Category Archives: Gatherings

May Showers

This weekend’s Farm Report comes to us from Ben.

Talking about animals…. Again… I heard the song ‘Sky Pilot’ by The Animals.

How many of the baboons have served in the military? Thank you for serving.

Anything you’d like to share about your service?

Any comments about the song?

I got started planting corn on Friday. Checked seed depth and placement.

Then I got rained out. It wasn’t supposed to rain until 7:00 and then only a little bit. Well. It started raining about 4:30. And it doesn’t take much before it’s sticking to the wheels of the tractor and planter, and the press wheels and closing wheels. And once that happens, seed depth is affected and it’s time to stop. And it rained all evening and we got an inch. Then another half inch the next day. And another inch Thursday. And I was dealing with Commencement Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday so the rain was OK. A lot of other guys got corn got planted though. Big equipment and many guys working a lot of longer hours than I do. Kudo’s to them. I talked to one guy who not only finished planting corn but finished planting soybeans as well. He said, “When we start something we go hard.” I guess. And it’s more than just him working it too. So it goes. We’ll get there.

Commencement went well; a good bunch of people, and while there were some minor technical issues, nothing serious. My work student, April and I hung a few lights last week, before they placed the stage. Monday, the IT guys had the projector hanging and running and the screen up before I got there at 10:00 AM.

April and I then hung the rest of the main lights, we got all the ground stuff running before I went home Monday evening about 7:00. It should have been sooner, but I had some issues. There was a high impendence air gap* in one of the fixtures that daisy chained to several others. And I numbered some of them wrong. Twice. I spent two hours trying to figure out what the heck was going on. Part of me just wanted to go home and deal with it in the morning with a fresh mind. But I knew I’d lay in bed thinking about this. I knew I had to fix it before I went home. Ah. Yep, Brain Fart. Numbered them appropriately and I went home and slept well.

It always comes down fast; a lot of helpers picking up chairs and the IT crew get their stuff down quick, and April and I got our stuff down quick and we were done with the hard part by 9:00 PM. Hauled my stuff back to the theater and the truck showed up for the rental stuff and I was home having ice cream by 10:00 PM.

AND! None of my appendages or internal organs fell off, or plugged up, or turned red, or swoll up! Yay me! I can do this!!  

Last week was Kelly’s birthday. This week was my birthday. And Friday the 12th was our 33rd wedding anniversary. We don’t celebrate too hard. (we all took the day off and slept in) There’s a big family reunion happening on Saturday. It started as a ‘cousins get-together’; my nieces and nephews; that set of cousins. Some from Florida, some from South Carolina, Pennsylvania, North Dakota, and various places in Minnesota. The cousins getting together turned into the whole families getting together and we’ll celebrate all the birthdays in May (There’s at least 6), Mothers day, our anniversary, our son and DiL’s anniversary, and our matriarch, my mom, turning 97 on the 16th.

Kelly and I always laugh about going to the all-night grocery store about midnight before our wedding because she wanted 3 gallons of lime sherbet for the punch the next day. I remember saying “Where are you going to put it!??” in her tiny little apartment freezer.

Kelly’s taste and smell are coming back after her covid. And she’s got a bit of a cough yet. My nose still runs, but I’m good otherwise.

We were running errands the other night and taking the scenic route and heard, off in the corner of a parking lot, a Jazz band. They were playing New Orleans jazz and it was really fun and we parked and listened to them for a few minutes. We tried to find out if they do this every Sunday night or it was just a jam session, or what, but we didn’t find anyone that spoke English. Man, they were good!

Signed a contract for insulation for the shop. Found some ‘reject’ windows at a lumber yard that I decided to add. Used some chalk and marked out the floor for the walls and doors. Talked to some HVAC and LP guys about how big of a heater I’d need and where to put the LP tank.

