Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Blast from the Past

Today Mira came home with two free things from school. They were handing them out and so she took an extra. Wasn't much but got my wheels turning. And then I told the kids a story from eons a long time ago. You see where I grew up the winters were long. And every winter there was the Codington County Winter Farm Show(!!!) just across the street. It was a dream come true for a prairie rabble-rouser like me. I couldn't wait to get home from school, gulp down some tasty something my mom had waiting and head over to the farm show. You see admittance was FREE! And then you could walk around and look at these boring booths of things they were trying to sell. Farm equipment. Honey. Books. Stale popcorn. Bad hot dogs. And insurance. And you see a lot of these little tables with fancy curtains hiding their lunch or extra goodies had FREE stuff on the tables. Well I was a precocious little 10-year old and this was a dream come true. I would only slow down my fast pace if I scoped out a free item lying on the table. It was your typical fare... notepads, magnets, pencils, and if you were really lucky, yardsticks from DeSmet Farm Mutual Insurance in florescent colors! I got one earlier in the week and the guy remembered me the next day (rats). So I didn't get another. I think maybe a bit of his grown-up thinking was watching me whack at a friend or better still! My mean older brother. One guy in a moment of weakness just told me to take how many pencils I wanted. I could hardly believe it! Was this guy for real? So I took one and then two and then three... then started to name off real and imaginary friends and got about 10 before I left his table. He winked at me as I left...full plastic bag in tow. If my memory serves me right, he mentioned this to my mom when she went by his table the next day (small town you know). And where was I off to? The BARN!

You see the barn was just heaven on earth to me. I would have made a good farmer's wife. But I'm not. The chosen one for me is from the city and I am content. But the smell of the damp cows and sheep, the straw, the hay.... ahhhh. I loved it in there. I learned about black angus, polled herefords, and sheep. Made a friend one year with a girl from a "small" town (even smaller than the one I grew up in ). She had a cow ready to calf. And told me to come the next day to watch. Well that's quite a thing when you're 10 to watch a calf be born. I think I missed supper that night in order to see it all. And it was worth it. I couldn't believe the slime, the effort the cow put forth, the nerves of the farmers. And the next day I ran back to see a fluffy and adorable calf. Happy Sigh.

And so what's the conclusion? I loved the freedom I had to choose to be where I wanted even at a very young age. Those were very safe times. My parents had an innate trust in knowing where I'd be. And they allowed me to learn, explore, interact with others that could teach me far more than any book could do. Yep. Those were the good old days.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Mediocre Monday

Mundane was so... well mundane. This is going to be simply a stream of absolutely unnecessary random thoughts. But I know people that read blogs aren't necessarily wanting something informative. They just want to be mildly entertained or are trying to put off getting that next load of laundry in or the dishwasher unloaded. I know! I know! the feeling. My son and husband had the privilege of paintball again. They enjoy it immensely. I didn't take any fatigue/gun-holding shots this time. It might tarnish our squeaky-clean image we try to impose on others. tee-hee. I'm thankful for spam filters. I happened to gander at that file. And forgoodnesssakes. I don't need any prescriptions or a fake watch! Or worse. Somehow the e-mail people that work behind the scenes are privy to their tactics. Did any of you have the sense enough to go to websites to print coupons before walking into a store? I saved $25 on Saturday. I should be doing that more often. Vacations are fascinating. There's a ton of hype before you go. Counting off days. Anticipating the great joy that is impending. Yeah! And then you get there. Turbo-charged emotion. Being out of the comfort zone. Trying new foods and experiences. Meeting new people. Wow. And then you're completely exhausted. Everyone is bordering on cranky and then you walk over the threshold of home. Ahhhh. I missed this place so much. It is so good to be home again. That, my friend, is why vacations are so great. The before, during, and after all emit great emotion. Speaking of emotion. Another funeral in town. This is the 4th in a matter of few months. Our kids are finding it 'normal' to go to a funeral every few weeks. And they fidget sit quietly and observe it all. And the weather is good and getting better. The side effect is allergies in full swing. Rayna's is more manageable. Just tree pollen that a little daily generic pill takes care of. Trevor's roars into asthma the first chance it gets. So I called the allergist and told them about HSA plans and high deductibles and I will have a 'package' waiting this afternoon. Doesn't hurt to ask does it? So while the washer spins I'll venture off with dog in tow to a nearby park with a great hiking path. But maybe I'll sneak into the close-by grocery store to get a few provisions for the week ahead.... hope yours is great!

