Saturday, January 31, 2009

Saturday Thoughts

Mail Man 1, Far Side 1 Yup I got him, as I ran with breakneck speed toward the phone yesterday morning..and hollered "DELIVER IT" then this over paid package toting government worker said "Will you be home at mail time?" Well DUH? No I am going to be hiding from you..perhaps I will just sit out in front of the house in a snowbank until you decide to get your sorry butt over here with my package. Of course I will be was 15 below zero. I don't even get dressed til noon, and if you don't like me coming to the door with my nightgown on.. too bad. I am nocturnal...I stay up at night..I am retired.. I make my own schedule. Just because everyone else is up at the crack of dawn, I do not have to ever join that pathetic part of society ever again.

I like making my own rules..of course they are subject to change at a moments notice. I rarely answer the phone, I will answer it if Far Guy is away from the house..just in case it is him summoning me. If Far Guy needs me..I am always here for him. The rest of the are second on the list and you might possibly get the machine. You can hang up and call right back, that just makes me angrier..your message is still not getting through. You can leave a pleading message like this " Far Side I need to talk to you because I think it is the end of the world and I must hear your beautiful voice one last time." I MIGHT return your call.

So how do you think Bahama is doing? that is not a miss spelling..I think I like calling him Bahama..rather than Obama. Bahama sounds so sunny and warm. His half brother made the news this morning..gosh darn embarrassing relatives anyway. A pot smoking one too boot..for shame..for will this relative be swept under the carpet? Personally I think that Pot should be legalized ..what with the state of our economy and would put a few people back to work, spur on our economy and free up Law Enforcement to catch some real crooks (like politicians) and we would all be a bit more joyful. Mrs. Bahama seems to have a problem with her little dolls..being dolls. What is next comic books..cartoons..their own line of designer clothing...their own TV show. Who knows where it will end. Bahama is not wearing a tie..oh my, and I hear there might be Cocktail Parties at the White House. Scandalous. Perhaps those were the big changes he was talking about during his campaign. I can hardly wait to see what comes next. For those of you that may take offense at my Bahama other option is Pres take your pick..

I am feeling MUCH better. I might even be back to almost normal! :)

Friday, January 30, 2009

Women's Groups

The Tuesday Morning Coffee group used to meet at the local pub for coffee. Then the Pub closed, I have no idea if they are meeting someplace else or not. The only requirement for their group is that you are female and drink coffee. I suppose I could go and drink some tea. I think they just get together to gossip. I have no deep need to join this group.

The Garden Club, they meet only during the spring and the summer. They are an interesting group of women, I used to give Garden Talks to them. When they started calling me to find out what was wrong with the plants that they purchased at Pamida ( Probably frozen) or Wal mart ( Lord only knows) I got just a little snippy with the group. It didn't help the situation that their phone calls always came when I was busy with my own customers, or at eight o'clock at night when I was trying to cook some supper. The straw that broke the camels back with this group, that was already on my last good nerve came when they brought me two huge mossy baskets. They came from a competitor and if taken back there would have cost them about 150.00 each to fill. They explained that they had limited funds, and were seeking my help. They wanted it to look beautiful, but they did not want to water it everyday. If you have ever worked with these beautiful mossy baskets you know that once a day watering is just enough to keep them alive, twice a day and they may look great, a drip tube supplying an endless supply of water keeps them looking wonderful. There is no way I can tolerate this group on a monthly basis..they would drive me nuts.

I don't go to Ladies Aid, those women always wear aprons and know how to cook. I would be hard pressed to find an apron in this house, I am sure I must have one someplace? I have no idea where to look nor can I remember the last time I wore an apron.

There are quilting groups, they all get their material from the quilt shop, they have workshops and are very creative. They put together some beautiful quilts. I guess I could join this group, but I do not like to sew. I like to look at their creations, I have some quilts that I did years ago and they are still just quilt tops, not true quilts.

So exactly what groups should I be involved in.. one that doesn't gossip, complain, cook or sew. What kinds of women's group would that be? Do you belong to any groups?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

What I Watch

Jack is back! 24 is one of my favorite shows. I love the intensity of the show, Jack goes from one intense situation to another. I also like that there is a woman who plays the part of the President.

Idol, what can I say. It is funny, some of those people can't carry a tune to save their lives, yet they think that they are the next American Idol. I have a few early favorites, Scott the blind guy, and Stevie the gal that belted out "At Last." The show will be more interesting when they get to Hollywood.

There is a new cooking show called Chopped, the Chefs get ingredients in a basket and must make a dish. Octopus and Bok Choy..neither of which have ever passed into my shopping cart. If I told Far Guy I was cooking him Octopus for supper I am sure he would die laughing. I would probably have to drive to a really big city just to purchase an Octopus to cook. I have never seen one at our local grocery store.

Adam Gertler has a new show, Will Work For Food, he tried his hand a Flair Bar tending and retrieving Geo Ducks ( Gooey Ducks). I have never eaten Gooey Duck, can anyone out there share what it really tastes like?

Ace of Cakes, although I would never be able to afford one of his creations I find Chef Duff and his group of friends a hoot. I think there may be just a hint of a romance between Mary Alice and Chef Duff.

I watch Top Chef and I especially like Fabio. I just love his accent, and he cooked a steak one night that looked wonderful!

I also like Iron Chef and all the Ultimate Cooking Showdowns and throwdowns, challenges and dinner impossibles.

Trinny and Susannah from BBC have shown up on TLC, they are making over American women. I have not caught the name of their new show, but they can make me over anytime.

Dave Mordal former Last Comic Standing contestant from Minnesota, has a new show on Discovery called Wreckreation Nation. This week they had souped up Lawn Mower races and he went to an Alligator Catching School where a lady got bit by a gator in the face. Far Guy and I watch many of the shows on Discovery with Dirty Jobs being our favorite.

