Category Archives: holidays

The New Martha

When we moved into our house 30 years ago, our neighbors across the street were Ludwig and Martha, an elderly couple of Czech heritage. There were several houses around us with young children,  and the neighborhood was pretty busy at times. Martha and Ludwig were always up for a chat on their porch, and loved watching the children play. Every Halloween Martha made sure she had some extra special treat bags for daughter and her best friend across the street.  Martha and Ludwig passed a few years ago, and middle aged  couple live there now.

I have enjoyed getting acquainted with  the two young children next door to us. They moved in last summer. They are very curious about our garden and flowers, and they like to tell me what has been going on in their lives whenever we are all outside at the same time.  This Halloween I made sure I had  special treat bags for them,  just like Martha. I told daughter I was turning into the new Martha, and she said “Those are big shoes to fill, Mom”.  I hope I can live up to the challenge.

When have you stepped into someone’s shoes? Whose place have you filled? How well did it work?


Well, it is Halloween, and it is time to think about cats. We have two.  They are considered mysterious and spooky, but to me they are fun and silly.  Ours are totally indoor cats. I noticed a tuxedo cat in our yard tonight who ran away when I called it. If it keeps showing up I will see what we need to do about it. Every home needs three cats, don’t you think?

Tell about the cats in your life and your past. What is it about cats that has made people assume cat  are associated  with the magical?


It snowed here on Wednesday.  The header photo is a view out of my work window Wednesday afternoon.   The buildings in the background are part of an assisted living facility.  The season changed here suddenly, and incontrovertibly.

PJ mentioned yesterday her horror at seeing all the Christmas decorations while she was shopping. I suppose the merchant’s view is that the season has changed, and the store is announcing it.

Husband says we have six seasons out here: Winter, Calving, Spring, Summer, Harvest, and Autumn. I say a sure sign of Winter is green tomatoes ripening in paper bags or boxes in the house.  I ordered glaceed fruit and nuts for my Christmas baking today, another sign of seasonal change.

What are the seasons in your year? What do you look for in nature or in people around you for signs of the seasons changing?

Binder Heaven

Binders are my thing. Give me a good binder with tabs any day.  I have a binder for my other book club, for poetry that I’ve printed off the internet, for directions, for recipes and for Solstice planning.  Vacations and special events like the solar eclipse also get binders.  I made a binder for YA’s college search and another one for college financial aid.  Luckily at work, I need a binder for each program and I also have a binder for assorted things I need to keep track of.

YA’s injury has generated massive amounts of paper: emergency room paper, orthopedic paper, worker’s comp paper and insurance paper. Every time we leave the house for an appointment, I get handed the folder.  I joked on Tuesday that I was going to put it all in a binder; YA snorted.

So I was surprised yesterday morning when she said “can you put all these papers in a binder?” I didn’t know how serious she was and although I agreed, I didn’t have the project on my immediate radar.  She asked again at 5 p.m. and then 8:30.  At that point I grabbed an unused binder (yes, I have a stash) and some tabs (yes, I have a stash) and we worked on it together.  She sorted out all the papers, I labeled the tabs and 3-hole punched everything.  As she wheeled herself back to her room with the completed binder, I felt a warm glow.  Two binder gals together!

How do you like to organize your papers?  Do you think our society will EVER be paperless?

Library Emergency

Overheard outside my library last Monday (the electronic book return was full/closed):

“Oh no – it’s a library emergency. My book is overdue.”

I was able to reassure her that a Monday holiday is the same as a Sunday… as long as you your book is physically inside the library before it opens for business next, even using the old-fashioned non-electronic book drop (which I was able to show her), you don’t get docked. She told me that she had kept it as long as possible so she could finish it before it was due.  I completely get it.

What was the last book you rushed to finish?

What Are Your Plans For The Weekend?

I think everyone I encountered yesterday asked me what my plans were for Labor Day weekend. This weekend is typically a time when Husband and I work our tails off in the garden and at home preserving produce and cleaning. I will make pesto, and I may have a few tomatoes to deal with, but I haven’t any other plans. I could spend a lot of time cleaning, but I don’t think I have it in me.

Husband suggested we go to the Dunn County Fair in Killdeer, a town about 40 miles north of us. It would be fun to see the 4-H exhibits, but the husband and wife calling contests don’t hold much interest for me.  You Baboons able to attend the Minnesota State Fair are sure lucky! I have made it clear to Husband that we will not frenetically bake or cook this weekend.  We need to eat out of the freezers, and that is that!

What are your plans for the weekend? Any memorable Labor Day weekends in your past?

Leading Me Astray and Egging Me On

Daughter has done it again. She has cast out her net of excitement and wild ideas and caught me.

The other day she sent a photo via text. It was identical to the header photo, which is a shot of Hallstatt, Austria. “Mom!! Isn’t this place beautiful? Wouldn’t this be nice over Christmas!! We fly to Munich and then take the train. I’ll pay for my own airline ticket. Just think of the Christmas markets!”  She says this at a very rapid pace.

I said a trip like that takes a lot of planning. She replies, “Ok.  Let’s go the Christmas of 2020!! We will have lots of time to plan and save our money. Oh, Mom! Think of the Christmas markets!”  I feel myself sliding down the slippery slope to consider this seriously.  Daughter knows that if I am in favor of something like this, it will happen. Husband always says he wants his two beauties to be happy, and Daughter knows if I agree to something, her father will go along with it.

Husband chimes in “I think that is a historically interesting place.  The Celts settled there, and there are ancient salt mines.” He then goes to the basement to get a book about the region.

I think, well, it isn’t that far from the area of Germany where Husband’s family hales from. Maybe we could visit Stuttgart and Wurttemberg as long as we were there. Husband has always wanted to do that.  I tell her I will contact our travel agent and get her working on it.

This is how we ended up in Europe three years ago. Daughter gets an idea, and then we just run with it. There are very few people who can propel me on adventures like my daughter can.

How do people convince you to do things you wouldn’t normally do?  Who in your family was (or is) good at getting you into trouble?