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


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.

24 July 2008

The family got MIL checked in to a lovely care center. I worked there about 10 years ago doing paperwork for the home health office. They were just starting to renovate at that time; formerly it was a pretty sad little dingy cinderblock building. Now it is beautiful. Although some rooms still show a little wear, they have gone a long way toward warming those up, and the newer areas are wonderful.
Elsie is very weak, and very sleepy, but still in there and able to let us know what she thinks.
And now we wait.

23 July 2008


MIL goes to a nursing home tomorrow. Cancer still sucks.
Thankfully, she still has no pain, and has had no nausea for a few weeks. Hopefully we can keep her comfortable.

Too weary and uninspired to write much these days.

21 July 2008

Crises of different kinds

Got home to OPK and missing kittens. Must go help sort and search.

Update: Kittens found. Mom is hero. Kids happy and grateful. Mission accomplished again.

20 July 2008


Food was eaten. Stories were shared. Shopping was done. Xcel Centre was successfully rocked. Mission accomplisehed; details and pictures when I get all the cables and stuff in the same place.

19 July 2008

Steady as she goes...

Not much new. MIL still in hospital. Two jobs today. Maintain...

18 July 2008


MIL was very weak and almost fell on me today. I was walking with her so I sat her down on the floor. The hospice nurse was on her way over for a routine visit. The fall did no damage, but she's been very weak, her feet have been swollen, and she's a bit dehydrated, so we ran her to the clinic and the doc opted to admit her. They'll run IVs to try to get the good fluids in and the bad fluids out. It's getting harder to keep her at home. I have been working in elder care long enough that the chores don't phase me, but the house isn't easy to accommodate for her. If she doesn't get stronger we may not be able to keep her at home any longer, which breaks my heart. It will probably be easier on everyone, even her, to find her a place with staff trained to handle her care. Just sucks to think about.

17 July 2008

German bloggy goodness

Alex got her own blog. Go check her out and leave her lots of comments.

16 July 2008


My night looked a little like this.

It was a gorgeous night, the bugs were remarkably absent, and a good time was had by all.

15 July 2008

Ten on Tuesday...

Today its 10 memorable vacation moments. Let's see how far I can get with this one...

1. When I was about 13 we headed to Oregon. The family van broke down in Spearfish SD. My brother and dad had to push it through the campground, but there was a very slight hill so my brother trotted along behind the van pushing it one-handed. It was a picture-worthy moment. Unfortunately no-one had a camera.

2. This one is a little obvious:

3. This was fun with seagulls on New Smyrna Beach, Florida Atlantic coast:

4. Sun Studios in Memphis

5. Off-Off-Broadway cast party in NYC. If you're wondering what's up with the chicken, it was a production of The Vagina Monologues. Ahem.

6. When the kids were little, we were rather insistent upon stopping to view large concrete oddities such as these in Whapeton ND:

7. And Pelican Rapids MN

8. We are Twins fans, both at home, where they have lots od good "tailgate" activities:

9. ...and we managed to see them in Spring Training as well, at the Cincinnati Reds training camp in Sarasota.

10. Last but not least, fun from a day trip to Underwater World at the Maul of America. Not shown here was Thing 4's unnatural attachment to the walking shark mascot. Creepy.

Well there's 10. Hope you had as much fun as I did browsing through the pictures.

13 July 2008

Hymn of the Month

A couple years ago we started having a Hymn of the Month at our church. We've had some old classice, and learned some of those that don't get taken out and dusted off as often.
July's hymn is relatively new, copywritten in 2002. Check it out.

12 July 2008

MNDOT Wants to kill me slowly

Our normally 2 1/2 - 3 hour drive to the cities tonight took 4 hours. We alternated routes to avoid a detour and ran smack into more detours. iPastor is sure the fine folks at the DOT had a lovely laugh while effectively entangling every east/west route out of the metro this summer.
Thing 1's mission presentation in the morning at church. We're heading home via a southern route. Maybe we'll get there by Friday.

10 July 2008

09 July 2008

Girl's day out

So my friend from work and I are going to see Neil Diamond. When I was about 12 or 13, our little town got cable. I must have watched The Jazz Singer on HBO twenty times if I watched it once. We are ditching the kids and heading to the big city for the day, to explore the Global Market and all the Thrift Stores! Wheee! I'm ready for a little break. We'll head into the cities for a quick trip this Sunday to attend Thing 1's mission trip church service, and there's a free concert next Wednesday night that I'll take the kids to see. Neil Diamond is July 20, so there's a little variety coming up in my life. Not so many getaway opportunites for iPastor, but he has a new obsession in the form of Frets on Fire. He's been geeking all over getting it to run well and rigging a guitar for it, so he's in his happy little element.

08 July 2008

Ten on Tuesday...

for today was 10 favorite movie characters. I can only come up with Fezzik from The Princess Bride, and Arnold Beckoff from Torch Song Trilogy. Lame.

07 July 2008

Wastin' time

Trying to get all my 'net surfin' out of the way while I am with MIL tonite/tomorrow. Then when I get home I can go right to work and get stuff done. Yeah, right...

06 July 2008

Don't know what I'm missing?

We missed Blogstock this weekend. When we couldn't go there, we accepted awesome Twins tix from a friend. We missed this 'cause of the stupid fire alarm company. *whine*

05 July 2008

It's oh so quiet...

After a very quiet shift at work, I packed the Things into the car and we drove over a town for fireworks. There were lots of new things to see. It seems like every year there's a new effect or color. At the end of the show, there was a batch of extended fountains, and then a whole barrage of...poppers. No booming crescendo of bright white percussion. Just poppers. I was a bit let down. We usually park on a side road, so we take the big loud barrage as the signal that the show is over. This Year it was the distant cheers of the crowd signaling that the flag had been lit. Certainly couldn't tell by the show...
Now I must go; Red Green is on!

04 July 2008

Funny how that goes...

So I guess it's a good thing we didn't head to NE, as the fire alarm where iPastor is security supervisor has gone wonky. The alarm company, which specializes in fire safety, ironically has no on-call staff to come service its faulty system, so security has to increase patrol for fire watch. Hurray. Makes it very hectic for him, as he has to keep checking in with his skeleton crew and make extra rounds. I picked up a couple of shifts since we're home anyway, but I don't expect it to be busy. It's like a ghost town around here.

03 July 2008


Off to MIl's, and not Blogstock. Oh well, life happens, I guess...

02 July 2008

Proud mama...

The kids are catching my singsnap addiction...

Here's Thing 3 (on my account):

And Thing 2:

01 July 2008

Roto Rooter, that's the name...

Gave up and called the septic guy to snake out the drain. He chewed up something about 2 feet beyond where I'd been able to run the snake. Oh well. It forcced my hand at cleaning the basement before he came though, so that's an improvement. It was our first 90 degree day here, as well, so it wasn't a bad day to be knocking around in a cool basement. This lookin' on the bright side ain't such a bad thing.