Cha. . . Cha. . . Changes

As of Tuesday, my life will be headed in a different direction. I was informed, after almost 4 years, that my flexible work schedule that was begun at my previous boss’ request “no longer works” for my current boss and I was being let go. Interestingly, this happened 2-3 weeks after I mentioned to him that it will be great when school starts because my kids will both be riding an early bus and I will be able to arrive at the earlier start time from there on out.

Okay, enough of the sour grapes. Time to “turn and face the strange changes”.

Since the last time I posted, here’s what has been going on:

Ditty’s Math & Science Field Day did not happen. She didn’t receive any rsvp’s from the troop leaders of the younger Girl Scouts, so we cancelled the event. Two of the leaders of two Junior Girl Scout troops were shocked and appalled by this and agreed to get their troops together for an evening Math & Science event so that Ditty could still earn her Silver Award. Bless their loyal hearts! Ditty will meet with their girls in early September.

The baseball tournament was interesting, not my cup of tea, but interesting none the less. We didn’t make it back to Cindy’s (I’m bummed), but we did have a very nice time at the Living History Farms in Urbandale (a suburb of Des Moines).

When we got back, we participated in our town’s festival parade the following Saturday. The week after that was the local rodeo. Yes, it’s the Bulls & Broncs kind even though we’re not out west. BooBoo’s Boy Scout troop sold popcorn & other items there and we had our turn in concessions that Saturday. At least our night was dry, the other two nights there was rain. At some point late Friday night, we also had strong winds that damaged the rodeo grounds and mangled the old bleachers. The committee got the grounds cleaned up and temporary bleachers were rented so the show could go on Saturday night. The following weekend BooBoo & I went camping with friends up north. This was another of those double scheduled weekends so DH & Ditty went to their blacksmithing class at Fort Snelling instead. BooBoo and I got help setting up the tent. Not because I can’t set one up but because the wind was so strong that day that it took 3-4 people holding down the tent in order to get it staked & tied down properly. No damage occurred and the wind did die down that evening, but what a pain. Rain would have been worse though so we counted our blessings and made do. And so endeth June.

July brought the usual pilgrimage to St. Joe for parade & potlucks on the 4th. The following week brought Emma’s bridal shower on Tuesday night and their wedding (& accompanying parties) that weekend. It was a beautiful wedding and they are such a happy couple. The following week was spent at Girl Scout day camp. This was my final year in Outdoor Specialty Skills, next year I will be doing the Nature program. I’m currently in the process of writing an entirely new Nature program that will include progression in activities and allow the girls to learn about different areas within Nature each year. No more boring lectures about the reproductive system of mussels! Our day camp begins with 2nd grade girls and each grade up through 7th gets the Nature program, so 2nd grade will be all about Mammals, 3rd grade will learn about Minibeasts (aka bugs, spiders & butterflies), 4th grade will learn about Trees (& how to identify them), 5th grade will learn about Birds (both songbirds & raptors), 6th grade will learn about Amphibians, Fish & Reptiles (but not snakes-I just can’t do snakes), 7th grade will learn about Wildflowers and make flower presses. 7th grade will have a very full program time since I only get them once and the other grades three times, but it will be so fun to help them learn about all the different areas as they grow up. And good, hands-on learning complete with nature “hikes” (really more of a walk since camp isn’t that big). I’m so excited (!) but I’ve gushed on long enough.

The end of July brought us back to Duluth for the Tall Ships Festival. Very nice in spite of the rain, although the rain did find us in the entryway of a place called The Rustic Olive. It’s a specialty store that carries many types of imported olive oils and also balsamic vinegars. I’d recommend against tasting the olive oils. This store doesn’t have you dip bread in them, you actually drink about a tablespoon of each oil you agree to taste. That wasn’t my cup of tea either, but I was trying to be polite. I did taste the balsamic vinegars as well. Partly to counteract the oil I just drank and partly because they actually tasted good. I ended up buying a blueberry, a tangerine, a cinnamon & a dark chocolate in the vinegars section. Those four, 200 ml bottles cost $32.00. Not an expense you’d want to incur on a regular basis. We’ve had the blueberry as a vinaigrette with salad and cooked green beans. It was lovely. Haven’t opened the others but I’m looking forward to having the dark chocolate one with fruit.

