Category Archives: Kids

Snowboarding

YA went snowboarding last weekend.  I knew that she had a snowboard; her ex was a serious snowboarder, although as far as I know, she only went boarding with him a couple of times.   But I was surprised by the amount of equipment she actually owns: board, boots, ski pants, helmet and some serious goggles.  I took a photo of it all that she had laid out on the dining room table before she left.  I was afraid to ask her how much cash she had sunk into this equipment.  She mentioned before she left that the lift ticket for the day would be $34.  Opinions were kept to self but it seems to me that this is an expensive sport. 

As I thought about it, there are plenty of hidden costs to most sports.  When YA was younger, her gymnastics was a big money suck.  Monthly team fees, individual meet fees, leotards and the inevitable “stuff” available for sale at every meet.  When she tried out for dance team, the price tag for everything was unbelievable; I had to tell her that I couldn’t afford both dance team and gymnastics.  Diving wasn’t quite as bad but the team swimsuit was $97.  Yowza.  Luckily for my pocketbook, she decided she didn’t like the 5 a.m. practice time before we had taken the tags off the suit. 

Swimming wasn’t too bad, although you always had to pay for pool time, either lessons at the Y or seasonal fees at local pools.  Rollerblading wasn’t too bad, as long as you didn’t want to blade during bad weather/winter – then again, fees for the rink or the rollerdome (as it was called).  Same for tennis; if you don’t mind mediocre courts and waiting times, once you pony up for a racquet and some tennis balls, you can play free in the parks.  Winter play costs money for indoor courts. 

In thinking about it, I guess running is about the cheapest of the sports – the only real expense seems to be the shoes, unless you feel the need to have gadgets for playing music or keeping track of your distance/heart rate, etc.  

Tell me about your sport of choice.  Do you participate or just watch?  How do you keep the costs down?

Grandma’s diaries

Today’s post comes to us from Ben

My grandmother, Lillie (Betz) Eggler, kept a daily diary from the mid 1950’s – about 1987. The small 3×5 book that allowed 1 page per day.   I didn’t know about these until this past summer when my oldest sister mentioned that she had them all. Grandma died in 1990.

It’s been really fun to read about ourselves or the cousins. Seems like every time a grandchild was sick, they went to Grandma’s house. The weather might be terrible but that didn’t stop them from going somewhere; she’d write how bad the roads were, yet she still went to Mothers and Daughters club. Or drove 60 miles to visit her brother. It’s given my siblings and I a lot of things to talk about.

Grandma wrote that she went to a 4H softball game where my brother pitched. He won. The Siblings talked about a club that was our club’s nemesis and their coach. I talked about knowing the coach in later years through farming activities. Part of what is so interesting is that she was still in this area; I know many of the people or places she’s talking about.

Grandma wrote about changes at the farms: Joe and June (my parents) are having a silo built. Who is combining corn or who is planting. She writes about the weather and going over to stay with a friend who had surgery.

On October 27th, 1970 She wrote about June and Joe driving to Menominee to celebrate their 22nd wedding anniversary. My oldest sister, Ellen, was at Stout University Menominee for college. That sort of blew my mind. Twenty-two years! Five Kids! One in College!! Grandma and Grandpa (Victor) were also married on October 27th, 1920. 1920!!  Grandma writes it would have been 50 years for them. Grandpa died in 1963. (My brother and his wife also married on October 27th, 1979.) But, I just can’t get over mom and dad at 22 years! So Young!  

There’s a lot about taking off or putting on the storm windows.  There’s a lot about car repairs, washing clothes, or going to the doctor. I learned that bad lower front teeth were a family trait. That explains a lot; Her, mom, me; those lower front ones have always been a problem. A lot about the weather and things in the national news: Earthquakes. Vietnam, Apollo missions. 

Sometimes Grandma wrote about things she was canning, freezing, or cooking. She made a lot of jams, buns, watermelon rind pickles, or fried mini dragons. My mom doesn’t remember a lot of this stuff. And it was 50+ years ago so I don’t blame her.  I had to look up watermelon rind pickles; never heard of them before. Fried mini dragons? Anybody? No one in my family knows what they are. Anyone still making watermelon rind pickles? I was a good baby. My brother was “busy”.

I wrote about Grandma and her car in a post back in July of 2011.

https://trailbaboon.com/2011/07/19/handing-down-a-decent-car/

I also have a 5-year diary from 1926-1930 from Kelly’s Uncles mother. It’s just a sentence per day. Lots of household chores, car repairs, and what they did for entertainment that day. She saw Louie Armstrong in concert one night. Pretty cool.

