Category Archives: Seasons

State Fair Checklist

  • Ask boss for every day of the State Fair off. Check.
  • Get tickets and coupon books (that’s right, two books). Check.
  • Make grid of which kinds of dogs are at the Pet Pavilion on which days. Check.
  • Add what days there are bunnies at the bunny barn to the grid. Check.
  • Check where this year’s Park & Ride lots are situated. Check.
  • Install the State Fair app on my phone. Check.
  • Look at all this year’s new food with YA. Check.
  • Extra points for writing some of the new foods on the grid. Check.
  • Go over possible schedule with YA. Repeatedly. Check.
  • Purchase some more individual wet wipes. Check.
  • Dig the turtle purse out of the attic (it’s the perfect size for the Fair). Check.
  • Start a “take with” pile (purse, sunglasses, wipes, tickets, coupons, address labels, couple of band aids, couple of ibuprofen, collapsible food container). Check.
  • Watch the weather forecast like a hawk.  Check.
  • Do laundry so the clothes you like best are ready on Thursday. Check.
  • Get gas for the car (probably not needed, but what the heck). Check.

Except for getting some cash on Thursday morning, I think I’m ready!

What’s the last occasion you “prepped” for?

Dog Days

I’m not getting much done at work today. During the summer, every Friday is “Bring Your Dog to Work Day” and I am in dog heaven.  I keep dog treats in my cube and on Fridays, I actually have a stash in my pocket throughout the day.

Today in addition to Charlie and Bernie Mac and Vegas (GoldenDoodle, Puggle, Doberman) who are here most Fridays, we have a brand new puppy. 8-week old Dave Grohl (name of somebody in some band that I don’t know about), a golden retriever.  He has the wonderful puppy smell and that squishy soft puppy skin.

Rufus, Mochi, Brandon and Ash are off today but I’ve petted (and fed) a couple of others, whose names I don’t know, as they travel through the building. I’m on a main aisle and I think the dogs can smell the treats in my pocket as they’re going by so they stop by!

What perk would make your Fridays better?

My Little Rock Star

My company does a fun summer program that includes concerts out on the big lawn between two of our buildings. On Thursday it was Chris Kroeze.  As I was tapping my toe I noticed a toddler towards the front of the crowd, not more than four.  His folks and younger sibling were sitting on the grass behind him but there was no sitting for him.  He had a small electric guitar (probably not real) and he was wailing on it.  Non-stop.  And he had moves; he looked like he would have been right at home up on the stage.  I stayed out on the lawn for about 30 minutes and this kid was playing his heart out the entire time.   I thought about going over and introducing myself and asking his name, because I’m sure in 15-20 years, he’s going to be famous and I would be able to say I knew him when.

Have you ever met a famous person? Was it what you expected?

Too Hot to Shop?

Wowser! Over lunch I decided to run a couple of errands so I wouldn’t have to do them after work.  (I hate doing errands on a Friday after work – I just want to get home!)  And, of course, the heat and humidity is in the “you’ve got to be kidding me” range.   As I walked through the doors at Joann’s, the first big display is all about fall.  Pumpkins, dried vine wreaths, autumn wall hangings, the works.  Nothing specific to Halloween that I saw, but I was making a beeline to the fabric section.  I’m guessing that if I’d wandered past the initial display I would have seen stuff for little ghosts and ghouls.  It was so incongruous to me that they are selling items for the fall when it’s mid-July and 94° outside.  If I weren’t already overheated from Mother Nature, it would make my temperature go up!

I’m not sure why this drives me so crazy, but when retail jumps the gun on holidays and seasons, I just dig in a little more. I just want to celebrate the season I’m in, thank you very much- no need to start stocking up on pumpkin-themed items just yet.  And of course I’ve ranted here before about the Hallmark Channel running Christmas movies for weeks at a time during the summer months.  I adore holiday movies (well maybe not all the Hallmark ones) but they definitely have their place in my world.  And that place begins the day after Thanksgiving and not before.