My college boss made a comment about the next show opening in 2 weeks and my head kinda went blank for a minute. Heck. My focus was just on getting through commencement. I knew there was another show at the end of the month, but I hadn’t really looked at the calendar yet. It’s fairly small, and fairly easy. (and to be honest, I’m waiting for this whole thing to fall apart, but I didn’t say that out loud). So, I better work on that next week. I still haven’t gotten the college shop cleaned up from the play we closed on April 29th because we went right into concerts and then right into commencement. It’s making me crazy.

Then I’m doing another show opening the first week of June. Another in July, another in August, and then summer’s over and I’m back at the college. Bother.

What are your summer plans? Did you play with matches?

Cheering Throngs

My warehouse projects are this Friday and Saturday.  Part of the warehouse “experience” is having cheering throngs when the winners arrive at the warehouse.  For one of the very first warehouse programs (about 15 years ago), somebody had the idea to invite the Vikings cheerleaders to welcome the winners; as cheesy at it sounds, the participants ate it up.  Unfortunately it didn’t often work out (time-wise or budget-wise) to keep bringing “professionals” in to cheer.  That’s when we started recruiting regular employees to take a break from their desks to come root the winners on as they get off the bus.  Didn’t take long before we added noisemakers and clappers for the ultimate event.

For my very first warehouse run, my winners were veterinarian pharmaceutical sales folks and I found out early on that there were four subsets of them… and they didn’t like each other.  I never did figure out exactly how they were competitors but the bottom line was the client didn’t want the four groups in the warehouse at the same time.  Instead of one run with about 45 winners, we had to have four runs in one day, with 8-12 winners each.  That wasn’t a problem for anybody except for me.  It was the first week of December and I was really worried that I wouldn’t get people out to cheer four times in one day, especially a cold day. 

That’s when I thought up the hot chocolate.  I ordered four big containers of hot chocolate along with cups, set up a table outside the warehouse (where folks congregate to cheer) and then four times that day poured out cup after cup of hot cocoa.  It was a big hit and several folks came out repeatedly that day, one even mentioning to me that he came for the hot drink.  We’ve been supplying hot chocolate at cold weather warehouse runs ever since and have added lemonade for hot weather runs.  I’ve always felt proud that this was my idea.

Fast forward to this week.  Since pandemic, Mondays and Fridays are work-at-home days; normally the buildings are all but empty.  There haven’t been many Friday warehouse programs since the travel industry got back on its feet but there have been just enough folks who are either already on campus or willing to drive in to cheer.  But Saturdays are a whole `nother matter   Not only is Saturday in itself a problem — the group is big enough that we have to do a morning run and an afternoon run. We even advised the client that we couldn’t guarantee the cheering.  With management’s blessing, we have an incentive set up to get folks to come in to cheer.  In addition, I’ve ordered doughnuts for the Friday and Saturday morning cheerers and cookies for the Saturday afternoon cheerers.  Hopefully between the company incentive and the goodies, we’ll get enough to make it exciting for the winners.  Fingers crossed.

What would it take to get you to come out and cheer on a weekend?

Let’s have a Party

One of my coworkers, after leaving our agency as a secretary, decided to start selling Tupperware. I am a little concerned about her, as I see that Tupperware is probably going bankrupt.

I have had several coworkers who discovered things they liked at various parties specific to selling a certain product, and decided to become sellers themselves just to get the things at a discount. I have been to Longaberger Basket parties and Pampered Chef parties put on by coworkers. I bought a few things, but it wasn’t long before my friends stopped selling these things. I was really surprised to find out this week that a fellow psychologist at another State agency sells Pampered Chef products. She is very subtle about it.

I think there are still Avon representatives in our area. I see that Avon had worldwide sales of $9.1 billion in 2020. My father sold vitamins for a while after he wanted to get the large amounts of Vitamin E he took at wholesale prices. He was convinced Vitamin E kept him from needing cardiac bypass surgery when he was in his late 40’s. He eventually needed the surgery in his 70’s, but still kept selling vitamins.