Here's a couple quotes for you:

My second favorite household chore is ironing. My first being hitting my head on the top bunk bed until I faint.

Housework is something you do that nobody notices until you don't do it.

We labor to make a house a home, then every time we're expecting visitors, we rush to turn it back into a house.

Love is the thing that enables a woman to sing while she mops up the floor after her husband has walked across it in his barn boots.

I am thankful for a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning and gutters that need fixing because it means I have a home.... I am thankful for the piles of laundry and ironing because it means my loved ones are nearby.

Friday, March 26, 2010

A surprise and a smile!

This person outdid herself. The door knocks. No one is there but a nice, brown package. I open it up. It is bursting with thoughtfulness. A photo journal of our time together. Gently used Archies, tea bags, candy, an ABS dvd (no I don't think Martha thinks I have a problem... she just heard me talking or not ), a great dog toy for Lisi, and it is all wrapped up in a beautiful fuchsia towel.

Thank you to the N's from IL!!! It was a pleasure to have ya'all!!!

p.s. Lisi LOVES the new mallard!

Friday Facts

The kids had a half-day of school this past week. It coincidentally coincided with a school fundraiser at a local waterpark. So off we went. They had fun. And I enjoyed the warmth and humidity... didn't get wet this time.

One of our friends Alyssa goes to the same school. So she joined us!

Trevor finished up his basketball season. Ahem. Cough. Reach around to pat his back... he did great. Last night they won by ONE point. And he got the final basket. So kudos to you young man! I love the grin he gives the Chairman and I on the sidelines when he does something great.

Here's something I did today that I rarely do. I bought myself flowers. Why you ask? Well I walked briskly into the local big box club store and there they were! My favorite flowers for a great price. I just couldn't not do it. They'll make me smile for a while I think.

Twenty eight degrees feels downright cold after having some near 60 days...

I still don't get the appeal of high ceilings. You see the house we are now in has 18' ceilings in the living room. I bought one of those pole-thingys to change a light bulb. I hope it works.

Yesterday was a fun day for me. I went to school to help assist the kids for their spring pictures. Well first of all, when I was in school 146 years ago, we had pictures once in the fall. Here they do them both fall and spring. Another way to make money I reckon. But anyway, our school is unique in that it is a K4-8th grade. And so the classes would line up and I stood there at the top of the ramp and directed which kid should go to which photographer. It was just a blast. The 4-year olds looked like they needed a babysitter. The 8th graders were often bigger than I am. The 7th grade boys were the most amusing. It's like they are big and tall without a lick of sense in their heads. Amusing for short doses.... And I had to hold myself back from wanting to lick the palm of my hand and rub it over some wild cowlicks.

A quieter weekend ahead. Another funeral in the area. This one is for a relative of good friends of ours. We're getting good at sitting at funerals.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

This lady was awesome. She can come anytime after such a flattering write-up! Love from your kissing friend, Lisi

Monday, March 22, 2010


"To the house of a friend, the road is never long." My mom has a decorative something that has that written on it. These folks are road warriors. Treated the near 8-hour drive as peanuts. All in the name of friendship. Fellowship. Food. Fun (or so I hope). It was delightful to visit with a fellow blogger in person. Nice to share thoughts about marriage and children and joy and sadness and situations and well... you know life. The seven children between the two families are all near or close to the same ages. No fights broke out. Just good times. And very, very scary rollerblading down a hill and up a ramp. I'm certain our angelic kids had nothing to do with that whole scene. It must be the rabble-rousers from the south. Anyway, we invited some "extras" over for a couple of the meals. These people are not just fill-ins like in a movie scene. They are dear friends that we wanted to share with our far-away friends. It was good. All good.

