenwood. People were singing and shouting, dancing around, drinking… H*ck, it had been awhile since I’d had that kind of ‘night out on the town.’  Too fun!!!   

On Sunday morning, we left the apartment about 9:30. Lesleigh had heard of a Packers tailgate event to be held at a restaurant, kitty corner from Nissan stadium. Since the kids live only about a mile from there, we saved the irritation of driving, and decided to walk. The sky was bright blue and the sun was shining bright – a perfect day for football! As we came down the street, you could see all of the green and gold-clad fans milling about, already eating brats and drinking beer. Mmmm Hmmm… yup, you guessed it! We definitely joined ‘em!  
I admit, the game turned out to be pretty brutal for the Pack. The Titans scored on their first possession, and never gave up the lead. But you know what? I tried to just concentrate on the day itself – my surroundings, the weather, and most importantly, the awesome peeps I was with. Overall, awesome!!! 

After the game the kids led us back into town across a pedestrian bridge, which gave us a beautiful view of the river and of the city. We were able to stop along the way; talk, point, ask them questions, and take some pictures. By walking instead of driving, we got so many new and different views of the town our son and his wife now call home.  (See picture of Nashville, above)

One more stop at a watering hole for some older-school country music (tastes of Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Waylon Jennings/Willie Nelson) and perhaps another cocktail or two. Then we hoofed it back to the kids’ apartment and ordered up some pizza and wings. It had been a couple of super busy days, and it felt good to kick back on the couch, share some good food, and de-brief about all we’d heard, seen, and experienced. 


On Monday morning, Todd and I hugged and kissed the kids, and hit the road by 8:45 a.m. We stopped a few times, but generally drove the 9.5 hours straight through. About an hour before the end of our trip, we turned east onto our journey’s last leg. There, right in front of us, was the ‘super moon.’ At first it was hidden by cloud cover, but slowly the clouds dissipated and the bright moon guided us home. Can you think of a more perfect end to a perfect trip? 

Well… on second thought, maybe just one. Todd stopped at KFC and we each got some chicken, mashed potatoes, and slaw, to bring home.  

We did a lot last weekend in a short amount of time… but sometimes, (certainly this time) that’s the best way to go!!!  

Till we meet again, dear readers… J   

Katie Kolberg Memmel is the author of two books:  “Five Fingers, Ten Toes – A Mother’s Story of Raising a Child Born with a Limb Difference,” and “Silly Stories and Sentimental Stuff.”  Both are available as Kindle downloads, as well as paperback versions. For more information, visit her website at 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Oklahoma Travel - Part 2

TRIVIA BONUS: Try to guess the name of the one musical I ever participated in in high school. (Jeopardy music plays softly as the clock ticks down…) You’re right! OKLAHOMA!!! My trip would not have been complete without me singing my rendition of the title song for my daughter and grandson’s benefit. “OooooooOK-lahoma, where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain. Where the wavin’ wheat, can sure smell sweet, when the wind comes right behind the raaaain. OooooooOK-lahoma, every night my honey lamb and I, sit alone and talk, and watch a hawk, makin’ lazy circles in the skyyyy…. (and so on and so forth) 

Megan thanked me for that of course, and said, “That’s good, Mom…”  (wink) 
Hi! Welcome back to “Katie’s View,” where I’m blogging about my experiences of traveling to Oklahoma by myself, to visit my daughter and grandson for a few days while my son-in-law was out of town. If you missed Part 1, I’m providing the link for your convenience, so that you can catch up:

My flight arrived a few minutes early, and as I exited the plane, I received a text message from Megan that said she was waiting for me in her car. Wow! Each piece of my travel puzzle had fallen into place beautifully. Not to mention that from what I’d glimpsed from the Tulsa airport windows, the weather outside looked flawless. Rumor had it that Milwaukee’s temps were dipping into the 40’s and lots of rain was expected. Looked like I’d chosen a perfect week to escape – oops, I mean visit!

The airport is quite a bit smaller than Chicago, and didn’t seem at all scary to me. I think it has only two concourses, so there seemed to be very little chance of me getting lost. Plus, it was very very clean. I did not feel at all scared to come back in a few days for my return.

I made my way outside and spotted Megan’s vehicle down the road. I was getting so excited to see her and Jake. When she saw me, she hopped out of the car and came around to give me a big hug. Jakey was smiling at me from his carseat. Oh man, what a FACE!  “Hi Jakey! How are you today???” (This is said in a high-pitched baby voice, the kind adults reserve for talking to babies and pets.) After I kissed his hair and he acted bashful, Megan placed my suitcase in the car and we left the airport.

Just one quick thought: I truly believe that Face Time and Skype technology has linked us with Jake more than you might think. I 100% swear that he knows who I am and recognizes my face and voice from the computer. So if you are an out-of-town family, like we are, use these tools to stay connected. It’s really working well over here!

Since it was noon, Megan asked if I’d like to have lunch at a place she’d been wanting to try, located on the bank of the Arkansas River. “Absolutely, yes please!” It was the first time that day I truly felt as though I was on vacation. Clear blue skies, temps around 80 degrees, heading to a restaurant with my daughter and grandson. So far, so good.

We talked as she drove and it felt so good to be together again. She and I have a nice give-and-take type of conversation style. I must say how impressed I was/am with how well she can get around in their brand new area since she’s only lived there for a month! She and Joe have adjusted to new cities and surroundings several times already in their marriage, and this time was no different. She is doing great!

