Friday, July 29, 2011

Water, Water Everywhere

It's town water festival time.  West Lake Woebegone has been preparing all week.  The street sweepers were out.  The porta-potties are here.  The route detour signs have been dug out for parade day.  Our little town will balloon from 3,000 to 20,000 over the weekend.

Now, it's true that 20,000 people isn't that many in the big picture of the world's population, but it's a lot for us.  There's only one stoplight in the county, and it's at the center of our downtown.  My dad was saying at dinner last night that he had to wait two cycles before he could drive through.  Believe me, friends and loved ones, that only happens once a year. Well . . . maybe on fishing opener weekend.

I am hoping tonight that I will run into my friend Betsy tonight.  Betsy keeps stuff in her purse so that she can paint anchors on your toenails for the occasion.  I've painted them blue and slapped some rhinestones on just in case.  Here they are in red from two years ago:

No, it's true it doesn't take much to amuse me, but think of how easy it must be to get along with me.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

All is Not Lost

Just waiting for my coffee this morning when I discovered this.  I hope you can get it to work.  It takes a literal eternity to load.  If you can't, try going to to make your own message.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Potty training has taken a setback.

We had several weeks accident free.  I stopped buying Preschooler D underwear every time I went to Target -- because you know and I know, some accidents are not worth the clean up. The past couple of days, though . . . I don't know.  It feels like we're sort of back at the beginning.

"Do you need to go potty?"
"Do you need to go potty?"
"I think you should try and go potty."
"I'll wait for you."
"Why don't you just try."
"Let's try."  (As though we are going to do it together.)
"Just try."
"Just try for me."
"Are you sure?"
"Don't you want to check?"
"Just check."
"Just try and check."

It's exhausting.  About two seconds after I give up, he grabs the nether regions and screams in a high squeaky voice, "Potty! Potty! Potty!"

"YES! GO! GO! GO!"

This is my brilliant son.  This is my child who, at four and a half, can read anything he looks at.  This is my future rocket scientist. (Is this still the highest degree of smart? Rocket Scientist?)  And yet, complete mastery of the bathroom eludes him.

What would Mother Einstein have done?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Poem for Tuesday

In case you are new to A Poem for Tuesday, we are currently reading poems from Poems Children Enjoy, © 1953, F.A. Owen Publishing Company.  These are all in salute to my grandmother who was a rural school teacher.

Today's poem is for Colin who loves to swing.  He's nearly as tall as I am, and when he swings the whole thing bounces and squeaks.  I am afraid it is only a matter of time until the thing breaks.  I need to add "reinforce swing set" to Brent's to-do list.  I am sure he'll be thrilled.

Sharing the Swing
Alice Cromwell Hoffman

When I keep the swing all to myself
I can go as high as our pantry shelf.
When I share my swing with friend or brother,
And we take turns pushing each other,
I go like the wind, away up high,
Till it seems as if I could touch the sky.

Monday, July 25, 2011


Friends and loved ones, this summer has made me tired.  You probably guessed this by last week's entries of one photo and two poems.  There have been just a lot of changes, a lot of places to go, a lot of things to do.

But Friday, I had the best job of the entire summer.  One that lifted my spirits and cheered my soul.  I went to the airport to pick up . . .


I mean, how fun was that?! (And she does not take a bad photo if she tries, may I add.)  Now, Audrey is really a dear friend of Molly.  You know, Molly who is a figment of my imagination in the winter and a real person in the summer.  Molly is having a significant fabulous birthday, and Audrey flew up to surprise her.  I had never actually met Audrey, but she has been an Internet friend and beloved friend of this blog for several years.  It was a tremendous joy to get to meet her and drive her up to West Lake Woebegone.  We were most chatty all the way.  I am sure we are twins separated at birth.

Why I got the unfortunate Minnesota winter end of the deal, I don't know.

Audrey had never been to Minnesota and it was so fun to see what she noticed -- how green it is, for example.  We looked at all the significant things to see between the airport and West Lake Woebegone. "There's the Mall of America! Here's where the Vikings practice!  Look quick you can see downtown Minneapolis! Here's where Kim Kardashian ate a french fry last weekend!"  It occurred to me that I forgot to point out that we passed through Sinclair Lewis' hometown on the way, which was probably the one significant landmark we passed, but there you go.

Anyway, I believe she's back on her way to Arizona today -- a little bit wiser, able to identify a "hot dish" and such.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Tuesday Poem on Wednesday

We're having two poems this week because it is too hot to think.  Please remind me I felt this way come January.

It's a camping poem which is sort of silly because:
1. It's too hot to go camping.

2. The state parks are shut down, so we'd have to go camping in the backyard.  And why would we do that when we can be inside in the air conditioning? I think we have fully established now that I am a very poor outdoors person.

And that makes me laugh and dedicate today's poem to my cousin JP again.  Shortly after Brent and I were married we stopped at his house on our way to camping in Yellowstone National Park.  JP had apparently missed what we were doing because he said to his mother, "Lisa?!?! Camping?!?!"  Let me make this clear -- too many camping trips on the frozen mountainside with my parents scarred me for life.  I can camp; I just prefer the steady temperature and reliably horizontal surface of a hotel bed.

Winifred C. Marshall

Summertime has come again
And camping days are here,
With fishing, swimming, boating, too -- 
The best time of the year.

We climb the trees and go on hikes,
And all grow strong and brown.
Our friends will hardly know us
When we get back to town.

