31 December 2008

The End of Blog 365

New Year's Eve brings the end of Blog 365. A grand social experiment, or an excuse for a bunch of lameass posts. You decide.
My resolution for the New Year: to post some worthwhile content in this here bandwidth.
Happy New Year Everyone!!

30 December 2008

More cleaning

I am actually enjoying the puttering about the house. I am starting to think about some more smaller projects around here now that the end of the bathroom reno is in sight. Must be something about snowstorms that makes a body want to nest. I need some serious distraction...

29 December 2008

Christmas...check

Well I think we can finally say that's the last Christmas celebration of the year. Brother and his wife came bearing gifts today, so we had a lovely ham dinner. I gave brother a basket o' goodies and took SIL yarn shopping. All but one of my sisters/SIL's knit, which makes them easy to buy for. Now to continue the cleaning for the New Year's Eve party. Same ol' game party. It's mellow and fun, and requires no reservations.

28 December 2008

In that mood again

Today between rounds at church, I completely gutted my linen closet. How many sets of sheets does a person need, anyway? We only sleep on one at a time. Got rid of curtains I'll never hang again and pillow shams I have never used (my pillows go under the spread; they're utilitarian, not decorative) The back of my little truck is full and ready for a trip to the thrift store. Now, to keep the momentum.

27 December 2008

Home!

Speed run today for holiday fun with friends. iPastor hooked the Wii our projector and we had a blast playing. Hate driving both ways in one day, though. Kills a lot of daylight. 2.5 hours to the dot home. Yuck.

26 December 2008

Cut the cord!!!

How stupidly internet dependent am I? When I got out to my car this morning to head south, the battery was dead. Bummer. Nothing I couldn't fix with a trickle charge and time, but it killed my road trip. It was too early to call my friend, so I surfed aimlessly for a while until my internet went down, which it does frequently for short periods. Not too happy about that, but ISP beggars can't be choosers. I busied myself with some laundry and putzed around the house, checking back from time to time. Still no 'net. Now it was becoming a problem. My friend had emailed her phone number to my gmail account, and I hadn't bothered to write it down or transfer it to my hard drive address book, because, hey, I had it right at my fingertips, right? I also had to scrounge up my kid's cell phone, because my little-used one is in a box at school, and out house phone service is Vonage, delivered, of course, via the internet (voice over IP). Unfortunately, friend's parents are unlisted, so I can't track down a number to let her know I am safe at home. Gonna have to put in some fixes around here, just as soon as my connection comes back, anyway...

*whew* Back online and pacified. Really gonna have to do something about my little problem.

25 December 2008

Merry Christmas

We had a lovely Christmas Day with iPastor's dad and the steps. Good food, good family, good fun.


Things playing with the adorable nephew/cousin, current baby of the clan. Somebody else needs to get busy makin' babies for us aunties to mash on. We've had our turn. Luckily there are stepbrothers and older nephews to produce more.




He's too sexy for this cousin.

























Requisite monkey pile in grandpa's big chair.







iPastor brought along the new toy to share with the fam. We ate lots and talked lots and had a lovely time.

Hope your Christmas was as nice.

24 December 2008

Killer Music

Yesterday the crud snuck up and bit me on the butt, putting me down for the count. After everyone else got off to school and work, I had a bit of a stomach ache, which I chalked up to wine and hummus too close to bedtime. I realized there was no reaso not to go back to bed for a while, so I did. I dragged myself back out at 9:45, to dig out my car and head to Thing 4's headstart party. I realized then that I was feeling decidedly ill. I soldiered on and got through school, which was shortened class periods followed by a streamed movie for the kids. It was fun, but I packed out of the building as soon as humanly possible, and went straight to bed, from which I did not crawl out until about 7pm, to bathe and force down a couple of dry pancakes. I went back to bed and slept through the night, feeling much better this morning. As with the rest of the family, this particular bug seems to be relatively short-lived and easily slept off.
However, in my sleepy state I was unable to relate the tale of the Christmas concert. The choir and band have taken to having their Christmas concerts together, which on the surface would be a good timesaver. However, teardown and setup between the groups are longer than the actual concert. This year the band director attempted to rectify this a little: having the bands switch over during a percussion feature, segueing his groups together, etc. It helped. However, the instruments were really suffering from dry air and cold, and he and the junior high director performed some speedy, between song instrument surgeries. Then came the choirs. First, a young man nearly passed out. The director stopped him and headed him offstage to a waiting nurse. The kids finished the songs as two more left before they dropped, then one fell off the back of the risers. Soon, someone tapped me to come help in the lobby. One of the kids who walked off was having some serious pain, and they sent me for her parents, our friends from last weekend's post. As I got her stepmom, she told me, "It's the world's most dangerous concert! They're dropping like flies!" One to remember, that's for sure.
We'll have a quiet night at home together for Christmas Eve, doing some baking and playing with the Wii, I'm sure. Tomorrow we'll spend the day with iPastor's family, the I will head down to my hometown for a coffee gathering with friends from high school. When I get back, we'll turn around and head to the cities to spend a day with our friends like family there. Next week will be kicked back and quiet; I have papers to correct and some projects to keep me busy. Looking forward to that.

23 December 2008

Return of the Crud

Thought it missed me. Guess again.

22 December 2008

So I shamelessly copy/pasted this from NPR's website, because I thought the fella made some interesting points. His comments were full of saber rattlers from both camps, and they had a few points of their own, but mostly fuss and bluster. This guy is a little left of Timothy Leary in his stated views, and I, a self-proclaimed liberal in my own right, don't agree with his views on several social issues. I'm all about the love, man, but don't adjust the legal system to accommodate every possible lifestyle. But he also makes the point that Obama is the chosen president of the whole country, and the whole country has to start finding what we have in common and resting our focus there, rather than picking at the already frayed edges of our differences until we unravel the fabric of our society even further. So, here ya go. Fire away.

I'm A Lefty And I Like Obama's Pick Of Rick Warren

by David Weinberger

NPR.org, December 18, 2008 · I'm a liberal. Free the whales. Tax the rich! I swear to you that not only do I drive a Prius, I turned in our Volvo for it. If you know any one of my political positions, you know them all. That's how embarrassingly stereotypical I am. So pardon me if I take a moment to give some advice to my fellow liberals and progressives: Chill out, will you?

You're already out criticizing our president-elect for betraying our side. He's gone soft on wiretapping, on raising taxes on the wealthy, and now you're having conniptions because Barack Obama has invited the Rev. Rick Warren onto the inaugural podium. The shame! The horror!

Rick Warren believes things that are anathema to liberals like me.

Rick Warren is against abortion choice and totally against gay marriage. I'm from Massachusetts. I'm totally for both those things.

But personally I'm delighted that Rick Warren was asked and he agreed to participate in the inauguration.

My lefty friends, you're not listening. All through the campaign, you thought Obama was just hiding his real views — which you assumed just had to be the same as yours — in order to get elected. Well, read Obama's book. Replay his speeches that you've TiVo'ed. Yes, Obama shares many key liberal views. But he's more interested in addressing a fundamental issue that we liberals have been just plain wrong about. And so have been the conservatives. That problem is that we're so damn angry at one another. All the time. For decades. We can barely live in the same country. The blue states sneer at the red states. The red states think the blue states aren't really America. We can't go on this way.

So in walks Obama. He's a blue state guy, of course. But he's getting us to do what seems impossible: to listen to what's best in what the other side is saying, because then you hear the shared values, and the other side isn't another side at all. That means you put Rick Warren up on the stage with you, because he disagrees with you. Yet he's there celebrating the moment when a person becomes a president of all the people. To progressives, Rick Warren is a symbol of views they disagree with. To the rest of the country, Rick Warren is a symbol of "the purpose driven life" that he has written about, a life lived for something larger than yourself ... a value liberals completely share.

And to Barack Obama, I believe Rick Warren's participation is also a symbol. Obama is modeling yet again how we can live together by finding what's good, and admirable, and right in what others believe, and not getting stuck only on what we disagree with.

Obama is redefining politics not by driving left or right, but by redefining patriotism. What does it mean to love your country?

To be convinced you know what's right and therefore to sneer at those who disagree with you? Or does loving your country in practice mean finding what's best in all your fellow citizens?

Obama's got an answer to that question. It's where hope comes from.

And if you don't know that, if you still only look through the lens of left and right, blue and red, you really have not been listening.

David Weinberger is at the Harvard Berkman Center for Internet & Society.


I have more Christmasy, thoughtful and interesting posts perking on the back burner, but they'll wait for Christmas break.

21 December 2008

Happy Solstice.

Unfortunately, windchills of -40 make it difficult to dance naked around a fire as they did on solstices in ancient times. Nobody wants to see that anyway...

20 December 2008

And again with the snow

This week's blizzard moved in a few hours early, as opposed to last week's pokey storm.
Either the winds weren't as strong or came from a different direction this week as I didn't hear them howling like last time. We were socked in from the word go. At about 2:30 the sky cleared and the sun shone, but it was blowing and drifting something fierce.
We rallied the kids to help clean up around the house a little, then Santa Daddy pulled out his bag an declared that being snowbound called for early presents. The reaction was everything that could be expected: squealing, clapping, and hugs for dad the hero.
The rest of the day was a total loss to Wii goodness. Wii fit will totally make me skinny and fabulous. Right?

19 December 2008

Big Wieners

Three teams to Jr. High K-Bowl Subregional tournament; One wins it all, two don't place. Pizza buffet for lunch. Not a bad day...

