Posted by: chlost | April 1, 2018

Farm Girl

April 1. April Fool.


It was 8F this morning when I woke up. Yes, 8F. On April 1st.

So tired of winter, cold, and snow. Spring cannot come soon enough.

One of the best parts about late winter and early spring is that the new calves start to be born. The first calf of the year arrived just 2 days ago. A pretty little Hereford heifer calf. At only 68 pounds, she is a bit smaller that most of the calves born to the herd, but they grow fast. Our oldest granddaughter gave her the nickname of Little Peanut. The granddaughter didn’t like Bop’s choice for the official name (Appolonia18).

This morning, granddaughter1 tried the halter for her for the first time. For both of them. Granddaughter1 is hoping to show the calf, but she has never worked with one, and has no idea what that entails.  Today, they got started:



Luckily, Mama cow is very accommodating, and allowed Granddaughter1 to play with her calf. We have a few other Mamas who would not have looked favorably on that. The calf looks as though it will be a good-looking cow someday, so maybe if she does show it, they could do well.  It  was an embryo, and had been implanted in an Angus cow. No discrimination in the bovine world!

It has been amazing to watch the relationship between Granddaughter1 and Merle grow over the past few months, as she has become more interested in his cows. They are nearly inseparable. She hangs on his every word, and repeats them word for word to others. Merle loves to teach. It was his favorite part of a previous job, when he taught undergraduate college students about beef management. Now he has one quite special student.

She had been thinking of showing a yearling calf named Penny. Everything was about Penny. Now that there is a smaller calf (by the time she shows it, Peanut should be about 500-600 lbs, vs. 1000 lbs for Penny) I am beginning to hear Peanut’s name a lot. She loves helping at “the farm”. We are renting the space to raise the cows, and it is just a couple of miles away from our house. If we actually lived on a farm, I think she would be out with the calves all day. She loves to ride in the big red pickup truck, and helps with the feeding and bedding of the cows. If she has her way, she will be helping with vaccinations, weighing, and separating the cows to go out to pasture. Once she and her family move into their own house two weeks from now, she won’t be able to be there every day, and she is already feeling bad about that.

Merle has been enjoying having her with him.  They are cow buddies. He has always loved cow, and now he has an eager listener for all of his knowledge.

Now if only those cows were horses, she’d be in heaven.

Posted by: chlost | March 31, 2018

The Madness of March

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The NCAA  basketball tournament is called March Madness. A catchy, media-ready phrase to describe the month-long  thinning of college basketball teams down to a championship title.

Here, the madness of March refers to the weather. This morning we awakened to several inches of snow, winds of double-digit velocity, and temperatures which be appropriate in December rather than spring. Very depressing to deal with this on the last day of March. In our state, there is also the high school basketball tournaments in March. There is almost universally accepted that there will be huge snowstorms during the high school basketball tournaments. It happens almost every year.

Today the forecast is for more snow over the next several days, high temperatures in the thirties. But hey, on a few of the days this week, the sun may be shining!

In our family, the madness also refers to several big changes happening over the past several weeks, and which will continue for some time.

Big news: Our oldest son and daughter-in-law are expecting their second child in November! We are thrilled about having five grandchildren, and the prospect that perhaps after four girls, we may add a boy to the mix. Unfortunately, because they suffered a miscarriage with their first pregnancy, they are being very careful about letting the news out. We have had to keep it secret for several weeks now. Finally, they told the immediate family members.  It is still not to be public to anyone else, which means I am keeping this from my mother, brother, sister and friends. Of course, I can write about it here, as none of you will spill the beans, right? We are counting the days already. What fun to have a new baby in the family once more.

Our other son and daughter-in-law and their three girls have been living with us since last June will be moving into their own home in Mid-April. When they moved into our home, they sold or donated almost all of their furnishings and other non-necessities. Now that they will be in a home of their own once more, they have been replacing those items. My daughter-in-law is a thrift store goddess. She finds the best stuff. Between Craig’s List, Facebook Marketplace, Goodwill in several locations and a few antique stores, she has found a house full of furniture. And it is now stacked in our home, waiting for the move. The dogs are a bit upset. They know that something is up. The kids are excited, as each of them will have their own room. Much of the furniture is for their rooms.

