I am waiting for my friend to tell me what’s up with the iphone so I can get rid of my current phone.  The only thing I will miss from this phone are three messages stored on it. For posterity, I will share them with you.  The first two are texts.  I had just learned to text in November 2007, so I tried it out from the hospital.

“Praise God! Welcome Paul! I am so proud of you, SP. Old Hat”

From: Rebecca   “Baby boy micah stillborn this morning 😦 ”  I know this is sad, but my friend has said she doesn’t want people to forget Micah.  I have promised not to do that, but I have other ways to remember, not just text messages.

I rarely looked at them, but I knew they both were there.  The third message is a little different.  I am the sort of person who has a hard time with numbers.  When my husband presented me with my cell phone on Christmas 2002 he didn’t take that into account.  My cell phone number has no repeating digits and is not significant to my life in any way whatsoever.  It took me forever to memorize it.  I am the person who visits with the phone company lady when I move, asking nicely if a different number is available because I know I won’t remember the one she suggested.  So far they have been accommodating.  I am very much looking forward to getting a new cell phone number.  This is why. 

When Leo poops in the potty (a rare enough occurrance) he gets two phone calls.  Usually Grandma hears about it or Aunt Julie and nearly always Daddy.  Yesterday I dialed Daddy’s cell number and handed the phone to Leo.  Leo said,  “What’s that sound? What was that sound?  Daddy I pooped in the potty, bye bye.” then I came on, “Are you there?” then I hung up thinking we had GD’s voicemail.  Nope, it was my voice mail.  Yeah, I dialed my cell phone, but I didn’t figgure that out until the next day when I had a voicemail, which I generally discourage by having my SIL record my message as, “You have reached Wildflower’s voicemail, but she doesn’t know how to answer it, so don’t leave a message.”  Finally I get my number memorized and wham, I forget my husband’s cell number.


Featured Grownup

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Featured Grownup suggested we write about narcissism.  I have a degree in agriculture, just so you know. 

I think Twitter and Facebook “abusers,” you know the breakfast cereal tweeters, are quite possibly the result of narcissism, but I think narcissism started long before these people could type.


Think of a balance beam.


On one side of the beam is a child centered family.  The child’s parents make the family life revolve around the child.  Most of the family activities revolve around the child’s activities, games, and classes, and the kids grow up thinking they must be really important if their parents spend so much time and money on them.


On the other side of the beam is a parent centered family.  The parents do the things they want to do with little regard to what the child may want or need.  The child is either drug along or left with a sitter too often.  Sooner or later the child feels like a second class citizen, “If they don’t care about me, then I will have to look after number one.”


Right down the middle is the happy medium, the family centered family, or even God centered family if you will.  Each member of the family has some say in what goes on, but the children do not have equal voting power with the parents.  From time to time everyone has unmet wants, but then it happens to everyone.  It involves give and take, family meetings and voting.  Sharing and respect.


As parents our job is to keep it on the straight and narrow, making time for ourselves even as we let our children explore a variety of activities.  Allowing our children the chance to fail and learn from their mistakes while also providing them a chance to succeed and shine at their own thing. 

Phase one is completed


We put up six qts of tomatoes, 10 pts of pickled beets, five pts of carrots and 11 qts of beans.  Mom also made some peach pie filling for me to freeze.  The peaches right now are excellent.  If all goes well, I will put up tomatoes and beans again and also freeze some corn, but we are running out of freezer space.


mid august-03

Must blog quickly


Mom is here and plans to whip me into shape these next three days.  We plan to can tomatoes, beans, beets, then freeze corn and peaches and what ever else isn’t standing still.  I asked for the help, but I am a little worried that I won’t be able to keep up with her.  I tried out a tester phone and am planning to switch cell carriers.  Our current one dropped 21 calls last month.  The lady didn’t even say, “sorry.”  I am also planning to get an iphone.  An old one, but new to me.  Since my current phone was free with the plan, most anything will be a step up in technology. 