18 December 2008

Dogs are Barkin'

It's Christmas party time at the waitress job. Ran my butt off. Ready for bed. Early day tomorrow with K-Bowl kids.

17 December 2008

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

iPastor upgraded to a swell new Macbook a couple of months ago, and handed me down the old ibook. It is pretty nice still, despite the fact that we've had it since 2003 or 4 or something, which means its age is 265 in computer years. At the end of the summer I moved my stuff from my old iMac to MIL's Mini. About the time I was settled in there, I got the ibook and moved files again. Now, the hard drive is sounding decidedly tired and groany, so I am burning backup disks in hopes of avoiding a loss of data should it finally give up the ghost. I think mama needs to go shopping. Just wish mama had more money.

16 December 2008

Couldn't have said it better myself...

As I hustled Thing 4 about getting ready this morning:

"Mom, it's night out. We don't wake up at night. I can't see the sun."

Too true, kid, too true...

15 December 2008

Snow Day v2.0

So my district snowed out today. Things' district had a 2 hour delay. I stayed home with iPastor and he made us a lovely breakfast and we had some quality time.
Unfortunately, that was broken by the news that our neighbors lost their house to an electrical fire this morning. People and children all safe, house unlivable. And it's terribly cold today. Poop.

14 December 2008

Snow Day!

Our evening out rocked. We had dinner at a mediocre Chinese buffet, but hey, if you can't find something to make you happy on a buffet, you're simply not trying hard enough. We then went down memory lane to see a show in the black box theatre where I misspent a good portion of my youth. The show (I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change) was very good. Afterward, we planned for coffee or something, and I called one of our old profs to join us. He instead invited us over before I could get the words out of my mouth and we wound up staying out wayyyyyyyy too late around his fireside. Too much fun. He had never met our friends before, but was a charming and gracious host to them as he took us in as if we hadn't been neglectful in 20 years of sporadic contact, and never missed a beat.
Luckily for us, the weather moved in a little later than expected. We came home in fair weather, and woke to a howling blizzard. Church cancelled, and the kids and I hunkered in. The wind shrieked all day. The local radio station reports 7 inches of snow, but that can be sporadic. What I do know for sure? Remember that bar across the road that I blogged about in August that lost its roof? I'm pretty sure its still over there...
















Unfortunately, iPastor had to go in for a short shift. By the time he was to return, conditions had worsened, so he stayed safely in town with the friends we had been with the night before. We were complaining how we never saw each other, now they're probably sick of him. ;)
The kids and I did nothing but eat. I rallied them for a cleaning session that went very well, but was immediately destroyed by baking cookies and building blanket forts. What the heck. It's a snow day. I got to take a two-hour nap, what should I complain about?

13 December 2008

Calm before the storm

The forecast for the next couple of days is not pretty, and like typical Minnesotans, everyone went shopping today.
My knowledge bowl team headed out for a new meet, and remained firmly in the middle of the pack. The power team graduated last year, and our potential remains untapped to its best advantage. The kids really seem to be having a blast, though, so it is all good.
iPastor and I are planning dinner and a show with another couple tonight. A grownup night out with no kids! I don't know quite what to do with myself... Might see some old friends in our college town (where we're headed for the evening's festivities) so who knows what the evening will bring. The weather is supposed to move in late tonight, so we should have plenty of time for fun before heading home for safety.

12 December 2008

On the mend

Thankfully, our brand of crud seems to be relatively short-lived, and everyone appears to be on the mend with some extra fluids and extra sleep.
The forecast for the weekend is for a nasty blizzard to roll through Sunday. The teachers at school were worse than the kids. "We'll probably have snow day Monday...Get the calling tree ready...I'm going to the cities tonight so I can get snowed in there...I'm looking forward to laying on the couch watching football Sunday and prepping for NOTHING..." Good times, good times.
I am doing a bit of nesting. Got to the grocer last night and stocked up for a few days, so I'm prepping stuff now for the weekend so I don't have to worry about it. Filled the crockpot, threw together soup, life is good...

11 December 2008

Creeping Crud

Last week Thing 4 had a little bug. He doesn't yet communicate his aches and pains with much accuracy, but he was unusually quiet and sleepy, with occasional random puking. He slept it off with no fanfare. It was therefore little surprise Monday nite to find Thing 2 hurling her guts into her wastebasket. Thing 1 and I seem to have gotten by with general yuckiness, though it explains our tendency to crawl off to bed early these past couple nights. iPastor, however reports from work that he's feeling nasty. Hopefully Thing 3 will remain untouched, but we'll wait and see. In the meantime, use plenty of hand sanitizer when you surf this way.

10 December 2008

Help!

I've been swallowed by eBay, and I can't get out!


Boxing the latest batch of Snowbabies for shipping. Thought it was the last, but I keep finding more. The next batch is all Easter, though, so I can wait with it. Thank goodness.

09 December 2008

I ::heart:: Shakespeare

Now I just have to convince 18 kids to do the same.

08 December 2008

Breaking and Entering


You're not very good at this, are you?

07 December 2008

So I blinked...

...and my weekend is gone. What the heck?

06 December 2008

Round One

First Knowledge Bowl meet of the season was killer. The questions were much harder than those we've been practicing with, or at least more obscure. It was a good time though. iPastor came as a room helper for our team, but had the benefit of hanging with our own Thing and her team. Round two next week. Oughta be a good time.

04 December 2008

Nog!

Christmas=fake egg nog in cartons in the fridge case for a month! Rock! I am happy.

03 December 2008

Third Day Third Day

So I'm late to the party for Third Day on the Third Day, but I am STOKED that I just got notification that my cancelled concert was rescheduled!! YAY! Now I only have to wait until March...

02 December 2008

Parent power

Small-town living leads to its own set of unique circumstances. This is how I live in a tiny town, my kid goes to school in the next, slightly larger town, and I teach in the neighboring district at a school out in the middle of nowhere, but equidistant from most of the small towns in that district. This is also how I can wind up coaching knowledge bowl for my school, and my kid is on the team for her school. I teach with a lady who lives in the larger town, but her husband teaches in ANOTHER neighboring district. Now that you're totally confused (or completely don't care) I can move on to my fascinating story about how I went to my kid's parent night to compete against her. As it was, her team beat the parent team by ONE point, but only because of their younger, quicker reflexes on the buzzer. I did get to spy out their t-shirt designs for this year (there's an unofficial competition to create the wittiest, geekiest, inside-jokiest shirts) and I think ours is cooler. Theirs is an upside-down "cheat sheet" of common recurring answers from the past; ours is various misspellings of "I'm a genius" struck through and replaced with "I'm really smart!" 'cuz we're clever like that.

01 December 2008

Holed up

It is so very difficult for me not to crawl under my covers and hide for the next two months or so. I don't know how I wound up living in the upper midwest when I am so disenchanted with winter! Mornings aren't so bad. Somehow I can rise before the sun and push myself underway until light filters in the window. Evenings, however, drag me down. The dark creeps up on me and sneaks into my soul and pulls me under. Maybe its worse because the iPastor works evenings lately, and he's not here to balance me against the little people. Right now, the recliner is calling me to hide under a planket and turn on the TV. Must...remain...upright...

30 November 2008

Winding down.

Hard to believe this long weekend is over already. Much to be thankful for. Many projects to accomplish coming up. Now I need to gear up and start getting ready for tomorrow.

29 November 2008

Zzzzzzzzz

Home safe. Pooped out. Nite nite.

28 November 2008

Learnin' new things

Somehow we have raised two kids to teenage in Minnesota with them never learning to ice skate. Auntie Todd and the grands took care of that this afternoon. My hometown is a hockey town with a relatively new indoor ice rink (where new=built since I graduated 22 years ago. Little bro was a goalie, now raising his own little hockey players, so they headed off to open skate and took my kids along, where the older kids took to skating like fish to water. Thing 3 had a little harder time, but still got up and made her way around the rink. Thing 4 watched and cheered.
They then came home to break out the presents from yesterday. The aunties both knit, so the older Things got learn-to-knit kits and private lessons.
Tonight some extended family have joined us to watch the hometown football team at the state competition. It's good fun, good times, quality living.

27 November 2008

Merry Thanksmas!

Havin' a great time with my folks. Eatin', playin' games, openin' presents, playin' with the stuff we opened, eatin' some more, and winding down now for bed. Hope everyone has it this good for their own Thanksgiving. And remember tomorrow is Buy Nothing Day!

26 November 2008

Ready, set, zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

I got home with great expectations of getting lots of things ready for the trip to the folks tomorrow and our part on Sunday. Then I found the recliner. All bets are off.

25 November 2008

Twitter killed the blogstar

The short and quick nature of Twitter is really bad for Blog 365. If I take the time to brew up a good post, this is definitely the place for it. More often these days, posts here are just the pithy, quick-checking-in-for-the-sake-of-Blog 365 sorts of posts. Hopefully I'll cook up more of the good sort soon.

23 November 2008

Let the holidaze begin

Along with our shopping trip yesterday, we started cleaning and getting ready for our St. Andrew's dinner next Sunday. We usually go to my folks' for "Thanksmas" to best work around the East Coast travel/visitors for the extended family. In the past, iPastor or I usually worked Thanksgiving Day, so we put in a token appearance at one of the local rellies on Thursday and head to my folks' for a long weekend. This year, iPastor is somewhat in control of his schedule (limited only by his manpower)so we'll head down on Thursday.
"Our" holiday is becoming St. Andrew's Day. Whatever day it falls on (November 30) we have a Scottish meal. We were tired of letting the Irish have all the fun on March 17th. We usually host a game party on the weekend between the holidays or New Year's Eve as well. It seems like a lot, but somehow we don't get caught up in the frantic atmosphere that so many people complain of. I can get a little too comfortable holing up in isolation all winter on any given day, so I like to plan days to have people around and enjoy them when they are here.
Now, I need to get ready for the normal week as well.

