Category Archives: Kids


As you all know, one of our family traditions is apple-picking each fall.  It’s just one of many places that YA and I enjoy going and things we enjoy doing together.  Zoos, petting farms, state fair, museums, apple picking, tree selection, shopping, gardening. 

You’d think that I’d be overloaded with photos considering all the things we do but you’d be surprised.  YA is very resistant to posing for photos.  If I’m lucky, I can get one photo per “out and about”, but that’s not a guarantee.  I plead, I wheedle and sometimes I bribe; these attempts don’t always work.  I don’t know why she resists.  

Yesterday we headed out to the orchard and after we’d filled our first bag (Sweet Tangos), she asked me to take her picture with an apple tree behind her.  I was surprised but took a few photos.  Then she wanted photos in front of a different tree.  THEN she wanted photos in front of the corn maze.  Now I was practically in shock.  When I asked why, she said she wanted to have pictures to show she had been on “an outing”.  At first I thought this was some feature of Instagram or Tik Tok or even the activity app she has through work but it turns out it’s nothing official.  She just wants photos in case she decides she wants to post somewhere. 

Lots more photo sessions ensued including the big adirondack chairs they have in the orchard and the most surprising of all, next to the dinosaur sculptures up near the barn.  I would have bet money she would refuse those but she happily posed.  All these photos were taken on my phone and she spent the miles back home looking through them and sending many of them to herself.  I was a little concerned she might delete them off my phone when she was done, but she left them.  I’m still in shock.

Anything extraordinary or atypical in your world lately?


Our puppy needs a haircut, and is a very fuzzy boy. I noticed that he had two rather large dried on pieces of poop on his rear end, stuck to his fussy hair. I told husband that he had to help me with the “clinkers”, as we have called such things since we got our first dogs many years ago. I started thinking about the word and the euphemisms that we use. I am not talking about hurtful or derogatory ones, just interesting ones.

I suppose many euphemisms stem from talking about body parts or functions. Many of my child/adolescent clients are embarrassed to death to have to refer to body parts by their proper names. A good friend had a daughter who referred to boys’ parts as “hoses”, which I thought was a pretty good descriptor. I don’t know what she calls them now that she is a grown woman.

What are some euphemisms that you use? What words are hard for you to say in public?

Dog Beds

Guinevere has multiple beds.  YA can’t resist them so there is one in her kennel in the breakfast room, one in my room and one in YA’s room.  Recently we’ve changed up sleeping arrangements; during the day Guinevere and Nimue pretty much ignore each other but nighttime is a different matter. The last month or so, Guinevere has moved from my room to YA’s room at night.  Every day YA moves the dog bed from my room to her room because “Gwen likes that bed during the day”.   I noticed today that both of the upstairs dog beds are still in YA’s room. 

Beds & Lambies

In addition, Guinevere has FOUR lampchop chewy toys.  This is in addition to a huge basket full of other balls and toys, but the lampchop ones are definitively her favorites.  YA and I used a giftcard last spring and bought several of them, so we have extras on hand if the current flock gets nibbles too much.

Guinevere is also refusing to eat her kibble this week.  This happens every couple of years when she just decides that her currently dogfood isn’t fitting the bill.  While YA and I are both fine with changing her food, neither of us is willing to throw out half of a large bag of kibble.  I voted for letting her go hungry on the theory that she won’t starve to death and eventually she’ll eat what we have.  YA is frantic about the non-eating.  So far this past week on different occasions I’ve seen lots of delicacies added to Guinevere’s dish: peanut butter, vanilla yogurt, maple syrup, pumpkin and also some very smelly dog sauces in pouches.  Each of these items worked moderately well but we’ve still got at least 2 weeks before we’re ready for a new brand of dry food. Good grief.

Have you ever had a hand in spoiling someone?

Fair Eats

My stomach was a little unsettled yesterday.  Not actual distress… just feeling a little sensitive.  I suppose after five days of fair food, it’s only to be expected.  Especially Sunday.  In looking back, except for the cookies and the Hawaiian shave ice, every single thing I ate was fried.  Yikes.

I’m blaming a lot of this on YA and the State Fair marketing types.  For years YA and I have gotten our coupon booklets ahead of time; we used to go through them on the bus on the way to the fair but last year and this year, YA went through a week in advance and put post-it notes on the foods she was interested in.  Then the marketing types sent us an email listing all the new foods for 2022.  YA perused this seriously and then made a list.  Yep, she’s my daughter, isn’t she?!