Great Quote


“Books have survived television, radio, talking pictures, circulars (early magazines), dailies (early newspapers), Punch and Judy shows, and Shakespeare’s plays.  They have survived World War II, the Hundred Years’ War, the Black Death, and the fall of the Roman Empire.  They even survived the Dark Ages, when almost no one could read and each book had to be copied by hand.  They aren’t going to be killed off by the internet.” Dewey, The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron.



I finished Dewey today.  The book about the library cat.  *Big sigh.*  I checked it out because last fall at a writer’s symposium the speaker said this book was coming out.  He said it was proof that people can find writing topics anywhere.  His buddy ghost wrote it.  It was funny, it made me cry, it was a pet book, just like every pet book.  Even a world famous cat does not lead a life worthy of 271 pages.  Fortunately the author didn’t even try, he wrote for the librarian in first person, so he included her story and then general historical and economic info about northwestern Iowa.  The librarian seemed like a nice lady (she was a librarian, of course she was) but her biography was…well like reading my own biography.  Not that I lived her life but that it was… unexceptional, to me at least.  I am from a similar town to hers, so the historical and economical part was…well like reading about my hometown.  I read the book in about 24 hours, so I must have liked it to some extent but I could have better used my time.  It was okay, if you are a fanatical cat person you may enjoy it, or if you knew the cat, but otherwise, eh, I warned you.

I am having some serious book issues this month, maybe because I am caught up on the Bible…I start Job today.  I decided to keep track of my pages this month as well as the books, which is a good thing because I will be lucky to finish the two books I have before mid September at this rate.  When I cleaned my office I ran across an article from Time Magazine about Eleanor Roosevelt I had put aside to read “when I got a chance.”  The article was too short so I hit the library about Eleanor, a person I should really know more about.  Our library had almost nothing about her.  One book was written by a grandchild who referred to her as “Granmere” or what ever that should be in French.  It sounded pretentious and annoying.  There was something about her and her mother-in-law which didn’t click with me as well as several about her and Franklin, then finally a book written by a staffer of hers with tons of photos.  I chose that.  Right off the bat I realized that if you are going to be writing about a family who considers themselves aristocracy (especially with intermarriage) you should include a FAMILY TREE!  It is written like the reader should know things I didn’t, and I don’t consider myself unknowledgable.  Along about page 40 I decided to peek at the book about Alice Lee Roosevelt Longworth I got from the same shelf.  Lo and behold there was the family tree.  I am now on page 128 of 500.  I took a hiatus to read the cat book.  Alice is easier to read than Eleanor, but the sheer length of it looms like a mountain.  The one on Eleanor, I may not finish.  I hate to not finish a book permanently.  It seems like giving up, but I do believe that is what I will do.  Maybe I will page through and look at the pictures.  Surely there is something out there about Eleanor that is readable.  Suggestions?

It has been two weeks


According to my records, I have not blogged much this summer, with the exception of a spurt at the beginning of this month.  I have been busy cleaning.  I shampooed the carpets, and boy did they need it.  Hopefully Leo is done tinkling on them, and they will stay relatively stain free until we potty train Paul.  Ha.  Last week I cleaned out my office.  I only have two small piles left to file.  This room is our piling room, and a great place to toss all kinds of miscellaneous stuff.  Except now it looks so clean I may not want to ruin the ambience.



Paul’s scar seems to be healing pretty well.  We had Aunt Mi-shelf, as Leo calls her, remove the stitches.


Paul spends a lot of his time doing just this.

The ladies started school.


And our good friend Leo is still potty training.  He seems to have some confusion about how the uniform is to be worn.


We are planning a trip next month, specifically to build up the trust funds of Walt Disney’s heirs.  It will involve taking the ladies out of school for a week, but if all goes well, we will not be there at a really busy time.  We decided to leave the gentlemen with Grandma and Papa.  I don’t think it would be much fun to try to keep track of the little guys in a place like that.  We can take them somewhere special in a few years, when they are a little older and smarter. (not wearing their underwear backwards?)  Any practical tips on Disney vacations would be appreciated.


