Category Archives: Family

Identifying Marks

Daughter told me that when she was at a farmers market in Tacoma last Saturday, she ran into another graduate of Concordia  College.  (I and both our children graduated from there). I asked her if she knew the person. Daughter said no, but the woman recognized her Concordia ring and identified her as a Cobber. As you can see from the header photo, it is a pretty plain ring and not all that easy to spot on someone else’s hand.

The College magazine is full of stories of Cobbers encountering  other Cobbers in odd places, always identifying each other by their rings. “Marlys Swensrud (’64) was surprized to meet up with Lars Lindstrom (’88) on a bird watching trip in Cyprus last August”.  You would think all we alums do is stare at people’s hands hoping to find a fellow graduate.  It isn’t even that the ring tells much about what sort of people we are, only that we have a shared experience of a certain place.  I think that if I wanted to let people know about me by wearing something symbolic, it would be small ceramic pins in the shape of a pie or a garden hoe, or perhaps a Welsh Terrier.

What symbol would you wear to let people know about you?  What do you think are some symbols that could identify us as Baboons?

Does It Hurt and Have A Temperature?

Today’s post comes from Wessew.

That is line from a 1963 Bayer Children’s aspirin commercial. The little boy makes an inquiry of his playmate’s health and receives reassurance from her mother that things will be fine. His delightful response? “Mothers are like that. Yeah, they are.”

With the C-19 pandemic, many of us have heard similar screening questions. “Pain? Temperature?”

My construction work at medical facilities requires a negative response to gain entrance into the building. I’m quite sure that over these past months that I’ve had my temperature taken a hundred times and it has consistently been 97.5. This is a surprise, as I recollect normal body temperature being 98.6 or did Keith mis-inform me with the lyric in his 1967 song:

“Hey, 98.6, it’s good to have you back again! Oh, hey, 98.6, her lovin’ is the medicine that saved me! Oh, I love my baby!”

Somehow “Hey 97.5” doesn’t work as a lyric.

 

Do you have a favorite fever song?

A Different Point of View

I thought about The Wonderful Wizard of Oz on our recent trip to Brookings, SD, as we drove through Edgely, ND and Aberdeen, SD on our way.  Frank Baum lived in Aberdeen around the time he wrote the book, and the girl he used as a model for Dorothy was his niece who lived on a god forsaken farm near Edgely.  (That girl’s daughter became the first woman senator from ND). The area is pretty swampy and remote, in the James River Valley, close to the Red River Valley, but without the good soil. I confess I never read Baum’s  book, but I really liked Wicked, which was the story told from the point of view of the Wicked Witch of the West.

I liked Jane Eyre as a teen, but I really liked Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, which is the story told from the point of view of the first Mrs. Rochester.

I suppose one could argue that writing a story from the point of view of another character from an established novel or story is an easy way to make a buck, but I think it is so interesting  to consider. I also don’t know how they figure out copyright and royalty issues, but it must be doable.

What novel or story would you like to see written from another character’s point of view? What novel or story would you like to see written from the point of view of a character from a completely different novel or story?

Digging a Hole

I can get really dirty when I’m working in the yard and putting in a new fence post this week made for TWO seriously dirty days.

The fence was initially installed in the end of April 1991, right after I moved in, so I didn’t have to take the dogs out on leashes six or seven times a day so they could do their business.  One of the fence posts was replaced years ago and the others have slowly deteriorated over time.  I have a huge black steel fence post “holder” keeping one up and my handy man did a serious MacGyver on another one last November when the ground was already frozen.  YA and I decided to replace the saggiest one and see what lessons we learned before attempting the MacGyvered one.

All the online advice talks about how hard it is to get the previous concrete out and they weren’t kidding.  The hole was humungous because we couldn’t get any leverage in a smaller hole.  We finally got down to where we needed to be and we measured the post and I sawed it off to the right height.  Then on Day 2 we got an ugly surprise; the very corner where there post needed to go had an old remnant of the initial fence post.  Believe me when I tell you it doesn’t take thousands of years for old wood to calcify.  It took an hour, a saw, a drill with 2 different bits, one dandelion digger that didn’t survive the ordeal and a hammer to finally clear that corner.

So the post is in, I’ve taken another super serious shower and some ibuprofen for my sore shoulders.  YA and I had lunch after we had finished and we both agreed that we learned a lesson that we could apply to the gate post – that we were hiring someone else to do it!

Any projects that you’ve gotten dirty doing?

 

Tales of Woe

Last week I got bitten by a bee, on my bottom lip.  I felt the bee start to fly in my mouth (I’m sure that’s not where he/she meant to go) and I spit it out pretty quickly, but not before I got a mild sting.  No big swelling, no allergic reaction but it did hurt for a few days.  On Day 3, if I looked REALLY hard, I could see a teeny whitish blister.  Kinda.  Certainly no one else could see it, including YA.

Then on Monday, while hammering a nail in the bathroom, I missed the nail and whacked by left index finger something good.  I swore so loudly that I had to go apologize to the neighbors.  It really hurt.  No bruise, no blood under the fingernail.  Nothing except for the lingering soreness.

Now I don’t know about you but I think if you get hurt enough that it still hurts after a day or so, you should get a little bruise or a blister or something.  It doesn’t have to be some egregious wound, just a little badge of honor for your pain.

Have you ever received a trophy (or badge or prize)?

Who’s Choosing the Menu?

After the great naan breakfast recipe last week, we had ricotta cheese left.  I hate throwing out food so I bought some lasagna noodles and told YA what I was going to make.