A few items got listed after I took the photo and what you also don’t see is that each night that we got home from the fair, she highlighted any of the foods we’d eaten during the day.  Truly the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree.

It will be much easier to tell you what we DIDN’T get to.  We passed the vegan corn dog trailer more than once but it never seemed the right moment.  I’ll try harder next year if they come back.  We did want to try the sweet potato poutine but you have to really want it to stand in the lines at The Blue Barn in the afternoon.  We stopped at the global market for arepas and moletes but neither of them looked that good so we tried something else.  And even though YA put the tirokroketes on the list, she was never in the mood when we passed Dino’s.  She also decided against the cotton candy float.

Some of the items got multiple tastings (cookies and Hawaiian Shave Ice are daily staples) and cheese curds, of course.  We hit the fried blueberry pie more than once – it was a new food and it was terrific.  Cheesy Siracha Funnel Cake Bites (way better than you’re imagining), Fried Pickles and Roasted Corn are favorites.  We got the pickle pizza on the first Saturday before it went viral; the lines were blocks long in both directions on Sunday.  It was fun but again not worth standing in line that long.  In fact, I always buy my cookies in the first hour and put most of them in a Tupperware that I raid as the day goes on, because I can’t do the afternoon lines. 

Just reading through all of this had made me realize that as much as I love the fair, it’s probably a good thing it only happens once a year.  It might take my stomach until next year to recover!

When was the last time you got carried away with anything?

First Day of School

Public School started yesterday in our town. The smaller, Class B schools in our region started last week, as did the Catholic schools. The children next door were up early today and making a hullaballoo in the front yard in their excitement. Their parents are educators and administrators in the public schools. It was a big day.

I heard last evening from a music educator in my bell choir that one of her colleagues had a most exciting day, having two elementary boys decide to flash each other as soon as they got in the classroom, and another boy who came in the room with a gushing, bloody nose.

I remember being so excited the night before school started that I couldn’t sleep. My mother was a Grade 3 teacher, and loved her job and would have taught until she was 80 had she not been felled by MS. She adored her children and her classroom.

What is your most memorable first day of school? Who were the naughtiest children in your classes, and what naughty things did they do? Who was your favorite elementary teacher, and why?

What’s Your Sign?

On our recent trip to Fargo, our family stopped in to the bookstore at Concordia College in neighboring Moorhead, MN to get some Concordia gear. Daughter, son, daughter in law, and I are all alums, and we needed new sweatshirts. I had no sweatpants, so I got some of those, too. Grandson even got a t shirt.

I typically avoid wearing clothes with designer labels or slogans. I don’t feel the need to be a walking billboard. I feel differently about my college, though. The gear is really comfortable, too.

I remember back in the day when it was pretty common to ask people what their zodiac sign was when you met them, as though that would tell you everything you needed to know about the person. I am Aquarius. Husband is Sagittarius. I no longer remember if that makes us compatible or not. We will be married 39 years come September. I still sometimes read my horoscope in our weekly paper, though, just to see what I should expect. It is never correct.

What is your zodiac sign? Is is an accurate reflection of your personality? Ever been to a fortune teller?

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

When we got our first Welsh Terrier in 1990, the breeder, who lived in Mankato, was dismayed to find out we were both psychologists, since psychologists, in her experience, were not good at being consistent and structured with their dogs. They allowed too many misbehaviors and were too concerned with the dogs’ feelings.

We now are on our fourth terrier, and I must admit the Mankato breeder has a point. I wonder why it took me 30 years to admit she was right. It has also made me realize that I have too high expectations for the parents I work with to be consistent and structured with their children, and that I can do a better job in helping them do that, rather than roll my eyes over their failed attempts at positive reinforcement. This training stuff is hard!

Terriers are all heart and intellect. Punishment doesn’t work with them. They also need clear rules and limits. Children are the same. One of the first things I noticed with our new dog was our inconsistent message to him about shoes. Husband has a pair of gardening shoes he dislikes, and has allowed our new puppy to chew, shake, and toss them. Now, we both are well trained in behavior theory, and know that it is impossible for our dog to discriminate between shoes we like and shoes we don’t like. This has led to Kyrill raiding our closets for any shoes he can find. All we can do is keep the closet doors shut and praise him when he drops the shoes he has stolen. It is hard to be positive in those situations, rather than angry.

