31 December 2009

New Year's Eve

I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year
"Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown."
And he replied, "Go into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way..."

Minnie Louise Haskins, "The Gate of the Year" 1908

Christmas break

Teachers get as excited for this time of year as students do. I've been having a lovely mix of lazy slacking and productive putzing through the Midwestern Snowpocalypse of 2009. Our local snowfall amounts were relatively tame, totalling 12-15" in spurts over three days, enough to make the backyard all purty and provide impetus for a snowfort. There were enough lulls in the storm for most folks to get out and dig in spurts rather than face an insurmountable mountain at the end. We only had one short trip into town for Christmas with my in-laws, then back home to snuggle in for the next round. The real crap came the day after the snow stopped falling, when it thawed just enough to get wet, and the wind blew to refreeze sheets of nasty packed snow and ice onto the roadways. This, of course, was the the day we were scheduled to drive to the cities for a Christmas party with friends. We made the attempt, but turned around after creeping along the sheets of ice until a 4x4 passed us in the opposite lane, then spun out directly behind us across our lane. We stopped by McDonald's on the way home, where they were all too glad to see our Things who work there, as so much of the help had called off due to weather. So, after forgetting to take the day off, then scrambling to cover their shifts at the last minute, they wound up working anyway. They always tell me they want money... The county roads still suck, but the major highways are finally in decent shape.
Tonight is our annual game party for friends and neighbors, and I expect goodtimes all around. It's been another rollercoaster year, with plenty of adventures and the loss of my brother to keep life interesting. We are blessed with relatively good health and steady income for the time being, and count our blessings as we face our challenges. May it be as well for your you and yours.

16 December 2009

Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated

I'm here, all is well, just busy.
I have been keeping my nose to the grindstone and making some progress.
Knowledge Bowl has been fun, but no big wins yet this year. Saturday morning was the last day of firearms deer hunting in our neck of the woods. On my drive around the lake to meet the K-Bowl bus, I saw a hunter in full winter camo and blaze orange trudging back toward his vehicle. About a hundred yards behind him, a deer picked his way along the path in the opposite direction. I swear he was chuckling.
As mentioned previously, we're gearing up for a quiet Christmas at home. My family's big gathering is done, and no-one else can get together until January. Brother's wife #2 is visiting over the weekend, and we'll have some friends visit for a couple days over our annual NYE game party, but otherwise we'll enjoy some quiet time together.
While our December has been mostly tranquil, some of our friends and neighbors have been dealing with illness and death, and we keep them in our hearts.
I guess now I need to get ready for work. Take care!

07 December 2009


My internet at home has been down for 36 hours.
I think of a million things to look up or people to contact, then remember.
I am an addict!
Thank goodness for datsphones...

30 November 2009


28/30 in a very hectic month. Not so bad.

28 November 2009


After a cold, nasty, October, our November has been mostly dry and beautiful. Yesterday the temperatures crawled up into the low 50s, and the sun shone all day. We spent most of the afternoon out in the yard playing the yard games ma picked up on the Black Friday sales. The fresh air was welcome and a little disconcerting for those of us preparing to hibernate. After supper the bulk of us trundled off to the indoor ice rink, where I perched myself atop a couple of metal blades for the first time in over 20 years, and teetered around the ice for about an hour. I discovered a couple of new muscles in the process.
I'll check in again tomorrow, if I can roll myself out of bed.

26 November 2009


Fat. Sassy. Sleepy. Thankful.

25 November 2009


Well, I got all the activities for this week completed, and managed to teach a little in between, too. Oy. Looking forward to four days with family for Thanksmas. I will get to curl up in a comfy corner and do a little grading. Our Thanksmas gatherings have plenty of activities to join as well as quiet time to visit and just chill. It will be nice not to have the housework and other distractions calling to me. It will be good to reconnect. Now it's time to pack and prep and bake a bit before we leave.

24 November 2009

It's a wrap

Kids pulled off their show with aplomb. Not without a glitch here and there, but they had energy and carried it off despite lapses. I am very proud of them. And really, really glad its over for a while.

23 November 2009

Show time!!

Matinee and 7pm tonight, then it's time to pack this baby up. I've had a lot of fun with these kids, and maybe they'll ask me back next year. I'll try to curb my response rather than run screaming or laugh in the poor woman's face.

22 November 2009

Sweet irony

...that even as I struggle to get these kids on the stage and finish this play so I can have a little sanity, I think ahead to the next show and can't wait to start. Or maybe that's insanity and not irony. They both start with "i."

21 November 2009

Philippians 4:13

...and it's a good thing, too, because I need all the help I can get.

20 November 2009

The old gray mare...

Friday night. All I want to do is crawl into bed. When did I get boring?

19 November 2009

home stretch

Four days until this play hits the stage. Enough coffe and aspirin and I may survive.

17 November 2009

Today's lineup...

Let's see...
Evaluation during 3rd hour class, tech work all afternoon, rehearsal after school,
and my daughter's band concert tonight. More coffee, please.

16 November 2009

Fall Frenzy

I am a little busier than I want to be these days, but it's all good. Since I only have a part-time teaching contract, I take on extracurriculars to help pad the paycheck. The middle school play may kill me. I try to remind myself that this cycle repeats itself with every production I have ever participated in, regardless what my role has been, onstage or off. Next week it will be over and the panic will fade. Until then, gaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!

15 November 2009

Long days have their benefits.

