What’s your nickname? Who gave it to you and why?

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My nickname is “SP.” Pronounced “Esspee.”  This may go a long way toward explaining my Xanga name.  My initials were SP before I got married, and I kept them for some unknown reason.  Does it really matter what initials you use?  Nobody has questioned me on it yet.  My college roommates first called me “SP” when my dad registered my brand while I was in college.  It stuck for a while, but nobody calls me that now.
   

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Busy Busy Busy

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Hmm.  Well, I went to the emergency room Thursday morning with a kidney stone.  I haven’t felt any pain since Thursday noon, (and No, I haven’t touched the pain killers…)  I have a follow up appointment Tuesday to see what the heck happened.  It doesn’t seem possible that it is gone, but it doesn’t seem possible that it is still there either.  ?

Grandpa Daddy has been busy putting in replacement windows.  Our house was built in the 1960s when neighborhood peepers were such a huge social problem that home builders singlehandedly tackled the problem by installing windows at the top of the room, rather than where they can actually be used.  Our nearest neighbors on the three sides of our house that have windows live nearly one mile away.  Clearly privacy was a huge issue at the time.  We do have neighbors to the North who live about 50 yards away.  Alas our original house had no north facing windows.  DSC02637 Our kids live at the opposite end of the house from us, and their chances of escaping a fire with these windows is pretty much nil.  Aside from the fire issue, the windows spend the winter coated with ice or condensation so you can’t look out of them for half the year anyway.  DSC02634

Here we have an example of the fine caulking job keeping our winter heat in.  DSC02638 Won’t that flowering Crabapple look glorious next spring?  And the ladies will even be able to see it this time!  I have a lot of clean up to do. GD is taking a break and going to work this week so I am hoping I can catch up on vacuuming the drywall dust off of everything.   DSC02636

Which room would you rather sleep in?

 

This is what happens when you let a two-year-old and a kitten decorate your tree.DSC02627 DSC02632 Pumpkin is beside herself.  Jane was making fun of her but I pointed out that she may not remember knocking down our big tree when she was but a sprite. 

 

 

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Mr Biswas and the Bad Girls

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I just got home from a Bible Study.  We are reading “Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible.”  I guess the minister didn’t want us getting any big ideas right off by reading the other more dangerous looking books in the series, you know, “Bad Girls of the Bible” and “Really Bad Girls of the Bible.”  There are 20 pages of questions to review after the first chapter of the book.  Was the author seriously thinking a group of women could cover 20 pages of questions in any sort of reasonable amount of time?  We are taking three meetings per chapter.

Speaking of reading, “How is Mr Biswas?” you ask.  Ah, he has done nothing but move in with his in-laws and then move out again.  Mom finally ‘fessed up to giving it to me.

>> I’m the one who gave you Mr. Biswas.  I got it at the library used
>> book sale and bought it because it was a literature prize winner.  I
>> started it four years ago and read half and got dis-interested.  This
>> summer I decided I’d looked at it long enough and just made myself
>> finish it.  What’s so good about it?  I don’t know.  It’s pretty sad,
>> to me.  The poor man works so hard all his life to get ahead and it’s
>> a project in futility.  Is it a metaphor for all of us?  Is there
>> something there I’m not seeing?  Put it on PBS when you’re finished. Mom

> So should I finish it?  SP

Well, of course you should finish it.  It’s a literature prize winner (I
forgot which prize, but an important one.) It’s good for you to have the
discipline to do difficult things.    Yes, finish it.  And I’m going
to finish 100 years of solitude that Derek gave me.  I’m bogged down
with it and I wonder why Derek thinks it’s so wonderful, but I told him
I’d read it and I will.  In the next two weeks.  However, I’m finding
that carrying it around with me isn’t doing the job.  I may have to open
the covers. Mom

So there you have it, I am developing character.  I have about 150 pages left out of maybe 650.  Personally I think the Nobel Prize for Literature should go to those with enough steadfast determination to finish the darn book rather than the author.  I usually finish around two books a week, averaging 5-9 books a month.  November’s page is looking pretty bare, empty in fact.  It is going to throw off this year’s numbers big time.  I think I will make some sort of reading plan for this year, so I can return books like “Out of Africa” to my mother after what has it been, 15 years?

