Monday, September 27, 2010

If It Wasn't For Bad Luck...

...I wouldn't have no luck at all.

Last week at our house was a little nuts. Still nuts even. Right now I'm sitting at the Library using the Internet and touching the greasy keys that have been touched by Lord only knows how many people because our computer is sitting in pieces on our kitchen counter. The motherboard slowly died by first making connecting to the Internet impossible then giving us the blue screen of death. Seriously, that's the technical term. Either that or those geeky guys over at our local geek squad just love to be dramatic. Anyhow, after we figured out what was wrong, a friend ordered the part for us and we should be back online in a few days. My husband is convinced he can swap out the old motherboard for the new one. We'll see...

We had another blow last week as well. Less than 24 hours after I posted those photos of our dog Rocko wearing a hat, he was gone. Wednesday night when I came home from the farm, I noticed that he was laying out in the back porch and not in the kitchen with the Gardener and the girls. Odd. it looked like he hadn't eaten yet that day so I made up a bowl of his dog food with some warm chicken broth poured on top. Generally that's his favorite, but he wouldn't touch it. I cut up some leftover medium rare steak from the night before and he reluctantly ate it. Otherwise, he looked fine and we thought that he possibly ate something that didn't agree with him and if he wasn't better in the morning, I would take him in. By morning he was so weak he couldn't walk on his own. His ears were cold and the color had drained out of him. I called the vet right away to get him an appointment. I also called my brother to come and help me. He conveniently stayed home sick from work the night before (he's works nights), and by morning he was rested up and feeling better. Plus he loves me. The vet ran a blood test and some x-rays and determined that Rocko had some internal bleeding. He said it was most likely cancerous tumor on his spleen. The vet said if the surgery was successful yet cancerous, he would only have a few months left before the cancer took him. He had 9 good years and we didn't want him to suffer so I asked the vet to put him down. It felt like the right thing to do but it was still hard to process it all since it happened so fast. My brother and I both had tears in our eyes when we said goodbye to him. Goodbyes suck.

The vet's office gave us his body with no questions (I thought maybe they would have rules against this) so we could bury him out at my in-laws' house next to Oliver. By noon, Rocko was in the ground and the three of us, my brother, my father-in-law and myself, cracked a beer and talked about how just yesterday, or last week we all saw a healthy and happy old pooch, and now he's gone. So quick. Then, like freakin' clockwork, the school called and said Mae wasn't feeling well and had a slight fever so I should come pick her up. It was a day of not being able to catch my breath. Thankfully, not all days are like that and things are looking up. Mae's bug went as quick as it came without having to go to the doctor and we're talking about getting a puppy. Yay!

Since I'm computerless this week, I won't be doing Garden Monday or Wardrobe Wednesday. I'm crossing my fingers for next week. I'm also thinking I should get off of this computer and wash my hands. The parking meter is probably expired too. A parking ticket would round things out nicely, don't you think?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wardrobe Wednesday

I was hoping to snap a photo of Mae this morning before school, but with all of the craziness over finding an outfit perfect for an 8th birthday and packing up 2 dozen cookie pops to share with her class, it didn't happen.

Instead, you get my gray faced Boxer wearing one of the girls' hats.
He's a good sport to put up with me. Plus, he knows who fries the bacon in this house.

* To play along, post a Wardrobe Wednesday photo to your blog, link to this post and add your link to the linky at the bottom of this post.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday Garden Club

The garden is about done for the year. We haven't had any frost yet but the plants are all slowly dying off. Except for the peppers!
It was definitely a good year for peppers. There are probably 20-30 big bell peppers still out in the garden yet to harvest once they ripen.
Now for all you gardeners out there who wish to participate, either leave a comment on what's growing in your yard, or post a Monday Garden Club update on your blog. Add your link to the Linky below this post so everyone can see what's ready in your garden this week.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wardrobe Wednesday

Yesterday picture day at school. I was hoping to get a few of my own (that don't cost an arm and a leg) before the school bus arrived but as soon as we walked out the door, we could see it coming around the corner. Mae was so preoccupied watching the bus that I couldn't get her attention for even 1/640 of a second with my camera.Now that school is back in session you'll probably be seeing lots of pictures of my kids with their backpacks and lunchboxes, outside waiting for the school bus, not paying attention to their mother, the (now 30 year old) woman wearing her favorite pair of sweatpants and hooded sweatshirt, holding the camera yelling "I know the bus is almost here, but I want to get a good one before you leave. Now turn around and look at me!"

