Monthly Archives: September 2012

RTT: Feisty Tuesday


I’ve been feeling feisty the last few days. It happens a few times a year. I’m just getting all riled up about everything under the sun. I have Opinions. Which could lead to acting on a whim. Here are some random things that have crossed my mind, some of which I’d probably regret.

  • Adopt a dog or two cats. But of course, the dog I wanted got adopted in less than a week. The cats I wanted (this week) are gone as well. I’m sure there will be new cats, but an Australian Shepherd is not a humane society regular. I had visions of my girls growing up with a dog like I had (although I think she was an English Shepherd/Border Collie). My dog was BRILLIANT. Brilliant dogs are so fun.
  • Get a new tattoo. In a place where if I worked in corporate America, I’d have to worry about covering it up.
  • Do something radically crazy to my hair.
  • Get a cause. Maybe I need somewhere to direct this feistiness. There are plenty of wonderful causes out there, some that I feel passionately about. I generally have not taken anything up because on a day to day basis, I already feel overwhelmed by the amount on my plate. Raise children. Cook meals. Keep a livable house. Do part-time job from home. Most days that’s more than enough for me. Today it went well above what I felt I could handle.
  • Start being brutally honest with people. Please note the “brutally.” I wouldn’t want to be mean – that doesn’t help anybody or anything. But sometimes I wonder why I put so much effort into avoiding conflict. Sometimes conflict is good. Why do we sometimes have topics that are understood we won’t discuss? Let’s just talk about it.
  • Get a passport. Why don’t I have a passport? I’ve never had a passport. What if someone’s friend suddenly can’t go to {insert awesome European destination here}, and they offer me a trip? I wouldn’t have time to get a passport. And then I couldn’t go.
  • Get rid of all my clothes and start over. I don’t really like anything I have. There’s really nothing I ever put on and say, “This feels like me.” I don’t really know why I bought most of it. I suppose it was cheap and expected.

In real life, I will probably not do any of these things. In real life, Captain America will probably just have to get a few earfuls of my Opinions. Perhaps he’d prefer I go for one of the above – the other day I was reacting to a local news story and working into such a tizzy, he looked a little scared. I think because it had nothing to do with us, and maybe wasn’t even that interesting. But I had things. To. Say. And now to add fuel to the fire, it’s election season. I never really get all that riled up about election season itself. I vote (after researching candidates – not all willy nilly). But the Facebook newsfeed is always littered with other people’s Opinions. I don’t mind an Opinion here and there. But honestly, sometimes the way those Opinions are expressed makes me sad. Can’t we all just get along? Agree to disagree? When everyone starts threatening to move to Canada if their candidate doesn’t win, I just think we need to calm down. Also, spending my days with a fit-throwing toddler makes me a little stir crazy. Or just crazy. Maybe a lot crazy.

So who knows. I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, you can find more random at Stacy’s.


Wild hairs


Sometimes in the winter, I like to pretend I’m going on a tropical vacation. Maybe if I close my eyes hard enough, I’ll feel warm again. That sort of thing. And sometimes when I get really busy, I like to pretend I’m going to start a whole new job and generally make a heap of changes. It’s kind of like an ostrich sticking their head in the sand. I have always been a daydreamer.

When I saw this building for sale, holy cats, did the daydreaming start! It’s a gorgeous old building, on the historic register, that happens to sit by the lakewalk in Duluth. You know. On Lake Superior. Now, Duluth will have a little piece of my heart forever, so the following are my ideas for what we should do once we’ve won this building at auction. Yes. The one we’re not bidding on.