The beginning of August brought the soccer season to a close for Ditty & BooBoo. Both of their teams took 3rd place out of 4 teams in each section. Enrollment in the program is down across the older age groups due to a “new” sport being offered, lacrosse. Lacrosse as a sport has been around for a long time, but in our area it has only been offered in the past two years. The following week brought the unofficial beginning of the high school swim season. Ditty met the captains and her teammates at “Captains Practices” that week and real practice began the following week. She will be swimming JV (junior varsity) at the meets, but is looking forward to improving her times and eventually getting to swim varsity at the meets. We all attended the annual pig roast at my friend’s house the third weekend of August. The following week brought our Girl Scout troop to the State Fair as volunteers at the Little Farm Hands booth. We worked the first 2 days of the fair and I’m glad we didn’t work any farther into the week because the weather here has been more like Florida than the great white north. We’ve had an extremely hot & humid week this past week. The National Weather Service has actually issued heat advisories due to the incredibly high (and dangerous) heat indexes. We’ve never enjoyed our air conditioner so thoroughly. Both kids had open house at their respective schools last night and we will be staying home this weekend and relaxing.

I need to get a working printer so that I can update my resume. Until then, I’m cleaning our house and trying to keep up with the produce coming out of our straw bale garden. In case you’re wondering, I’ve used or given away quite a bit of zucchini and summer squash. I only planted one of each, so if anyone knows how to plant just a half of a plant, let me know. I’m sure you could make $millions$ on that idea. I’m also losing the battle of the cucumbers. I should have brought my extras (they fill a crisper drawer by themselves) to BooBoo’s open house since I’m the volunteer coordinator for his school. “Volunteer and for each area you help in you get a free cucumber”. Somehow, I think they’d be laughing at that one. I certainly would.

Well, I’ll get the schedule updated and then it’s off to clean the grout on my bathrooms’ tiled floors. Hey, it dull work but I’m making great progress in knocking things off the list.


OAM cooking and the occasional pity party

Or maybe it’s Once A Month posting, I’m not sure.

This year seems to be really strange in that I can’t seem to get my schedule together. I’ve double booked us for two weekends this summer and by virtue of a wedding in August, we may be double booked for a third time. I can’t remember ever being this disorganized, not for a very long time-like since before kids! It bugs me. I don’t have our calendar straight. I don’t have a list of what’s in my freezer. And the de-crapification of the extra room has ground to a complete halt. Add in that I can’t seem to get a blog post done but once a month, and this is really excessive disorganization. For me. What you do or do not organize is strictly up to you. It really doesn’t bother me at all if others post sporadically on their blogs because that is their space and their life.

Okay, I’ll quit moaning and get on with the news.

Ditty has been enjoying competetive swimming. We signed her up for a local swim club last season and near the middle of that season she said, “I’ve finally found my sport!”. This from the girl who said “Soccer is my life!”. Okay, yes she is a middle schooler and they do change emotions like most people change underwear, but she is generally very consistent. This is my child who would get visibly upset when the preschool teacher rearranged the classroom. So consistent is probably an understatement. I’m glad she enjoys swimming and I enjoy watching her at meets.

This week, we had Court of Awards/Honor for both Ditty & BooBoo. On the same night! DH went with BooBoo to his Boy Scout Court of Honor and (after taking her to her soccer game) I went with Ditty to the tail end of her Court of Awards for Girl Scouts.

This Monday, both Ditty & BooBoo will be participating in the annual Memorial Day parade and ceremony to honor our fallen veterans. This is something we do each year because, as a fb friend posted, it’s Memorial Day not National Barbeque Day! We are trying to raise our kids to have respect for those people who gave their lives for their country and also for those who served their country whether they are still living or have died. It’s important to us to recognize that others have sacrificed so that we can enjoy our freedoms. This is especially important now that we have a government seeking to abolish those freedoms.