* To play along, post a Wardrobe Wednesday photo to your blog, link to this post and add your link to the linky at the bottom of this post.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Monday Garden Club

Most of last week was cool and rainy, so clear skies and a high of 73 today is a real treat. (Perfect weather for my lakefront photo shoot tonight!)I harvested this wagon full of veggies last week.
along with more winter squash and tomatoes.

Red raspberries ....
Gold raspberries...

and more zucchini, winter squash and watermelon picked over the weekend to add to the collection on our front porch.

Now for all you gardeners out there who wish to participate, either leave a comment on what's growing in your yard, or post a Monday Garden Club update on your blog. Add your link to the Linky below this post so everyone can see what's ready in your garden this week.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wardrobe Wednesday

On the first day of school I pretty much told Binny that she had to wear something that matched, first impressions and all. When given that set of rules, she usually takes the easy way out and selects a dress from out of the laundry basket of clean, yet unsorted, unfolded clothes that sits on the floor in our bedroom. No matching required with one piece of clothing. The second day however, Binny picked out her own outfit.
It's no secret Binny likes stripes, but when she picked out these leggings and this long sleeve top on a recent shopping trip to Old Navy (the day before school started while we were out buying school supplies last minute), I assumed they were 2 separate wardrobe pairings, not a Binny fashion statement.
"Yeah mom, it matches! Look, stripes and stripes."

*Thanks again to Heathen Family Revival for passing Wardrobe Wednesday over here.

**To play along, just post a photo to your blog, link to this post and add your link to the linky at the bottom of this post.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Catch Up

*The kids started school last week.
They requested curly hair for the first day.

As much as we have enjoyed the summer at home, it was definitely time to get back in the school routine. So far they haven't missed the bus yet and I have yet to see a homework assignment come home in their backpacks, but I'm sure it's coming. Just like the cold weather.

*This morning as Mae went outside to wait for the bus, she stuck her head back in the house and said, "It must be fall, I can smell it."

*Last month I reactivated our Netflix account that we had on hold for over a year. We're on the 2 DVDs at a time plan and since we don't have cable or any sort of pay TV, 13 bucks a month for unlimited movies and TV shows is a decent bargain. We had The Princess and the Frog over the weekend for the kids and the Gardener and I have been devouring the first 2 seasons of Big Love, 2 episodes at a time. If you haven't seen it you totally should, it's about a polygamist family (1 man, 3 wives and 7 children) in Utah living in 3 houses side by side. It's so intriguing and makes me think that some days I wouldn't mind having a sister wife myself... I also added Dexter to my queue but I think it may be a bit too creepy for me. Anybody watch Dexter on Showtime? Too bad you have to have a cable plan in order to get HBO and Showtime. I can't believe there isn't an option to buy those channels separately over the Internet. I totally would.

*Big news! Kelly from Heathen Family Revival has decided that with her full schedule, homeschooling and all, she doesn't have the time to host Wardrobe Wednesday anymore. Boo, right? Well, she offered it up free for the taking (I bet she was thinking a few of us might jump her if she didn't) and now Wardrobe Wednesday will be over here at my blog, starting tomorrow. Not really much change other than the fact that I'll have the links for all bloggers participating in Wardrobe Wednesday over here now. I'd like to set up one of those self linking buttons, but I have never had much luck with those. Anybody use a free one that you like?