The morning I started to make the dish, YA wandered into the kitchen.  “Make lasagna rolls instead of regular lasagna” she said.  I whined and said this was a lot more work than just quickly layering stuff into one pan.  She whined a bit more and I told her (as I was putting the noodles into the boiling water) that I would think about it.  This is straight-up parent-speak for “No, but I want you to quit bugging me about it.”

She left me in the kitchen and a few minutes later, I heard the vacuum running upstairs.  I made the lasagna rolls.

Is there anybody who can push your buttons this well?

The Underwear Tree

Guinevere and I have been expanded our walking routes, going a little farther and trying out new streets to walk down.  Last week we went down a street in Tangletown that we hadn’t tried before, heading down the hill toward the creek.  As we were walking I looked up and was startled to see a pair of women’s underwear hung on the tree close to the sidewalk.  On closer inspection, I discovered about ten different garments (all women’s undergarments) hanging from the tree.

As we continued on our way, I thought about tee-peeing, which was a popular prank when I was a kid.  I never took part in tee-peeing, but my house was the target of this prank once.  Nobody I knew ever fessed up, so I always wondered if it had been meant for Sam’s house; he was my next-door neighbor and a much more social kid than I was.  I wondered what kind of prank resulted in women’s underwear in a tree in a front yard.  Was this what kids do these days?  Where do they get the underwear?  Thrift shops?  Their mother’s dresser?  Or was it more nefarious – one spouse getting even with the other, hopefully not with a divorce looming on the horizon.

Then I was surprised yesterday to walk that route again and found the underwear still hanging in the tree.  At first I thought maybe the family was not at home the last few days, but there were golf clubs in a bag sitting on the front porch; surely no one would leave town with their clubs sitting out in the open.  The mystery deepened when I got home and mentioned it to YA.  She confirmed that the underwear has been in the tree for at least 3 weeks.  Now I’m really wondering what the story is.

What do you think?

Nothing on a Stick

Well, we did it.  We found a fair food truck that had three of our favorite things and that wasn’t too far!  It was up in the Costco parking lot in north Minneapolis, so if you don’t count my having to backtrack because it turns out the 46th street ramp onto 35W is closed, it only took about 15 minutes to get up there.

We shared an order of cheese curds, an order of French fries and a bag of mini donuts (although I probably had more than half… YA likes them but not as much as the other things).  We sat in the car to eat and watched other folks wander up to the truck for their orders.

It was quite pleasant except for the fact that seven hours later I was still not interested in food – still not hungry.  If a half order of three items filled me up that much, how in heavens’ name do people eat so much at the fair?  I never get cheese curds or French fries on my solo fair days since I don’t have anyone to share it with, but even so, if you add up what I do consume on my own, it’s quite a bit.  I expect that the increased exercise from walking all over the fair is what keeps me from getting too full.  Since my only exercise yesterday consisted of the stationary bike for 30 minutes and the dog walk for just 20 minutes, my fair food kept me full all day.  Guess that means that without the whole state fair experience, I should probably stay away from too many food trucks this summer!

How are you getting your exercise in this summer?

Groceries

When Child was little, I occasionally paid one of the tweens in the neighborhood to watch her for an hour so I could go to the grocery store BY MYSELF.  It felt like a luxury to not have to deal with groceries and carts and Child all at the same time.

Then Child got older, was in child care, then latchkey, then high school, then college, then jobs and grad school.  Just stopping by the store to pick up one or two items was just routine and no longer a luxury.  And she never wanted to go with me any longer.

Now that we’re in a new normal, I only go grocery shopping every couple of weeks, keeping a list of what I need and making due until it’s time to shop.  YA is also interested in grocery shopping, although I’m not sure if it’s just to get out of the house or if she doesn’t trust me to get the right shredded lettuce, but whatever the reason, she now wants to go with me.

Yesterday was the day slotted for shopping.  We wrote out a list the night before and YA ate before we left (a requirement as I’m not going out with a hungry co-shopper).  We had two stops planned, first Trader Joe’s and then Cub and as we were thinking about leaving, I realized I wanted to change my clothes. I had on my perennial jersey knit shorts and a t-shirt that had already seen the exercise bike and a long dog walk.  I put on khaki shorts, a nice top, even brushed my hair.  Then at the last minute I also put on one of my favorite rings and a pair of dangly earrings.  I felt really dolled up.

Of course, no one mentioned how nice I looked, especially not YA, but I felt great and was excited to be going out.  Truly, my big event for the past two weeks – grocery shopping.   Well, at least I didn’t have to pay a babysitter!

What staples are on your grocery list?

Weeds

Husband and I returned home last Tuesday from Brookings to a garden jungle of weeds. It rained every day we were gone, and the temperatures were quite warm, so everything grew. We weeded on Wednesday.  Husband estimated we  hauled about 50 pounds of weeds to the city  grass clippings and weeds dumpsters,

I have never seen the utility of using a hoe to weed. It just cuts the weeds off at the top, and leaves the roots to produce the weeds again. We are hands and knees, crawl through the garden and pull the weeds up by the roots sort of gardeners. We are, however, getting older and Husband has neuropathy in his fingers from diabetes.

This year we tried a new strategy, laying down newspapers between the rows  and on the edges of the beds and covering them with a layer of top soil. That really helped  keep the weeds down. Husband has bought at least 30 bags of topsoil toward this endeavor, and after weeding yesterday he liberally strewed newspaper and dirt in all the places he hadn’t before.  It was a real pleasure to gaze at the garden yesterday and see nary a weed.

What is your favorite garden tool?  What special satisfaction do you get from gardening?