high school flashback

I saw this meme on Facebook and thought I’d share it here.

It’s your SENIOR year of high school! The longer ago it was, the more fun the answers will be.

The year was: 1984
1. Did you know your spouse? No
2. Did you car pool to school? I lived 2 blocks away, so I walked/ran (depending how late I was getting out the door) — usually with a cup of coffee in hand.
3. What kind of car did you have? Mom let the kids drive the old 1973 Chevy Impala wagon.

4. What kind of car do you have now? 2006 Kia Sedona minivan
5. It’s Friday night…where were you? If I wasn’t babysitting for someone, I might be hanging out with people from the church youth group.
6. What kind of job did you have in high school? I had some regular babysitting jobs.
7. What kind of job do you have now?  Church Administrator (after 22 years as a SAHM)
8. Were you a party animal?  No
9. Were you a cheerleader? No
10. Were you considered a jock? No
11. Were you in band, orchestra, or choir? I was in band and choir earlier in high school, but at not at this point.
12. Were you a nerd? No.  I was, however, dressing in grunge style before it was cool.
13. Did you get suspended or expelled?  Nope. Miss Goody-two-shoes here.
14. Can you sing the fight song? I know it from my first high school (older siblings went there and I spent 9th and 10th grades there, too) but I never learned it for my second high school.
15. Who was/were your favorite high school teacher/s? Doc Hansen (English, Creative Writing) and VanKempen (Drama and stage crew)
16. Where did you sit for lunch? Usually in the cafeteria with a few friends. I could go home for lunch but it seemed like a waste of time.
17. What was your school’s full name? Roosevelt High School
18. What was your school mascot? Roughrider (ala Teddy Roosevelt before he became President)
19. If you could go back and do it again, would you? NO.
20. Did you have fun at Prom? Hmmmm… fun? I suppose so. I’m still not really into the events where you dress up and talk to people while loud music is playing. (I have no problem with going to hear a band — I enjoy that — but trying to talk in a crowd? Not so much.)
21. Do you still talk to the person you went to prom with? We’re friends on Facebook but haven’t seen each other in person in many years  It’s nice to see pictures of his family.
22. Are you planning on going to your next reunion? The 30-year reunion was the first one I attended for this school. I’d go to another one if it worked out with my schedule.
23.Did you attend your 25th reunion? No. At the time I was only attending the reunions for my first high school, because I have known some of those people since we were 5 years old.
24. Are you still in contact with people from school? Thanks to Facebook, I am now.
25. What are/were your school’s colors? Green and Gold

Feel free to borrow the questions. Let’s hear your story.

Bark at the Moon (Wii?W)

Here is the picture I shared last week.

Confession: I was hoping someone would guess caramel-marbled brownies!

DSCN9441 What is it Wednesday, 7.13.16

Janet  (from whose now-comatose blog I stole the “What is it? Wednesday” meme) guessed it was toast, and Carolyn guessed it was a “cross-section of a malted milk ball.”

Unfortunately for all of us, this isn’t food unless we are termites.

Melissa made three guesses in a single comment:

Rye bread!
Tree bark?
Snake skin!

As you can see here, it’s a small cross-section of bark from a felled tree.

DSCN9441 What is it Wednesday, bark

Now if I can just get that old Ozzy Osbourne song out of my head!

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DSCN9444 cropped for What is it WednesdayNow here is this week’s picture for your guessing pleasure. Please be very specific in your guesses! As always, bonus points are given for creativity.

 

 

 

Family Five

  1. Pokemon GO has invaded my world — or rather, my husband’s world. He took a walk before turning in for the night to drop off one of his Pokemon at the nearest “gym.” He’s having such a fun time. I’m trying to listen and smile.
  2. Back on July 3rd, The Scout fell out of a tree. He’d been climbing and a branch broke, plummeting him 23 feet to the ground below. He landed on his back.  It hurt — a lot. He managed to walk home (collapsing from pain at least once) that evening and miraculously exhibited no damage on the CT scan.
  3. The obvious signs of a concussion began showing up 24-36 hours later, despite not actually hitting his head.  He spent the remainder of that week lying in a dark room and doing a lot of sleeping. The urgent care/ER doctor told him “activities as tolerated” so he began trying to do a few things. One step forward, half-step back…
  4. It’s been  12 days since he fell and he’s still dealing with headaches, backache (obviously) and inability to do most activities. He has an appointment with a doctor this morning. I’m a bit worried about the upcoming week (end of the month) at Boy Scout camp with its faster-paced activity level and noise level.
  5. After 5 Fridays in a row at the farmers’ market, I’m taking a “family day” break.

 

What’s happening these days in your household?

The mind of a teenage boy

Below is the resident teenager’s Christmas wish list from 2015. In the heading, he noted that it was “mostly sub twenty” — meaning less than $20 per item.