On Wednesday, we will have a bridging ceremony for our Girl Scout Service Unit. So far, about 8 or 9 of the troops have rsvp’d but it will still be a beautiful ceremony. Next Thursday, we will enjoy a supper and awards ceremony honoring our graduating 8th grade class of which Ditty is a student. Then on Friday, BooBoo will participate in his final Track & Field day at school. This is a day of outdoor fun for the K-5th grade students at our school. They are placed in teams and compete in fun events in the morning session, then after a picnic lunch, they have organized games by grade level in the afternoon. On Saturday, Ditty will welcome K-3rd grade Girl Scouts for a Math & Science day in the park. This is her Silver Award project and I pray for good weather because she really needs to complete this project before September. After the field day, she has her 8th grade Graduation Mass at church followed by a reception in the Parish Hall and a party at the home of one of her classmates. Saturday is also DH & my 17th wedding anniversary. Unfortunately, because it is one of the weekends we are double booked, he will be camping with BooBoo and a group of our friends. I guess when I told my MIL that it didn’t matter what weekend they celebrated our anniversary all those years ago, I never really expected that he and I would be apart on the actual anniversary. Well, guess I’d better buck up and make the best of it.

Ditty is done with school this coming Friday, May 31st (a bonus for making it through the middle school years, I think). BooBoo will be done the following Wednesday and the next day, we head to DesMoines to watch our nephew & godson play in a baseball tournament. I really feel for him & his parents. Apparently the tournament organizers don’t look too carefully into what hotel(s) they book the teams and chaperones. I checked out the one my SIL said they would be in and it didn’t rate too highly with travelers on TripAdivsor. I realize those reviews are subjective and reviewers could just have a chip on their shoulder, but even allowing for this, that hotel wasn’t up to moderate standards. We’ll be camping about 10-15 minutes away from the playing fields. And one of the days that weekend, we will be heading back to Cindy’s. It’s a local mom & pop restaurant that we stumbled across on our way back from Atchison KS last spring. I am so looking forward to stopping for lunch, or even breakfast there! And since I’m not a morning person, this is high praise indeed.

I’ll try to get some more pictures posted soon. Our hummingbirds are back and I purchase a forsythia bush this spring that DH put in the ground yesterday before the school choir concert. I’ve wanted one of these for years and finally purchased it. He also planted the shrub rose I received as a thank you gift this spring for being one of the first 60 Virtus facilitators trained in our Archdiocese eight years ago and staying with the program all that time. I do believe that many of us in that group are still going strong and I feel that we have made a positive impact in the ongoing fight to protect children.

We have also begun a straw bale garden. Yeah, I know, who would want to grow bales of straw? But that’s not what it is, it is gardening using a bale of straw as your raised bed. Oh, so now you’re curious 🙂 Here’s a link to the author’s website so you can check it out and see if you’d like to garden practically weed-free too: Straw Bale Gardens.

It’s time to get back to what I need to get done today. Have a safe and blessed Memorial Day weekend.

Waiting, waiting, waiting

I am waiting for school to be done.  Why is it that the months roll by so fast, then when we get to the last three weeks of school time crawls by so slowly?  Really! I can’t stand it anymore.  I don’t know how my kids can be okay with the slowness of time.  I just want to get outside and have some fun.  And very little scheduling, very little.  I even balked at the idea of scheduling another camping trip, but we’ll be going anyway.  For two nights, midweek, because the tall ships are coming to our area and it would be nice to watch them sail into port.

I bought plants on Sunday for the front flower garden.  The chamomile that I planted last year didn’t make it through the winter.  The yarrow looks pretty sparse too.  Two more of my Jacob’s ladder plants bit the dust, a Columbine gave up the ghost and one of my Leopard’s Bane did too.  All in all, more plants are alive than dead, but the ones that went left some major holes in the grand scheme of things.  So, I bought one more Jacob’s Ladder and another Leopard’s Bane, a Columbine and a Cranesbill.  I also bought two more Johnson’s Blue Geraniums, one for me and one for my friend Judi who gave me the spiderwort, chamomile, yarrow, loads of mini irises and a bunch of one plant that we still haven’t identified yet (some day I’ll get on that).  Judi has always liked the ones I have in my garden, they were just never full enough to divide so I bought her one instead.  I also got the Coral Bells plant that I bought last fall into the front garden.  I’m amazed that it survived in a pot in the house that long, but I’m sure that it will do even better in the flower garden.  Now to get them all planted.

