Not a Good Fit

Many years ago I had a 3-week job in May planting trees in Superior National Forest. This year I am in the midst of a 4 ½ week job scoring standardized tests. Can you guess which job is a better fit for my personality?

The current job is basically sitting and staring at the computer. All the time. Besides breaks and lunch, there is absolutely no need to get up and move or look at something besides a screen unless you want to stretch or go to the restroom. I keep thinking about the tree-planting job and wishing I could do something like that instead of what I’m doing now (although my body would probably have a harder time planting trees all day for three weeks than it did when I was 18). I told a co-worker about the tree-planting job and she said something about not having to think very hard at that job. And I thought to myself: you may think it wasn’t that stimulating mentally, but my thoughts were free because I could think anything I wanted instead of focusing only on 3rd grade English essays – and what can be better than all that fresh air and exercise? This current job is slow torture for someone like me.

What things do you do that are not a good fit for your personality? Or that are a good fit?


Space Shanties – Redux

Jupiter has been in the news this week as well as more discussion of the first manned mission to Mars.   In honor of these events, here is a repeat of a fun blog from 2015!

Today’s post comes from Captain Billy, skipper of the pirate ship Muskellunge.


Me an’ me boys is crazy-excited t’ hear that NASA has discovered a underground ocean on th’ largest moon of Jupiter!

Not that we’s lookin’ fer other seas t’ sail, on account of this one here is fine, an’ plenty large enough. Plus, a Jovian Lunar ocean with a roof over it made of 95 miles of ice raises serious questions about navigation an’ winds an’ how tall can yer mast be t’ keep from scrapin’ th’ underside.

There’s no disagreement among me boys on this point – a ocean up in the stars don’t have th’ same allure as th’ one under the stars that we all enjoys so much.

But th’ possibilities is what has us thrilled.

If there’s oceans out there orbitin’ that vast gas giant, then what’s there t’ prevent there from bein’ Jupiter pirates? An’ if there’s Jupiter pirates, don’t it follow that there’d be Jupiter grog an’ Jupiter booty?

All of it incredibly massive, of course!

So naturally our imaginations ran away wit’ us, an we began t’ wonder what sort of sea shanty we might sing up there if we went, even though there’s no way we’d go (so don’t ask)!

Th’ song we made up is t’ th’ tune of one of our home world favorites – Stormalong.

O we’re sailin’ under an icy dome.
Way,hay, Ganymede.
We’re a long long way from our Earthly home.
Aye aye we’re on Ganymede.

An’ there ain’t no wind for to fill our sails
Way, hay, Ganymede.
It ain’t clear what sailin’ here entails.
Aye aye we’re on Ganymede.

But the ocean’s salty an’ dark and deep.
Way, hay, Ganymede.
If there’s monsters in it, let them sleep!
Aye aye we’re on Ganymede.

If there’s fishes swimmin’ beneath our feet
Way, hay, Ganymede
Please be slow an’ fat an’ O.K. to eat.
Aye Aye we’re on Ganymede.

Though it’s scary here an’ th’ water’s cold,
Way, hay, Ganymede
May the seas be calm an’ the booty gold!
Aye Aye we’re on Ganymede.

If you’re voyaging to a distant planet, what song do you want to take with you?

An Oma in the Kitchen

In May, 1914, my widowed, maternal great grandmother, Metta Sophie Bartels, left her small village near Bremen, Germany with  her four teenage daughters, teenage son, and one son in his early 20’s, and immigrated to Fulda, MN, where her father and siblings all had immigrated.  Her oldest son had inherited the Bartels family farm upon his father’s death.  One other son, my grandfather, had been drafted into the German army. He was discharged in July, 1914 because of flat feet, and he immediately left Germany for Minnesota. (It is rather humbling to know that I owe my existence to flat feet).

Metta was called “Oma”, a German term for grandma.  My mother had very fond memories of her. She remembered her as a kind and gentle presence in her life.  Oma lived with her children and helped them with their families as they married and had their own children. She was a hard worker. My mother remembers the time Oma broke her right arm, which was her dominant arm.  My mother said, “Oma just hoed the garden with her other hand”.   Oma died in 1947. The photo is of her prior to immigrating.