This week, however, our son and daughter-in-law are heading for a spring break vacation in Paris. They had found cheap tickets several months ago, not knowing that they would be moving to a new home at the same time. So they will get home from France on Saturday, get the keys to the house on Sunday, and start moving, cleaning and painting. The next weekend, they will move in the big stuff. Whew! I am exhausted just thinking of it.

Then our house will be empty. It’s going to be quiet. It’s going to seem huge.

So, we have started the house hunting process. We found a realtor. We have been checking the websites. We have been driving around, looking at lots, homes and neighborhoods. Unfortunately, it is leading to finding out that we have more that we disagree about than agree. We aren’t in a big hurry, but it would be nice to have a plan we can use to narrow down our search.

The thought of selling our current home is daunting. We have lived here 17 years. The closets are stuffed. The basement was cleaned out last year, so that’s not so bad. But the garage is a disaster. It is going to be a huge job just to get ready to sell. The value of our home is in the lot, and it looks best in the summer. So if we are going to sell, we will be best off doing so during the warmer months. If we don’t have it ready this summer, it is likely to be another year. I’m not sure I want to wait that long

We are ready, oh so ready, to head in to April. The snow should be gone within a few weeks with any luck. The yard work can begin. The garage can be emptied. The chores and projects can begin. There are also at least a dozen family birthdays in April.

From March Madness to April Absurdity.

But with flowers, hopefully.20141015_112606-EFFECTS (2)



Posted by: chlost | March 24, 2018

Thoughts of hope

If I am right about this, and I hope I am, I believe that today the tide has turned in this country in regards to gun control.

My granddaughters will hopefully have no memory of news stories of school shootings. Perhaps they will never know what an automatic weapon can do to a school (or church, or movie theater, or mosque, or temple, or college campus) and those who are inside.  They won’t have to see photos of stuffed animals, candles, and tear-jerking signs in memory of the victims of mass shootings.

The local March for Our Lives had about 20,000 attendees. The march in Washington DC had about 800.000. There were marches all over the world, on every continent. I have watched the videos, read posts, articles and marchers’ signs.

There is change in the air. This feels hopeful. The energy, determination and savvy of the young students who have organized this day of protest has set a fresh tone for those of us who have become cynical, tired and hopeless about change. People are speaking up, speaking out.

I believe that this is a turning point. The support for the NRA is at its’ lowest point in many years. The majority of the country supports reasonable regulation of guns. As we move toward the midterm elections in November, recent special elections are bringing some surprising wins for progressives.

“I feel a sense of hope for the first time in a year-and-a-half”, one of my friends posted today. I think many of us old hippies feel the same.


And, as another post said, “Perhaps these kids are the answer to all of your thoughts and prayers”.

Yes, I think that they may be. I will be hoping for them that they are able to go forward as determined, energetic and hopeful as they are today.

The momentum is with them.

As are the hopes and prayers of a whole lot of us old hippies.



Posted by: chlost | March 10, 2018

If he ignores it, will it go away?

There are many differences between men and women which have been noted by folks much more erudite and well-spoken than I.

My observations are limited to just the few men and women within my family and social circle. However, I have noticed a few pretty universal difference in the world view of the men and women in my life.

Right now, I am dealing with one of the most universal of those differences.

Men and women deal with physical ailments completely differently.

Merle had that horrible cold/upper respiratory thing a few weeks ago. He started out with the zinc tablets, trying to ward it off.

That didn’t work.

He had a terrible cough, stuffy head and nose. He took off two days from work. He barely functioned, even around the house. He stayed in bed for most of those two days, and was in bed early on other nights when he went to work the next morning. If he’d had his way, I would have been at home with him to take care of him or just sympathetically keep him company through  his suffering.

