Category Archives: Family

Downsizing

In approximately three years I will retire, and Husband and I plan to move to Brookings, SD.  We have much to do before we can move, including some updates to our current home to make it easier to sell.   We also have to get rid of many things we have accumulated over the years.  This includes hundreds of books.

I got some really good boxes from work last week, and started filling them up with books.  This was a strangely poignant activity. I only chose books I considered mine, as I don’t know which of his Husband intends to keep.  I started with the ones I had purchased most recently. These were mainly books I bought for pleasure reading, not the professional ones I keep in my office at work.   There also were books that  my parents had in their home for years. Some were college textbooks from when they were at Mankato State in the early 1940’s.   I tossed a few of those, but not without wistful regret.  I hadn’t looked at them in years, and I suppose I kept them as reminders of my parents and of my childhood.   It occurred to me that this task was going to be more difficult than I imagined, since we have associated emotions with many of these books.

When we have had uncertainty, instability, or grief in our lives, we seem to have relied on our books as anchors.  I think that is why we bought so many over the years instead of going to the library.  They provided such comfort.  Our life is much different now, and we really don’t need the comfort of all of those books.

We decided to keep history books and books concerning natural history and flora and fauna (including a book on wolves by a certain Baboon).   There are other, one of a kind books, that we intend to keep, as well as cookbooks.   Most novels will go, unless they are particularly beloved.  All children’s books will be kept.  The World Book Encyclopedias from 1966 are going to the landfill.  Husband perused the philosophy and religion collection at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, and feels confident he can get what he wants through interlibrary loan via SDSU’s  library system. He already figured out how to apply for a guest users library card.

We intend to take our time with this project.  We have a couple of years to do it.  Our local library has a second hand bookstore, and we are donating our books there.  They may need to expand their space by the time we are done.   I just hope we can limit our book purchases in the meantime.

What can’t you live without?

 

Bah…..

This is hard to write, but I’m thinking my troop of baboon friends can help me out.

I am not a Christian, but I love Christmas. I can massage almost every Christmas tradition into something meaningful for my Yuletide/Solstice beliefs.  I love the feeling of hope and redemption that comes with the season.  I love having a tree filled with lights and ornaments, I love making gifts for my friends and loved ones.  I love baking holiday cookies, I love cookie exchanges.  I love getting cards and reading people’s newsletters.  I love holiday movies (although I will admit I like older stuff better than current films) and I love holiday music.

For decades I have listened to my holiday CDs at the office during December. For many years I played them using my computer but these days I have a little teeny radio/CD player.  I tend to the more traditional music; Mommy Kissing Santa Clause and Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer aren’t in my collection.

This past week I began to bring in my CDs and (as always) I said to all the folks who sit around me that if the music bothered them to let me know. In fact, just this morning, two of the folks who sit on either side of me chimed in on what to play next.  So it was shocking to me when my boss emailed me in the early afternoon that someone had come to her and complained about the music.

I’m broken hearted. Not because I have to use headphones or ear buds to listen to my music.  I’m broken hearted because someone who sits nears me, someone who has worked besides me for YEARS (we haven’t changed seating arrangements in about 4 years) thought it was better to complain to our boss than to stop by my cube and say “Hey, I’m having a bunch of calls today, can you turn your Christmas stuff down?” or “I’m having a really stressful day and your music is distracting – do you have ear buds?”  It’s completely disheartening to think that anybody who knows me even remotely would be able to imagine me getting pissed off about something like that.

I feel like a balloon that’s been stuck with a sharp pin – deflated and completely spiritless. I know it’s just one person, but I’m having trouble shaking my doldrums.  Nonny is coming next week and I have a serious list but right now I don’t feel like doing anything but sitting here feeling sorry for myself. I’m not even in the mood to go downstairs and make hot chocolate.

How would you cheer up an unwilling Scrooge?

Whispering

Today’s post comes from Ben.

The final project in the English class I’m taking, “Critical Reading and writing 1” is to create a research paper on a topic of our choosing. We’ve written three other papers based on material we’ve read in class. The entire class to this point was mostly learning how to properly use commas, quote marks, how to attribute a quote, how to add citations to a paper, all that stuff you need to get a college level research paper done right.

I felt like I had a pretty good handle on things going in. What I’ve learned is just because I can do it doesn’t mean I know the rules and knowing the rules is harder!  English is hard! I only whined about that once or twice to the teacher. She’s been great. I knew her before the class and knew I would like her as a teacher so that’s all been good.

