Category Archives: Kids

Digging a Hole

I can get really dirty when I’m working in the yard and putting in a new fence post this week made for TWO seriously dirty days.

The fence was initially installed in the end of April 1991, right after I moved in, so I didn’t have to take the dogs out on leashes six or seven times a day so they could do their business.  One of the fence posts was replaced years ago and the others have slowly deteriorated over time.  I have a huge black steel fence post “holder” keeping one up and my handy man did a serious MacGyver on another one last November when the ground was already frozen.  YA and I decided to replace the saggiest one and see what lessons we learned before attempting the MacGyvered one.

All the online advice talks about how hard it is to get the previous concrete out and they weren’t kidding.  The hole was humungous because we couldn’t get any leverage in a smaller hole.  We finally got down to where we needed to be and we measured the post and I sawed it off to the right height.  Then on Day 2 we got an ugly surprise; the very corner where there post needed to go had an old remnant of the initial fence post.  Believe me when I tell you it doesn’t take thousands of years for old wood to calcify.  It took an hour, a saw, a drill with 2 different bits, one dandelion digger that didn’t survive the ordeal and a hammer to finally clear that corner.

So the post is in, I’ve taken another super serious shower and some ibuprofen for my sore shoulders.  YA and I had lunch after we had finished and we both agreed that we learned a lesson that we could apply to the gate post – that we were hiring someone else to do it!

Any projects that you’ve gotten dirty doing?


Who’s Choosing the Menu?

After the great naan breakfast recipe last week, we had ricotta cheese left.  I hate throwing out food so I bought some lasagna noodles and told YA what I was going to make.

The morning I started to make the dish, YA wandered into the kitchen.  “Make lasagna rolls instead of regular lasagna” she said.  I whined and said this was a lot more work than just quickly layering stuff into one pan.  She whined a bit more and I told her (as I was putting the noodles into the boiling water) that I would think about it.  This is straight-up parent-speak for “No, but I want you to quit bugging me about it.”

She left me in the kitchen and a few minutes later, I heard the vacuum running upstairs.  I made the lasagna rolls.

Is there anybody who can push your buttons this well?

The Underwear Tree

Guinevere and I have been expanded our walking routes, going a little farther and trying out new streets to walk down.  Last week we went down a street in Tangletown that we hadn’t tried before, heading down the hill toward the creek.  As we were walking I looked up and was startled to see a pair of women’s underwear hung on the tree close to the sidewalk.  On closer inspection, I discovered about ten different garments (all women’s undergarments) hanging from the tree.

As we continued on our way, I thought about tee-peeing, which was a popular prank when I was a kid.  I never took part in tee-peeing, but my house was the target of this prank once.  Nobody I knew ever fessed up, so I always wondered if it had been meant for Sam’s house; he was my next-door neighbor and a much more social kid than I was.  I wondered what kind of prank resulted in women’s underwear in a tree in a front yard.  Was this what kids do these days?  Where do they get the underwear?  Thrift shops?  Their mother’s dresser?  Or was it more nefarious – one spouse getting even with the other, hopefully not with a divorce looming on the horizon.

Then I was surprised yesterday to walk that route again and found the underwear still hanging in the tree.  At first I thought maybe the family was not at home the last few days, but there were golf clubs in a bag sitting on the front porch; surely no one would leave town with their clubs sitting out in the open.  The mystery deepened when I got home and mentioned it to YA.  She confirmed that the underwear has been in the tree for at least 3 weeks.  Now I’m really wondering what the story is.

What do you think?

Nothing on a Stick

Well, we did it.  We found a fair food truck that had three of our favorite things and that wasn’t too far!  It was up in the Costco parking lot in north Minneapolis, so if you don’t count my having to backtrack because it turns out the 46th street ramp onto 35W is closed, it only took about 15 minutes to get up there.

We shared an order of cheese curds, an order of French fries and a bag of mini donuts (although I probably had more than half… YA likes them but not as much as the other things).  We sat in the car to eat and watched other folks wander up to the truck for their orders.

It was quite pleasant except for the fact that seven hours later I was still not interested in food – still not hungry.  If a half order of three items filled me up that much, how in heavens’ name do people eat so much at the fair?  I never get cheese curds or French fries on my solo fair days since I don’t have anyone to share it with, but even so, if you add up what I do consume on my own, it’s quite a bit.  I expect that the increased exercise from walking all over the fair is what keeps me from getting too full.  Since my only exercise yesterday consisted of the stationary bike for 30 minutes and the dog walk for just 20 minutes, my fair food kept me full all day.  Guess that means that without the whole state fair experience, I should probably stay away from too many food trucks this summer!

How are you getting your exercise in this summer?


When Child was little, I occasionally paid one of the tweens in the neighborhood to watch her for an hour so I could go to the grocery store BY MYSELF.  It felt like a luxury to not have to deal with groceries and carts and Child all at the same time.

Then Child got older, was in child care, then latchkey, then high school, then college, then jobs and grad school.  Just stopping by the store to pick up one or two items was just routine and no longer a luxury.  And she never wanted to go with me any longer.

Now that we’re in a new normal, I only go grocery shopping every couple of weeks, keeping a list of what I need and making due until it’s time to shop.  YA is also interested in grocery shopping, although I’m not sure if it’s just to get out of the house or if she doesn’t trust me to get the right shredded lettuce, but whatever the reason, she now wants to go with me.