I had to collect a batch of exchange kids from a lock-in this morning, which necessitated a drive out in the frosty morning, watching the sun rise. This afternoon, I went off in search of some costuming items and drove home in a glorious sunset. Long days aren't all bad.

14 November 2009

Running in circles...

...but I haven't caught my tail yet.

13 November 2009


All is well, but I've plum hit the wall. Nitey nite.

12 November 2009


As I was getting Thing 4 ready for school this morning, he was pretty owly, so I called him a crabby pants, 'cuz I'm mature like that.
He replied, "Don't you know one of the Ten Commandments is "Don't Call People Names'?"
I smiled and told him that wasn't a commandment, but a pretty good idea, nonetheless. He considered a moment and said, "Actually,(pronouced ak-a-chully) He meant eleven commandments."

11 November 2009

Remember a Vet Today!

Thank you to all who have served, and those who serve still.

10 November 2009

But its a good tired

Long days lately. Working on a play with the middle schoolers after school. Plum beat. Having a blast!

09 November 2009

A sad realization

Over the weekend, I heard a radio story introduced by the announcer,"When we hear of mass shootings, we often..." and I tuned out the rest of the story. My brain was too busy trying to wrap itself around the concept of a world in which "when," "mass shootings" and "often" all fit logically in the same sentence. God Bless Fort Hood, and God save us all.

08 November 2009


I watched with interest the shenanigans as the US House of Representatives debated and eventually passed the HCR bill last night. Between all the grandstanding and gladhanding, its surprising either party had any time for legislating. Of the three Reps from my own state I was able to track, one blithered incoherently, one snarked about the Stupek ammendment though the majority of the state is pro-life, and the one from my own district voted AGAINST his constituency.
The one moment of levity I got was from a brief exchange. I don't remember who the (R) rep was, but he was stickling on the rules.
Rep. Whatshisname: "Does the chairman know where the actual document is so we can (I forget what he said) it according to the rules?"

Chair: "The clerk has possession of that document.".
RW: "So I'll take that as a no."

The baffled look on the face of the chairman was the only thing to smile about all night.
We need health care reform in this nation, and desperately. We don't need one party refusing to play while the other tries to railroad a bloated bill just because it can.

07 November 2009


Wow!! What a great day outside! It gave us a chance to get out and tackle the yard a bit. You may remember this brush pile from a post in May:

Well, today, we hacked the new chainsaw out of the box and borrowed a lopper from the neighbor, so now it looks like this.

The catch here, is that with that saw and loppers, we also cleared a bunch of scrub trees from the alley, so the pile above was replaced with this one...

and this one...

aaaaaaand this one.

Said neighbor is Uncle Dan, who also uses his big John Deere Lawn tractor as a source of light exercise. Since his kidney transplant, he feels a bit more up to getting out and about. He still can't handle lots of walking, but he does quite a good job of mowing our lawn! He gave it one last pass today, then when he saw us out puttering in the yard, wandered over with some of his accessories to power rake and help run the saw and lopper. The kids raked and burned leaves had a fire for recreational purposes in the outhouse pit, while we roasted weenies and marshmallows in the firepit and enjoyed the sunshine. Tomorrow is supposed to be nearly as warm, although cloudy. Hopefully we can get a bunch done then, too.

06 November 2009

Polite terms?

Indian summer? Saint Martin's Summer? Gypsy Summer? Brittsommar? Altweibersommer? Ruska? Saint Luke's summer? WHatever you deem politically correct enough to call it, it's here!!! We spent every possible moment in the sunshine and fresh air today, and now I'm tuckered out and ready to do it over tomorrow!

05 November 2009

Nice try...

It is an absolutely GORGEOUS fall day. Those in the know threw a fire drill on a temperate day to go outside in shirtsleeves. The caveat? Telling the kids to go back inside...

03 November 2009

Another little moment of win!

My six-year-old was reading his Beginner's Bible tonight. I heard him reading aloud and poked my head in to inquire. He said he was reading to the cats. He invited me to sit down and read it together, so I had him read to me. It was the story of Moses parting the Red Sea. The only word I had to help him with was Pharaoh. Then he wanted to show me a particular picture, and started flipping pages. He passed a picture of the nativity and exclaimed on the way by, "Hey, it's the New Testament." For all the nagging and fidgeting this poor kid endures, it's good to know he's picking it up on his own. I concentrate so hard on the behavior sometimes I miss the message. Good thing he doesn't.

02 November 2009

Why I do what I do

Just finished English 11, and one of my "average" students stayed behind to discuss something she'd found online while looking for some supplementary material(!) about Of Mice and Men on her own(!). She made some good connections and asked some good questions, and as she left she said, "This book is really sad, but it's good. It's like real life." This is why I teach.

01 November 2009


In order to kick my butt into posting a little more often, I joined NABLOPOMO again this year. No guarantees of quality, but you should see me around here more often, at least for a little while!

30 October 2009

That's not what I meant...

I've been complaining that it has been so grey and dreary hereabouts. Today is snowed, fluffy white and clean. I think I'll just keep my mouth shut from now on.

29 October 2009

Just kidding!!