22 November 2008

Yay!

Went to Home Depot and Menards today to lay in supplies for the bathroom reno. Merry Christmas to me. I'm getting a heated floor!

21 November 2008

Thea-tah

Took Thing 3 to my schools production of Flowers for Algernon. It was about 5 seconds from the final curtain to the first parent I heard say "I'm so impressed that they knew all their lines." That may be a record.

20 November 2008

The House of Sickness

The kids seem to be taking turns with a bug. I need to go into hiding so I don't get it...

19 November 2008

Only Wednesday?

It hasn't been a bad week at all, but boy has it dragged out. Are you sure it isn't Friday?

18 November 2008

Epic Fail

So I cranked out a couple pumpkin pies tonite. I used some of my plethora of pumpkin to make the filling from scratch. I was having a hard time getting any assistance from the kids, so I did some serious multitasking. I managed to follow the recipe correctly, but had to take Thing 3 to dance before they came out of the oven. I left explicit instructions with Thing 1, who is 15 and a graduate of 3 years of FACS classes. Unfortunately, she couldn't be bothered to see them through, and passed the buck to Thing 2, who is also quite capable, but did not realize the buck had, indeed, been passed. So I came home to very dark brown pies and and crusts. They could have been edible, but when I tasted them, they were REALLY salty. I hadn't noticed anything amiss, but when I read deeper in the "comments" of the recipe site I was using, I noticed that several reviewers had noted how salty the filling was. Next time I'll read all the reviews before I try a new recipe. Oh, well. The cats didn't mind.

17 November 2008

Parental Suffering

We're back from the first middle school concert of the season. We got there early, for once. I had forgotten my glasses, which I need only for distance, so I took a seat in the front row. The only possibility that I wouldn't see my kid would be if she stood behind the piano. Guess where she stood. So, I moved to the only seat available toward the back of the auditorium. Unfortunately, this one was also on the side where the placed the soloists and instrument players. In front of my kid. She was in the 5th grade choir. It's usually fun to attend middle school concerts, as you can tell from grade to grade the progression the kids make. Not so much this year. The 6th grade was nice, the 7th grade was lifeless, and the 8th grade was puny. That and the mics on the soloists were poorly balanced, so two kids honking out "Oh, oh" sounded like feedback. Oh well, there's always Christmas.

16 November 2008

Slowdown

The frenzied pace of yesterday has calmed a bit, but still getting a fair amount done. Cool.

15 November 2008

Cleaning frenzy

No one's coming over (for a couple weeks anyway), no deadline or goal, just doing some cleaning around the place for my own enjoyment and benefit. ALso baking. I feel like a freakin' domestic goddess. No, I'm not pregnant.

14 November 2008

The bar has been raised

So I dropped my kids off at the latest sweet 16 party. There are actually a few Quinceañera parties in town now and then, but this was the first Sweet 16 that looked as if the kid watched a little too much VH1. Her folks rented a ballroom at the casino in the next town down the road. Parents with kids who don't yet have their driver's licenses were less than amused at that. I know for a fact the kid's mom busts her butt at two jobs. My soon-to-be 16 year old says she doesn't wanted a party, but her 14 year-old sister caught the bug last night. Oy. Fog machine and lava lamp in the basement, anyone?

13 November 2008

Life in da 'hood

I fully realize hunting is part of the local lifestyle and economy, but it's still quite disconcerting to wake up to gunfire. Granted, it's outside of city limits, but that still puts it two to three blocks away.
So who wears the blaze orange, the crips or the bloods?

10 November 2008

Our team rocks!

Home from junior high knowledge bowl meet with a win. Second team placed firmly in the middle, but still a respectable showing for first time out! We rawk.

09 November 2008

Dang winter

Back home safe and sound from bro's bday. We tried out a new BBQ joint (mediocre at best, but always gotta try) the kids made good use of the pool, we all got our money's worth out of the hottub, and iPastor enjoyed the wifi. A lovely weekend getaway, if you ask me. Now to gear back up for reality. Yuck.

08 November 2008

Break time!

Off to spend an overnighter with my brother to celebrate his upcoming birthday. Wheeeeee! More from the road, perhaps. High speed at the hotel! Woot!!

07 November 2008

Singing for supper

Took Thing 3 to Madison for the annual Norsefest talent show. She won some cash, I didn't fare so well. My CD, which worked just fine in the car, started skipping in the middle of my song. I think they should at least dole out sympathy money for being forced to sing in a theater that reeks of lutefisk. Lord. Thing 3 got a little spending money, though, and we had some girl time, so it was all good.

06 November 2008

Thursday

So there's a lyceum during my 6th hour class, and no school tomorrow, which means its like a Friday, which means my 7th hour class will be pointless. Hmmm.

04 November 2008

Woohoo!

I voted. Due to a computer glitch, my vote was actually the first one processed in my precinct. Said precinct only received a hundred ballots to begin with, so its not like it was a big stretch. Now we wait...

03 November 2008

Third Day on the third day

It's Third Day on the third day! The third of this month was conveniently located soon after the date I planned to see Third Day in Spencer, IA, so I figured I'd have a concert post this time around. Cool. Alas, it was not to be, due to the very sad passing of David Carr's father. I was really bummed out that the concert was postponed, but I completely understand why.
So now what to post about?
Hmmmmmm...
I'd go the "favorite song" route, but that seems to change with the mood or the moment. So, how about my take on a song? I guess I'm driving this boat, so I'll run with that.
I suppose I cam a little late to the party, so "Mountain of God" was the first song I recognized from Third Day. I heard it quite often on my commute to and from school (Christian Contemp radio has play rotation as nastily tight as top 40) so I got to know it pretty well. I really liked the southern rock sound they have, and the lyric was awesome. It was the song that made me want to hear more, so iPastor got busy loading my ipod with the eponymous album and "Offerings." More on those in our next installment of 3d3d...

02 November 2008

Weekends make me tired

Holy cow. I worked harder this weekend than I did all week. We're having a gorgeous spate of indian summer, and I didn't want to spend it all in the basement, so we got out in the yard, brought in the lawn furniture, cleaned up and raked a little, and had a lovely fire going. Now I smell like smoke and I'm ready for bed. But it's a good tired. What the heck does that mean, anyway?

01 November 2008

Full throttle

It's been a long day, and it's not done yet. We're clearing a path for the delivery of my new dryer on Tuesday, and storing the remnants of MIL's garage. In the process, we're scrubbing and unearthing. Nice to get a layer of scunge out before we seal up for the winter. Ew.

31 October 2008

You wanna know scary?

Try a roomful of 7th and 8th graders at a junior high Halloween dance.

Nah. The kids were pretty good, actually. It was very loud and my feet hurt, though.

30 October 2008

Candy Corn Day

That's all. I got nothin' else. It's candy corn day. Enjoy.

29 October 2008

Internet Day

And it's not about Al Gore. I've been keeping a calendar of whatever silly days I can find on the 'net since the kids got such a chuckle when I put Talk Like A Pirate Day on the board back in September. So today was the day in 1969 when s couple of geeks hooked up two computers to communicate with each other, and the infant internet came into being. Little did they know the addictive nature of their embryonic creation. Curse you internet, you have sucked me into your grasp!

28 October 2008

Mom's Taxi Rides Again

It's fundraiser season. Meh. Today I ran Thing 3 around to deliver the items she sold as a fundraiser for a playground at her school. Apparently when the built the school about 10 years ago, no-one thought a playground was necessary for middle schoolers. Middle schoolers think otherwise. So we had the dinner Friday night and the choir kids are also selling butter braids, with community discount cards in the near future. It's popcorn season for the Boy Scouts, and nut time for girl scouts, and magazines for all the schools in the four-county area. I'd go into hiding, but these kids have parents I have to hit up for chaperone duty, so I have to play nice. *sigh*

27 October 2008

But now the windows look crappy


I'll live with it. Soffit went up tonite!!!

26 October 2008

Four letter words on Sunday

iPastor and I looked out the window from our separate floors and both made rude noises at what we saw there: snow. It didn't stick or last long, but it was enough to put a damper on the whole day. The snow wasn't so bad on its own, but in conjunction with the 40mph winds, it was not fit for man nor beast. Church called off the scheduled hayride, and had a game night instead. A much nicer way to spend the evening.

25 October 2008

Zing!

Lots of running today. The girls and I ran to town for haircuts this morning, then iPastor and I headed for Willmar in search of a dryer. We picked one out at Home Depot, then headed downtown for lunch. I had a mind to go to a little real Mexican place, but on the way from the retail strip to the downtown area, a St. Andrew's cross flapping in the breeze caught my eye, and we turned around to discover a little gem called Gilday's It's a little import shop with a few tables and awesome food and tea. A joy to find so much closer to home than Minneapolis. Unfortunately, our visit there was marred by the call bringing news of the death of iPastor's uncle. He was battling lung cancer, but had a heart attack. He wished to be cremated, and there's is no hurry for a funeral, as he was very adamant that it be a celebration, so the family is taking their time to plan it.
From Gilday's we made our way to Harvest Church, a distribution site for Angel Food Ministries. Our church is considering becoming a distribution center, so we wanted to check out the product and the setup. They have a well-oiled machine there at Harvest. I came home and went immediately to work a shift at Job #2. Days like this keep me on my toes, but I surely don't enjoy stretching a couple of them together. Sleep!! Now!!

