Tuesday, June 24, 2008

is it just me??

Okay, like it isn't bad enough I'm getting stared at by the vast number of humans we are forced to live next to, but now even the birds are getting involved! Enough to make a person paranoid!

whatchu lookin' at?

In addition to being a homebodied horde prone to driving without blinkers and expecting the right of way in every situation, be it vehicular or shopping cart, the Angry Blue Haired Mafia are masters at staking out their neighbors. My garden has not gotten where it is by me staying inside, hoping it grows. I throw a respectable amount of water on it every day, at pretty much the same time every day. I weed, I mulch, I prune, I stake, I fret, I observe, I sigh in its general direction. Don't think I'm doing that without an audience. I had no less than 2 ABHM members watching me water this morning. They don't so much watch as peer out their windows and stare, the entire time I'm watering. What's up with that? I am so tempted to just turn around and throw a double eagle. Man, would that be fun! Instead, I just nervously glance in their direction occasionally, while not wearing any earbuds, and hope no one is sneaking up behind me to tell me that I don't listen well. (If you're confused, see my earlier, original post on the ABHM.) If you're a "the glass is half full" type of person and would like to suggest to me that I wave to them, guess what? Tried that! Didn't work. I have a theory they are viewing us like some sort of lost tribe of Minnesota. I'm sure we have Annoying Neighbor Traits...but, honestly, I don't see that we could possibly have too many of them. Maybe, I'll put my earbuds in, but won't listen to any music. That way, when they start stalking me to tell me I don't listen well, I will swing around at the last minute and say, "Gotcha!" That would be fun, too! I know you think this is a lot of attention for a few individuals...but, when you water daily like I do, at 7:15 in the morning, it would be neat one day to have some privacy while doing it. Believe you me, as soon as we possibly can, we'll be erecting a 15 foot tall fence with barbed wire and motion sensor lights perched along the top; there will be a day in my future when I will be able to water in complete and total (and blissful!) privacy!

we have liftoff!

Summer seems to be in full swing...finally! Fitting, since it's almost July. Not exactly a banner start to the summer season. I know it officially just started, but man, have we been hammered this spring! I'm hoping a cold, wet spring will make for a long, warm fall. Would be nice! Here are some flower photos to prove things are finally growing up here!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

on wisdom and joy...

I was thinking this morning about the phrase..."If I only knew then what I know now." It seems logical that increased wisdom would result in increased joy...but, does it? If I had known, back when I was 13, that everybody lies, for example, that would have been a useful piece of wisdom for me to possess at such a young age. But, would it have made me happier? I can look back and say, "Back when I was young and foolish..." and fill in those blanks however I want. The kicker is, even though I was making mistakes and trusting people when I shouldn't be, I was happy doing it. There is a sense of peace that comes with naivete. Gaining intelligence in certain areas does not always mean you will gain a sense of bliss about the same area. When I used to listen to music while in high school, my main concern was how to harmonize with the melody, and how the song made me feel inside. As I went through college and studied music, suddenly I was listening for things like major sixths vs. minor thirds, and why they were the same notes but sounded different; counterpoint; use of computers and how I could hear a synthesized sound vs. a "real" sound; ostinatos; sequences; chord progressions; and my personal favorite, picardy thirds, to name just a few. Suddenly, listening to music became an intricate mental game, and a way to pique my interest whenever a new song came on the radio. What key was it in? Where did they sample that bass line from? Where have I heard that phrase before? Why didn't they use real instruments for that? Why did they use that progression? What's up with that sequencing? Why that static modulation there? It did become more challening to listen in that manner, and I definitely had learned things I didn't know before about my favorite subject, music. BUT, did I have more fun listening to music now? Or less? I try hard to "keep the magic" involved when listening to music now. I try to appreciate the fact that John Denver, for example, is one of the greatest bridge writers of all time, and keep myself from analyzing why his bridges are so amazing. I'm sure there are some determining factors that make his bridges catch my ear just so and make me want more. I could sit down and analyze the chords, pick it apart and try to "left brain" it all...but, would my soul still feel the joy? In ways of the heart and soul, (of which music is my personal master) I will always feel it is probably more satisfying to JUST LISTEN, as opposed to looking so closely. Maybe being naive and open can be as important sometimes as analyzing and scrutinizing; surely you can weigh happiness vs. intellect, but which one is more important to you in the end? I am glad my ear is able to pick the things up that it can, but I still cherish my ability to enjoy the music for music's sake, and not always because it has a kick-ass chord progression and a beautiful picardy third at the end. I guess it's all in how you look at it, and what your personal priorities in life are. I still say there's something to be said for knowing less, feeling more. When I was in fifth grade, my parents bought an old upright piano for $35...I was thrilled to be able to play music on it. It was always woefully out of tune, and even once the tuner came, never held pitch for long. Did the music sound better once I left home and played on "in tune" pianos in college? That's a question for my soul to answer.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


