Thursday, December 8, 2016

Christmas B -I-N-G-O

Two things I inherited from my Grandma Rose Bruhn. One was an old wooden bingo set, and the other, her trundle sewing machine. After some thought, I decided the sewing machine that faithfully sewed many, many quilts, really should be with the master quilter in our family, Patty Bruhn Hatvick. Horse trader by nature, when I gave it to her and she ask what she could give or do for me in return,  I ask her to make some Easter placemats out of one of Mom's old square dance dresses, and some of her favorite clothes. Mom always wore pastels, so Easter was a perfect fit, and a perfect trade, and they're beautiful! Thank you Patty!

My bingo set was all complete, except one number that was written in in pencil, and in Grandmas neat small handwriting. We used that set to start playing bingo with the kids on Christmas day, way back when. With that old set, and using dry beans or cereal( that somehow disappeared as we went) for markers, you would put all the wooden coins in a cardboard shaker box, and shake out one at a time. I have really fond memories of the Moore kids playing game after game of bingo, around the table in Minot for little toy prizes, like hot wheels or other little dollar store goodies. All to soon, the kids grew up and our bingo days with them ended. We moved here to Phoenix,  and after a few stints of Rock Band... we decided to dissolve the band, pack it up and go back to bingo.  I got the idea, why don't I spend 100.00 on gift cards that would help alleviate some of the pain of spending after Christmas when they could use them most, and a new tradition began.

Grandmas old bingo set with the cardboard shaker box, started getting pretty tattered and torn, so I was pretty ecstatic when I found a new set, complete with a metal roller cage at the Goodwill store, a few years back. I even bought some resin and a piece of wood and with a drill made little grooves in the resin for my called balls to sit in,  and had a nice functioning, "high tech" bingo caller board!

Time marches on however, and guess what? Last year Brendon found an app that does the calling for me,  so now we can put the phone in the center of the table and it calls and we play! Technology putting another human out of a job I guess, but I'm not chasing loose balls under the table every few rolls of the cage, so I'm good with it!

A lot of things have changed, but one thing that hasn't at our house is, gathering around the table to play bingo on Christmas Day. We still laugh and talk, shush each other, ask if B6 has been called for the third time, complain about sleepers, and get excited when we finally Bingo and get a turn to shuffle through the gift cards! It's fun to pick the one we need or want the most. For the grand finale we play for a 20.00 gift card.  This is maybe to...a gas station, a grocery store,  or somewhere everyone goes.  Moral to this story - it's not always the big things we do, but the small,  that make Christmas merry and bright.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Hooked On Hallmark

Shelbey, Mom and I always participated in our annual day of after Christmas shopping when Shelbey was small. It was such a good way to unwind from the Christmas holiday, stock up on bulbs and lights for the next year, and haul home enough wrapping paper for the next three years ( we did that every year)!  In 1987 I  bought my first Hallmark ornament, the little chimney sweep. I always thought Hallmark ornaments were cute but wow, $9.00 or so, was a crazy price for me back then when I had so many gifts to buy. Half price after Christmas however, was just enough to tip the scales to buy it. That was the beginning…the next year instead of one I bought two etc. There were two shops in the same mall that sold Hallmark ornaments. I decided we'd be more effient in our hunt if I sent Shelbey in one shop  and I’d go to the other. I instructed her to just pick out the ones that you like,  and then when I get back we’ll decide on what to buy so we didn't buy doubles. I’d buy mine and hurry down to the other shop to find her usually empty handed or with one maybe, clutched in her fist shoved back against the wall, by more aggressive shoppers. 

Fast forward a few years, and now Sydney was joining our after Christmas shopping and I’d send the girls to the one store and I’d go to the other. THEN when I came back it was a different scene! Sydney has as many as she could hold, diving in and out of shoppers,  and trying to convince Shelbey to do the same. That’s the difference between my daughters in a nut shell still today. Both have qualities I love, but they are very different. We continued to buy half price ornaments for many years and I have quite a collection now. I never collected for value, or in series, or to make money,  or any of that, it was all for love of what I wanted on my tree personally. 

These days I buy only a couple usually before Christmas with a coupon and sometimes for gifts for the kids. Easton had a ball today looking at all the different ornaments from over the years and I had a ball sharing them with him. Let me share some pictures of my favorites. You know the ones on the front of the tree every year. Do you do that? Put your least favorite on the back?  Anyway, thats my Hallmark addiction. 
My first one, Chimney Sweep 1987

My Mom one...

Easton's favorite, he plays the drums 

Briars favorite, plays
Holiday Road.

Another favorite

Cute little tea drinkers

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Talk To The Hand

You two have been in a relationship seven years…when are you getting married?  When are you having children? The older you are the harder it is you know. I wish you wouldn't eat that!  