Ok, I was totally not serious about that whole "see you in a month..." thing, but I just looked at the calendar and realized 3 1/2 weeks have, indeed, slipped past me, and if I'm not careful, my little joke will become true!
It seems we can't catch a break at school. A car accident involving a senior and a former student has left us with yet another funeral in the school district family and two other young people on a long road to recovery. This is a district with approximately 800 students in K-12, so nearly everyone knows everyone else, making these events exponentially hard on the students and staff.
I keep storing away anecdotes to share "later," but never getting around to sharing. The all picture-taking season is mostly over, ruined by incessant rain and drear. Not to mention that my favorite route to school is in the middle of renovation, so a stretch of gravel road now inhibits my morning drive. Those of you who live on gravel have no sympathy, I'm sure, but this is new, temporary, soupy gravel that threatens to suck my vehicle into the muck, and I am sad. To my credit, however, along the routes I do drive to school the score is now brakes 5, deer 0. Hoping to remain undefeated in that category.
Now it's time to kick the morning routine into high gear. Hope I've got more coffee...

04 October 2009

Well, hello there, October...

Wow. The time, she sure does fly. Let's see what's been going on around here.
After the first weird week at school, we rolled into a normal year. Our normalcy hit a little bump last week with a small epidemic of three different family suicides within our district. Follow that with the news yesterday of a substantial layoff at a major employer in the district, and to say the mood is a little gloomy around the building is an understatement. We soldier on, though. The kids are pretty resilient, and the staff is first rate.
I got out to Meander a little this weekend. In the past I've always worked these weekends, so it was kinda fun to be out and about for a bit with all the other artsy farts, wishing I had more money to spend.
I treasure my weekends at the moment. All too soon, my Saturdays will be claimed by Knowledge Bowl meets, and then, pending school board approval, speech meets. I think common speculation is that I'm a bit cracked to take on so many extracurriculars, but being part-time gives me a little more time to devote to such things, and the extracurriculars pad my itty bitty paycheck just a titch.
Thing 1 is taking a recreational vehicle class at school, and has made the Purple Ride her project for the term. She transferred to my school this year, and frequently pops in on her way to her class across the hall from me, smelling of motor oil and happily mussed up. What a kid.
Our borrowed daughters for the year seem to be settling in. The Swiss Miss is quite busy with volleyball. Our VIetnamese daughter plans to try basketball. I, of course, made both daughters at my school try Knowledge Bowl for the season, and from the interaction I see there, they both seem to be fitting in just fine.
Now I'm off to plan and set up for my week. I'll talk to you in another month!

16 September 2009

Resuming normal

We're getting back into the swing of things here at casa del goose. The first week at my school was subdued, to say the least. A sophomore boy killed himself the Thursday before school started. In today's world, most of our kids had word via text and Facebook within the hour, so they had the long weekend to process the news and their reactions. His funeral was held the following Thursday at school so the kids could participate as needed. All in all, the district. local clergy, staff and kids did a wonderful job, but we didn't push too hard that first week of school. We got rolling pretty well this week, and right into homecoming week mayhem.
On other fronts, the rollercoaster ride of jobs and activities is keeping the local gas station well paid as we haul kids hither and yon. Today I don't have anyone to haul, and I'm enjoying a little break
With that, I'm off to enjoy some time in my home with its inhabitants!

08 September 2009

All's well

Everyone survived our weekend at Lifelight, we all got back to school safely, and when I got home today ipastor had baked pie! Life is good!

02 September 2009

Time keeps on slippin'...

Summer has whizzed past like a kid thru a sprinkler. Today and tomorrow are teacher workshops, then it's Lifelight or bust! After a short recuperation Monday, we're all back to school! Situation normal...

15 August 2009

Still here

Life has been a frenzy lately, with no time to sit and create wonderful and witty writing upon which you, my loyal readers, can feast your brains. Oh, I never did that? Well, everything's normal then. Carry on.

03 August 2009

Situation normal...

New kid picked up and safely ensconsed at home. Rushing like mad to place the last few kids before their Visa windows close. Prepping a theatre workshop for Thursday, when iPastor drives off the other direction to take kids to get their pre-braces spacers. Showing both the Purple Ride and the new kid around to family and friends. A pleasant, busy time, hereabouts.

31 July 2009

I TOLD you we were the Griswolds...

So, you know how things go. It started out innocently enough. With two exchange students, we should upgrade to an 8-seater or drive two cars anywhere we need to take the whole family. As long as we're looking, might as well find a big van, like an old daycare or church van, so we can haul our camping gear as well. Found one we liked, but it sold. Feeling a little dejected, iPastor resumed the search, to find this:

Anyone got tickets? I've got your ride.

18 July 2009

It's twins!

Scare anyone? Scares me...

Those of you loyal readers (yes, that was plural, I know you're out there lurking about...) who've been around awhile know that we host exchange students with the EF Foundation roughly every other year. When speaking with someone new, iPastor gets a real kick ut of telling folks we're expecting our 10th kid and watching reactions. To his credit, he's easily entertained.
We selected our student for this year early this time around, and have been in contact with her since February. As I was emailing with the Regional Coordinator about our upcoming mandatory family orientation, he mentioned needing more families in the district where I work. One thing led to another, and as of this afternoon we are officially hosting two students this year. Along with our Swiss miss, we will have a young lady from Viet Nam. Still awaiting details, but looking forward to an adventure.

14 July 2009

Its quiet...too quiet

With three daughters off at camp, Thing 4 is feeling alternately like master of his domain, or kinda lonely. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. Just gotta get used to it, I guess.