I also picked up some annuals for the multiple pots that I have outside as well.  I don’t mind potting up a few annuals.  It’s the thought of planting them in the garden year after year that would make me ill.  For the pots, I have two Mexican Heather plants, 4 six packs of Portulaca (Moss Roses to me), 8 Asparagus Ferns and 1 Snapdragon (a Mother’s Day gift from BooBoo).  The violas that I planted last year are also trying to make a comeback.  Apparently no one told them that they are annuals and should have died out last fall.  Oh well, less to buy I guess.

I will have to find time to plant the garden this spring too.  Hopefully this weekend so that whatever is planted will have enough time to grow and actually produce vegetables for our table.  I have three tomato plants.  I only wanted two, but after I bought them I noticed that one of the containers held two plants.  And of course I only bought two tomato cages, so back to the store I will go.  I also have a buttercup squash plant this year.  My mother keeps saying how good cooked squash is, I’m still on the fence about this and part of me is hoping the rabbits enjoy this plant, only this plant-they can leave the rest alone.

I’m also waiting for the announcement of some new babies.  Shoestring Alley and her husband should be parents any day now.  And Lightening, our daycamp Caddie coordinator is expecting her baby this summer as well.  Time for some busy knitting and/or crocheting.  I can crochet speedily, knitting is more meditative for me.

I’m also waiting to get together with friends on our annual camping excursions.  As well as a troop campout with Ditty’s Scout troop.  It will be good to get outside and have some fun.

Well, the day is nice and the laundry is calling.  Enjoy you’re Memorial Day weekend.

Weight loss!

I have lost four pounds since our weigh in June 12th!  This is fabulous for me as it equals just over 1 pound per week.  My wristwatch is now on the fourth hole from the end-so at least my wrists look slimmer.  🙂 

We have more weeding to do in the garden.  Can’t wait until that’s done.  Still have to get the bales of straw to mulch the berries.  I also bought bean seeds at Menard’s last night.  If we get them planted and watered today, we’ll have beans by mid-late August.  Fresh green & yellow beans to bring along to Pete’s.  Foil packet beans would be great for our Saturday Race Night potluck.

Speaking of pot luck’s and weight loss, I’ve managed to lose that four pounds right before we indulge in two pot luck meals this Saturday.  Hmm, maybe I should bring the salads.  At least to Patsy & Dave’s.  I’m kind of craving a good dessert lately, maybe a peach crisp made with fresh peaches.  And I suppose a mixed fruit bowl would qualify as a salad of sorts.  And Walmart has blueberries for $2.00 per pint, which around here qualifies as cheap.

Well, garden to weed and I need to be cleaned up in time for lunch and adoration.  Then errands to run.  Have a great day.

Lazy Summer Days

Well, maybe not.  We tend to fill the days with stuff pretty quickly around here.

Papa Bear and I took the kids to our local rodeo on Thursday night.  People are always amazed that our little town is on the professional rodeo circuit.  It was a fun night out.  BooBoo liked the bareback & saddle bronc riders and the bull riders.  Bucking horses, cowboys face down in the dirt, wild looking bulls-what’s not to love? insert laugh track here.  Ditty got to attend with one of her school friends.  They had VIP seats right over the top of the chutes, so they got to see the cowboys get on the horses/bulls and probably overheard a few conversations (hopefully they were clean ones).

We spent Father’s Day with my inlaws, just enjoying a laid back day with no running around.  Then after we got home, it was time for a popcorn and movie night.

The last few mornings, the kids and I have been busting our backs working in the garden.  Pulling weeds, most of them grasses, and making sure to get all the roots out as well.  Feels like sod busting the way the roots are so matted underground.  If the weather clears up today, I think we’ll hit the beach for a while this afternoon.  They sure deserve it.  I just hope all this is helping me lose weight because I’ve been way too exhausted to even take a walk.

Bitten by the Love Bug

. . . Or Singin’ In The Rain.

Papa Bear bought a movie for the kids last week and we finally had a chance to watch it on Sunday night.  Sunday has always been a great night for Disney in my books.  The movie he bought was Herbie the Love Bug.  The movie was really fun and watching the kids watch the movie was even better.  We had to correct BooBoo a couple of times, “it’s Herbie not Kirby”, too many Saturday morning cartoons I guess.  But they have now watched the same movie, in it’s entirety, for the past three days!  Time to get them to the beach or something just so I don’t hear that theme music in my head for the rest of the summer.  Papa Bear promised to buy them The Apple Dumpling Gang next.  Oh boy!

