Thursday, July 30, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!

Yep, I'm havin' me a birt-day today. I am 50, which doesn't feel much older than 35, but that's probably the age blunting my brainpower!

"They" tell me I am entering the "crone" stage of female life. What do "they" know? But I may as well take advantage of it, and, crone-like, share some wisdom with you. We first heard this song when we went down to Texas for Chris and Laura's wedding in May. It has become somewhat of a summer theme song for our family. We figure its Lutheran theology in one tidy little package. And I'm sharing it's wisdom with you. Now I am going out to the deck to drink my coffee and be 50 for a little bit!

(Sorry about the link. Embedding is "disabled by request.")

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Me and My Big Mouth

It started in about 3rd grade, when my youngest sister was just walking. My mom went for parent-teacher conferences, and my younger sister and I were left to take care of the littlest one. I decided we would walk around and meet all the staff. She looked so cute, toddling along, that I was sure this would be a big hit.

I walked her into the library and said, "Look Janet, there's Mrs. Levy!" I was so proud of myself. Mrs. Levy said, "I'm NOT Mrs. Levy!" and stalked out. Oops. (I guess Mrs. Levy was not someone she wanted to be!)

I remember another time when I was working for an outdoor music theater. One of the concerts was a benefit for an organization helping people with lupus. The chairwoman of the event, a Chicago socialite, spent lots of time with me that afternoon, as I was the receptionist and "door watcher," and she was a personal friend of the general manager. She kept wandering in to chat with him, and, because he was often busy, she would chat with me while she waited. Very nice, very friendly lady.

Later that evening, as the concert began, cooler weather also moved in. About an hour into the concert, the door opened and in came in Ms. Friendly. As I was busy with some concert-night task, I didn't notice that she was almost carried in. When I turned and said, "Oh, my, did you get injured," she laughed and said, "No, I'm just one of those people who happens to have lupus and the cold really gets to me." Not that I heard that last bit; I had, for some inexplicable reason, laughed back at her. If looks could have killed, the one the production assistant carrying the left side of her body gave me would have put me under and you wouldn't be reading this now. But it didn't, and, instead, I get to live with occasional episodes where I remember my faux pas. Like right now, for instance.

I suffer, myself, from the occasionally-almost-fatal and socially-debilitating Foot In Mouth disease. I'm in good company; I'm told St. Peter himself feasted regularly on his feet. And, see here, and here, more famous bloggers than I are infected with it, also!

I did it more recently, too. At Matthew's wedding, a friend came up to me and said she'd noticed that we'd moved the gifts from our living room, where they had been set early in the party, to a table under the dancing tent. She said, "Ours is in the living room still. I don't want you to forget about it." Did I ease her concern gracefully? No, I blurted something like, "Well, your gift was really big and we didn't want it to cover the whole table. But don't worry, when they open gifts, they'll get it." Chomp, chomp; I was wearing sandals, so it was easy.

I did it yesterday, too, saying something unspeakable to my son, and, by extension, his fiancee. I won't tell you what I said; it really was unspeakable. Again, I have a mouth full of foot. I'll be surprised if I have room tonight for the fajitas I'm cooking! I feel just awful. I sent an apology, and am waiting to find out if they can forgive me. Waiting...

But at least I'm in good company!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Cheap Shot

I am close to a major Weight Watchers' announcement. I thought I could make it today, but I was told last night that it looks like I've fallen victim to HHAS, (high hormone activity syndrome) which causes, among other things, HMSA (high mouth-stuffing activity.) Probably next week...

One of the other things it causes is HERS (high emotional response syndrome.) So it was this morning, as I drove to meet Jay, and I heard on the radio about this. Rotten news department of WIND decided to play tape of moms, wives, family, friends, etc, cheering the return home of these heroes. I started to feel the tears well up.

Then I met Jay at Starbuck's. As we were heading to court after our coffee, he was in his Class As (the former, green version; same color as the lady on the right.) That's enough to bring a tear to any mommy's eyes. But then the barista gave him free coffee, admired his uniform, and thanked him for his service.

I barely held it back. Didn't want to embarrass him. But it was a cheap shot from Tuesday Morning!

Monday, July 27, 2009

My Weekend

I think I've recovered from my weekend. I spent it with about 20 little Girl Scouts, Daisies up through Cadettes, (actually, Cadette; Mary is the only one) at our troop's very first campout. "Campout" is a term used loosely here, as we actually camped in at a lodge at a local Girl Scout camp. As this was our first campout, we (myself, a coleader, and Heidi, the fearless leader of our troop) thought that camping in a lodge might be a good idea. It proved to be an excellent idea! With girls as young as 6, and as old as 14, everyone was happy. The littler ones would not have camped well in a single tent, or even a tent with a buddy. It helped that 5 adults were in the lodge with them.

We got to the camp late Saturday afternoon, and we made supper; Girl Scout stew, biscuits, and fruit salad. Afterward, we took a short hike.

We finished our hike at our campfire ring, where we made S'mores. What Girl Scout campout would be complete without S'Mores? Next time, though, I'm showing them how to make banana boats!

