A Few Observations

It was sixty something degrees today.  That's huge for ND in March.  It makes us all feel like there is life again and another winter is getting done and over with.   I will say this though, having those yuckville winters makes us really appreciate the first warm days.  It would be a safe bet to say that most people take a little extra time to stop and notice the greening grass, the chirping birds, and the playing kids. 

I went grocery shopping right after work to get items to make for a staff potluck tomorrow and I grabbed myself some flowers.  Heck, they were $5.99 and it just seemed like the right thing to do on the first warm day.  I've spent that much money on worse things than flowers before, like, for instance, a trapper keeper back in the eighties.  Yep, I bought flowers for myself and while I was picking them out there was a man in his forties standing next to me doing his own picking and I said to him, "Buying those for yourself?"  Then he said to me, "No."  Then I said, "Well you should try it sometime."  Then he walked away.   

I put those lovely five dolla flowers in front of my kitchen window because I have to do all of that cooking tonight and maybe they will help me get through it.  All that mixing, stirring, measuring, baking, boiling...it's just too much for me sometimes. 

I also strongly recommend putting flowers in blue mason jars instead of vases.  It's pretty.  And it has nothing to do with the fact that I couldn't find a vase.  Nothing at all.  I'm sticking with pretty. 

Flowers in the kitchen equal instant heart happy.  Go buy yourself some flowers tomorrow.  Just do it. 

Onto other findings from the grocery store...did you know that you can buy eggs SIX at a time?  It's plain crazy!  Six instead of twelve.  I've been buying twelve all of these years and then it's inevitable that I throw some away.  I spotted the six pack today and literally said out loud, "WHAT?!  Eggs come in a six pack?!" 

There happened to be a shelf stocker next to me stocking the eggs and after my sudden outburst over the egg six pack he turned to me and nonchalantly said, "Yep."  At that time in my grocery shopping extravaganza all I had in my cart was the flowers I was buying myself and I'm sure the poor guy thought I was half cracked.  

Half cracked?  Eggs.  Sometimes I can't even handle myself.    

I finished up the grocery shopping and headed home; the sun was shining, my sunroof was open, I was elated about the six pack of eggs, and it really just couldn't get much better.  Then, I pulled up into my driveway and the ugly side of spring reared it's head.  Yuck.   

Along with all of that bird chirping, grass growing, and kid playing comes this nasty, nastiness. 

I really, really dislike the nasty part of spring.  It just doesn't sit well with me.  The dirt.  Oh, the dirt.  The smooshed brown grass.  Oh, the smooshed brown grass.   

And this?  This I don't even know what to say about.  First of all I'm not exactly sure if that Pampers box is in my neighbor's yard or mine.  It's a horse a piece.  I know it didn't come from my house, but I'm not thinking it came from theirs either as they are in their mid sixties.  Hmmm...it's the case of the mysterious diaper box.  But, seriously, look at all that loveliness.  It just doesn't get any better than that. 

As I was pondering the Pampers box, I couldn't help but realize buying a house in the winter is like marrying someone without knowing their real name or what kind of underwear they wear.  When I bought my house, the yard was under a solid three feet of snow.  For all I knew, it could have been hiding a cemetery.  I made some startling finds today, no cemeteries, but still interesting.  Number one being this rock.  What a beautiful piece of landscaping for the previous owners to leave behind for me. 

Number two being this landscaping.  Now, I know it's hard to believe but I'm more excited about this landscaping than the rock.  If you are not from ND, you are probably having a hard time believing this actually could be completely covered, but I'm here to tell you...it was.  There's still a tiny little remnant left over.     

What an afternoon.  Flowers, eggs in a six pack, finding hidden treasures in my yard, and you haven't even heard the best part yet.  The best part was while I was taking a picture of that lovely rock, I looked up and saw one of the neighbors I haven't met yet.  She was standing there staring.  I can't imagine why?  Maybe she had been standing there long enough to see me take a picture of the street drain, the curb, and the diaper box.  I just looked at her and smiled and ran to the backyard.  It seemed like the right thing to do.   