The restaurant had a large outdoor patio, and the river (true to her promise) flowed right past us. The food was delish and we had a great time! A quick stop at a grocery store for us to pick up a few necessities for the week, and we were finally on our way to their new house. I was pretty excited to see it, and I believe she was pretty excited to show it to me.

Many of the subdivisions in the Tulsa area have extraordinary features. For example, theirs has a catch-and-release pond (with a sidewalk/trail on which to walk around), a playground, a pool, and a splashpad. All of the items I just listed are within a block of their new home. There’s also another playground and splashpad located near the middle of the neighborhood too, so depending on how far she wants to walk, she has choices! 

One funny thing is that their subdivision is large - many streets and many homes. But directly across the road from its entrance is a huge farm. When the wind blew from the east, we could hear the cows moo’ing very loudly. One night we took Jakey out for a walk in his stroller and he was so taken with the cows! He completely connected that the noise he heard was coming from those silly animals across the road. It was quite adorable. I also want to say that he is now officially saying, “Moo!” as well as “Meow!” Yup, that’s right, “Moo!” and “Meow!” He’s brilliant, I tell ya – BRILLiant!  

Anyway, as we pulled up to the kids’ new home and stepped out of the car, my eyes welled up with tears. It’s just lovely. We entered and she gave me the grand tour: spacious living areas and kitchen, plenty of bedrooms, three full bathrooms, and a fenced-in back yard for the pooch. I’m so glad that I now have that visual in my mind, and that they all seem happy to be there.  


I will admit that when they said they were thinking about moving to Oklahoma, I voiced a concern about the state’s reputation for bad weather. They did do their homework, and asked many questions of what people do when big storms brew. Megan showed me their plan (the bathroom under the stairs) and explained what they’d do should they ever need to take cover. Wouldn’t you know that the weekend after they moved, they woke Saturday morning to a rumbling/shaking. They’d felt the latest earthquake that their part of the country had just experienced. See? After all the focus on storms, and what happens if this/that/or-the-other-thing happens –  something else happened entirely. One can never predict… Never!
One of the days, the three of us went to the Tulsa Zoo. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect since The Milwaukee Zoo, the one I’ve experienced my whole life, is really nice. But one of the neatest aspects of our day at this smaller zoo, was how ‘active’ the animals were. First of all, we were there in the afternoon, which is usually (I think) when animals are the most hungry, so therefore most active. They were all on the move. The elephant came up really close to us, the monkeys were chattering and acting crazy, the meerkats were busy watching and digging, and the female lion actually walked all the way down the large slope in her enclosure. There was a tall overlook where we were equal in height to the giraffes, and you could basically look them right in the eyes. We were there at the exact time that they served ‘deceased rabbits’ to the hyenas, and were able to watch (and listen to) them eat, which in equal measure made me say “Eeeeew!” as well as “Wooooow!” But I think that Jake’s favorite display was the sea lions. The zoo had a large glass wall where the two sea lions alternated swimming past us. He sat in his stroller staring at them as though in a trance. I bet we stayed there with him watching for at least 20 or 30 minutes - and he’s only 14 months old!!! I think he may become a zookeeper someday. Just remember, you heard it hear first!
 Zookeeper Jake surveying the sea lions

We also took a couple of hours one day to visit a pumpkin farm. The area surrounding it was very flat, exactly the way I’d always envisioned Oklahoma to look. The first things that greeted us there were two large camels. There were sheep, goats, chickens/roosters, mama pigs and piglets, as well as a baby water buffalo they fed with a HUGE baby bottle. Everyone who worked there was so friendly too. I think the way of life for Megan’s family is about to take a 180. Before we left, we ducked in to the shop, and looked at crafts and snacks. Of course I had to buy some candy for later. Oh, and a pumpkin flashlight for Jake too!   

Which brings me to a huge “Ah ha!” moment of my visit... The last time we saw Jake it was over his first birthday. Now, just two-plus months later, he’s so much more active, as well as interactive. He’s walking everywhere, and he seems to understand a lot of what’s being said to him. There’s even a good chance that when you talk with him, he’ll mimic back a word or two. My favorite times though, are when he will quiet down and sit on my lap. I like to whisper secrets in his ear and tell him I love him. For me, I find all of these new developments so entertaining and so much fun! I’m excited for the future and all that it holds for life as a grandma!

It was a joy to be with my daughter – talking, listening, drinking coffee with her in the mornings and wine with her at night after the baby fell asleep. I loved watching her in her new surroundings as she parented, worked in her new kitchen, and navigated around her brand new town. The whole scene is more than this mom could wish for her child. It was priceless to see that Megan, Joe and Jake aren’t just “okay,” they’re doing great! There’s a lot of love in their home and it shows. 

I wasn’t anywhere near as nervous to fly back home as I’d been to fly the first time. I had mixed feelings though – I felt good to be going back home to see Todd, but I knew I’d miss the kids. At the airport, Megan and I hugged a long hug and said our “I love you’s.” I planted one more kiss on Jakey’s head, and received one more sweet smile. “Bye, Buddy! See you soon…” Then I turned and walked into the airport. Megan texted me later and said that when I walked away he started to cry. Wow! I hadn’t been expecting that. It made me feel good to know that he seemed to really like me and didn’t want me to leave. Maybe some day we’ll all live a bit closer. For now, we will all do what we can…   

Mostly, I’m now really excited to take Todd back so that he can see everything first-hand. We’re presently planning our next trip, and I think he’s really going to like what he sees and experiences too!  If he’s lucky, and if he plays his cards right, I may even sing him the next verse of “OooooooOK-lahoma…” If you know Todd, you know exactly how much he’ll love that…!  