Now I just need some Hells Kitchen (tonight on FOX) , Survivor ( Feb 12) and Amazing Race (Feb 15) episodes to make it through the winter. Yes, I know I am a reality television junkie:)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wistful Wednesday: 1953

This photo was taken in 1953. The girls are eight years old. The girl on the left is Far Guys sister, the girl on the right is his cousin Rosalie. I am not sure if these little girls had been fishing with their Fathers or not, someone got some nice sized Northern Pike. The cat under the vehicle seems interested in the fish! Far Guy and I were a little confused about the funny looking areas on the windshield of the vehicle and then we realized that it was frost. The vehicle must have belonged to Uncle Ron. What a novel way to show off your catch:)
New Information from Far-er Side Cousin: The Car is a 1946 Ford. The bottom fish weighed 26 pounds, and was taken from Shell Lake by Bert G. It was cooked for a Sunday Dinner. The other fish weighed 22 pounds, it came out of Straight Lake right in front of Pine Springs Resort. Uncle Ron carried the fish around showing it off for more than a week. It was mounted by Andrew Oxtra and was hung above the fireplace at Pine Springs Resort. There was a fish mount that hung in the Recreation room for years, when we owned the Resort I used to dust that old fish off several times a year and wondered about the story behind the fish.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Eight babies, a set of Octuplets born in California. I cannot even begin to imagine how scared these parents must be, some of the babies are pretty tiny. How do you prepare yourself to be parents of eight all at once? Has medical science done this couple a disservice? Having eight babies at once is just not normal.

I am wondering if "Jon and Kate plus Eight" with their set of twins and sextuplets feel threatened. Especially since they bought a new house and all. Supposedly they decide together if they will do another year of their show or not, so they just contract one year at a time. Perhaps the book that they wrote will tide them over. Last night Kate spent four hours cleaning the moldy gross refrigerator in their new home. I am thinking, is she stupid..has she not heard of a steamer? She was shown using Q tips and tooth picks. I looked at the large expanse of kitchen and dining room floor and I thought..well Kate lets see you scrub that area three times a day on your hands and knees. I do enjoy their show, I love the interaction between the children. Each one with their own personality. However I could do with a little less of Kate's whining.

I had only one colicky baby, our first born. She cried and fussed and screamed for five months. I did not sleep a whole night until after she was six months old. Far Guy would take his turn, he would put her in her car seat and take her for a ride. She would go to sleep for the entire ride and as soon as he brought her in the house she would wake up and cry. I was tempted to start a taxi cab business. When she finally outgrew the colic, I was sure something was wrong with her because she wasn't screaming. I checked on her many times a night to find her sound asleep. One baby at a time was almost too much for me to handle...eight at once would have done me in :)

Monday, January 26, 2009


The letter came in the mail. It was official looking. It was during the summer of 1972. Far Guys Mom began to cry. Drafted, it really sucked to have a low number. So Far Guy enlisted in the Air Force. He might be able to pick his specialty if he enlisted. He could pick his date to leave, he picked the first week in January of 1973. He left on the bus, we took him to the bus stop.

I was all alone, well I did have a small child and a dog, but I still felt that the best part of me was gone. Six weeks, it seemed to loom before me like a storm, something that you must get through, but you don't know how you are going to do it. Communication was limited. I could not even write to him until I got his address in the mail. One day it came, a post card, a fill in the blank form from the Air Force, that began Dear Wife, my address smiley face, no I love you, just Dear Wife.. I still have this bit of communication, I saved it to remind me that The Air Force does not care about wives or children or dogs. After being a military wife for 26 years opinion has not changed one bit either.

I wrote Far Guy ridiculously long letters, telling him about every minute of every day. About all the new things that our daughter Trica was doing, since she was just nine months old, she was doing lots of new things everyday. One of her new things was playing in Snuffers water dish and eating dog food. Far Guy's Mom would just go ballistic when she saw her beautiful granddaughter crunching on dry dog food. Of course Trica wasn't really eating it, just crunching it up and spitting it out. She would also go through the antics of trying to lap up water from the dog dish before splashing it all over herself and everything in the vicinity. Snuffer did not mind sharing her food or water. Trica would often hand feed Snuffer, we taught her early on that all good things come from a child's hands.

It was a long six weeks. I would never have made it through if the weather that January had not been sunny and warm by Minnesota standards. Two very special people made my life a whole lot easier that January. We had a wonderful Mail Man, his name was Tom. He was a Veteran. If I had a letter from Far Guy he would honk his horn twice. Letters were so important back then. The only other way we could communicate was through collect phone calls that were very,very expensive. Far Guy did call collect a few times, it was so good to hear his voice. The other very special person was Far Guys Grandma H. She was a pillar of strength for me. She was alone too. She would call me nearly everyday. She made luncheon dates for us with her friends, several times a week she would pick us up in her baby blue Ford and off we would go, gallivanting around the neighborhood. She told me " Call me anytime day or night." A Mailman and a Grandma and warm January weather all memories from the early part of 1973:)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Feeling Better

I am finally feeling a bit better, not like a spring chicken yet, but better. I had a very quiet week, with daily naps, or maybe they were daily sleeps as they lasted for four or five hours. What can I say, I am a good napper. I am still struggling with being adequately hydrated and eating. I am just not hungry, I usually waver between nausea and being full of water. Sometimes I force myself to eat, and lets just say that it ends up in the puke bucket. I have become a good puker..I was never one before.

Far Guy says I am wasting away...I seriously doubt that..if I have to go shopping for all new clothes I will become concerned.

The final diagnosis is Pneumonia, my Whooping Cough test came back negative. What ever it was it knocked me on my butt, and will take sometime to get over. I am still going to take it easy for a few more days.

I am looking forward to going to the grocery store this week...I have not seen anyone but Far Guy and Chance for the past ten days. They did take me for a drive one day, but we didn't see anyone. I did not want to expose anyone to this crud. We are back down in the deep freeze again, it was 18 below zero again last night. You would think it would be too cold for germs to survive.