24 October 2008

Evening in Italy...

...was the theme of the choir fundraiser. That translates to a $14 styrofoam plate of lasagna with a floor show. The food was awesome, and the show the kids put together was topnotch. They served 250 of those plates, so hopefully it raised a little cash for the kids. The less I have to pay to send two kids to NYC, the better.

23 October 2008

The siding crew is here!

The gaping hole in the checkbook is being plugged with shiny, white, vinyl siding. Rock!
One of the siding crew actually speaks English. Bonus!
Now If I can just get all the cats into their trailer before they leave...

22 October 2008

(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday

OMG.

I went looking for house pics to do a before and after with the siding, but instead I found my old racing page.
Check it out!!
(I thought it was a direct link, but you have to click on the "Team G4" button when you get to the startup page)

21 October 2008

My kingdom for a dryer

My dryer is on the fritz. About this time last year the old one conked out, but a friend found us a free one. I suppose I shouldn't complain about using a free dryer for a year. Considering the present economy, I've been working at drying clothes the old fashioned way. After all, how many years did our ancestors last before the automatic clothes dryer was invented. Pastor likes to remind me that those who did without dryers also usually had a stay-at-home mom to oversee laundry duty. They also didn't have nearly as many clothes.
I have fallen woefully behind in the laundry department, and sadly I can't blame most of that on the dryer. Tonight I decided to catch up by taking everything to the laundromat in the strip mall where Thing 3 has dance class. As I was loading up, the thought flittered across my mind that I could probably throw everything in the load away and we'd still have plenty of clothing left in our closets and dressers to live in. I packed more summer stuff from the loads I washed, and threw away a few hopelessly stained items that we were saving...why? I bagged up items for the charity store that were between kids. No need to save something two years for the little sister. By the time she grows into it, it will be out of style. That, and if I keep it around she will find it and wear it to school looking like the little match girl in her ill-fitting clothes.
The poor kids were less than thrilled to spend their evening in the laundromat with me, and I was pretty frustrated with their constant bickering and straying off task. We each managed to come home with a basket of clean clothes, and enough rags to clean for years. I think I'll ask for towels for Christmas.

20 October 2008

Nothing says Monday like...

...wet dogs.
...coming home to a houseful of kids that aren't mine.
...smacking a deer.
...learning that the siding crew is on the way (yay!) and that means I have a bunch of stuff to take off the walls and clean out of the yard (not so yay.)


Waiting for Tuesday...

19 October 2008

Back to reality.

Here at Casa del Goose, we're gearing down the weekend and getting ready for the school week ahead. Rested and ready to go back to work. That backlog of grading I was gonna tackle over the weekend? Not so much. Oh well...

18 October 2008

How come...

...the kid who can barely get out of bed in time for the bus, can be ready to go fishing with her auntie at 530 am?

17 October 2008

So, anyway...

I got some puttering done around the house, and tried to motivate the kids to help a little. I finally accepted reality and stored the rest of the summer clothes, pulled out the long underwear and sweaters, and stripped the bed. As long as I am doing some drying at the laundromat now and then, I figured I may as well do my comforter in the big washers there, too. As the zero-hour approached for depositing Thing 1 at her McDonald's job, she seemed to exponentially move slower. Of course, I mistakenly thought I was ready to go until I couldn't find my keys. So I grabbed iPastor's and took off. As it happened, Thing 1 had fudged her start time (some sort of reverse schedule psychology, or something) so she had plenty of time. I dropped by MIL's to pick up some clothes I'd dried there, and a load of thrift store donations. I headed for the nicer laundromat, and found it packed to the rafters at noon on a Friday. Hm. So I wandered to the other, deserted, broken-down laundromat. There, the change machine would not function, and there was nowhere in the congregate shopping facility to get change. I drove the couple blocks to pick up some dry cleaning, where the oldest, most confused woman in the world helped me at the counter. Poor little thing. I dropped the load at the thrift store, then realized I left the soap at the laundromat. My day was quickly becoming an exercise in futility. I headed back (thank heaven for small towns) and passed iPastor at the railroad crossing. I thought he might be looking for his keys. Of course my cell phone was not in my purse where it was supposed to be. As I headed back in the other direction, I saw him turn up the hill, so I followed him. He's quite elusive, so I jogged a couple blocks over to a friend's house and gave him a call. He told me he was on his way to the ER with chest pain. Construction on the main route through town adds a few minutes travel time even in a little place, but I made it there nearly as he sat down. After lots of scary tests and machines that go ping, he was pronounced nearly normal, presenting with "atypical chest" pain, most likely due to inflammation. They started him on treatment for that, and let him go. So the good news is, we got no vibrant, flapping red flags, but he still feels pretty crappy. The rest of our day was fairly subdued, and I'm ready for bed. Wrings a body out.

16 October 2008

It's a brand new day!

So the day off is stretching before me, loaded with potential. I have ebay items to mail, laundry to dry, dogs to bathe, kids to ferry...
I think I'll go back to bed.

15 October 2008

Long weekend in 3, 2, 1...

Yay! The official state holiday, MEA Weekend, has begun!

13 October 2008

Parent Teacher Conferences

First conferences today from this side of the desk. Hope I don't smell...

12 October 2008

Fall

Today is dark and rainy, but oddly warm; 75 degrees at last check. Not complaining in the least...

11 October 2008

Now this is what the weekend should be like.

We puttered around the house aimlessly, did some chores and errands at a leisurely pace, and called iPastor's dad and stepmom over for pizza. I've enjoyed the past few weeks of getting out and about and visiting, but it was also nice to have a day with no agenda, no pressure to be anywhere, and no long drive to dread at the end of the day.

10 October 2008

Friday!

Seemed like a long week. Ready to kick back a little with no plan of action.

09 October 2008

Another one for file "C"

We get the kids off to the bus very early here. They get breakfsat at school, but I try to have something quick to tide them over on the bus. On Thing 4's off days, I feed him right away, but I usually wait and eat more of a brunch to hold me over until after school. Thing 4 is a grazer, however, so I try to offer him some of whatever I'm having. He wasn't interested today, but he came back a couple minutes later:

"I would like some bacon that you can cook."
"Maybe daddy will make you bacon for lunch."
"Daddy sucks at cooking bacon."

I daresay iPastor is a better cook than me. I pointed this out to the Thing, but not before I dang near snorted my tea through my nose.

06 October 2008

Rolling along

Got through the first choir concert of the year (blissfully short!) and parent meeting for the choir trip fundraiser. Love to hear the kids sing, but all the other BS is a pain. The fall concert is fine, but at Christmas, they combine the choirs and bands and it is a mess, with teardown and setup between each group that takes longer than the concert. Yuck. Two hour marathon...
The next fundraiser is "Evening in Italy." Guess who's emcee? Cliff, send me some jokes!

05 October 2008

Third Day on the Third Day (minus 2)

I follow the Third Day blog somewhat sporadically. Kinda depends on what else is going on in my life and how close I am to an upcoming show. I poked my head in and found out Mark Lee was late to his own party with the Third Day meme, so I'm right in there with him.
I've been working on tickets for Spencer, IA. Someone on eBay is selling $32 seats for $143. Good luck with that. I'll wait for the next general admission show. Geez.
We've recently "returned" to Christian contemp music at our house. We have limited radio coverage for that genre in this part of the country, and a lot of what gets airplay can be kind of, well, saccharine. Glory glory joy praise yada yada yada. We somehow stumbled across Casting Crowns and were pleasantly surprised to hear them singing about the Christian walk from a "real" perspective. It's not always easy, but it's worth the struggle. We started tuning in and paying more attention. While commuting to school I found a more modern Christian contemp station (the Refuge) and it was there I heard Third Day for the first time, and they blew me away. It took me until last March to scrape together the money and day off to take in a show, but I finally got to see them on the Live tour in Sioux Falls last year. Too much fun. Gotta love boys with a little southern rock in their soul along with Jesus. ;) Looking forward to catching the next installment of the Live tour this fall. We kinda wanted to go to Music Builds in Minneapolis, but it would have been a real struggle to get there on time from this far away. I've got my meet and greets reserved, and a daughter itching to meet Tai. iPastor and Thing 3 are bassists, so we'll be sneaking a little right of house as the night progresses, I'm sure...

04 October 2008

Garage: Sold

Posted time for sale 9:00 am.
Time people started crawling all over the yard: 7:20 am.
People buying stuff for ebay or resale who thought they were being subtle but weren't: 4.
Number of cats given away: 0

03 October 2008

But you've got to haggle...

After school today, it's off to MIL's house to prepare for her garage sale. Then I have to post a ton of Snowbabies to eBay. Yikes. It'll be nice to stick close to home, though, and I think the forecast is pleasant, so there are worse things than hanging out in the yard.