*Peaches!Our peach tree only has 4 little peaches on it, but my father-in-law's trees are hanging so full and heavy that even after he made supports to prop them up, some of the branches broke anyway. His peaches this year are amazing once again. So big and juicy that eating one whole requires a shower and a change of clothes afterward. Last week I canned 14 pints and today I canned another 6 quarts, using every empty wide mouth jar I had in the house. I hope to make some peach jam in the next day or two as well. The freezer and basement shelves are filling up!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day Rally 1981

One from the family archives...

Monday Garden Club

Many of the plants (and weeds!) have died off and stopped producing, making the bright orange giant pumpkins and different types of winter squash hiding in the garden more visible. I'm still getting okra and tomatoes and LOTS of peppers, mostly red and yellow bell. I thought the zucchini and summer squash had died but they seem to have caught a second wind and are producing AGAIN. But you'll just have to picture that all in your heads because it's raining here today and since I already went outside once this morning and got completely soaked, I don't feel like doing it again.

Good thing I have been stockpiling garden photos for such a rainy day. While we were visiting family in Minnesota I just had to peek in on their gardens.

My mom, once again this year grew a small, unauthorized garden outside of her little condo.
She grew tomatoes, beans, peas, cucumbers, basil, mint and some other things I can't remember right now.
Looking good right?

My brother-in-law's garden on the other hand is sort of a lost cause at this point. At least it's not under water this year.

Now for all you gardeners out there who wish to participate, either leave a comment on what's growing in your yard, or post a Monday Garden Club update on your blog. Don't forget to drop your link in the comments and I'll add it to this post.

Participating Blogs:
Out In Them Sticks

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Summer Vacation, Part 2

Continued from Part 1.

So after a weekend in the north woods, we came home, unloaded our suitcases and repacked our bags to take off for Minnesota the next day. Originally we didn't plan to take our trips back to back like this, but we wanted to get it all in before school started this week (yesterday!), so off we went last Tuesday afternoon. My mom lives in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, about halfway between where we live and where my brother-in-law lives so we crashed at her house for the night before hopping back in the car for another day of driving. Halfway is still 6 hours. 6 long hours that the kids seem to take very well. At least the first 5 anyway. Right about when we hit the state line, Binny started to get cranky and tired and hungry. It was also 10 at night. We pulled up to my mom's place, had a snack and went straight to bed in her little guest room, with surprisingly, enough room for all of us. The next morning, after some breakfast at mom's, we headed the rest of the way into Minneapolis for a fun side trip to the Mall of America. My mom hates the mall and thinks it's a waste of time (and money) but since we're from out of town, we thought it would be fun to check it out, plus she was at work by then.

I have been to the MOA before but apparently not for a long time. Last time I went, the amusement park inside was called Camp Snoopy. Camp Snoopy was always so much fun. There was a roller coaster and a log ride with two big splashes that hardly even get your clothes wet and tons of other amusement park type stuff all indoors. Now it's called Nickelodeon Universe. A universe that's bright orange and green with many of the same rides including the log splash along with lots of new rides and tons of Nickelodeon themed crap at every turn including a giant inflatable pineapple which I can only assume (we didn't fully investigate that one) is a Spongebob bounce house. We arrived right when the place opened, hoping that we could get in and out and be back on the road by early afternoon. Turns out that was a good idea because besides having no lines to deal with, the people running the rides that early in the day let us have most of the rides 2 for 1. Good thing too because at the cost of the tickets, we had only originally bought enough for us each to go on 2 rides apiece.