Far Guy has disinfected much of the house, he even steamed cleaned some of the tile! I found out that he can run this household fairly well without my input.. or maybe despite my input. He has not ventured toward the laundry, except to carry clothes away for me..I am still the only person in charge of laundry:)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Border Collie Stance

It amazes me how Chance herds the ball. All the trees have huge snowbanks around them so he runs off and does his pose, and waits for you to throw the ball. He is so intent on the ball that not a muscle moves when he is in position. He began this strange to us behavior on his own when he was just a pup, about twelve weeks old. We would play ball with him in the house, he would bring the ball to our general area and drop it and then run to hide behind the rocking chair. Sometimes he laid down and waited, other times he waiting crouching with one paw in the air..ready to run. It took quite awhile for him to learn the command "Hand", I taught it to him and he would do it flawlessly for me, depositing the ball in my hand every time I commanded it. It was more of a challenge for Far Guy, he would have to say hand several times..and more forcefully than my simple command "hand." We also taught him "Drop" .. a command to drop the ball on the ground. It works well when he is playing ball with little kids that are too afraid to have him deposit the ball in their hands.

Chance and I play ball in the kitchen every night, I sit on the floor and he plays his version of hockey goalie, I try to get the ball past him and into the dining area where it will bounce off the legs of chairs. When I was not feeling well and on the couch in the evening, he would bring me his ball and wait for me to bounce it off of the coffee table for him to catch in midair. The only draw back to that game is sometimes the ball would escape under one of the couches..then he lays there and whines until you get up and move the couch so he can find his wayward ball. He has many other balls in his enamel toy pan, but once he picks a ball to play with..that is the one he wants, if you substitute a different ball..he just won't play. He also looks at you as if to say "You must be an idiot, I am not playing with that one today."

Life with a Border Collie is interesting. I am trying to teach him "Yes" and to move his head up and down. He can do it, but chooses to go through his whole list of tricks first, shake, sit, down, and play dead before giving me his attention. Sometimes he is food driven, sometimes he is not. I use the clicker when he is not in a food mood. When he sits in front of me and shuts his eyes.. I know he has had enough. I have just been totally tuned out by a Border Collie:)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Guyles Lake

"Wilderness is a resource which can shrink but not grow. Invasions can be arrested or modified in a manner to keep an area usable for recreation, or for science, or for wildlife, but the creation of new wilderness in the full sense of the word is impossible. " Aldo Leopold

Far Guy took me out the other day, I was pinging off the walls and it was a warm day( above zero!! ). We went for a short drive. We found this "lake home" ..beavers are opportunist's. They build where there is water and wood, they don't think about lake shore taxes when they build..they just know that winter is coming and they need a home. In this case he has his own private lake, Guyles Lake. No one lives on it because it is surrounded by a swampy reedy area. Swampy edges must be natures way of saving some lakes for wildlife.

I wouldn't exactly call this small little swamp locked lake a wilderness, but in it's own way it is. No humans live on it, there are no docks and no boats. It is desirable only to the wildlife. There are no houses with gardens and lawns to fertilize and run off into the lake. No one can possibly throw trash that far to make it a garbage dump, although its swampy edges do suffer from that fate. Over the years this lake has shrunk, and it's swampy areas have increased. When I was a child this lake had a swampy buffer but only a small one. In years that we had lots of rain, the water did reach the edge of the road. Am I the sole witness to this change over fifty years? Am I the only one who still appreciates a swamp locked lake, perfect for wildlife? :)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Tower

The Smoky Hills, these hills have been a constant companion in my life. Most days they look smoky and hazy.
Then you get up close to them and they lose their smoky haze.

I grew up near this fire tower, during the spring and fall it was manned by a person called a fire spotter. They were armed with binoculars and a radio, at the first sign of smoke they would call with the location of the fire. During the summer the tower was unmanned. There were three of us, my brother Carey, our neighbor Danny and me. The boys had no problems scampering up the ladder, I on the other hand struggled. When I was just above the tree tops my knees would begin to knock together and my heart would be in my throat. I would end up backing down without reaching the tower platform. The boys would usually go first, on the few occasions that I went first, I would have to dangle from the edge of the ladder to let them pass me, and then I would go down. It was on those occasions that they would call me a chicken and flap their arms and make chicken sounds. True friends.

One fine summer day, they decided that I was going to conquer my fear and I was going to make it to the top. Once I was on the ladder they said that they were not going to allow me to chicken out and if they had to push me up the ladder they would. There was lots of cheering and shouts of "Don't look down." "You are doing great" I made it past the treetops and there was no wind. Maybe I could do it? I scampered to the top, opened the trap door and collapsed on the floor, totally exhausted. The boys were right behind me, they hollered over the treetops "She did it!" Then they wanted me to stand up and look over the edge. I did but only while holding on. Then it hit me, how in the world am I ever going to get back down? I announced "I can't go down, you will have to leave me here." Much discussion followed, they were blaming me for the whoopings that they were going to get. They said I was going to be in "big trouble." Finally after much talking, and their swearing on a stack of Holy Bibles that they would never call me a chicken again, Carey started down, then me, followed by Danny. My knees shook, I cried, they ignored my fearful sobs and counted the downward rungs for me, one at a time. They talked me through it. They avoided a whooping, they never asked me to climb that tower again, but they never called me a chicken anymore either, it was the first and last time I climbed that tower..once was plenty for me:)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Wistful Wednesday : 1918

I am often drawn into some of these old photographs by the animals. This old dog seems to have been a very faithful friend to the two little boys. How in the world did they get the dog up into the chair? Then there is the old chair, I have five of these old chairs. I would not have ever thought that mine would date back this far, but maybe they do. The two little boys are Far Guys Father and Far Guys Uncle Ronald. This photograph is 91 years old, that struck me like a ton of lead when I was looking through my old photographs. Such a long time ago...:)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I Need Fashion Help!

Well what do you think? Can I wear my wool socks with my crocs out of the house or not? They are not as warm as my sheep lined boots, but on these warmer days when our temperatures are above 20 degrees, they might be a treat for my feet. They feel pretty good, the wool socks aren't too scratchy. Gosh I miss the comfort that Crocs give my feet. Do you think that the socks are too matchy matchy with the red crocs?

I only have one pair of crocs, I am not one of those shoe whores. I get a pair of shoes I like and I wear them out, I get value out of my shoes.

I love my crocs, I miss them in the winter, I long to put them on and walk right through mud puddles. Last summer when we went to the Headwaters of the Mississippi, I just walked right in the water..refreshing. If my crocs get muddy I just hose them off, or walk through Chances pool. Mud and water you can walk through are four months away. I should just stop thinking of Spring.