Have you been ask questions like that, by over zealous, extroverted strangers, or worse yet, well meaning friends or family? Sometimes, some comment like that can send your day down the toliet in a mighty swirl! The worst part of this whole scenario is for me, the admission that I have been the rude, inappropriate dummy that ask some of those hurtful questions I’m sure. I’ll be the first to admit my boundaries aren't always good, and I think at the time I thought I was being helpful.  I’m such an open book, that I’m sometimes surprised that others aren’t. I’m also a know it all by nature, and what the heck, I just embrace it at this point! To anyone reading this that I’ve offended let me take this opportunity to apologize if you were on the receiving end of one of my comments. 

A couple years ago,  our family traveled to Hawaii. Easton had just started walking. Sydney was a young Mom, and I don’t know if that lead a woman to think she needed her unsolicited opinion or what her reason was to interject herself in her business, but let me tell you a quick story.  We got to the airport at 430 am. There was a long winding line while waiting to check our bags. Easton was wide awake and had ridden over in the car seat if course,  and now he’s was in a stroller and wanting to get out.  Feeling sorry for him she let him out and let him run, and she followed him around, while the rest of us inched her bags closer to the scales. Finally all 9 of us were checked in, and ready to make our way to the elevators, and on  up to the gates. Sydney still had the stroller with a carseat strapped in it, her carry one and his carry on. That meant he HAD to get in the stroller and be pushed! Of course like  most toddlers, he put up a fight, and she tried to explain we are going up in the elevator to go up to the gates. About the time she’s buckling his little arched back in the straps, a grey haired lady  approached and said, “Can’t you let him walk?” We all slowly turned our heads in disbelief that this strange woman, was interjecting her unwanted opinion, into this private moment in a public place! Sydney remained friendly but firm, and said something like, “no I have to much to carry until we get to the gate”. The woman stood by the stroller and made no effort to get on her way. Finally, the rest of gathered around Syd, and walked toward the elevator. Sydney was fuming, feeling hurt and defensive!  She wanted to tell her to buzz off!

So what should we do when these things happen, as they do to all of us at some point I'm sure? I did a little research on it, and here are some things I found from Psych Central. First of all, put up an invisible shield. Don't let any bad energy penetrate you. Next politely advocate for yourself and leave,  or remain silent and leave. Silence, sometimes can say more that words can. Wayne Dyer,  has said, “How people treat you is their karma, how you react is yours.”

On a lighter side, sometimes these strangers can go the other way and give you rave reviews and or a compliment, which affects our mood in reverse! “You sure don't look sixty”, or “l love your hair color”!  Wow, now a comment like that by a stranger is validating, and can immediately lift your spirits!  I give  you permission to let that penetrate your heart! 

So, I’m going to leave you with a twist on George Elliot’s quote about friendship. In this case be the friend to yourself. When someone pours out their thoughts about you, take the chaff and grain together, and with your gentle hands sift it, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away!” If you aren't kind to yourself who will be? 

Saturday, June 18, 2016

The Great Walmart Caper

Do you ever decide your going to keep a journal and then you do it for awhile, and then fall off the wagon? Personally, I’m really good at falling of the wagon, on numerous endeavors too,  but that's a whole other blog ha. I started going through a bunch of my stuff in my room last week while Easton was at Bible school and found a journal that I'd kept while Mom was first sick with Alzheimers. She could still talk some,  but physically she would need help getting in and out of the car. During that time, Mom, Marcy and I,  had what was for me, the funniest trip to Walmart I ever had. 

It stared like this; I drove us up to the garden center door of Walmart in Minot, North Dakota,  to run in and get a quick item. Marcy and I both went in to choose the item, and left Mom in the car. It was mid Sept, so not hot or cold out, and back then any crime was unheard of. Mom stayed in the backseat while we hurried and got what we needed and Marcy decided to go to the front of the store to use the bathroom, and I took what we bought to the car. After sitting in the car for a minute, chatting to Mom,  I spotted my pictures I was meant to copy on the dash. The picture machine was at the front of the store, right by the bathrooms. I said to Mom, we’ll just pull up to that door in the front row and Marcy can come out and sit with you when she's done in the bathroom and I’ll copy the pictures on the machine. So we pulled up to the first row, and I went in the store ( I could see Mom from the machine if I looked out). I started copying pictures and soon after Marcy came out of the bathroom. I ask her if she had the coupon we'd clipped for these prints and she said, “No it’s in the car”, and then offered to go get it and check on Mom at the same time. I kept printing away because now I had an impatient customer behind me and I had a lot of them to print. Seemed like Marcy was gone forever, I remember thinking more than once. All of a sudden from behind me I heard Marcy nearly yell my name! I turned around to see her standing in the doorway, on the Walmart door mat, with a frantic upset look on her face! She exclaimed in a loud voice, “ Either I’ve lost my mind or the car is gone”! She threw her arms out wide in exasperation! Laughing immediately, I walked away from my pictures on the machine (The person behind me nearly had smoke coming out her ears now) and to Marcy! Cackling like a hyena, I gave my puzzled, annoyed sister her a hug! Instantly, I knew I HAD FORGOTTEN TO TELL HER I MOVED THE CAR TO THE OTHER SIDE OF THE BUILDING! Between the cackling I spit out that I'd moved the car! She had been searching up and down rows of cars back by the garden center, with visions of carjackers, kidnappers, or Mom driving off and going who knows where! At first Marcy isn't joining in on this funny, funny episode! I was still laughing like a lunatic, and she was still acting like she been hit with a stun gun! No smile, no it's ok, nothing.