The 1999 Fair Fiasco


We attended our county fair tonight, and it brought back a flood of memories.  Ten years ago, I had two step-kids with not nearly enough to do all day while GD and I were at work.  We enrolled them in 4H thinking this would be a way to fill up five nine-hour summer days a week.  As much as they drug their feet, Janine had enough money in her savings account to pay for a semester of college from just three years of participating.  James did too. 

The 1999 County Fair Fiasco

     Well, we learned from last year’s fair and had all of our 4H projects
completed two weeks before entry day, Sunday.  Ha!  Saturday found us cutting
out fish and pasting them to a board, collecting then sticking bugs with
pins, collecting and pressing leaves and gluing leaves to paper, baking
cookies and doing lots of computer work.  Sunday found us cutting out fish
and pasting them to a board, collecting more bugs and sticking them with
pins, gluing leaves to paper, baking cookies and doing more computer work.
My ambitious stepchildren signed up for a wide variety of 4H projects
this year.  James took pigs, excuse me, “swine”, chickens and
fishing.  Janine, the dilettante, signed up for gardening, trees, bugs
(entomology), baking and cat. I decided it would only be fair if I showed
some things as well, so I took three photographs I had matted on
Thursday, some basil and some pickles. I had also graciously offered to
bake a pie for the 4H booth to sell.  Some how I also managed to convince
Denise (our niece) to take zucchini bread, since she had never shown
anything at a fair before.

    Saturday found everyone busy locating their shirts with the little patch
on them and putting the “finishing” touches on a couple of projects.
James signed up for poultry showmanship, so he watched a video then
pretended that I was the judge and showed one of his chickens.  As he
pulled the feathers back to show the skin, we saw lice.  “Ok, the
chickens need a malathion bath.  Dad can help you when he gets home.”
Nothing and I do mean nothing is more homely than a freshly bathed

     Back to Janine.  We collected and froze lots of bugs over the summer, but
some disintegrated and we had pinned others wrong.  A word to the wise,
don’t plan to move the bug on the pin after it has dried on it several
days.  It won’t work.  One of the bugs was actually moving when we
entered the box at fair.  I think he died before the judge saw him

     All summer I pestered Janine to get some of her labels done, but she would
only do one or two at a time, amidst much complaining.  Twenty-five bugs
and ten trees added up to more patience than I had, hence Janine typed in
most of her labels Saturday and Sunday.  Fortunately, she had several
unfinished projects so she could skip back and forth between them all and
not get tired of any one project.   We enlisted James to help cut
labels out.

     James spoke with a USDI Fish and Wildlife person about endangered
species earlier in the summer.  She gave him some pamphlets on endangered
fish, so he sanded a board, stained it and used double sided tape to
stick the pictures to the board, until the tape ran out and he used clear
packing tape.  He also spent time on the computer typing out information
and titles.  This process dragged on due to his lack of desire to do
anything that remotely resembled learning.

     Janine wrote her recipe out for ginger cookies ahead of time so she made
the cookies while I made two pies on Saturday.  Unfortunately she did not
follow the recipe and let the dough chill for two hours as recommended,
and I was too busy to notice and just thought she had not put in enough
flour.  “Well, we can make those Sunday after lunch, yeah that will work
because we will be done with bugs and trees by then.”

     James and Dad spent the afternoon laundering chickens and
collecting bugs for Janine.  We missed an opportunity by not using
a louse off of the chickens for the entomology project.  I went to bed at
about 12:00 that night, long after everyone else had been asleep.
Sunday morning I got up at 5:00 to make watermelon pickles, since I had
already cut up the rind and I would not have time the rest of the week to
finish the pickles.   The recipe said it would make six pints but
actually made slightly less.  I was pretty disgusted at having to heat up
the water bath for two and a half pints of watermelon pickles.  By noon,
the pickles sat cooling, the fish board and tree book completed, garden
vegetables picked and washed, almost all bug labels typed in and new bugs
cooling their heels in the freezer awaiting pinning in the afternoon.