Know anyone who sold Tupperware or Avon? What sales parties have you attended? Do you take vitamins or dietary supplements?


Today’s Farm Report comes from Ben.

Man, this week. Or this month. Or this year. Or maybe this Spring. Whoosh. There it goes…

I had that equipment up at the online auction that ended on Tuesday. But the corn head for the chopper (the part used when chopping up corn. Just like it sounds I guess) was in a part of the old shed that I never try to get into until June. It was quite the deal getting the corn head out on Sunday evening. (Saw Hamilton Sunday afternoon. Yes, it was as fantastic as I expected).

There was still ice and snow back on Sunday. Remember that? I chopped and dug and eventually cut 6” off the bottom of one door before I got them open. Then moved the hay rake, and thank goodness the swather started, and I had to chop out more ice because the swather has no traction. Then moved some other junk, THEN was able to get to the corn head out and load it on the trailer. It was kind of a process.

Hauled that to the auction lot on Monday, went to the vet’s office across the street and spent too much money on tick prevention and heartworm pills for the dogs. Talked to the agronomist about getting fertilizer spread for the oats, ordered diesel fuel, and picked up oats seed. Had a township ‘Board of Appeals’ meeting regarding property taxes in the afternoon.

After the meeting, Daughter and I picked up driveway markers, I moved the snowblower out of the shed, and Kelly and I cut some brush behind the shed. It was a good day.

The auction. My stuff didn’t sell as good as I wanted it too. But the chopper was 40 years old and been in the shed unused for the last 20 years, so at least it’s gone. The rear blade sold pretty well. And the old tools of dads went for a couple bucks.

The ‘vintage’ item I had were old cultivator shields. Sold for $2. Scrap price might have been $3 or $4…I thought someone might have a unique use for them. No one would use them as cultivator shields anymore. And I bought a rock “grapple” bucket for my loader.  It’s like ‘fingers’ to grab trees and rocks and “stuff”. Always wanted one. I’ll need to add some more hydraulics line to run it… you remember how the last hydraulic project went. I will pay more attention to this one.

The killdeer have returned. The Sandhill Cranes are back (Hi Steve!) and Kelly has been listening to them call during the day since she has the windows open in this warm weather.  The chives are coming and Kelly found a deer shed on one of her walks.

I haven’t seen the female duck lately, and there’s two males here. I’m hoping she’s sitting on a nest. I saw eggs in the pond and when I googled “Why are there duck eggs in my pond”, the thought is ducks are lousy moms. Eggs just sort of ‘pop out’ where-ever they are. Like the pond apparently. Google also said not to eat them.

When the diesel fuel was delivered, I was talking with the driver that the gauge has been broken since I got this tank and I couldn’t get the old one out. He said it shouldn’t be that hard; “get a hammer and chisel.” And those, along with an 18” pipe wrench and a pipe extension handle, we did get the old one out. The new gauge is nice.

Been hanging lights and started programming lights for the musical ‘Spring Awakening’ at the Rep theater, and finishing up set stuff for ‘Boy Gets Girl’ at the college. Both open next Thursday and luckily college rehearsals are afternoon and the Rep’s are evening.

And I farm between things.

Started planting oats Thursday night! Hope to finish on Friday. It’s even a little dusty. I keep forgetting the thermometer to check the soil temperature, but I know it’s warmed up.



On Sunday, we played in the church bell choir accompanied by the High School band director on timpani and a very accomplished group of High School brass players.

Being musicians, the bell choir players had some rather acerbic comments about the brass players. One of the trumpet players was always late for our rehearsals, and a bell player who is also a music teacher commented that trumpet players were notoriously full of themselves and didn’t think they had to follow the rules everyone else had to follow. I commented that my father advised me in all seriousness when I was in High School to never marry an oboe player, since they had to blow so hard on their double reed that they eventually went mad.

