About Me

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This is my journey. This is what I see. I am a wife, a mother, an artist. I am on His path.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Black August

Oh August,

How I loathe thee.

I can see you right around the corner.

The American people could pay down the National Debt with the disbursement of funds about to happen to schools and stores for the Parental Holiday known as ........Back to School.

I should be rejoicing that all the darlings will be exiting my house once again, but I am hesitant.  The lists are long of required items.

Why do we as parents buy our children new rulers....every year?  What is wrong with the old one?  Shock and dismay.....
"It is not my favorite color anymore!"
And do the kids really use all the items on that list?
I know they don't!  The extras are in a cabinet downstairs!

I have laid down the law this year.....

We are on a budget.  We will refrain from the feast before us.....the beautiful Number 2 Ticonderoga Pencils, the Pentel Gel Pen Pack in multi-colors, the row upon row of Crayola products......


The rule this year is:

We will reuse what we can.
We will purchase what we NEED and not what we WANT.

If it is not in the budget......it is not happening.

So this is notice for my children......and the Tall Man.

You have until midnight tonight to submit your budget requests for the month of Black August.  There might be some negotiation after the deadline, however.......

I reserve the right of line item VETO......

Monday, July 30, 2012

Continuing Education on the GO!

Frog and I just took a whirlwind trip to her future college home.  She is set with her new school ID card, some highlighters, rollerball pens, and plans to decorate her dorm room.

All that education and college stuff got me excited.....

I am ready to learn something new...further my education....

A language!

French......Canadian French to be exact!

Our device to learn from???


It is brilliant....learn as you drive down the road!

This is what we learned today...

Prenez le droit d'emballage, eh?......
                                 Take Wrap right, eh?

Recompte, eh?.......
                              Recalculating, eh?

Arrivant à la destination à droite, eh?...........
                                   Arriving at destination on the right, eh?

Recompte..... Restez dans les petites routes gauches vous poursuivre sur le pontage, eh?

You stupid American....
......remain in left lanes to continue on bypass, eh?

I feel sooo much smarter now!  This is better than Rosetta Stone!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Helicopters and Boomerangs

If you have not looked at my previous post, it is a bit of a set up for this one.

I have been working on this post for over a month.  It just never seems right.  So I am starting from scratch tonight.  This is raw......the thoughts have been there, but the fingers are just tapping away.

Helicopter Parents:  describes parents who hover over their children and become too involved in their lives, including interfering in college or career decisions ...

I don't understand helicopter parents.....I am not one.

This is what it looks like to me:

Take your kid to school.
Hang up kids coat, comb kids hair.
Tuck in kids shirt.
Unpack backpack in desk.
Turn in homework, talk to teacher about poor test questions.
Say goodbyes ----- but hang around in the hall.
Go pick up lunch. Deliver to school.
Since your there, have lunch with kid.
Pick up kid, reviewing homework with teacher.
While kid throws a tantrum, do kids homework for them.
Drag to sport, dance, music lessons.....

This continues from elementary....
                                   to junior high...
                                            to high school.

You think your kid is ready for college, but every little life set back, you show up to solve their problems.

And you are surprised when they move back home??

This is the boomerang effect.

Why do parents hover? Why are parents so afraid that their child will fail?  What is so important about a sticker?  My brain has been spinning about this topic too long.....and what is the outcome of all of this contemplation? 

Helicopters and boomerangs do not mix.
If you toss a boomerang out of a helicopter,
           it is bringing

Crash and burn.......

Instructional Video on Parenting?

This is what we have become.

When did this happen?

My parents sent me out the door in the morning and I would wander back in the door when I was hungry.  They never showed up at school to argue my grades or tell a teacher they were being unfair because I didn't get an "A" or a prize or a sticker.....

I had to earn it.

The scene with the kid in class.....hanging his head in embarrassment at his mother being there....doing his work for him......answering his questions?

Yep.....I have seen this in real life.....

Hope you enjoy your kid living in your basement
...... for the rest of your life.
They will never leave.

Let them make mistakes.
Let them fail.
Let them lose.

What frightens me most about this commercial though.....

I am frightened that some parents
will use this as an instructional video.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Microwave Safety Briefing

I got mail....

It wasn't my mail, but it was in my mailbox.

I was intrigued.....

This was the cover.....

