Thursday, January 31, 2008


Jim and the kids built this during our Winter Carnival Snow Sculpture Contest. It wasn't supposed to get votes because I am the Director, and well, they are my family (and I did the face, so that alone should have disqualified them). But, the WC Royal Court voted, and I was told by my assistant that it would be unjust for me to disqualify their vote, so...

YAY! We took 3rd place! :)

This little number took 1st place!

This one took 2nd!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

You know its cold, part two...

Its snowing in China, and blowing in the Midwest. All weekend it was in the upper 30's and 40's here in balmy MN. And then the shoe dropped.

So you know its cold...

  • When it was 40 and raining at 5:00 last evening, this morning -40 and blowing. (and it is only 7 am)

  • And.we.have.already.reached.our.high. (and it is only 7 am)

  • Soon to be dipping below.

  • The wind is blowing at a steady 50.

  • There are MULTIPLE National Weather Service Alerts for your area, and they all contain the words: Wind Chill Warning:

Yep, its cold.

Update: This was at 1:52 this afternoon... The local reporting station:

Do you hear me now? Its cold. Brrr!

Saturday, January 26, 2008


Friends... they are like family, only better, because we get to choose them...

friend (frěnd) n.
A person whom one knows, likes, and trusts.
A person whom one knows; an acquaintance.
A person with whom one is allied in a struggle or cause; a comrade.

Some people choose to have many friends. Some they keep very close. Some are friendships forged by association (ie work, a club, etc), but outside said association there is little time spent.

Some people choose to have a few friends. Most of which they are very close to. Not many others break that circle. But every once in a while a new friendship will spark, and the new comrade is welcomed by all.

I had always prided myself on being one of those people who thrived on a few close relationships. I had a few handfuls of friends that I shared everything with. They knew every gruesome detail about me. They celebrated the good times. They supported through the bad.

Recently, I have developed quite a few friendships that I would have previously considered "friends by association" because we share like interests and activities. I am now finding that many of these people I would welcome into my close circle if the opportunity arose.

But sadly over the past few years some of my very close friends - life long friends - have gone missing.

Not missing because of a fight. Not missing because our interests changed. Not missing because we don't like each other any longer.

Missing because of logistics. Missing because it takes more effort now. Missng because the opportunity has slipped away.

Some of these friends have spent a large portion of my life with me. We went to school together, suffered various break ups and heartaches together, got in a lot of trouble together, and celebrated many milestones together. Some of these friends even sat through the horror of my mothers illnesses, and untimely death. Walked down the aisle with me, and welcomed the births of my children.

Sadly, they are missing.

Five years ago, I moved away from what I knew my whole life. A large city full of opportunity. Plenty of diversities, and good friends that were a lifetime in the making. We tried to keep in touch. But missed phone calls and emails; lack of opportunity to get away for an evening out; and changes in our lives made it difficult for some of those friendships to sustain.

Sadly, they are missed.

I often wonder... "what do her kids look like now, they are getting so old!". "Did she get married yet?". "How is her new life, miles and miles away?". Most of all... "Do they wonder the same things about me?".

Often times I want to call them up and see how things are. Reminisce on old times, and catch up on the new. But who has the time? And how do you catch up? Five years (or more) is a long time. A lot has happened in my life in that time. I am sure the same goes for them.

I have written letters in my head a dozen times or more, but the time to put them to paper has passed. The time to send them in the mail has gone by.

Have you ever "caught up" with someone only to realize you are jealous of the times you have missed? Or felt completely lost because so much has changed?

Friends are a lifetime of happiness and joy. I now feel like my friends of the past have been missing for long enough that it is time to let them go. That it is time to focus on the friends I have now, and not let them slip away.

Time is hard on a person. When you have a family, and a career, and other responsibilities, sometimes the most important people in your life fall to the way side.

Friends are too important to lose.

Do you know where your friends are?