After explaining our what could be a comedy act in my mind,  to the not too receptive people around us, we left the store and the other patrons were pretty happy about that I'm sure! When we got to the car I had to tell Mom the hilarious story, and she kicked out in her broken way, “you shouldn't be laughing, you’re just lucky she has a strong heart”! 

To this day I don't think Marcy finds it as funny as I do but, this is one of my favorite stories, and I’m so glad I was on the journal writing wagon, at the time and wrote it down. 

Monday, April 25, 2016

Life Without Rules = Mass Chaos

Do you believe the advice that many psychologists give to parents of unruly children when they say, “ children want and need rules and boundaries?”  They say it makes them feel safe and secure to know what is expected and what is going on in their world. I am about to step out on a limb and say, we adults want and need the same thing!  I think it’s a problem today, that we no longer know who’s role is what? Anything goes, and any behavior is supposed to not just  to be tolerated, but accepted and promoted!  Isn't it amazing that yet, instead of a better world, we are lost, frightened, and no longer believe in any higher authority? For me thats because, too many doctors have chosen to not care when we needed them the most, too many pastors have called our kids “little shits” and sexually done far worse than that, too many police have shot someone just because they had the power to do it, too many governing officials live large and corruptly while we pick up the tab, too many teachers have lost their professionalism and been cruel to our children, too many elderly have been slapped around in nursing homes!

I want the rules back! I want morales back! I want to feel safe and secure again. I want to have a doctor that you go to for years and when you wind up in the hospital they show up concerned, and try their best to get you well. I want to go to a church with a pastor that probably isn't having affairs with multiple women, like ours was here awhile back while talking lovingly about his wife on stage, and conducting marriage seminars advising others on marriage at the same time! I want to tell my kids to always mind the teachers,  and in return to expect the teacher to be fair and professional to them. I want men and women to have roles again, and know what they are and step up and deliver. We have gone so far with gender equality that some men are quick to say,  you work and I’ll stay home and many women are doing 90%. Don’t we need a right and wrong? Don't we need to know how to best live in an ordered society? How do we live in any order when there are no social rules, and only laws? In the quest to accept all, we have lost our way in many ways in my opinion.  It’s no wonder children and adults alike are hiding in phones and video games! We can’t handle real life anymore… it’s so scary, even we adults can’t deal with it! 

I liked society better when people really sacrificed to become professionals, because they put so much into becoming those professionals that they came out with great purpose.  They set out in the world with a message something like, I care about you, and I want to serve my profession and mankind in a way that you see me as an authority in my chosen profession, and I'm someone who you can respect and rely on in that field. It seemed we could back then. I remember when I got into the social work program in Minot State years ago. There were about eleven of us in the program. I remember thinking that if I needed counseling (because I’d been though some by that time in my life), which of these people would I want to see, say I just dialed randomly from the phone book? ONE, one person who wasn't skipping class as much as possible, copying other peoples work, or just that seemed to be getting a piece of paper to earn a higher wage. That was the first time I remember being a little frightened, and understood why when looking for a mental health professional it's said to keep looking until you find one that you can click with if you fail to the first time.   You have probably heard the saying,  “children can never have too many positive role models in their lives”. I say adults need positive role models in their peers, and in their lives as well. It gives us a sense of hope, stability and direction. 

What kind of world is this when we are talking about bathrooms to use? Whether Christian principles our country was founded on, have to be compromised? Common sense just seems to be gone!  I don't know about you but I am overwhelmed. It could be my age I suppose, but mostly I am sad that all of our belief in society is so compromised. The political races are enough to make you lose all hope in humanity! 