As a psychologist, I always love discussing personality types. I have known humble trumpet players and perfectly sane oboe players, but I wonder where these stereotypes come from. I was a bass clarinet player, and I don’t know of any stereotypes of those who play that instrument. Perhaps an unusual affection for the Grand Canyon Suite?

What are some occupational stereotypes you feel are accurate? Inaccurate? Who are some people you know who defy stereotypes?

Passing The Time

Daughter’s visit last week was an opportunity for us to finally celebrate a very belated Christmas. She got her father a 1000 piece puzzle of Birds of the Backyard, which we have been working on daily since he unwrapped it. We haven’t worked on a jigsaw puzzle since the kids were young.

The puzzle It is set up on the dining room table, and we will just eat and work around it until it is completed. The dog got a couple of pieces but only did minor damage to them.

We may have a lot of opportunity to work on the puzzle this week, as a snow storm is coming that the National Weather Service says could be a blizzard of historic proportions. Their models are showing wind speeds that are the strongest they have seen in 20 years.

Husband is traveling to Bismarck for work Sunday and Monday, and will return Monday before the storm hits on Tuesday. We are rarely bored, but a puzzle will be just the thing to help us pass the time if we are snowed in.

How do you like to pass the time when you can’t leave the house? What is your most memorable jigsaw puzzle?

Holiday Over-Do?

Photo Credit:  Tatanisha Worthey

One of Renee’s questions yesterday struck a chord with me.  I am definitely a “bite off too much” kind of person.  And before everybody says “you need to learn to say no” – all of my biting off too much is self-imposed.  I’m actually pretty good at saying no to someone other than myself!

Case in point.  With Easter just a week away, I have a lot of plans.  The big event is on next Saturday, the World’s Most Over-Engineered Egg Hunt.  For that we are taking taco tortilla roll-ups (or pinwheels) and blondies w/ M&M eggs for the buffet.  Then I’m also making pastel eggs filled with jelly beans and marshmallows for the kids.  Did I mention there are 13 of them?  And then a couple of dozen plastic eggs filled w/ candy to add to the hunt.

For my co-workers I’m doing dipped Oreos w/ spring-y sprinkles (1 chocolate and 1 golden per co-worker).  These will be packaged in little cello bags and delivered with miniature Happy Spring notes.  I figure as long as I’m still officially part of the team, no matter how part-time or temporary, it’s still a nice thing to do.

For the neighbor kids I’m doing lemon bunny cakes.  I have a wonderful bunny pan that I bought a few years ago and I just love it.  And it’s easy.  Batter into pan.  Bake.  Bunnies into cello bags with pretty ribbon.  Voila!

Of course, I will also do a basket for YA – this will be a challenge because YA has said she only wants chocolate/pb items in the basket.  I normally can’t hold myself to these kind of requests.  We’ll see.   I have extra eggs for dying.  Again this is something that YA says we don’t need to do but she always joins in when I have the eggs and dye and glitter out. She always happily eats the devilled eggs that eventually come out of this project.

AND, I am making sugar cookies for a friend – I always do this for her and this gives me an excuse to make a few spring cookies for YA and myself.

This is enough projects that I’ve put the various things on my to-do list for next week.  When I think about the fact that I’m only working 3-4 hours a day, it doesn’t seem that daunting.

Any special plans you’re prepping for in the next week?

Finally – Pi!!

Some of you probably remember the frantic phone calls and/or emails from me on Friday, March 13, 2020.  It was the week the world turned upside down.  I’d had a few cancels already but didn’t really think having a Pi Day party was a big deal.  Then I spent all of Friday morning reading online articles about the virus, its spread, the possible consequences lurking around the corner and decided I didn’t need to add to the problem.  It really bummed me out as I had already shopped for all the ingredients, set up things in the dining room and even made the placecards. 

Back then I was one of many who thought it would be over by the end of summer. Nobody was really saying pandemic yet.  Thinking I might have a Pi & ½ Day in September, I put the placecards and the list of ingredients in the drawer along with my “which pie goes in the oven at what time and what temperature” spreadsheet.  Of course September was out of the question.  So was March 2021 and even March 2022.