Friday, January 25, 2008

Money rules the world

Approxiamately 117,000,000 Americans are potentially about to receive something that is fairly unprecedented. A "rebate" for working and having children.

The first thing my husband said to me last night (after a really crappy day mind you) was "we are going to get $1,800 in July!".

All of these awful thoughts ran through my head...

  • It will be spent in his mind before we even receive it
  • Guaranteed not to be on something we need, or put in savings
  • It will be spent in my mind before we even receive it
  • Ditto
  • We will be like alot of the other 117 million watching our mail boxes and wondering "when will it get here" and praying that "those checks" don't clear the bank first because we got impatient and spent it before it got here
... if the Senate even passes the bill ...

Why am I complaining? Why do I make this such a negative post?

Because money is evil. We earn more to spend more. And the government "gets it", so they are waving it like a little carrot in front of our noses to "boost our economy" by expecting us to spend it. They aren't suggesting that we do with it what most of us are in dire need of doing... Saving. They are saying that the economy needs us to shop more, so they will give us an allowance in which to do so.

But here is the problem...

A large majority of the people who will receive this caviat are already in debt. Living paycheck to paycheck. Refinancing. Borrowing. Refinancing. Working hard to make ends meet. Never quite getting there because advertisers have the fools market. They know how to make widgets and wazoo's, gadgets and gizmo's that we don't need look so good we can't live without them. And now the government is pimping us out.

Soon we will be flooded with mailers and ads and t.v. commercials with "Zero Interest, BUY NOW" car's, big screen tv's, recreational vehicles, large ticket items that will inject 100 times the value of the rebate back into the economy. Its great for the country. But it sucks for those who really should be saving it.

Including us.

I will never forget September 1st, 2001. There are many reasons why...
  • My mom was dying
  • My step father was in the Army
  • And our FIRST truck payment came - at 9+% interest
10 short days later...

  • The world stood still and mourned
  • We all no longer felt safe on our own turf
  • My mom was still dying
  • My stepfather was still in the Army
And people bought cars - they bought lots of cars! We of course now had buyers remorse because our payments were 10% larger than yours!

But we still ended up in a recession. So will this boost in the economy really save us? And if it does, will it save the millions who are already in debt?

I have my doubts. But I am watching my mailbox.

Saturday edit to my post:

Heidi posted some very good articles in my comments, and I didn't want them to be overlooked, so I am posting them here:

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Random thoughts and hmmmm....

Random thoughts...

You know it is cold when...
  • The snow from your shoes is still in its original state on the floor of your car from last night when you got out of it.
  • The snow is so loud that you cant concentrate (you Minnesotans will get this one)
  • You wear 18 layers and furry lined hats with ear flaps to let the dog out the front door
  • Your car is warmed up, but the heat doesnt kick in until you get to your destination 20 minutes later
  • Even the dog wont go out!

You know you are having a bad day when...

  • You spend half your day wondering "what should we do?"
  • And you spend the other half saying "what should we do"?
  • And the whole next day trying to justify what you did!

You know its not a sleeping disorder when...

  • You are too tired to stay awake at work
  • Because you didnt sleep last night
  • So you strategically plan your escape to an early slumber tonight
  • And then go online and blow the plan
  • Staying up late watching tv
  • And regret not going to sleep earlier - when the clock reads 1am

So now for the hmmmm....

Heidi has been sharing "Bad Poetry Mondays" for a few weeks. Today I was listening to the only radio station that comes in in my office, and thought to myself... Are all pop songs just a bad excuse for bad lymerics put to music? And better yet, how many times did they re-write that phrase to find a better rhyming word?

Friday, January 18, 2008


So maybe I don't have this blog thing down yet, but here is my point of view:

A blog is an outlet for the author(s) to express their feelings about their life, their ambitions, their woes, their work, their passions. The things that make them think. The things that they want to share with others. Sometimes to express their views, sometimes to share their craft.