We now have a grandchild.  Husband and I thought pretty hard about what names we wanted to be called by our grandson.  Our daughter-in-law’s parents will be Grandma and Grandpa. My maternal grandmother was called “Umie”,  a diminutive for “Oma”.  Umie was interesting but rather difficult to live with, so I didn’t want that name.  For rather hard to explain reasons, Husband will be Grandpa Dazzle. I could be “Grandma Boom” because of my last name, Boomgaarden. That name, however, belongs forever to my paternal grandmother, a short, wild little person who drove really fast and cheated at cards.  I decided that I want to be called Oma.

We visited our son and DIL a week after the birth of their son.  While at their home I cooked and froze two soups (Bremer Huhnersuppe and Chicken Chipotle Chower), lasagna, four loaves of French bread, and a loaf of lemon poppy seed bread. I also cleaned out all their kitchen cupboards and drawers. Who has time for that with a newborn?  My grateful son said “Every  home needs an Oma in the kitchen”. I was glad to be of help.

What kind of help has benefited you the most?  What help have you given that has been the most helpful.  Have you ever had a nickname?”

All in a Day’s Work

I blew through four cashiers this afternoon!

It’s straw bale time at my house – I’m doing the conditioning of the bales right now, which means I need to add fertilizer to the bales twice a day for six days. This morning I used the last of the bag of fertilizer so needed to stop at Bachman’s on the way home.

Just one bag of fertilizer. The first cashier was clearly just starting out and got hosed up trying to enter my “frequent buyer” number, so enter cashier #2.   When I handed her my Bachman’s charge card (yes, that’s what I said), she looked at it a bit and then swiped it.  The register clearly didn’t like that and I commented (nicely) that for the Bachman’s charge, they don’t swipe it.  This didn’t help so she called over a third cashier who took the card.  I mentioned again that it doesn’t get swiped, but he swiped it several more times but this time pushed some other buttons and got a completely different error message.

All of this was combined with profuse apologies from all three, who appeared to be high school students. Finally they called someone on a walkie talkie.  An older woman came over and immediately said “Oh, with the Bachman’s charge, you enter this here and this here… you don’t swipe the card.”  More profuse apologies.  I was not in a hurry and wasn’t really bothered by the wait and the confusion, although it was really hard not to smirk and say “I told you so” about the swiping of the card.

What was YOUR first job?

What’s in a Name?

My daughter is attracted by Name Brands. She would almost always prefer a Name Brand if possible.  I’m not sure how this happened as I’m the opposite (although having just typed these words, I may have answered my own question!)  With very few exceptions, I go with generic and cheap.  I do buy Prell shampoo because I love the smell and Birkenstocks because how can you argue with sandals that you wear constantly and after 10 years, they are still OK.  But that’s about it.

Except Kitchenaid. I had one of the earlier Kitchenaid stand mixers – the ones made back in the day when the company was still an offshoot of Hobart, the big commercial baking mixer company.  Because I loved this mixer and never had a moment’s trouble with it, I bought several other Kitchenaid products over the years – all because of the name.

I think most of you have heard my sad story about my old Kitchenaid finally giving up the ghost and the new Kitchenaid not being as durable. I did eventually talk Kitchenaid into sending me a check for half of the amount that I spent on the repair, but considering the initial expense of the machine and the expense of the repair (not to mention my angst), I would not call myself satisfied.  Not satisfied as to the durability of the machine, the length of the warranty on such an expensive appliance, the way my complaint was initially handled and the difficulty of finding someone to repair the machine.

So now I have to say that my love affair with Kitchenaid is over. No more appliances in my house based solely on the Kitchenaid name.  And unfortunately I no longer believe that the new stand mixer will be the last one I own (something I thought at the time I purchased it).  What this means is that my next stand mixer won’t be a Kitchenaid.

What brands are you loyal to?

Fecundity Profundity

Nature does go about its business expeditiously. Each flowering plant gets its slot during the year. Even now, before the grass is green and leaves have developed, seeds are being made.

In flowers.

In catkins.

At least I think those are catkins. I am not sure what sort of tree is producing those.

Catkins, or aments, are surprising things, a variation on flowers basically. Most folks are unaware of them. Many are wind-blown, as are these. Birch produce catkins, those long drooping things, looking like a soft dull green/brown pine cone.

Right now I am looking to nature to find hope for this world and for lessons of the cycles of life. But yet, I worry. All of this is so delicate, the process, I mean, and how nature has spent millions of years finding that balance.

Ah, Balance, Balance, Balance.

Do I sound like Chance the Gardner? “As long as the roots are not severed, all is well. And all will be well in the garden.”

How is your balance? What simple but profound insight do you have for today?




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