09 July 2009

Summer Slump

I seem to be in the same slump as nearly everyone else I read regarding interesting subject matter to post. I'd like to think my life is far too busy and important to allow me time to chronicle all the fascinating and wonderful insights in my brain, but, nah. No sense trying to blow smoke up yer skirt.
We've been busy buying the dentist a new boat. Things 1 and 2 required significant dental work before they get braces next month. Spending a lot of time in the waiting room or inventing errands to run while we wait in town. I've been continuing my attempt to purge unused junk from my house and finish projects on my round tuit list, all while attempting to make time to read educational articles, screen books for teaching, and gather materials for a summer enrichment class I'm supposed to lead. Meanwhile, three friends have lost parents or in-laws this week, we're preparing for my brother's memorial service, and the anniversary of MIL's death is sneaking up on us. We just closed on her house and it's been lingering in the back of everyone's mind. Staying busy is helpful on that front, anyway...

We did have an awesome July 4 weekend with friends and family. Our friend and shirttail relation (my brother-in-law's brother-in-law, or my husband's sister-in-law's brother ...whatever) has a place on Dead Lake. He bought the land the same year we were married, and has proceeded from tenting on the grass, to a popup camper on barrels, to erecting a frame structure with extension cords and hauling water, to finally digging well and septic, plumbing and wiring. We've had an open invitation for years, but it has been since Thing 4 was learning to walk (pre plumbing!) that we've had a chance to get there. We had quite a crowd, with our host, his parents, bro and sis-in-law, their adult son and his wife, and our brood. There are three fold-out couches, a queen bed and bunks, but we still managed to fill the joint. It gave iPastor a chance to try the tent out of our own yard (albeit in someone else's) so we set up and enjoyed the loveliest July 4 weekend anyone could remember. Not too hot, not too cold, no wind, just right. We played with all the water toys, ate wayyyyy too much, and watched the neighbors around the lake try to outdo each other with fireworks. I'm none too happy with blogger picture layout after last week's issues, but we'll give 'er a try with pics of the cabin, our guest quarters, and the lake view from the deck.

Now I should be off to shuffle through one more load of laundry. I think it's too wet to mow, but the neighbors are outside trying to prove me wrong, so I should add that to the agenda as well. It may be still enough for a bonfire, as well. Cool.

30 June 2009

Oh, hello there, July...

The first month of summer has buzzed by at its usual rapid pace. I've been doing a whole lot of nothing, which is how it should be, at least a little bit. I do fear arriving to about August 15 and thinking, "Holy @(*&^! I haven't gotten anything done this summer!!" I guess I'd better kick it up a notch, then.

As previously mentioned, a dear old friend came to visit for a short afternoon, but it was just like we'd never been apart. Easygoing conversation and fun. We ran to town to help with our church's entry in the annual kiddie parade. Pastor salvaged the little train and we pull it out for just such occasions. We started handing out freezie pops instead of candy a few years back and it's been a big hit. After the kids disbursed and raided the playground, my friend and I just hung out and wandered around downtown for a while, chatting and enjoying the evening, which ended all too soon, since he had a long drive home.

Montevideo's Fiesta Days have been going on for the better part of 60 years, experiencing the same ebb and flow of community involvement and activity as any other small-town celebration. In the past few years, a few new activities, such as the hobo village in our Milwaukee Road Heritage Museum (depot and turntable) and a flurry of activities around the newly-built playground in the city park. A few years back, when main street had been renovated and everyone was all about "downtown revitalization," most activities took place on main street. Guess I prefer the shade of the park.

Be that as it may, the parade committee (where I served my time in 1993) is fond of saying that the parade has been rained on but never rained out. The rain sure tried this year. It rained all morning, then let up for the start of the parade, just to come back and dump buckets on the last 1/3 of the 2-hour flotilla. There was no severe threat, though, so the participants trooped on through. The Things made out like bandits on candy, since attendance was down and most all the entries had a buttload of sugary goodness to bestow. There's still a stash on my fridge.

I think our train is way cooler than this guy's, though...

Since then, it seems like deskwork and appointments have eaten a lot of my time. We closed on my MIL's house, and have been burning the road between our place and the dentist and orthodontist, spending the proceeds. Planning for a shingle crew to be here soon, too Have also been getting my brother's affairs in order and got his marker ordered from the VA. Lots of little projects to eat my time. The teenage Things are itching to get their rooms painted, and Thing 3 has been waiting patiently for hers, as well.

We'll be spending the 4th with iPastor's brother and extended family at a lake home a couple hours north. This week has been beautiful and the weather holds promise for the weekend as well. All of you have a safe and happy Independence Day!!

18 June 2009

17 June 2009

and the livin' is easy...

Back in action at Casa del Goose after a long weekend in Jamestown, North Dakota.
Our van has been starting 9/10, so we opted to take the car, since we were down a kid and could all fit. It was good news/bad news all weekend, as we spent the bulk of it visiting pawn shops, thrift stores and rummage sales. It really limited our cargo space, which prevented us from buying items like trap sets and game tables, but maybe that's OK.
We got a pretty good start and stopped for a lengthy coffee break in Fargo, meeting up with iPastor's high school friend. We cruised the pawn shops and music stores, then headed west to Jamestown, for a mostly surprise 40th birthday party for my friend from college. After that, we had two low-stress days of simply hanging out with no agenda. Did the aforementioned thrifting, scoring a few bargains, including an 8-man tent. We also hit a cache of old, well-kept, kitchen acoutrements. The solid, not plastic, non-teflon coated wares that hold up to years of grandmothers. I love that stuff. Scored an apple peeler, a steel wok, and a stick malt mixer.
The kids played video games, watched movies, and hung out at the public pool. So did the grownups. Sunday morning we headed to church with our friends. Couldn't skip, she's the pastor. Afterwards, we started out for home on a slightly altered route, stopping in Watertown to take my sis-in-law for birthday lunch. We rolled into our own yard, reuniting with the kid who'd been travelling with the high school choir in NYC. We immediately switched to the van, and headed to town for the baby nephew's second bday party in the park. Needless to say, we were a bit wrung out when we got home.
The next day, iPastor and the kids set up the tent to make sure we had all the parts and check for holes, etc. It came together with minimal fuss, and the kids immediately set up shop with a drop cord, dvd player, and dorm fridge. Rouging it certainly is different than when I was a kid.
After Christmas, my Facebook exploded with many friends from high school and college. These electronic reunions have resulted in several face-to-face reunions planned for this summer. Tomorrow, a dear friend and groomsman, whom we had lost touch with for a few years, will come to visit. I'm stoked! Now I should really get to work. Yuck.