It is often hard to explain to parents how important it is to praise their children where they are rather than punish them for what they fail to do. For example, if the most positive thing you can say to your child is “Thank you for not using the F word at breakfast” then that is where you are. It is hard for for me to praise the dog when he drops something I treasure, rather than yelling at him for stealing it in the first place.

This is the first dog we have had when we weren’t actively parenting children. I think that has made me more aware of what I am doing, rather than doing what was expedient to get things done at home. Live and learn, I guess. We all have feet of clay.

What do you preach but don’t practice? What is hard for you to admit? What new things do you want to learn?


I was quite amused yesterday on my way to work to see our insurance agent presumably driving to his office. He was riding a motorcycle. HE WASN’T WEARING A HELMET!

It seems to me that being an insurance agent means you exemplify caution and careful living. I remember the conversation we had together with our son when he got his driver’s license, and our agent told him to never hesitate to phone him any time, night or day, if he had been drinking and needed a ride home. Well, I wonder what he says to young motorcycle drivers he insures about helmets?

Our agent goes to our church and has a lovely tenor voice and sings with us in the choir. I can hardly wait to tease him about this.

What do you like to tease people about? What irony have you noticed this week? Any stories about insurance agents or companies?

It’s Not Nice to Fool Mother Nature

Mother Nature is just messing with me. 

With my front and back yards full of flowers, I do need to think about water during the summer months, especially if there are going to be so many 90+ degree days.  I watch the weather forecasts like a hawk to try to determine if Mother Nature is going to gift me with any free precipitation.  If it’s going to rain, I really don’t to pay the City of Minneapolis for extra water.

It seems that almost every forecast of rain the past month has been a chimera – it shows as 50% or 60% and the radar shows the dark green riding right over my location – then nothing!   Or else it does a very insulting sprinkle for 3 minutes.  Last night I had the sprinkler on in front and when I went to water my baskets in the back, YA gave me grief.  She said “it’s going to rain… it’s 80%”.  I continued along, watering all the baskets and the bales while she made fun of me.  As I finished up, it started to lightly sprinkle.  She smirked as I came in the back.  Then 5 minutes later I smirked when it hadn’t even rained long enough to wet a tissue. 

I know weather is capricious but I would have thought that by now, forecasters could get a better grasp on this.  I’ve said many times that if I were to look for another job, it would be as a weather forecaster.  Then I could get a big salary to be on tv and the fact that I was wrong half of the time wouldn’t count against me on my annual review!

I guess for the rest of the summer, I’ll just assume there will be no rain, unless I wake up to it in the morning!

How much do YOU believe in weather forecasting?

Dessert Anyone?

I am not usually a procrastinator; in fact, I’m usually the opposite.  I almost always start with the thing I don’t want to do and then reward myself with the more pleasure task afterwards – unlike Oscar Wilde, I like to have the dessert at the end.

But every now and then I encounter a project that just throws me for a loop – a project that lingers and lingers while I find excuse after excuse to not get to it.  It tortures me and I keep putting it off, even though I remind myself that it won’t take as long as I think, it won’t be as hard, I’ll feel so great when it’s finished.  About the only way I’ve found to counteract this is a deadline.  Once there is a deadline, then I’m all in for getting it done. 

My front porch (yes, she’s going to talk about the front porch again) is right up there.  I didn’t have any problem scrapping (although it was taking forever), no issues with sand blasting (although tim helping did set up a deadline if I’d needed it), no issues with replacing the broken glass panes, no issues with getting all the glass to the correct recycling center, no issues with sanding the window frames.  

Getting the ceiling done – I’m just tilting at windmills.  I simply cannot get myself to stain the ceiling.  It started with taping up the plastic – took me a month to figure out how to trick YA into doing it with me.  Of course, I could have done all the taping on my own in less than 30 minutes, but I just couldn’t make myself.  Now that I don’t have plastic on the to-do list, you’d think the staining would be easy.  But no… again, every time I think about it, some other thing that is much more enjoyable “needs” to be done. This past weekend, I spent close to 10 hours in my studio…. cuz I really need more cards, right?  Right now I’m trying to think of how to trick YA into the staining as well.

Any projects you’re procrastinating on right now?  Any thoughts on how to get YA to do the ceiling for me?