We do not miss the telephone,
The movies, or the cars,
When we can fish and hike all day,
And sleep beneath the stars.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Poem for Tuesday

Well, in spite of the fact that my state government has shut down and therefore shut down all rest areas (Please explain to me why going to the bathroom is not an "essential service."), I am in a patriotic mood.

I dedicate this week's poem to my cousin JP and he knows why.

There'll Always Be America
Nona Keen Duffy

There'll always be America
To stretch from sea to sea,
A land so brave and free!

Let's help to build America,
A land for future years,
A place where people may be safe,
And free from grief and fears.

There'll always be America --
Let's build her to endure,
Let's build for future citizens,
And liberty ensure.

Let's help to build America,
Let's serve her every cause,
Let's keep democracy alive,
And help uphold her laws!

Monday, July 18, 2011


Oh, friends and loved ones, what a week.

That's me at the beginning of the week, all fresh and lovely.  There are no photos of me at the end of the week, exhausted and drained looking.  I have a love/hate relationship with Vacation Bible School.  I'm up there, jumping around like a cheerleader reassuring myself that it's all worth it.  Then, I get done and a little voice in my head says, "You are an idiot and everyone knows it."  I am sure you have never heard a little voice like that, but I have.  If I could just slap that little voice, I certainly would. Maybe the little voice keeps me humble . . . or something.  I don't know.  I just want to slap it.

At any rate, we had 225 kids who sang and danced and ate cupcakes shaped like pandas.  If they're anything like D, they are still singing and dancing around the house today.  That idea makes it worth it to me -- that they are still feeling the joy today.

Excuse me while I go smack my little voice . . .

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Pandas Everywhere!

Well, kids, it's VBS week up here in the Northland.  I am going to take the week off to focus on keeping my ears on straight. Pastor Rol who has been my opening skit partner the past few years has made a special trip up from Texas where he moved last year to join me as "Panda Pete."  It should be quite a riot.

P.S. I am disabling comments on my blog for now. I've heard from a few of you that commenting is difficult. Until I check it out more thoroughly, I'm just going to shut the whole thing down.  You can send me your thoughts telepathically for now. (wink)

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Teenager

This weekend I become the mother of a teenager.

Don't look too closely, he's chewing a rice krispie bar in this photo, but he's so cute I love it anyway.

I'm trying to decide if becoming the mother of a teen requires a personal crisis of some sort.  I'm feeling like it doesn't. Or maybe I should say, I don't have time.  Or maybe I should say, our house had one kid get married and that seemed like a bigger personal crisis.

No . . . I think I'll wait. There's always plenty of time for personal crisis, and so far he's a perfectly reasonable teenager.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Actual Summer

Remember this post way back in January?  Back when it was all snowy?

Well, it's not now!!  And a couple of days ago we spent the afternoon actually at Molly's and not just at Molly's in my mind.  Here is our hostess and her husband Mark who prefers it when I write short entries.

I mean how great are they?

Here is Colin "boating."

Here is Preschooler D the next day at Grandma's with a weapon hand selected for him by Grandma.

Here is Brent in D's hat.  That man looks good in anything.

As enjoyable a trip to Denial as I had back in January, this is better.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Not guilty

I think, like all my trial junkie friends, I watched the verdict with my jaw dropped completely to the floor.  Caylee didn't get dead in a garbage bag in the woods all by herself, no matter how active a toddler she may have been.  Someone else did that to her.

Was it her mother?

We'll probably never ever know.  OJ Simpson finally wrote a book on how he did it, but I suspect no one will let Casey be that stupid even if she tries.  Before we head to Orlando with our blazing torches and pitchforks, though, here's what we have to decide -- Will we take the American justice system when it fails on the assumption that the majority of time it works?  Are we ready to stand behind the concept of "innocent until proven guilty" even when all roads lead to a garbage bag in the woods? . . . Or are we willing to take our chances with a different system of justice?

I'm not.

Here's why -- I believe in a God of justice.  Sometimes on this earth it seems like there is no fairness and no justice, but the Bible says that in the end, God himself will weigh things out.  Right here and now she had to stand in front of a jury of her peers who were given only the information the court deemed pertinent to the case.  At some point in time, she will have to answer to the God who sees all and knows all.  He knows what happened, and He will decide at that time how to balance out her eternity.

Frankly, that idea makes me a little nervous as well.  There are things that I have done that He will know that no one else does, and He will call me into account for them.  That's why I like the Jesus deal.  I believe Jesus traded his life, so that when I stand before God I will be innocent -- not just not guilty. Because I believe that, I live my life avoiding things like lying to the police, my parents, myself, and I try to keep my children out of harm's way.

No matter what you think really happened, surely we can agree Casey is not well.  She cannot tell the truth -- maybe because she has no concept of reality.  I'm not saying I feel sorry for her, but I don't think she knows she's crazy, and as I have learned over the years, realizing the extent of your sanity is what life is all about.

At least I know I'm crazy.

A Poem for Tuesday

I'm a day late celebrating Independence Day, but it's never really too late, is it?

A Song for Our Flag
Rachel M. Rolsheim

Sing for our flag.
Our country's flag!
We love its stripes and stars!
The stars of white on a field of blue,
The white and crimson bars.

Sing for the flag,
Our country's flag!
Emblem of liberty!
It floats above our beauteous land,
Protecting you and me.

Sing for the flag,
Our country's flag!
Oh, may it ever be
A brave and gallant symbol
Of truth and liberty!