Dating and walking to school


The phone rang on a Saturday morning.


“Hi, this is Russ. Is your brother there?”

“No, he is out with Scot. Can I take a message?”

“Naw, I will call later.”

“Okay, see ya.”


That afternoon the phone rang again.


“Is John there?”

“No, he is still out.”

“Oh….uh, are you doing anything tonight?”

“Well, no I guess not.”

“Do you want to go to the movie with me?”


“I will pick you up in an hour then.”



I was the second choice for my first date. I expect his mother told him to ask me if John was still gone. So my brother’s friend Russ picked me up and drove me the 30 miles to town. I don’t have too many memories of the date, but I do remember his “line.” We went past a sign that said, “SOFT SHOULDER” and Russ reached over to touch my shoulder then he told me he agreed with the sign. I also remember sitting in the parking lot behind the theater watching him shoot up insulin before the show. A few years down the road we went to a George Strait concert together in Cheyenne. I still have the T-shirt.


I ran into him on Facebook the other day. Isn’t it cool to find people from 20 and more years ago? I messaged him to see if he remembered our date, but haven’t heard back. If he has anything exciting to add, I will let you know.


In other news, our school sent home a missive about walking to school on Wednesdays in October. Even the bussed children “will be given the opportunity to walk by being dropped off at one of the designated corners” two blocks from school to walk, supervised, to school. Parents are advised to have their children dropped off at one of the designated corners by 7:30 so they can “walk to school.”


Maybe I am all wet here, but my kids walk .4 miles to school and then back every day. (I know this because I had my draftsman friend measure it on his computer for me.) They go down the street to the corner then cross the bridge over the park and walk about three or four blocks to school. I walked with them until I got a job, then I asked them if they felt comfortable walking to school and they did. So they do, along with about two dozen kids from our neighborhood. They don’t walk all together, but you see a steady stream of kids from about 7-7:40. I realize that not everybody lives so close to school, but I walked home from Junior High (well, to the High School where Mom worked since I lived out of town) every day, and that was over a mile. Please tell me how it will seem like walking to school to drive your child to a corner two blocks from school and allow him to walk two blocks while being supervised? It sounds pathetic to me.


Speaking of bus stops, this is a list of things I saw over two years at our old bus stop:

Children being picked up in tractors, semi trucks, and what can only be described as a coyote huntin’ rig. I also saw a monkey wearing a diaper. I thought I was delusional, but the teachers assured me that one of the students had a pet monkey at home.

Long Lost Friend


GD called tonight and asked if I had enough supper for company. He hasn’t done that in years, in fact it was about 2000 the last time he brought someone home for supper unexpectedly.

My wedding invitation was a little strange. The wedding was in Mountain Time and the reception was in Central Time. They insisted I put “standard” on it although it was daylight savings time. I was a laid-back bride.  I met one of GD’s friends at the reception, I might have met him a little earlier, but he and his buddy stole me from the reception for a while and we drove around looking for a bar. Since it was past closing we had no luck, but we thought that maybe the one across the time zone might still be open. Turns out it had been closed for hours, but we had a nice talk.

Then we moved down here, and since JT is a trucker he stopped by when he was in town, which ended up being about once every month or two. That was before kids so we would eat steak somewhere or I would cook here. JT was kind of like one of GD’s brothers, one that I really enjoy being around. Then he and GD got crossways about something and I hadn’t seen him since 2000. Then GD called tonight and brought him home for supper!

Now GD is cheering for the Lakers and JT is cheering for Boston, possibly just to be ornery…he’s like that.

I have a date tonight too!


Last night’s date went well, Paul spent much of it nude, because I ran him a bath after having inadvertantly used all the warm water in the washing machine. I already had him undressed, so while we waited around for the hot water heater to catch up we played nude Elefun then nude coloring and nude flash cards.  It has been a long time since I spent all evening with a nekked boy. 

The ladies played hair dresser for Aunt Annette to the point that she may never wash all the product out of her hair and Uncle Brian will almost certainly be going to work at the tractor factory Monday smelling like perfume.