My friend Sue in Indiana says she loves the way her tired feet go away when she wears crocs. She also admires the funny looking spotted feet she has when she takes them off.

Should I go shopping and splurge on another pair? I am thinking Lime Green or Orange. Or should I just look for different color wool socks? :)

Monday, January 19, 2009


I have had a lot of time for quiet reflection lately. Some of it has been not so quiet as I would share with Far Guy from my spot on the couch. Sometimes I would get his attention and he would join me for an in depth discussion. More often than not he would holler "Turn the channel, you are supposed to be resting."

Tomorrow things are supposed to change, quite magically at noon when Obama takes the oath of office. I am sure that gas prices will go down immediately and food prices in the stores will be immediately adjusted. 401K's and investments will immediately be restored to their highest values. Everyone that wants a job will have one. Homes that were purchased on a wing and prayer for credit, will magically be worth way more than what they were appraised at. Short sales will be a thing of the past. No one will be homeless and no one will be hungry. Everyone will have access to health care. Things are going to be just hunky dory and milk and honey will flow through the streets once again. I am looking forward to all these wonderful changes, I just can't wait..but I won't be holding my breath. I hope he wears some kind of head covering so he doesn't catch some deadly virus, with ears the size of his, he must have to be extra careful..maybe he should wear a scarf.

The excitement totally escapes me. The Media frenzy is laughable, and often I view it as a comedy. Over 100 Million dollars will have been spent, couldn't they have just done a quiet potluck picnic. Well with that much being spent on just one day when we are in a Recession that is looking more like a Depression seems like a rather high-falutin beginning to a bad nightmare.

I do have a couple of questions..where is that puppy? And where does the line form for the Rose Colored Glasses? :)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Clinic

We have a brand new clinic in our nearby berg. Far Guy dropped me at the door and parked in back forty and hiked in, even the Handicap parking area is a block away. The parking lot has no safe Pedestrian walkway..everything was icy and cars were sliding all over..I wonder if the clinic planners had that in mind to increase their business. Cars versus Pedestrians is sure to produce some injuries for them to practice on. I feel sorry for the handicapped, elderly and the Mom's with more than one small child, they are taking their lives in their hands just walking from the parking lot to the clinic.

The doors are so heavy, you have to use both hands and your body weight to open the door. I am not one to use those handicap silvery buttons to open doors...until now. Once inside you are greeted to slate floors..classy..and cherry-wood..even more classy..they even have some of those new fancy "fat chairs". Fat Chairs have finally come to the boonies, in the section where we were sitting there were 12 regular chairs and 14 fat chairs. When I pointed this out to Far Guy he said maybe I was being a bit harsh..maybe they were Mom and Kid chairs. Maybe they were.

Far Guy has a regular Doctor at the clinic. I still have my regular Doctor in Fargo. I am usually not a "sick person" so I can avoid the clinic entirely. I happened to get one of the "Travelling Physicians"..she was a doll, she took very good care of me. I cannot say one bad thing about her. She is the closest to a perfect Physician that I have ever seen in that clinic. They must have replaced some of the Administration when they went from the old building to the new.

For those of you that really care, my blood pressure was really good for being dehydrated. It pays to stay away from Far Guys Coffee! I am feeling a bit stronger today. However Far Guy has grounded me for the entire week. I am to do quiet things and nap. So that is my plan for the entire week. In another twenty four hours I won't be contagious anymore. Jolynn stopped by yesterday with beef soup and fresh bread..really yummy! She stayed near the door and handed the stuff into Far Guy..he was so thankful..and so was I :)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Far Side Is Sick

This will be short. If reading about bodily fluids grosses you out. Come back some other time. I will just be updating this post with my progress for awhile.

WHOOPeeing Cough or Peemonia. Earlier I had the flu and had recovered quite nicely until I began to get a temperature that would last about twelve hours. Then I got the cough..the one that makes you vomit and pee at the same time..messy. You young gals won't get this peeing side effect til after you are fifty. Then the peeing got less and less, and I was coughing my gutts out, and vomiting up everything that was going in, and the peeing my pants stopped..I guess I was severely dehydrated. Far Guy hauls my butt out of the house when it is twenty five below zero and took me to the Clinic. To Be Continued...

At the Clinic.. I got two huge bags of IV fluids, bloodwork, Xrays and a Nasio-Pharyngeal swab that was a super dooper rooter router that gets spiraled up your nose and down your throat..going only where snot has been before. My left nostril will never be the same. It felt very alien and I tried my best to pant like a puppy like the Doc said. I was at the clinic five was exhausting. Our daughter had unconfirmed Whooping Cough..but our Granddaughters case was confirmed. My test will not be back for five or six days. Far Guy and I both got medication for Whooping Cough. It is a really bad bug, one of the worst I have ever encountered. Minnesota Dept of Health wants to keep it contained. As for me the bad bug is still winning...temperature, body aches and coughing. To be continued..

Friday, I turned the corner at 5AM when it was 33 degrees below zero out, I ate an orange and drank a bottle of water..I am finally able to sleep more than thirty seconds at a time. I have been asleep all day, all I do is sleep and drink water. Far Guy has learned how to make jello and brew a cup of tea! As long as I can sleep I think I am on the winning side. To Be continued..

Saturday, I am still sleeping. I feel like I could sleep for a week or two. Weak as a newborn kitten..but Chance and Far Guy are taking good care of me. Thank you for all the get well wishes! :)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Deep Freeze

Oh my it is cold this morning! Some really bad Siberian, Alaskan, and Canadian air snuck across the border. I guess most weather persons are calling it a Siberian Express this time. Call it what you want it is freaking cold. Some of you may ask, 'Why in the world do you live in a place that is so cold?" Sometimes I ask myself the same question, I guess you learn to adapt. I am sure it was much colder in way Northern Minnesota this morning. Somehow knowing that someone was colder than us, makes me feel better.

Today outdoor activity will be limited, it isn't supposed to get above minus 10 degrees F today. Chance will go out a few times, Far Guy will go out to fix the fire in the wood-stove. We probably won't venture to the mail box at all today. All ball playing herding activity will take place indoors today. We will stay indoors.