But not to have people ridicule them. Or tell them that they should post about something or someone else. Someone who a few of us (you know who you are) got really close to, who really needed the support and pulled out some difficult decisions with dignity because he received such support, had to go private because of people telling him he should quit blogging about his issues and find something else to blog about... Um, it was HIS blog. Go somewhere else and read if you don't like what he writes. But don't ruin it for him, or his friends. Within days of sharing his excitement about reaching 100,000 views (and being a "blog of note") someone ruined it for him. Burst his bubble and took away his security. His life has changed a lot in the past few weeks, and he is amazingly changed. And its great. But the idiots out there who think they have a right to make him change the way he shares his LIFE should be banned from blogging.

Then there are those people who dont do their research and call someone a complete fake. Over and over again. "What th'a?" Before you call someone a fake, maybe read a little more and discover not only passion, and compassion, but creativity, and a talent for making an experienced chef blush!

I have always wondered what makes people think they have the right to treat people this way. To hurt people in ways that make them feel insecure, and make them have to defend their very being. Its disgusting.

And maybe it is proof that while we have the 1st Ammendment, there are some people that shouldn't be allowed that right.

But that is just my opinion!

On another subject.... My husband called me today and asked me to do something for him that I have been waiting 7 years to hear him say he was ready to do (belle, no not that!). I don't want to jinx it, but I am really happy, and I hope it really happens! Pray for strength on his part.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

(tap tap tap) is this thing on?

It is, its just on mute! I was told 6 days was too long to wait to post again, but I haven't been home all week, so I promise, I will find that darn button and turn it off, and you back on... Tomorrow! :)

Friday, January 11, 2008

"You could poke someones eye out with that thing"

I have to pre-empt this post with, this is a safe product when used properly!!!

But when you have random 'Baums in a room, there is little thought placed on reading instructions, wearing provided protective gear, or aiming at butts and not heads...

See the blaster? See the glasses? Must.use.glasses.when.using.blaster!
I will middle-empt this post with, I played too, so I was not completely an innocent victim.

I am not sure it really says it that plainly, but I think the jist is... DONT AIM AT HEADS! See those little black things on the end? They are the velcro. Not the soft velcro that attracts the hard side, but the hard side itself. The side that binds to the vest seen in the first picture.

And that is where our story gets predictible...

Just as the words flew out of my mouth: "Mantha, watch where you are aiming, you could poke someones eye out with that thing", she looked where she was aiming, and she shot.





The words that fell out of my mouth immediately following would have made Eddie Murphy in "Raw" blush (read: goonie-goo-goo). All under my breath mind you because I was aware of the kids and my mother in law in the room.

And it h.u.r.t. bad. And it happened almost a month ago.

So why do I bring it up today?

Well after eating what you may have already read about below, all of the sudden, like I was reliving that bad dream all over again, my eye started hurting like a son of a motherless goat. And it isnt getting better. Its like my eye said, hey lady, you have ignored me long enough! Kinda like pulling a scab off a sore when the sore wasnt quite ready to be messed with.


What did I just eat?

And why does my tongue feel like this?

Ever open the fridge and wonder, will this still be ok to eat? My husband does it all the time. I on the other hand rarely ever pull left overs out to eat, but rather to toss. I have a severe aversion to left overs. If it wasnt frozen right off the stove, oven or grill, I will not eat it (unless it is artichoke dip or stroganof that is!).

Jadon and I are home in our usual Friday fashion. Fridays start off with neither one of us wanting to budge from our slumber. I won the get out of bed race this morning because I wanted to tackle that room on the 2nd level that has been screaming for attention. So as soon as Mantha walked out to door, I flew out of bed, let the dog out, and hastely walked down the stairs with camera in hand (only because this job needed a before and after).

When Jadon got up he promptly announced he was hungry, so I hesitantly said "ok" (not! for anyone who tackles a preteens room every now and again, you know darn well that any distraction is welcome). He wanted cereal which is my favorite meal to cook, and I decided on raisin toast for myself.