So I guess I’ll just have to stubbornly keep ignoring the fall displays and the holiday movies until I’m ready. Sorry retail America.

What gets your temperature heated up?  What do you do to cool off?


It’s nice and cool this morning. Last night’s storm pushed the hot air away temporarily, plus I have two fans going in my room!  I have yet to drag my little window air conditioner out of the attic to install it.

Growing up in St. Louis, air conditioning was everywhere. You’d leave your arctic house and get hot and sweaty.  Then you’d crank up the ac in your car to cool down.  Then you’d get out of your car and get hot and sweaty.  Then you’d go into the grocery store where the ac was set to a temperature that would make penguins happy.  I swear, I used to think that I would get internal temperature schizophrenia from the constant hot/cold/hot/cold.

This means that as an adult, I have an aversion to putting in my window unit. I can get through a couple of 90+ degree days but after 2 days, the house has heated up pretty thoroughly and my bedroom can’t cool down enough at night for comfort. But if it’s only a couple of days and then the heat subsides, then I can continue on my merry way, air-condition free.  Two summers ago I made it through the whole summer.  Last summer, no so luck.

It’s mid-July, so I think if I can get through the next couples of weeks, I might make it. Fingers crossed.

What are you are irrationally averse to?


It was this day in 1832 that the true source of the Mississippi river was “discovered” by Henry R. Schoolcraft. An explorer, ethnologist, geographer and geologist, Schoolcraft was born in New York in 1793.  At the age of 25, he left home to go exploring in the west.

In 1820, he joined Lewis Cass’ expedition to chart boundary issues between US and Canada and to try to determine the headwaters of the Mississippi. Upon arriving at Upper Red Cedar Lake, they could no longer navigate by boat, so re-named the lake to Cass Lake and proclaimed it the beginning of the Mississippi.  But the natives who were part of the expedition told Schoolcraft that earlier in the year when the water was higher, you could keep going by canoe.  Two years later, Schoolcraft did just this and was able to get to what was then known as Elk Lake, the true headwaters of the Mississippi.  As was the custom of the time, Schoolcraft promptly re-named it, making up Lake Itasca from the Latin veritas (truth) and caput (head)

Soon after, he was assigned as the first Indian agent in the area, based in Sault Ste Marie, Michigan, where he met and married Jane Johnston. Jane was the oldest child of a Scottish fur trader and his Ojibwa wife.  Jane’s Ojibwa name was “Woman of the Sound the Stars Make Rushing Through the Sky” and a writer in her own right, she taught Schoolcraft her language and culture.  He went on to research and document much of Native American life and history, including a six-volume survey of Native American tribes that has since been indexed and updated.  He even spent two stints at Fort Snelling, once as the commander of the fort.

There are quite a few things named after Schoolcraft, from townships in Michigan and Minnesota as well as parks, schools, roads, lakes, islands and even the ship SS Henry R Schoolcraft (launched in 1943). He passed away in 1864 at the age of 71.  Of his many accomplishments, he is best known for his discovery to the headwaters of the Mississippi.

Tell us about the lake that is named after you!

Spring Blossoms

We are starved for color in winter and early spring  in the northern Great Plains.  Husband and I have been fortunate in our travels since April to be in places when the flowering trees and shrubs are at their peak.  We were in Brookings, SD last weekend and the flowering crabs, plums, and apple trees were beautiful. In Santa Fe we saw  blooming fruit trees of all types. I was amazed, though, when we were in Los Angeles and I saw blooming Jacaranda trees for the first time.

I have never seen trees that shape and size with blue/purple flowers.  I have no idea what they look like with their leaves.  It is said to be good luck if the flowers fall on your head. The seeds and sap  are said to be quite poisonous, though.  They are  found mainly in tropical climates, but have survived to winter temperatures as low 19 degrees Fahrenheit. I don’t think they would winter over very well up here.

What are your favorite and least favorite trees and shrubs?