08 June 2009

Oh, hi there, summer!

After taking forever to get here, summer is upon us. Wow. The kids hosted a last-day-of-school bonfire, we've done a little putzing about the house, we took a day trip to Sioux Falls to hang with friends and take in the Siouxland Renaissance Festival, and we have a 4-day weekend planned. Next week a friend is back in Minnesota from the east coast, so I'll work in a visit. If it continues to rocket along at this pace, summer will be gone a lot quicker than it came!

28 May 2009


The weekend was pretty mellow around here. No major plans, just putzing around the house and a quick trip over the border for a day at the zoo with SIL. iPastor worked Saturday overnight, so we cleared out of the house to let him sleep in peace. We came home, and I let the kids monkey pile in the living room and watch movies. iPastor woke at about 4am and wandered down to discover they had left the outer porch door open. He went to close it, and spooked a cat, who ran into the now-closed door, not once but twice, before escaping to the basement. He was perturbed enough to come wake me.
"We may have a problem. Fuzznut is acting really strange. I wonder if she's not hurt or sick..."
She has been known to squirrel off and go live down by the river for a couple weeks at a time, and as much as I try to keep her inside, she loves to go out and tussle with other cats and come home a little banged up.
He described the cat mayhem in enough detail to completely screw up my sleep for the remainder of the night. We all kept watch for Fuzz. On a couple occasions, I'd hear the cats in the hallway growling at each other, a bit unusual but not unheard of in this house. I'd go investigate to check on Fuzznut's mental state, just to see the tip of a tail disappear into the basement and a grey body slink under the stairs. The next afternoon, however, Fuzznut sauntered up and demanded her spot on my lap, all love and sunshine. Apparently, whatever was bugging her had passed. Later that evening, I heard the cats having a showdown in the hallway again, and witnessed the same aforementioned ditch and slink. The next time I saw Fuzznut she was all love and cuddles again, a bit perturbing. This morning, I wandered into the creepy old basement laundry room, not bothering with lights. I saw Fuzz on the laundry table, but she bolted when I came close. By now her bipolar behavior was becoming worrisome. After school, the Things noticed the other two cats gathered with interest on the basement steps, heard the vocalization of feline disagreement, and also noticed the distinct odor of a male cat...in our house full of spayed females. A little grey face peeked out from under the oil barrel, very familiar, but just a little bit...off. Then Thing 3 reported that Fuzznut had just come in from outside. Our Jeckyll/Hyde cat mystery was now solved, but we had another problem: a feral cat darting from nook to cranny to junkpile in our basement. We shifted piles of lumber and household junk, and general hilarity ensued.

We discovered that a fish net is strong enough to hold a struggling cat, but a frightened cat is agile enough to escape from the top. Eventually we subdued the cat with sheer numbers: Three Things, my Looziana daughter and myself. We calmed the raging tempest, and released the poor wretch to the wild.

The Imposter:


That's about enough excitement for this week.

23 May 2009

My commute

Poking my head in here so you all know I'm alive and kicking. Although I do write lovely things in my head to post here, they're usually gone by the time I get to a keyboard. I'm much more active, albeit quite short and pithy, on facebook and twitter. Such is life, I guess. Feel free to "friend" or follow me (that was fun to write) there for more frequent updates, but I do plan to keep this joint open for when I get the hankerin' to crank out some text.
A couple weeks ago, iPastor gave in to the techno bug and got us fancy, newfangled phones with cameras, internet, and the whole nine yards. It was a twofer deal, so I know have a phone I thought I'd never need, yet to which I am hopelessly addicted. Our spring has been cold and dreary. One of the first days after we got the phones, we finally had some nice weather, so I took some pictures of my drive to/from work. I drive 18-20 miles to work one way, depending on which variation of back roads I decide to use that particular day. It takes me, ironically, about 18-20 minutes to drive to work. I know folks in the cities who drive 45 minutes to go 6 miles every day. Be that as it may, although I sometimes deal with blowing and drifting, or deer on the roads, I really do enjoy my drive. I have the radio, cd or ipod to myself, and 20 minutes all my own, twice a day. We do get all four seasons, even though it seems like winter stays the longest, and every one is beautiful around the lake.

10 May 2009

Mother's Day!

Most folks would think that doing yard work on Mother's Day is some sort of heresy. I, however, was glad to be home for the day with no plans and no agenda. Once the lawn finally started greening in, we had plans or commitments every afternoon and evening, so I didn't have a chance to mow until today, and it was plenty thick and green. I opted to bag, and the darn thing needed to be emptied after every two passes or so. The more I mowed, the more crap I found in the yard, even though I thought we'd gotten it picked up. I also stopped for an hour or so to tackle the jungle on the SW corner of our lot. We are the proud owners of a concrete outhouse pit, dug by the WPA for part of their economic stimulus projects back in the thirties. The outhouse finally came out a couple years ago. We filled the pit part way with sand, and have been dumping compost in as we go The plan is to get some good dirt for a bulb bed. We also took down a tree a couple years ago, but the noxious vines that grow back there have not let go. I finally managed to kill them off last fall, but now comes the task of digging, hacking and yanking all the dead vines and volunteer trees.