A couple of weeks later, he was having some bothersome chest pains when he coughed. He went to the doctor. They took x-rays. No bronchitis or pneumonia, but probable muscle pain from all of the previous coughing.

But as a side note on the x-ray, it was noted that he had a hernia. He didn’t know that, no one had ever found that before.

Now as a guy who works as a supervisor/manager of a large agricultural operation, and who has cows of his own that he is raising, he does a lot of physical work. He has always been a very strong guy, and uses that to lift, push, pull or handle almost any chore. The ultimate tough guy.

In the last few days, the hernia has become painful. He actually called me today to have our son come over to help with the cows because he couldn’t do it on his own.

But has he gone in to have this hernia checked out?  Has he done any research to see what procedures, concerns, symptoms, or prognosis there may be for this?

No. And No.

He babies himself when he has a cold. He wants me to baby him through the cold.

He refuses to acknowledge this hernia. He tries to continue to do things as if it isn’t there. He gets annoyed at me if I voice any concern, if I point things out to him about maybe trying to take it easy.

Of course I have done some checking on his behalf. I get to do all of the worrying for both of us. I am worried about a strangulated hernia, and now I watch him for symptoms. I pass along the information about the symptoms. He doesn’t want to hear about it.

My attitude in these situations is totally the opposite.

If I have a cold, I rarely let it stop me. I feel guilty about going to work and giving it to others, but if I have work that must be done in the office, I go in. If I can work from home, I do that. I don’t want to acknowledge that I could be sidelined over a stupid cold. I hobbled through the two weeks of coughing, sneezing, and grabbing for tissues, throat lozenges and water in court. People kept their distance, but I was there.

I have also had several fairly major medical issues over the years. In those situations, I usually fear the worst. I research, watch scary videos, and obsess over treatment options. I have every test and procedure that they recommend. From my perspective, if I have pictured the worst, it probably won’t happen. It’s those things you haven’t obsessed over which will pop up out of nowhere and whack you upside the head.

Boy, does that ever tell you something about me.

But it’s the way most of the women I know handle these types of things. Push through the little stuff, Worry about the big stuff, but handle it as it comes.

Many of the men I know obsess over the little things, the things that really aren’t life changing, while at the same time they either completely ignore, push aside, or are oblivious to the life-altering things in their lives.

And now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go downstairs to check my husband for symptoms.





Last June, our youngest son, daughter-in-law and their three daughters, dog, cat and hamsters moved in with us. Our son and d-i-l started teaching jobs in September. They didn’t have a house, so it made sense to move in with us until they found one.

This week, they found a house. They are going to be moving within a month, as long as the inspection goes well . It is happening way too fast for me. I have enjoyed having them here, and the busy-ness of a family in the house.

It also means that Merle and I are going to be back in this big house all alone again. We haven’t had to make plans for ourselves as long as we were sharing the house with them. Now that they are going to be moving on to their own place, we are going to have to face some big issues that have been on the back burner for nearly a year. While our house was full, it was easy to ignore the passage of time and the life changes we are facing in the near future.

It’s that “R” word: Retirement.

Do we have to agree on  everything about our plans before we are allowed to retire? I hope not, or I will be working forever.  As we near the magical time of retirement, we have tried to negotiate and come to agreement on as many issues as we can. We’ve been discussing for over a year, and we still don’t agree on many things.

We do know that we don’t want to buy a retirement place. I don’t want to be tied to someplace, and feel guilty if we don’t use it. I want to be flexible, and be able to go somewhere, anywhere, with few complications.

We want to be near the grandchildren during the summers. Even the spring and fall would be wonderful. I just can’t do many more of these long, dark, cold winters. Sixty some years of six months of boots, jackets and gloves is enough.

At this point, retirement is approximately one year away. We have discussed spending two to three of the cold winter months in warm places, perhaps a few months in a different location each year. Southern Spain? Panama? Greece?  New Zealand? All of those, please!