I found a reading site on Yahoo, and I am interested to find out what it is all about.  It will probably be a good way to waste precious reading time.

A place for everything

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Something somebody wrote on Xanga made me think that I should share my filing system with you. 

 

I have a hard time staying ahead of the mountain of papers that come my way through the course of daily life.  I feel like I should keep certain things but what and where?  A boss once told me that if you haven’t looked in a file for a year you should toss the contents.  This seems pretty harsh to me, but I bet his kids will thank him for this when he dies.  Several years ago my husband’s boss gave me $100 so I bought a used four-drawer filing cabinet.  The bottom drawer is full of maps and AAA guides.  I have maps of China and the ocean floor and the moon and public lands of Wyoming and places you might find arrowheads and private lands you can hunt on without asking permission.  “I have a map for that.”

 

The next drawer is full of owner’s manuals for everything we own, some things we have sold and probably some things we have never owned.  The drawer above that is for our farming business.  I was happy to discover that this end of farming requires keeping a lot fewer papers than the government’s end.  It has folders for our bull’s papers with their names; Mac and Brad, (we name our bulls after the guys we bought them from, you might want to keep that in mind if you sell us a bull) and one entitled “Pets and Vets” where I keep the vaccination records and info on the three different vet offices we use; the one that won’t come out on Saturdays and the one with the cute vet.

 

The top drawer is reserved for family stuff.  I have folders for each kid I fill with pictures and artwork and their shot records.  That is the idea anyway.  Paul’s folder is pretty much empty and I haven’t added anything to the other kids’ folders for years.  I have one marked “Fun Stuff to Try” which I also haven’t opened in years.  Maybe we should try some fun stuff this winter.  The rest of the files are a hodgepodge of things I should hold on to but am not likely to need.  

 

When I used to work for the government they would send out these forms every six months that I knew I should keep, but I knew not where.  Finally I made a folder entitled, “Personnel Papers (those one forms they send you).” We were required to maintain about three different passwords which were to change every two or three months.  I still keep my master list of passwords in a folder entitled, “Top Secret Information – Restricted Use.”  I have a “Hate Notes” folder where I file my correspondence with the local post office and our Representative, and a “Love Notes” folder where I put correspondence that makes me happy.  I have a file for “Letters from Grandma” and one called “Useless Junk” which is full of… well at least it is organized.   

Two concerts in two weeks, oh my!

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Do you hear “ka-thunk, ka-thunk”?  That sound would be Mozart rolling in his grave.  Today my husband won concert tickets for this evening.  We went to see Bill Engvall the comedian.  My was he funny! PMP!  The acoustics were not nearly so good as at the last venue, but I laughed more.  I got home and the kitten attacked me.  I am going to put a Hannah Montana bandaid on and go to bed.

Do you think they might be related?

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I don’t believe my brother plans to have any children.  That’s okay, I had one for him!  Check this out, and don’t laugh at the 1976 attire. Okay, you can laugh, it is funny.  My brother would have been four, and Paul is just two.

scan September 09-15

For some reason Paul thinks that when you squat to take his picture at his level he should squat too.

Birthday 2009

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For my birthday my mother gave me tickets to see Itzhak Perlman in Omaha last Saturday.  If you don’t know who he is you can probably skip this post entirely.   I asked my husband first, but he begged out due to a conflicting football game.  Then I asked my friend Mary, then I asked about six other friends as well as four relatives.  Only one of the eleven had even heard of the man.  All of my friends were busy and my SILs all said, “If you can’t find anyone else who would actually enjoy it, I can go.  If I have to.”  Obviously I need new friends, maybe relatives too.  Thursday I was paging through my address book one more time and ran across Traci.  Her kids are grown and she isn’t a football fan, but she lives well over two hours on the other side of me from Omaha.  I called and asked if she was up for a road trip.  “Sure!”  She took the time to Google Perlman and had all kinds of info for me when I got in her pickup Saturday morning.  

