Expect laughter! Expect learning! Expect lasting ideas!


Bobbe White


It was one of those days, when the universe says, “Not so fast, Kid!” Life is easy peasy? Watch this…”

 Most of my laundry piles were washed, but unfolded. There were a few piles of dirty laundry too. Hey, it’s been busy around here, okay?

 I would do pile management Thursday evening and ran laundry baskets up the stairs a thousand times to fold, then back down to change the laundry and switch the stuff to dry. Then back up to fold until 8:00 p.m.

 Jeff fell asleep at 8:37p.m. I decided a Hallmark move and I could tackle one or more baskets. I trotted downstairs again, but hit one-half inch of water in the laundry room. My mind raced. 1. Clean it up. (Immediately!) 2. Wake Jeff. (Not yet.) 3. Where’d it come from so fast? (No clue) 4. Did I cause it? (Probably.) 5. Wake Jeff up? (No. HE*L no!)


Towels, blankets, sheets and old shirts were thrown down to soak up water. Oh goody, new laundry to wash and dry. With my upcoming schedule, I couldn’t fathom tackling this new monster pile, so I stuffed it all into giant Hefty bags and dragged them upstairs. This called for a Laundromat.

By 10:30 p.m. I was tired and sweaty. I took a 40-second shower, should the shower be the culprit. I’d tell Jeff in the morning, but as soon as my head hit the pillow, I blurted, “The sub-pump isn’t working.”

 “Huh?” he mumbled. I repeated. “And I just spent two hours mopping it up.” He flew out of bed and downstairs in his post-slumber rage, as expected. We ran through all possibilities. In other words, “What had I done to excess?”

 In the morning, I loaded 200 sopping pounds of laundry into my car and headed to work. At lunch, I shoved the mess into two jumbo washers. The cycle was longer than my lunch hour; Attendant Terri took my coins and offered to switch the laundry to dryers. I gushed thanks and returned to work.

 After an exhausting day, I returned to the Laundromat. There sat my laundry, folded to perfection. Even fitted sheets were squared and tight. Unused quarters were in the basket too. It was a breathtaking sight and wonderful to realize how incredibly thoughtful Terri was. She had no idea how stressful this had been.

 I bought her chocolates, a thank you note and one more towel to fold: a holiday dishtowel.

 Next, I treated myself with Starbucks and paid it forward for the ladies behind me. (Shouldn’t it be pay it backwards?)

 Some days the only normal thing is a setting on the washing machine. And some days, a person’s kindness is just the detergent to make you want to pass it on.

 What made it even sweeter was that on Monday, Jeff threaded a snake through the system. I had NOT caused the flood. Woohoo! The culprit was a neighbor’s tree root, which had clogged the pipes. That’s pretty normal around here too.










Bobbe White, Head Corker


“Here she goes again” are the words in a bubble (caption) that Jeff is playing on a continuous loop in his head lately. Most evenings and weekends, you’ll find me in a chair surrounded by oodles of wine corks. Wait…it’s not what you think. I am not obliterated, wasted or three sheets to the wind. What does “three sheets to the wind” mean anyway?


What started as a thank you gift has morphed into a garage full of serving trays, each lined with corks and plated with glass. Open the car hatch and its cargo consists of more trays. In a week, all cargo will be transported to the Quincy Service League Holiday Gift Show & Sale. For now, Trays-R-Us.


What this post is not: it is not a cheap shot to advertise my wares. However, do visit the show and support Quincy Service League, a local organization, which is doing good work to raise funds for the community. There’s also a boatload of merchandise from socks to craft furniture if shopping’s your bag. Last I heard, Christmas IS coming fast.


What this post is: It is my explanation as to why I took a deep dive into my free time to do this project. Jeff claims it’s a diversion. In the past, I have found diversions when I should have been doing something else more important, but less enjoyable, such as when I should’ve been cleaning out my parents home. Instead, I ventured into a multi-level-marketing deal. It lasted briefly and soon, I changed my priority and got to work.


What I figured out:  The careful patterning of corks gives me respite, therapy, progress and completion. Hours pass while gluing down corks. I find it calming and have listened to 387 podcasts this fall. Today I watched Casablanca and The Holiday. It’s all about the right cork in the right spot. I never cut the little devils to fit. I think in my next life, I will be a dentist, specializing in tooth implants, because I can position the corks perfectly into the tray. I’m relentless on fit.


“Therapy,” you say? Indeed. Corking is a mindless activity, which allows me to think, ponder, wander and listen. When battling depression, Jeff said, “You need a hobby.” I thought he was flippin’ crazy. You know what? He was probably right. (He usually is.) It would’ve gotten me out of my head and redirected my focus.