If someone is stranded on the road today, someone will stop for you. You may have to wait awhile but someone eventually will stop.

When I was little, we always took the short cut known as "The Road Through The Woods" it shaved off six miles of travel, this gravel road was very narrow. We were returning from my Grandparents one evening in the dead of winter, and came across a stranded car and a bonfire, the stranded had been there awhile. They had small children not dressed for Minnesota weather, the kids and the adults all piled into the back seat very grateful to be out of the weather. My brother and I were always dressed for cold weather, with warm coats, snow pants, hats, mittens and boots. We each had our very own brightly colored "Indian Blanket" to wrap around us to stay snuggly warm in the backseat of the car. That night we shared our blankets with children with big brown eyes and black hair who were very cold. My Father drove them to their home.

I have lectured my daughters on their winter attire. If you don't wear your snow boots make sure they are in your car. Do you have blankets? Do you have a coffee can with a candle inside, this one small item can keep you from freezing to death. I am sure they are sick of me and my cold weather lectures. Survival Skills all learned from growing up in Minnesota:)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Guest Blogger : Chance

What breed are you?
100% Border Collie
How old are you?
Four years old last October
What is your full name?
Do you have any nicknames?
Chancy, Buddy, Dude
Where do you sleep?
Where ever I want, the couches all have washable blankets on them. My favorite place is right in front of the door on the landing. I can nap there and no one can sneak off without me.
What is your favorite thing to do?
PLAY BALL! I love to herd the ball. I do not play fetch..lets get that straight right now. I HERD! I head out and circle around and hide behind a tree and wait for the ball to be thrown, I intercept the ball and bring it back.
What is something unusual or interesting about you?
I do not like rawhide chews and I take them and hide them in the couch, under pillows. If I can get by with it I sneak them outside and bury them so they are gone once and for all.
Who is your best friend?
Far Guy and Miney ( my sisters dog)
Did you go to obedience school?
Yes, but only because Far Side insisted. She even got us a personal trainer named Megan, I did not like I closed my eyes and pretended she didn't exist. Far Guy didn't like Megan very much either...because she made him practice stuff with me. Far Guy and I like to make our own rules.
Can you do any tricks?
I can sit, lay, stay, shake, play dead, and heel off lead. I know what "safe" means, a verbal command to sit my butt down next to Far Guys leg. I have a large vocabulary, I listen to everything that is said. I know when they are going someplace without me, and I pout. I know the difference between the pick up and the car. I will track and find Far Guy, but not Far Side...she makes me listen and obey...I don't care if she is on her own in the woods, she will eventually figure it out. Far that's another guys got to stick together.

Note from Far Side:
Anyone that is thinking about getting a Border Collie, should spend some time with someone that has one. They need jobs. I don't say that lightly either, they are happiest working. If they are not mentally and physically challenged everyday..they can be troublemakers. Chance is not a high maintenance dog, but he still requires 20 minutes of heavy ball play outdoors several times a day:)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Night Terrors

The food mares that I was having are starting to subside. Far Guy brought me home a Pizza Hut pizza one day, and the next day I made some chicken and dumplings. So some of those food related cravings have been laid to rest. I rather enjoyed those dreams.

When I was little I was a sleep walker, a sleep talker and a bed wetter. Thank goodness I grew out of the bed wetting. It was always a problem, an embarrassing one if you happened to be staying over at someones elses house. One time I wet the bed so much that one of the little girls that was sleeping in the same bed as I was woke up with wet curlers.. very embarrassing.

I am still a sleep walker and a talker. I have a REM behavioral disorder, most people when they go into Rapid Eye Movement sleep are paralyzed and can not move. I never reach the paralyzed part. So this coupled with my Night Terrors makes for a few interesting stories over the years.

It is particularly hard for Far Guy, his sleep is interrupted by blood curdling screams. Sometimes I sit up and scream sometimes I scream and run at the same time. Sometimes I wake up at the stairway, sometimes outside. It is a fight or flee situation. FYI ..the cold snow on my bare-feet usually wakes me up.

Sometimes I time Far Guy awoke to me straddling his chest, hitting him with a closed fist just like a boxer. Another time he very innocently rolled over and gave me a sweet little kiss and found himself in a headlock. Then there was the time that I dreamt Far Guy died, in bed. I was screaming..he reached for me, just what you want to see a dead body reaching for you. Since that night he no longer touches me during a Night Terror, he tells me to go back to sleep. I usually go back to sleep quite readily, but poor Far Guy is wide awake. Sometimes I remember the Night Terror and sometimes I do not. Far Guy reports that I look like I am awake..but it is quite obvious to him that I am not.

Many are repetitive terrors that I have had all my life. Snakes covering a sidewalk, thousands of them, and a sign on the grass that says "Keep Off The Grass." Of course there are no snakes on the grass. A few years back I finally told myself " Self, you CAN ignore all stupid signs when dreaming." My common thread is snakes, flying, falling, slithering, snakes in toilets, snakes in the living room and me jumping from one piece of furniture to another.

The other repetitive dream is a dark shadowy figure who tries to kill me and the girls. I cannot out run him or lock all the doors and windows fast enough to save us all. I am getting better at out smarting him..usually I throw stuff at time I vomited all over him.

I do not have nearly as many episodes of Night Terrors as I used to. They seem to come in cycles, if I am over tired or a bit claustrophobic or sleeping in a strange place they are more likely to occur.

The only "cure" I have found is doing crossword puzzles, or playing word games on the computer before going to sleep. I think it puts my brain in a different gear. Sleeping with the television on all night works well also. I have far less episodes when I sleep on the couch.

I have never met anyone else with Night Terrors, I guess it's not the kind of subject that comes up very often. I do know that I am not nuts, crazy or a raving lunatic. My Doctor is and has been very supportive with my Parasomnias, offering medications (which I would never take anyway) and a referral to a Sleep Clinic. I have lived with this most of my life, what would the point be? I have it under control, with the help of a very supportive husband:)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Far Guys Christmas Gift

The phone rang at 7:30 yesterday morning. You can bet at that time of the morning it is the Mail Man in a package predicament. We have a huge mailbox, most packages will fit. Even though I had instructed Far Guy to say "Deliver it" ..he replied "I will pick it up."
Mailman 1: Far Side 0

Finally it is the gift that I wanted Far Guy to want. A deluxe DVD collection of The Red Green Show! In fact it is supposedly 311 episodes on 52 DVD's ..through my research I discovered that they only made 300 episodes..but there are ten specials that were also made. That still leaves one episode or special unaccounted for. Anyway it it at least 150 hours of Red Green.