  • We’ll remodel it and live there. Who wouldn’t want to wake up to those views? I’ll have a craft nook and just create things all day. I’ll take the time to learn how to make chain maille jewelry. While Zoey happily plays in the corner. She is so well behaved in my daydreams! We’re like a family in a Lands End catalog.
  • I’ll have a bookstore. New books. Used books. Cozy places for people to sit. I’ll also have a small coffee bar. Zoey will hang out at the store with me and we’ll read books all day. Again, she is so well behaved! When we close for lunch, we’ll have picnics on the rocks. Zoey will feed the seagulls, even though when you live in Duluth you curse the people who feed the seagulls. You may also come and enjoy our wifi for your Nook, Kindle, or iPad.
  • A tea shop! Sit and drink tea and stare at the lake! Eat a tasty treat. Mix and buy teas to take home! I don’t know where Zoey is in this scenario. She is perhaps underfoot, or maybe she stays with the grandmotherly neighbor next to our house. Because in my daydreams, I always live next to someone who desperately wants to take care of my children and is extremely trust worthy. Maybe she’s French! She teaches Zoey French! Her name is Veronique. Or Caroline, but of course it’s pronounced “Caroleen.”
  • It’s a music school. We give music lessons. Not me, of course, I’d need to take the lessons myself. But what a great excuse! All the girls will grow up playing every instrument. They are brilliant.
  • A counseling center. Who couldn’t work through some junk while looking out at the lake? I feel better already. I have a psychology minor, so I am no doubt qualified to start such a business. I don’t think I want to do the counseling myself, because it would be hard not to go home and think about other people’s pain. I’ll just coordinate things. Even though I’m not a very organized person.
  • OH! A kindness center. I don’t know what that means. Whatever you need help with, we can help you find someone to help you. I don’t know how. But it sounds really nice. I don’t know how I can afford it. The money tree in back? Everything from a warm meal to help making travel plans to figuring out how to pay for college. Support while you get fit? I don’t know. What do you need? A cup of coffee? I’m on it. We’ll have classes! Learn a language! Learn to knit! We’ll have a study hall for you college kids who can’t find a quiet spot, and want to get off campus for a bit.
  • Or maybe we’ll live there and I’ll write a book. About what, I don’t know. I’ll figure it out. Surely the lake will speak to me.

And naturally, in all of these scenarios, it is also Summer. Or maybe Fall. Because Duluth is very cold and snowy in the Winter and Spring.

Tune in next time when we move to Ireland. Only I have no desire to actually move. And I’ve never even been to Ireland, so I don’t know if I’d really want to live there.

Any other ideas for a fantastic old building on a beautiful lake?


My Baby


Today my Baby is two years old. As I grabbed her from her crib this morning, I said, “Happy birthday, Zoey! You’re two!” “No. I not,” she said. In the same, matter-of-fact tone I might have said it when turning 30. Cheerful denial. I said, “Yes, actually, you are.” And she replied, “How?”

But she is two. I think the most surprising thing about our little family is that I somehow didn’t expect her sisters to love her so much. I assumed she’d be fun for a while, and then the novelty would wear off. But in reality, hardly a day goes by where one of the older two doesn’t say, “Mom. Zoey’s just SO CUTE.” They love to make her laugh, and they love to teach her new things. They help watch her and take care of her. They want me to bring her to their classes. They love to show her off. If I could just get them to change dirty diapers, I’d be set.

Our Zoey is learning to be funny. She’s started rolling her eyes back in her head because it cracks us all up. She does an enthusiastic version of pattycake. This week she started “Look at me!” and “Come on, Mama!” She loves Sesame Street, Blues Clues, & Super Why. She can recognize her letters. She counts to 12. She says “thank you,” “you’re welcome,” and “bless you.” She has the best giggle. She can throw an epic fit.

The last two years have gone by incredibly quickly. She was a tiny little blob who fell asleep in a bassinet next to me while I worked. Now she’s a crazy kid running all over the house in somebody else’s shoes, singing the Blue’s Clues song and grabbing cereal out of the cupboard. I can’t imagine our family without her.

I think we’ll keep her. Happy birthday, baby girl.

The Plague – Mostly an Ending


Did I ever tell you what happened with the plague?I don’t think so. I’m sure you’re all just dying to find out.

After two trips to the clinic, I was on an inhaler, codeine cough syrup, an antibiotic, and an expectorant. To no avail. A couple days before The Big Trip, I had the biggest, scariest coughing attack I’d ever had in my life. I’ll spare you the gory details, but suffice to say that Ella knocked on the bathroom door to see if I was ok, and I was coughing so hard I couldn’t even respond. I guess I don’t remember anymore if it was the same day or the next day that I headed into Urgent Care. This was getting ridiculous. “So much dripping,” I said. “I can’t help but cough. I feel like if it didn’t drip, I’d be fine.” “Allergies!” the doctor said. I’d like to point out that I gave him the same information I gave all the people I saw. “We’re going to knock them right out of you,” he said. I left with a string of prescriptions.