We have the usual "meat and veggie" drawers in our fridge. Only the bottom one is more like a freezer. Its safe for bread, meat and cheese storage but dont you dare put potato's, onions or lettuce and tomato's in that drawer because they will come out like popsicles.

Because of the temperature issues, we usually store bread in the bottom because it stays fresher "down there". To my dismay, the drawer was empty this morning. BUT, there was a partial loaf in the upper drawer. Bad feeling #1... I was skeptical from the start - had that "I wonder if this will still be good" feeling. I felt like living on the edge, so I decided to go for it. Bad feeling #2... came when I took the bread out of the bag and it felt a little dry. But hell, I was toasting it anyway, so whats the diff right? It toasted nicely, and buttered well and tasted darn good if I do say so myself.

Bad feeling #3... the after taste that is now making me ask the question... "what did I just eat"? My tongue is scratchy and the roof of my mouth feels funky (and yes, for you skeptics, I DID brush my teeth this morning). So were the raisins raisins? I didn't notice any funky bright colors, but would mold "cook out"?

Tell me, what the heck?

I may have to slam a liquid can of fizzy mouth cleanser (aka soda). Ever seen what coke can do to a piece of metal? Hopefully it will remove the patina I may have eaten for breakfast!

Stay tuned for "you could poke someones eye out with that thing"!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Chronic pain

One of my best friends, Dayna, has three children with PIDD. They are always on virus watch, they do most things healthy kids do, but they are not done without extra thought and many precautions. All three Bugs take various medications multiple times a day. In addition, Doodle Bug suffers from dibilitating arthritis.

So when I think of my own personal health issues, I think of these guys first and try to remind myself that I have no right to complain.

But today, on day 3 of a migrane, and barely able to walk because of two recent falls, my knees and lower back hurt so bad that I am forced to take steps literally one at a time, I think about myself above anyone else.

This past fall, after a year of MRI's, Xrays and CT scans, and after a year of 2 hour sessions 2-3 times a week with a physical therapist I was finally diagnosed with a chronic pain disorder. I have Fibromyalgia and Arthritis in my knees, hips and shoulders. And I have constant head and neck aches, and frequent migranes.

I live in constant pain.

My muscles hurt to the touch. When my kids or animals climb into my lap and I go through the roof. I lay or sit in one spot for more then a few moments and the points of contact hurt. I sit in one position, or lay in bed in one position for more then a few minutes at a time and my whole body stiffens and aches. I get up from a seated position and walk like I am 80 years old because my knees and hips are locked.

The obvious answer is lose weight and excercise more. Its an issue I have grappled with for a long time. I have recently taken to making some changes. We got a puppy for Christmas. My favorite activity has always been to go for long walks. Now I take him on the mile loop around our neighborhood and I thoroughly enjoy it. But I am left barely able to walk for days after.

So now what? I cant sit. I cant lay down. I cant walk. I have a migrane for days on end. How do I break this endless cycle? Do I go back on medications that add other issues that I cannot stand to deal with so that I can break the cycles of pain? Do I continue to push myself knowing that the ramifications are hard to recover from? How long can I financially afford to spend so much time in PT?

I have medications that I dont like to mention because I dont want people to think I am a narcotic taking, addicted, excuse maker. I dont take those meds unless I am absolutely desperate. Still, knowing that I have them in my possession makes me feel weak. It makes me feel like I could take the easy way out, and rely on meds. But I dont want to. I dont like feeling like I have no control. That is why they sit in the bottles. And yet, I am still not in control.

So now what do I do? As I type this my shoulders are starting to hurt. My arms are burning. My heels feel like the skin is being torn off (because they are resting on the bed), and my hips feel like someone is pulling them out of their sockets.

And I hate it. And I want to cry.

I see other people enjoying life to its fullest. And I want to be like them. I want to set outrageous goals for myself and be able to do them. I want my "excuses" to be because I was lazy, not because I was in too much pain. I want the word "pain" to be something I have after I pushed too hard, not because I stood up. I want to put doctors, and medications an physical therapy in my past and take long walks and want to go further.