The incredibly adorable female JP4lings are members of our troop. While eating S'Mores, Jannah lost a tooth! See the hole there, on the right side of her mouth, left side of the picture?

Next morning, we learned that YES! The Tooth Fairy does come to Girl Scout camp! We could only celebrate that happy discovery with a hearty breakfast of pancakes, sausages and eggs. Eggs from Grandma's chickens, no less!

And then another hike. This time we returned to The Bridge.

We had seen this ginormous construction the night before, and some of the girls even crossed it. But Jannah and Joy, those wacky JP4lings, were afraid to cross. Something about a story they'd heard Grandma telling Heidi about the time she crossed such a bridge over the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, and being terrified by a friend of hers who decided to swing the bridge. 500 feet above the river. With Grandma right in the middle! Grandma shoulda watched who was listening when she told such a story! Because no way were those little girls crossing that bridge after they'd heard it.

But, emboldened by Tooth Fairy visits and fortified by pancakes, they were willing, the next morning, to give it a try. You can see Jannah there, to the right, with both a red bandanna and blue visor; can't have too much sun protection! (In case the backs don't look familiar, she's the one in the blue t-shirt.)

Joy was behind me when I took this picture. Yep, they made it across. Yep, they liked the swinging of the bridge. Nope, Grandma still didn't, 31 years later! (Did I just write that?!) But we all lived to tell the tale, and enjoyed the living of it!

The girls came home with me, for supper and time with Daddy. They went back to Mommy in the evening, and will return Wednesday night.

Mary is hoping for more Cadettes. Seems she likes being the oldest...but not that the little ones like climbing on her!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Pro-Life Corner

"Assisted suicide is ethically wrong because it denies the presence of human dignity, the concept that underpins human rights legislation. Being dependent on others does not remove dignity. We do not think of a baby as having less dignity than an adult, despite he/she being totally dependent on his/her parents. Similarly, a person with a terminal or chronic illness has no less dignity than anyone, but society needs to show this."

Gordon MacDonald, public policy officer for Care Not Killing Scotland

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Much like Round, Unvarnish'd Tale, I am having a blog break of sorts. I found this, today, though, and thought I'd share.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Not at the farm, so no farm report...

I'm in my cousin's living room, watching the kids do interpretive dance to a collection of Celtic music. Yeah, it's that funny. Did some shopping today, satisfied my craving for French onion soup, and are just plain hanging out.
Last night, though, was Harry Potter Night. We took the kids (4 here; evenly distributed between the genders) met some friends of my cousin's daughter (which I realize makes her my cousin too, but, you know, it's easier this way) and truly enjoyed ourselves. The four girls dressed for the event.

This film, most of us decided, is the best of the far. Fun humor, good acting and neat cinematography. And I don't care if you agree with me; you're a film snob if you don't! Yes, some things were left out. Yes, some parts of the story were altered. But the film drew me into the world of Hogwarts, kept me there, and, more importantly, made me want to stay. In short, a film worth 2 1/2 hours of my time.

What about you? Is film art, or entertainment? A little of both? Those who think the former would certainly have thought this film really fluffy. But Those who think the latter might have been disappointed, too; certainly not a happy ending! I'm a bit of both. When I want to see an art-y film, I do. But, last night, I wanted to be entertained. David Yates and his crew did that.

Friday, July 17, 2009


No, I have not bought the farm. I have left the farm. We are in Iowa City, visiting. We have an 11 year-old pricing Viking forts, two 14 year-olds prepping for a costumed event this evening, (red hair and long, grey beards; can you guess?) and grownups stuck in front of screens.

Ah, vacation...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Pro-Life Corner

Over and over again, we read the words, "Beget!" "Descendants!" "Families!" "Genealogies!" "Generations!" These are words of life! God's hands have not stopped creating! Each new human life bears witness of His amazing and faithful love--even for fallen, sinful creatures. Life continues!

Linda D. Bartlett

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Last Wedding Post!

The reception itself was very fun; time to relax and forget the work and stress leading up to the day. There were some who said I should have let other people do the bulk of the work; hire a caterer, servers, etc. I did about half of the cooking. I roasted beef for Italian beef, made the au jus. I marinated chickens and my brother-in-law grilled them. I also made pasta and sauce. I was able to farm out salads to very wonderful friends who made and brought them. We had some snacky things while the wedding party was off taking pictures. More than one guest was surprised when dinner was also served later. But here at Pine Ridge Farm, we don't want you going away hungry! Dessert was wedding cake.

After supper, there was time for play. The kids spent lots of time down by the pond, catching frogs. Matthew and Keri wandered down to check out the fun.

When Brian the Hawaiian, our DJ, started playing, the party got a little louder. Matthew and Keri chose three "first songs," and spread them through the night for special dances.

The entire party ended up on the dance floor at one time or another; even those who didn't attend got the chance! At one point, Ethan called. I took the phone out on the dance floor and got to dance--albeit long distance!--with my soldier-medic-son.

Matthew taught me the basics of the Texas Two-step; I was very surprised by both him and Jay! I had no idea they could dance! I suppose they didn't, either; until they had a little of those Milwaukee and St. Louis Kool-Aids! Finally, the night drew to an end; Matthew and Keri left at 1:15! I didn't expect them to stay until the end, but I guess they were having too much fun.