Hmmm. Some thoughts from my latest grocery run. Do the baggers get tired of saying 'paper or plastic'? I think so. Lately, instead of asking, they just look at me saying nothing. A quiet stare that is saying, 'I really am not interested in bagging your goods and I must ask yet again if you want paper or plastic and quite frankly, I'd rather be doing just about anything else than this'. Do they profile people by what they buy? Wow... this lady has a lot of kids. Hey Mr. You've got a bit of a pooch over the belt. Do you really need those potato chips? Oh boy... a lefty-granola cruncher. All organic. I bet her wallet is lighter. Maybe they don't, but I sure would. I find it fascinating looking in other people's carts. I try to do it without notice. There's a special-needs bagger at one store I frequent. I am all for them working. In fact, I admire it. But I'm not the most patient person you'll find and he's tremendously slow. So I love it when I can bag my own.

I just got the van washed. You see the Chairman likes clean vehicles inside and out. The inside needs a warm spring day to do it up right. But the outside needed to get a big 'plop' of bird doo off the driver's side window. Typically, the Chairman just likes to sit in his seat and let the sprayers just take care of the soil. I've done that for 15+ years. But today I pulled into one of those do-it-yourself car washes. Plopped in my $3 of quarters and sprayed away. It was fun until the strong east wind blew soapy suds in my face. I rationed a bit too fast and had way to much time on the rinse cycle, but hey! It's clean. And the Chairman will be happy. And I saved three bucks!

We have some very cute house finches here. The guy has a red head. The mom is the normal dull-gray that most female birds are (how fair is that?). And they are planning a family this spring. Did some scouting and decided that our front door wreath would be a very cozy place to raise their brood. And I'd love to let them be there. But those cute little things eat worms and bugs. And then they have to go potty. All over my front door and porch. I went out and gingerly removed the nest. No eggs yet luckily. And the nest was beautiful. Soft and cozy from dryer lint they've gathered. It's quite a wonder how with only raw materials, a beak, and two little birdy legs that they can build up something perfectly round and soft for their young. Wow.

Broke out new walking shoes today. I'm kinda like MB with this... but only with my walking ones. It takes a couple times to really get in the groove and feel comfortable wearing something new. My baby toe always feels numb at first.

Better wrap this one up... once you start talking about your 'baby toe', you know it's gone too far long enough...

Friday, March 19, 2010

Soft hearts

Mira came home from school yesterday saying they heard the song "Danny Boy" in music class. Then she said she felt very sad listening to the words as it made her think of baby Amara, Aunty Sue, and Ashley. Then Rayna said, we heard it too and I felt my eyes get wet. I'm so thankful they are tender to sadness...

Oh Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling
From glen to glen, and down the mountain side
The summer's gone, and all the flowers are dying
'Tis you, 'tis you must go and I must bide.
But come ye back when summer's in the meadow
Or when the valley's hushed and white with snow
'Tis I'll be here in sunshine or in shadow
Oh Danny boy, oh Danny boy, I love you so.

And if you come, when all the flowers are dying
And I am dead, as dead I well may be
You'll come and find the place where I am lying
And kneel and say an "Ave" there for me.

And I shall hear, tho' soft you tread above me
And all my dreams will warm and sweeter be
If you'll not fail to tell me that you love me
I'll simply sleep in peace until you come to me.

