What to wear, or red boots and white calves


Growing up, my brother and I made wardrobe rules for ourselves. The biggest rule, never wear cowboy boots with t-shirts. He still doesn’t. He lives in Korea so I don’t see him often, but when I do, he always looks nice, wearing a long sleeved western shirt and his boots. He is not a candidate for skin cancer.

My brother would not be impressed with my children. Grandma got everyone cowboy boots for Christmas, including Paul. They have been a huge hit. Leo wears his with his sweat pants and everything else he can. They look nice with his jeans and his corduroys, but sweats? He is very proud to have boots like Daddy. Jane’s are red, and an older style, kind of pointy, she gets lots of comments. She wears them with her navy velour dress, her chambray skirt, her pink and green striped pants, her night “gallon,” and they are usually on the wrong feet.  Mae has a black pair, they went to church under her satin and velveteen red dress last weekend.

I work hard at being a laid back mother, and believe me it is not easy. I usually let my kids wear what they want, regardless of taste. I insist on pants when it is really cold, otherwise, it is pretty much up to them. Often when I go grocery shopping I pretend to not know my own children, which is exceptionally difficult when they are riding in my cart.

Someday they will probably make pointless wardrobe rules too, but for the time being it makes for some interesting combos.

Now it is time for our genetics lesson. White is predominant. We did not know this, not having many white cattle. The bull that bred our heifers was Charolais, so he was whitish in color. So far we have five calves from him. Four heifers were black and one was grayish. Four of the calves are white, and the fifth one is red with a white face. We wonder if he is from the neighbor’s other bull… GD has pointed out that these white calves will probably bring more than the Longhorn calves would have anyway. He is now contemplating buying this bull for a heifer bull…GD does a lot of idle thinking out loud. I have learned to ignore most of it through the years. So we have seven heifers left, I am still hoping for a Longhorn.

We got a book called Pinkalicious.  It has my favorite new line in it…”I cried because I was so beautiful.”  It is a really clever book if you have a little girl.

Love, Hate and Forgiveness


A friend of mine jokingly told me that she chose her children’s names by how they sounded when she scolded with them. You know, used their first and middle names to let them know they were in trouble. Looking back, my mother never did that with us. She chose names she liked, and used them with love. I don’t believe I ever remember mom calling me by my first and middle names harshly. I work hard to do treat my kids that way as well. If I am fixing to yell at a kid, I just use the first name, never their middle name.

Of course I have nicknames for each child, Mae I call Bun Bun. Tonight I was trying to get her attention, and called her “BUN”. She said, “Mama, I don’t like it when you say Bun hard. I like it when you say it soft.” Oops.

Mae has never told me she hates me. She is five. Jane has been telling me she hates me for months now (only when she is angry). I haven’t let it get to me, usually I tell her that I will always love her, no matter what. Yesterday I did make a deal about it, because it isn’t going away. I told her it was mean to say that, and every time she said that word, it made it harder to take it back. Today she said, with her teeth clenched, “I love you, but only a little bit.” Eh, I can live with that.

Hey, speaking of forgiveness, Bozo the drunk was at it again this weekend. He is making the rounds. This time he roamed farther from home than in past weekends. He spent Sunday night in the York jail. So, to recap…Bozo has had four DUIs over the past six weekends, in three different counties. He is also charged with both felony and intentional child abuse on two weekends, one of which overlapped a DUI charge. This makes five appearances in the police record over six weeks (actually it isn’t the police record, the reporters are writing page three articles about him). It appears that he closes down the bar then drives off, as none of the arrests are before one A.M. I am still amazed that they haven’t impounded his car. I can only assume that the weekend before last, when he wasn’t caught, it wasn’t because he wasn’t drinking. He has one more weekend before his March 3 hearing. I just hope he doesn’t kill anyone.

Cheap thrills


Today I dropped Leo off at the sitter, because I knew I would be waiting at the Ford place for quite a while, and didn’t want to do it with a one-and-a-half-year-old boy.  The ladies behaved themselves quite well.  We also had to run to the Dr to get another blood draw.  They said Jane’s was the fourth sample the big hospital had lost in a month.  I told them to send a note along that they didn’t want to draw again from a four-year-old, so don’t loose the sample this time!  She was still brave, but she cried this time.  I felt so bad.  The Ford guy said he would find me a Windstar to take to the Dr while we were waiting.  I asked for something more sporty…they declined to give me the Mustang convertible (it was snowing), but I did get a four door Pontiac.  It worked for me!  Jane thought we were going to keep the car, and informed me that she loved our van.  Let’s face it, the girl has horrible taste.