I wondered why the donkey is considering putting a cat in the microwave.  Or perhaps, is the donkey wondering why the lady is putting the cat in the microwave......

...and yes....I am considering the risks right now....

I turned the mail over and saw.....


So it is okay if you use ov-gloves to remove the cat from the microwave??

So, if you haven't guessed, this was for the local vet......I marched right in and asked what in the world they were doing with cats in their office?  The vet-techs had never looked at the images quite the way I did...they thought it was funny too!

By the way....this was a brochure for safety gloves.  Before reaching into a "pet-carrier" the tech should put on some of these safety gloves to protect them from getting scratched or bitten.

I am still wondering why in the world you would plug in a "pet-carrier"....

...and why does this vet have a donkey walking around the office?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Road Well Traveled.....Finding Jesus

Our final day of travel.

We are heading home......but the question is....
how long will it take us to get home?

We left Sioux Falls and set our direction southward.

Our first stop was Vermillion, South Dakota....
  ...home of University of South Dakota.....
    ...the Man Child's birthplace.....
      ...Concordia Lutheran Church and Student Center.
A congregation from my past.

It is so nice to go "home" sometimes.
   So nice to see friends.....
      to worship together.....
         to sing together again.....
            to break bread together.....
               to share the Cup of Blessings.

After a lengthy South Dakota goodbye.....
                                   we started south once again.

We were on our final mission....

                                                       ...to find Jesus.

Jesus is located in Trinity Heights, 
a Catholic retirement community in Sioux City, Iowa.  

I am very glad we had GPS to find our way there...although, I even got turned around with the GPS system.  We had construction, closed roads and the dreaded new roads because the GPS wasn't updated so we were driving through fields on the GPS screen listening to "recalculating, recalculating, recalculating...."

This site was well worth the trouble of finding.......

The word is AMAZING....

There was also a wood carving.

A life size (well, very close to it) wood carving of 
The Last Supper

This is not a relief...this is fully three dimensional!


And on the other side of the "park" was a statue Mary.

Facts we learned:

Mary is 30 feet tall.

We added Stella for reference.
Jesus is tall!

Jesus is 33 feet tall.

The conclusion is.....

Jesus was taller than his mother.

......and on a footnote......

Photo of Peanut on her trip to Germany, February 2012

Martin Luther was very short.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Road Well Traveled...The Event

The entire reason for our trip.

The event.

Josh and Rachel.....the two will become one.

A Marriage.

A Covenant. 

It was a perfect day.  
We have had so many days with a heat index over 100 degrees.  
God granted a glorious day for the wedding ....84 and sunshine.

The reception was even glorious.  

Thelma and Louise were in rare form....

I know I just referred to myself as Thelma 
in the previous sentence, but how would it sound if I said, 
"Louise and I were in rare form"
.....it sounds so much better as 
Thelma and Louise...

We sat at a table with strangers,
(I think that is so much more fun at a wedding)
the minister who married Josh and Rachel
 and another lovely older couple.

Turns out Stella had gone to college with children of both couples.

And then it happened.....

The deck of cards came out.

I have never experienced this wedding game before. 
 I have always attended weddings with 
my husband and children in tow.  
This was a strange new realm for me.

The dealing began....

On the table in play ........ 
a 27 year old son,
a 24 year old son,
a 30 and 32 year old daughter,
an 18 year old daughter
and we threw Stella in also.....

The parents were working the details.....

Stella looked as if she were in 
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets...
she was petrified....frozen in horror.

During all of the dealing and horror, 
Stella realized that Louise had disappeared.....

As she frantically looked about the room, 
Louise was spotted in the distance, a 
finger pointed in her direction and heads nodding.

A young man stands and follows Louise around the table....

holds his hand out and bows.....

"May I have this dance?" he queried.....

They danced.

They talked.

I sure hope he calls....

...because Stella lost his number.....

I love weddings...

A Road Well Traveled...Part Five

I kept asking Louise and Stella...

"Are we having fun yet?"


(Did I mention that I was holding Stella and Louise hostage on this journey?)

We woke Saturday morning and set off to the west again.  Just a little past Sioux Falls on Interstate 90.  There was no chance of missing our next roadside adventure.  There were about twelve billboards lining the interstate announcing the site.

We were heading into.....the past.