I decided to set a goal to finish one side of the pit, otherwise the prospect was overwhelming. We got it done, and dragged the brush to the compost site (too big to throw in). Then the neighbor kids came and buried an unfortunate kitten behind their shed, leaving the tulip there.

As we went along, I also had the kids pile up brush. We had several stacks going after the big storm last summer, but it was time to cull. We stacked it all in one spot, which now stands taller than me, and we are all set for summer bonfire season. Bring a cooler and a lawn chair.

02 May 2009

Still kickin'

Been busy with life-n-stuff around here. Not much excitement, just keepin' on.
Last night, however, the Flip Flop Momma, of my sidebar fame, and I did what we've been threatening to do for two years, and met up for karaoke. We found a place roughly between our two towns and got together. Had a nice time. Of course, we were the best ones there and everyone else sucked, but that's what happens when you're fabulous like us.
So, happy birthday to the Rockinist' Bossy Flip Flopper I know:

(I know you hate this picture, and so do I, but It's gonna stay up until we can get together again and take a better one!)

20 April 2009


Grey, damp and raw today. Hard to get motivated to do much. Tried a nap, but was awakened every time I just got to sleep, so that was probably more tiring than restful.
Our houseload of company is safely home in Germany, and we're a little sad and subdued here. This place is never quiet, but it's a little less lively today. Off to see if I can con the kids into a Wii/laundry party...

17 April 2009

Black Hills Vacation, and we're the Griswolds

I hardly like to blog vacation trips without pictures, but since the camera for the trip was destroyed in our last episode, you'll just have to take a thousand words for it. After laying in supplies at the Evil*Empire outpost in Spearfish, we headed for Devil's Tower. Since it is off season, we opted to take photos from the pull-offs, and enjoy our drive rather than enter the park. We will definitely be returning to climb at some point. Among the aforementioned supplies were disposable cameras from Aunt Vicky that the kids though were the best ever. I'm a little nonplussed at the idea of actually sending film to be developed, but I'm sure I'll figure it out.
We looped back into South Dakota, and down to Deadwood, where we whiled away a gorgeous afternoon Checking out historical sites and trying to find kid-friendly stuff among the casinos. It can be done, but next time I'll have to check out more than just the Bullock hotel on teh interwebs before we head in.
We headed to Hill City from Deadwood, stopping at a gorgeous reservoir for pics and stretching. We returned to the Hill City Super 8. This place is your typical economy motel, clean and well-kept, but it houses Jacki the teddy bear lady and John John, the front desk dog. Jacki has the world record teddy bear collection housed on site, 5504 the day we visited. The teens and kids used the pool, and the adults wandered downtown to explore the nightlife, which is apparently Wii bowling and pool.
Fog and a sick kid altered Wednesday's plans. Thing 4 awoke cranky, itchy, and eventually puking. Thing 1 has seen Mt. Rushmore 3 times in the last two years, so she volunteered to accompany me and in heading home early with her brother. Aunt Vicky decided to come as well, so we headed out and left the other carload to explore at their leisure. Thing 4 slept off whatever was ailing him, whether he had a bad reaction to chlorine or a little bug we never did figure out. Benadryl and some TLC seemed to be enough to soothe him. The other carload bypassed Crazy Horse as the fog made it unviewable, and opted to drive through Custer State park, where they got the picture book, buffalo-on-the-road wildlife tour they hoped for. They wandered back up to Mt. Rushmore, where the fog bobbed and lifted just enough for some pics, then headed to Rapid City to eat and explore Cabella's or, "toys for boys" as our Berliners described it. We all arrived safely home, if drained from long South Dakota roads. Pictures to follow...

14 April 2009

Paha Sapa

We had plans to travel to the Black Hills this week with our German guests. After the initial mayhem, my brother has been cremated to be scattered at a later time, and a memorial service with military honors will be held after the VA grave marker has been set. My brother loved the Black Hills. We've packed up his widow and dragged her along on our marvelous misadventure.
After a lovely Easter dinner with the inlaws, we loaded our gear and headed to my folks' place. They live right on the interstate, and The Hotel Mom and Dad was a perfect launch pad for our trip. We travelled just over the border this morning and stopped for gas. My son was nearly left by the side of the road for whining. We stopped at the scenic overlook in Chamberlain, SD, which is breathtaking. We proceeded into the Badlands National Park and drove the Loop, stopping for climbing and pictures. Unfortunately, the ground is stll quite muddy, and iPastor took a tumble that he seems to have survived quite well, but he landed on the camera in his pocket and I am down one Kodak C643. He did not, however, drop his travel mug, because he is the Coffee Cowboy. We had supper in Wall somewhere other than Wall Drug, and were served by the breakfast cook who got called back to fill in for an absent waitress. Dude hauled ass to serve us and won an "A" for effort.
We then rolled into our motel in Spearfish to spend a few minutes in the hot tub and regroup for Devils Tower, Deadwood, perhaps Sturgis, Rushmore and Crazy Horse tomorrow. Now, I need to finish this cocktail our guests so generously provided, and SLEEP!