I'll simply sleep in peace until you come to me.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Thursday thoughts

I'm not sure the explanation of the pant leg... he was just kinda hot?
OSHA approved of course
We always wear protective gear...
She's just so cute

Wow this week sure has been dandy! But 'they' are saying snow for Sunday. Ugh. Fun to see the kids really playing outside. Seeing the bulbs peeking. Seeing the dog swim again. And feeling some good vitamin D therapy on the face. Ahhhh.

Feeling inadequate again. This blog stuff ain't for sissies. I was just hopping around and my goodness. There's a lot of talent out there. Creative, beautiful blogs. Great writing. Lovely pictures. And me? Well I can write a dog story. But offer little else. Except verbalizing the emotions of that moment. But I love having a journal of our lives. Some day it'll be history.

This week was unusual in that I have had four invites in five days for lunch. How neat is that? With the exception of eating massive amounts of calories at noon, it is all good. Friends. Good eating. Conversation about life. Happy sigh.

Facebook does the most bizarre things sometimes. When I sign in it takes me to someones myspace account. Or another weird place. I worry about a virus, but then it goes back to normal and then I don't worry about a virus.

Trevor came bursting in the house tonight. MOM! DID YOU SEE THEM? What!?! Apparently 16 deer (1 lucky buck and 15 doe) ran through the yard. Wish I had...

Tomorrow we get company! I told the fellow blogger that I would not fuss. Wouldn't clean the house a bit. Wouldn't make any special food. I lied. I can't help myself.

The new mattress is here. And it is. Very. Firm. To the point that I'm trying to adjust. The Chairman says it is just 'great'. He loves it and tells me I didn't know what a good mattress felt like anymore. And I sleep well. So it is just 'great' for me too. Sorta. In a hard sort of way.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

An old photo...

At Grandpa and Grandma Rowland's. Grandpa must have died not much longer after this picture as I was turning 5 when he died... I owe my white hair to him and my dad I think! (My mean older brother and much older sister actually look kinda cute here!)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Special Visit

After the anniversary festivities were over, we came home and brought my Aunt with us. She's my dad's sister. We didn't see much of her through the years, so the time was very special. She shared pieces of history on my father's side I never knew. She shared glimpses into her own life. We shared lunch at a fun spot. We looked at Lake Michigan. And she showed kindness to our family and lavished attention to the dog (I think I inherited my love for dogs from her). And so we were happy to have special days with her.

50th Anniversary

Ok... you pulled a fast one on me!
Shirley just arrived
Happy Birthday Mom! (she thinks that's why we came!)
Ok... you MUST look at my dad's face here... priceless.
the ones in the living room after just getting there
the happy couple
Punch! Service with a smile.
people gathering to take pictures
the surprise from KY and me...
Happy #50!

We did it! We pulled a fast one on our parents. You see they are celebrating 50 years of happy extraordinary days. Actually their anniversary is this week on Friday, but we surprised them last Saturday. After much planning and organizing by my sister and me (mean older brother would maybe have helped, but he lives thousands of miles away), we pulled it off! It started with a surprise by their granddaughter from KY and her significant other. Then a surprise appearance of my dad's sister from MN. A belated birthday lunch together for mom. They were reeling with all that and then! Nearly 50 of their good friends showed up on the front step at the same time! So here's some pictures to share.... I wish you could have heard my dad's laugh. Seen my mom's tears. Felt the love. It was worth it all!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Live Streaming...

of my small brain. Today is a good bread-rising day. Did bread and some cinnamon rolls and ring. That's the thing that's fun about yeast. You never really know how it's going to turn out. Kinda like life really.

I love spring. Even rainy, cloudy days of spring. Today on my walk I saw the first two robins of the season. I know you hear about the 'bluebird of happiness'. Well for me it is the first sighting of robins. That always gives me a spring in my step (pun intended).

But! Last night was scary for me. You see I was heading to g.m. north and west of here on 2-lane roads. The fog went from pretty bad to I-can't-see-one-thing-in-front-of-me fog. Finally after 20 minutes of scary feelings, I turned onto the interstate and came home via the city. I knew I should when the kids started arguing who would drive if I died in a crash. The Chairman was meeting me there - hence me driving in those conditions. He would never, NEVER allow me to drive if it was even slightly risky. Safety first!