I got home just in time to give a contractor a tour of the mold in our house.  He said we need to do something about it.  He also showed me other places that were wet and not yet moldy.  Sounds expensive.  Grandpa Daddy is diametrically opposed to paying someone to do what he could, but he gave me a grudging go-ahead.  He has been really busy between his day job and getting cornstalks fenced so he can move the cattle closer to home for calving and then watching our heifers.  We had another calf today, still no Longhorns.  It is so cold, and the mama is naive, so he got the ends of his little ears frozen.  She was sitting down wind of the calf, instead of protecting him.  GD also managed to put his thumb on the wrong end of a quickly moving cow foot, so he can hardly move his right hand.  He has actually been taking pain pills for it.

I made cinnamon rolls today, the best ones I have ever made.  Back in the old days, when I worked in an office, my secretary’s mil would bring in cinnamon rolls a few times a year.  She made the bestest ones ever.  No chewing was involved, they just melted in your mouth.  Mmm.  These were not as good, but they were not far from it.  Annita had lots of practice making cinnamon rolls, she used to make them on Fridays for the livestock market.  Those lucky guys.  Now she is making them for Jesus, I know she is because they were heavenly!  A friend of GD’s asked me to make him some, so I will send a few along to him tomorrow morning.  I just need to exercise some self control and not eat them all tonight.  Maybe I just need to make them more often. 

Looks like I wasted an opportunity, here I have been typing for the last hour and the baby just woke up.  Now the kitchen is still a huge mess.  Another late night.

A conversation from Friday.

GD:  I had a bad day.

WF:  I did too.

GD:  My salesman showed up still smelling like alcohol.  I almost sent him home.

WF:  I ran a blue crayon through the dryer.

GD:  I don’t think he was still drunk, so I sent him on his route.

WF:  I think I can get it out if I use WD40 and dish soap.

GD:  He sure didn’t smell very professional

WF:  You have blue polkadots on your underwear.


What are the few things that you must always have in your bag or on you at all times?

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Aside from the obvious, wallet etc., I always carry matchbox cars.



Weird.  I have Jane’s Santa gift, an aquarium, right here by the computer, and I’ll be darned if there isn’t a baby fish in it!  The two fish I have aren’t even the same species, so one of them musta been knocked up when she got here.  I hope the little guy doesn’t become somebody’s lunch.  Since he isn’t a trout or a walleye, he is safe from me.  He is a little bigger than an eyelash and is pretty much all eye.  He stays close to the lilypads, smart little guy. 

******EDIT******Saturday afternoon********

No, there are two little fishies!  I really don’t wanna go into the fish breeding business with my five gallon tank.  Seriously, how did they get here?  I am sure my two adult fish can’t reproduce with each other!  What is the gestation period of a fish (or whatever they call it)?  How did the eggs get in the tank in the first place?  Wikipedia kinda let me down on this one.  What animal was it that could reproduce by itself, a lizard of some sort?

Right after Christmas I found a huge amount of mold in a little used closet, on the wall.  Grandpa Daddy was not overly concerned.  Then I found some in the garage wall, and last night I found some on a shoe in our clothes closet.  Then of course in the paper today was an article about mold.  I called the contractor they interviewed and he is coming out Monday to give us an estimate.  Even knowing why would make me feel better.  Monday looks to be expensive, as I have an appointment with the Ford guy to see why our van makes a horrible sound when stopping.  GD says rocks in the brakes, but he is too busy to do anything about it. 

This is a good time of the year for us.  We got invited to the county Ag society dinner Weds night and then a breeder’s appreciation dinner last night.  We had smoked pork loin and a local specialty called Dresbach’s potatoes the first night.  It was exceptional.  Last night was a flatiron steak, and very good as well, but not as good as the pork.  I like anything I don’t have to cook!  Tonight I made some shrimp thing, some Rachel Ray pasta thing and tapioca.  Everything was pretty mediocre, except the tapioca, which was quite good.