  1. A sharpening stone of some sort for pocket knives, oil requiring or no doesn’t matter.
  2. A watch with a sturdy long-lasting band (not plastic/rubber) that is water resistant to the point I could swim with it on.
  3. Fifty plus feet of para-cord.
  4. If you can find cheap waterproof or really water resistant winter gloves with a longer wrist to go under my sleeve that would be really good too.
  5. The usual cash, some sugary poison, preferably some kind of chocolate—I’ll take any, about 95% dark and under, Swedish fish, Nutella, Eggnog, or something like bit’o honey (Caramel/Cream bite size candies) No sour, fizzy, root beer flavored, ect. [sic]
  6. Beef jerky, also preferably no weird flavors, such as teriyaki or mesquite.
  7. Random items that you think I might like appreciate.
  8. And, if you really want to invest, by any means feel free to get me something really nice, a good bike, a backyard pool, some nice outdoor stuff, a horse and somewhere to keep it, a trip to some exotic place, a working lightsaber, scuba gear, a hang gliding trip, etcetera. Use your imagination, besides, look on the bright side, if you do this, the next few [years of getting me] birthday and Christmas presents might get called off for you, or I might get spoiled and demand more.

 

DSCN7126  My memory is as out-of-focus as this picture.

My memory is as fuzzy and out-of-focus as this picture of the Christmas tree.

 

You’d probably like to know what we ended up getting him for Christmas. I’m curious myself! On Christmas Day, I was one month out of surgery for my trimalleolar fracture and on some pretty strong pain medicine. I do know that we are not the proud owners of a horse and stable.:)

I was curious enough to look up previous orders on my Amazon account (the only way that any Christmas shopping got done). He received, in part, some new running gear. The fact I still have Amazon Prime is proof that those were some pretty strong pain meds; I forgot to turn off our free 30-day trial and ended up paying $99 for the entire year. Never mind that I was too busy to shop the special Prime Day sale on July 12th.

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What sort of  gifts have you (or your kids or someone else you know) wished for that would fit in category #8 above? 

 

from dragonfly to ??

I obviously made last week’s “What is it? Wednesday” picture too easy.  Here is the full picture of the dragonfly:

DSCN9561 4x6 What is it Wednesday, cropped dragonfly

This week I’ll try to challenge you a bit (or perhaps not) with this picture:

DSCN9441 What is it Wednesday, 7.13.16

What is it? 

Please leave your best guess in the comments below. Bonus points for wild and crazy details!

 

Slackline

DSCN2849 waterfall

Niagara Falls, August 2009

I live with two opposing desires: the desire to create and the desire to be free from the weight of too much stuff, of everything that holds me back from spontaneity.  The tiny house movement, minimalism, the popularity of the Konmari method and Marie Kondo’s book about tidying have infiltrated my brain. I think of how lovely it could be, living in a small space only surrounded with things that bring me joy. The pure lack of stuff would surely enable me to live more freely, to gather up my minimal possessions on short notice and take off on adventures. Or would it?

Life is Good Camping imageGoogle & Pinterest for the image win

Several plastic bins are filled with yards of colorful fabric purchased on sale and waiting under my worktable to become quilts; the new-to-me BERNINA is still under its cover, ready to replace the old, simple workhorse Sears model (which will continue to be used by the rest of the family). It’s been there since I broke my ankle seven months ago. I have filled more than a few acrylic boxes with organized displays of beads, just waiting for my creativity to turn them into earrings or lanyards. I taught my children that books are special friends and should be treated as such, which probably explains our full bookshelves despite multiple cross-country moves and routine purging of unnecessary items to keep below our weight limits.

DSCN2513  Bedside Books 4x6

Ye old bedside table overfloweth

And yet, I hear the siren song of minimalism: clean, dust-free surfaces that gleam with openness and possibility. Those images whisper to me that my house could look like this, too, if I would just get rid of stuff and tidy up my life. I can be overwhelmed by the piles that need my attention, those things that weren’t put in their proper places because I wasn’t quite done using them… two months ago. There are more than a few items that were set down on or near my worktable because I needed to figure out where they should live, and apparently they are imprisoned in the homeless encampment where I left them because the clutter grows into wretched, visual walls that keep me from doing anything. I am weighed down and immobilized.

The connection between these two extremes is perfectionism and self-diagnosed ADD. Once upon a time, I thought that a perfectionist was one who kept a perfectly clean and clutter-free house — and if that was so, then the minimalist lifestyle would be the answer. If I wiped the slate clean, there would be so little to care for on a daily basis that it would be simple to keep everything nice and neat and perfect. But I have since learned that a procrastinator like me is also a perfectionist. I will begin a project and fail to complete it because I don’t have enough time (supposedly) to do it perfectly. And yes, time management might be an issue here as well. I become distracted by other projects, other needs, and set what I am doing aside to finish at another time. Another project is set down right next to or on top of it, and another one, and soon I have overwhelming clutter on top of, under and around my worktable, rendering it useless.