Most importantly: Whether your hobby is baking, hunting, sewing, woodworking or scrapbooking, it affords us something we can do to completion. Not every activity has this quality. I go to my bank job daily, yet, completion is a relative term. Or how about your housecleaning. Talk about never finished. There will always be carryover work and projects. I go to the gym, but it’s only good for the day. Laundry is rarely finished. You’re probably wearing socks and underwear right now (aren’t you?) which will go into the laundry basket. And so it continues.


For now, if you need to know the girth and length of Duckhorn, Asti Spumante or Robert Mondavi corks, give me a call. I can nail it. Down the road, if your pearly whites need some attention, look for my dental office inside the pearly gates one day. What about you? Do you have a project to start and finish? Even a jig-saw puzzle can work. It’s good for what ails you. bw


Bobbe White

Were you a customer in our bank October 31? If so, please come back.  You saw us at our worst. We wore hideous housecoats, slippers, pajamas, curlers and facial masks. We looked awful. Photo shopping couldn’t help this bunch. You be the judge.

It didn’t start out fun for me. While waiting on our breakfast pizza order, it made sense to hit Wal-Mart. I entered in cheetah slippers with red pompons and anticipation. Maybe dressed as “Come as you are” could give a clerk, customer or cashier a giggle. I mean, at 8:00 a.m., the clientele represents a lot of PLU (people like us). You know, normalcy. At 10:00 p.m.? Not so much.

It seemed obvious that I was in costume. Didn’t it? Can I tell you I did not get one glance or second look? Not even one. In the hair aisle, a regular lady shopped near me. She looked at my curlers as I snagged hairnets. I smiled playfully, as if to say, “Can you believe people really buy these?” She smiled sympathetically, thinking, “Can you believe people go out in public like her?” I don’t think it occurred to her that I was in costume. Next, I went for trick-or-treaters’ candy. Two clerks furiously stacked shelves, tossed bags and boxes around and over me, never stopping to admire my costume. It was disappointing like the last aisle. I decided my costume would continue to underwhelm the cashier and customers, so I avoided them and self-checked my purchases.

In the car, I put on the hairnet and drove to Casey’s. There was an immediate reaction upon entering. YES! Then again, one of the clerks knew me. NUTS. Things improved at work, seeing as about 95% of the staff was costumed, department-by-department. Staff and customers alike were amazed and amused at how we could get so ugly, so easily. (I think we surprised ourselves as well.) We didn’t win best costume, but did get one vote. On the other hand, we were champions of comfort. Now I know why schools have pajama day. It is the BEST.

It’s difficult to express the joy of seeing co-workers walk into work, looking more hideous than the previous person. In banking, where we’re typically well groomed and dressed appropriately, we broke every rule. Some days the rules are meant to be broken. Post-Halloween, it’s business as usual, but the leftover fun, laughter and morale boost carried over. We’re now hearing how much better we look, from those who’ve experienced the good, the bad and the ugly.

Fortunately, with flexible workplace management, kids don’t have the corner on costuming. I don’t know how we’ll top this costume next year, but I’m sure we’ll give it a go. All I know is when you’ve been incredibly ugly, any little improvement is noticeable. Everyone should get ugly occasionally, because you feel so attractive the following day. Hope your Halloween was overwhelming! bw.  (Thought you’d like one more look at us…)


Bobbe White

Time to buy your candy. The closer we get to the 31st, the cheaper it gets by the pound. I can’t buy candy too far ahead, because it mysteriously disappears in the house, before it ever makes it into a kid’s treat bag. The dog doesn’t look fatter, so I don’t think it’s her…

Millions of us wait for the “Fun Size” in every candy brand. It’s like Christmasween. In fact, there are few holidays that spark as much excitement in a child as Halloween. Just ask one, “What are you going to be for Halloween?” The child will light up like a jack-o-lantern and tell you his or her fabulous plan.

For those of us who don’t have trick-or-treaters to get ready, our thoughts automatically revert to our memory banks.