Tomorrow I will put in the Looney Tunes DVD from Netflix.  Cartoons have gone so far down hill.  Now, what isn’t funnier than watching a coyote drop an anvil on a roadrunner?  Networks don’t even really run cartoons on Saturdays anymore.  I am gonna have to buy some Looney Tunes DVDs so I can give Netflix theirs back!

Five things that make me feel good.

a clean car

fresh sheets and shaved legs

watching a baby calf get up for the first time

when a little baby curls up and snuggles with you

the scent of a horse

Five things that gross me out.


dealing with raw chicken

nasty dish cloths

the Skoalcicles in my husband’s pickup in the winter

I am tired, maybe just four things gross me out.


I miss my car


Minivan versus Export

I drive a minivan. Yuck. You kinda have to do that when you have your third kid. At least I did because I couldn’t get three car seats in a Ford Escort (affectionately called the Export). It was either that or a Mercury Marquis (cop car). Now we have the challenge of fitting four car seats in our vehicles.

We have a pickup with suicide doors and a bench back seat which will hold three kids, all within hitting distance of each other. I have never been a fan of bucket seats in pickups, which turns out to be a good thing as we now need that center space for a car seat. I’m glad you can turn off the passenger air bag in a pickup.

My husband has not yet received the memo that he drives a minivan, and he drives like he is in something else, much sportier. It is kind of embarrassing to ride with him while he races people off the line at stoplights and spins cookies in icy parking lots. He actually does not do this in a reckless manner, just the kind of thing that is safe, and makes the kids squeal with laughter, and me slide down in the seat.


16 mpg

Nobody can reach a sibling

Can haul the kids’ wagon in the luggage area easily

Blends well in grocery store parking lot, unless it has pink sidewalk chalk on the tires

Built in DVD player


35 mpg

Driver can reach blankie anywhere in vehicle while keeping eyes on the road

Small enough that you can’t haul too much extra crap

Doesn’t look like every third car in the parking lot

Tape deck for good old music unavailable on CD

We saw an older limo for sale in the newspaper a month ago, and I even called on it. This was shortly after a trip to Valentine for Husband to work an auction. That would be about four hours one way. Imagine being able to roll up the window between you and the Disney movie airing in the back seat on long trips…or the squabbling. A built in fridge would be nice to keep the sippy of milk at a healthy temp. A wet bar for, well, you know. It would be easy to spot in the grocery store parking lot. I think they market limos to the wrong demographic.

Taco Tuesday

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Taco news

This week we went to Taco John’s for taco Tuesday. They were packed. I sent the kids over to the only remaining booth and went to stand in line. Sitting next to the booth was a older gentleman. Leo climbed right up in the chair opposite the man. I brought the food over and asked Leo to sit with me. The gentleman said it was ok, he could sit at his table, then he proceeded to feed him! Usually, I let him make a mess and feed himself.

I learned that the man’s wife had breast cancer, and was recovering in a nursing home. The treatments had taken a toll on her, and she was having some problems communicating. He was delighted to join our lunch, and we enjoyed him as well.

We live just far enough from town, that it is always iffy about eating out. The ladies get out of preschool at 11:15. If I am done with my errands, I can make it home in time to get “peanut butter and sandwiches” on the table by noon. If I choose other food, Leo climbs up my leg wanting to eat and EAT NOW! If we eat in town, Jane falls asleep before we get home and then she won’t take a nap. Actually she would rather not take a nap ever.

When we eat out, which isn’t often, I usually get one drink, and we share fries (or I don’t get any). My children are naïve to the joys of a happy meal. We can eat out for between $5 and $8. I am sure this will not last long with four kids.

Calf news

It is bitter cold here. GD asked me to make sure the mama to the calf in the birthday picture let him eat during the middle of the day. Her bio-calf died, and this one is a refugee we got from a guy who has a dairy. She is a little reluctant to claim him. This is her first calf, and she is a little confused and overwhelmed by the experience. He told me to bluff and act tough and she would stand there and let him suck. Sure enough, she believed me when I hollered at her and showed her how big and mean I was. If she was a year older, she would have been blowing snot down my pants as I climbed over the gate! But tonight GD got tired of messing with her and put hobbles on her back feet. She has to hop to get around, but she can’t kick. She will make nice with the baby in a couple of days and get her feet back.