For my research paper, I choose to write about whispering. This came up because our daughter speaks really loud. I mean it makes my ears ring sometimes.

But it’s not that simple. I talked with an ENT doctor from Mayo. I spoke with a professional opera singer and I interviewed a speech pathologist.  The fact we can speak at all is pretty amazing! There’s a lot going on in making a “voice”. But loudness has to do with how much air you’re moving (and that comes from your “Pelvic Floor”) and it has to do with intonation and resonance and it all gives your voice a tone or pitch.

AND THEN, the speech pathologist said he didn’t think our daughter spoke that loud. Huh! So now ‘Loud’ is relative. Loud compared to what? I looked up that the average speaker is about 60dBA’s. A quiet room is about 40dBA. A lawn mower is about 85-90dBA. (And those are all rather subjective too). And using an iPhone app, she does speak about 60dBA. But the rest of us in the house don’t talk that loud. So I guess she’s only loud “in comparison”. And it’s loud when you’re in a quiet restaurant and the lunch rush is over.

I’ve learned a lot and it’s been interesting. It’s just not that simple. And I guess really, I just need to be grateful she can communicate at all.

Got anything to say about your voice?

501 Jeans

My husband is a pretty finicky fellow, and has definite preferences regarding the clothes he wears.  He has been somewhat distressed lately after futile searches for his favorite jeans-Levi’s 501 jeans. Those are the ones with the button fly.  I have no idea why he prefers them, but there it is.

He has had trouble finding the size he needs  as well as the colors he wants.  His secret worry has been that they are no longer being manufactured,  and that he will have to find a new style and brand of jeans to wear.  This makes him feel as old and as out of date  as the Dodo. It is as though he can still imagine himself as a young man  at U of Wisconsin when he wears those jeans with his Frye boots.

He was delighted this weekend to find some on-line.  He tends to shop in stores instead of on-line, and our choices out here are limited.  Now his youthfulness  is preserved, and he can go forward into his mid 60’s with confidence.

What keeps you feeling young?  What do you fear will go out of production?

Brain Exercise

My mom lives at St. Anne Extended Healthcare, the nursing care wing of St. Anne of Winona complex here in Winona. Added on later were the assisted living wings, Callista Court, where she lived briefly until her fall a year ago. Callista’s main entrance is clear at the other end of the block from her SAEH room, and even though they’re connected by a little skyway, we don’t often travel that far when I visit.

Because it was so warm the other day, I took Mom outside in her wheel chair to walk the block to Callista’s entrance, and we checked out the “café” inside. It was pretty full due to a craft  project, so we went on to the (quieter) Library and found a square table with decks of cards nearby. I thought, “What the heck, she taught me to play solitaire when I was a kid…” So I laid out a game of (Klondike) solitaire to see how much she would remember. We were both delighted to find that, although she probably could not have laid out the game, she still remembers basically how to play – i.e., that the rows of declining numbers alternate black and red. After seeing it done once, she could put the aces up top, and she caught some of the moves without prompting. When I laid down some cards in front of her, she asked “Is that The Pile?”

She said afterward that she liked doing that – it was good for her brain. I now have a deck of cards in the “mom bag”, and we’ll play whenever time permits, and we find an open table.

What do you do that’s good for your brain?

Cookie Central

It’s Cookie Central at our house this week. We started with the fussy ones: Frosted Sugar and Shortbread Cookie Sticks – to get them out of the way.  They require frosting and sprinkles so take more time than others.  Twelve more kinds to go.  I even got YA onboard today!

When do you start your holiday baking (if you indulge)?

Black Friday / Tree Friday

While America now knows the Friday after Thanksgiving as Black Friday, for the last couple of decades at our house it’s been Tree Friday. For many years this was the day that Child and I headed out to chop down a tree for the holidays.  These days I head down to Bachmans (they have a 25% off fresh trees on Black Friday and they are really close by).

In fact, it was 7 years ago on Tree Friday that I got my nickname from Jacque. Dale had written that day a great bit about Black Friday and used some Shakespearean language to get us going.  My bit was:

But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?
It is the north and Hansen Tree Farm is the sun.

Open up, fair Tree Farm and await the crowds
Who, already stuffed and sleepy from yesterday
Swing saws and other implements of destruction.

https://trailbaboon.com/2010/11/26/deeds-good-and-otherwise/

Jacque came up with Verily Sherrilee that day.

So what about you? Taking part in Black Friday shopping?  Online purchasing?  Just taking it easy?