George Roman

Brother and Sil welcomed their newest addition on Friday, March 26.  He is a boy.  Which is a good thing because if I said "he" let's hope I'm talking boy.  A big, big boy, 8 lbs. 14 oz., with quite a bit of dark hair.  And, he's the cutest baby ever.  I can say that; I'm the aunt.  Of course Firecracker and Easy Rider were both the cutest babies ever too. 

His name is George Roman.  It fits him. 

See like I said, cutest baby ever. 

I had to work all day Friday after hearing of his birth and it was killer.  The minute I could leave, I jetted to the hospital and this is the sight I walked into.  I told myself not to cry but rather capture the moment instead.  But, seriously, this was a sweet thing to see.  Good to know George will receive plenty of Nana love just like the other two.   

I told Mom to look at me, I snapped one more picture, and then I promptly told her to hand him over.  Now.  It was my turn. 

It was just Mom, Sil, and I at the hospital at this time; it was nice to get some quality snuggling time in.  I had to explain to Mom how to focus my camera and what buttons to push to get that to happen and Sil piped in with, "Take one on my camera too and what you have to do for that is to just point it and then hit the top button."  Have to love that Sil was popping out one liners while still quite sedated.   

Then, Sister Pister arrived and Sil and I decided that we were going to vote her off the island for being too beautiful.  She's starting to make the rest of us look bad. 

I then had to take this picture because I noticed the color coordination.  The family that color coordinates together...stays together. 

Brother came back from checking his cows and stole George away from us.  The nerve.  You'd think George was his or something. 

I made Brother laugh with something ridiculous I said about his eyes never being open.  It's calving season on Brother and Sil's ranch and during calving season Brother always grows a beard of some form.  It's an interesting tradition and that's all I will say.  :)  But, this is one proud Dad.   

Things got crazy as the rest of the troops arrived.  Firecracker and Easy Rider love George and think they will keep him.  This is a good thing because I think even if you have your receipt, the return policy on babies is a bit iffy.   

Firecracker is just really excited she has another brother to boss around.  She also loves him very much already and it is so very cute to see her show that sister love. 

As far as Easy Rider goes, he's more like, "What I have a brother?"  "What does this all mean for me?" 

So I eased his fears by saying, "Say cheese."  And he did.  I think these two will be quite the buddies. 

I love Easy Rider's little hand on George's head.  Big brother to little brother. 

I didn't take any pictures of Sil that day because I know if I ever give birth, there will be no pictures until the day after.  Also, I don't have any pictures of Dad-o with his newest grandson because he had to go back to the farm and clean grain.  He did get in some Papa time in the morning, but I was at work.  Some of us have to work.  Cleaning grain?  That's not work...that's for sissies.     

Yesterday, I made a zip trip up to see the little man again because I wanted some time with him before I took Firecracker and Easy Rider for the night. 

You heard me.  Firecracker and Easy Rider spent the night under my care.  They survived.  They were spoiled.  I'm tired.  Really tired.  I give all of you moms out there some major kudos.  It's hard work.  

I dropped Firecracker and Easy Rider off today and snapped a picture of Sil with her baby.  She's one of the best moms in the whole world and George is lucky to have her.   And, she already looks great! 

I couldn't resist this one last picture before I tore myself away.  It's a heart happy picture. 

We have one more little nut in our family and we are all very happy and excited.  He will realize fairly quickly, we are a bunch of odd nuts, but I'm sure he will fit right in. 


Mom and Dad-o emailed me this picture because well, it just doesn't look or feel right to not have the whole fam represented.  This is from Mom's camera.  I'm sure Papa is already plotting his adventures with George. 