I want to be a mom that enjoys playing with her kids because it doesn't hurt.

I want to be a wife that looks forward to sharing in her husbands interests because it doesn't hurt.

I want to not feel like I am always making excuses for why I can't do something.

I want to live life to its fullest, not watch it fly by me.

So the pattern continues. I go to Physical Therapy. I take STS (Sympathetic Nerve Shock Therapy)and I wait. Wait to see if it will ever get better. And I will continue to take the dog for small walks and hope that one day I can make them longer.

And then one day I will come back on here and delete this message because it will no longer be a part of my life.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

My favorite pictures of 2007

I take a lot of pictures. I am not very good at it. I suck at uploading them, and horrible at printing them out. But here are some of my favorite people pictures.

My favorite picture of 2007...
Jim riding Jadon's bike during the family's version of the Susan G. Komen Walk for the Cure on Mothers Day. We do it in my moms very small home town of Heron Lake.
This is the part of the family that was able to walk that day. There are usually 40 or more of us. (I will be posting the pictures in another post)
Ronald McDonald was a hit at the Rail Road Days parade!
My boys and Mantha toodling on Jet Ski's! Mantha riding side saddle? She is a poser for sure!
This was taken at my grandmothers 90th Birthday Family Reunion weekend. It was so much fun! Dan from Alaska and Cath, Rod and RJ from Colorado joined us in the fun! Most of the family came. Even my dad and stepmom came!
The "Queen Mother", the Matriarch of our family - Grandma Margaret turned 90 on December 13, 2006. We celebrated twice. Once last Christmas, and then a whole week on a lake! She deserved the extra attention.
Its rare that I get on the other side of the camera (I hate pictures), its not a great picture, but my aunt Pat (who is like a second mother to me since my mom has been gone) is in it and that is why I love it!.
Mantha is a poser. She is natural at it. I love this picture of her. Its the most natural pose!

Lady, Doodle and Cuddle Bug's posing for the camera. This is the first time in 3 years that I have gotten all three kids to sit together for a picture. Not surprising, Cuddle wasnt looking!
During the month that Dayna actually lived in Wisconsin, I spent a few days helping with medical appointments and house hunting. My dream didn't last long, but as always I had fun visiting!
Me and Alex at her highschool graduation. My how time flies!

I love this one of Mitz and Alex!

This is one of my favorites partly because of the conversation that was taking place while I took it - Jadon was telling Mantha to "look at all those little fella's". It was a bucket of minnows. Stinky slimy little fish used for bait. But it made for a great picture!
This is Mantha's bff Bailey. She went camping with us for Manta's 10th Birthday. This deadwood tree was a climbing tree for the kids all weekend. I Bailey was the only one that posed for a picture.

I have some fun pictures without people that I will post in another window. This finishes out my "favorite people pictures" of 2007!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Great Grandpa

Great Grandpa (Jim's grandfather) is a funny ol'chap. He was married to Great Grandma for 68 years, 11 months and 20 days. Great Grandma was buried 7 days before their 69th Anniversary.

Great Grandpa has been in the nursing home since May. He celebrated Great Grandma's 90th birthday while there, his 92nd, and also suffered her loss while there.

Confusion has begun to take over. He does not know where he has been or where he is many days of the week. When we go to visit he asks if we are there to take him home.

Today he called me from "school" asking for a ride home. He was concerned about his "bikes" because he had two with him, and he wasnt sure how to get both home at one time. He told me that he talked to the office and they said he could stay in a classroom until I could get there, and that he would leave his other equipment there. I told him that Jim would be home by 6 and we would come over. He was worried that the school would be closing by then, but he would make arrangements. But the bikes had to go home today because school was closing for the summer.

Shortly after 6 we arrived at the home. We were afraid if we waited too long, he would not eat fearing he would miss us. The nurses must have worked their magic because when we got there he was seated with his usual motley crew. He saw us come in - which is amazing because the room they eat in is huge and we were on opposite ends. But he did eat most of his dinner.