Things I hate/hated about Halloween:

  1. Trick-or-treaters who are bigger than me and aren’t costumed. We give them candy anyway so they’ll go away, without throwing eggs at us.
  2. Late night trick-or-treaters. After I’ve gotten in and out of my chair for several hours, my workout is complete by 8:00pm. GO. TO. BED.
  3. When my beautifully carved pumpkin got smashed as a kid.
  4. When I was a ballerina and Mom made me wear a coat over my tutu.
  5. The stress of being a working mom when my kids were little. They’d beg me to hurry home, but I couldn’t because it was end of the month. “WE’LL GO WHEN WE GO AND THERE WILL BE PLENTY OF CANDY, SO JUST COOL YOUR JETS!”
  6. No time to feed your kids real food, so they have the four revised food groups: sugar, chocolate, nuts and coconut.
  7. Jolly Ranchers, Tootsie Rolls, Lifesavers, jawbreakers and Apples. You call this candy? All I wanted was Snickers, Bazooka and Slow Pokes.
  8. When kids have their hearts set on Mario or Elsa, and costumes are sold out.

Things I love/loved about Halloween

  1. Excited little kids thinking, “BEST. NIGHT. EVER!”
  2. Sitting on the floor after the haul, sorting candy.
  3. The neighbor that gave out FULL SIZE Hershey Bars. Slam-dunk.
  4. When kids dress their dogs up to complete the theme, like Wizard of Oz. Except Toto is a Great Dane in gingham. It’s all about the effort.
  5. Halloween, college-style when we got to say, “Trick-or liquor!”

All time favorites:

When Korey (age 4) and Nick (2) got the measles on THE day. We gave our friend, Brett, $20 to go buy candy and bring it to them at the house. He even dressed up like a cowboy. Reverse trick-or-treating. Huge holiday save. Whew.

Runner-up memory:

When our co-worker was late to work because of her husband’s procedure. Imagine her in the waiting room dressed up like Fidel Castro. What a perfect day for a vasectomy. We coined it, “Holloweinie!” and laughed all day. Poor guy.

Happy Halloween! I hope your little pumpkins shine brightly! Remember milk bones for the dogs and Gerber juice bags for trick-or-treaters without teeth!


 Bobbe White

 Dad/Irvie turned 93 Sunday. It was a simple occasion. His food is pureed now, which sort of blows the whole cake ‘n candle thing out of the water. Alzheimer’s. Grrrr. Cake, candles, gifts and photos are just window dressing we can do without anyway. His needs are small. Our quest for dignity is large. We get that in huge doses, at the Illinois Veterans’ Home. They love Dad/Irvie, awake or asleep. And that is enough for me. 

“Hi Dad!” is how it began. “Hi Babe!” he replied. “YES… this is good!” I thought. “He knows me today.” Rationally, and my sister, Cathy, reminded me, “He calls everybody Babe!” I know. He always has. He would walk in the bank and address his favorite employees, “Babe” or “Doll”. It wasn’t creepy, nor was it a slur. It was a term of endearment at many levels. The nurses say that when they get a “Babe or a Doll” from Dad in the morning, they know it’s going to be a good day. It’s more commonly called, his, “Once a week awake day.” Hence, he’s become known as “Once-a-Week-Irv.” It fits his former sense of wry humor very well.

I told him it was his birthday. He looked puzzled at the mention of 93. But the fact that he was awake to hear it at all was something. He sleeps a lot now, but he didn’t sleep through his birthday breakfast. And that was enough for me.

 Cathy visited later. He was awake for then too. We considered this a good day. We tacked a couple of birthday cards on his wall. I’m not sure why, but in lieu of all the other birthday bells and whistles, it seemed like a festive thing to do, even though he can’t see that far, nor read anymore. Okay, it made little sense, but it’s hard not to mark the day with a little fanfare.  

Cathy and I shared our visit experience and the agony of the Alzheimer’s process, not to mention the longevity. It’s not that I want him to go, but what is the purpose of his existence in this state? It’s confusing, heart wrenching and overwhelming. Then I pulled out of my you-know-what, this idea. I texted her. “I think that Dad’s final gift (or lesson?) to me to have patience with his situation. Everything runs its course for a reason, even if it’s not what we like or understand. Maybe his gift to you is to be stronger.”

 She texted back, “Good thought…I’ll hold on to that.” So, look who’s giving the gifts on his birthday. And that’s enough for me.


Bobbe White

IMG_2957 (1)el tappe

On a sunny September 9th, Wrigley Field spread before us. It was my first visit. I now have a certificate that says so. The ballpark is spectacular, from the rooftop bleachers to our seats in the shade and I now have a greater appreciation for “Field of Dreams.”

As we waited for the opening pitch, I envisioned, one former player at catcher. Our very own, El Tappe, from Quincy, IL. Google El to read about his impressive career. Knowing the man, I was somewhat awestruck by how much he actually had done for this club. I impressed our friends with his trading card, which I found online, during the game.