No Neutral

I washed my car today.  Correction; I sat in my car while it was washed.  There is a difference.  I went to the car wash that is named after a little green leaping animal.  This is important to know because there was a period of about eight years in my life when I would not, under any circumstances, go to the car wash named after a little green leaping animal.  I was severly embarrassed at the car wash named after a little green leaping animal when I was fourteen.  Like crawl into a hole embarrassed.  Actually, like crawl into a hole and die embarrassed. 

So today, I took pictures while going through the car wash named after a little green leaping animal and thought of my story and couldn't help but chuckle to myself.  It pains me a wee bit to share this story, but at the same time, I love a good laugh and this is a guaranteed laugh maker. 

I was fourteen.  I was newly licensed.  On a side note, you just have to love a state that will license a person to drive a car at the age of fourteen.  I guess it's good I had already had YEARS of driving experience on the farm by that time.  Anyways, back to the nitty gritty.  Fourteen.  New license.  And...new car.  Well, not new, but new to me. 

I was by myself going to the car wash named after a little green leaping animal; I was nervous because I wasn't exactly sure how it all worked.  How do you get the ticket?  Where do you drive?  What if you run into something?  What if the car wash stops?  I wasn't exactly the most observant teenager so apparently I had missed all of these steps the 352 times I had been at the car wash with someone else.  

So there I was in my in blue Cavalier.  Ticket in hand.  Driving up with Little Guy directing me where to drive.  Made it all the way to the point where he put his hand in stop mode.  He opens the door and says while taking my ticket, "Put your car in neutral and keep your hands off the wheel." 


Neutral?  Neutral?  Huh?  This is what was running through my brain.  Little Guy must have noticed the look of horror on my face because he said again, "Put your car in neutral and keep your hands off the wheel."  It was at this point I decided well, I guess I just have to tell him.  Set him straight. 

So I say...

"Umm...my car doesn't have a neutral."  To which he says...

"Yes it does."  To which I say...

"No it doesn't.  It's an automatic."  To which he says...

"You have a neutral.  Every vehicle has a neutral."  To which I say again because I'm starting think he's not so swift...

"It doesn't have a neutral.  It's an automatic!"  To which he says...

"The BIG N.  It's the BIG N.  Put your shifter next to the BIG N."  To which I say while acting out shifting a manual transmission....

"It's an automatic.  I don't have to shift it.  I don't have a neutral."  To which he doesn't say anything but rather reaches into my car and points at the BIG N on my dashboard.  To which I say...  

"Ok.  Got it."   

Holy moly.  Serious case of wanting to crawl into a hole and disappear.  I quickly shut my door and Little Guy was dumb founded.  After he got over his shock, I could see him in the rear view mirror go and tell his other little guy friends.  By this time, I just wanted out.  But, I had to suffer through the rest of the car wash being the dumb blonde girl who didn't know where neutral on her car was or that she even had a neutral and by the time I got to the end of the car wash named after a little green leaping animal, the dryer boys knew about the neutral.  They pointed.  They laughed.  They pointed some more.  They laughed some more.    

Finally they were done drying and I thought it was all over but, NO.  No, the car wash gods were against me.  Totally against me.  I got hung up on the end of the tracks.  Hung up on the end to the point the dryer boys had to lift the back of my car off the track.  It was enough     to.   do.   me.   in.  

I drove away from there swearing to myself I would never, never go back.  And I didn't.  For eight years.  

When I did finally go back, because I decided it was time to face the dragon, on the direction sign outside of the car wash named after a little green leaping animal next to where it said, "Put your car in neutral" was a picture.  A picture of the BIG N.  I can't help but wonder if I played some role in adding a visual to the directions.  

I will just say this in my defense.  I had been driving stick shifts on the farm and was used to actually having to shift into neutral for a reason.  Never had I ever needed to shift my little blue Cavalier into neutral; therefore in my brain, it just didn't have one.  It was an automatic.  

The embarrassment.  Oh, the embarrassment.  But, it makes a great story to tell around a campfire.  Or around a bar.  Or around a table.  Or around a couch.  You get the point.   

ps.  Today I was the crazy blonde lady taking pictures inside the car wash.  Good thing I don't get embarrassed anymore.  You get a thick skin after years of stories very similar to the one above. 


