Friday, May 30, 2008
In other news, Katie made her first semi-successful attempt at pulling herself up today! She pulled her whole body up on the cedar chest and had one leg underneath her, but couldn't get the other one in line. Where has the time gone? This girl's gonna be walking before I know it, at which point I think I will curl myself up in the fetal position and have a good cry. Time goes too fast!
Thursday, May 29, 2008
While we were dating, Jeff worked and lived at ‘the farm,’ the subject of many of my Franch stories. We whiled away many an afternoon riding around on four wheelers, checking irrigation ditches, shooting prairie dogs, chasing coyotes, and other miscellaneous shenanigans. On lazy, hot summer days we would sit around in the shop (a barn-type building, sans animals) and shoot the breeze with whoever was around. There was an old pop machine in there, always stocked with Mountain Dew and City Market-brand lemon-lime and pink lemonade pop. Yep. I said pop, folks. That’s what I call it. We’d open the door of the pop machine and grab ourselves a cool drink. Next to the pop there was a big jar of Fireballs. Remember those? We’d sit there sipping a cold, carbonated beverage filled with Yellow Lake 638 and eat Fireballs while chatting about the price of beans in China. Or why on earth some people, who will remain nameless, chose to wear white Levis on a farm. Or who was going to stop over and pick up a few bails of grass hay. Just general stuff like that. I guess with all of my Franch tales, you are probably beginning to think that we, or primarily Jeff, never did any work. Au contraire, there was, and is, always much work to be done around the farm. In the spring, the fields are burned to prepare them for planting. Irrigations systems have to be cleaned out. Occasionally a rabbit or something will make a nest in the pipes and that has to be cleared out. The fields must be tilled and creased in preparation for planting. At the farm, they irrigated some fields via gated pipe. This meant that we, and I say we because this was my job when I was helping Jeff, had to set each gate to the proper opening. There is one gate per/foot of pipe or so, so you get the idea. That’s a lot of little gates. Each one has to be set so that water is distributed evenly throughout the length of the field. After all this is done, there is the planting. I never actually participated in this, so I can’t really fill you in. It involves putting the seeds in the dirt. How’s that for eloquent? That’s what I’m here for. Spring seems to be one of the busier times in farming. So much to do, and you only have a few weeks to do it. Then comes irrigating. That has to be done quite frequently. Being in a desert, water is a commodity and so you have to plan accordingly. In addition to all this, you have to worry about various weather conditions and insect problems. Should your crop happen to survive the summer, harvesting starts a whole new whirlwind of activity. This too, must be carefully planned. The crops must be harvested at just the right time. A freak rainstorm could knock out your entire wheat crop. The hay must be cut and left in the fields to dry. Rain, again, could ruin everything. Then, the hay must be bailed early, while the dew is still on it. Then the bails must be gathered from the field and stored until, hopefully, someone buys they for a good price. There is a lot more that goes into farming, but you get the idea. In between all these Franch shenanigans I tell you about, a lot of real work went on. And maybe just a little bit of sitting around in the shop eating Fireballs and drinking Mountain Dew.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Or: Why I should never take James shopping again!
in-the-clothes-rack' discovery. Except that he announces 'I'm hidin' mama!' and jumps out. Of course, this being a new and exciting thing, he had to hide in every clothes rack we passed. I managed to gather up a couple tankini tops and scored the big dressing room. Katie sat contentedly playing while I tried stuff on. James tried to look under the dressing room walls. I tried to find a bathing suit that fit, without making me look like a total tramp. James was getting bored, and fast. I was trying to distract him by showing him how the little clippy hangers work. It didn't work. He was bored and I could tell I had better hurry up. Then, without warning, he said very loudly "I eat your booooooooooooooooob, mama!" Uh, no. "Tee eat your boooooooooob, mama!" So, not too loudly, but loudly enough to be heard by whoever heard James' remarks, I said something like "Katie nurses, doesn't she? You don't nurse anymore." Geez. What do you say? I am sure whoever else was in there at the time was wondering what the heck he meant, or laughing at what he said. Needless to say I was glad to get out of there without running into anyone in the dressing room. Now if only I could find a bathing suit that doesn't showcase the booooooooooooobs, I'd be one happy woman.
PS. Maybe to redeem himself as a faithful little shopper, on the way to the counter, James picked up a shirt and said, 'Dit dis shirt, Mommy. It's cute.'