Steve Smith stars as Red Green, he plays a handyman from Canada. The show ran on CBC in Canada and on PBS in the USA from 1991 to 2006. It is set up north at Possum Lodge, it is a sitcom/sketch comedy. Red Greens secret weapon is "Duct Tape" and his favorite saying is "If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy! "Far Guy needed a little more humor in his life, something to perk up these cold snowy days in the winter. What is really scary..we know some people stuck back here in the boonies that could actually be relatives of Red Greens.

What did Far Guy say? He knew I ordered some kind of DVD's for him...the confirmation email from a DVD store was a dead give away..he could not figure it out..he had no idea what set of DVD's he could possibly want..but as it turned out he does want them! He said "Great idea, my slim, beautiful young wife with no grey hair." Well maybe not exactly but close:)

Friday, January 9, 2009

Clandestine Shenanigans

Yesterday I had to laugh out loud at the clandestine bakery shenanigans going on at my Grandparents D old farm.Of course I know some of the history...

My Grandparents were married in 1927. My Grandfather was 23 and my Grandmother was 15. My Grandmother had holes in the soles of her shoes the size of fifty cent pieces that day. My Grandmothers Mother had died from a fall down the stairs when she was pregnant, my Grandma was just fifteen months old. She went to live with her fathers sisters family. She lived with them working in the fields and helping to care for babies until she married my Grandfather. She had a very tough life..without a real Mom..always being sent around the family to stay with who ever needed her help the most.

My Grandparents had a number of children in quick succession. A boy in 1928, my Mother in 1929, two more little girls in 1931, and 1933.

In 1934 and 1935, farming was tough with dry years and bad crops. My Grandfather found a way to earn some extra money...MOONSHINE..they built a still in the woods and made their own whiskey. On Saturday nights the customers would show up, my Grandfather would go into the other room and come out with a paper bag. Far Guy's Father was just one of those customers ( He told me on many an occasion "Your Grandpa made REALLY good whiskey.") Apparently it was a booming business, rumor has it that the Moonshine made it all the way from Grandpa's backwoods to Chicago.

Then things turned sour. My Grandmothers Father had remarried. He ordered a mail order bride. The mail order bride blew the whistle and turned in my Grandfather, Grandmother(her step daughter), two of her other new step children and a few neighbors. No one liked her. I have heard her refered to as "That evil woman."

The Dry Agents came and went into the woods behind the barn and brought everything up to the garage. There they cut the copper into small pieces and smashed everything else. The Dry Agents went into the pig barn where the mash was, they poured it out on the ground and the pigs all got drunk. My Mother recalls the pigs and how funny they acted. Only the barrels of mash were put on my Grandparents record, not the whiskey. They had to go to Fergus Falls everyday for two weeks as a part of their sentence.

So to me, a clandestine bakery seems rather fitting on their old farm..:)

The Moonshine Garage

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A Trip With My Brother

Today I ventured out with my brother, we headed off to the funeral of my Mothers brother. It was a nice service, the cemetery committal service was a little long... trying to stand upright on an icy hillside behind my ageing Mother and Father. Luckily no one fell and broke a hip or anything. I think however I have a very young cousin who wished that she had not worn open toed sandals to a snow and ice covered hill in Minnesota. But I have to give her credit, her toes looked lovely and they were perfectly manicured. I am sure as she shivered away in her leather coat she was quite jealous of my down filled parka and especially of my feet which were warmly incased in lambs wool covered snow boots.

The Funeral Lunch was pretty good, the Funeral Hotdish was hearty and plentiful..a hamburger, elbow macaroni, tomato sauce with chunks of tomato and huge pieces of celery. There were the usual side salads in all colors and forms, fresh buns from the bakery spread with real butter. Cupcakes of every kind..German chocolate, chocolate and white ones with all kinds of different frosting's. That's what we do here in Minnesota..bury someone in the cold ground and then have lunch.

I had a good time visiting with some of my cousins from that side of the family that I hardly ever get to see. You see I am the oldest cousin. So it is the older children that I know well. My Mother is also the oldest living family member, It is hard for her to bury her brothers and sisters. She only has three brothers left and one sister..out of over half of them have departed this earth.

My one cousin recently welcomed his seventh child into this world while he was on a little over night vacation with his this brand new 9 Ib 9oz boy was birthed in a Motel Room near Minneapolis. I asked my cousins wife if she was afraid..she replied " not really..It wasn't like I had never given birth before." The next day they packed up and went home.

I have a really hysterically funny cousin, she told me when she was fifty she had a mid life crisis so she bought herself a motorcycle. I asked her if she also bought a helmet..she replied "Oh yes, and Leathers."

The Amish have purchased my Grandparents D old farm place. I guess it is a clandestine bakery with some of the yummiest of items for sale. They cannot advertise because it is not a state approved kitchen. There is also a place that you can have your horses shoed. We did notice that the highway was a little brown and horse appley in some spots and the horse and buggy warning signs are up.

We took a different way home, on a road that I had not been on in years. Past some more of my cousins and second cousins homes..we had a good trip my brother and I and a good visit:)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Wistful Wednesday : Two Uncles

Everyone in my Fathers large family of fourteen ( eleven brothers and two sisters) worked hard. This photograph shows my Uncle Wilbert "The Barber" giving my Uncle Hugo a shave. My Dad was in charge of the sheep. Older brothers were in charge of milking the cows and caring for the horses. My Dad never did care much for horses. My Uncle Ervin was the bread baker. They were all hunters and trackers, my Grandmother would send them out to shoot some venison when she needed fresh meat. I asked my Dad once about Hunting Seasons, he said it was hunting season whenever his Mother said it was. They only took bucks or does without fawns. Everyone picked rocks, and fixed fence and worked in the fields. When school was out for five weeks over Christmas, they filled the haymow with hay.