I vacillate between enjoying my hobbies and the paraphernalia that comes with each of them — the scrapbooks, the paper, the beads, the fabric, the many supplies needed to turn vision into reality that can be held, touched, and felt — and the guilt that comes with owning so much stuff: things that no one else in my household seems to care about or enjoy. I’m the lover of the scrapbooks. I’m the one who spends untold hours looking at photographs,  working with paper to bring a book together that tells our family’s story in color. My scrapbooks are simple in design (nothing fancy here) and enable me to look back at events and remember details. Since my husband rarely looks at them (and my sons even less often) they really are for me, not the family.

Beading is another hobby in which I have invested time and money. The small clear boxes have compartments filled with semi-precious gemstones, round containers hold colorful vintage Venetian seed beads, and other small bins keep Swarovski and Precosia crystals separate from less costly glass beads. I have less guilt over this colorful and pleasing collection due to the earrings and lanyards I sell and make for my own use; however, I freely admit that I own much more than I will ever use. The call of the Pretty! and Sparkly! is a strong one, even for this not-so-girly female.

Some of my crafting supplies have come into my life as fads that quickly fade away. Counted cross-stitch, wreath-making, and stamping readily come to mind as examples, and there is no doubt that some of these supplies could improve my life by simply going away. I’d have more space, less clutter, and less guilt when I look at them because I haven’t been using them. I still use a few stamps, but most of the items in those bins are neglected and unloved. These are the items that Marie Kondo writes about, things that were once thought to be useful but no longer “spark joy” — things I hang onto because I spent money on them many years ago.

I enjoy the process of creating, gazing at colorful beads and fabric and paper, deciding which ones to use. I find pleasure in planning and envisioning a completed crafting project. I love having a scrapbook to look back at events through the eyes of the photographer (usually me). I’m realizing that while I am not what I consider to be an actual artist, I have an artist’s heart. I dream of creating something of beauty  and I see possibility where others see a mess that needs cleaning.  A blank surface is a creative void, begging for fulfillment and lacking inspiration. Emptiness on walls and surfaces is, to me, a cry of loneliness.

I read this recently on Maximum Middle Age:

Having stuff has never kept me from having experiences, or feeling joy. On the contrary, my things are a primary source of joy in my life, more meaningful than any expanse of white wall, any patch of “negative space.” My things are talismans, giving me luck and guarding against forgetfulness. They have brought me joy. They are worth keeping.

This is where I find myself: on a tenuous slackline walk between tangible reminders of past joys and the illusion of minimalist ease.  On one end is the abode with clean, clear surfaces, no excesses, no clutter and, supposedly, no guilt; on the other end is a house filled with wellsprings of creativity and memory-keepers that also inevitably bring clutter. And  I bounce in the middle, seeking to make a home and a life I love.

DSCN1354 2013 Slackline World Cup

photo taken at the 2013 Slackline World Cup tour in Spokane, WA

 

And all the children are above average

It’s been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon.**

Wait, no — that’s not right.

I’m not really sure what to call the past 2 weeks. At times it has been joyous, but it has also been challenging in an unpleasant way. But first, the good stuff:

DSCN9396  unplanned outfits, WEBSIZED

I’ve gotten to visit the next generation family twice over a 4-day window.  I visited on a Saturday nearly 2 weeks ago . While The Scout and SuperDad were off Riding the Hiawatha, I had the privilege of riding with my little buddy. It had been 6 weeks since my last visit and I felt about three weeks overdue for grandson snuggles.

DSCN9357 Big boy smiles, RESIZED

I cannot get enough of this sweet boy. SuperDad hadn’t seen him in person since Mother’s Day, so the two of us drove to their town again last Wednesday. I love seeing my husband being a grandpa.

DSCN9471  cropped websized

DSCN9478 Opa helps Little Foot listen to Daddy, WEBSIZED

Listening to Daddy’s voice coming out of the tube at the park…   It’s so fun to see Little Foot clearly working his brain to figure out his world.

DSCN9499  Mommy caught a duck! 4x6  WEBSIZED

DSCN9509  Drake, websized

We were chillin’ at the park (literally, we were keeping cool at the end of a hot day). The Author, who loves all birds and had at one time wanted to become a veterinarian specializing in bird care, enjoys feeding the ducks. And then she caught one!

 

Little Foot was curious at first but then became jealous of the creature in Mommy’s arms where he rightfully belonged. It was clearly bedtime for baby.

DSCN9569  end of long day, curly hair 4x6  WEBSIZED

 

Little Foot, standing!

 

Little Foot is 7 months old today.  Time is passing by so quickly and his babyhood is already slipping away. His mama sent me this picture just a few days ago — Standing! 