***
Edit 9:30 pm
***

So I guess I know all the good places to go for excitement. I was near the garage door looking back toward the house when I heard a crash and saw lights flicker over the roof. The first thought through my head was "Thunderstorm?" but the forecast is clear and the night was mild. Lights continued to flash and the banging and crashing continued for a few seconds. I had time to make my way to the end of the driveway to look up the street to where I thought I had seen the flashing. It actually came from behind and above her house (her block is built on a hill along a steep ravine; the alley is level with the roof of her garage, which is built into the berm.) Someone was clipping along in a white minivan and missed the curve, but caught a couple of light poles head-on, plunging our neighborhood into darkness. It was rather impressive. The kids piled out of the dark house to find me, just about he time I realized the garage door was open. I have no garage of my own, let alone one with an electric door opener, so I had no idea how to get it down, and the garage is now packed with her stuff. Thing 2 checked it out and found a quick release to get the door shut. So, that put an end to rummage sale marking for the evening. I killed time at Country Kitchen making the rounds of Friday night coffee drinkers while waiting for Thing 1 to get out of the movie, then headed home. If the power's not on by tomorrow, we'll have to drag everything out into the driveway; it's pretty dark in the garage. The adventure continues...

02 October 2008

Stolen Firsts

So I stole this meme from Jeff, who stole it from somewhere else. It seemed kinda fun, and I'm a little dry on material this week, so here goes...
1. When was your first kiss? You know, I honestly don't remember. I suppose second grade, because that's when I had the first "boyfriend." Sadly enough, it must not have been so memorable as to stick in my mind. I can remember the first kiss with iPastor, though, and I can't call it up with anyone else, so that must count for something.

2. When did you first start buying holiday or birthday gifts for other people and stop thinking about what people would buy for you? It was an anniversary for my mom and dad, and I got them the stupidest presents ever, but they liked them. Little china figurines. I remember riding home from the store with the presents in my bike basket, and they bounced out when I went over railroad tracks. I was petrified they'd break, but they were well wrapped by the drugstore lady. Good thing. I still care what other people get me.

3. When was the first time you thought of yourself not as a kid/teen, but as an adult? When I was 15 and knew everything. Then I grew up and started feeling like a kid again.

4. What do you remember about the first time you drove a car?
Putting a Gran Torino in the ditch, and my sister having to drive it out.

5. Tell me about your first pet.
A curly black dog named Skippy, who went to live at the farm when I was about 5. Took me forever to realize the dog bought the farm he went to live on. Duh.

6. What was your first job? I started car-hopping and doing home care the same summer, when I was 16. No rollerskates at either job, but there was a really mean dog that tore my ankle open at the farm where I did home care.
7. Who was the first teacher to make a positive impact on your life? Dan Smith, reading Tennyson's "The Eagle" from atop his desk. I had lots of good teachers, but he's the one who sticks in my heart. As are a couple of awesome college Profs.

8. If you’ve lived in more than one house or apartment as an adult, tell me about your first one.
Six of us lived in a rented duplex in college. It was that golden time, not quite grown up and responsible, but paying the bills and having an awesome time with friends. We had contests to see who could stay in bathrobes the longest, played marathon games of Michigan Rummy, alternated baking and preparing awesome meals together and surviving on Ramen noodles. It rocked.
9. What was it like the first time you got drunk (assuming you remember). It involved cold duck malt liquor and was not particularly horrible or fun. I was 13. The first smoking experience involved far more retching and angst.

10. Did you marry your first love?
I thought I was in love a few times and was proven horribly wrong, sometimes by their behavior, and sometimes by my own. I also loved the man I married, and I've learned over the years that love is a lot more than we think it is when we are driven by hormones. I am still learning, and still loving, so I must be on the right track.

30 September 2008

12 really bored men (and women)

I checked the "hotline" last night to find the trial was still on the docket and I had to report for jury duty today.
The pool of people milled around, drank coffee, and were otherwise bored silly. I had the foresight to bring some papers to grade, so I worked on those, read my booklet, and waited. Eventually, the court administrator came in and showed us a video, and let us know that voir dire would start soon. We waited. And waited. Eventually, the judge called us in and explained that he had accepted a plea at the last minute. He continued to relate that they don't normally do that once the jury has reported and so many people have been inconvenienced, but between he and the attorneys, they had decided it was the best outcome for everyone involved. He also explained that someone who is willing to fight a charge sometimes gets cold feet at the last minute when they realize the evidence and witnesses are stacked against them. Not so dumb, that. So, I frantically prepared sub plans to wind up having an afternoon off. Got to spend a little time with iPastor and Thing 4, so it was all good. Justice has been served.

29 September 2008

10 on Tuesday...

...Ten things that scare me/freak me out

1. Sarah Palin (John McCain doesn't frighten me but the thought of "President Palin" is as frightening as "President Quayle." *shudder*)
2. The economy
3. Gas prices
4. Propane prices
5. The idea of drowning
6. or burial alive
...

I've run dry. Many things that would appear on lists like this don't really scare me. Spiders, snakes, etc. I startle as easily as anyone of something hops/slithers/crawls across my path and I wasn't expecting it, but the actual critter doesn't bug me. Once I get past the surprise I'll shoo or catch and dispatch whatever offending critter has come my way. I will make the "freak out" exception for ticks, or anything parasitic for that matter. The idea of something hitching a ride and a free meal on me or mine is repulsive to me. So we'll make that 7.

28 September 2008

Scary

While randomly surfing, I happened across this picture:

When I was in eighth grade, I moved with my sister's family from a small town in northwestern Iowa to a small town on the other side of the border in southwestern Minnesota. It was only 16 miles away, so I kept in touch with many of my old friends, but I had the opportunity to meet lots of new people, too. Among them was a young lady named Kim. She had bleach-blonde hair, but otherwise struck an amazing resemblance to the picture, from clothes to attitude to Bad Reputation. Completely without imagination, her friends all called her Jett. I was drawn to her like a moth to a flame. We hung out for a relatively short time before she got sent to juvy, reformed, became a hairdresser, married, had kids and lived happily ever after. We were together long enough, however, for someone to notice a "Gette" in my name as well, which they began calling me. It stuck. For 25 years so far. That, as they say, is where the story began.

27 September 2008

76 trombones

During high school, Saturdays in the fall meant one thing for me: marching band. I was in the color guard, on the flag line. We marched in parades and field shows every Saturday from the middle of August until Thanksgiving. We spent hours on the street, lining up, straightening ranks, rounding corners. If the ground was dry we were marching formations and learning to step exactly three paces to five yards on the field. If it was muddy, the director reserved us 100 yards of the parking lot for practice. It paid off. We took home awards and were invited to the National Independence day parade in Washington DC. Summer marching was new, but we were up for the challenge, to the point of winning the competition.
The home show was Tri_State Band festival. This year we took the Things down to watch for only the second time. Waitressing and working in nursing all these years, I've hardly ever had the last Saturday of September free. It was fun to see. Most of the bands do a mini-show on the street. It's annoying as heck when they're holding up a regular parade, but this show is all bands, so what the heck. One of my friends from band now directs one of the major AAA contenders in the region. They looked awesome. The tri-state area has several major competitions every fall; Brookings, Vermillion, Sioux Falls, Brandon and, of course, Tri-State. My part of the country has summer marching, if the program hasn't been cut all together. Field shows get trotted out for homecoming games, then forgotten. Saturday was all about the nostalgia for me. It was a good thing.
We got in some bonus time with grandparents as well. We've now made at least one pass through the ranks of family neglected during Elsie's illness. Nice to be home now.

26 September 2008

Birthday Blues, in a good way

iPastor took me out for my birthday. We went to Bootlegger's. Awesome food, and we lucked into Blues night with Jerry Ostensoe. Good stuff on both counts. It was nice just to chill out and hang with my honey.

25 September 2008

15 passenger van+60 miles+free pizza=

Knowledge Bowl Coaches meeting tonight. Finally home. Kids are owly. So am I.

24 September 2008

Another dancing Thing...

...Country Kitchen and grocery shopping. My days are slipping away from me.

23 September 2008

Dancing Thing...

...and Burger King. I rock the paper crown.

22 September 2008

Amityville

I made the mistake of opening Thing 3's window for some fresh air yesterday, and got a ceiling full of flies. Ew.
Thing 4 wound up with strep, which is a pain but easily treated. Poor kid. He's been much better today, but zonked out right after supper.
Now I'm off to watch the season premiere of Heroes! Woot! Monday nights are cool again.

21 September 2008

A good time was had by all

Yesterday we went to Watertown, SD to see my brother, part of the aforementioned plan to catch up with the rest of the family. We couldn't have asked for a more gorgeous day. We tried a new-to-us pizza buffet place, where we ate until we were miserable and played in the arcade. The kids wanted to go putt-putt golfing, which was a clever ruse to go ride go-karts. I couldn't think of a really good reason to say "no," so we headed for Thunder Road. When we got there, I noticed the signboard said "military day." Bro and his wife are retired Air Force, so she grabbed her ID. We were expecting a discount; we got five free tickets for each veteran. Nice surprise. We dropped a little coin in the arcade and a couple extra golf games by way of thanks. Gotta love a place that appreciates vets. After some days in the sun, we hit the Evil*Empire Stupid Center for an oil change and some shopping, then headed home. Passing through the river bottom, we scared up our usual batch of twilight deer. It was a lovely night for a drive.
Today is a day to catch up on housework and keep an eye on Thing 4. He woke crying with an earache. I managed to get him comfortable enough with cold medicine to get back to sleep, and he's been fine ever since, but if his ear hurt that bad there must be something cooking in there. A mother's work...

19 September 2008

It's that time of year again...

It's Talk Like A Pirate Day!!!!