Katie Kolberg Memmel is the author of two books: “Five Fingers, Ten Toes – A Mother’s Story of Raising a Child Born with a Limb Difference,” and “Silly Stories and Sentimental Stuff.” Both are available through Amazon as either an electronic or paperback version. For more information, please visit her website at: 

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Oklahoma Travel - Part 1

Well hello there!    

How’s everybody doing on this lovely autumn day? Here, in Waukesha, Wis., we’ve got temperatures in the 60’s and partly cloudy skies – an excellent weekend so far, if I must say so myself. 

I’ve realized that there’s been a lot going on over here at “Katie’s View,” (the name of my blog, in case you’re new here and didn’t know) and I decided to take this opportunity to write a bit - fill everyone in on what’s been a-happenin’ ‘round these parts. It’s all good, so this should be fun!  

As many of you know, my daughter’s family (Megan, Joe, and now Jakey too) have lived in Connecticut for the past five years or so. Last spring, they began entertaining the idea of moving elsewhere for the purpose of Joe’s work. There are a handful of states in which his company does business, but the one the kids decided to move to is… (Drum roll please)… Oklahoma!!!  

Their summer became insanely busy as they flew back and forth a couple of times to Tulsa. The first trip was to make sure the area was a good fit for their family, and the second was to house hunt – yes, with a year-old baby in tow. After scouting neighborhoods and looking at quite a few homes (probably 20-ish?) they put in an offer on a lovely place, and the rest, as they say, is now history. Factor in that they also needed to ready and sell their present home, which as anyone who’s ever sold a home knows, is no small feat.  

Their home sold quickly and everything fell into place, so the three made their cross-country journey at the end of August. Movers came and packed up their house and (get this!) over the course of a couple of days, Joe, Megan, one-year-old Jakey, their dog (Macie, who gets carsick), and two active cats, drove from New Milford, CT to Tulsa Oklahoma. Haha – can you say, “Scheinkoenig Zoo?” Whew! But Megan (27) and Joe (29) really do have youth in their favor, along with wide-eyed wanderlust for adventure. Very long story short, they arrived unscathed, closed on their new house September 1, and took occupancy that same day. 

Joe had committed to a business trip prior to their move, so he was scheduled to work in Canada for two weeks, starting September 19. Megan asked if Todd and I might like to come down during that time, and keep her and Jakey company. Todd’s own work schedule was going to be quite hectic at that time, so… the idea was formed that I would go to Tulsa by myself, and visit the kids and see the new house/neighborhood/state.  

Okay now, for some of you, those who travel a lot and are used to airports, bus stations, etc. this does not seem like a big deal. But it was for me! I do not come from a family where my mom flew around by herself. The first time she ever flew was for her and my dad’s 25th wedding anniversary (1974). My dad had been in the military, so he’d traveled more than that, but certainly not on a whim. Why, Todd and I were both in our 20’s the first time we ever flew in a plane, so I guess that for me, it still feels like a big deal. Also, I can probably count on one hand the amount of times Todd and I have been apart due to overnight travel. Come to think of it, we may be up to six or seven times, but when you take into consideration we’ve been married for 35 years, well… it’s just strange, you know?  

Once Todd realized he couldn’t go, he was quite encouraging to me that I should. I wanted to be a good sport because I knew what a great opportunity this was, and knew that Megan, Jake and I would have a great time together once I arrived. I knew that I somehow needed to put away whatever silly fear thing I was facing, and focus on the positive – keep my eye on the prize!  

I’ve been using a daily devotional called, “Jesus Calling.” In it, the author writes as if God is talking directly to the reader. I really love each day’s short message, and have been putting much of what it suggests into practice – sort of a “If God is for us, who can be against us…?” type of message. I knew that being afraid of traveling alone was sort of irrational since it was unlikely that I’d have a weather delay at this time of the year, or that I’d encounter anything insurmountable. I’m intelligent! I can do this! I am woman, hear me roar…! 

I’ve flown enough times to understand the procedures and everything, but even with “Jesus Calling,” and even with understanding the procedures, I still felt so apprehensive. I always do feel that way before flying, but this time (going it alone) everything felt magnified. (I know, I know, some of you are shaking your heads right now at how silly this sounds, but keep reading!)   

I’m proud to say that I did everything myself. I made my flight reservations by considering lighter travel days. Since we’ve had a bad experience in the past with connecting flights from Milwaukee to Chicago, I decided to take a bus to O’Hare to minimize any sort of last-minute scramble scenario. From there I’d have a direct flight to Tulsa, which would be less than two hours in length. I booked my bus reservation, and after that, all I had to do was pack and wait.

I needed to be at my bus at 5:00 a.m. You know how that is when you have an early-morning departure, right? You barely sleep the night before because there are last-minute arrangements to consider, and you hope you don’t sleep through the alarm. All went well. We left the house with five minutes to spare. But wouldn’t you know that that bus was late!!?? Right out of the gate I wondered if I’d done something wrong or read something incorrectly. But Todd waited with me, and after about 15 minutes, the bus came over the hill. We shared a quick hug and kiss, and I was on my way to Chicago. Piece of cake!