The heifer I have been watching for the last 10 days finally had her calf, a little bull. GD is a little disgusted with this whole scenario. He planned to breed the heifers to a Longhorn bull, so he could be a little lazy and leave them mostly alone to calve. Longhorns are famous for weighing 50-70 lbs and being scrappy enough to get up immediately and suck. The neighbor’s bull, a Charolais, got in the heifers three weeks early last spring and bred most of them, so we are getting 70-90 lb calves who are a little on the dumb side, and also are likely to need help getting out. They are also coming three weeks earlier than we had planned, and in colder weather too.  That is why the first calf died.  We just weren’t expecting any yet, and GD was in Minnesota. Because Longhorns aren’t famous for their beef production, next year these heifers will get an Angus bull or something along those lines. We aren’t in the Longhorn business, but frankly, there is nothing cuter than a Longhorn baby calf, nothing, not even puppies and kittens. If we actually get one, I will take a photo.

I’m sorry


I’m Sorry.

Is that so hard to say? Is it okay to be wrong? If you admit you are wrong will the world end? What are the consequences for an employee who lies to a customer? Can you apologize for my feelings?

Recently I had an unacceptable experience with our insurance company regarding a prescription. The employee claimed we were not in the system, even after confirming the spelling of our name, she was unable to type in our plan number because she needed six digits and it had 12, asked for my husband’s SSN (a no-no), and just gave us the run-around. After two phone calls (the second one in the hopes someone else would answer) the employee, Amanda, claimed our name was misspelled in the computer. I wrote a complaint, here is part of it…

How can this be [concerning the misspelling]? I can only think Amanda was lying to us. We have never received anything from you with our name spelled incorrectly, and our insurance has always gone through before. Your employee did virtually nothing to work with Walgreen’s to find us in your system. It took her half an hour to come up with the “misspelling” of our name.

Today’s mail brought an “apology” of sorts. “I am sorry you had so much trouble filling this prescription.” and “I am sorry that you felt you were being hassled.” What the H-E-doublehockeysticks is that? How can he apologize for my feelings? He didn’t apologize for anything on the part of their company. He spent one sentence addressing my main complaint and five sentences addressing things I had already conceded, like the fact that our new baby was probably not on our policy yet. I had asked them to speak with the employee, find out what the problem was and to tell me what they did to fix it. “I cannot speak to Amanda since she no longer works for our company.” Well, that is a relief.

What happened to “I am sorry you had a bad experience dealing with our company, this employee’s behavior was not acceptable to us either”?

Last year I had a horrible experience with our local Best Buy store involving a raincheck. The store manager lied to my husband about a number of things. Flat out lied, as in “we don’t have that microwave in stock, and haven’t for 12 weeks.” (They had five on the shelf at the time those words left his lips. This was confirmed by someone in Minnesota who was able to access the store’s stock via their company software.) The manager headed my husband off when he realized that GD was looking at the microwaves more closely. (it is a long story) He didn’t want to sell us one, because he would have to admit the store did not contact me to tell me that my raincheck item had come in. I wanted that particular microwave because it was in my price range and had some features that I didn’t find on other microwaves, like soften (for butter) and melt.

Once again, I complained, via phone and USPS. I even mentioned that I had spent a great deal of money at their store in the last year. I got a letter which pretty much lobbed marshmallows at me. He never addressed the fact that the store manager had lied about having the item in stock, which was what bothered me the most. He suggested I go to the store with his letter and the “manager on duty would be able to offer a satisfactory solution.” Well that is fine except I am not setting foot in our local store again.

If I had not contacted the BBB, that would have been the end of it. As it was, I got a $30 gift card (which I used over the internet) and another apology, this one a real apology, for their lousy service, although I doubt they ever approached the manager who lied. My sister-in-law picked up the microwave for me from another location (and I love it).

I used to work for the federal government. One day my boss passed my desk as I apologized to a producer about something I had not completed in a timely manner. He called me aside and said, “You never apologize. We work for the federal government, we don’t make mistakes!” I said, “I made a mistake, I am going to fix it, and I refuse to lie about it.”