And so it's Father's Day, yet again. My father passed away 10 years ago in May; so, it's not exactly a great day around here. He was a great guy and a good dad. Most of my memories of him involve fishing or camping. I'm so glad he took the time to take us camping as much as he did. (I'm glad for mom, too, who carefully packed and arranged our camper so we could go!) It seems so strange without him here. I don't think people get it until they lose a parent; how strange it is without them around. Unfortunately, I get it. I try to spend the day remembering him, but I'm generally happy when the day is finally over. I did happen to see a goldfinch visit my garden this morning, though, and it sat on my tomato cage for quite some time. I hope that was dad's way of saying he's okay. (Goldfinches are dad's bird...it's a long story that needs another post for total explanation...) Suffice it to say, I miss you, dad!

Thursday, June 12, 2008


As I was being Super Woman outside this morning, (tamping down our tilled dirt around the patio, dispersing grass seed, mowing, bagging grass to sprinkle on top of grass seed, mulching around yard plantings, hand trimming around peonies and shrubs, and watering, as well as moving Large Rocks) I was listening to one of my old recordings of Frank Sinatra on my iPod. I have a lot of Frank's recordings where you can hear the band talking in the background, so as I was listening to the saxophones and trombones trading fours, I could hear talking during the sax parts, and thought, man, that trombone section sure is talkative. I finally looked up and saw one of the Blue Hairs standing in front of me. (One of our very angry old neighbors.) She was holding a cover to a grill. It was round. As I finally looked up to see her and removed my ear buds, she said, "Well, you don't listen very well, do you?" I bit my tongue and smiled. She said, "Is this your grill cover?" I said, "No, it doesn't look like it, but let's see if it's someone else's." So, I looked over at our neighbors' decks and said, "Well, I see Jerry and Lori have a rectangular grill, and.." She interrupted me and said, "Well, THIS one is ROUND." I said, "Yes, I am aware of that...that's why I'm checking the shape of the neighbors' grills." She finally crumpled it up in a ball and said, "Well, here, you might as well keep it and see if you can find a use for it." Grrrr! As she walked away, I realized I have never even met her, they never even introduced themselves after we moved in, and they live two houses away from us. I have been telling my mom repeatedly about the Angry Blue Haired Mafia in Pipestone, but she never believes me. They are an angry lot. They are the same people that want all the modern conveniences the town has to offer, but vote no on the school levy...not realizing that once the school closes, there will be no grocery store or cafe for them to drive horribly to and then park over the lines and rush in front of the rest of us in line. Some of my best friends have been what I would consider Old People, but the ABHM crew here in Pipestone seem to go out of their way to be mean to anyone under 82. I don't see the point in being so angry and rude. As she strutted away out of my yard, I wanted to yell, "I was listening to Frank Sinatra, you old coot, so leave me alone!" Ha! Not sure she would have cared. I am well aware we will all be old someday, and can say with certainty that some of the most fun I've ever had was in the company of my great uncle Fred, whom I considered one of my lifelong best friends. I am respectful to elders and feel a lot can be learned from them...most of the time. I will say I've never met a meaner lot of seniors than I have in the goings and doings about this town. Perhaps it has a lot to do with the fact that I am home during the day and try to run all of my errands before Mas comes home, so I am thrust into the pulsing vein of their daily society. Whatever the case, I am thinking more and more about building that 10 foot fence around the yard, neighbors' views of the sunset be damned!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Movin' through life

As I was enjoying a day with my mom and sister yesterday, I received a text from Howard that said: "Mas is covered in water soluble paint." I immediately texted back: "Take a picture!" I read my email later to find out he had a busy day of painting. When his newest teacher first started, she emailed me one day, very concerned about Mason's clothes being covered in paint. I told her to never apologize for him being dirty! I would much rather see him come home dirty and know he's been busy learning, than see him come home spotless and know he's just been sitting quietly in his room all day. I don't want life to happen around him, I want him to move through his life. I think that may be the best gift we can give him.