(Unfortunately, it is also homecoming day at our school, so I don't get to do anything fun with it. There's always next year...)

18 September 2008

Sappy mom, or something

So I'm a sentimental lightweight, but this video choked me up a little.

17 September 2008

The outlaws are coming

Pizza with iPastor's dad and stepmom tonite. We've been making an effort to catch up with all the family we neglected over the summer. My brother's up next this weekend. Baby steps.

16 September 2008

Just a walkin' the dog...

City lights do not block the starlight out here. Tonight, however, the moon wanes still nearly full, dimming the stars in a brilliant blue glow, casting long shadows from the east. Two of the shadows are long and low to the ground, swaying gently over the gravel. The two seem connected at the shoulder. He nearly eclipses her, so much larger. They move as one, like a well-trained team of horses. His nose catches a scent, and they veer in unison to the weeds at the side of the road. Satisfied, they continue ahead, chasing the shadows they cast. Claws click and gravel crunches. The night couldn't be more perfect. All too soon, these excursions will be cut short by the bitter cold; the clicks will be muffled by snow. For now, they turn to trail their shadows behind them and point their noses toward home.

15 September 2008

Guess all I had to do was ask...

GOrgeous weather on tap all week. Not spending it here in front of a screen!

14 September 2008

Enough with the dreary

Rainy crappy weekend. The forecast for the week looks nice, but we gotta get past the soggy gray morning. It's a good day to stay inside and fold the mountain of laundry. Or play video games. Or watch food network. I see a problem...

13 September 2008

Shop 'til we drop

We got Thing 1 an eye appointment today in Saint Cloud, so we used it as an excuse to spend the day shopping. I actually bought clothes at retail. Without guilt. I still bought more at thrift stores, but I think MIL would have liked me to spend her birthday gift on teacher clothes. I don't normally like clothes shopping, but I was on a mission. iPastor got in plenty of geeky electronic shopping and pawn diving, and we both got in some thrifting. By mid-afternoon, everyone was pretty tired and cranky, and I think passing around a mild cold bug, but we got our second wind at Bravo Burrito, picked up some video games and headed home. We made a quick stop at a grocery store, where iPastor picked up coffee and the teenagers played with the huge revolving door, giggling wildly until someone puked. The rest of the ride home was mostly uneventful, except for suddenly driving into fog. I pronounce it a successful shopping excursion, though we didn't top at McDonald's once.

12 September 2008

Bonfire season

Our neighbor Dan has felt so much better since he got his new kidney and he spends a lot of his newfound energy baking. He's Dan the cookie man, everyone's unofficial uncle. He lives right next to the bus stop, and the kids don't usually make it home from the bus without stopping for a cookie.
The weather has been perfect for lighting up fires. Dan can usually be found in the gathering dusk with a few neighbor kids in his front yard around his firepit. Before too long he usually has a few adults gathered around to chat and help herd the kids, or drag their own home. It's a pleasant way to spend a half hour or so. I've still got a pile from my fallen tree to burn. Before long we'll fire our pit up, too. Fall is coming quickly.

11 September 2008

Sad day in town

A kid from the Things' school was buried today. Last week he and a friend were goofing off with a gun... He was 17.

10 September 2008

Wednesday already?

Over the hump...

We had another council meeting about the garden man tonight. The place was packed, but less than half were from town. The local sustainable farming people have gotten on the band wagon. I'd just like the city to spend $3600 on something useful, and not lawyers' fees.

09 September 2008

Starting to get in the groove...

...now if the one class would just wake up, and the other shut up.

08 September 2008

Weird...

Tonight's recliner and cocker spaniel time was spent with Elvis, via PBS. This concert is weirdly, cheesily awesome.

07 September 2008

Happiness is a Warm Puppy

Been working on getting the dogs better socialized, and it feels like we're making progress. They got left in the rain yesterday, so we had baths and brushing in the late afternoon. Last evening I got to nap in the recliner with a warm cocker spaniel in my lap. Not a bad thing.

06 September 2008

And still with the cleaning.

Got most of MIL's stuff moved from her house to her garage today, so we can scrub and start showing. Now to gear up for a garage sale. Oy.

05 September 2008

Jumping in with both feet.

Remember when I was disappointed in the part-time offer? Totally not the case any more. Everyone should be this lucky. It's all about easing in now.

04 September 2008

Free to a good home...

Kittens. Four dark grey stripey tabby. One formerly grey and white. Found crockpot with sloppy joe remnants. Is now orange tabby.

03 September 2008

So far...

...so good.
I apologize for the lack of content, but between the new teacher thing, and still dealing with MIL's stuff (it looks like we're moving with all the unpacked boxes around here) I feel the need to keep my head down and keep plugging. Rest assured, I am storing up colorful anecdotes to share with you when I feel it is safe to relax. Like in three years.

02 September 2008

01 September 2008

Better

Today working in my room was much better. I'm getting excited. My PRAXIS scores arrived with certificates of excellence and made me feel much better.

31 August 2008

Long Weekend

Spending the weekend at home and skipping Lifelight. I think the former is better for my soul this year.

30 August 2008

Boom

Working in my classroom today and officially freaked out.
I heard comments about how calm and together I was all summer dealing with MIL's situation, working two jobs, keeping it all together, etc. I guess it bit me in the rear today.

29 August 2008

This year's food find


Spam curds.
More when I'm not so tired.

Big thanks to Duckduckgreyduck.wordpress.com for taking a pic last year that I could steal. Go read it. It's funny.

28 August 2008

Worth the price of admission...

...just to walk with Thing 4 into the science museum Omnitheater, see him look up at the screen and say "Wow! Cool!"

27 August 2008

Best out of context sound bite from my week:

"And now let's pause to examine a small collection of buttons."

(It just struck me funny. So I'm weird. You knew that already.)

26 August 2008

And the new is...

The report from the fair via cell phone: "We lost to a yoyo."

25 August 2008

First day of school

For me, any way, from the otherside. Kinda cool. Kinda scary. Kinda weird. I have an interior classroom. No windows. I'll have a lovely florescent tan in no time.
The best part? I got home today and was DONE. Didn't have anywhere else to be. Lovin' it.

24 August 2008

Putzy and weird

Spent most of the day with family cleaning and sorting at MIL's house. It was kinda fun (to hang with the fam), kinda weird and creepy (to be sorting her stuff).
When we moved into our big old house from our tiny little one, people kept assuming we had lots more room and giving us stuff. I've been slowly disposing of extra stuff for years. Now I have to rearrange everything to make room for some of MIL's stuff. We're still gonna have one heck of a rummage sale...

23 August 2008

So over that

Today I worked my last shifts at Job 1 and Job 2. Monday I start teacher workshops. Woot!

22 August 2008

The Great Minnesota Get Together

All last week, Nora had me getting antsy for the fair with her daily updates from Indiana. Today, James Lileks upped the ante with this, as our fair is officially underway, and I'm not there! Lileks lists a myriad of reasons to go to the fair on the first day, all of which I embrace. The biggest reason for me, however, is that the first day of the fair is always Thrifty Thursday, and I am nothing if not cheap.
I am a relative newcomer to the Minnesota State Fair. I attended my first one right before my sophomore year of college, twenty years ago, with friends I had met working at Valleyfair. We went on Labor Day, when everyone was clearing out inventory and antsy as heck to pack up and get out, but it was enough to whet my interest. A few years and a couple of kids later, we went with friends and I was officially hooked. It is an awesome and relatively cheap place to go see a concert. You can troll for free stuff all day. A few years ago (10? no way...), I learned of the County Fair Talent Competition, and we began to "earn" our trips to the fair. This year marks three times for me, three for Thing 3, one for Thing 1 on her own, and this year with Thing 2 as a duet. If, by chance, we don't have a winning year, we likely go anyway, especially if we have an exchange student, as the State Fair is a quintessential part of the Minnesota experience. Poor iPastor almost always winds up with a headache, but he's a pretty good sport and follows along dutifully.
As any major venue, food and drink is incredibly overpriced, but skinflints like myself can find a way around that. We used to park free on the U of M campus and take a shuttle, but after a few trips carting strollers on a bus, we soon determined it is a good investment to pay to park on site and have relatively quick and easy access to the van. In my van, I can keep a cooler full of water and snacks, and avoid paying $4 for a glass of watery pop. Granted, much of the fun of the fair is trying new food or eating in an awesome church kitchen, but we have managed to control the money hemmorhage by limiting ourselves to purchasing only something really special and snacking out of the cooler just for munchies and drinks. Corn dogs and cotton candy I can get at WalMart. There is a church stand by the Eco building with awesome meatball sundaes; fair fries and Sweet Martha's cookies are not to be missed. We used to buy sweet potato fries at a stand by the horse barn (most vendors stay in the same spot for years) until they became more widely available at restaurants. I still go there for their sweet potato pie...yummm. This year I may actually try the deep fried alligator or hotdish on a stick. I'm always up for something new. Now I'll be anxiously counting the days until next Thursday. Things 1 and 2 will be singing Tuesday, so they are going with friends. I'm jealous.

21 August 2008

Slightly better

We got a bit done around the house today, so I feel slightly better about that. I still feel like a nasty old bear, though, because I could not get my kids to stay on task for anything and it always ended badly. I am stressing over the amount of stuff I need to get done before school starts for me next week, and the amount of stuff we still need to do for MIL's estate, and a lack of synchronicity with anyone in my family. Everyone seems to have a different set of priorities, and though most of them are valid, they don't always coincide. Poop. Guess I'll just keep plugging.