We have agreed to downsize from our current home. Unfortunately, each of us has a different definition of “downsize”.  Still working on that. Today I took the first step, and called a realtor acquaintance, asking how to start the process of having someone keep an eye out for a smaller, hopefully less expensive home. One on a nearby lake? A wooded property? A hobby farm to have the cows nearby? Maybe we should buy a lot and build a new home we love.  We don’t agree on that yet. Maybe a realtor will help us make a reasonable choice.

All I know is that suddenly, we need to get going. We are going to get there very quickly, and now that the kids are moving out to the next stage of their lives, we need to do that as well.

Does anyone have any suggestions, ideas, thoughts on how to navigate this time? Have you gone through this pre-retirement decision-making with a partner who has totally different ideas than yours?

Perhaps someone should begin a new niche of marriage counseling for people in this stage of life. We can’t be the only ones out there.



Posted by: chlost | February 24, 2018

The French Escape

The current events of the country are  particularly overwhelming to me. I am still angry and flabbergasted at the results of a Presidential election of over a year ago. The buffoon who claims to lead the country is beyond stupid, the damage being done to the country is astounding. I fear for my grandchildren and their teacher parents as they go off to school, and work at school, each day.

But my thoughts have no power to change anything, and others have expressed them much more eloquently. So I am going to stick to some pleasant things tonight as I am propped up against pillows in my bed while I tap away on my laptop. This I have control over, and good or bad, it is mine.

So I am going to escape by reminiscing about something wonderful:  My trip to France last April.  This is going to be my personal little travelogue here, so prepare yourself-tons of photos ahead.

The trip was glorious. My sister, her daughter, and my daughter-in-law spent the first ten days of April in Paris and Provence. Other than rain on our first night in Paris, the weather was spectacular.  The crowds were manageable, there were few American tourists overall, and we were met with graciousness and friendliness wherever we were.

I had spent just a day in Paris when I traveled to France on my one other visit. This time, we were in Paris for five days. We stayed in an Airbnb in a rather commercial area in the Second Arondissement. As we exited our door, we were greeted by a cheerful sight.


I loved that. I can’t imagine a public stairway anywhere here in the US where it would be turned into a piece of art.

We arrived in Paris in the afternoon, and after settling into our place, we headed out to the Eiffel Tower. My daughter-in-law had never traveled outside the US, and was very excited to see this Paris landmark. We had evening tickets to go to the top right at sunset. I had only been at the base when I was there several years ago, so this was a new experience. It was wonderful to see the sun set over the city, even with the crowds at the top. It made me a bit nervous to share the small area with so many people. I have become less tolerant of large crowds and high places as I’ve aged. But it was still enjoyable. I especially loved seeing it lit at night.

As we walked to our restaurant for dinner, we could see the tower again. We walked for miles to get to a restaurant which was actually quite near the Tower, as my niece became turned around and we circled it all the way around. It was a very long walk in the rain, at night, after a very long flight. I was not doing well at that point. But when we reached the  small restaurant, four drenched American women, we enjoyed a wonderful dinner and friendly service.

My niece was very determined to never eat a “sub-par” meal in France. She became our meal planner, picking the restaurants, setting up reservations, and giving us an overview of why she chose each one. She became a bit frustrated with me at times, as I was not as adventurous in food as she’d hoped I would be. I did not wish to become sick and ruin even one day.

The desserts and the bakeries, though……I was certainly able to enjoy those!


The French know how to do sweets!

I loved the sights of Paris. I have a very limited tolerance for museums and the “cultural” side of things. I can’t stand that slow shuffle through exhibits, trying to read little tags around the shoulders of other people, and waiting in long lines in order to enter or see the more popular exhibits. I enjoy watching people, enjoying the surroundings, the shops, the food. The drinks! I spent one afternoon at a very small table on a sidewalk outside a Paris café. I watched families, the pets, the young couples, the business people, all walking along the streets, or meeting at the café.  I had lunch with one of my blogging friends, and she showed me some of her favorite Paris places. We had a snack at Angelique’s, walked along the Seine, and chatted. Along one of the streets, there was a man and a young boy entertaining the passersby with singing and piano/drum playing. This day is one of my favorite memories.