So what are  the answers? What can we do? Personally, I tell my kids to follow the popular Bible study and, “put on the armor of God for you to live personally in your relationship with God. Stand on God’s word and be of that world first. Be people the world can depend on. Brendon, when you weigh the parcels for the plane tonight at work, do it well, so that that plane arrives safe and the pilot and all who depend on you, can know that you are the best aircraft loader you can be. Shelbey, be that professional teacher that doesn't have the two popular kids chose sides, while the unpopular are left unchosen day after day. When a kid in your class gets in trouble its because they chose to run through rule number one, two and three and now your parent is here and not because as the teacher you don't like them for some reason. Be the teacher they can believe in to be fair. Speaking of that, we were reminiscing one day about when Brendon was acting up in band in high school. The teacher said he was throwing keys and being disruptive, and he said she had it out for him. So I decided to go to band for a week. Every day I showed up and just sat in. He didn't want me there and the teacher didn't want me there either. That's all it took to resolve that.  I was trying to show the teacher if I have to show up and babysit him I will, and I was trying to show Brendon that I'll come and see for myself what's going on. Needless to say they had never a problem again after that week. Sad thing is you can't even do that these days because of the schools fear of school shooters! Sydney, run that business as honestly as you can, so the owner knows he can count on you to be fair honest with his company. Show those you manage that you will work as hard as they do. That your customers know you will give them the best haircut and customer service you can! And as a mother and grandmother I need to live up to being the best influence I can be in these little peoples lives. My Mother impacted my children immensely, and I want to do that too, in my own way. I think if we all did our very best to be people of integrity, and purposely be the brightest star in our own world we can restore peoples faith in humanity one at a time. 

I never want to write negative blogs, but the idea that living with no boundaries is the way to go -just doesn't fly with me. Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men-Douglas Bader

My Celebrity Dinner Party

If you had a celebrity dinner party for ten who would you invite?  Hmmm....first of all I wouldn't,  so this is total fantasy. So heres my list and I'd love to hear yours, and why.

1. Dr. Phil just because I admire straight shooters and maybe I'd learn something.

2. Kris Kardashian; I'd like to ask her some Mom questions.

3. Larry Fitzgerald; he seems like a really nice, genuine guy.

4. Celine Dion; I like her. She's kooky and real.

5. Oprah, I'd like to tell her how disappointed I am in her after loving her for years and believing she  didn't see color and now is all about color.

6. Garth Brooks, he's seen highs and seen depression too. I'd like to talk to him about that.

7. Samantha Brown, I'd like to talk travel with her and get some tips.

8. Ryan Gosling, he can't possibly be so quirky and cute can he?

9. Gerry Dee, he's funny.

10. Shawn Hannity, he has interesting ideas.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Bucket List

Do you have a bucket list? Are you one of those people who says, I don’t think, I just live? Or, is it your style to live in your head make promises to yourself you will go on vacation “someday”?  I think I am somewhere in between. Living with anxiety, I can think of all kinds of adventures that are the typical bucket list items a lot of people have on their list, that I would have to be shot with a tranquilizer gun ( and a big one at that), to attempt. Things like snorkeling, when I don't like the water that much or the thought of trying to shimmy my excess poundage into one of those wet suits almost as badly, is something to fear. I'll watch the fish through glass and I'm ok with that.  Climb Machu Picchu? Nah, anything that involves climbing I left behind after about a year of life. A picture is worth 1000 steps in this case.  Skydiving…jumping out of the plane… I could do that one, but I'm really worried about breaking something on the land. I value my limbs, hip sockets, knees …and you know what a gazelle that I am!

I like to think I “live” a realistic bucket list, and kind of always did because my Dad didn't get to live long enough to experience that. So I carry on with a bucket list for my age, my ability, and what speaks to what I want to leave behind. Memories with my kids, and grandkids, time with Kerry even though we can drive each other nuts he’s my security blanket. I still have many things I want to do, such as:

A. Spend more time in the Bible, learning about what's ahead and what really matters and why we are here in the first place. 

B. Go to Disney world with all the kids and grandkids, when the little kids are a little older. 

C. Go on more cruises. I’m still game after the engine blew on the last one, knocked out all the electricity and I lay there in the dark thinking about that floating piece of wood in the titanic movie…hmm, how big was that closet door again? 

D. Work on and leave as much of an electronic footprint as I can for the coming generations. I wish someone would have jotted down some of what seemed silly info on my ancestors so I had a better feel of their personality. Like what did they like to do? Were they an old curmudgeon or a jolly ole soul? That kind of stuff. All jolly, like me, I’m sure ha. 

E. I really wanted to go to Norway and Italy, but now I'm scared with the unrest in the world. I’ll see if that dies down or gets worse before I decide on that one.  

F. Go to a Kentucky horse farm, and Churchill downs. 

G. Take the kids to the giant redwoods in California. Kerry and I saw them but now I want them to see them. 
H. Go to Raleigh, South Carolina and see the Andy Griffith Museum and on to Savanna Georgia to eat at Paula Deens resturant. While I'm at it maybe drop a few bucks at Myrtle Beach Casinos. 