His MLB debut was 1954; his last appearance was in1962. Wikipedia writes that, “He was best known for being instrumental in implementing the Philip K. Wrigley College of Coaches, to give the team better leadership and stability, by utilizing coaching talent from within the organization. Tappe was one of the rotating coaches himself for 95 games. He returned to his backup catcher role for his last year as a player.”

To me, El was simply Tammy’s dad and Donna’s husband. He was one of the nicest, funniest gentlemen I’ve met and he was never crabby when we girls got bratty. It’s funny how someone of such stature can remain humble and patient. To growing up girls, he’s basically the nice dad of your best friend.

Here’s the odd part. Every fall, Tammy and I went to Madison school. In second grade, I ratted her ponytail, while sitting behind her in Mrs. Long’s class. However, every year, during K-6th grades, Tammy disappeared after Christmas Break. I’d receive her new school picture from Mesa, AZ. I guess I wasn’t curious enough to ask where she went each year, because she’d always return for the summer. The Tappe family relocated annually for the Cubs’ Spring Training, El was part of the coaching staff and scout. In hindsight, Tammy says she feels so fortunate to have had this split opportunity. Donna continued to visit her Cub “family” after El passed away.

In high school, we girls were given the opportunity to socialize (i.e. drink beer) with the Cubs AAA players, who played summer ball in Quincy. The fun continued, when at Arizona State, a few of my friends and I went to the Allman Brothers Band at the Mesa ballpark with the AAA’s. I wonder if any of them made the A team…

I pull for the Cubbies harder now that I have experienced the Wrigley Field awe. I understand the pilgrimage people make game after game and particularly when Cubs Vs. Cards.

Is this a great country or what? If there’s a major league in heaven, I’ll bet El is either still scouting, coaching or back at catcher. Thanks El, for giving my ball park more meaning, even if you guys lost that day 15-1. Ouch. Okay, now, PLAY BALL!




Bobbe White

Do you often feel overwhelmed? Overworked? Overcommitted? There are many reasons and even more theories. I believe that, in most cases, our overcommitment tendencies are related to feeling overwhelmed and overworked. If you solve the former, you’ll feel less of the latter.

Here’s the dig.

Too often we say, “Yes,” and mean, “No.” Imagine a time when you have done this. How’d you feel? Pay attention to your gut the next time you say, “Yes,” and mean, “No.” We immediately sense it. I know I do. Intuition tells us one thing, obligation (or something else) tells us another. It’s an internal struggle.

WHY do we overcommit?

  • Obligation: The toughest reason. We feel we have no choice. And you may not. You see this when grown children help aging parents. Tasks fall on one person, for countless reasons: proximity, others won’t help, others can’t help or there are no others to help. It’s all on you, Baby.

Perceived obligation/neediness: We don’t consider other options. Or, we have a major need for positive feedback and leap at the chance. But, there ARE others with which to share the commitment. You just wanted to go it alone. When you hear, “You should’ve said something.” This personality will reply, “It’s okay, I knew you were busy, I didn’t mind (even though I’m behind in everything else and I’m having a breakdown and haven’t changed clothes in a week.) a/k/a The Martyr.

  • Responsibility: the task may just be up to you and only you. This is when you must weigh the outcome, should you choose to not commit. You know the right thing to do.


  • Desire: You WANT to commit because it really stirs your inner jazz. Go for it, but understand what you’re taking on and then, don’t whine about it. “You wanted the bicycle, now peddle it.”Example: Sure, the teachers’ appreciation breakfast success depends on your 13 dozen brownies: half frosted, half unfrosted, half-nutted, half-unnutted. By 7:00 a.m. tomorrow. Your brownies are, hands down, the BEST. This is not a good reason to overcommit. They’re just brownies. Don’t do this to yourself. The success or failure of any event is not yours to shoulder.



  • “I wish I could, but in this season of my life, any “Yes” I give you is a “NO” I must give to my__________________ (parents, children, dog, family.)
  • Say this to yourself, “Just because I can, doesn’t mean I have to.” Powerful.
  • “No…it’s a long story.
  • “Let me get back to you,” or “Let me check my calendar,”
  • And my all-time favorite: “O.O.O.P.S! Is that what I said? That’s not what I meant.” (Back peddling is sometimes an option. It works very well, as long as you slap your forehead when you say, “OOOPS!”


SO, what does O.O.O.P.S. mean?

Overwhelmed, Overworked, Overcommitted, Pressure and Stress. Try to avoid O.O.O.P.S. Because over-commitment is unhealthy and we don’t really need accolades that badly…do we? If you almost said,”Yes,” but truthfully, said, “No,” then be like Elsa…good for you for letting it go.