After our time in Paris, we took the bullet train to Avignon. We spent the rest of our trip traveling through Provence with a rental car. We stayed in Avignon’s old city, St.Remy, and later went to Nice. Provence was a totally different atmosphere. Again, we had beautiful weather, with clear blue skies. and warm sun. We traveled into the hill cities, shopped till I nearly dropped in all of the little shops in each little town. I don’t normally enjoy shopping.  All of the others in the group love to shop. I would make a quick tour of the shops, find one or two things to purchase as gifts for someone at home, then usually find a bench nearby to wait for them to finish. These little towns also are set on very steep hills. My bad knee and being out of shape made climbing up and down the streets a bit difficult. But I was very contented to just take it easy and enjoy my surroundings. I loved the windows and the doors in these towns. People take their entries very seriously.


In Avignon, there is a wonderful indoor farm market. Each morning we were there, we went to the market for our food. The variety and the quality of the food was remarkable. I have never seen strawberries like the ones we had there. The cheeses… The olives! And the ham. There were other items that were not up my alley, but they looked fresh!


Because we were driving, we were able to choose where to go each day. We had a GPS system to help us find our way. We did get lost a few times, and things were a bit tense once in a while.

It was due to one of our “detours” after becoming lost that we came upon this:


And as part of another missed turn, we stumbled on this place:

I imagine in just a few weeks from this the place would have been a vivid purple. As it was, the muted lavender was spectacular. The smell was heavenly. We never would have found them if we hadn’t been lost!

The last part of our trip was to Nice. We drove along the coast, seeing some of the old towns above the sea, and some unbelievable homes stacked one above the other, on a maze of narrow streets and nearly perpendicular hills. The views to the sea were so beautiful, it hurt your eyes.

Overall, my memory of this trip is centered on colors. The colors of this trip were vivid. Everywhere we turned, more colors.

Our final night was spent in Nice. We watched the sun set over the sea. It was a wonderful trip. A perfect ending.


Posted by: chlost | February 21, 2018

Back to It

All right. Now I’m back. Guess that means that I should write a few words. Maybe more.

What’s been  happening?

Since I last wrote here over a year ago, we have added a new granddaughter to the family. She will be 2 in September. Even though she lives just an hour from us, we don’t see her very often. She and her parents are some of the busiest people I know, and the schedules just don’t mesh easily. But this weekend, we will be babysitting on Saturday morning. I am so looking forward to that. She has been sick a lot since she was born, but just recently had ear tubes put in both ears. From what I can tell, her development has now fast-tracked, and she is talking, happy and healthy. Finally.

One of the reasons our schedules are so crazy is that our youngest son and his wife, three daughters, dog, cat (and three hamsters) have been living here since last June. They have lived here in the past when times were tough. But this time, it is for a great reason. They are teaching in a local school, and are waiting to buy a home. The housing market here is tough, but they want to buy in the school district where they are working, so they are here until a house they can afford comes on the market. So far, nothing.

Our home is full, to say the least. It is crazy, for sure. The three girls are 6, 8 and 10. They have piano lessons, after school care, friends’ birthday party sleepovers, neighbor kids to play with, and just the normal hustle and bustle of three very active, intelligent, and happy girls. I feel so lucky to be able to watch this time of their lives. It is an age that I think is by far the best for kids. They are soaking up everything around them. They love to have real conversations. They are becoming aware of the world. And I am a witness to all of it.

Our oldest granddaughter has become especially close to Merle. She has started to help him with the cows and calves. We now have a herd of 13, and a few of them will be of an age that she might be able to show them at a county fair. She is waiting desperately to start the process of teaching them to be on a halter, and to learn how to groom them for a show. She loves to do anything possible with Grandpa (Bop) in order to spend time with him.