We had a lovely soft rain yesterday that started around 1:30 or 2 in the afternoon and continued straight through most of the night.  It was the kind of rain that I don’t mind strolling through-provided I’ve got a good umbrella and the kind of shoes that don’t get soaked through.  I could have danced and sang too.  Except for the recurring memory of BooBoo at the tender age of 3 years placing each of his little hands on the sides of my face, holding my head so that I had to look him in the eye, and saying to me, while still strapped in his carseat; “Momma, stop singin’.”  I seem to have given birth to a music critic. 🙂

I also identified the caterpillar, Tickles, from the previous photos.  Ditty was quite impressed with my knowledge.  In truth, the internet helped me considerably.  Our friend Tickles is an Eastern Tent Caterpillar.  Now all I have to do is figure out how he got here as we do not have any fruit trees in our yard.  Revelation hit as I was typing that line, the next door neighbors have three apple trees in their yard.  That’s where he came from!  Well, I hope he goes back as the photos of the wriggling mass of caterpillars in their “tent” did not appeal to me at all.  Tickles was cute up to that point, but no more.

Walking the route

BooBoo & I walked the parade route of our local parade last Saturday with the Cub Scouts.  I found out afterward that our local parade route is three miles long.  That didn’t include the roundabout way we took to get back to the church parking lot to meet up with the other Cub Scout parents.  Way to start off my walking program and work off the chinese food I ate at the buffet before we watched the Spas Tag parade earlier Saturday afternoon (and the quick trip to McDonald’s when we realized that cooking and eating at home would make us all late for our local parade).  BooBoo did a great job walking the route.  He had loads of fun passing out candy to the kids along the route.  He didn’t even want to get back on the wagon when they ran out of candy and so he walked  about 98% of the route.  He was not thrilled about having to walk back to the Valvoline station where I parked the van though.  Mainly because he wanted to get even more tuckered out at the carnival rides first.  I told him we’d do some rides some other time, either at ComoTown or at the county fair.  I think a kid needs to have fun on carnival rides, but once a summer is enough.  At least until they’re old enough to have a job and pay for the rides themselves.  I’m not their friend, I’m their parent and the credit card companies do not need to make their living off of me.  They can go find honest work instead.

In other news, my flower garden is looking quite grand.  The Johnson’s Blue Geraniums are now in bloom as are the mini irises.  The medium blue flowers on the geraniums complement the dark blue of the irises nicely and the riot of color is working out well at least for me.  Those of you who need organized gardening are probably following someone else’s blog by now. 

The vegetable garden is a sea of green shoots.  Dash it all!  Especially since most of those shoots are the early bits of weeds.  It’s a veritable carpet of weeds out there and the kids can’t keep up with only an hour each day to work them out.  I’m going to have to offer up payment for extra weeding time, I think.  That sucks, as I love free labor 🙂  Oh well, must keep the weeds down and the plantings safe.  For the rabbits to chew on.  Papa Bear hasn’t fenced the garden yet, but maybe the rabbits have gotten used to us not planting a garden and don’t suspect anything yet.  Wishful thinking I’m sure as we’ve only got three bean plants out of a three foot square.

Well, I’m off to assist with the weeding as I’m the only one who can get at least 30 minutes out of BooBoo’s hour and he’s just about dressed.  And a friend will be over in a few minutes to borrow a couple of tables for her son’s graduation party at the end of the month.  And I need to make an offer to Ditty for more than one hour of weeding before she and BooBoo resume their playing of “Animal Daycamp”.

Perfectly Preserved In Perpetuity

Friends, Romans, Countrymen

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"If you are what you should be you will set the whole world on fire."
St. Catherine of Sienna

I finally understand

"Among those around you, apostolic soul, you are the stone fallen into the lake. With your word and your example, you produce a first circle, and it another, and another, and another, wider each time. Now do you understand the greatness of your mission?" St. Josemarie Escriva: The Way