In many of my old photographs showing buildings, there is more often than not a home made ladder next to a house. For snow removal and chimney cleaning. This photograph was taken at my Uncle Wilberts first place, and it looks like he had a puppy! This photograph was taken sometime in the 1940's:)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A Minty Chew

When I was in High School I had the occasion to go on a road trip with my best friend Cathie. Cathie's Mom drove, it was a car full, Cindy (Cathie's sister) and Cathie's Grandparents were along. I think we went to Duluth. Somewhere along the way home we stopped at a little store and got some gum. Cathie's Grandpa bought some Chewing Tobacco, mint flavored. I had seen chewing tobacco before, but not the mint flavored variety. I asked Cathie's Grandpa about it, did it taste different? He offered it to us with a twinkle in his eye. I tried a little pinch, I stuck it between my gum and my lip. I started to salivate, saliva was running unchecked out both sides of my mouth, my lip and gum began to burn, I used up all the Kleenex in my pocket to rid myself of the offending plug of tobacco. I finally had to swallow, yuk, my stomach was so upset. My whole body shuddered and I felt like I would vomit. I am sure I was turning green. Cathie's Grandpa just kept see he was stuck in the back seat with two teenage giggling girls, and had found a way to shut us up. Well me anyway, I do not remember if Cathie ever tried a minty chew that day or not. It was my first and last personal encounter with mint flavored chewing tobacco:)

Cindy, Me, Cathie, and Carolyn..1967.. I think we were practicing some cheers. None of us ever made it past the just practicing level!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Sea of Snow

This is the view from the end of the drive. It is a sea of snow, ready to gobble you up and hide you until it thaws out in June. All of the ditches are full of snow and level with the roadways, when the wind whips across the prairie it picks a path of least resistance and the roadways quickly fill with drifts. The roads are a mess, icy and slippery and compacted with ice and snow. We went for a short ride yesterday.

I have had the wildest cravings for food, since I had the flu. I dream about food at night. I can taste the food in my dreams. Pretty strange.. I have eaten that Pizza Hut Pepperoni Extra Cheese pizza several times. I have eaten my Mothers Lemon filled Jelly Rolls with wild abandon. I have dined on my Aunt Violets Chicken and Dumplings, and eaten my Aunt Graces Apple bars. I have had my Grandma D's pickles, and fresh yellow beans with butter and new peas and potatoes in white sauce. I have made a mess with my Aunt Toots BBQ ribs and had a lovely visit with her( she left this earth many years ago.) I have visited Florida and eaten every Orange and Grapefruit in sight. Then just for good measure I walked to Captain D's for Fish and Chips. I have sat at the edge of a huge Dairy Queen Cherry Sundae with a tiny little spoon, I was cold but bound and determined to sit there and have my fill before I froze to death. I wake up and low and behold I am not hungry..I have eaten all night long..I have made a virtual pig of myself in my dreams..and then Far Guy says "What would you like to eat?" He knows nothing of the food of my dreams..nothing he will cook will ever come close..but his hash browns were awfully tasty. He has been trying his best to see that I eat at least one good balanced meal every day. One good thing about the food in my dreams, It has no calories..if it did I would be in big, big trouble. Every night just before I go to sleep I wonder what great food will I dine on in my dreams tonight? :)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

More Decorating By Mother Nature

The un-decorating is all taken care of inside. It went well, Far Guy was very cooperative, he hardly cussed at all. He even wrapped all the light strings the proper way this year. I went through and re read all the Christmas cards and updated the addresses. Far Guys gift that I wanted him to want still has not arrived. He does know what it is, and YES he didn't know he wanted it..but he does and looks forward to it's arrival. We will know when the phone rings one morning at 7:30, it will be the Mail Man in another package predicament. I have instructed Far Guy to say "Deliver it" In fact I made him practice in a very forceful voice.

Mother nature is not done decorating this winter. She seems to think we need many layers of snow. I have decided if she is in charge of the weather she is nuttier than a fruitcake. One of these days it could stop snowing..and then we will just be in the deep freeze. In Minnesota it must warm up to snow, it is a rule. It must be above zero to snow. It is below zero here now..and it is not snowing. I don't know who made up these "rules"..they must just be some strange laws of nature. I have not seen this amount of snow this early in the Winter for many years. The only positive thing I have to say about there are no ticks and no snakes. I hate snow and I hate cold, but if you want to live in "God's Country" you have to put up with those major irritants for the majority of the year. A few winters ago I did not leave the yard for seventeen is a record. Far Guy usually keeps better track of me, and every week or so he talks me into going someplace with him. Since Christmas Eve I have been out twice. It works for me, the house is cozy and warm, I venture out to take some photographs and to play ball with it's not like I am a hermit or anything..well on second thought maybe I am kinda a hermit:)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Mrs. B and Pastor B: The Rest Of The Story

A few days ago I wrote about our next door neighbors Mrs B and Pastor B. They lived next door to us for nine years. Nine years of fresh bread and cookies brought over quickly as long as the dogs were safely in the house. Nine years of hitting the dirt when Mrs B was hunting red squirrels that were raiding bird nests. Nine years of encouraging talks by Pastor B. When he knew that we had a particularly rough Fire and Rescue Call he would say "You did what you could, you can't save them all, some are just bound for heaven."

One cold April night, the pager went off. It was a Rescue call, next door at the B's. We were there within two minutes, Pastor B was sitting on the couch, moaning and making funny sounds. We could get no other response from him. I told him that we were there and everything was going to be OK. Silently I prayed that it would be so. After several minutes he stopped breathing, Far Guy and I moved him to the floor as gently as we could. I inserted an airway and began rescue breathing. Far Guy was monitoring his pulse, when we lost that Far Guy began CPR. More help was arriving, finally the Ambulance crew from Park Rapids arrived. We worked feverishly to keep him alive. At one point one of the guys took Pastor B's very large cross from around his neck and handed it to me. It was still warm, and fit perfectly in my hand. I backed away. Far Guy and the Chief went with the Ambulance to the hospital. I stayed behind to call Pastor F and to lock up the house. I called my parents to accompany me to the hospital, they were good friends with the B's. I held that cross in my hand and prayed non stop all the way to the hospital.