The bus stopped at five pick-up points before heading directly to the airport. I noticed that as each new passenger boarded, they seemed so calm and collected. Some paid for their trip right there on the bus. I did not know that was an option – good to know! Many of them closed their eyes and caught those few extra missed ZZZZ’s, but not me! Instead I thought of my son’s wise words of travel wisdom when he was assisting me in feeling better about solo travel. “Mom, take pictures of everything, and keep a journal so that you can blog about your experiences later.” Hmmm… that advice sounds oddly familiar, probably because I tell him those things all of the time. Funny how I didn’t think to take my own advice until the words came bounding back at me. Nonetheless, in true Tony/Katie Memmel style, I watched from the bus window as the sun rose in the east, and even snapped a selfie for you, just to prove it’s all true.  


We arrived at O’Hare with plenty of time to spare, which is exactly the way I like to do things. When I travel with Todd, he’s much more loosey-goosey with time, and we often find ourselves much more hurried than relaxed. I navigated through Security without any trouble. I also had kind of a weird thought about airports. The hub and shared areas are much like the palm of a hand, and the concourses jut out like fingers. Some airports are obviously much larger than others, but it kind of shrunk the idea of what I was doing that day, down to a more manageable vision. I don’t know - the thought felt good to me. Is that silly?   

I found my gate, but they did change the gate location twice while I waited. Though I love to read books, and love to look at Facebook, that day as my activity I opted for people-watching. Oh, it is so interesting, isn’t it!!??  This wouldn't be complete without mentioning the delicious coffee and cranberry scone I scored for myself as I waited. A-may-zing!!! The time arrived and we boarded without incident. My plane had two-seat rows on the left, with single seats on the right. I had decided to book a single seat because I was single that day, and I like for friends and couples to be able to sit together. It worked well for me, plus I had my very own window! I’ve sat by the window once or twice, but usually Todd sits there and I sit on the aisle. He’s not like “Glen” in the “Wedding Singer” though – I usually sit on the aisle because I (almost always) have to get up to use the bathroom - not this time, but usually!

It was a perfect day for flight! The sky was bright blue and as we headed southwest, I could see the ground so clearly. It surprised me just how much I loved looking out of the plane’s window. I’ve flown over water, sand, cities, and mountains, but that day I was overcome with the beauty of the vast Midwest farming lands. It was funny because as I looked down from my 30,000-foot perch, America’s Heartland resembled the bricks on our patio – beige, deep red, gray, and brown. Every so often, clusters of trees or shrubs would wind around the “bricks” and resembled the moss that often grows in between. I told Megan about my patio thoughts and she said, "Very artistic, Mom" It really was so cool!  
Since I wasn’t sleeping, and in fact, wasn’t even tired, I took out my brand new notebook and made a few notes about my thoughts. I felt excited on a number of levels – to see my daughter and grandson, who since we saw him last, is now walking up a storm! I’m excited to witness the many changes that have happened in their lives over the past several months, to see their new home (which we’ve seen only in pictures) and which seems to be making them very happy. As grateful as I am for Face Time and its video technology, nothing would trump the live show I knew I'd witness once I landed.  

Well dear friends, I’m pleasantly pleased and even proud of myself for stepping out of my comfort zone long enough to not only endure, but to actually enjoy my new solo travel experience. I asked a few friends to pray for me, and trusted God by putting both my petty fears, as well as my overwhelming emotions, into His hands. Not only was the morning tolerable, it was actually quite enjoyable! Wait until I tell Todd that he has a competitor for the coveted airplane window seat from now on. 

I’m going to stop here, and write another entry very soon about how wonderful my visit with Megan and Jake turned out. Stay tuned!!! Until then... 

Your Friend in Travel,


Katie Kolberg Memmel is the author of “Five Fingers, Ten Toes – A Mother’s Story of Raising a Child Born with a Limb Difference,” and “Silly Stories and Sentimental Stuff.” Both books are available as either electronic or paperback versions. For more information, visit her website:  










Friday, August 26, 2016

Here's to the Next 40! Cheers!