It doesn't pay to buy young boys of nearly 10 slightly cheaper tennis shoes. He's very rough on them. Probably simply from doing what boys do. And so they need replacing faster. Because I thought I was getting a 'deal'.

I still like the smell of laundry soap. Even though I smell it so often.

The window boxes still have pretty pine boughs and red berries. Time to break out the daffodils!

One of the kids shot a bunch of videos of everyday life here. One was of me playing a duet with Mira. It was cute. But then there's one of me yelling at Trevor to put the camera down. It didn't sound so nice. I think I sometimes forget how I really sound. Ick.

A written thank you was given today. It was wonderful and sweet and made my day. I think we sometimes forget what a written note means in these cyber-send a text or an e-mail times.

This weekend brings much to look forward to. I like that. But first, I must make spaghetti sauce! After 15 years I think I've almost figured out how to do it almost (but not quite) as good as my mother-in-law. She's a full-blooded Italian. And that's some big shoes to fill.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


I can hear the car. In the fog. Going down this street. Up this street. And finally I hear it stopping at the closest intersection behind me. Lisi and I continue our walk. Then the car pulls up closer. Nearly cuts me off in mid-stride. The window rolls down. In the burgundy nameless four-door sedan is a middle-aged lady. She's frustrated. Starts talking before I smile and acknowledge that she's nearly right on top of my toes with her tire. 'Where's Winkelman?'. Yes I'm fine! Thanks for asking! You mean Winkelman Road? I start to give her directions. But the car is moving forward. 'Oh I see, I'll just go down this road and join up with 16 there.' I raise my voice as the car drives forward, 'that's a cul-de-sac!' (which I might add you can see the end of it right before us). Oh right! Then she backs up (again painfully close to my tootsies). I try to tell her which way to go to get to her aforementioned road. She yells a quick, 'thankyouforyourhelp' and zooooom. She's off! It seems she's headed in the right direction, but quite frankly, I can't totally tell because you see. It's foggy. Like really foggy. We continue on our path. Seems kinda spooky and fun walking along in the fog. And then... about 5 minutes later. ZOOOM! Thare she goes! Still lost. Still not asking for directions. And very, very frustrated.

I think there's a lesson here...

Monday, March 8, 2010

Monday mopping

Yep. Cleaning the house. After about two hours days it needs attention again. I think we SAHM's know the endless battle it is to keep it all tidy. We all have that job we don't enjoy. For some it's laundry. For others it is showers/tubs. For me it is dusting. Pointless really. And as much as I love our wood stove, it can stir up quite a dust storm when cleaning out the ashes. And so we have dust that needs attention. And I dislike dusty houses more than actually dusting. And so I dust.

Mira said this morning, 'mom, it smells like worms outside today'. I'm not entirely sure what worms smell like, but I do know that means spring is springing! I'm not wearing my usual wool crew underneath anymore!

Parenting is one incredible journey. It brings the highest of highs. The deepest of concerns. And the most desperate feelings. Not bad desperate. Just desperate. And I'm thankful for a source to go to for answers. Sometimes it's not perfectly clear, but then it is. Plainly. And I hardly need to mention how much I value the Chairman as we go through this together.

I think I'm going to limit my FB time. It is addictive. And fun. And informative (sometimes too much). And a terrific time waster. I think it has its place for sure. But it needs to find a proper place in my day.

I told Lisi the other day she's getting boring. Just wanders around like a predictable dog. Aiming to please. Wanting to be close. And so her stories might be more infrequent because the best ones are the most stressful. Now really how interesting is it to hear about her chasing the next squirrel. She finally is the dog I was wanting when we got a puppy two years ago.

