Thursday, January 31, 2019

Government Shutdown

I don’t pay a whole lot of attention to politics and what’s happening in our government, but I can tell you that I am pretty sure this whole shutdown thing wouldn’t have happened if we had a majority of females in charge instead of males.

I say this because of my experience in dealing with the “stronger” of the two sexes. 

Just a couple of weeks ago my dear, sweet husband came home from one of his all male meetings and informed me that they, the men, had set a date and made arrangements for a social event. They, he informed me, had everything planned. I could tell he was pretty pleased with himself and the all-male group for having accomplished this with no female assistance. Which is why he was telling me about it. 

I made a mental note to request the night off from work, as it would be a husband and wife event and I knew he would want me to attend alongside him.

This was on a Tuesday evening.

The following Monday night, a full week later, Tim asked me if I had, by chance, told my employers that we would be needing to reserve the banquet room for this social event. Needless to say, I looked at Tim rather askew and remarked, “I thought you had this all planned out and taken care of?”

He, being a typical guy, gave me a quizzical glance and replied, “We did.”

“But you didn’t call Shady and actually book the event?”

“No, I thought you would take care of that.”

“Hmmmm,” I said. “And you didn’t think it was necessary to mention to me that I was responsible for taking care of that minor detail?”

I will admit he did look a bit sheepish then.

I went on to suggest that perhaps he might like to call Shady right then and there and make his request, which he did. 

Fortunately, this all played out well enough in advance that we will not be having a social event shutdown the night of the social event. Everything will go smoothly and all in attendance will have a wonderful time and no one will be the wiser about how incredibly close we came to a major disaster. 

The men will all think they did a fabulous job of planning this amazing gathering and they’ll be all puffed up with pride. 

I will know, on the other hand, how close they came to not having an event at all. Just because of a minor detail that the “stronger” sex didn’t think was all that important and didn’t actually need to be planned or confirmed with the venue. 

In contrast I think about my lady friends and how when we get together, also on a Tuesday night, and make plans for a gathering. We work together to set a time and place and then, get this, we call the venue to see if that will work into their schedule. After we’ve verified with them, we go ahead with our plans. We don’t just assume that the venue is going to be able to accommodate us, and we don’t assume that someone else will take on the responsibility of making that phone call - especially if we don’t tell them they are going to need to do that. 

It’s an amazing concept, this one that the ladies and I have, about actually planning an event. 

So, although I don’t know exactly what’s going on with our senators and representatives, I can about imagine that it might be something along the lines of the scenario I just played out - basically, someone had the ball, but dropped it and now no one wants to pick it up. And since it’s a male dominated organization, well…


Thursday, January 24, 2019

Birthday Bash

We had some fun birthday parties when the girls were growing up. I remember the year that Alexandra turned nine - we celebrated with a tea party on our deck. Alex’s birthday is towards the end of May, so the weather was perfect for an outdoor birthday bash.

We invited 13 little girls over to play - which is a crazy number of little girls to have at one’s house all at the same time. Especially when they are friends of Alexandra. These were a bunch of rough and tumble little girls. They were not what one would think of as your typical tea party types. 

The girls rode the school bus home with our daughters and had a great time digging through the toy box filled with dress up clothes and decorating oversized straw hats with pretty fake flowers to wear to the party, which was held outside on a warm sunny afternoon. 

They drank cups of “tea,” ate finger sandwiches and baby carrots dipped in bleu cheese dressing by the bucketful. They had no idea that they were eating moldy cheese, and demanded more of that delicious dip. I sent Tim into town to buy more bags of carrots and jars of bleu cheese dressing for them to devour. If I recall correctly, we went through six jars of Lighthouse Bleu Cheese Dressing. Rather expensive dip, I know, but the fact that they were all eating moldy cheese made it worthwhile. 

Afterwards we had a dandelion picking contest, since I had nearly three million of the sunny yellow flower growing in my yard. I lined the girls up, counted to three and off they went, running toward the large patch of bliss to pick as many as they could while I counted to twenty. In the end they each tallied their totals and the winner had the satisfaction of knowing they were the champion. Then we did it again. And again. There is no wearing out 13 eight and nine year olds.

They ate cake and ice cream, Alexandra opened her gifts, and we sang “Happy Birthday.”

The girls continued to run and play all afternoon until I was worn out and decided it was time to take them home. Of course the kids didn’t want to go, but I couldn’t take any more.

