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.


Dear Mother Nature

Just because white is a crayon color in the box, it does not make white a real color.

White is the absence of color.

So stop it with the snow already!

Oh dear!

Too much on my plate lately, both literally and figuratively!  I got called back to work the week before we left for spring break.  This is both good and not so good.  Good that we once again have a small mad money account, not so good because when I sit at a desk all day I eat-junk food.

Yes, I’ve fallen off the diet.  I shouldn’t.  I certainly can’t afford to stop the diet, at least in terms of my own health.  And I did say that this diet was going to need to be done the same way that I quit smoking-every time I drop the ball, I need to just start over.

Well, today is May 1st, so I’m beginning the 17 Day Diet-again!  I need to figure out a time to get some lunches made ahead for the three days I work.  The office is close to my home, so I might be able to come home for lunch two out of the three days I work.  That might help.  I know that I need to get back to cooking the way I did the first time.  Starting today!

Life has also gotten much busier over here.  Soccer practice started last Thursday for Ditty.  Unfortunately the coach didn’t speak with me, so nothing got written down on the calendar plus we have Girl Scouts on Thursday nights.  So with not knowing the exact practice time, I wasn’t about to sit around at a soccer field for an hour hoping to be able to let the coach know that we had a schedule conflict.  So DH emailed the head of the soccer club and asked to get the coach’s name & email/phone number so that we could get the practice & game schedules.  Practices:  Tuesdays &  Thursdays from 5:30-7pm.

Oh, and BooBoo’s players’ clinic is next Tuesday, May 8th.  The coach called us with that information.  Not the time mind you, or his name, just the date.  At least I can look up the time on the soccer club’s website.  And I might suggest, since we know at least two of the people heading up the soccer club, that they might want to put together a sample script for the volunteer coaches to use if they choose to make phone calls instead of sending the parents an email.

We’re also going to Kansas over Mother’s Day weekend for our niece, DH’s goddaughter’s, college graduation.  I mentioned this to my favorite local yarn shop proprietor and she is of the opinion that colleges do this to spite mothers.  And the men who chose the state fishing opener despise us too.  Well, I happen to agree with her.  After all, we give birth to the future college students, raise and educate them well so that they can attend said college and just because they choose to graduate, we must be the ones at fault for raising and educating them so well that they actually don’t want to be professional students (thereby loosing a valuable source of revenue for said college).  So put commencement exercises on Mother’s Day.  Yeah, that’ll teach ’em.  I think the mothers of the deans at these colleges should have put a bit more attention into their children’s upbringing.  And the same goes for the guys who chose the fishing opener.  Oh sure, they probably thought they’d do us a favor.  Get the husband & kids out of the house for the day.  Unfortunately, the husband leaves for the weekend to fish with his buddies and leaves the wife home with the kids to enjoy her “special” day.  Amazingly enough, this type of thing never happens on Father’s Day.  Hmmm.  Maybe it should.  Just think how the world might be changed if we instituted an official “Spa Opener” on the weekend of the third Sunday of June.  Reality Check:  in spite of the high cost of a spa visit, the two weekends would probably balance each other out in price since most women don’t drink that much beer.

Okay, so maybe none of the excess on my plate is figurative.  Oh well, carry on chaps and chapesses.  I’m off.

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"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