Yesterday was the day slotted for shopping.  We wrote out a list the night before and YA ate before we left (a requirement as I’m not going out with a hungry co-shopper).  We had two stops planned, first Trader Joe’s and then Cub and as we were thinking about leaving, I realized I wanted to change my clothes. I had on my perennial jersey knit shorts and a t-shirt that had already seen the exercise bike and a long dog walk.  I put on khaki shorts, a nice top, even brushed my hair.  Then at the last minute I also put on one of my favorite rings and a pair of dangly earrings.  I felt really dolled up.

Of course, no one mentioned how nice I looked, especially not YA, but I felt great and was excited to be going out.  Truly, my big event for the past two weeks – grocery shopping.   Well, at least I didn’t have to pay a babysitter!

What staples are on your grocery list?

Fair Food

I didn’t make a big deal about it last month but you all know that I wasn’t happy about the announcement that there won’t be a State Fair this year.  I certainly understand the decision and actually agree with it, but it’s still sad for me. I’ll miss the animals and the people-watching, the entertainment and so some extent, the food.  However I’m not one of those folks who “has” to have fair food (well, except for the Hawaiian Shave Ice).

Over the last couple of weeks a Facebook group for Fair Food Finds has popped up; lots of the fair food vendors are setting up in various places around the Twin Cities and there are lots of posts about when and where you can go get your pronto pups, cheese curds, mini-donuts and lots of other yummies.

At first I was excited about this and thought it might be a fun road trip for YA and me.  But it seems like everything is REALLY far away from us – Stillwater, Elk River, Elko and the like.  I somehow can’t get worked up about driving quite that far for fair food.  A two-hour roundtrip for mini donuts doesn’t pass muster as a good use of time and gas.  I’ll keep watching the posts but I’m not confident that I’ll be eating any fair food favorites any time soon.  Rats.

Any foods that would get you to take a roadtrip?

Retro – Again

It seems a truism that “what goes around, comes around” but I hadn’t given it much thought until about a month ago when YA announced that she wanted to do tie-dye.  She normally gives me a lot of grief when I wear one of the two tie-dyed shirts that I still own, so it was a surprise that apparently tie-dye is cool again.  Only pastel now.

The last time we did die-dye was several years ago and in the process we had used up several colors, so new ingredients were needed.  I got onto the website of Dharma Trading Company (a good source for a lot of fabric crafts) and let her choose the colors she wanted.  It took almost 3 weeks for the supplies to arrive since their warehouse is only staffed by 2 people at a time right now and YA probably asked me every other day when the order would arrive.   I ordered a “blank” sundress for myself, YA got two t-shirts and a sweatshirt for herself.

Despite the fact that I’ve done tie-dye for years, YA didn’t trust my knowledge, rolling her eyes and shaking her head.  I sent her off to do her own research and “voila”… all my advice was corroborated, including making sure you wash your fabric to get the sizing out before you start dyeing.  She REALLY didn’t believe me when I had said this was necessary.  Thank you, Google.

She got the dining room table all set up while I mixed the dyes in the individual squirt bottles. Then we tied our projects.  I went for a traditional sunburst pattern while YA only wanted the general “scrunch” look (no particular pattern in the end).  I also wanted to use bright colors so I did my dyeing first and then YA headed back to the kitchen to water down the colors she wanted so her pieces would be pastel.  Lots of color swatches on paper towels before she got what she wanted.

It was hard for her to wait 24 hours while the dye was setting and she was very concerned that if we did the final wash (in the washing machine) the color from my dress would bleed onto her shirts.  Once again, thank you, Google.  They turned out great – I’ve seen her wear both of her t-shirts already and I assume I’ll see the sweatshirt again when the weather cools down.  Unless tie-dye goes out of style before that!

What would you like to see come around again?

Here’s Your Hat – What’s Your Hurry?

My local library has begun to accept books back – there is a big bin outside the door during their open hours.  The books will be “quarantined” – until they are out of quarantine, they will stay on my account.

When I called the library last week to check out one of my curbside holds, I asked about the returns and the librarian told me to please not bring all 28 at one time.  So I’ve been stopping by and dropping off 4 or 5 at a time every day.

Yesterday on my way home, I passed a mother and daughter who were clearly headed toward the curbside check-out.  The little girl looked to be about five, maybe six.  At first glance I was thinking “why does this kid have on a hat in this hot weather?”  Then as they got closer, I saw that it was a unicorn hat.  “Aaaah…. never too hot for a unicorn hat!”

Forget the weather, forget hat hair.  What kind of hat will you wear today?

Summer Sleep Outs

I was out in the garden weeding after work yesterday  when  the children from next door came over to help me. (They were remarkably helpful and pulled all the right weeds and none of the vegetables.) They were so excited to tell me that they were sleeping in the back yard in a tent with their dad  that night. Sure enough, there was a tent in the back yard with sleeping bags and pillows.  We did the same with our children in the back yard. It was so much fun!

I have the fondest memories of outdoor summer sleeping in various venues-with cousins, with friends, with my dad. What a wonderful thing to do!

What are your Summer sleeping-out memories? What are other Summer night memories?

What’s Bred In The Bone

Since Monday I have received more than a dozen phone calls and at least twice as many texts from Daughter detailing her observations of her cats’ behaviors and interactions.  She is a really good observer of minute interactions,  and she  tells me about them in great detail. She has applied interventions for improving the acceptance of the kitten by the older cat based on her observations.  Our son is equally good at this. Husband and I do it for a living.  I think this is really weird.

There must be some genetic thing going on here. Two psychologists, a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, and  Social Worker in one family?  I wish I knew what gene it was. The “Keen Observer” gene? The “I Can’t Abide Family Discord” gene? The “Human Behavior is Fascinating ” gene?  The “I’m Just Nosy” gene?

How are you similar and dissimilar to your family members? What runs in your family?