I opened the three passenger doors of The Tracer as well as the hatch, and the 13 girls all started piling in. It was a rather snug fit, but when all was said and done, there was still room for me to sit properly in my seat and drive. We sang songs as we drove around dropping each of the girls off at their respective homes. I kept thinking that The Tracer made a mighty fine clown car, holding 14 people and thinking we probably could have squeezed a few more in. I was lucky with the first few girls - I was able to drop them off without any family members seeing us - and by the time we got to the worry-wart, proper families, the ones with the moms who would never, ever let their child ride around in a compact car stuffed with 13 other people, we were down to a reasonable amount of children and each one could be properly belted in. 

And now enough time has lapsed that I can safely tell this story without being lynched. 

Alexandra will turn 30 this coming May. I wonder what sort of tea party we can do this year?


Friday, January 18, 2019

The Correct Post!

Apparently I had a little brain fart and published the same post two weeks in a row. Oops. Haha. Well, sometimes that's just the way my life goes!

As it turns out, THIS is the post that was supposed to be published under "Making Plans."

Sorry about the mixup!

And thanks to my daughter, Katrina, for pointing it out to me.

“It’s the hap-happiest season of all.”

As that wonderful Christmas song goes, it is a happy season for me: It’s planner season!

I absolutely love the time of year when I get to start using a new planner. The pages are fresh and clean, filled with possibility. They call to me of unfulfilled dreams, of ideas and plans in the works, of things yet to be done. 

Planners are tangible forms of dreams. 

Oh, how I do love planners.

Each year I get a new one. I choose it with great care and love, picking out one that I am sure to love for the entire year. Sometimes it’s a real struggle. There are so many options out there and I have a hard time narrowing it down to just one. Other years there will be one that just leaps out to me, crying out, “This is it! I’m the one! There is no other!”

And then I buy it and wait ever so impatiently for January to roll around so that I can use it. 

The first couple of weeks are so much fun. I carefully use my planner each day, writing in my appointments and upcoming events. I scribble in little notes about fun things I want to remember. And I check it to see what I have coming up that I need to be keeping track of. And then, after a week or two, I look at it a bit less often and feel guilty that I have this wonderful planner and I’m not using it (already) and then pretty soon I’ve misplaced it and, oh well, I guess that’s that for now.

About the end of February it will surface again. I’ll start to use it afresh, because, after all, I did spend good money on it and I really should be using it. And it’s a cool planner, right? So I should use it. 

I’ll do so, haphazardly, for a few weeks. It will flit in and out of sight. Some days I’ll be able to find it, others I won’t. It might even go missing for several days at a time. Eventually it will vanish completely and I won’t even remember I have it. This is a sad time for me. 

Come July I’ll start seeing planners for the next year in stores and this will remind me that I have one, somewhere, and so I will start keeping my eyes peeled, in hopes of finding it, maybe even before my August vacation. That way I could take it with me and use it as a sort of journal to detail the highlights of the vacation. Awesome idea, right?

I do eventually find it and I do take it on vacation with me. I don’t, however, detail the vacation highlights or anything else about the vacation in the planner. I’m too busy vacationing to do that. However, while on vacation I am in a book store and lo, what to my wondering eyes should appear…but planners! And this time I find one of those that scream out, “This is it! I’m the one! There is no other!” 

Of course my heart starts beating rapidly, because I’ve just found the perfect planner for 2019. I pick it up and add it to my stack of books. All the while I am thinking, “Ah, Terri. Remember how you never actually consistently use a planner?” So instead of making an impulsive decision and purchasing it on the spot, I wander around the store collecting more books to buy and then I buy my books…and planner. Besides, this time it will be different, right?

In December I personalized my new planner. I added Washi tape to the edges of some of the pages, and tabs to others. I created some pocket pages for receipts. I added in important dates. I got that wonderful little planner all ready for the new year. 

And then when I was in the cities on Monday I found another planner, this one more of a journal/planner combo! Oh my, I had to have that, too. So now, for 2019, I not only have one planner to keep tabs of, but two.


I can already see the guilt trip that is lying in wait for me.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Poppy 2.0

Welcome to our world, Poppy 2.0!

On Christmas day, while I lay home sick in bed, Tim, Katrina and my mother managed to have a little encounter with a pretty deer on their way home from a gathering at my brother’s house in Hartford. 

Both the deer and Poppy, my beloved car, lost.