A couple days later, I packed up my portable pharmacy and headed for the mountains. I was on the codeine cough syrup, the inhaler, Flo-nase, Afrin, and Zyrtec D. He actually said I could also take regular Zyrtec. So much medicine! But you know what? Between that and the mountain air, I felt pretty good. For the first time in a really long time.

I’m still on some of it, but I’ve managed to drop some, too. Unfortunately, these last couple of days have been allergy torture around here, and even with all that I’m having a little trouble. Thankfully, nowhere near how bad it was before. Hooray for modern medicine!

In Which I get on a Soapbox


Did you see this story? I’ll give you a minute. Or 6 minutes 45 seconds.

If you didn’t have time to watch it, I’ll sum it up: College Kid Jordan has car vandalized several times with anti-gay slurs (they were scratched into the paint). He can’t afford to fix it. So he drives it around for 4 or 5 months – can you imagine how painful that was? Somehow, Auto Body Guy Richard Henegar, Jr. hears about it, and fixes the car for free, while turning it into an anti-bully campaign.

So. I can’t begin to express how much I love this, and how frustrated I am at the same time. No doubt that will get me in trouble. But I have a question: what would happen if we all lived that way? What if someone needed help, and we helped them? Richard Henegar, Jr. saw someone that needed help, knew there was something he could do about it, and he did it. Plus, he found nearly a dozen other businesses to help him with the car. People donated time, money & parts. What I love the most, is they didn’t just fix the paint and tires. They completely overhauled the car. Tinted windows. New paint. New tires. New stereo. Alarm system. I mean – they didn’t just fix what needed fixing. They went above and beyond that. And now he’s gathering up some troops to do it every year. Every year they’re going to overhaul a deserving person’s car.

I just can’t help but think this is what the Church/Christians should be doing. If you think of the people you have in any given church congregation, there’s usually a wide variety. I’ve yet to attend a church that was full of accountants. It’s more likely to have an accountant and a contractor and a doctor and a computer tech and a plumber and a banker and a chef and etc, etc, etc. And then beyond those professions, you’ve got the hobbies and interests of fixing up cars and scrapbooking and lawn mowing and carpentry and baking and fitness and etc., etc., etc. So what is the world like where right after it happens, Jordan can walk into any church and say, “I need some help” (whether he attends it or not). And somewhere within the congregation there’s a connection, and his car is fixed. What if churches were about taking care of people? ALL people? I know this is idealistic and perhaps utopian and probably a total fantasy. But I wish it wasn’t. I wish that’s what Christians were known for, instead of being known for things we’re against (whether we are all against it or not). I wish we were known less for politics, and more for some kind of crazy love that we lavish on people. ALL people. Not only because I think that’d be an amazing way to live, but because I wonder which Jesus you’d want to follow? For a whole lot of people, the Christians they know or see on TV are all they know about Jesus. So do you want to follow the Jesus who is very busy in politics and casting judgement, or do you want to follow the Jesus that loves people and takes care of them?

I’m truly not trying to be snarky and divisive. It just breaks my heart what people end up thinking of Christianity, and what Christianity becomes. And it breaks my heart when we use the Bible just to say when and why someone else is wrong, instead of using it to learn how to live a lifestyle of truly loving our neighbors.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
– Matthew 25:34-40

It’s not up to us to decide who deserves it. It’s up to us to see a need and fill it. Jesus didn’t decide who deserved to be saved. He died for all of us, because NONE of us deserved it.

I don’t know what the answer is. But I am heavily in the middle of figuring out at least what the answer is for me.

Remembering 9/11


I know this makes two posts in one day, but it just doesn’t seem right to let the day go by without mentioning it.

I remember when I learned about JFK’s assassination in school. The teacher told us everyone remembered where they were when they heard. I started asking around, and it was true. I remember thinking how strange it must have been. How odd to have been around for such an earth-shattering event. Part of me wondered if I’d ever have a moment like that. If something would happen in my time that I would remember that way. I never could have imagined what it was.