 

 

So now, let’s discuss the other young member of the family, our resident teenager, who has had a couple of painful lessons in life in the past month. As you might have read in yesterday’s post, he had his bicycle stolen  a few weeks ago. I have sympathy for his plight; at the same time, I had mentioned a time or three that leaving the bike overnight at the school was unwise because a single bike in a deserted area was an invitation for thieves. Granted, the bike was stolen in broad daylight, but the school grounds were empty which is the same premise.  So, bike gone, lesson learned. (I hope.)
Wait, did I use the word LESSON? Ah… this was the school year of taking an online Spanish course. The Scout struggled through this course, not really understanding much of anything. He’s our last kid and we are pretty hands-off at this point because he has been so responsible. What we didn’t know was that this was a “homegrown” course for the school district and by the end of the year, a majority of the students had dropped it, were failing it or in danger of failing it. We turned to a neighbor for help — he had taught high school Spanish before he retired — but even he couldn’t understand what the English directions were asking the students to do. With the neighbor’s help, The Scout took a “pass” on the course, scraping by with a D-.  Now he is trying to catch up with students who took Spanish 1 in the classroom by taking a 6-week remedial course online for summer school. Unfortunately, this course began one day before said teenager left for a week of scout camp and will end with another week of scout camp , leaving him 4 weeks to do the work. There’s a strong chance he may end up repeating the course in a classroom in September. So that’s painful lesson #2

The Scout went off to Rendezvous with minimal supplies. Many items were strictly forbidden due to the fact that they hadn’t yet been invented and/or in use during fur trapping 1830 North America. The boys waded to an island with their burlap sacks, built and slept in tepees, kept mosquitoes away with smoke, swam with beavers, and generally did things that mothers shouldn’t know about. It’s the sort of week where scout safety is quietly set aside for realism. I’m pretty sure the district office allows this to operate on a don’t ask/don’t tell policy. Our young man learned some useful skills and had a wonderful time. After picking him up on Saturday, we drove home with the windows open. 

It wasn’t all mud and beaver dams and mosquitoes; they also did sewing and bead work, shot with black powder, and learned a lot of history.

Painful lesson #3: It hurts when you fall out of a tree. Sunday afternoon he took a walk through the park — and because he is a teenage boy, he saw a tree and decided to climb it. He was 23 feet in the air when the branch broke. He landed on his back, blacked out briefly from the pain, got up and walked home. Ice and pain pills got him through the evening. Amazingly, he did not hit his head or break anything. Or die. The CT scan was “normal.”

**
“Where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.” – Garrison Keillor

I have discovered something about myself over the past 30 years, that when the truly frightening events occur — when the kid falls 2+ stories and lands on his back, when that same kid chokes and has to be thoroughly suctioned when he’s 6 hours old, when another kid totals the car, or I hit a deer at 50 mph –all those times and more, I enter a state of calm that is almost frightening in itself. It may appear that I am lackadaisical or don’t have a true understanding of the situation. It’s quite the opposite; I understand all too well.

The missing bike (and more Wii?W)

Last week on “What is it? Wednesday” I shared this photo:

DSCN2506  What is it Wednesday

For those that guessed a cut cable, you are correct.

Our resident teenager rode his bike 2 miles to the school on graduation Saturday, locked it up and walked the next mile to the event center where the band was playing for graduation. For some reason he didn’t think there were any places to lock up a bike at the opera house (there are — in the parking garage, where he didn’t think to look). Three hours later, he returned to a cut cable, no helmet, no bike.
He walked the three miles home and silently showed us the remains of his transportation.
DSCN2506  The remains of the locked up bike  WEBSIZED

It wasn’t a new bike — I had purchased it in 1989 and it had a busy life for the past 27 years — but it was solid, reliable transportation.

K on bike at Burnt Ridge farm

That’s me in the photo above, circa 1989, riding on the farm; in the photo below, I’m preparing to haul 100 pounds worth of offspring in Germany, circa 1997.  I miss that younger, stronger version of me and the fun of living on the outskirts of Heidelberg.

K with bike in HD-Wieblingen

It is frustrating be minus a bike, especially for a 16-year-old who merely wanted to save gas money and parking fees, which is why he didn’t drive his truck that day. Driving would have been easier — have you ever biked with a trumpet?  But we raised out kids in a frugal lifestyle and it has successfully passed down to the next generation. Of course, we reported it stolen, but in a city with a population of 200,000 people, we don’t expect to see it again.

Our kind next door neighbor has gifted us one of their bicycles: 10 years old, ridden once. It’s a little short for The Scout but it’s a thoughtful gift and the price was right.
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Here is this week’s photo clue:

DSCN9561 4x6 What is it Wednesday, cropped

What is it? 

Please leave your best detailed guess in the comments below.