I. Write lots more blogs, and make another book of them. That’s something I do for me. It’s like I can’t believe I wrote all of that!  

J. Finish my life story that, I’ve been working on for years for the kids. 

K. Can some jam, pickles and whatever I feel like. I feel nostalgic when I do. Taking out the jars and hearing the pop takes me back in time. 

L. Let important people know how much they have meant to me in my life, before one day they are gone. Like each of my kids with their individual strengths…let them know I know they are all individuals and nobody is ever compared to the other.  Also just being kind to everyday people.  

M. Go to the San Antonio Riverwalk. And maybe drive to Waco to Magnolia Farms. 

N. Work on better photography skills. That’s something else I just love to do. 

O.  Go back to Branson…several times maybe. I love Branson, it’s my kind of slow moving pace place. Lived there several summers and I love it in the fall. Too hot and humid in the summer, but I like all the older entertainers there, and the people are the nicest! 

P.  Rent a beach house for a week with the whole family. 

Q. Play the ukulele more. 

R. Get as healthy as possible for where I am, and take reasonably good care of myself. Im not ever never not eating something because life is to short but I could certainly do a better job.

S. Get that Cricut out and make something! 

T. Make and eat food I really enjoy both making, and eating.

U. Get my junk organized better, because I really enjoy beautiful, ordered, surroundings, even though organizing is a weakness and not a strength of mine. And I literally have to say out loud to myself when Im done with something…”put that back where it goes Pam, if you know what’s good for you”!

V. Keep horses in my heart always and be able to count on my “good horse sense”, that I personally think is my shiniest quality. 

W. fish, fiSH, AND FISH!!

X.I'll have to add as I think of more. 

That’s all I can think of without really taxing my brain. Maybe we should ask ourselves what gives life it's greatest meaning and do even more of it? Ask if there are places you want to visit and try to find the time, and money, to do it even for a weekend. Making and working on a bucket list is energizing, and could significantly improve your life. Will you finish them all? Will you fail if not? That’s not the point of it,  but life could be a whole lot more meaningful and thought out, it seems to me. It works like saving for retirement however…if you wait to make a bucket list till your too old, the time is short, so the earlier you start the better right? My motto has always been that, memories always trump material possessions!  

My Memories With Kathy

Kathy and I are only eighteen months apart, and we were born in a stage of life where our Mom was the busiest in her life! She had inside work to do keeping house and making meals, and she and Dad milked cows and put up hay for them, so Mom worked outdoors as well. We had older siblings who were teenagers so we were parented by Marcella and Sonny too. 

By nature Kathy and I are quite different and sometimes that worked for us and sometimes against us. Kathy was quiet, ambitious, shy, and didn't really like to be snuggled or seem to need that soft touch as much as I did. She was Mom’s baby and by that I mean Mom knew Kathy was the last baby, so she relished every moment with her. I on the other hand was talkative, lazy, loved attention, and pretty sure that Kathy cornered the market on Mom, I cornered the market on Dad. We had a great division sometimes between Mom and Kathy, and Dad and I. I went on horse buying trips with Dad, and Kathy stayed home with Mom. When we danced around the living room, I danced with Dad and she with Mom. If we talked our parents into sleeping in their beds Mom slept with Kathy, and I slept with Dad. My Dad was a warm guy and I enjoyed climbing on him, hugging and snuggling. Mom was colder, with a stereotypical German temperament back then, and all about work. She wasn’t as warm and huggy...she rarely even sat down for that matter, so that seemed to  fit together well for Kathy. I tell this because it put some division between us as kids, on one hand, but on the other hand Kathy and I were best friends on a good day ha.  

Horses were our life. We rode big work horses, tiny ponies, thoroughbreds, and our beloved quarter horses, our favorite. Some of our best memories are getting out of bed in our pajamas, one of us carrying the box of cereal  (oh yeah we shared a love of food too), the other carrying the milk, and each a bowl and spoon. With just a halter and rope, we rode bareback to our paths in the trees and then we let the horses eat grass while we turned around backwards, using their wide butts for a table, and ate our cereal, passing the box back and forth till be were full! We swang in the barn, made mud pies, played Indian maidens in the snow banks, slid down the hills, ice skated on the water hole, played dolls, dressed up the barn cats and pushed them in the buggies, played baby dolls, jacks, jumped rope, made clothes for our wishnic trolls, played Barbie dolls and fought over the record player. 

We had a unique way of manipulating each other, probably like sisters do. Me being the most talkative, would use words to tip the scales for my benefit. She on the other hand used the silent treatment to drive me crazy. After Dad died, I used to be scared to sleep in my room across the hall from her’s. I’d beg Kathy, “can I please sleep with you” and she’d say something like, “ok but if you get on my hair once your out of here”. She had long hair that she strung out straight like Rapenzel, and this was a three quarter size bed so, never fail I’d get on a piece of her hair and she’d send me packing sometime during the night but by then I was in the sleepy mode and being scared was on the back burner! If we fought it was all out war! We scratched up record albums with nail files once just to get even with each other. 