Hi All!
I cannot beLIEVE that it is the end of August already! Next week is Labor Day weekend, and schools are starting, and vacations are ending, and summer is (almost) over, and and and…
On a whole, I’ve had a wonderful summer. How about ya’lls? As I shared with you in my last blog post, ( you know that we had some tough stuff happen early on, but… well, the weather has been quite lovely – downright hot at times! Plus, we were able to do some boating and we were able to see our whole family. I’ve learned that even when life gets difficult, we all must somehow look for the positive. Agreed? Agreed!
And through it all, I want you to know that I have continued to lose weight. In my blog post last fall ( I announced I was going to try, and even asked for tips from my readers. Last spring I gave an update and shared some stumbling blocks I’ve faced throughout my weight loss attempts of the past ( And now I’m here to say that even through funerals, houseguests, mini vacations, and work, I’ve managed to stay the course and continue to lose. As of this morning, I have lost (drum roll please) 40 pounds.
It’s hard to say exactly when I started because I think it was sort of gradual – sort of a realization that it was time. But I can certainly say it was around the end of September – so 11 months. I lost my first 20 by Christmas Eve, so it has taken me about 8 months to lose my second 20. Years ago, that would have been enough to make me hang up my scale… but no more. In February a Facebook friend of mine from childhood, asked if anyone wanted to do a “sit-up” challenge for the month. I thought it might be a great way to begin something I’d been meaning to start – floor exercise. He challenged us with the manageable goal of doing ten per day for the month.
I admitted to him at the end of February that I hadn’t been able to do them EVERY day, but I’d done it for at least five days a week. Again, simply being able to admit I’m not perfect (I know, it’s hard to believe) was a step in the right (and certainly positive) direction for me. PLUS, I continued to add to my regiment. I now do about 25 minutes of exercises per day – five to six days a week. Now, when I miss, my body seems to crave it – the bending and stretching, the lifting, kicking, and crunching.
There was quite a stretch this summer when I realized I hadn’t dropped a pound in a while, but over that same period, I’d also been able to fit into a pair of shorts that hadn’t fit for a few years. It was exactly the nudge I needed to continue. I knew that if my shorts now fit, something good was happening overall. Then, in the past five or six weeks, I’ve actually lost five pounds… all I can say is YAY! My “not-quitting” served my body quite well this time.
Also, I must say that in weight loss attempts of the past, I’ve lost significantly more weight than 40 pounds in this amount of time. BUT I’m older now. In fact, I will celebrate “Double Nickels” (55) next week! I’ll also admit that, probably because of where I am in life age-wise, the pounds don’t always come off where I’d like them to come off - AKA my mid-section. It’s frustrating…! It’s MORE than frustrating…! But I figure that I’ll keep at the difficult areas with a bit more exercise. What else can I do, right?
Yesterday, I was joking around with an old friend of mine. I confessed that I have a pile of clothing bags stacked in the corner of my bedroom. In them you’ll find every size I’ve worn over the past 18 years, and baby, there are lots of sizes. I also told her that I can remember a lot of details of my life by the weight I was at any given time – not even kidding!
At this stage of my life, it’s been interesting to go through the bags, item by item. I’ve needed to get real (and get rid) of quite a few items. Styles have changed considerably, not to mention that someone who’s now in their mid-50’s really doesn’t look good in a skirt from the year 2000 – even if it does fit. Some things are just best left alone. If you don’t believe me, I’ll simply say this… Wait!
And so, here we are. Most days I wake up and try to approach the new morning with a positive attitude. I’m living minute by minute, meal by meal. If I overeat at lunch, I pull back a bit at dinner. It all seems so sensible and do-able. Because I’m not basing my life on counting calories or points, it just all seems so much more like living. If I was in a hurry or in a race, I’d choose a different plan. But because I’m trying to be in this for the long haul, I’m pleased with my first 40, and feel so much better than I did 40 pounds ago.
Let’s raise a glass and toast, “Here’s to the next 40 – however long it takes!”

Katie Kolberg Memmel is the author of two books: “Five Fingers, Ten Toes – A Mother’s Story of Raising a Child Born with a Limb Difference,” and “Silly Stories and Sentimental Stuff.” Both are available in electronic and paperback versions. 

Monday, July 18, 2016

Blogging Thru the Difficult...

Well hello!  

I hope that your summers are going along smoothly, and that all of you are having the times of your lives. I recently realized that it’s been quite a long while since I wrote a blog post, and committed to myself that today would be the day. So here I am… but let me confess to you, here and now, that it may be a little different than usual.

So much has been happening lately – both in the world, as well as personally. For me, as a person who tends to write more on the silly side of the fence than on the serious side, I finally realized what might be happening. It’s difficult for me to write in those light-hearted ways when there are so many sad and serious things happening around me – around all of us. So rather than stop blogging, I decided to share a post with you about what I’ve been feeling and thinking about lately.  

To me it would seem awkward delivering some crazy piece of writing about my family or my random thoughts on life, when ‘somewhere out there’ lies a tragedy. My heart has felt so heavy for so many who have had serious loss lately. Each and every day the World, National, State, and Local News shows broadcast terrible acts of crime and violence.  

Closer to home, earlier this spring, our own family faced a very sudden death. My husband’s brother died at the age of 58 from a massive heart attack. One minute he’d been laughing and talking with his wife, the next, gone. We faced the funeral together, as his siblings and our other loved ones came to town. His death made me examine things that had happened in the past, things that were happening in our present, and even what lies ahead for the future. The thoughts that came to me strongest during that time were “Don’t wait! If you’ve got something to say, say it. If you’ve got something to do, do it. If you owe someone an apology or a thank you, issue it! Write the letter, and place the phone call! None of us ever knows.” I know that these are not new thoughts - people talk about it all of the time. I, personally, tend to live that way pretty often, but not everyone does. It’s good advice, and worth putting into practice because the truth is, (seriously now!) none of us ever knows. My brother-in-law certainly didn't. 

Then, in mid-June, a family at my church experienced a terrible loss. Their son, just 14 years old, out of school for summer vacation about two days, drowned. Yeah, I know… it was absolutely shocking and so very sad. I didn’t know the boy well, but I know the extended family very well. In broad terms I’ll say that every heart in our congregation went out (and continues to go out) to them all. Their/our church home truly rallied, and helped out in ways that were generous with time, talents, and treasures. There’s so little to do for someone who is grieving such a loss, but so many did whatever they could. As you can see, it’s still on my mind and in my heart – probably always will be. Some things, and some people, we just never forget. 

In and around all of the heavy and sad things, however, circle life’s biggest blessings…

Yes, we suffered a familial loss this year, but at the same time, new life came into our family as well – Jakey! He celebrated his first birthday last week, right here in Wisconsin! It was so special to be able to be part of the big day. We have found that seeing his silly four-tooth smile puts silly smiles on all of our faces too.  