20 August 2008

Beware of Mom

Man, am I in a pissy mood. Come back later when I'm decent to be around...

19 August 2008

New Music Tuesday!



As annoying as the emails from iTunes can be, I was stoked to find in my email this morning that Hymned Again is here! Woot! I'm way too lazy to figure out how to post samples here, so check out the linky and go play the samples to hear for yourself. There's a little bit of everything in there: Memphis soul, R&B, bluegrass, more and more. I love my copy of Hymned No.1; I can already tell I'll be wearing out the new one as well.

18 August 2008

The horror...

Thing 1 went to a pay-per-view wrestling show with the new boyfriend last night and came back a fan. Aaaaaaargh!

17 August 2008

Day of rest

Wow. Nice start to the day. After church, pastor and his wife treated us to a steak dinner. They had an auction back in June and treated everyone who helped to steaks, but with MIL's situation we had to miss. A couple others did, too, so we met in the shade of their backyard and enjoyed the day before it got too hot.
I should have left well enough alone; all efforts to motivate anyone to help around the house this afternoon were futile.

16 August 2008

Chopped Liver

I had most of today off, and had a chunk of it to myself. iPastor took Thing 3 shopping in Willmar, Grampa took Thing 3 for their annual school shopping trip and Thing 1 worked. I told Thing 4 we'd be all alnone together, and asked him what he'd like to do. "I want to go to (neighbor kid's) house!" So mom was abandoned. I putzed in the house and treated myself to a bubble bath. iPastor returned with Things in tow just as I had to leave for work at Job2. Now I am back and they are all crashed or otherwise occupying themselves. Time for bed for mama, I guess.

15 August 2008

Falling into place...

The Science Museum of Minnesota has extended the Star Wars Exhibit three days, so now we can go there one evening and stay over to do the fair! Woot! That'll save some running and monkeying. Two out of thriteen...

14 August 2008

Thursday 13

Thirteen Things I want to do/finish before the end of Summer...
1. Course Paperwork
2. Pay for school so I can get my degree sent!
3. Go to the State Fair at least once, maybe more depending on competition results.
4. Go to the Science Museum for Thing 3's Christmas Trip (Each Thing got to choose a special trip of their own for a Christmas gift. Less clutter...)
5. Go to Valleyfair for Thing 1's Christmas Trip
6. Knock out syllabi for each class I teach.
7. Finish cleaning out MIL's house
8. Get the lawn and flowerbeds tamed into submission.
9. Cut down more dead trees
10. Go to Lifelight!
11. Use up the bulk pool tickets I bought my kids!
12. Have a weekend off that's not all planned up.
13. Sleep in!



I have a feeling some of these will bleed into the fall, or not get done at all, but a gal can dream.
Now it's off to work.

13 August 2008

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday



Who knew my house came equipped with a portal to Hell?

12 August 2008

Errands

Tuesday was putzy. I spent a good portion of our day tag-teaming with iPastor and BIL, running around, collecting car titles and death certificates and distributing them about the country. BIL's family and ours have absorbed MIL's vehicles, and BIL swapped us their little beater since he got the new Impala. We've gone from one functional vehicle to three in short order. I now have a S10 pickup for toting my junk to the landfill. I've always wanted a hauler, but I told MIL I'd much rather have her hang around and sell me the truck, but it worked out otherwise. The Grand Am is ostensibly to teach soon-to-be-16 Thing 1 and her sister to drive, but iPastor kinda likes it, too. Both the truck and the new-to-us Pontiac are 5-speeds, so we can teach the girls the joys of manual transmission (which for their parents means a tendency towards speeding--must remedy that...)
Anything I attempted to do around the house was an exercise in futility. I transferred all my stuff from my iMac to MIL's mac mini, which ate a good chunk of time. It's an appreciated upgrade; I love my iMac but it has been with us since January of 2002. Surprisingly, its functionality is still quite good, but the DVD drive and some of the other peripherals are worn out.
By the time I got that done it was time to go to work, where I sat around and wasted an hour of my life that I'll never get back waiting to be told to go home. I didn't mind the night off, and it brought me to town to accomplish still more errands, but, yeah. Thing 1 was also delighted for the chance to go to town and hang with the Boyfriend. Squee! We approve of the kid, but I am so not ready for the dating thing. I am also immensely thankful that the kid does not have MY habits of her age. The mother's curse may have played out in attitude and quirks, but thank the Lord she has more sense and direction than I did at her age. Better go say my prayers!

11 August 2008

Shiny!

The county fair is here, which means today was talent show time once again! This year, the Watson clan took a little trip to the hardware store.
Can you say "sweep?" Booyah! It was a little bittersweet, as our biggest fan is no longer here; but Grandma Elsie is bragging us all up in heaven tonite. Of course, no-one remembered a camera. I had to go directly from work to meet my brood at the fairgrounds, and they were hard pressed to remember their own heads, which I guess they needed more than the camera. So, we are officially going to the state fair. I like to go every year, but unlike Nora who can ride her bike to her state fair, it's an excursion for us. The state fair competition has three classes, and they only do two every night, so we have a little planing to do. While I love the fair, I love it on weekdays. One year we went on a Friday and they set an attendance record. Wall-to-wall people. Yikes. Our good friends from church will be going so Mom the Master Naturalist can work at the DNR booth. I'll check the Education MN page to see if they want help; I got free tix and mileage for working their booth one year. So I think we'll have two separate trips, but that's OK. I'll post details when I have 'em, and you MN groupies will have to come out and cheer the Watsonian detachment.
Fair time is also fundraiser time. Thing 1 and I were scheduled to pull a shift at the choir food booth, but it was short-lived as they ran out of food. That's a good thing, I think... The booth was positioned right next to the track, and tonight's grandstand event was racing. As we worked, late model heats ran. Oh. My. The vibration of a late model makes my jaw hum and gives me an uncontrollable grin that embarrasses the heck out of my daughter. She knows I've got the itch...
That noise and feeling takes me back to my childhood: Friday nights spent on aluminum bleachers at Rapid Speedway watching the local boys tear up a dirt track. Occasionally my brother would tow his car up from Omaha and run with the big boys. The grinding roar of those cars on a small town dirt got in my blood. My dad had stopped racing by the time I was born; a back injury took him out. He loved to watch my brother, though, and would work in the pits with him if we were together on race nights, dragging mom and I along, and I usually got to go to the pits with him instead of sitting in the grandstand. After my brother's divorce and discharge from the Air Force, he got out of regular season racing, but continued as a perennial contender at enduro races and figure-eights. One summer I worked near home, so I drove the "powder-puff" races with him. A Plymouth scamp hauls on dirt. Dang if that's not addictive.
Fast-forward a few years, to when my husband's video business was getting off the ground. His buddy Dan loves the races, and he got an inside lead on taping at the track. For a few years, we produced racing videos and featurettes for the Fiesta City Speedway and the local cable company. I found myself back at the track many a Friday night, usually behind a camera. When those late models came around turn four, it set off the old grinding vibration in the jaw. Racing takes money, though: gas, tires, chassis, trailers--none of it is cheap. At FC a cute little class called cruisers raced. Four or six cylinder motors, mostly stock except for safety modifications, run with a driver and a passenger. The driver had the wheel and brake, the passenger had a gas pedal. They had a track car, and gave a door prize every week of a chance to drive it in the next week's feature. I was all over that. Too much fun. That winter, my brother found a turnkey cruiser setup and bought it. We planned to go back and forth together between Casino and Fiesta City, but as it turned out, my girlfriend and I ran it all season at home. We were firmly in the middle of the pack, but we had a blast. I flipped it over once between turn three and four trying to avoid a spinout. Another time I ramped off the back of turn three to avoid t-boning another team of gals who were a bit too aggressive and spun wide in the turn. iPastor says I shouldn't have bothered; all the paint they left on the side of my car over the season proved they weren't any too careful with my safety. Mostly we kept it on all four wheels, and made enough money at the end of each night to pay for the gas and pit fees. We sold the car at a swap meet that fall; I moved too far away to tow the car to the track without a trailer anymore, and just couldn't afford one. It was one heck of a summer, though.
(This is most definitely not me, but it looks like a blast...)

09 August 2008

Stuff

George Carlin was a wise man. We're sorting and distributing my MIL's stuff. Wow. She had a lot, and she really didn't have that much compared to some I know. I need to go lie down for awhile.

08 August 2008

Did you know...

...that a 10-year-old girl, when told to put clean sheets on her queen size bed, will opt instead to sleep on a storage box in her closet? I didn't until last night.

07 August 2008

Double hrumph...

Today doesn't seem to be going much better. Communication around here seems to be an issue. If I say something, people don't seem to hear it, and they tell me the same thing happens when they speak. It's all a bit tiresome, to say the least. I did get some housework done with a little help from the clan, and Thing 2 helped me get 75 Thank You cards in the mail. That's one for the plus column...

06 August 2008

Hrumph...

I'm perfectly out of sorts. We're working our way back to normal, but nothing seems to go right or please me much. The kids have been particularly bucky about falling into line on ANYTHING, which makes me quite irritated so then they tell me I'm mean. I spent a bit of time sitting and spacing off into the firepit tonite, trying to sort it through, but I got nowhere fast. Makes me just wanna hang it up and go to bed.

