Monday, April 30, 2012

Sad Eyes

Bumblebee is our grandog and she's been staying with us this past week while her family is vacationing.  She is not allowed on the couch at her house but she knows the rules are different at the grandparents' house.  I am sure she misses her people but I think she's having a good time.  Trust me, she is having a good time.  Really, she is!  Those eyes always look sad.  

Sunday, April 29, 2012


We are at the end of our ABC's of Bible Memorization!  Yay!  I really don't know if any of you have memorized them all but I appreciate that you've followed along.  If you did memorize them all, please let me know and I will send you a small prize.

So, here it is, the letter Z!

Psalm 97:8 Zion hears and is glad, and the

towns of Judah rejoice, because of your 

judgments, O God.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Tutorial/Giveaway: Repurposing Jewelry into Jewelry

No, I just don't give up with the whole tutorial thing, do I?  You would think this one would have been my last.  I encouraged myself, though, when I discovered that even a not-very-good-cook could produce a cooking tutorial.  At least that cooking tutorial produced something very yummy to eat.  This one was pretty but didn't taste all that great.  Probably the most useful tutorial I've managed to put together was the one about disabling word verification.  I still have a personal vendetta against the word verification junk.  It helps stop computer-generated comments.  Yes, I've had a few of those but they are simple to remove.  It won't help stop comments from creeps unless they are people who have trouble reading the distorted letters as well.  It has stopped me from leaving comments before as I sometimes just give up.  Oh man!  I'm ranting again.  Let's move on...

I enjoy reading blogs and books about people repurposing an unused item into something altogether different.  For instance, there are books about recycling sweaters.  You can make them into scarves and such.  There are entire blogs dedicated to repurposing.  I found one that shows how to turn eggshells into a leather look for covering things like photo album covers.  Hmmm...  Well, I decided I didn't need to stretch quite that far to get in on the repurposing wave.  I'm going to show you how I turned an earring into a necklace.  Yes, you read it right.  This is a tutorial on how to move jewelry from your ear to your chest.

OK, so you think this is a waste of time.  However, have you ever been in the mall (any mall) and stopped in to one of those stores with all the costume jewelry?  They have some pretty mighty earrings out right now!  Unfortunately, not every one has mighty earlobes.  Some of those earrings are so big you would soon be singing, "Do Your Ears Hang Low?"  Well, I really think many of those giant earrings are pretty but I don't want my ears to dangle "to and fro".  So, I repurposed.

I took a beautiful but way-too-large earring and made a pretty necklace.  I think you may agree that it was the humane thing to do.

First, I just opened up the little ring to get the big bobble off the earring.  I can later use the top part of the earring to refashion a more reasonable decoration for my lady-like earlobes.

I set it aside for a few minutes and took out some cotton thread of a corresponding color.  I just crocheted a long, long chain and hooked the ends together.

The only measuring I did was to wrap it around my own neck and decided about how long I thought it should be.

I went for a pretty long dangling type of look.  I then just did a slip stitch around all loops of the chain.

I wanted to make it looked more polished I guess.

I tied off the loose ends and pulled the tails back in to be hidden.

Using little needle-nosed pliers I reattached the ring around the chain and through the top of the pendant.

I can now call it a pendant since it is no longer capable of dangling dangerously heavy from someone's ear.

Waa-la!  I think it is kind of pretty.  It reminds me of a peacock!

Now, I am wondering if anyone wants it?  I am giving it away.  After all, I have the other earring with which I can make another necklace for myself if I wish.

To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post or my personal facebook page before May 1.  If you have trouble leaving comments here just e-mail me at and your name will be entered.  I will use to be sure it is all fair.  That's really kind of funny as it is quite possible there will only be a few comments.  That means your chances are great!  Come on, don't let that scare you.  Go ahead, leave a comment.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Checking the Stats

This morning started out kind of lazy so I was indulging myself and messing around on the computer.  I changed the style of my blog about a dozen times.  I kind of want to try all the options so hang on!  Finally, I decided to look in on my blog stats.

For those of you who don't know, we bloggers have access to stats about our own blogs.  I kind of forget that I have the option to look at those numbers but every now and then I like to check them.  This is what I found out today...

One of the stats available is the number of page views.  It is kind of skewed because when I change the style of my blog it changes the way the page views are counted but it gives me a good idea of which posts receive the most attention.

Sorry about the quality of this photo but this shows part of the screen, enough for you to see the most popular posts were A Change of Heart (thanks Allen), A Gentle Donkey Kind of King (based on Mike's children's sermon), and Breath of God.  None of those posts were based on my own fascinating thoughts or observations but I don't really think we need to talk about that aspect of my stats!  

The stat I most enjoy checking out is the one that describes my audience...