During the entire month of May, Tony and Lesleigh traveled to South and Central America for the American Music Abroad program, and acted as U.S. Ambassadors for music. How cool was that??? I looked forward every day to seeing their posts and pictures, and to be able to share in their experience. They traveled safely, performed their music and spoke publicly two to three times each day, and experienced overall good health. Their experience gives our family much to celebrate, and much to be proud of.  

Some new news that I’ll be talking about a lot more often, is that our son-in-law, Joe, has received a new work opportunity through his present employer. Joe, Megan and Jakey will be moving from Connecticut over the next couple of months to a new location. Keep your eyes peeled to see more details as they unfold. But in the meantime, we are all so grateful for a good job, new opportunities, their health and happiness as a little family.  

And it’s interesting to me… through all of the difficult things that happen, and all of the good and blessed things that happen, relationships can deepen and strengthen. When you go through things together, it changes everything. I’m counting all of that as additional blessings.  

One of my favorite Bible verses is in Romans 8, starting at verse 28… “In all things God works for the good of those who love him and who have been called according to his purpose… If God is for us, then who can be against us?” I’ve learned that we are not always dealt “good things” in this life – far from it. But God works in all things and brings good through all things, to those who love Him. All things…  even the worst. 

And so we go on – living through the sad some days by focusing on the blessings, and trusting that somehow, everything will work out. 

Smile, Cry, Listen, Talk, Laugh, Grieve, Live, Live, Live!!! Oh, and have good days!!! 

Katie Kolberg Memmel is the author of two books: “Five Fingers, Ten Toes – A Mother’s Story of Raising a Child Born with a Limb Difference,” and “Silly Stories and Sentimental Stuff.” Both are available through Amazon in electronic as well as paperback form.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Katie's View of Walking...


How is everybody doing today? I’m good – really good, actually, so I wanted to share some of the random thoughts that I’ve been having, over the past couple of days.

Our Waukesha, Wis. spring “just might” be happening, right now, as we speak. We have a dove nested in our basketball hoop, and a multitude of birds at our feeder each day. Our trees are blooming, and dandelions are popping up. The sky is blue, the grass is very green, and the temperature is … (looks around as if to tell a secret) in the 60’s! Woo hoo!  In fact, the weather is so nice that it has prompted me to “Get up offa my thing,” and go for a walk – outside! In my neighborhood! In fact, I went yesterday and I went today.

In the past, I’ve questioned how I could make walking in my own neighborhood more interesting. Some of you know what I’m talking about, right? As with so many things in our lives, we often do what’s most comfortable – walk downhill first, so that once we make our loop, we’ll be heading downhill again and avoid walking uphill at all – or whatever your equivalent to that scenario may be. I’ve even considered driving to a new neighborhood, parking, and walking around there instead, which is actually a fun thing to do! It’s just that some days we simply want to take our walk and get back to whatever work or fun is calling our name that particular day.

I’ve always thought it fascinating that Todd and I almost always go uphill when we go somewhere in our car. Nothing is 100%, but most of the time, it’s true. On the flip side, our neighbor friends, who live just three houses to our south, almost always drive downhill when they go somewhere in their car. So even though we may shop at the same grocery store, we tend to take a different route to get there. Our friends would ask something like, “Did you see what’s going on at the park?” And we’d shake our heads no. Or we’d say, “Did you see what they’re doing at the school?” And they’d shake their heads no. For neighbors who live on the exact same block, and have the exact same destination, we often see things in our everyday-worlds quite differently.

So, I’ve decided to challenge myself. And, if you’re good at reading in between the lines, I’ve decided to challenge you too! How about the next time you head out on your normal everyday route, to do your normal everyday things, do something else…!? Shake things up a little! Walk on the other side of the street! Walk uphill first instead of the opposite! Or, if you really want to shake things up, do both! Take a new route altogether! If you only have 30 minutes, walk 15 minutes in a new direction, pivot, and walk back. You’ll see a whole new view in a very short period of time – all within a mile or so of home.  

When I told someone that I was going to write these thoughts, they asked me if I meant it all literally, or if this ‘walking scenario’ was some sort of metaphor for viewing life. As with most of my random bloggy thoughts, my answer to their question, of course, is “Yes!”

Have great Spring days!

Katie Kolberg Memmel is the author of two books: “Five Fingers, Ten Toes… A Mother’s Story of Raising a Child Born with a Limb Difference,” and “Silly Stories and Sentimental Stuff.” Both are available through Amazon in electronic format, as well as in paperback versions.

Friday, April 22, 2016

"Weight" just a minute!

Easter 2016 in Connecticut
Hello All! I hope this blog post finds you happy and healthy, and enjoying the springtime. Wisconsin’s spring season has been flirting with us a bit, but today the temp is back in the 40’s, so for us, it’s not solidly here yet. 

Which, for a writer, isn’t always a bad thing. When the weather is “iffy” and it’s windy or cold or rainy, it’s an excellent time to sit down at the computer and write a blog post. I must admit I’ve had ideas for five or six over the past two months, and yet… well, I didn’t write them. I have been working on my new project, my “Love” project, but not taking the time to write for me, personally. Until today.              