And a totally random update unrelated to certain aforementioned parts: Katie is doing what I would refer to as the preliminary crawl. She is scooting mostly with her feet, but using her arms a little, to pull herself across the floor. She is getting pretty good at getting to what she wants. It won't be long before she is crawling around.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Despite the fact that we live in the same type of neighborhood in the same town as our old house, we feel much closer to our neighbors here. Not only is our yard smaller, but we have only a chain link fence between our yard and everyone else’s. While all our neighbors are very nice, it is a little close. It’s one of those situations where you can hear everything they are talking about and see who has mustard on their hamburger. Until we find it possible to invest in a privacy fence, we will be able to look out our dining room window for our evening entertainment. And I don’t mean watching the squirrels. Last night, we watched the neighbors leaning over with their heads resting on a baseball bat, spinning in circles. Then they would try to run around. Please note that it was not simply the kids: the parents were participating as well. It provided us with some interesting dinner entertainment. Another thing they do, which cracks me up, is practice golfing in their backyard. There is not much space, but that doesn’t stop them. Maybe I need to get out more, but I find it funny that they golf in their backyard. Another neighbor of ours is a sweet older woman and her husband. While it doesn’t appear that there will be any shenanigans happening on their side of the fence, they do have a shrine in their backyard of the Virgin Mary. She is standing under a little roof and there are a plethora of rodent statuary gazing lovingly upon the Virgin. Nothing is quite as touching as a ceramic tree rat (AKA Squirrel) looking admiringly at a statue of Jesus’ mother. Again, why this cracks me up, I am not sure, but it makes me giggle. I guess this is all part of living in suburbia, where you can get involved in everybody’s business if you want to. All I have to say is that hopefully there are no nude sunbathers in the neighborhood.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Friday, May 23, 2008
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
A quick Google search said that the housing density in Glade Park is one house per square mile. Compare that to 5,310 people per square mile around here, and that’s just downright depressing. But it’s also beside the point. It is a small town. On top of the monument. Every summer the fire department plays movies on the side of the fire house. There is usually a hokey country-western band playing, the kind where it is someone’s Aunt Hilda and Uncle Slim who like to play at family gatherings and such. Despite the lack of musical sophistication, it does suit the nostalgic ambiance. There is no one there to collect your money at the gate. In fact, there is no gate. You just wander in with your lawn chairs or a blanket and find a place to settle down. When you get settled, then you can find one of the firefighters and give him your 50 cent admission. With that, you get a raffle ticket. On the side of the field there is an old fire engine, refitted to become a grill. You step up on the sideboard and order a hamburger or hotdog. I think hamburgers were a whopping $1.50. For that price, you don't even have to share! There was a little concession stand that also sold my favorite concession stand candy: the Jolly Rancher stick. And, they had fireballs. Seriously, how can you go wrong? So, after you have spent your $4.00 or so on a movie admission, food and candy, you can return to your blanket and sit down to watch the movie. At dusk, it begins. At least they begin to try and get the movie running. It took a little finagling a few of the times we went, but when it comes on, it’s well worth it. Sitting out under the stars in the cool evening air with friends, enjoying a watermelon Jolly Rancher and watching the Three Stooges. It can’t get much better really. About half way through the movie, they pause it to draw a winner of the raffle. This usually involves someone fishing around for a flashlight, and them someone else looking for the raffle tickets. When all the necessary components are located, they draw a few names out of the hat. The prizes were things like a stuffed animal, or a donated gift certificate. I was always in awe that for 50 cents, not only did you get to see a movie but had a chance to win a prize too. After the prizes were given away, the movie went back on. The drive home was the perfect ending to an already wonderful evening. Driving down the edge of the monument at night gave us a clear view of the valley below. Once or twice I even got Jeff to stop so we could get out and look at the stars. There is nothing like looking into a sky so vast and dark that you feel like the ground is moving underneath you. Now that I've waxed eloquent about the 'good ol' days,' I think I might have to check into going again when we visit this summer.
***Disclaimer: I am SICK, sleep-deprived, and generally feel like poo so if this post sounds disjointed, random or non-sensicle, that's why. Heck! I can't even figure out how to spell non-sensacle. Sensical? Oh, I give up!
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
This is the new phrase around here, courtesy of Grandpa. Whenever James would pass gas, Dad would ask James "Are you shooting buzzards?" Now whenever James farts, he laughs and says "I shootin' buss-ards!" If Katie passes gas, which of course being the delicate little flower that she is (just like her mommy), she never does...but if she did, James laughs and says 'Tee shootin' buss-ards, Mama!' Sometimes, being the gentleman that he is, he takes the blame for them. 'That was me, Mama!' Now, whenever he makes a noise of any sort, he says mischeviously, 'That was me, Mama!'