First I would like to make clear that if I had been along on that trip, the collision with the deer would never have happened. No, not because I am a great and wonderful driver, although it is true that I am, but because we would have been a few minutes later leaving. It’s a fact that whenever Tim and I go anywhere it always takes me a little longer to say my goodbyes and get out of the house.

But alas, I was not along. And so there is one less deer in the world, which makes me very, very sad. At first Tim said that they did not see the deer anywhere around after the accident, so then I spent a few days worrying about the welfare of the deer. Was she hurt and suffering? That bothered me quite a bit. Fortunately, we made another trip to the Sioux Falls area just a couple of days after Christmas and when we drove past the scene of the accident we found the deer lying dead in the ditch. I was greatly relieved. I mean, I wasn’t happy about the death of the deer, but it’s better than a wounded deer wandering around in misery.

My sweet Poppy, however, is also dead. She was only six years old. I am not sure how that transfers in car years - is it like dog and cat years? I do know that she had a lot of life left in her.  She only had 177, 000 miles on her, which, despite the fact that the insurance agent said was quite high for her age and the state we live in, was just a drop in the bucket as far as we are concerned. We knew she still had a lot of miles to go. 

Poppy is only the second vehicle I’ve ever owned that I actually liked. My first car was an ugly green machine, a Buick, that was larger than my house. It got me where I wanted to go, but beyond that it had no redeeming qualities. Then Tim and I owned a little red Ford. It wasn’t a compact. It was okay, but nothing great. And then we bought our first compact car - a Mercury Tracer. “The Tracer” we called her. We loved that car to her death and beyond - literally. She was fun to drive, fit our little family of four perfectly, and got great fuel mileage. I mean, when you have a hamster on a spinning wheel for an engine, all you need to do is make sure the hamster is well fed and has plenty of water to drink - that makes for great fuel economy.

When The Tracer sprung a leak in her radiator and we were told the expense of fixing her wasn’t worth it I think she had close to 200,000 miles on her. So we bought an Olds Bravada. A big, green machine. You think that maybe I would have known that green Olds were not good investments for me…but I hadn’t figured that out yet. Oh, the Olds was okay, it too got us where we needed to go. Surprisingly, despite its size, it didn’t have as much room inside as one would have expected. And I didn’t like that vehicle, either. I remember when we first brought it home and parked it in the garage and The Tracer had to sit outside. I felt so bad for The Tracer. Doomed to sit outside in the cold.

We had a funeral for The Tracer. About a dozen people gathered at our house on a cold October evening. Actually, it was a combination funeral and wake. We put a funeral spray of fake flowers on The Tracer and parked her, white smoke billowing out as we did so, near the front door of our house, for people to view as they came. We drank wine (the wake part) and conducted a little service. I had printed up memorial folders for the guests and made a memory board on which we hung photographs of The Tracer from trips and events we’d made over the years. Alexandra and I sang a couple of songs, including Woodie Guthrie’s Take You Riding in my Car. We shared memories. Then we served the funeral dinner: hot dish, several kinds of Jello, buns with butter and assorted cupcakes. We had a wonderful gathering.

The Tracer got parked in a shed until spring, when someone told Tim about Barr’s StopLeak and he dumped a couple jugs of that into her radiator. Lo and behold, right around Easter, The Tracer was resurrected! We continued to drive her for another 150,000 miles. What a trouper she was.

Towards the end, the real end, she was going a bit senile. She started doing strange things like not shutting off when we’d turn the key off and take it out of the ignition. Or she’d change radio stations when we turned the corner. If you opened the hatch, the radio would turn on - or shut off. But we loved her all the more for her oddities. When she finally died for good with over 350,000 miles on her, we were ready to let her go.

After The Tracer, we went through a couple other beasts - big vehicles that just didn’t flip our switches. And then, six years ago, we found Poppy. Our cute little compact Chevy Sonic, complete with an exercise wheel and a hamster. The perfect car for us. And we fell in love all over again. 


Alas, Poppy died before her time. Our hearts are broken. Fortunately, Chevrolet has not discontinued making Sonics and so we have adopted her little sister. We are so very excited. In the interest of keeping things simple, we’ve decided to call her Poppy, also. Poppy 2.0. How wonderful to welcome you into our family.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Making Plans

Welcome to our world, Poppy 2.0!