At the ER, things were not looking good. The Doctor's had done what they could (ruptured aortic aneurysm was their diagnosis) and once rescue efforts were discontinued Pastor B would be gone. I found Mrs B in a waiting room and handed her Pastor B's cross, it was still warm from being clutched tightly in my hand. Mrs B had tears in her eyes. The Doctor came in and told her that rescue efforts would be discontinued soon. She would have time for a final goodbye.

Later we drove Mrs B home, we asked her if we could help her call her children. She replied" No, there is no sense in waking them, morning will be soon enough for them to know." She did not want either of us to stay with her, she just wanted to be alone with her grief. The next day she made all of the Funeral arrangements herself, she did not want her children to come until the day before the Funeral.

Far Guy and I tried our best to save Pastor B, Mrs B knew that..she thanked us for being there. I have gone over and over this particular call in my head thousands of times. Should I have done something different? I can truthfully say "No." Do I wish the outcome had been different? Absolutely, Pastor B was a good man, his retired ministry was visiting the infirm and the elderly. God had different plans for him. Pastor B's words would echo through my brain .."Some are just bound for heaven."

Pastor B and Mrs B's children greeted us at the funeral with hugs and many thanks for being there for their Father. Some members of our church were not so gracious. They wondered why we couldn't save him, that's what we were trained to do. We were failures, their church lost a valuable member and it was all our fault.

Mrs B sold her place at the lake, and moved into an apartment in town. We went and had lunch with her on several occasions. She moved closer to her children and then died a few years later. I sent a card to her children, and received a lovely note back from her daughter saying "Thanks for being such good neighbors to my parents."

Mrs B was a strong woman, when it snows and blows at night I often think of her walking in front of their car for two miles on that stormy Christmas Eve, with one hand on the car, helping to guide Pastor B as he drove. How cold it must have been for her, how frightening, yet she put one foot in front of the other to guide them both safely home:)

Friday, January 2, 2009

Grandmas Fridge

My Grandma D's fridge was always full. It held a wondrous assortment of food. Your senses were immediately assaulted by what was inside. Jars of pickles (several kinds) candied crab apples, pickled beets, rhubarb sauce, or cherry sauce. Jars with brilliant mouthwatering contents. Then there were the glass covered "refrigerator dishes" .. I always looked for the jello! Then the "hats" no one but Grandma knew what lurked under them. Do you remember the elastic edged plastic washable hats in pink, blue, green that stretched to cover leftovers? They were like shower caps..but for food. I am not sure how well they worked, but they made for a fine fridge adventure, covering delicious foods with their puffiness. "What's under here Grandma?" She always knew. I always looked for the sauerkraut.

I would set the lunch table for three, Grandpa, Grandma and me. I loved visiting them all by myself. Grandpa would take his place at his end of the red and white checked oilcloth, Grandma sat on one side of him, me on the other. Their plastic cool whip bowl filled with their pills sat in the center of the table. As I went about setting the table I would pause and give Grandpa a quick hug and a kiss on the head. He loved me unconditionally, I was perfect. I would sometimes say "You think I am perfect..right Grandpa?" He would always say 'Ya, Ya and smile." During lunch they would talk about their visitors and how fishing had been, they loved going fishing. Sometimes Grandpa would talk about the old days, then he would dab at his eyes with the red handkerchief that he kept in his pocket. I wish I could remember all of the old stories he told me. We would enjoy our lunch together, have coffee and raid the pantry for some bars, Lemon Bars were my favorite, I think they were Grandmas too because she baked them a lot.

After lunch Grandpa would get out his papers and his tobacco and roll a cigarette. After he had smoked his cigarette he would doze in his chair. I would clean up the kitchen and do the dishes and then sit a bit with Grandma talking about whatever was on her mind. Her favorite subjects were food and recipes. She would always ask "When are you coming again?" I would answer "When I can Grandma." She would reply "I know you are busy..why don't you come on Sunday?" My reply was always the same, "Cause the house is full every Sunday and I love having you and Grandpa all to myself! "

I was lucky, I was their first Grandchild, in fact they became parents to twins two months after I was born. So I have an Uncle and Aunt that are younger than me. When my Mother came home from the hospital with me, my Father was in Korea, so it was my Grandparents home that was my first home for a little while. I was pretty spoiled. Their house was full of children, all of whom took their turns with the spoiling.

I visited with my Grandparents a lot when we lived at the lake. It was only a twenty minute drive to their house. I am thankful for every time I was able to visit with them and to explore their fridge for lunch, and to feel their unconditional love wrap around me like a warm quilt on a cold day:)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year Arrives

We had a quiet evening at home. We watched the New Year begin, some big ball dropped someplace..New Orleans maybe. I was in the tub, playing splash the water at Chance, I can see the television while soaking my weary body in the tub. Chance loves it when I splash water at him..he smiles! He is my faithful companion every night and waits for me to get out of the tub so he can lick the water from my toes. When I say "Thank you Chance, you did a great job! " He quits..I am rather ticklish. Far Guy hollered "Happy New Year Honey!" Thus began our New Year.

Years ago we used to go out, we are too old for that stuff anymore. The best New Year Eves that I can recall were when our girls were almost teens and we would go to the Church for the evening, and play board and card games with other young families. A safe place to share some fun and we would all be safely home before midnight. For a number of years I was stuck working every New Years Eve, Far Guy would be at home with the girls and I would be stuck with the crowd that thought the only reasonable way to usher in the New Year was with a drink in one hand, at a Black Jack table. After the Bar closed, I would have to take my totally sober working self through the streets of Fargo and Moorhead watching for drunk drivers. So I guess you could say we have run the gauntlet of New Years Eve Celebrations..I prefer the quiet evenings at home.

There were some fireworks out here in the boonies. Shortly before midnight they could be seen. Scared the crap out of Chance, it must have been some idiot down on the lake or maybe my nephew.

Rumor has it that it was 35 below zero in these parts yesterday morning..I can only verify that our thermometer showed 25 below. Colder than a witches titty on the shady side of an iceberg:)