What's up with boys? How do they learn at such a tender young age that farts are funny? Pretty soon he'll be having belching contests with his father because of course, historically, I have never participated in such nonsense. Never.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Technically, we were not actually dumpster diving. We were trash picking. Trash picking is a favorite pastime here in the land of PA. We got the heads up that it was the community large trash day in a neighboring town. We actually, unknowingly, hit this a few years ago. We found all kinds of cool stuff and just thought we were hitting a 'good trash day.' Geez. That really makes me sound trashy. But anyway, here's what we found: a picture frame, a bunch of records for Nate, two new sets of paintbrushes and oil paints, etc., a few name brand sweaters, one with the dry cleaning tag still on, and a few other random things. Oh, and I found a fancy purse with change and stuff still in it. Can you believe people throw this stuff out? There were some clothes with tags still on them! The funny thing was, when I got home, our neighbor came over and said that someone had stolen his whole trash can with trash. Now that would concern me too, due to identity theft, but I had to laugh. The police told him it was not a crime to steal someone's trash, and little did he know I had taken part in a little trash picking that morning. Although I was not rooting through peoples' rotten egg shells and credit card bills and such. Did I mention that during this whole ordeal it was poring rain? Mom and I didn't care; we had fun. That's how high class we are. And speaking of high class, we had a high class wedding to go to last night. So, after spending the morning trash picking, I had to get all gussied up for a wedding:
The wedding was very nice and the reception was a lot of fun. I even danced for a few songs! Jeff, of course, stayed on the side lines except for trying to dance with the groom to 'Jesse's Girl.' He was not too enthused about dancing with Jeff, although he did respond by singing a few lines of 'I wish that I was Jeffrey's girl.' What a way to end the day!
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
All these designs have been spotted at our new house. Aren't they lovely? We also had multi-shade blue flowers and a darling orange and yellow flowered print at the old house. Now, riddle me this my friend. If they have made contact paper in all these glorious patterns, why, oh why do they only have white now? It is 2008, people! In this era of do-it-yourself funkiness, you would think they could come up with something fun and exciting. Oh, well. White will never look this out of style. And while we are on the topic of ugly, check out the lovely paneling we have going up our stairs:
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Monday, May 12, 2008
A little laser-cut metal thingie. Check out the pen next to it to get an idea of how small it is. Each flag has 50 stars (not circles!) cut into it. Impressive, but now what do I do with it?
Sunday, May 11, 2008
You let us bury you in leaves.
You let us climb up trees and play in the mud.
You laid in the grass and taught us how to see pictures in the clouds.
When we asked you what was for dinner, you said 'Chingafrog.' (How do you spell that anyway?)
You wiped our butts and snotty noses.
You bought us raspberry Zingers or fruit roll-ups after our swimming lessons.
You made us homemade donuts and zweiback and chocolate chip cookies.
You only asked me 246.24885 times if I had your muffin cookbook. (He, he...I had to throw that in there)
You read us chapter after chapter of the most fascinating books, until you probably just wanted to sleep.
You taught us how to count in German.
You taught us how to say 'Sheetaraya' (Again...spelling?)
You let my kids sit on your kitchen counter and eat all kinds of 'cheats'
You take the kids when I need to run errands.
You helped me pack, clean, move, clean, etc......
You keep special things for my kids at your magical grandparent house.
I could keep going about all the fun memories I have. Thanks for being the best Mom and Grammy! We love you!