On Christmas day, while I lay home sick in bed, Tim, Katrina and my mother managed to have a little encounter with a pretty deer on their way home from a gathering at my brother’s house in Hartford. 

Both the deer and Poppy, my beloved car, lost.

First I would like to make clear that if I had been along on that trip, the collision with the deer would never have happened. No, not because I am a great and wonderful driver, although it is true that I am, but because we would have been a few minutes later leaving. It’s a fact that whenever Tim and I go anywhere it always takes me a little longer to say my goodbyes and get out of the house.

But alas, I was not along. And so there is one less deer in the world, which makes me very, very sad. At first Tim said that they did not see the deer anywhere around after the accident, so then I spent a few days worrying about the welfare of the deer. Was she hurt and suffering? That bothered me quite a bit. Fortunately, we made another trip to the Sioux Falls area just a couple of days after Christmas and when we drove past the scene of the accident we found the deer lying dead in the ditch. I was greatly relieved. I mean, I wasn’t happy about the death of the deer, but it’s better than a wounded deer wandering around in misery.

My sweet Poppy, however, is also dead. She was only six years old. I am not sure how that transfers in car years - is it like dog and cat years? I do know that she had a lot of life left in her.  She only had 177, 000 miles on her, which, despite the fact that the insurance agent said was quite high for her age and the state we live in, was just a drop in the bucket as far as we are concerned. We knew she still had a lot of miles to go. 

Poppy is only the second vehicle I’ve ever owned that I actually liked. My first car was an ugly green machine, a Buick, that was larger than my house. It got me where I wanted to go, but beyond that it had no redeeming qualities. Then Tim and I owned a little red Ford. It wasn’t a compact. It was okay, but nothing great. And then we bought our first compact car - a Mercury Tracer. “The Tracer” we called her. We loved that car to her death and beyond - literally. She was fun to drive, fit our little family of four perfectly, and got great fuel mileage. I mean, when you have a hamster on a spinning wheel for an engine, all you need to do is make sure the hamster is well fed and has plenty of water to drink - that makes for great fuel economy.

When The Tracer sprung a leak in her radiator and we were told the expense of fixing her wasn’t worth it I think she had close to 200,000 miles on her. So we bought an Olds Bravada. A big, green machine. You think that maybe I would have known that green Olds were not good investments for me…but I hadn’t figured that out yet. Oh, the Olds was okay, it too got us where we needed to go. Surprisingly, despite its size, it didn’t have as much room inside as one would have expected. And I didn’t like that vehicle, either. I remember when we first brought it home and parked it in the garage and The Tracer had to sit outside. I felt so bad for The Tracer. Doomed to sit outside in the cold.

We had a funeral for The Tracer. About a dozen people gathered at our house on a cold October evening. Actually, it was a combination funeral and wake. We put a funeral spray of fake flowers on The Tracer and parked her, white smoke billowing out as we did so, near the front door of our house, for people to view as they came. We drank wine (the wake part) and conducted a little service. I had printed up memorial folders for the guests and made a memory board on which we hung photographs of The Tracer from trips and events we’d made over the years. Alexandra and I sang a couple of songs, including Woodie Guthrie’s Take You Riding in my Car. We shared memories. Then we served the funeral dinner: hot dish, several kinds of Jello, buns with butter and assorted cupcakes. We had a wonderful gathering.

The Tracer got parked in a shed until spring, when someone told Tim about Barr’s StopLeak and he dumped a couple jugs of that into her radiator. Lo and behold, right around Easter, The Tracer was resurrected! We continued to drive her for another 150,000 miles. What a trouper she was.

Towards the end, the real end, she was going a bit senile. She started doing strange things like not shutting off when we’d turn the key off and take it out of the ignition. Or she’d change radio stations when we turned the corner. If you opened the hatch, the radio would turn on - or shut off. But we loved her all the more for her oddities. When she finally died for good with over 350,000 miles on her, we were ready to let her go.

After The Tracer, we went through a couple other beasts - big vehicles that just didn’t flip our switches. And then, six years ago, we found Poppy. Our cute little compact Chevy Sonic, complete with an exercise wheel and a hamster. The perfect car for us. And we fell in love all over again. 


Alas, Poppy died before her time. Our hearts are broken. Fortunately, Chevrolet has not discontinued making Sonics and so we have adopted her little sister. We are so very excited. In the interest of keeping things simple, we’ve decided to call her Poppy, also. Poppy 2.0. How wonderful to welcome you into our family.