The roller coaster I remember from Camp Snoopy was always my favorite. It went all the way around the inside of the park with a few fun drops but nothing vomit worthy for sure. Pretty tame. I was so excited to see that the roller coaster survived the bright orange Nickelodeon makeover, but that's where it starts to get a little blurry. When it was Camp Snoopy, there was only ONE roller coaster, so when we got in line for the Fairly Odd Coaster first thing without consulting the map or asking anyone, I figured that must be it. Only when the ride attendants started loading us in the non-traditional looking roller coaster car did I start to think that perhaps we had gotten on the wrong ride. As soon as we were buckled in and ready to go, the car we were riding in started spinning and didn't stop spinning until the ride was over. And not a fun sort of spinning either. Perhaps fun to a bunch of teenagers, but to a family of four who had all just eaten breakfast, not to mention totally unprepared for up and down PLUS spinning, it was terrifying. Even more terrifying was the fact that I had chosen to sit directly across from poor Binny who was either screaming (and not the fun kind) or covering her mouth with her hand while making faces like she was going to vomit. I swear, I have never seen a kid's face turn green so fast in my life! The ride was short and nobody puked, but we all stumbled out of there and needed to take a little break before hopping on another ride. After using up all of our ride points (on some less terrifying rides) and finally getting on the roller coaster we had intended to get on first thing, we walked around the mall for a bit, had lunch and were back on the road shortly after noon for another 5 hours of driving.

My mom let us borrow her GPS for the car which came in handy for maneuvering the freeway system in Minneapolis/St. Paul and also for those last minute potty breaks out in the middle of nowhere Minnesota. Just a few taps on the screen and we were rerouted to the nearest gas station. We had to be careful though, some of the gas stations way out in rural Minnesota don't have public restrooms or at least ones that I would feel good about letting my kids use. You know, the kind where the bathroom is on the outside of the rickety old gas station and you have to go inside and ask the attendant for the key. Finally, right around dinner time, we pulled off onto my brother-in-law's gravel road and arrived truly out in the middle of nowhere. Yes, we too live out in the country which is probably obvious if you've ever read one of my Garden entries, but where Uncle B lives is country on crack. Flat land and farm fields as far as the eye can see and beyond that, it's more of the same. Huge fields of corn, soybeans and sunflowers, although the one field of sunflowers we saw was past prime and not very pretty anymore. The Gardener loves to watch the super sized combines and farm equipment working in the fields, and honestly he must have said to me a hundred times, "Honey, look at the size of that grain head!"

We try to make the trip out to Minnesota every summer to see the Gardener's brother. Summer is the obvious choice being the only time of year when the ground isn't frozen. Winter is NOT the time to be visiting that part of the country unless you really like sub-zero temperatures that last from October to March. In exchange for the warm weather there are mosquitoes and poison ivy, both of which were not a big deal for us this year, thank goodness.
Some of you may remember last year when we went out there and made some new houseplants out of scrap metal for my domestically challenged brother-in-law. The plants all still look great and not one has died, imagine that! With all of the time he's not spending caring for fake houseplants, he and his girlfriend have found time to start a family.

A chicken family!This noisy rooster keeps things interesting with his constant ER-ER-ER-ER-ERRRRR.
One night during our visit, the Gardener and the girls went bear baiting out in the woods with Uncle B while I made dinner and sipped wine with his girlfriend. I think she and I had the better deal!

On our first visit out to Uncle B's 4 years ago, the Gardener and Uncle B hung two tires from some very tall trees out in the middle of his woods. (It was scary to watch.) By now the ropes are getting a little weak from the exposure to weather so we had to make a repair after one of the ropes I was holding onto snapped right in my hand, sending me, Binny and Mae onto a pile in the grass. The Gardener tied it back together and we were back in business.

There is no shortage on tire swings at Uncle B's house. He lives in the woods along a river so he gets a little shelter from the strong winds blowing across the prairie with plenty of wooded trails and and a . there are many great swinging trees, and since the old man who lived there before Uncle B had junk EVERYWHERE, old tires are also abundant.
We spent 3 lovely days in Minnesota, one of those days we crossed the Kennedy bridge over the Red River into North Dakota to visit my grandparents.

we headed back to the twin cities to spend Saturday at the zoo with my mom and an evening of swimming and black bean burgers with some of her friends on their beautiful patio. By 8:30 Sunday morning we were back in the car and driving east again back home. By the time we pulled in the driveway I was only about 10 pages away from finishing a fun novel I started reading just the day before. I set it down as soon as the car pulled into the garage and haven't had a chance to finish it yet. Perhaps today!