05 August 2008

Productive

Wow. Got iPastor and Thing 2 on board with me and made a real dent in the housework today. Still got a way to go, but the stuff we did was very visible, so it helps morale more than the little stuff that needs to be done but doesn't show. Tomorrow I can clean desk drawers and sort socks... It all sounds very mundane, but its kinda nice to be back to mundane.

04 August 2008

The view from my window


Until I find my *&*&!! cord, this is the only picture I have from Thursday's storm. The roof coaters are actually almost half done repairing it already. Kudos to them. More when I find my cord...

03 August 2008

Surf of the day

The kids and I were doing some family surfing this evening, and wandered over to MercyMe's blog site for the latest "Cover Tune Grab Bag." If you have a few minutes to enjoy a laugh, check out the boys goofing off. It's a hoot.

02 August 2008

Self-explanatory

On the front porch this morning: a half-eaten frog, and pile of cat vomit.

01 August 2008

Approaching normal...

...or as close as we get to it around here.

Today was the workshop for the challenge course I will teach in the fall, then I had to work at Job2, where we were swamped. It was kinda nice to be back to somewhat normal.

31 July 2008

Goin' out with a bang...

I woke this morning to the sound of hail on my window, and my first thought was,"Oh, Man, the dogs are outside." I rolled out to get them, and got absolutely drenched. I was sure it would blow over before I got them in and I would have been soaked in vain, but it went on for a while. Usually storm cells blow over in 15 minutes or so, but this blew for almost an hour. I looked out the front window and saw the roof on the bar across the road blow off and roll across the parking lot. Our 25-year-old fully insured shingles? Fine. We were lucky: big mess but no damage. My favorite tree is down harmlessly in the back yard, if you don't count the ratty old swing it landed on.
Lots of corn down, but I hear from those in the know its ok as long as the roots are intact. The school I was hired at sustained over $2 million in damage to the gym roof. Waubay and Webster SD clocked winds of 100mph; Madison MN clocked 84. When the storm blew over, we did what every typical midwesterner does. We piled in the car and drove around to check out the damage. Many near misses in the neighborhood. Uncle Dan lost his car under a big tree, but all the people are safe.
We had to bow out of the chainsaw brigade to head in for Elsie's funeral. It was quite a show, and she would have loved it all. She had made most of her plans, and all we had to do was fill in the blanks. We were piped in and the tartan was kirked. I was threatening to succomb to the solemnety of the moment when I looked over to see a niece-in-law with her hands over her ears. It gave me a smile, and I was fine. A friend of hers who does and Elvis show sang how great thou art in the proper Elvis style. iPastor gave an awesome reflection and made a beautiful photo montage for her. The pastor's message was great and I got through the song she chose unscathed. We were piped from the church, and as she requested, her urn was placed in the saddlebag of her brother's Harley, the pastor hopped on with him, and they led the procession out to the cemetery, where the piper ended the service with Amazing Grace. A finer tribute hasn't been seen for many a year.

30 July 2008

A life in words inadequate

Elsie Bernice McDougal was born on February 9, 1942, in Montevideo, MN, the daughter of Donald B. and Charlotte (Pray) McDougal. She was baptized in the Lutheran faith and confirmed at Trinity Lutheran Church in Montevideo.

Elsie attended high school in Montevideo with the class of 1960. She helped her parents care for her younger siblings and worked with her mother at Lottie's Cafe. She went on to graduate from Willmar Technical Institute in 1972. Elsie was engaged in the profession of hairdressing, operating Carousel Beauty Salon out of her home and, later, The Hair Loft.

Elsie married Bob Jones in 1960, and they raised two sons, Kevin and Kyle. They attended Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Montevideo.

Among her many interests, Elsie was a member of the Montevideo VFW Auxiliary, the Montevideo American Legion Auxiliary, the Clan MacDougall Society, Bowling League and Card Club. She enjoyed dancing, piano music, sunbathing at the lake, fishing, and having coffee while playing Ms. Pac-Man with her life-long friend Wanda Flickinger. She loved to travel, especially to visit someone she loved. Elsie also loved spending time with her family, especially her grandchildren. She attended Trinity Lutheran Church later in life.

Elsie died peacefully at 7PM on July 28 at the Clarkfield Care Center after a relatively brief but valiant battle with cancer; she was 66 years of age. Throughout, she kept a positive attitude and was resolute in not letting the disease defeat her. It didn't.

Surviving family include her two sons Kevin (Julie) Jones of Montevideo, Kyle (Georgette) Jones of Watson; one daughter Tatiana (Marco) Quesada of San José, Costa Rica; grandson Adam (Katie) Jones of Fargo, ND; grandchildren T'Shael, Paige, Geordan and William Jones of Watson; grandchildren Gloriana and Estaban Quesada of San José, Costa Rica; brothers Charles (Carol) McDougal of Richmond, KY, Jack (Julie), John and Don McDougal, all of Montevideo; sisters Sharlet (Jeff) Huston of Apple Valley, and Dolly (John) Cartalucca of Maple Grove; brother-in-law Ken Peterson of Battle Lake, special friend David Beito of Granite Falls, MN, and a huge extended family she loved.
She was preceded in death by her parents and a sister, Evelyn Peterson of Battle Lake

29 July 2008

Peace

In typical midwestern Lut'ran fashion, we have been inundated with food. I will soon be fat. This woman has SO many friends and a huge extended family that she loved. She had great nephews and boyfriend's kids, etc, that were closer to her than their own folks. She was an awesome lady. iPastor had a nice post about the situation. We are sad. That's all right.

28 July 2008

The wait is over, the party's begun...

Heaven has a new hellraiser tonight. Elsie has gone on to glory, and the party is in full swing. We wish she would have stayed longer with us, and we will miss her terribly.

27 July 2008

The Mostly McDonald's tour of WC MN

Yesterday was long and tiring, but kinda nice. We got on the road at 530, having to jump the van because I left the dome lights on while packing and arranging the van for the trip. Our family is a little eclectic: I had to unload books, backpacks, two microphone stands and a mic to make room for our stuff for the trip. I was working in the dark, so I left the dome lights on while I went in and out, but I was surprised that was enough to drain the battery. We had a lovely early morning drive, hit the notorious Division Street stoplights just about right, and made it to the center just in time to take my test. I think I did fine, but won't know for 4 weeks. My family dropped me there and headed back to the other end of town to McDonald's for breakfast, then the first round of Best Buy computer dumping (2 per customer per day) After my test, iPastor informed me that he had continued to have trouble starting. As we were in the Cloud, we met Jeff Lee of View from the Cloud for coffee at a different McDonald's. It rocked.


His adorable brown-eyed girl was along, and chatted up my kids.


They left for lakeside adventures, and we dropped the elder kids off at Barnes and Nobel, then headed for Firestone for a quick diagnosis on the van. We had the most pleasant automotive repair experience of our lives there. The mechanics were all pleasant, helpful, had proper hygiene and all their teeth. They told us exactly what the scan would cost, and had us in the bay in about 30 seconds. The final result was that the battery was completely fried, which explained how quickly it drained, so we replaced it and were on our way, happy it wasn't something worse. We hit Best Buy again, then iPastor got to peruse a pawn shop. We attempted to meet a high school friend of mine for lunch, but went to two different Arby's. She mentioned the street number, and I knew we were in approximately the right neighborhood, so I didn't pay enough attention when iPastor drove to the one in the mall. Oh well. I headed back for my test, and the family checked out the local parks system. They wound up at a playground and splashpad. I had checked ahead on the internet, and planned swimsuits for the little ones, thinking the older kids wouldn't be interested if it wasn't an actual pool.

Good thing they dry out quickly.

They picked me up from a slightly more stressful test-this one involved writing short answers regarding case studies-and we met up successfully with Debbie at a comics store, where the natives were becoming restless. We jokingly mentioned that the McD's hadn't had play areas, and she pointed out that the only McDonald's that we hadn't yet visited has a McGym. We headed there to let the kids run off steam and had a great visit.
We then headed home into the sunset. Summer is fading quickly, but it was a nice little half-tank trip that I wouldn't mind taking again. Cheap and painless.
We hit the Willmar Best Buy on the way home, but opted to skip McDonald's until closer to home, so Thing 1 could pick up her schedule.

26 July 2008

Murphy's Law

When I can only plan six hours of sleep, I'll get four. This sucks.
iPastor came to bed sneezing and restless. I assume he was reacting to dust from several of the ancient computers we dredged out of the basement to dump at Best Buy for free. Whenever a school got rid of a Mac lab, someone got wind of it and claimed all the old Macs for our basement, because we're Mac people and we could use six boxes of keyboards and peripherals. We kept them long enough there was hope of marketing them on eBay for the nostalgia crowd, but its hardly worth the hassle.
After his sneezing shook me awake, he finally got to sleep, but I couldn't get back. I gave up after an hour and got up to push a load of laundry through and seek a little wisdom from the interwebs before I hit the shower. Wish me luck all.

25 July 2008

The past two nights at work have been overstaffed, and I've volunteered to be cut. Can't make any money that way, but I think I've got enough on my plate right now. In the midst of everything else, I have to drive two hours to take my PRAXIS II exam. I've hardly made the best use of my time studying with everything else going on, but I either know this stuff or I don't. Wouldn't be so bad if the blessed thing didn't start at 7:30 am. The test is scheduled in two blocks, and they are 4 hours apart, so we are
also attempting a coffee stop to meet with Jeff from View from the Cloud. Hopefully a good time will be had by all. The whole family is accompanying me for a few hours away, and will get to amuse themselves in the moderately big town while I test. Let's hope it helps.