Do you keep a diary? Have you ever?

Talkin’ ‘Bout My G-Generation

Last week, the Day After the Madness in DC, my daughter and I had a conversation. We packed a lot into a few minutes, she and I – and that conversation has stuck with me, because of what she asked and how she asked it.

On the Day After the Madness in DC, she said that each of her classes took some time to let everyone talk about the events of the prior day. What were their thoughts, what were they feeling, what might they do (if anything) about it? The sort of questions you might expect, especially in a high school history class (one of her classes that day).

This is what stuck with my daughter: her teachers reminded her and her fellow students that they are the future and they can make things better. And she wanted to know, appealed to me to know if I am honest, if I was told the same thing when I was her age. It was clear she felt the message was that the onus was on her and her peers to figure out how to fix what we did not. She wanted to know if the same demand was placed on me, because her eyes and her person was telling me it felt like too much in that moment – too much for her and her peers to take on alone, unfair that my generation was asking them to repair and change what we could or would not, and not right that we should deny responsibility for the mess that we made or allowed to happen.

I assured her that yes, we were told the same thing – that we could and should make things better. That yes, with each generation some of the responsibility to make change is passed on. We tried our best, we got some things right and some things we clearly did not. There is work that takes more than a generation to get right, change that was started before I was born that still needs our voices and labor to bring to fruition. I did my best to assure her that it wasn’t all on her and her peers’ shoulders, I and my peers would be standing with them.

In that moment I saw her fear that change wasn’t possible, that hatred and bigotry are more powerful than inclusion and justice. All I could do was assure her that we can still aspire to be better, we have been working for and will continue to work for change. That while we have made progress for equity in some places, in others there is still a lot to do and I will be there along side her as the generation before me stood with me in the work of justice and change. I’m not sure it was enough because I couldn’t tell her that there will be an end to when each new generation is asked to pick up the mantle, that maybe, just maybe, she will see real change in her lifetime. Because in that moment, I wasn’t sure that I had seen it yet in mine. (Yes, with distance, I can see that there has been good change, real change, but in that moment it was hard to see.) The kids have picked up the mantle, of that I am sure, but don’t let them carry it alone. We still have time. We don’t have to take our hand off the baton in this relay just yet. We can still make change.

Have you ever felt like too much was being asked of you? What did the prior generation pass on to you that you weren’t ready for just yet?

At Her Wit’s End

I was “that” mom – the one who threw the overdone birthday parties for her kid.  Themes, arts & crafts, fun food, take-home bags.  My theory was that I would only have a short window for this kind of silliness because as soon as Child hit 11 or 12, she wouldn’t stand for it any longer.  I was correct.

Fast forward all these years and I’m still having trouble letting it go.  YA hits 26 tomorrow and maybe it’s the pandemic and shelter-in-place talking, but I clearly want to celebrate more than she does.  After quite a bit of prompting I got her to “allow” Peanut Butter Rice Krispy Bars; I got sprinkles and a little decorating icing to pipe “Happy Birthday” on the bars once they’re done.  I also told her I would order take-out – she hasn’t decided what she would like.  I have a gift all wrapped up and I couldn’t help myself; I made a nice banner (photo above) to hang in the dining room archway along with two balloons (a big “2” and “6”).  I’m pretty sure this is all she’ll stand for but I’m looking forward to it.

Are you trying anybody’s patience these days?

Standing Firm

Our grandson is 2 1/2. His parents are good about keeping a steady schedule for meals and naps and bedtime.  Prior to our visit he suddenly started a period of change into a new developmental level, and he became disorganized and his schedule became disrupted. His appetite decreased, he didn’t want to nap, and he did everything he could to delay going to sleep at night.

A typical bedtime would see Son or DIL getting him ready for bed, reading  the requisite three books, and putting on music to lull him to sleep. In the past it only took one song to do the trick, but during our visit it turned into multiple requests for “one more song”.  Many times after it was quiet and we thought he was asleep, we found him with his light on and his bed full of books. “I reading, Daddy” he would say with an impish grin. Then came multiple requests to use the bathroom, usually with no results.  Every time he got up, he also needed to be tucked back in bed. They wisely have a baby gate in the doorway of his room so at least he has to stay there and can’t come out at will.

Son and DIL took our advice to put duct tape over grandson’s light switch so he couldn’t turn on the bedroom light. He has a night light.  They also found longer songs and stories to play continuously so that he wouldn’t keep asking for one more song.  They even agreed to stand firm and not go up to his room when he made his stay-awake ploys once he was in bed and was supposed to be going to sleep.