An old wild west town....an 1880's museum.

Cowboy town is run by an 81 year old, retired school teacher.
I think this has been his life's work.  
It is set up as an educational display.
Animated mannequins. 
True field trip material.  Educational signage and buttons.......

My hypochondriac self knows that this is what is wrong
with me!  I should go back to the city!! 

Yes, that is duct tape
on Abe's head, but he
still lost his hat.
Did I mention the buttons?

When you push a button in front of display, you hear a recording about the display, the hardships, the history of the old west.  We even got to hear Lincoln speak!  Which was quite amazing, since he had been dead fifteen years at the "time" this wild west town was established.

Some of the mannequins are similar to those used by Disney for their animated displays.  The eyes are very freaky.....we notice in most of the website pictures, Abe has his stovepipe hat on covering his eyes.  I guess the duct tape lost it's stickiness and Abe lost his hat....

Louise stopped for the peep show!
On the other side of the peek hole?
The Ghost of Comanche!

I thought the horse survived
the Battle of Little Bighorn.

The show was a plastic horse strung
up with fishing line, painted with
luminescent paint.....creepy green color.

There was even a graveyard.  The tombstones all had authentic sayings on them, found on real tombstones throughout the wild west...most were hard to read, just needing a little repainting.  
This was our favorite....

Poor Sergeant Fitz said NO at a shotgun wedding
when he was 80 years old!

Hey Stella!  Is there anyone in there?

Louise got thrown in the stockade for having such a good time!

The highlight......the World's Largest Revolver!

Stella missed....so I took a crack at it!

As the sun crest to mark of high noon, it is time to say "Happy Trails" to Cowboy Town.

If you are ever passing through South Dakota and have a couple hours to spare (and $7 a person), you should definitely stop at this location!  The displays are a little quirky, but the guy running it is quite entertaining.  Our lessons we learned on this journey through time?

1.   Everyone had to live behind grates or plexiglass.
2.   The people of the past drank Busch Beer and Mountain Dew.
3.   Many people that went west lost their feet and hands.
4.   Thank goodness they had duct tape back then....it was the
      only thing holding their hair on their heads!

We are off to lunch now and then the main event.....

.....the entire reason we made this trip.....

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Road Well Traveled...Part Four

A Treat.......

It was definitely time for a break.

We had been driving about eight hours by now....I know....we should have been there by now, but we were having fun.....well, I was having fun.  I hope my hostages were too....

We pulled into La Mars, Iowa.

Home of Blue Bunny Ice Cream!!

I think Stella was the most excited.....

We really did eat dinner before we had.......dessert!

And Stella was soooo excited.......

She has a major thing about staircases....
...and this was a staircase!

And yes....
We finally made it to.....

It only took us......

....thirteen hours....


I am so glad we stopped at the state line....

...we had to read instructions to enter the state.
We were worried there might be a test later...

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Road Well Traveled....Part Three

We started off to the north and turned west onto Highway 18 on our way to our next adventure.

We found a few surprises on the way though.....

We drove through Spencer, Iowa and our resident librarian, Louise, drew our attention to Spencer as the home of Dewey the Library Cat.  Of course, we couldn't go see Dewey, because he passed in 2006, but you can read about him here.

We were also distracted by a shocking fashion trend....but fashion will be the topic of another blog day, on another blog channel......

We set off for Sheldon, Iowa to find Elephant Bones!  Unfortunately, the museum is only open on Thursdays....Thursdays!  But Stella still got her picture on the steps, knowing the bones were right behind the door.

I believe we had a sighting of Santa Claus in Sheldon also.  He was wearing a green cloak, standing outside a catholic church.  Louise was VERY excited.  I think she had her list ready to go!!

As we were leaving Sheldon, we drove by an interesting building and realized it was a church!

 It has to be a small mission church in our flavor in Lutheranism.
We decided to stop and check it out...

When we approached the door, we noticed a small typed note that said the congregation was in vacancy.  Louise instantly posted on Facebook to see if anyone could be interested in a small church in northwest Iowa.....

....you will be thrilled to know, Louise and Stella, that Our Savior has a new pastor called fresh from Seminary in Saint Louis!  The new name on the sign will read Pastor Timothy Oetting!  (I think your Facebook posting worked Louise !)