11 April 2009

Happy Easter!

The joy and gift of the Resurrection is especially poignant this year. It's been an interesting week. We've enjoyed some wonderful visiting, and a rather nasty shock, but we are hopeful and peaceful, and focusing on enjoying time with loved ones.

Please note the following was written with my brother's quirky sense of humor in mind, and find no offense.

Donald Lloyd Kautz was born November 10, 1952 to Oscar "George" Kautz and Edna Mae "Babe" (Joslyn) Kautz in Rock Rapids, Iowa. He attended Central Lyon High School, graduating in 1971(to his surprise and everyone else's). He enlisted in the Air Force immediately after graduation, and served until 1982, attaining the rank of Staff Sergeant. He married Victoria McWhirter of Dallas, Oregon at Peace Lutheran Church in Rock Rapids on August 15, 1972. Together they served their country in SE Asia, Florida, the Netherlands, Nebraska and Montana. They parted ways in 1982. Don cultivated his lifelong love of racing in the hobby shops on base and driving on local tracks, especially Sunset Speedway in Omaha. After his years of service, he stayed on the move, living in Luverne, MN; Rapid City and Sioux Falls, SD; Rock Rapids; Montevideo, MN and, finally, Watertown, SD. He was married to Nancy Ditmanson of Sioux Falls from 1986-1988. 'Nuff said. He drove school buses and semi trucks, ran a security company, worked in various bakeries and restaurants, ran away with the carnival and ran for mayor, finding friends in the faces he met along the way. In 1990 he married Susanne Larson of Sioux Falls, enjoying 13 years of marriage. He occasionally still built cars and raced at Rapid, Husets, Fiesta City, and Casino Speedways.
Don was known for his unique sense of humor and quick wit; he especially enjoyed puns and wordplay. Don loved music, singing and playing his treasured Alvarez guitar. He delighted in spoiling his four nieces and nephew before sending them back to their parents. In 1995, Don was diagnosed with Huntington's Disease. In 2003 he reunited with Vicky, his companion until his sudden death on April 9, 2009.
Don is survived by Vicky in Watertown, and Susie in Rock Rapids, sister Kathi (and Gary) Wibben of Rock Rapids, Iowa; sister Georgette (and Kyle) Jones of Watson, MN, niece Jennifer (and Brian Wynia) Wibben of Hull, Iowa, nieces T'Shael, Paige, Geordan and nephew William Jones of Watson, three great-nephews and in-laws and outlaws abounding.
Memorial services and military honors will be held at a later date in Rock Rapids.

08 April 2009


Having to drive around Lac qui Parle on my way to work every morning, it's not unusual to see various wildlife and assorted waterfowl on my way to work. It was no surprise for me to watch small flocks of Canvasbacks, Canada geese and Mallards bobbing within a few yards of each other this morning. It was a little disconcerting, however, that they were swimming in the middle of a cornfield.

The Minnesota River, which feeds said lake, is over flood stage, but not nearly to the extent of the Red up north. The dam at it's southern end is open, but the causeway-like road that leads to it from the west is underwater. Otherwise, most bridges and roads hereabouts are passable, and the only property underwater is field or pasture, and part of the lower State Prk campground. It's been blustery lately, but here's hoping it dries us out soon so all this water can grow something besides mosquitoes.

06 April 2009

Update from the tundra

Our second German kid is home with her parents for a visit. We've been having a lovely time forgetting to bring the camera wherever we go. Their flight was nearly an hour early, which did them (and us) no good whatsoever as they waited on the tarmac an hour for an open gate. They scooted through customs and we got underway for home about 6:30 as we'd originally planned. We stopped for supper on the way home and pulled in about 11. Saturday we puttered around the house and town, then took in Thing 3's middle school musical. It was cute and middle-schooly, and hard to translate, but they seemed to enjoy the singing.
After the show, we stopped for happy hour with the in-laws, then came home for German Mom to make us a wonderful supper. She made goulash. Around here, goulash, also known as hamburger hotdish, is usually a concoction of ground beef, tomatoes or sauce, and macaroni. I grew up with veggie-free goulash, iPastor insists it has peas. Some folks add cheese, others, no. Traditional, usually Hungarian, goulash is a spicy beef dish with lots of paprika. Hers was none of these, but a wonderful amalgamation of pork, beef, pickles and veggies over boiled potatoes. So, just like anywhere else in the world, everyone's mama has their own recipe for things.
Yesterday was Easter brunch at our church, and an egg hunt, moved indoors because of the two-inches of plagueslushy snow we got Saturday night. It was thankfully gone by sundown, but disheartening nonetheless. German Mom made pork schnitzel with an awesome salad Sunday night and I am considering not letting her go home.
Tonight we go out with family for supper, and tomorrow the travellers head to Chicago for a Bull's game and a couple days of sightseeing before Easter. I will work on sub plans for post Easter travel to the Black Hills.

30 March 2009

The Curse

That one where your parents hope you get kids just like you? I never acted like this toward my parents...yikes!
That, and I'm just about done with winter, thank you. Enough with the snow!!

29 March 2009

Wasn't Spring great?

Although, somehow, now it's over and we're back to fall. Or something.
We've been on a cleaning bender at Casa del Goose. There has been just enough sunshine and hope that it will warm up to get our blood flowing and start spring cleaning. I've been posting stuff to Freecycle and dropped two vehicles' worth of stuff at Goodwill yesterday on our way to pick up Angel Food for our church. As soon as the truck was home and empty, we started loading it for the dump. Now to keep this momentum going.
We are eagerly anticipating a visit from our most recent German exchange sudent and her family over most of April. We'll host as they explore some of the upper midwest, then celebrate Easter and visit the Black Hills together. Should be fun!!