This past spring, my sister, niece, and my daughter-in-law (the one now living here, although she wasn’t at that time) took a trip together to France. Oh, we had a grand time! My daughter-in-law had never traveled abroad. We spent time in Paris, then took the bullet train to Provence, stayed in Avignon, St.-Remy, and then went to Nice. We had spectacular weather. We all got along fairly well, and saw some gorgeous sites. Four ladies in France. We never felt unsafe or bored. I will write more about it later, with some of the amazing photos. As this is a journal for me, I want to have those here, even if they might be boring to anyone else.

During the past summer, my sister (I guess I spent a lot of time with her this past year!), her husband, another couple who are their friends, and Merle and I rented travel trailers and went to Montana to “camp”. We were at Glacier National Park when the fires started. We smelled smoke and could see the light from the flames across the mountain range. There were record numbers of visitors to the Park, so it was also very crowded in the most popular areas. Our trailer was out of commission for most of the time, but overall, the trailer was a nice option vs. a tent for camping. I would have preferred a hotel or cabin, but reservations were impossible. We drove home, and within a few weeks the truck that pulled the trailer broke down. The engine was totally gone. The trailer must have been pretty tough on it.

I am still working, still not enjoying it. I got a pretty decent raise, so now I feel as though I have to stick it out for a bit longer. But the retirement talk is getting more serious. I expect that I will last until next year right around this time. Next decision is the house, but with it so full right now, it isn’t likely that we will need to do anything soon.

That’s it for now. I will have to fill in and catch up a bit more at a later time.

It’s amazing that what fills life on a day-to-day basis often seems so routine and boring. But looking back at the last year or so that I was not blogging, it seems that we were doing some fun things.

Maybe that’s why time seems to have gone by so fast.



Posted by: chlost | February 18, 2018

Why Blog?

This past weekend, Merle and I had lunch with friends he’s known since high school. We have only recently reconnected with them after about 15 years of no contact. That’s what Facebook can do for you, I guess.

One of our conversations was about traveling. We shared our past trips, and those that we are hoping to enjoy after retirement. One of the trips I told them about was a trip to Zambia that I hope to share with a friend who lives abroad. Their first question was “How do you know her?”

The fact of the matter is that I know her through blogging. I read her comments on a blog. I went to her blog, and followed it. We exchanged comments, then emails. We have now met in person, and she stayed with us for a few days when she was in the U.S.

Our friends were stunned. “You read blogs? Meet people through blogs? You had someone you’d never met stay at your house? How did you do that?”

Well, of course if you compare the date of my last post to the date of this post, I think it would not be accurate to say that I am writing (or reading) blogs. I have let that part of my routine go over the past couple of years. I have been on facebook-a lot-and have filled my time watching movies and posting photos to Instagram. Even with all of the time that I spend online, I have not been to the wordpress site. I wasn’t sure my password was even still active.

Our conversation started me thinking about my blog. I realized how many people I got to know through blogs. Not only my future travel companion, but several others who I think of as friends, and whom I may or may not have met in real life.

There is Yael, who lives relatively nearby, and who accompanied me to the Women’s March last January. We still have lunch every few month. And Jocelyn, who teaches in a city just a few hours away. Jono also lives just several hours north of my home. Then there is Mark, the Idiot (his term, not mine), who had dinner with us when he visited here with his son on a trip to various Major League Baseball stadiums.  I originally met all of these folks through their blogs. We stay connected through facebook now. I think only Jocelyn regularly blogs now.

I also met Rusted Granny in real life when she flew here and stayed with us for a few days. And by flying here, I mean she flew her plane to a small airport just a few miles from our home. I haven’t kept in touch with her for a while now. She was fighting cancer then, and I think she focused on that rather than blogs.