Leo and Daddy had grand fun at the Monster Trucks.  GD thought I was overly cautious when I sent the ear “muffins” with them.  Leo wore them the whole time, and GD wore his quite a bit as well.  Leo stayed up past 11, and he is still excited.

Benjamin Button and I had fun as well, but Brad wasn’t cute for nearly long enough in the movie.  I spent from 11:30-1:00 mulling the movie’s premise.  I need to find the book I guess.

Tonight GD and I are off to Red Lobster and Sherlock Holmes at the cheap theater.  After tomorrow, I will have to find a muumuu to wear.


Weekend Update


I wore my Wyoming Cowboys sweatshirt Saturday.  By accident.  Friday night GD and I filled out a pool picking teams in the upcoming bowl games.  We didn’t have to pay any money, I am not sure what the prize is, maybe just the honor of the best picks.  Of course I picked my alma mater.  Mom said she chose Fresno St (because she had been watching them play) but was going to cheer for the Pokes.  The Cowboys won after two overtimes!  Mom said I was probably the only one in the pool who picked Wyoming.  I am nothing if not a loyal fan.  I also picked Idaho, where my nephew is the quarterback (his brother is running the pool, so I am probably in good company there).  They play right before Nebraska, in Boise of all places. 

We filled out this pool after coming home from the winery.  Oh, my, I haven’t had a buzz like that for years.  We had an excellent prime rib and the best bread ever.  A friend ordered a piece of pumpkin cheesecake and two spoons for dessert.  I told the waitress I would take a loaf of bread and two knives.  They are supposed to send me the recipe.  I really hope they do, but they would be smart not to send it. If that were my recipe I would keep a copy of it in a fireproof box at least 50 feet from my other lesser recipes.

This morning I noticed that the freezer was lukewarm, as in completely thawed.  Fortunately I keep the leftovers and opened packages of food in there, so the only stuff that was unopened was a package of hashbrowns and a pkg of ravioli.  The chickens and dog are going to be eating like kings.  I cleaned that out and vacuumed the back off (and cleaned the floor under it).  I found a treasure trove of things under there.

K, L, T, E, Z, J, and N as well as a golf ball, a clove of garlic, a princess magnet, a truck and trailer, 2 beads, a bouncy ball, a mirror, a clothes pin, Ariel’s head, half a duck and half a sheep, three gear magnets and a pencil sharpener.  Excellent items for a scavenger hunt.  Then, as I was getting ready to make soup with the thawed hamburger and vegetables, I noticed the fridge was warm as well.  It was not warm this morning.  I put everything in the garage fridge.  The repair guy is scheduled for 1-5 tomorrow.  I am so glad this happened now and not, say Thursday.

It is a good thing I am not pregnant, I craved icewater all four times, and I regret not insisting that GD install an icemaker in our bathroom in 2002.

I better go be a parent.  Who knows what havoc the children have wreaked as I typed this.

clean garage, messy house


I feel like I should write something philosophical instead of just discussing my mundane life.  Oh, here it comes! I do have something philosophical (and mundane).

It has been cold here and snowy.  The kids missed school two days last week.  My husband is busy taking care of cows; thank God nobody plans to have calves any time soon.  Last week he said something about cleaning up the shop so he could get his pickup in so it would start so he could go do the things he needs to do.  Lows have been close to -20 a couple of times.  It is -5 and dropping as I write this.  I told him I would clean out the garage.  He said something that amounted to “yeah right.”  I got three kids out there and we cleaned up the side we don’t park in.  It was ready for the pickup when he came back, and he was pretty surprised. So my garage is clean.  My bedroom is almost too messy to walk through.  I have Mt Laundry on the couch again and the kitchen is a never-ending process.  The living room floor is relatively clean, and the furniture even got dusted this month.  The coat room and laundry room and even the office are pretty darn clean too.  I feel like I am shifting my mess around.  I didn’t put anything from the garage or coat room in my bedroom, but somehow the mess seems to migrate.  Some part of the house always has to be the catch-all.  As you can see I was unable to put that in a neat little package like OBL does with her parables.  Sorry.

