Category Archives: holidays

Country Mouse, City Mouse

Today’s post comes from Reneeinnd.

We had four inches of rain the week leading up to July 4. That probably doesn’t sound like much to most Baboons, but out here it is really something.  The rain came perfectly, an inch at a time every other day or so.  The weather on July 4 was also perfect. It was a comfortable 75 degrees with a slight wind, just enough to keep the biting insects off.  My best friend was visiting from the Cities, and we decided to take a hike in Theodore Roosevelt National Park,  just a 40 minute drive.

We have lived here for 30 years, and I have never seen as many wild flowers and berries as I did on our hike. The rain led to perfect conditions for plants to show off their petals.  There were the usual wild roses, clematis, tiny bell flowers, flea bane, and sunflowers.  We missed the flowering prickly pear cactus by a couple of days. They had all set fruit.  It was amazing to see less common  flowers,  especially ones that have a counterpart in our garden in town.

There were tons of wild Monarda.

Here is our city counterpart.

We also found wild lupine.

Our city lupine is currently spent , with nothing but leaves.

Cone flowers are showy natives.

The City ones are somewhat over the top.

We found lots of buffalo berries and this old fellow all alone, without a herd. He seems to be ancient.

We don’t have buffalo berries in town, but we have red currants.

Some of the wild flowers stay where they are, like the country mouse. Others make the leap to be like the city mouse.

What kind of mouse are you?


Independence Times Two

As the parent of a 23-year old, I am constantly reminding myself that it is my job to raise her to be independent and that it’s her job to grow up and forge her own path, separate from mine. Knowing this and living with the reality are two completely separate things.

We have two traditions on Fourth of July – the small neighborhood Tangletown Parade and the larger Richfield Parade. The first is walking distance from our house – kids on decorated bikes and trikes, dog with red and blue bandanas do a short parade down to the park where there is music, food and games.  Richfield has a more traditional parade with politicians, marching (& riding) bands, some military and local businesses.  And, of course, candy for kids.

I was a little disappointed when YA got up early and then started talking about going to the Mall with her boyfriend, but then I reminded myself that I could go without her and it would be OK. So I was surprised when she said she wanted to go to the neighborhood parade (and happy).  Of course, then it poured rain and neither of us went.

As I was getting ready to go to Richfield, she told me that the boyfriend still wasn’t ready and she wanted to go to the parade with me. Woo hoo!  Two stadium chairs, ice water, phones and umbrellas (which protected us from the sun and eventually the rain) and we were on our way.  It was a fine parade, with some planes flying in formation (a first) over the parade route three times and a giant grocery cart (also a first).  About 75% of the parade had gone by when the rain started and YA said she still wanted to stay until the end.  So we sat in our orange stadium chairs under our umbrellas and continued to wave our little flags at the remaining paraders.

It was nice to spend the day with her, especially after I had steeled myself to do the parades alone. I guess I have a year to steel myself for the next Fourth of July.

Have you ever had to declare YOUR independence?

Sugar Loaf in the Cool of the Morning

To stay cool this Sunday, we got up early to explore the trail up to the base of  Sugar Loaf ,  Winona’s major landmark rock. Nice woodsy switchbacks on the way up, well groomed trails esp. at the base of the rock, and of course, the higher up we got, the more spectacular the views. Besides seeing downtown and East End Winona, we could (once we got high enough) see West Burns Valley, and some of Pleasant Valley. There are lots of valleys around here, and I still have trouble keeping them straight. We even saw the barn and silo of the “hippie farm” Husband live at in the 70s.

Here are some of the sights:

On the way down (9:30-ish) we met several people headed up, and thought “You’re going to be warm up there”.

How have you been staying cool this weekend in the 90 Plus temperatures?

A Tisket, A Tasket

You all know I love my crafts and I love marking holidays as well. So May Day is one of my favorites.  When I was about 8 I took part in a May Day celebration that involved dressing up and dancing around a May Pole; Nonny made me a beautiful flowery dress and I was in heaven.

To this day I love to do May Day baskets. This year I’m doing 4 regular size “baskets” that will be hung on door knobs in the wee hours (and I mean wee… my next door neighbors are both teachers and one of them leaves at 6 a.m.!)  I’m also doing little baskets for my co-workers.  I know this is a custom that has fallen by the way side, but I figure if I’m still having fun, what the heck!

You have four baskets to deliver to anybody you want (alive or dead). Who do they go to?  And why?


Arbor Day

The weather is improving, and it is warming up. Today is Arbor Day.  We will be working this Saturday in our church’s new  contemplative garden laying edging pavers and laying out garden beds.  The irrigation system went in on the 26th.

How do you plan to commemorate Arbor Day?  Any yard work or green thumb projects planned?

Keeping Them Happy

I used to be part of a psychology department  at my agency with four other psychologists. We had our own secretary who scheduled our appointments, administered the paper and pencil tests to our clients, scored our tests, and typed our reports.

I am now the only full time psychologist at our agency.   We lost our secretary position, and my departmental support staff duties have been divvied up between the remaining support staff.  I rely on one person to schedule my evaluations, one to type my letters, one to score my tests,  and two others who take turns typing my evaluations. I administer all my own tests now.  They all do a great job and I am grateful for each one.

It is Administrative Assistants Day on April 25.  That means that I need to do something special for all five of the people who take such good care of me. If there is one thing I have learned in the nineteen years I have worked at my agency, it is that it is really important to keep the support staff happy and let them know how much they are appreciated.  They work hard and keep things going.  I complained to our assistant regional director that it really isn’t fair that I have so many administrative assistants  to keep happy when some people only have one. She just laughed at me. I have decided to bake four kinds of shortbread for them.  Husband decided that he had people on the reservation to thank for the administrative work they do for him, so he decided it would be just the thing if I made a chocolate cheesecake that he could take up with him, along with any of the shortbread that I don’t bring to work.  It is a good thing I like to bake.  I know he appreciates it.

How do you show people you appreciate them? How have people let you know they appreciate you?  When haven’t you been appreciated?


Checking Things Out

We are in Savannah now. The weather is sunny and in the 70′ and 80’s. I am stuck in meetings all day, so husband spent our first day exploring the historic area of Savannah by himself. He took a trolley ride that took him all over the city with a tour guide who explained the sights and scenes. Then he explored a little on his own. I like guided tours. I know some people like to explore on their own. There is sure a lot to see here.

How do you like to get to know a place?  Any memorable guides who you have encountered