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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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.