As some of you know, I’ve been working on losing some weight. My journey began last fall, and my goal (as controversial as this seems) was/is to not have a goal. I just really needed to make some BIG changes in the “health” portion of my life, and needed to (simply) get started. I’m happy to say that as of this morning, I have lost 29 pounds. The mere fact that I told you I’ve lost 29 pounds, instead of rounding up to 30, is part of my transformation. No fudging, no hedging, no rounding up – it’s a solid 29, and I’m proud of it.

The weight is not “falling off” of me, that is true. But let me confide something else to you – something I’ve only told my nearest and very dearest. In the past, when I have attempted to lose weight, I’ve had some pretty great success. I’ve joined an organization that has a super weight loss plan that really really works when it’s done as written. I COULD DO THAT!!!! It was actually a lot of fun (for a while). I’d drink every ounce of my water, I’d write every morsel of food down in a journal, I’d attend every weekly meeting – I did it all perfectly! At first, I lost a great amount of weight. H*ck, the first 30 slid off in about three months! But (and here’s where it gets tricky for someone like me – and maybe even someone like you) once the losing slowed down a bit, I still wanted numbers.  

Instead of saying, "Weight just a minute," I would become obsessed with the process. This is not the organization’s fault – this is allll me! If I hadn’t had a good week, then I’d adjust the clothes that I’d wear to my meeting so that when I weighed in, I’d reflect at least that I’d “stayed the same” and not have a gain. God forbid my body would fluctuate and I’d gain! I wouldn’t want the person weighing me at the scale to ask me anything or to judge me, so I’d take out my food scale and see which t-shirt weighed less, or which pants seemed lighter. Even socks! Thank goodness for summer, for shorts, sandals and bare feet. 

A while back, someone told me that I’m a “perfectionist.” I laughed so hard I practically spit out my drink! A perfectionist!!! A perfectionist??? Impossible. Have you seen my house? Have you seen … (I could go on and on here, but I’ll spare you) 

“Yes, a perfectionist!” she said. “If you can’t do the weight loss thing perfectly, then you won’t do it at all.” 

Whew – talk about “speaking the truth in love…!” But Oh boy, was she right? When she put it that way, some of my behaviors really did make sense. If I couldn’t even go to a meeting and expect an occasional fluctuation in my weight, and would rather flush/sabotage my entire effort than continuing on, perhaps she was on to something. 

Now, I’m not saying this is for everyone – in fact I can point at many of you and know that you do not act in these ways. But for ME, I needed to make some other changes – and they needed to be not only healthy for my body, but healthy for my mind.  I told my family that this time I wasn’t going to join the organization, that I was not going to weigh my clothes, that I was not going to have a stranger weigh me or give me their opinion. I know that these things really work for some people. For me, however, the proof was that not once, not ONCE had I been truly successful if every single time I lost, I’d gain all of my weight back. 

Soooo… when I say I had no goal (no weight goal, that is) it’s true. I needed to simply get started and take the true journey – through my mind this time, and ask myself why I do some of the things that I do. And, well, it seems to be working. 

As for the perfectionist thing – all I can say is that I’m trying to not be that way as often. Some days are better than others. Every New Years Eve for years, I’d say something along the lines of, “I’m not going to eat ___ anymore.” Anymore… Anymore??? Let me tell you that “Anymore” is a really long time, and most certainly set me up for failure because usually by January 3rd or 4th, I’d already eaten ____ - so then what? How about this instead, “I’m not going to eat ___ as often?” I find the words “as often” work so much better for me than “anymore.” And this goes for so many things. With exercise, with drinking the water, with keeping a journal (which are all great tools). But it will not be the end of the world if I miss something one day. I cannot live up to that – it sends me into a weird downward spiral of not having done it “right.” For some, that works… For me, I’ve learned it’s a slippery slope and sets me up to fail.   

Here’s a challenge: Name one ice-skater who has never fallen down. Impossible! OR Name one musician who hasn’t hit a wrong note or forgotten the words to a song. Not gonna happen! OR one athlete who never missed a basket or a touchdown or a ball out in left field. Nope!  

We train, we know we want to do what’s right, and want to do better. But we can’t let our actions or our thoughts fall into weird areas. Everyone that I’ve mentioned above does this: They get their b*utt off of the ice and try the jump again. They get back on track with their song, usually with a smile or crack of good humor. They redeem themselves with more practice, or sinking that basket, blocking for the goal, or catching the ball. They don’t throw up their hands and say “never again.”

And I love that about humans! I’m very good with this philosophy in some areas of my life. Weight loss has been my biggest area of challenge. So, here we go! I’m attacking it one pound at a time. I’ve even needed to lose that same pound an extra time or two, but by applying the above, eventually the scale does move beyond and below it, and the shorts that fit three years ago, fit again...  

…and boy, that’s a great feeling!

How about you? If you have any words of wisdom to share, please do! I love to hear from you. In the meantime, keep it real – and know that I’m (most definitely) working at doing the same. 

Katie Kolberg Memmel is a blogger, and the author of two books: “Five Fingers, Ten Toes – A Mother’s Story of Raising a Child Born with a Limb Difference” and “Silly Stories and Sentimental Stuff.” Both are available through Amazon.

#Weightloss    #Practicalthinking   #Perfectionist   #GetaGrip   #ChrisPowell   #ExtremeWeightLoss   #Keepingitreal 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Boredom? I Don't Think So...

Hello, and welcome to February!  