So Pi Day 2023 was easy peasy.  All the upfront planning was done.  And since I am (mostly) retired, I had plenty of time to do some ahead-of-time prep.  I even had the nametags done from 2020.  11 pies (Dutch Apple, Blueberry, Red Velvet Whoopie, Vanilla Crumb, Banofee, Crack, Pecan Dream, PB Crunch, Pear Croustade, Lemon Custard, Berry Cobbler).  I got done in record time. The pie was great and the camaraderie was warm. 

Why should you never start talking to pi at a party?

Bad News

Last night I was the assisting minister at our Ash Wednesday church service, so I got to smudge people’s foreheads with ashes and remind them that they are going to die. Not the most cheery message to give people.

Over the past several months I have had to tell quite a few people who I had evaluated that it was very likely they had a progressive dementia. Those are the meetings I absolutely dread. There is nothing cheery about suggesting to people that they should probably make sure all their end of life decisions have been made known to their family. I am constantly amazed and humbled at the grace and dignity with which they hear the news. It just isn’t fair that people have to get these awful diseases.

It is only over the last 20 years or so that Lutherans here started to incorporate the imposition of ashes into Ash Wednesday Services. I remember as a child the Catholic children leaving school at lunch time and coming back with ashes on their foreheads. It was all very mystical. Now that I experience it, I just view it as sobering. I giggled last night, along with a 3 year old’s mother, at his protest that he didn’t want to get dusted! I respected his request. He has enough bad news awaiting him in his life, and I sure didn’t need to add to it.

What are your memories of Ash Wednesday? How would you want bad news delivered to you? Any thoughts about T. S. Eliot?


On Saturday I went to the Celebration of Life for my oldest friend, Deana.  She wasn’t my oldest friend in terms of age but in terms of longevity; there are folks that I have known longer but they fall into the acquaintance category.  I met Deana in 1977 and we were fast friends from the beginning.

When she met my then-boyfriend, she used to refer to him as “the Greg Person” which eventually became “the GP”.  Once we got married, if Greg picked up the phone receiver and then after a few seconds of silence, he would hand the phone to me saying “it’s Deana”.   She always said she was so surprised when a man answered the phone that she was temporarily speechless.

At one point I took a cake decorating class from a visiting artist and one of the things we made were pink elephants sitting in champagne glasses.  Deana adored these elephants and when her youngest got married, she had me make a groom’s cake covered with pink elephants and tipped over champagne glasses.  It was hysterical.

Deana loved to travel – all her traveling involved throwing her bags and various children/grandchildren/great grandchildren into her big van and heading off down the road.  She even included YA once when YA was about 10.  That trip went to South Carolina and Florida.

She never wanted to retire – she always said she would work until the last minute.  After leaving the food industry, she ended up at a support and housing organization for the intellectually disabled, a place where she worked for close to 40 years.  She also worked at the local grocery store, managing the floral station. 

Once when I visited I discovered all my Ukrainian eggs along with some shiny holiday ornaments hanging from the ceiling in the front room.  She said it was too dangerous to have a tree up that year with her youngest having just learned to stand and walk but she didn’t want to entirely forego her ornaments.

I wouldn’t call her a hippy but she did love bright colors, especially tie-dye.  She actually told folks before her death that she wanted people to come to her service in vibrant colors – no black or gray or, heaven forbid, navy blue.

Deana was a collector of people.  If you wandered into her orbit, her gravity would grab you and never let go. She was very close to all of her family as well as those she considered family.  The house was always full of kids and grandkids.   If you needed a hand, Deana would be there to offer help.

At the service we sang one of her favorite songs, Puff the Magic Dragon.  Normally a tear jerker for me but considering that Deana is gone, it was particularly poignant.  And as always, I did not come prepared with enough tissues.

Who is the friend you’ve known the longest?