Jane’s Birthday


Jane got all four of her candles blown out today! She shares a birthday with a young man she calls The Cowboy, so we mothers decided to celebrate together. The Cowboy wanted a cowboy themed party, and Jane wanted a mermaid party, so we did it. Since we have the horse, I cleaned out the garage and set up some hay bales with blankets over them for seats. I had one of my wonderful neighbors come over to help frost the cake, and I am quite proud of it, although I don’t think I will be going into business any time soon. She did the white stuff, and I did the decorations. We bought a $1 doll at the grocery and cut off her legs. I used two and a half cake mixes.

Jane's cake

We invited all nine of Jane’s class mates, in the hopes that half could come. Only four RSVPed, so that worked out well. I didn’t include directions to our house, so they would have to call if they were coming! I guess that makes twelve birthday aged kids, Leo, two babies and two older siblings. I would not have been able to do it in my house, but the garage worked well. (We have a special kind of mud out here which makes permanent stains.) Even though the wind was bitter cold, the weather has been warm enough to melt the snow the past few days. In fact, the kids made a mud pie on the sidewalk yesterday, then came in complaining of freezing to death. It is February you know.

Unfortunately, it was too cold to ride Prairie-horse, so we went out to look at a baby calf instead. The poor thing got the petting of a lifetime.

Calf John Deere

I don’t do well with organized games and such, so the kids kind of played on our big wheels and trikes and the red and yellow car. They had a blast. I got out the face paints and most everyone went home with something or another. Oh to be four again…

Boxing Day

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I cleaned out the garage today. I can’t believe the number of boxes I have stashed. I last moved in 1998, and even then some guys showed up to pack our house in their own boxes (many of which I still have). I don’t mail stuff very often, but I find it hard to toss a perfectly good box. I guess now that we have a public recycling center I might feel better about getting rid of some.


This was in my living room for about four months (oh to have a basement). It was the coolest castle ever!  As you can see, we got a new water heater and  TV.  Also I “hostessed” my first and hopefully only “party.”

It is a family fetish, this box thing. My mom actually had a building in which to store her boxes. I was out of college before I thought this was a little strange, that we had a Box House. It was approximately the size of a privy, but without the special bench that makes it a privy, besides the privy was behind the house, this was behind the shop. It was located right beside our storm cellar. So I asked. The Box House was originally where my great grandparents kept the Delco generator. This was how they got electricity before they were on the grid. What a relief, the box obsession does not go back three generations! Both of my grandmothers and both of my parents are hoarders, it runs in my blood.

In other news, I took Jane to the Dr Monday.  They drew maybe 12 ml of blood from her arm, or in her words, “they sucked all the blood out of my arm!”  She sat on my lap, flinched once then watched as the syringe filled.  How brave!  Got a call from the Dr today, they sent the sample to another larger hospital which promptly lost it.  Now we have to go back.  We actually live closer to the larger hospital, and go to the smaller one because we feel the quality of care is much higher, and this recent experience hasn’t changed my mind.

I went grocery shopping with the whole crew today.  I took the ladies to the bathroom, and then was trying to leave the bathroom area while keeping one eye on them as they horsed around by the water fountain.  I moved the cart to the right suddenly and at that same time Leo stood up in the cart and leaned to the left to see if he could reach the ball display and whoops!  He landed on his head.  Poor little guy, he has a huge goose egg right in the middle of his forehead.  I don’t like to have him in the cart, but at 18 mos, he just can’t keep up.  After getting ice from the deli lady, (along with corned beef, doesn’t a Ruben sound good?) I lost my list.  I just winged it and made sure to get Coke and milk, the two true necessities along with a few other things, which unfortunately did not include rye bread or sauerkraut.  That gives me something to do tomorrow. 

The oven beeped again.  I am trying to bake a cake in a Pyrex 2 qt measuring cup so I can make a princess cake for my princess.  It is taking a long time to bake, but it is finally done.  My neighbor will be coming over tomorrow to help me frost it.  Fortunately, my kids don’t expect perfection.  I bought a one dollar doll at the grocery.  I plan to cut her off at the waist and poke the top into the cake.  We shall see.  They didn’t have any red-heads, like Ariel, so we will just have to go with the purple and turquoise color scheme.  I refuse to buy them another Barbie until they get older.  I am praying that we don’t get any Bratz stuff for her birthday.  Would it be tacky to request no Bratz in the invitation?  I didn’t have time to ask Miss Manners.  Well, I think I will turn the cake out of the pan and go to bed.

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