From Sheldon, we continued westard following a very distracted driver.  We thought perhaps it was a teenage girl talking on a cell phone and playing with her hair.  All the windows were down and she kept pulling hair up and around while it was blowing about the car.  My speedometer was getting very frustrated.....my VW Jurgen wanted to at least go the speed limit, for goodness sake!

We were finally able to pass and found the driver to be of the dread-lock variety....and he must have just been talking to himself!  It was quite strange, but up and away, we were around him and on our way again......until.....

...we found one of those Roadside Markers.  You know those green signs along the road to alert you that there is a very small plaque someplace that you might be able to read?  It is like old fashioned geocaching! We stopped and I tried to see what was printed on the sign, but it was in very tall grass and it was very small print....I think it said something about James T. Kirk?   And maybe Robin Hood...

Unfortunately, in my search for history, dread-locks dude overtook us again...ugh!

After  all this excitement, I think we need a treat!
I can't wait to tell you about our next stop...


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Road Well Traveled...Part Two

We got rid of the Man Child and grabbed a bite to eat in a little town called Hubbard.  My parents live there, and were kind enough to feed us yummy tenderloins that are about twelve inches in diameter (served with a tiny three inch bun).

We jumped back on the road and set off to the west across US Highway 20.

At this point, you are probably thinking we are making pretty good time on our overall journey.  We were doing fine....until we got to Fort Dodge and turned north to find our next site.

West Bend, Iowa is home to the Grotto of the Redemption.  Stella had never heard of a grotto before.  I think she was a little excited to see what was in our path.  Louise and I tried to describe how rocks and gems are put together to form the walls, bridges and designs, but we were surprised to see how many stones, shells and crystals were used to for the Grotto of the Redemption.

This is typical of the crystals throughout the grotto

When you see all of these stones and different textures surrounding you....
of course you want to......


and then we see the sign.....


It really was like kids in a candy shop.  
All those times taking field trips, 
           yelling at the kids to not touch....... 
                      stay where you are supposed to...... 
                                                  and, for heaven's sake,



In our defense, it was about 104 degrees and it was SWELTERING.

The flies were sticking to everything....
Stella even had to help Joe out.

He looked so uncomfortable with 
that huge black fly stuck to his head.

The reality of this roadside adventure?
The Grotto of the Redemption was quite amazing.
The amount of work to assemble this....

The Angel Gabriel

Second Station of the Cross
Detail of mosaic at the Second Station of the Cross
 The mosaic work was beautiful.  The Art Teacher in me came out!

A dome inside one of the chapels

Stained glass imported from Belgium
The cake topper

Definitively worth the trip!

Monday, July 9, 2012

A Road Well Traveled ...Part One

I loaded up the car on Friday morning with my friends Louise and Stella....you guessed it....I got to be Thelma!  

We set off for Sioux Falls, South Dakota for a WEDDING of a former co-worker.  We left at 8 AM for our adventure.  We didn't have to be in Sioux Falls until Saturday afternoon, so we decided to take a "sort of" vacation.  

Now.....you might be asking what a "sort of" vacation is?  Louise and I have been on many vacations over the years with our families.  I am sure you know how it goes.  You leave and then arrive at the location.  Along the way, you may see a sign that says "World's Largest Ball of Twine is 5 miles to the right".......but nope.....we are on a schedule and if we start taking detours our entire schedule will be thrown off.

So we started the zig zag across Iowa......I should mention here that a typical drive from our town to Sioux Falls should take the normal traveler approximately 7....that is seven.....hours.  

I will make the final reveal of how many hours our journey took us at the end of this mini series.  

Our first stop on our trip took us to a small town north of Cedar Rapids, along Interstate 380, called Brandon.  Brandon is the home of "Iowa's Largest Frying Pan".

Stella, Thelma and Louise

This was the only part of the adventure that we had a guest photographer with us....the Man Child.

yes...the pan was hot.

He was being his typical smarty self and continued to take photos of us as we tried to get out of the pan......

......that is quite a step down....

I think you can see in this picture that Louise is suspicious of what the Man Child is up to.

Louise gets down very gracefully with a little help from her friends.

And then we are shown how it is supposed to be done....

Great job Stella!

I am sure you can guess the pun coming now......

We got out of the frying pan and.....
the Man Child was thrown into the fire!