I took advantage of her hard work ethic too, sometimes even making her saddle my horse and bring him up to the house to ride while I watched the forbidden soap operas till she got us ready! One time she even attempted to drag me to the barn with a sled with runners in the middle of the summer, till Mom came home and put the kibosh on that plan! I have to say even though I thought it was ok for me to manipulate her into something.... if somebody else was mean to her or if she had to get off her horse and couldn't get on I’d be the first to get off mine and get her back on. She was my little sister and I spoke for her when she was shy and looked out for her when she needed me, at least that's my story. 

In high school we ran around some together and I was a total tee totaler because i had such bad anxiety and panic attacks after our Dad died. I didn't like the way alcohol made me feel either. If Kathy had any drinks or was going to party I turned into mother hen, which went over like a lead balloon at times. But we had dates together and a lot of fun memories. 

As adults when our kids were small we spent holidays together. Family birthday parties, fourth of July parades and lots of fun things. We also faced a lot of bad things together. Our parents once talked of divorce and we would sit huddled together at the top of the stairs wondering what would become of us being I was Daddy’s favorite child and she was Mom’s favorite? Later our brother Sonny was killed in a car accident which made us feel so helpless for Mom and Phyllis and the girls besides our own grief. We talked on the phone a lot and got though it. Then our Mother started saying some bizarre things…and before long she had Alzheimers and had deteriorated into not being able to take care of herself. Again we faced that the best we could.

My favorite thing about Kathy is when I need her she is always willing to help without me even asking her, she just knows what I need.  When I broke my leg just before Brendon’s high school graduation, Kathy showed up to scrub all my floors, and worked her little tail off. When I moved here to AZ in a hurry,  she helped me have a huge garage sale (and i mean floor to ceiling stuff in the garage). Without her I couldn't have faced it because i was so emotionally mixed up at the time and I can’t organize anyway. She has always been there from as far back can remember and that’s a wonderful feeling.

Even though we live farther apart now, and we are still different people, I hope she knows how much I love my little sister, and she will always be that,  and how incomplete my life would have been without her. She’s still quiet and I still speak for her probably more than I should, without even meaning to,  cuz she manages quite well without me ha. Every year I try to talk her into coming down and staying in my guest room but she's always got “too much to do”, still the hard worker she has always been. One of these days though…

Tuesday, February 2, 2016


What do you do with yourself when your sad, feeling helpless and restless? I like to put my feelings on paper. My aunt Florence passed away tonight. She has a big family and is one of the most loved people I ever knew by many, many people. Let me tell you about her from my heart. 

Do you have those Aunts and Uncles that it doesn't matter if one is your blood and the other not, theres no difference…you love them both the same. That’s how I love Florence and Chester. When I was in elementary school our time with them was spent like ND people did back then. The adults played cards and all of us cousins  rode horse, played red light, green light or hope to see the ghost tonight under the yard light! Later if we were at Grandma Bruhn’s tiny house in Blaisdell, we would all pair up and sit in the cars and talk because there was no room for kids in the house!

After my Dad passed Florence, and Grandma Bruhn (their Mother) became Mom’s main source of support. We were at Johnson’s a lot and Florence was at our farm a lot too. When I was in high school I was the editor of the school paper, in class plays, ballgames, and her home was always the place to go until dark when Mom got done with her long days on the farm.

Florence’s home was always full of family! Her own five children and later grandchildren. Cousin’s on the other side of the family that lived in Palermo too. Even with so many people in and out of the house, I never saw her have a messy house ONCE! She always had something baked, supper on the table and always dressed clean and neat. She permed her hair every six weeks because that was the style back then and she was lucky enough to have a beautician daughter who kept her hair up. She and Chester always had funny bantering going on, she was the straight man to his jokes. For example, they had a round mirror on the wall in the kitchen and Chester would say, “damn I’m handsome”, just to see us roll our eyes and get a response from Florence. She’d put him in his place with a good comeback, when she had to and he kind liked her spunk you could see. They made lots of yard wood projects together over the years and their yard is always beautiful! They were inseparable as the years went on. They have been so special to mine and my sisters kids as well!  

Florence had a heart attack and lost 40% of her heart about 25 years ago. Mom and I sat with Chester and their family asking God that she survive and she did. She was always my Mom’s baby sister who got run over by a car as a child, and to Mom a survivor. She survived that heart attack and like Allen said, family felt like we had her on borrowed time.