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Friday, May 09, 2008
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
Growing up, we loved to go bike riding. I will never forget our first bike. It was a little black Huffy, purchased if my memory serves me well at Target. Dad took it home and assembled it for us. It was the beginning of a lot of fun times. Somewhere along the line, we acquired a red bike of some sort. I also got a lavender bike for Christmas one year, which I contributed my measly savings of probably $2.46. (Hey, that’s like a summer’s worth of pop can collecting!) We would ride up and down the sidewalk and as we got older we would venture down the road. It wasn’t long before we were riding down the dirt road to the ‘big hills.’ These hills were, to use modern day vernacular, ‘the bomb.’ The first hill was steep enough that even if you went down it riding your brakes, you could still have enough momentum to rocket up the next hill. It was a sign of getting older and braver when we went down that hill for the first time. Remember, Rach? I also remember going down those hills on the back of the snowmobile with John Folkestad. He flew down the hill with me flapping off the back like a flag in the wind. When he went over an irrigation ditch, I flew off. Good times, people. I just wonder how I lived to tell about it. Which leads me, in a very roundabout way, to the point of this Franch tale. On the way to the ‘big hills,’ there was a pen with several of the biggest, meanest, ugliest bulls around. They would stomp and snort and stare us down as we passed them by. Now these bulls would be enough to scare the pants off of just about anyone. What made it even worse was the fact that these lean, mean, kid-eating machines were held captive by two measly strands of hot wire. Only two strands. We would push our bikes up the hill as fast as we could. As soon as we got to the top of the hill, exactly where it always seemed the bulls would be standing to stare us down, we would jump on our bikes and fly down as fast as we could. We weren’t going to waste any time finding out whether or not two strands of hot wire could hold in a 2000 pound bull. We’d haul down that dirt road faster than two shakes of a lamb’s tail and wouldn’t slow down till we were well past range to avoid a situation like this:
P.S. The caption on this photo when I found it online was 'Cheeky Bull.' Te, he, he, he....
OK. I'm done venting. Now, on to greater things. Like my kid snacking out from the compost pile. Mmmmm. I started a compost pile yesterday with a bunch of apple peelings left over from making applesauce. There were a few other random things in there, like banana peels. This morning, Mom was over and we were hanging out in the backyard. Mom noticed that James had a very long string o' something hanging from his mouth. Turns out it was an apple peel out of the compost pile. And he ate it. Yummy. I figured it wouldn't kill him, because that's the kind of backwards hick mama that I am I guess. Later, I added some miscellaneous onion parts, a few egg shells and the guts of a few bell peppers. I told James that the stuff was yucky and to leave it alone. So, naturally, what did he do? You guessed it! He fished out another apple peel and started to eat it. This time I made him spit it out. I have no qualms with my kid eating decomposing apple peelings, but when they are mixed with egg shells and onions and whatever else, I have to draw the line. Seriously!
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
Monday, May 05, 2008
'Me go in ba-yard'
'I need me pants, Mommy'
In other kid news, Katie is starting to be able to sit up on her own for a few seconds at a time. She can sit up pretty well with some support. She forgets herself after a bit and starts her perpetual kicking and knocks herself over. She loves the music in church, and yesterday she was squeeling, screaming, kicking like crazy and as happy as can be.
I am getting ready to start a vegetable garden. Our neighbor came over last night and offered to till it up for me. That will be so nice. Now I need to figure out how to keep the varmits out. Groundhogs, squirrels and rabbits. Any suggestions? Garlic, scarecrows, plastic snakes???
Enough of the rambling update. The natives are getting restless. Ta, ta for now...
Sunday, May 04, 2008
Saturday, May 03, 2008
Friday, May 02, 2008
Thursday, May 01, 2008
A day without my grandparents is like a day without sunshine. Every day, I ask my Mommy at least three times, sometimes twenty-seven times, if I can go over to ‘Dammy-Da-paw’s house.’ I am on to the fact that it is but a brief walk to the magical grandparents house, and I think I should be able to go whenever I please. You see, my grandparents spoil me. They give me ‘cheats’ all the time. Despite the fact that Grammy slips me treats laced with carob and brown rice syrup, I still think she is a peach. Grandpa likes to give me M&M’s. He finds it quite humorous to slip me a few every now and then. Someday, my Mommy says she is going to get me all hopped up on sugar and send me over to spend the night. I can’t wait! Just don’t tell Grandpa my Mommy’s plan. Grandpa and I, we’re pals. He is kind of uptight about me peeing on his carpet, though. Seriously, can someone just ask him to relax? Have I ever peed on his carpet? No! (Note to Self: Add that to my To-Do list) Did I mention that they let me do all kinds of stuff I am not allowed to do at home? Things like sitting on the kitchen counter, using the hose sprayer, indiscriminately applying band-aids to imaginary boo-boos. They also have special things for me to use at their house, like my own pair of gardening gloves, a rake and a shovel. I like their house so much, in fact, that I am considering moving in with them. Do you think they would mind?
NEWS FLASH: After a very long ENTIRE WEEK of no phone, they finally figured out how to turn it back on and.....drumroll please....we should have internet today! Yipeeeeee!!!!!