 

We drove straight to the casinos in Iowa and invested in Iowa’s economy.  I still say Nebraska will never have casinos because we have a “no smoking in public buildings” law.  Whoo Hoo!  I dropped $22 between roulette and penny slots. Then we got all pretty for the show.  We got lost, or at least took a wrong turn everywhere we went, beginning with getting to Omaha.  Traci may never let me navigate again.  Some of them were honest mistakes, and some were…well just mistakes.  We found a parking spot large enough for Traci’s pickup in a garage downtown and we set off in our uncomfortable shoes to find an eatery which was both close and affordable.  We ended up with Asian Fusion.  I figure $13 isn’t too bad for an evening in the big town.  As we left we overheard someone talking about going to the same concert so we followed them right in the front door.

 perlman-1

I can’t decide if the hall was small or large.  It seemed really small until you looked at how little the people across the room were.  Either way the acoustics were phenomenal.  We had seats in the far back row, and we could hear everything.  We listened to a couple of Mozart pieces then after the intermission as Traci said, the whole band came out and we heard some Bernstein (excellent) and Gershwin (long but good) followed by Schindler’s List (too short) and a couple by some guy named Kreisler.  Perlman only played the second Mozart and the last three pieces, but he was excellent.  Just excellent.

 

We made it home in time for lunch the next day at a bar where Traci got her hot wings fix.   perlman-4 (this would be the 9-11 flavored wings) Getting some “culture” didn’t change her that much.  Later on Sunday my friend Rebecca called and asked what I had done for my birthday, so I told her.  She said, “I love him, he’s great!”  Now I have two friends who know who Perlman is.

 

And here is an in-focus photo of my costume.USA 2009 342

Thanksgiving with The Waltons

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 Seasons’ Greetings – A Featured_Grownups writing prompt.  FG suggested we write about our holiday traditions, or favorite holiday memories.  While this is definately not a favorite memory, it is one that sticks in my head.

Thanksgiving 1979 or 1980. 

We lived out in the sticks, and on Wednesday a blizzard blew up so the school bus driver ended up taking us to his house after school rather than our home.  Dad probably couldn’t get to the end of the driveway, I don’t remember for sure.  Mom and Great Grandma were snowed in with my grandparents in town. 

It was a small community and the bus driver had kids in school with us so it wasn’t really weird.  Except for the fact that his kids didn’t like us.  His daughter called me names every chance she got, mostly related to my last name which was pretty plain.  It goes to show whatever you name your kid, someone will find a way to make fun of it.  Her last name was an actual but somewhat obscure derogatory word of the sort most nine-year-olds don’t know until later in life.  Even if I did know it my parents would not have let me call her that.  Their son was a pathological liar, and mean to boot.  I cannot vouch for my brother’s experience, but mine was surreal.

To start with these people smoked.  We were not used to being around people that smoked, except my aunt but her house never had a blue cloud in the living room.  Mrs. had her daughter take me downstairs and she let me play with her avocado green metal kitchen set.  I was in heaven.  Then later in the evening Daughter took me into the bathroom and curled my hair.  This was not something that happened at my house with any regularity.  Mom was not very much into “fixing me up cute” and I wasn’t much for sitting still and letting anyone do that to me. (My daughters will likely have a similar experience.) I remember she had me count to 10 before she pulled the iron out.

I don’t remember the meal at all, or really anything else but after supper The Waltons came on.  I had not watched The Waltons as Mom thought it was drivel or maybe just sappy, so I was interested to see what everyone else at school got to watch. The bus driver plopped into his naugahyde recliner, threw the lever so his feet were in the air, pulled his spittoon into range and shouted, “When The Waltons are on, the shit hits the fan!”  Apparently this translates to “Shut up so I can watch my show.” 

I did a little research on the internet and The Waltons was indeed on Thursday night.  What does this mean folks?  We were stuck at their house two nights!  The site had a description of the show and what the producers were trying to get across.  They wanted to show “human warmth” without “excessive sentimentality.”  And that right there is why Mom wouldn’t let us watch it.  Thank you for watching out for me Mom.  I love  you.  (Happy Birthday too!)

1977 all over again

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I hit the post Halloween sales to see if I could find some boy’s dress up clothes for Leo.  The only costume I could find near his size was Darth Vader.  Leo fell in love with it, cape and all.  So I had to rent Star Wars so he could see who Darth Vader was.  You know that was a great movie, and it still is.  Well, Leo wore the costume most of Tuesday and he insisted on wearing it to bed, except the cape.  He wore it all day yesterday (but not to bed) then he handed it to me first thing this morning.  Have I gotten my $5 out of it yet?  By the way, Star Wars has been playing on a constant loop.

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