When our Mom got sick with Alzheimers she and Chester didn't let Mom or us kids down. They supported our tough decisions we had to make for her and they kept coming to spend time with her all the way to the end of her life. They drove 2 hours sometimes to see her,  which was such a support to us kids. When Mom was on her death bed, Florence and Chester were there too. Like you do when someone is dying you question why sometimes.  We cried that we were too young to not have our Mom. Florence said, “I’ll be your Mom”, and she made good on it. She never forgot our birthdays and anniversaries and I will miss her card this year and I will miss sending her one.  

When it was her time to go we had to go see her and thankfully her family shared her with us this past weekend. As I sat there at her house,  I looked at all the things she collected… birds (she especially loved humming birds), angels, and decorative eggs and probably more that I don’t remember seeing. 

She passed away like she wanted to. Family and friends came to see her, both Jackie and Tanya being nurses taking care of her. Her kids there, her dog Daisy in her lap a lot, and Chester still doing everything he could for her. My heart breaks for Chester. After that many years how do you find the strength to let her go? Pray for him, please. 

If I had a wish for the kids in the world today it is to be loved by extended family like we were by her. Thank you God for the gift of Florence in my life.  

Saturday, January 23, 2016

40 Things I'll Never Do

After being on this earth a good many years already, there are a few things I KNOW I won't be doing if I can help it!

1. Sleep on the hard floor. Nope... I like my 4" memory foam and eight or nine pillows! The last time Shelbey stayed here she slept with me and I was just dozing off when she piped up with do you have any flatter pillows? I laughed and said look around...I'm sure one of these is flat ha.

2. Appear on the Naked and Afraid TV Show. Seeing myself naked makes me afraid...I got a show all my own!

3. Go to "hot yoga", or hot anything. Don't like hot!

4. Run a marathon...I'm too damn lazy.

5. Make others more important than myself, I did that for years and I'm done with that. I keep myself        on the same page as others.

6. Go on a roller coaster, did that for the kids a few times but I really hate them.

7. Sit through a scary movie in the name of entertainment.

8. Smoke cigarettes. Been there did that.

9. Have a baby, I'm a bigger wuss these days so it's a good thing I'm past my prime ha.

10. Wear a bikini, I might lose it.

11. Hunt an animal. Although if the neighbor's chickens keep jumping the fence so my dogs kill them and theres blood, guts and feathers all over I might hunt a neighbor...(THIS IS A JOKE)

12. Stop loving my children.

13. Be the quiet type

14. be a Kathy Griffin fan...DO NOT LIKE HER

15. Choose a Pepsi over a Coke

16. Topple around in high heels. I prefer my hips not broken.

17. Ice skate... my ankles fold up like a house of cards.

18.  Buy underwear at a Thrift store

19. Believe a man that says, "go ahead I'm listening".

20. Dig my key into the side of his pretty little souped up four wheel drive, carve my name into his leather seat, take a Louisville slugger to both head lights, and slash all four tires. 

21. Get a sex change. 

22. Date somebody twice my age ha..

23. Wear cheap tight shoes

24. Attend clown school

25. Stick my head out of a dressing room and say to the clerk, "this is a mile too big, you wanna grab me a size 2"?

26. Have washboard abs

27. Take a pole dancing class

28. Wear a tube top..thank me later

29. Start a fist fight

30. Put up Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving

31. Crowd surf

32. Mud wrestle

33. Single space my Christmas letter

34. Eat a Jalepeno

36. Win a video game

37. Get Married

38. Watch a concert from someones shoulders!

39. Work in a butterball processing plant.

40. Not get annoyed when you don't answer someone fast enough and they say, "HELLO"?? Welcome to my shit list when that happens. 

Friday, January 22, 2016

Stanley On A Saturday Night

What's the best part of the week when your a farm kid? Going to town on Saturday night of course! We lived twenty or more miles, from the nearest small town with a grocery store, and 45 miles from a bigger city where you could do serious shopping.

Driving to Stanley as elementary age kids,  my sister Kathy and I were happily unbuckled in the backseat, Dad driving and Mom pointing out anything out of the usual, along the road. Things like how white the alkali lake was, a fox in the distance, how the grain crops were coming along, how many weeds in the fields(thats a problem for farmers every year). Interesting stuff like that. Once we drove under the viaduct and were officially on main street Stanley,  we couldn't wait to parallel park and hurry to get to Hohn drug for a lime soda before it closed!