Well this isn't much.... but my brain is pretty empty today. (Mean older brother, don't run with that.)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

This one is for my egg-gathering friends. Why the Far Sides? I dunno. Just miss them I guess. And Calvin of course. I still like to sit and look at the funnies with my coffee. But apparently most people don't anymore.

The mattress saga is nearly ended. A new set will be delivered next week. And! We got full replacement cost for our old 3-year old set plus we could just throw in a few extra nickels and upgrade to a different, better brand. So! Hopefully, this one lasts longer than 3 years. We decided against pillow-top this time. Hope that helps.

Masaaahge yesterday. But this lady I go to takes it personally when she feels the knots on my back/neck area and makes it her sole responsibility to get them squished into submission before my hour is up. And as a result the time with her can be... ahhhhh.... OW!!!... ahhh. But the knots are gone. Until next month.

I've felt ornery. Crabby. Cantankerous. Even the Chairman came home a night ago and within about one minute he said cautiously, 'anything wrong?'. Comes from being married this long. You just know when the other half isn't up to par. Any hidden reason behind it? Nope. I can't think of anything. I do struggle with the lack of challenge in my daily duties. A fellow blogger summed it up nicely here. And really, I do know I'm beyond fortunate.

Even with her pedigree papers, a little bunny outfoxed (great verb choice, eh?) our dog yesterday. If Lisi was left in the wild, I think she'd be done for. She's bred to be pretty and obedient, not smart I guess.

Pajama day at school. Seems nice enough until you realize you need to pick up the kids directly from school for something and have to haul clothes along for them to change into since the general populous won't understand why your kids are wandering around in pj's in the middle of the day.

Hmmm. Pretty lame post, but that's all I've got today.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Monday Mess

Yep. If I'm not on top of it, pretty soon it's all a mess. The house that is. A very busy weekend. And now as the bus rolled away I see a Polly Pocket waterpark on the kitchen island. Water bowls with homemade waterslides. I see a humongous fort upstairs. And the beginnings of submarine something in the office. The kids have vivid imaginations to say the least. But it is messy fun.

Our good friend and photographer Melanie helped pick out a frame for our newest picture. She makes even us look kinda nice. The portrait is of the girls pulling Lisi in an antique wagon with Trevor hanging out in back. No one is looking at the camera. I LOVE it. Can't wait to see it up on the mantle.

So we shared in sadness again this weekend. The lady that died would be considered 'elderly' by number. But she was far from old. She was actually kinda 'hip' if you know what I mean. She was always forward thinking. Never would say it was better in the old days. Loved people beyond her own blood in a way that made you feel it deeply. And she'll be sorely missed. By many. She left a legacy behind... a group of people that I consider to be dear friends. Kind, loving people that will continue to share just like their mother did.

We somehow are avoiding cavities at our house. So far... so good! It is always a good thing when any payment made to the dentist is directly out of our back pocket.

And speaking of good! Remember the mattress? Well aforementioned retailer just left a message on the Chairman's phone. They'll replace it! I'm not sure with what... maybe an air mattress. But maybe not! They originally weren't going to, but the Chairman got all testy on them and then a sweet message came saying they would! The Chairman getting testy isn't one to be reckoned with. (tee-hee). Actually he's a pretty level guy.

I don't play tennis, but my tennis elbow is giving me fits. But you peeps don't like to hear people complain about ailments, and so I won't.

I almost felt nervous about my parents this weekend. You see I woke up on Saturday morning to tsunami warnings for the Hawaiian Islands. And guess where they are? So after a couple phone calls it turned out to be the blizzard that never came. I guess they got to hear warning sounds and see people evacuate. So that'll be a good story to tell if nothing else.

If you stand on the highest point of our yard on the furthest point south and put your face to the sun and breathe in deeply, you can almost smell spring. But not quite. Soon though!

So back to the mess. And the need for more bread. And the pile of baskets waiting to be delivered to the laundry room. Mundane it is. But good things can happen on ordinary days....