Great Grandpa told us tales of his adventures the past few days. He said he was in Redwood, and then came back here - not sure how, but he did. He wanted to go home because he wanted to show us the remodeling grandma had done to the house. He told us tales of how "they" talked him into spending all kinds of money to remodel the place. That it had 20 bedrooms, and "I cant tell you how many bathrooms". He told us how it looked "just like this place" (meaning the nursing home), and that he really wanted to get back to it to check on the progress.

We told him it was very cold out and asked if we could see his hotel room (as now, that is where he believed he was). I wheeled him down the hall, and he told us tales of the other guests who were staying at the hotel, many of them diplomats of one sort or another. As we entered his room, it all started coming back to him. He remembered he was in the nursing home, and he knew it was his room. But he still wanted to go for a walk, "its only a few blocks away". Our excuse of it being too cold and windy (it was actually fairly balmy today), and that we drove the 2 seater (not!) worked for now. He did however begin planning for his springing - as he had unplugged the TV and his clock, and had a little pile of items he wanted to take with him.

But for tonight he is hunkered down. Tomorrow could be a whole 'nother story. Its so hard to see him this way. Not long ago he was a vibrant witty man. Now he is consumed with when we will get him out of this place. Its hard to leave when you know he will stare at four walls again... alone.

We did take a picture tonight. Its a great photo. He is smiling. And that is what counts.

We love you grandpa!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

I love you because...

Somedays I feel like Mantha gets the shaft when it comes to my blog, because well... She is healthy, and 10, and the "funny things kids say" stage is over and now its griping and complaining and "yes mom", "no mom" stage. But I do have to say, after spending 7 days without her I really realized how much I missed her.

I am sure she would say she feels like my "cabana girl" most days because she does so much in our home. She is the pet tender most days, and she is awesome at helping with everything. She helps with laundry, and she helps pick up and does dishes, and of course she loves to decorate. When I say decorate I mean, move her stuff out into a room I just cleaned and "decorate" the just cleaned and organized spaces with "Littlest Petshop", and "Idog" and "Ifreezy" and all kinds of little knick knacks. Why? "Because I love you and I want you to look at pretty things".


So this morning like most other mornings Jadon crawls into my bed as Mantha and I are doing our usual morning routine of yelling to each other from 3 floors apart (because she doesnt want to come up all those stairs, and I dont want to get my lazy ars out of bed) "love you, have a good day". He looks at me with his mesmerizing baby blues and the starts the following convo:

J: Do you love me?
Me: Of course I do! Do you love me?
J: Of course mom!
Me: Why do you love me?
J: Because I do.
Me: What do you love about me?
J: Your head. (yes, had I been drinking, I too would have spit it out my nose!)
Me: What do you love about my head?
J: Your bones. (my what? Do you see a theme with him? I see a future MD!)
Me: What about my bones?
J: You have bones in your head. Your teeth are bones you know. And yours are nice.
Me: Ok (snorting) is that all you love about me?
J: No
Me: What else?
J: Your smile.

I friggin lost it!

So enjoy your day, and smile lots, because your smile is why I love YOU! (pointing at my monitor at YOU!)

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

What do you mean you didn't get a card from us?

They look just like this... Are you sure?

What's that you say?

I am supposed to put them in the mail?

Ah ha! Thats how that works...

Well, the dog ate the cord to my printer, so I have to email the message to work and print it, then cut it out and bring it home and glue it down and put it in the envelope and put the address on the envelope - and there is that licking it thing - and then put a stamp on it and put it in the mail box. Whew, that made me tired. I think I will take a nap first. Then I will do all of that.

Oh wait, that is what I said in October when I made the cards... Maybe I better get on the ball. Just remember, I am the only person you have received a "Happy Ground Hog Day" card from last year!

Since I know you don't believe my excuse about the cord...

Bad puppy!