In other news, while Mas and I were waiting for the van this morning, I went around the house to turn the water on so I could water my front plants. Mas was waiting up on the steps. He watched me water and then I went back to turn off the faucet. When I came back, this is what I found! He was patiently waiting for me, sitting in our chair, watching the street for any sign of his van. Very cute.

just skippin' along!

Well, our fishing trip came up empty...sort of. We didn't land a muskie, but we saw the biggest muskie either of us has ever seen...swimming about 4 inches behind Howard's lure. It was easily as thick as a tire, and longer than his biggest muskie, which was 49 inches...a beast, to say it simply. It was pale, probably from being so old, and moved with a tiny flick of its' huge tail, and followed the lure in, made the first turn of the figure 8, and then slowly swam off. MAN, was that a fish! We were both shook by it the rest of the day...I even dreamt about it later that night! Alas, she didn't want to bite, but we thank her for showing herself long enough for us to remember why we bother with muskie fishing! Skipper was looking dapper in his life jacket...see photo above. Yes, I know dogs can instinctually swim, but I was more concerned he would bolt for shore and we'd be chasing him through (very rich) neighborhoods around the lake. His jacket has a handy dandy handle which makes it easy to pull him back into the boat. He did manage to get hooked onto 4 different muskie lures...which average about 6-7 inches in length and are covered in treble hooks...only one was embedded in his leg, and it must have barely been in there, since he didn't say a word while I removed it. Mas enjoyed his first day out in the boat for 2008...and so did I! A funny side note...as I was walking Skip to the boat, some teenage kid was staring at us and he finally walked up to me and said, "That's a nice looking dog." Word.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

harbinger of slime

Well, we're headed off to fish today. We're going to drive two hours (that's four hours round trip) to throw lures in front of totally disinterested slimy fish; only to watch them lazily follow our (very expensive) lures around and maybe nip at them occasionally, only to give us the fin and swim back into their cover. We won't fill our livewell, and if we do catch anything, we'll take a pic and release it back into the water. We're going muskie fishing. It sounds like a rather depressing sport, eh? It's actually quite fun, if not an exercise in futility at some points along the way. The great news is, it will be me and Mason's first time out on the boat this year, and we may get brave (or stupid) and bring Skipper along. Pictures to follow. Wish us luck, as we attempt to wrangle this harbinger of slime...if I catch one, I'll give a it a kiss right on its' slimy snout. That should scare him out of biting again!

Thursday, June 5, 2008


Here are pics of the aftermath of the maternal storm of creativity and hard work that is grandma and mom!!

We are short a headboard, but it will hopefully be shipped here within the next 2 weeks. It was definitely labor, but a labor of love! It will be so fun to see her face when she sees it for the first time! Yay!

She will have her new room just in time to usher in 14. Hopefully this will last for many years to come!


These are pics of 13's room before the team of mom & grandma took over.

(yes, it's messy...she was packing for her trip and had to try on EVERY outfit and show it to me before she packed it...made for a very messy room!)

Monday, June 2, 2008

things that make you go...hmmmmmm....

So, here I am hovering at 38 years of age...looking at 39 shortly, and wondering if I should be in the midst of a mid-life crisis...or, am I already in one? Seems I should be well into a career by now, and raking in some dough. Instead, I'm usually making some sort of dough in the kitchen. Funny how one ends up doing things that you never though you would ever do...like, stay home and be a mom. I used to mock people who did that...(that was during college; blissfully unaware that someday I would be a mom to a special needs child, and smug in my belief that a bachelor's degree was the key to happiness...) ...all the time thinking, what a waste to go to college and then not use your degree. I wonder if our moms wanted something more, or were they content to be busy at home? (You'll see me bothering my mom in the photo above)...I was always proud to say she was my mom, and never wondered why she was home with us when we were little. She was always available to make cookies for school parties, I could always call her if I forgot something and needed her to bring it in to school, and she was always home when I got off the bus at the end of a long day. I have tried to maintain some sanity through volunteering and working for peanuts, but am realizing it may be too much work and not enough reward. I've done lots of volunteering over the years due to the intrinsic rewards, but even they can fade after time, and you are stuck with the Big Decisions, like, what is my time worth? If you saw my house and yard, you would say stay home and get to work! I imagine it may be time to concede that trying to do it all isn't all it's cracked up to be. And, hey, what's wrong with saying you're a mom, anyway? I'll try to work on that...