     Dad informed us that the bus left at 3:00 p.m. sharp.  I took the sheets
off the kids’ beds and put them in the dirty laundry.  This left me time
to take quick shower and wash my hair.  Half way through my shower,
someone called from fair wondering if we were bringing the pigs.  Dad
said we had planed to leave at 3:00 and the guy said they needed to be at
fair by 11:00 a.m., so please hurry.

     “Everything is under control” I kept telling myself.  I already had the
ingredients out for the cookies.  I looked at the recipe and noted the
cooling time.  Oops.  “Janine we are not using this recipe, get the one
from Miss Ona.”  Same ingredients, no cooling period.  I supervised the
baking while putting labels on bugs and rounding up all the other
projects.  While the cookies baked, we arranged bugs and wrote out the
new recipe.

     Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Dad and James speed washed four pigs,
which had to be a sight to behold.  However, I was busy pinning
hypothermic bugs at this time and unable to behold.  We got our stuff
together and loaded.  We made it to the fair by 2:45.  One pig weighed
nine pounds too much, but he was not alone in his class.

     Monday, the hog show started at 7:30, the cat show at 8:00 and poultry at
11:00.   Dad overslept and the kids slept on the floor of the living room
as their sheets were still in the laundry.  Coincidentally this is also
where we found James’s Wrangler jeans that went over his boots.  We
found the cleanest of the dirty and he put them on.  We got to the fair
at about 6:45, starting out way behind everyone else in getting pens
cleaned and critters fed.  Janine and I did the chickens.  James
realized he had misplaced the necessary hog brush for showmanship so I
made a mad dash to the grocery store.  When I got back with the brush,
somebody was asking Denise if she would be interested in handing out
ribbons and trophies at the hog show.  She said, “why not.”  The show
lasted five hours, and now she is on speaking terms with several influential people
in our county.

    The cat got nervous and pooped on Janine’s shirt, getting a little on Dad
too. A nice lady loaned us her kid’s extra shirt.  Dad went with Janine to
watch her show the cat, who got a blue ribbon because she was too thin.
Meanwhile, James and I geared up for hog showmanship. In showmanship
the judge looks at how the kid handles the animal, not how the animal is
built.  James got into the ring and his gilt (female pig) decided to
dig a hole in the arena.  I told the mothers sitting near me that it was a
special truffle hunting pig.  James handled the situation well
though, and got a blue ribbon from Denise for his efforts.  The gilt show
came first and she dug in the arena again, but managed to get a purple
ribbon.   James and I took off for the chicken show, crossing paths
with Dad and Janine headed for the pig show.  The small animal judge was a
real rabbit fan so that show lasted forever, causing the chicken show to
start late.  James showed his banty hen in showmanship then ran to
the hog show, getting there just in time to watch Janine and some nice kid
showing his two barrows (male pigs) who were in the same weight class.
Each got a purple ribbon from Denise.  Back at the poultry show, I found a
boy to show the chickens for James in his absence (you can have
someone else show the animal when it is not for showmanship, especially if you are supposed to be showing pigs at the same time).  This is when I found out we had only entered two chickens in the fair, but brought three.  One chicken got purple, one got a blue and one got an all expense
paid trip to town with meals and four nights lodging at no obligation
whatsoever.  James got to show his overweight hog and got a purple
ribbon on him.

     Finally we got to see how everything else did.  James got a blue on
his fish project.  Janine got purples on her cucumbers, bug box, leaf book
and cookies.  She got a blue on her summer squash. She also got a monetary
award for having the best entomology project! Denise got a blue (which is
purple in the adult show) on her zucchini bread and I got blues on my
pictures and basil and reds on my pickles (too much headspace).