The next morning, I looked at all the leftovers in my frig, and decided another party was in order. Several of the guests were re-invited to help us finish off the party. among those were the ladies who pitched in and literally took over my kitchen, serving and replenishing food, and leaving me little to do besides dance, visit and enjoy the party. We all got together again to eat, drink, play and watch wedding gifts being opened. We even had a cattle drive! Mid-afternoon, we received a call from the man who had been hosting our cow, Bess, during with his bull. Seems she was ready to come home, and today would be a really good day, hint, hint. Off we went to retrieve her. When we got home, our guests had already begun to arrive. Mary saddled her horse and we let Bess out of the trailer. She headed for the highway! Wakiya cut her off, and drove her toward her pasture. The drive was over in all of 5 minutes, despite the dire predictions of one of our guests. Just another afternoon in Paradise!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

More Wedding!

Isn't this a handsome shot?

Some shots from the post-wedding. As we stood in the narthex, (the lobby for you non-Lutherans)waiting for the rain to clear so we could blow bubbles on Keri and Matthew, Pastor suggested we do that inside.

Of course there had to be some mischief done to the car...

There may have been confetti involved. The Masterminds may have been in charge of cleanup.

What fun! The town to the east of us has an old-fashioned town square. This summer, a local therapy stable is holding a unique fundraiser. They sold carousel horses to regional artists, who painted and decorated them. They will be displayed on the Square until the September Gala for this stable, where they will be auctioned. One is called the Wedding Horse. Of course, the wedding party had to have a picture taken there!

It was a beautiful day, after the rain cleared. That happened about the time the wedding party arrived at the reception from taking pictures. Then the party really started...

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Didja Hear the One About the Groom Who Forgot the Wedding Rings?

-whew- The Weekend has ended. I know, I know, it's Tuesday. But, since it started on Thursday...Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

Oh, heck. I want to tell all the gory details. So, hang on for the ride.

It started Thursday night, when the best man arrived. And another groomsman. He is Navy; we didn't hold that against him, although all the other guys in the wedding party are Army. Andrew served in Iraq, too, returning in April. He heads back at the end of the month, after reenlisting for another two years. Just like Matthew back in January, our small town held a hero's welcome parade for him. It was delayed by that best man, whose plane cam in an hour and a half late. But it was held, and, afterwards, much partying was enjoyed at Andrews' parents' home. Following that, a bachelor party was held at a local bar. It was actually quite sedate, unless you consider that 4 of the 7 attendees were Iraq vets who shared war stories. John was there, and heard them...and came home quite humbled.

Friday was spent on last-minute details and chores. That evening, a rehearsal was held. I missed it. I was off collecting the couples' clothing from the cleaners, and got a panicked phone call that the bride's grandmother and sister were stranded in Chicago. Having ridden Greyhound from California, they asked for directions to a train station, hoping to take a train out here to the boonies. They were sent to the wrong station, and Grandma didn't think they could handle the 4 block walk to the correct one. Since Keri was rehearsing for her big day, I handled this crisis and headed to the rehearsal dinner. That was fun, and then we headed out to WalMart. Well, some things still needed to be bought! The bride and groom called to invite us out for a drink; who would say, "No?" Another late night...

Saturday morning flew in a blur. Tables were decorated, hair was curled, the lawn was once again mowed. And, suddenly, I was driving to the church. I was alone, because John stayed back to prod the groomsmen into uniform. I transported the bulletins, the dresses and, most importantly, the mother of the groom.

I helped calm the bride, dress the bridesmaids, and greet guests. Well, sorta. It's all such a blur... Suddenly, someone was saying, "He's late for his own wedding." Since there was a pool among the groomsmen, I wasn't surprised. They know their friend and brother like I know my kid! He was 20 minutes late; although he didn't show up when he was supposed to, he was still 10 minutes early. None of the guys won the pool; they guessed far too late! But 5 minutes before he was due to appear at the altar, I heard those dreaded words, "He forgot the rings." They were safely at home, a 25 minute round trip. He has a very wonderful dad, who stripped off his own wedding ring to serve as a substitute without a word about how ditzy it is to forget the rings! Keri's engagement ring stood in for the wedding ring, and down the aisle we went!

Vows were taken...

Rings exchanged...

And they were married.

How cool is that?

Tomorrow; more. The Party, and The Party After the Party

Monday, July 6, 2009

Pro-Life Corner, a Day Late!

We stand for the right to life, not simply because the state needs more people, but rather because each human being is a unique creation of God, endowed with personhood and the rights that attach to personhood from the moment of conception.

Colonel John Eidsmoe

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Down to the Wire

28 hours away from my goal for being done. I've taken to writing down the smallest details, as my brain is only capable of so much!

The list for the next 28 hours;

Pick up.
Shop, again.
Apologize (I'm sure there's someone, or there will be!)
Quit picking fingers. (Manicure at hour 29, and she's only a manicurist, not a miracle worker!)

Prayers would be appreciated!

Welcome home parade for another hero in 8 hours. It'll be a fun diversion in this insanity.