Today GrandpaDaddy chopped ice in the water tank out at the cornfield, I chopped it at noon and tonight it was solid again.  He rigged up some tank heater/generator thing and plans to use it for a hot tub by morning, maybe.  I will send him with a rubber duckie just in case.  It would sure cause people to slow down and stare.  Anyway, he has been busy taking care of critters.  A person should think of that when they grocery shop, someone out there in -2 or even colder weather making sure your future food has water and feed.

I plugged the lights in to see which one was the string we could use on the tree and four strings of lights were only half lit.  (If only it were me…)  Clearly I need to toss some things.  Even the pretty blue lights I got LAST WEEK for the kids’ tree only half lit up.  I haven’t given up on that one, but it is discouraging. So I bought new lights.  I hate living in a world where I am expected to annually dispose of things that should last for a long time.  They all say “Industrial Grade,” like they are supposed to be sturdy.  So what qualifies as industrial?  I would say four little kids and a kamakazi kitten would come close.

In other news, I wrote a Christmas letter for my grandmother.  She always sends cards out, and she won’t be able to this year.  I wrote it, printed it off, and put them in addressed envelopes.  I then put them in a box to mail to Dad so he can return address them and stamp them.  As I was doing this I realized that I still hadn’t made it to the Dr’s office.  He wanted my kidney stone so he could test it.  I think I am going to wrap it up pretty and mail it to him, because I don’t have time to drive it up there to him.  He has a good sense of humor, I hope.  Anyway I am kinda bummed I don’t get to keep it.  So here is a photo.

 DSC02671 (You can tell I used to work for the NRCS because I put a pencil in for scale.  That is what we do, it makes up for it being out of focus.)

So, clean garage, messy house.  Cold, ice, lights don’t work, ouch.  No real theme, but that pretty much covers it.

Customer service


Maybe I am the only person who has this problem, but I learned something yesterday. 

After taking a now black aluminum pan out of my dishwasher, I called the number on the Cascade bottle.  My pans used to be shiny, maybe even six months ago, now they are turning black.  At first she tried to give me some song-and-dance about using a dishwasher, but I pointed out I had been washing them in the dishwasher for 20 years and this started six months ago.  The only thing that could have changed was the detergent.  The nice lady explained that Cascade was removing phosphates from their products.  I am all about that.  Apparently whatever replaces phosphates does this to aluminum.  I guess I see some polish and handwashing in my future.  Or ugly pans.

Now I seriously need to work on my Christmas letter.


…And Counting


1 Crib for sale!  Installed in 2002, it is finally being taken down.

2 Little boys chasing the Christmas train in circles

3 Inches of snow

4 Christmas cards in the mailbox

5 Hours on the internet

6 Times of fixing the Christmas train before I said, “Next time it falls over we turn it off.”

7 Hours of Gregor by Collins

8 Loads of laundry

9 Degrees above zero this morning

10 The real number of times before I quit fixing the train.


In other news I read in the paper this Saturday that you can check out ebooks from the library.  Like for your iphone or maybe Kindle.  I am completely psyched! 

Last time I went home, I downloaded a book about Joan of Arc and then an abridged edition of The Jungle Book from the Apple site.  It cost me upwards of $8.  Which isn’t too bad, I chose cheap books on purpose.  But I will never listen to these books again.  Well, I might let the kids listen to Jungle Book some time in the future, but it isn’t like I can put them on PBS or anything.  I now own a digital book I won’t be using again. 

But the library, (who plans to charge me, ME who pays them untold amounts in fines each year, an annual fee to use their fine institution because I live out of town) is providing ebooks I can download at home.  They belong to some state-wide thing and you get a week to listen to your book. 

I spent most of today learning how to use my ipod.  I have the phone figgured out, but not the ipod part.  I don’t find itunes as intuitive as other Apple stuff.  Hopefully I can get it under control tonight and listen to Gregor.  

I guess I can resolve myself to belonging to a subscription library, although this is not what Andrew Carnegie had in mind when he gave them the money to build their library.

Busy Busy Busy


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. 



A place for everything


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!


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.

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