The Steps to a Runner

So about three weekends ago, before life got a little crazy, Mom and I whipped up a little table runner.  If you will remember with me, I bought the fabric and embarrased myself with a little slipper/shoe incident a looooong time ago and my inspiration came from Anthropolgie -- my favorite store which I can't afford except for the sales.  

We finally got down to getting it done and I'm actually quite proud of myself because I did 90% of the sewing myself.  Of course Mom was there to fix anything that went bananas, but still.  

So without further ado...the steps to a runner...for your table.  I have no advice on how to become an actual runner.  

First, you do a ridiculous amount of math because you don't have a pattern. 

I'm talking a seriously ridiculous amount of math; so much so the Pythagorean Theorem was busted out.  That's serious. 

Then, you have your mom cut the fabric into the correct size pieces because you don't trust yourself with sharp objects.  All because of one incident with a squash the day before Thanksgiving that ended in stitches.  And, please don't be alarmed by the lack of a fingertip in this picture.  That is not from the squash cutting incident; this is Mom's finger.  It's caused by a little mishap known as "Are you fingers clear?  Are you sure they are clear?"  "AHHHHHHHH!!!!!!"  "They weren't clear!!  They weren't clear!!"  between Mom and Brother that occured on a fine fall day with a trailer.   

Next up is to line all of those little pieces up and organize them so they are exactly how you want them. 

Then, you get sidetracked and take a picture of thread and want to say to yourself, "Oh pretty thread" instead of "Oh pretty bird." 

After that, you get back to business and finalize the plan before you start to sew. 

Next is to start sewing.  You take two pieces that are next to each other and connect them right side to right side leaving a quarter inch seam allowance.  All the while reminding yourself it's time to paint the good ol' nails again.   

While you get the next strip ready, you have your mom iron the seam you just sewed. 

Then, you sew on the next strip right side to right side yet again. 

That's right.  You have your mom do the ironing again. 

Next, you sew the next strip right side to right side.  How long do you want me to keep saying and posting pictures of this?  Huh?  Huh? 

After that, you realize no one wants to see anymore pictures of the same thing over and over again, so you just get your little self busy sewing and finish the top.  Voila! 

The crazy finger makes its debut again to "fussy" cut the squares for the top.  Fussy cut means to actually pick out what part of the fabric you want to show.  It's not random.  It's fussy.    

Then, you iron the edges of those squares all in so they look finished and you forget to take pictures of those steps because you were so worried about burning your fingers.  Your mom left you stranded to tend to others so you had to that tricky ironing on your own.  No time for the camera.  No time.  After all of that hard ironing, you lay out the squares how you would like them on top of the runner.  If you are feeling really sneaky, you can make some triangles out of those squares. 

Pin people.  Pin. 

Then, Mom comes back to you and she practices the top stitch to do around the squares and triangles. Your heart sings because you like it that much. 

After seeing the concentration it takes to sew that top stitch, you make your mom do that part because you know you have the concentration of a flea. 

You admire people.  Admire. 

Have your mom finish the top stitching because she did such a smashing job. 

Admire again people.  Admire again. 

Then, you go home because your eyeballs are coming out of your head and you are tired.  The runner is not  complete though, it has to be quilted.  So the next weekend, you go back to your parents' house and finish it.  It has to get a filling and then you have to do this "stitch in the ditch" thing on top of every seam.  You don't take a single picture of that whole process.  Why?  Because you are just cool like that.  You don't need to.  When it's done, you go eat some cake at Sil's house and come home and put it on your table.   

You realize in your heart of hearts that the rooster is so very necessary in your dining room; so very, very necessary. 

I don't know if you can get much more detailed directions than that.  Never mind I gave you no measurements, no settings, and didn't take pictures of many important things.  I don't want to spoon feed you though, that would just make you lazy and dependent.

Happy sewing!