There were many others who I connected with through blogs, but have never met. When I followed their blogs, I felt as though I knew them. A Canadian citizen living in Ukraine with his Ukrainian wife, as the Russians threatened the country.  A blog for “elders” who, despite being deemed old or out of touch, were still very active in the world’s events. A woman from San Diego whose photos showed her amazing eye for colors.  A gardener/musician from Pennsylvania who paired those two hobbies with amazing photos of her flowers and music. The list goes on.

As I have thought about this after our lunch conversation with friends, I realized that I miss this. I miss the community of blogging. I miss meeting people by reading their stories. I miss the exchange of comments, the online cocktail party atmosphere of getting to know each other.

As I write this, I realize that many of the people I met through blogging are no longer here. I have not checked their sites today, but the last time I looked, many of them are like me, and have not posted in many months.

That’s sad. I feel as though I have lost friends. But I’ve decided that I am going to get back into the party. I am sure that there are many others who may have come to the party a bit later, or will be arriving soon. I am looking forward to making the rounds once more. If we haven’t connected in a while and you are still out there, please leave a comment. We need to catch up!








Posted by: chlost | August 20, 2016

Summer wraps up


The last month of summer is nearly at its end, and the weather here has turned cool. Today is a long-sleeve shirt day. There is a bit of autumn in the air. We certainly will have more summer before the season actually changes, but it is clear that fall is catching up fast and will soon take over.

It’s been a very hot, wet summer for the most part. Our daughter-in-law is expecting their first baby within the next few days. I have felt so bad for her over the past several weeks. She is getting quite uncomfortable in the heat and humidity. Their home was built at the turn of the twentieth century, and does not have central air. They have a small window unit for their bedroom, but otherwise, the place is very warm. It has been a difficult year to be expecting a baby at the end of August.

We are excitedly awaiting the arrival of this newest granddaughter. They have not shared the “short list” of names that they are considering. The rest of the family has agreed that their choice of name will likely be a very traditional one. Our older granddaughters have pretty unique first names. Their parents’ goal was to avoid names which would result in several kids with the same name in their class. They did a great job. But the son  who is soon to be a parent will keep the name relatively plain and simple, I think. We are looking forward to finding out their choice. I’m betting on something like Abby. We’ll see.

It is the end of August and we are still in the midst of a renovation. Our contractor is “fitting us in” as he can between jobs. It is getting old. We have had a plastic (like the one-sided sticky Saran wrap) over our upstairs carpet for nearly 3 months now. We took it off once, but it is back (to protect the carpet, I’ve been told). Our bathroom is still in process, so we are using the guest bath down the hall. We have no closet, so our clothing is distributed between the laundry room, office, and grandkids’ bedroom. The porch/deck is almost completed, but not screened yet.  We have had a dumpster parked alongside the driveway for nearly 3 months now. Part of it has to do with orders that haven’t arrived (somehow I didn’t realize that bathroom tile was so challenging to pick/order correctly) or that we had not realized we were responsible to order (a shower door) and bad choices that had to be modified (I was way off on the paint color).


I still do not understand how the bottom right circled color here….



…ended up looking like this on the wall. I’ve decided I am color handicapped.













The bottom line is that our summer seems to have been spent in a disaster zone.



I have almost gotten used to the crackling sound of the dog’s feet on the plastic carpeted floor. The dog, however, has still not gotten used to using the front door to go outside rather than the back. Three months, and he still waits at the back door to be let out.

I feel for him.



Lesson: Choose the “start later but have it all done in one shot”option over the”start soon and fit the job in around other jobs” option when it comes to home renovation.

Last weekend the three granddaughters were here, so I took all of them shopping for school clothes. What an adventure! I picked one store. Sears, of all places, because they had seen a Lands End catalog with clothes that they liked. We made a sweep and took about 20 items into a dressing room. I had all three in the same room, peeling clothing off and on, asking for different sizes, going in and out of the room to choose more options, and sharing opinions with each other as to the items they tried on. It was so much fun! The look on their faces as they tried on something they loved was wonderful to see. They had a very good sense of what was appropriate for their age and their personal style. I was scooping things up to put back on hangers, scoping out additional sizes and items, and giving my opinions when requested.