21 March 2009

What the heck was he thinking?

The words "I may have been bad..." are a tipoff. iPastor volunteered Thing 3 for a babysitting gig. Normally this wouldn't be a problem as she likes the cash; however, she already had plans for the evening. Not wanting to put the folks in a lurch at the last minute, iPastor volunteered us to watch the kids.
They were 4, 3 and 2. I have still not fully recovered. They weren't bad at all, and the little boy is in Thing 4's headstart class. My house is most certainly no longer babyproof, however. Their one-story home is a lot easier to navigate than our 3-floor monstrosity as well. Needless to say, I was more tired than they when dad came to collect them. Gives me a certain appreciation for my own kids.

14 March 2009

Another daily funny but true...
mr. t
see more Lol Celebs

12 March 2009

Daily funny

I am a firm supporter of my President, but I still think this quote I read today is funny...

"Obama isn't the Messiah. Jesus could build a cabinet."

11 March 2009

In file "C", snappy retorts folder

"Well, I have a cat in my pants!"
Answered simply by:

07 March 2009

Never too old to rock

The week of two concerts is over, and I feel a bit hungover. Fleetwood Mac on Tuesday night was a great show. We avoided most of the rush hour traffic, but encountered just enough to discover that our brakes need some attention. Lovely. Got down to the xcel and found a little sub shop close by to have a sandwich before the show. Mick Fleetwood looks like a half-crazed Santa, but the gang can still rock it in their 60s. That's how I wanna be when I grow up. The downside of the evening was driving home after midnight on really crappy roads. The thawing temps and blowing snow combined to create nasty slick conditions. I had been up since 6am, so iPastor drove by default. Poor guy. He's an able pilot, though.
Last night, we took the two older Things to Iowa for the Third Day "Revelations" tour. Wow. It was slightly farther than a trip to the cities, but we didn't have to muck about in city traffic. The weather was a different flavor of crappy though, as we drove into fog which thickened during the concert. The fog was pretty thick, and I remembered that driving due west out of town would get us to the same n/s highway that runs through our own town, so we pointed the van west into the fog and hoped. We wound up o a few miles of gravel, but it soon deposited us on a US highway that took us where we needed to go. We stopped for a midnight snack, and drove out of the fog about halfway home, rolling in about 3:30. Way too old for this...
My birthday present to myself this year was a fan club membership that provides meet and greet passes. It was a good choice...

03 March 2009

Third Day 0303...09 which is 3x3 (Work with me...)

I am back at Third Day on the Third Day, so excited I could just squeeeeeeeeee, because on Friday Ima gonna take iPastor and the 2 oldest Things to see Third Day!! Woot!

This concert was originally scheduled for Nov 1, and was to serve as Thing 2's birthday trip. Unfortunately, the concert was rescheduled due to the death of David Carr's father. Having recently lost iPastor's mom to lung cancer as well, we totally understood the cancellation. We did however, wait worse than little children during Advent for the announcement of the rescheduled concert. I used this year's birthday money to buy me a Wired family subscription, so the gang's all got meet-n-greet passes as well. Needless to say, the teen things are giddy with excitement, though a bit disappointed that this was not a GA concert. With free rein, I'm sure both Tai and Mark would have received equal attention from my budding shredder and bassist, respectively. As it is, I think we'll be camped out firmly in front of Mark, if the boys haven't rearranged the stage setup since the concert at Augie.
I'll publish the Goose family concert review in our next installment of Third Day on the third day...

27 February 2009


Here in our big, drafty old house, we have a couple of methods for keeping warm.

First, we pile into the recliners with blankies and sisters:

A secondary method: Fill the bed with a pile o' cats

26 February 2009

Snow Day

We got to school today in time to hold one class, then turn around and head home. When I left home, there wasn't a flake to be seen, but by 9 am my car was covered and the roads were slippery.
I got home about an hour before my kids got home from their school. Then the slacking began in earnest. We did get the dishes done as we set the kitchen up for cookie baking jamboree.

While we knocked around in there, the iPastor got some assistance from the Things with a project he's had on the back burner for a while. He found a great little freeware app for sorting recipes. He has had family recipes for years, and with his mom's death, inherited her boxes of recipes from her own mother's cafe as well. They began sorting so they can import them into the database in batches.

Hopefully he can start with some of our pictures soon as well. I am a little fearful that we have lost all our photos from about 2002-last year. We did a lot of computer switching this summer, and one of the major backup disks failed. Keeping my fingers crossed that the king of backup took care of business.
I made some beef stew from leftovers. iPastor did the grocery shopping last week. I am thankful for a man who likes to cook, and who doesn't mind shopping, but we do have different philosophies. We plan for leftovers, but implement it in different manners. I'll portion out meals to freeze for the family, he likes food on hand to use in his lunch. One of his purchases was a beef roast. A ten pound beef roast. We've been eating beef for days. I did manage to sneak some into the freezer to bring out at a later date, but I'm about done with beef for a while. Holy cow.
Since today's content is a little random anyway, I will share with you one thing I do enjoy about winter: Sundogs. One of my knowledge bowl kids got these pictures for me as I drove the short bus to our invitational last week. When the wind is cold and bitter, I can at least look forward to a little eye candy to keep me happy.