     All week long we had to get to town early to clean out pens and feed and
water livestock.  We had to be there in the evenings for the same process
again.  Needless to say the kids slept on the floor all week long and we
ate a lot of fair hamburgers.

     Monday the pig guys tracked us down to find out which pig we planned to
sell at auction.  Tuesday one nabbed us again to find out whom to write
the hog check to.  Wednesday he wanted to know if we planned to sell the
extra pigs to the packer or if we intended to butcher them.  As we stood
gazing at James’s pigs the nice pig man said, “First year showing
hogs?” I replied “Does it show?”  He smiled and said, “Well, we were
supposed to have all this information Monday.”

     But all in all, it could have been worse.  The chicken in the pen next
to ours was blue because the mom read you could wash a white chicken in
bluing to make it whiter.  It must not take very much!


I overheard GD talking to Mae about showing hogs next year.  I am not so sure about that.  I don’t mind her showing livestock, but I wanted to wait until both the ladies were old enough for 4H because it involves a lot of running around, and I would just as soon do it for two as one.  I also am going to insist that we have a camper when we start showing large livestock.  You  have to be there most of the day to make sure they have water and feed and the aisles are swept.  You need to be there first thing in the morning, at the middle of the day and again in the evening.  It is a good 25 miles to the fair and we don’t have a grandma in town we can hang out with for part of the day.  I also see that we will have children eligible for 4H for the next 20 years, no need to get in a huge rush.  I sure did love the fair when I was a kid.

A Trip to the Emergency Room


We went swimming at Cousin Anne’s yesterday afternoon.  I took the opportunity to wash a sleeping bag, saddle blanket and a filthy pair of coveralls at the laundromat to the tune of 19 quarters for one load.  When we got home I got the kids inside and went to hang up the laundry because I couldn’t hardly afford to dry them at the laundromat.  Ha.  Before I could get back in the house the kids greeted me with “Paul has blood everywhere!”  Sure enough he had a huge gash on his forehead, the kids said he hit it on the bed.  I interpreted this to mean jumping on the bed.  I called the neighbors then called GD and arranged to pick him up on the way.  I wiped his face with a paper towel, and the bleeding stopped.  Then he puked on the roll of paper towels.  We chose to go to the emergency room, I have heard Promptcare does not do stitches on faces and I was pretty sure he needed stitches.  The doctor we got sang little songs to Paul and did a great job.  After we got home, the ladies woke up and asked where Paul was.  I told them he was in his crib, then told them the Dr said, “No more monkeys jumping on the bed!”  They said that he tripped over Leo and hit his head on the bed.  This morning it came out that Mae was carrying him and she tripped over Leo and Paul hit his head on the bed that way.

Paul has not seen his reflection, and I hope to keep it that way, so he won’t notice the stitches any sooner than he has to.  He was great, he even fell asleep on the way to the hospital- because he was tired not because he had a concussion.  In other news we got two tenths of rain last night on my laundry.  Oops.


mid august-13

A surprise in the mailbox


I just stepped out to get the mail and found a flat package with no return address for Mae.  I had her open it right away.  It was a photo of a beautiful woman…but why?  It was autographed, but you know how autographs are to read…nothing else with it…oh wait I remember now!  We started watching Dancing With the Stars in Spring of 2007 when Apolo Anton Ohno and Laila Ali were on.  Mae fell in love with Laila.  Mae wrote her a fan letter shortly after the show, something like, “You are so pretty, I love your dresses and cip-clop shoes.  Do you live in Kansas City? (we get commercials for Worlds of Fun, so she thought it would be a great place to live) Are you married?”  I sent a pre-school photo and a little translation with a request for a photo if that was possible.  Santa even obliged by giving Mae a Groovy Girl that looked like Laila.  Now, two and a half years later, we get a photo!  She really is beautiful.  i wonder why it took so long, it would have meant a lot more to her two years ago.  Maybe she had a deluge of fan mail or ours just slipped under someone’s desk.  Oh well.  I am glad we got it, I feel better about her now.

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