Wait - what’s that you say? February is more than half over? Wow, and so it is! Okay, well, life happens and we must move forward from right here today… Am I right? (wink) 

Seriously, I must say that life has been very busy for me recently. I’m working on my next book, and though I don’t want to tell you too much about it, I can tell you that the book’s subject is about “LOVE.” (I sigh a happy sigh)  The other thing that I’ll tell you is that I’m very excited about getting this work out to all of you. I believe it is something that most of my dear readers will LOVE. After all, most of us here at “Katie’s View” love love and want more of it in our lives. My goal is to have the book finished and out by the end of this year. (I think I can, I think I can…)  

The other thing that has been taking up a lot of my head space is that I’ve been trying to lose some weight. I mentioned that in another one of my blog posts last fall. Here’s the link:  Many of you contacted me personally with great advice and words of support. Thank you for that because I love to hear from you! I’m happy to announce that since that writing, I’ve lost 20 pounds. The weight isn’t just falling off of me, but 20 is 20. I’m excited for our Waukesha, Wis. weather to warm up a bit so that I’ll be able to get out and about - soon and very soon.  

All of this got me to thinking… (a dangerous pastime, I know…) (lyrics from Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast)  I’m going to make a big statement here, but it is absolutely the truth. The truth is that I am NEVER bored. Really!!! I never am. I feel that there is so much going on in my/our life that boredom is simply not an option – or a choice – or a fact – or whatever ‘boredom’ is classified as. For me, I feel that there is always something to do. Here, allow me to explain a bit more of where I’ve come from (and where I’m going) with all of this.  

* * *

I clearly remember a day from my own childhood. It was 1968, the summer that I turned seven. I flung myself onto my parents’ bed and watched my mother iron our clothes. It must have been a Tuesday because my mom washed clothes (for six of us) on Mondays, so ironing was her next day’s chore. As she worked through her stack, which was approximately as high as her hip (she was 5’4”), she didn’t seem to mind having me there to keep her company… until our conversation took a southern turn. 

“Mama, I don’t have anything to doooo…” Notice here how I accentuated the word “doooo”? When this is done, the word comes out of a child (or an adult) in a very whiny tone.  

Mom readjusted my father’s shirt sleeve on the ironing board and glanced my direction. She was kind enough to offer up a few suggestions for me. “Where’s Julia today? Why don’t you go call for her?” 

As a side note, I must commend mothers of the 1960’s. They never allowed their children to pick up a telephone. Suggesting that I go and “call for Julia,” would buy her at least a good half hour of alone time. Brilliant move!!! 

“She can’t play todaaaay…” 

“How about Debby?”

“Her eitherrrrrrr….” 

My mother removed my father’s shirt and hung it on a hanger, removed the next item from her basket, and spread it on the board. “Why don’t you get out your coloring books and crayons and color a nice picture for me?”

“I don’t wanna color!” 

Her head remained down, and she moved only her eyes to look up at me. “Why don’t you get out your Barbies and make a big doll city? You can pretend they’re going to a wedding and dress everybody in pretty clothes.” 

“I don’t wanna play dolllllls…” 

She’d had it with me. “Kate, go find something to do or I’ll find something for you to do!” 

Now, in my young, not-yet-second-grade mindset, her ‘finding something for me to do’ sounded like fun. My problem seemed solved as I envisioned her abandoning the wrinkles in my father’s work shirts to meet me at the kitchen table for a round (or seven) of “Go Fish.”  But no…

The next thing I knew, I was standing in the living room with a dust rag in my hand, removing knick knacks from the shelves by the stairs, and carefully dusting each one.  

“Let me know when you’re done,” Mom called out as she glanced over her left shoulder. “I’ve got plenty more work for you to do when you finish that.”   

What had gone wrong? I wondered…  

I learned a huge lesson that day, my friends. It was always best to find my own activities because when Mom said she’d give me something to do, it usually meant work.  

When I had my own kids, I found that my mother’s strategy worked beautifully for me too! With all of the friends my two children had, the haul of toys they owned, the neighborhood we lived in, I didn’t think they should ever say they had “nothing to do.” Consequently, Tony and Megan also learned from a young age, just as I had, that if they were “bored,” they’d be given something to do. They were expected to do X-amount of regular chores such as dishes and room maintenance, but “boredom chores” were much different – weird things that only a fed-up mother can dream. My favorites were trimming the carpet where our dog’s nails had snagged loops, or alphabetizing my CD’s or VHS tapes. (wink)  

I guess that I (and other moms and dads who have a lot of chores on their plates - laundry, ironing, grocery shopping and food preparation, housekeeping, lawn mowing, etc.) - don’t like to hear kids (or other adults, for that matter) whine about boredom. With all that this world has to offer, it just doesn’t seem like a good or viable choice.  

* * * 

So… whether my lack of boredom (or my kids’ lack of boredom – since they’re never bored either) has to do with the way(s) we were raised, well, I don’t really know. But with all of the books to read, pages to write, instruments to practice, recipes to try, shopping to do, weight to lose, grass to cut, and weeds to pull, boredom does not seem to compute. 

Go find interesting things to do...
OH, and above all, have great days!  

Katie Kolberg Memmel is the author of two books: “Five Fingers, Ten Toes – A Mother’s Story of Raising a Child Born with a Limb Difference,” and “Silly Stories and Sentimental Stuff.” Both are available through Amazon as paperback or electronic versions. Here’s the link: 


#Boredom  #Parenting  #Writing