I had given them a dollar amount that I would spend, equally divided between them. When they had made their choices, we took the items to the cashier and I explained what we were doing. She was amazingly helpful, as she scanned each girl’s items and we got totals. They then had to choose which of the items they would give up to stay within their budgeted amount. It was hardest for the youngest one, as she LOVED everything she had chosen, and didn’t want to give up anything. But we did it together, with help from the cashier, and everyone went home happy. They learned a bit about budgeting, fashion, sizing, and sister support that day. I think it will be an annual outing. We stopped for a treat on our way home, as I was worn out!

In the midst of everything else, we had our trip to Portland, a quick day trip to our North Shore of Lake Superior, two calves were born, a few flowers survived the neglect imposed upon them, and we had several dinners out with friends, family gatherings, and even a couple of quiet do-nothing days like today.



Summer. Disaster zone, baby watch, kid shopping spree.


It’s been pretty good, over all. Just messy.

Posted by: chlost | July 24, 2016

Sunday evening roundup

This past week was a horrible, terrible one at work.  I had to deal with a very bad incident, in which I and a colleague were made to look very foolish by some very inept technical people in the state office. I am still furious. I feel as though my own reputation was damaged, as well as the quality of the state office.

But no one else seems to care about it as much as I do. That makes the incident all the more frustrating.

And I just have to get over it, or it will drive me crazy.

Playing in the background of life as I was dealing with all of that, was the Republican National Convention. What a depressing state of affairs that was. My fear quotient is on HIGH. The possibility of a President Trump makes me physically ill.

On the family side of things, my sister-in-law hosted a baby shower for our daughter-in-law as well as Merle’ cousin’s daughter. The babies are due within a couple of weeks of each other. This shower was for that side of the family-Merle’s mother’s side. Those cousins get together at least once a year, as well as for special life events like weddings and showers.

This group of ladies is quite sweet, overall. But there is some special crazy within the bunch. One of his cousins is completely “bonkers” as they used to say. I have no idea what she would come up with on the DSMV, but the list would be long. My daughter-in-law was a good sport to brave it.

At one point, the cousin blurted out in the middle of dinner, (and in the middle of a conversation about a totally unrelated issue) “I have cancer. I have this thing on my eye-pulls down her eyelid to show everyone whatever it is— I know it is cancer. If I go to a doctor, they will say it is.”

The conversation stopped for just one beat, then continued on as though she had never said a thing. And she did not bring it up again the rest of the evening. She has never married or had children of her own, but apparently her sisters and their children all feel she is very good with babies. They have her babysit for them quite often. Not  something I would do, that’s for sure.

In any event, the shower was the evening after work when I had been dealing with the very embarrassing incident. It truly was a crazy day from beginning to end.

This weekend I was in recovery mode. I did nothing on Saturday. Nothing….  Well, I did escape and binge-watched “My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” on Netflix, but I don’t think that counts. Cute show. The cast is very talented. A very feminist story line, which is refreshing.  It is pretty unique in that it also includes lots of original music and lyrics as well as choreography. I finished the entire season around 4 am.

Today Merle wanted to visit the newly-opened professional football stadium. He’s a big supporter of the project and the team. I am not. But we met our son, daughter-in-law and her parents for an open house. It’s a big place. Lots of glass. hundreds of big -screen TVs. A huge waste of millions of dollars on a bunch of millionaires’ egos from my perspective. It has 73,000 seats that will very rarely, if ever, be filled for a football game.

I gave it a chance. I looked at it up close before I passed a final judgment on it. But as we rode up to it on the light rail, and stood outside on the plaza, the only word that kept coming to mind was “huge”. I suppose to many, that is a good thing. But to me, it was monstrous. It made me think of a gigantic iceberg that has crashed into the downtown’s southeast side.

Now I have to get my mind back into work mode for Monday morning. I hope this week goes better than last.

If we survive the upcoming Democratic National Convention, that is.


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