Next Mom and "us kids" went to Piggly Wiggly grocery store with her yellow check, my dads signature scrawled across the bottom of it because as we heard a million times over the years,  she never had any money of her own! Well except 15.00 a month "allowance". A lot of my Moms generation of women lived like that, it seemed even if it was grudgingly. Kathy and I tagged along behind Mom in the grocery store. And Dad started his rounds at the local bars, it was a mans world for the most part. After we got groceries, we went to the meat locker and ask for bones they were throwing away for our dog, and lugged them to the car.  Next to Perry's gro store for maybe something that was cheaper there than Piggly Wiggly. Sometimes we went to Gambles where the owner had a crabby, snappy little Pomeranian that was a permanent fixture there. I was scared of that little gremlin! Kathy and I would go to Springen's furniture store way in the back corner and pick out a 45 rpm record with our allowance and maybe a trip through Ben Franklin yielding some good penny candy.

        After that Mom retired to our car with our aunt Mable Jarmin usually, who had driven their pickup into town, was doing the same as we were, watching people go by and waiting for a glimpse of Dad and her husband Dewey, going from one bar to the other. There were three in town, The Five Spot, The Farmers Bar, and the West Side and he went to them in that order so we could gage how much longer of this sitting in the car stuff was ahead! Kathy and I could walk up and down the street until dark, but absolutely not past the Scandia bank! Or if the movie that week was fit for kids,  we'd see the lastest Elvis movie or Frankie and Annette in a one of the Beach movies that were popular then. Those were my favorite! If we were lucky there was a black and white "spook show" after the regular movie! I wish I could watch one of those old ones now, because they seemed so scary back then.

Finally our Dad would come to the car about 11pm and take us to the Two Way Inn for a hamburger and a bottle of Nesmiths Orange Soda. Sometimes we'd see Kelly Moore, there with his black plastic glasses and loafer shoes.  Later in life he became my brother in law and I call him my brother from another mother because he has been in my life so long.  The 20 mile drive home was always tense, and the reason I am still today, mostly anti alcohol.  Dad would be "half shot" like Mom called him, and would drive way to fast. The more Mom ask him to slow down, the faster he drove. Being born a nervous Nelly, all I could see was a deer jumping out of nowhere, or snow that looked like white knives coming at your windshield, hard, hard snowbanks that had blown across the roads that you needed just the right speed to clear, In the summer fog sometimes so thick we had no idea where the turn was to get back to the farm but he was determined to be the sole judge of how fast we got there.

Finally, I was sixteen and got a legal drivers license! Mom let me take the car almost every night the last couple years of high school. I ask her once after I was grown and married, why she let me go so much and she very lovingly said, "I just never wanted you girls to be sad, because after your Dad died you'd had enough sadness". So we ran around every night, which most farm kids didn't get to do. We'd drive up main street Stanley and into Ranum's Laundromat, or Stanley Equipment turn around and back up main street until we got to the train depot. Gas was .39 a gallon and we filled up at home because we bought our gas in bulk from the Standard Oil Truck that Kenny Vaage from Blaisdell drove. We always hoped we'd see friends, especially boys to hang out with and they'd stick their arm out and wave us over where we'd park one of the cars. I never drank in high school, I always took care of all the others that did. My Dad only drank on Saturday nights, when I was a child but the feeling of not knowing what a drunk person will do still makes me nervous to be around one to this day! I don't mind someone drinking a few and being a little talkative, but drunkness still makes me nervous.

Mom, Kathy and I lived like three girlfriends in high school.  We could always bring friends home anytime of the day or night and Mom would get up( like she'd have been sleeping) and cook for all the kids who'd been drinking. I will never forget her making hamburgers at midnight and calling out mustard, ketchup, mayo? She loved being part of and listening to all the stories the kids would tell, and everyone loved my even tempered Mom.  She never slept till we were home and would come looking for us if we didn't call. I can't imagine the worry she must have had with no cell phones to check on us.  Back then you could call person to person for free so we would call and she'd say no the person wasn't here but that was a signal we were going to be late! I could hear her exhasperation when the operator ask her to accept the call! Poor Mom.

As girlfriends around the house though Mom, Kathy and I played music all the time! Mom loved music too, unless it was the same record over and over, which always brought out some reaction on her part! We took impromptu trips to Stanley just to go to the Dairy Queen or Tastee Freeze, just for the heck of it which was pretty unheard of.  I think she was starting to dread us leaving home and wanted to spend more time with us. We took turns with the Lee girls getting the family car and driving to Stanley. They lived south of Blaisdell, our little home town and we lived North of town. We gave their parents some sleepless nights too.

I loved horses, and cats and so much about living on the farm but worrying about the remoteness  turned into a perilous feeling once our Dad died and we three were alone out there with 100 horses. The roads would blow shut, furnaces go out, cars drive in and out of the yard late at night, and I wanted to get to town where people were. Today everyone has snow equipment and life is different on the farm.

Stanley was the fun place to go as a kid growing up. We had wonderful 4th of July celebrations, fun times at Regis theater and lots of fun chasing boys back in the day. Everybody should have "Stanley on a Saturday night"memories.

THE PICTURES I USED BELONG TO our and the Regis theater Facebook page.