Tuesday mornings were always really quiet at the newspaper. We printed on Mondays, and they were always crazy. Tuesday morning was usually pretty sparse. That day, it was just the news editor, Jim, and me in the back, and then the front office staff of two. Jim was listening to the radio. I remember he told me about the first plane. Such a strange and horrible accident… We started listening more closely. After the second plane – well – I just couldn’t really comprehend what was happening.

Eventually, I just went home to watch the coverage on TV. It was such a haunting feeling. And watching those people jumping out of the Twin Towers…there were just no words. Knowing the only choice they had left to make was HOW they would die that day, not if or when. The plane that hit the pentagon. The plane they couldn’t find, but went down in Pennsylvania. I started to wonder how on earth this day would end.

Every summer for many years, our family would host a foreign journalist for a few days. They were journalists touring the United States, and part of their tour was staying with a “rural” newspaper family. In 2001, the journalist was from Pakistan. I remember her asking us if we ever worried about an attack on the United States. It was something I’d never really thought about, even though people in other countries dealt with it every day. Who would attack the United States? On our own land? That conversation came back to me over and over again that Tuesday morning.

And there I was. Watching the United States under attack from my living room. Wondering what was next. Knowing my good college friend worked somewhere in New York City, and hoping and praying she would be ok – so relieved when I found out she was fine.

As stories started to emerge, I couldn’t even imagine making the choices that were made that day. Calling loved ones, because you knew it was the end. The firefighters that kept going back in the building. And the amazing people who took down the hijackers of Flight 93.

It was a day of terror and uncertainty. But more importantly, it was a day of bravery and heroism. A day where people looked beyond themselves.

This morning I listen to family members read the names of those lost. Husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, cousins – they aren’t just part of a number. There are nearly 3,000 empty seats at family gatherings. Today each person reads a few names, and then reads the name of their loved one and adds a special message. I’m amazed how many take part of their moment to remind us to love each other a little more. I hope we can all honor their memories by doing just that.

RTT: I’m weird.


I think we’re all tired out after my extensive vacation postings. Good heavens. So instead of a list this week, I thought I’d just tell you one random thing about me.

I am a Titanic addict. I have been for as long as I can remember. I guess I’m not obsessed – I don’t recall reading any books on it. Or not very many. Although I do remember looking it up endlessly in some encyclopedia-like decade books we had when I was growing up.

I have a vague memory of watching footage of the first dive down to the wreckage in 1985 – perhaps on 60 Minutes? 60 Minutes was NOT missed at my house. I think that must be when my fascination started.

I also have a memory of a history project in 5th grade, for which I built a model of the Titanic out of tagboard, duct tape, and some wooden dowels. Or maybe, my mom helped me build the model. Perhaps more accurately, I helped her build the model. In any case, I don’t remember what we were supposed to do, but I remember making a Titanic. And I remember getting a good grade. Thanks, Mom!

I can’t even tell you what I find so fascinating about it. Just know that if we were watching tv together, and you flipped past ANY Titanic documentary, I would want you to stop. Nothing sucks me in like dramatic portrayals of people in their grand drawing rooms, or poor little third class children with no window to look out. And what would a Titanic documentary be without some footage of a bulkhead door closing while water pours into the boiler room?

Heck, I made Captain America go see Leo & Kate’s Titanic movie TWICE in the theater. Even though it’s absolutely ridiculously unrealistic. And I’m pretty sure I have the soundtrack around here somewhere.

Did you see that this year for the 100th Anniversary, they were taking a ship out to the place where it went down at the time it sank? I can’t decide if that would be really interesting or super creepy. I think maybe super creepy. Plus, I have a fear of cruises. Not so much for the sinking potential as the seasickness potential. I mean, if you get seasick, you are STUCK. It could be the worst seven days of your life. I don’t know if I get seasick or not, but I’m not sure I want to commit at least three days to finding out.

So there you have it. I’m weird. And I think that sufficiently meets the requirement of “random.” Check out more at Stacy’s.