On Saturday night after he had been put to bed after several attempted diversions on his part, I walked past grandson’s room  His door opened, and he looked at me with big brown eyes and he said in a very plaintive voice “Oma, will you tuck me in?”   Well, of course Oma tucked him in! That sort of plea is impossible to resist.  I am happy to report that his plea to me was the last of the evening, and he slept for twelve hours despite my failure to stand firm.

How are you at standing firm?  When is it hard for you to maintain your resolve?

The Christmas Haul

Yesterday,  Daughter napped wearing a very soft and fleecy hoodie we got her for Christmas.  She received three pieces of clothing from us, and a nice bubble bath/soap/skin cream set  from her brother and sister in law. We always give her candy in her stocking, along with annoying things like parsnips and other root vegetables. She is supremely happy.

I never really need anything, but I was delighted with the biography of Bela Bartok from Husband. Daughter gave me two Halloween tomten (one with vampire fangs) , and  set of tomten salt and pepper shakers. Husband got a book about Malcom X and Martin Luther King from Daughter. He got a fancy grill and a sausage stuffer and grinder earlier this year that he said were his Christmas presents. We are all happy.  A friend of Daughter gave us a wood burned portrait of Millie, our deceased tortie. It was beautiful.

Next week we go to Brookings with presents for our family there. Grandson is getting floor puzzles and new shoes. Son is getting therapy books,  a James Bond DVD set,  and a baking steel. DIL is getting clothes. They give out specific lists so they are easy to shop for.  No surprises, but no dismay, either.

What was your favorite present this year? What were your best and worst presents in the past?  Do you give out Christmas  lists?

Not Even The Queen

A grad school friend of mine from Montreal told the story of her father at meal time. They were a working class family, but at every meal her father would  proclaim “Not even the Queen is eating a meal as good as this!”

I think that was a charming thing for him to say, and may have set the stage for gratitude from his family for what they had.

What do you imagine are the pros and cons of being the Queen?  In what way  is your life better than hers?  What will you eat this holiday season that the Queen might be envious of?

Battle of the Lights

Apparently it’s not just about how I like the lights nestled into the tree.

After I put the lights on, I set them to slow fade on/slow fade off.  Not sure why I love that particular setting, but it’s very restful for me.  YA informed me that just plain lights on is better.  When I came down the next morning, the settings (on all three strands) were set to on.  No fading.  I set them back to fade.

Later that morning, I put on al the ornaments, including the crochet snowflakes and my favorite – the red wood bead strands.  I love them lopped on.  When YA came down, she informed me that they are “crooked” and proceeded to straighten them.  After she went back upstairs, I put them back the way I like them.

I bet you can tell where this is going.  Yep, a passive-aggressive battle over how the tree is decorated.  It’s been five days and it looks likes she has given up on the snowflakes and red bead garlands.  However when I came down this morning, the lights were changed to full on.  I might have given in on the flakes and garlands, but I’m not sure I can give in on the light settings.  Sigh.

Have you ever given in on something for the greater good?

Keeping An Eye out

I drive home  for lunch most days. It takes me about seven minutes to get home. I take the same route, and on the way I keep watch for two gorgeous Standard Schnauzers who are sometimes in their well fenced-in yard enjoying the sun. They are perfectly matched and are very well trimmed. I love watching them run around their yard in the few seconds I glimpse them as I drive past.

Son tells about two Great Horned owls he watches for as he walks his West Highland Terrier.  He once observed an owl try to nab a duck in mid flight.  It wasn’t successful.  The owls hoot as he strolls past.

What do you like to keep a watch for?

Lights – My Way

For the last 35 years my best friend (Sara) and her husband (David) have come over to help decorate the Christmas tree.  We have cookies along with hot chocolate and Baileys.  Real whipped cream.

About 30 years ago, I was a little too vocal about how I like the lights as David was putting them on the tree.  He stopped, handed me the remaining lights and “suggested” that I should probably do the lights from then on.  He was correct.  I like the lights to peek out from the interior of the tree and for at least 20 years I’ve had lights that slowly fade on and off as well. 

Covid means no tree trimming party this year, so I was thinking there was no rush to get the lights on the tree.  YA thought otherwise and asked me repeatedly when I was going to put the lights up (we got the tree on Friday).  She even took the lights out – hence the decorated dog in the photo. 

When I eventually relented and started with the tree, she sat on the steps and watched.  Then she made a recommendation.  Then another.  I told her the story of David handing me the lights and telling me to do it myself.  She went upstairs and didn’t come down until I was finished. 

What job do you just like to do yourself?