This one fascinates me!  I do not know how people from Russia, India or any other countries happen upon my blog but I love it.  As a child I can remember teachers encouraging us to establish pen pals with children in other countries.  I think the idea was that by communicating directly with someone from a different culture we would grow up to be understanding of others.  Maybe that is really a small step toward world peace.  Think of what the internet has done!  We can now so easily communicate with people around the world!  We don't have to be diplomats or foreign missionaries or adventure travelers.  An ordinary American nurse can go online and share thoughts with all sorts of people.

Sometimes I kind of freak myself out when I look at the audience stats.  Knowing that much of language can mean different things to different people, I wonder if something I might write would offend someone from Pakistan or Germany or even just someone in a different area of the United States.  I hope I never do that but if I do, I hope you will be forgiving.

I can see what countries have been represented since I began my blog, how many this week, this day and even at this  moment.  Right now there are 41 people from the United States and 1 person from Australia reading my blog.  I think that 1 person from Australia must be having trouble sleeping.  

I really love receiving comments about my posts.  I suppose some of that is simply pride in knowing I've started a conversation, that people are interested in my topic for the day.  Sometimes it is funny to see which posts draw the most comments.  Between Facebook comments and those left here, I had a lot of feedback on washing out plastic bags! Funny, huh?  When people comment, though, it gives a voice to the thoughts of others, not just mine.  So,  if you have been reluctant to leave a comment, please know that I would love it.  If you are one who has difficulty leaving comments here, you may also e-mail me and I will transfer your comment to my posts.  My e-mail address is

I just want to say "thank you" to my readers, from the long-time loyalists to those just dropping in for today.  I appreciate that you've taken the time to stop by.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Drive Safe and Sanitary

Last week-end, when I was headed to Billings, I received a sweet text from our daughter, Maria.  In the text I was instructed to "drive safe and sanitary".  In fact, I received multiple similar messages.  Mike also directed me to drive safe and sanitary as I left that morning.  Actually, I stood there until he remembered to say it, refusing to make my exit until he did.  Those are words of love in our family and they pretty much always make me happy.

Reminding a loved one to "drive safe" probably isn't so weird, but are you now wondering if I am known for driving in an unsanitary fashion?  How would someone do that?  Maybe I drive with the windows down and cough out the window at pedestrians?  Maybe I sneeze into my hand and transfer germs onto the steering wheel, endangering the next driver?  Do I throw used tissues willy nilly around the car?  Well, just in case you are worried about any of that, I try my best to cough into the crook of my elbow, pick up any tissues I may use and I even have hand sanitizer in my car and I know how to use it.  Sometimes, if I am sick, I even put a gob of it on my hands and smear it around the entire steering wheel.

When Maria and Mike commanded the "safe and sanitary" trip they were simply carrying on family tradition.  Here's the story, at least my memory of it...  I think it was my great-grandfather who started the strange send-off.

He was seeing off some relatives, you know, how you all stand awkwardly around a car as you say your "good-byes".  That is also the time when someone remembers that they never took photos of their loved ones during the visit so they snap them just before they leave.  In fact, I was fascinated by how many "leaving" photos I saw in the old family photo collection.  The first two below are my Grandma Rose.  Wasn't she a beauty?

Sometimes those send offs take awhile, huh?  Anyway, he started talking without thinking out his entire sentence.  Of course, I've never done that.  He said, "Drive safe and....." I don't know what he meant to say and maybe he didn't either.  Finally, out came "sanitary".  What?

My great-grandfather's words to "drive safe and sanitary" became part of family lore and is now the send-off for multiple generations of descendants, people who live all over this country.  It's silly, isn't it?  I'm sure it brought laughs for awhile, making fun of the original speaker of that odd phrase.  Now, it is just an expected part of our tradition.  I hope none of us become superstitious, thinking we won't be safe if we don't hear it, but it does kind of make us feel sealed with love.  The funny times are when one of us says it to someone outside the family.  Oddly, they just don't get it.  Trust me, I've done it.

I am guessing my great-grandfather had no idea that his quirky little phrase would only gain steam over the generations.  I'm quite certain he never imaged that phrase being texted to people not yet even born when he first uttered it.  I'm sure he never conceived the idea of someone blogging about it.  Funny, huh?  Today, I am sending the "Drive safe and sanitary!" directive to a loved one via this know who you are!

Now, it is your turn.  Anyone brave enough to share some odd little family sayings or traditions of your own?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Under the Weather

I started out this week feeling a bit under the weather.  Did you ever stop to ponder that phrase, "under the weather"?  Where did that come from?  Anyway, I guess there was weather and I was under it.  Actually, the weather was lovely but I wasn't really enjoying it much.  Nothing dramatic was going on, just a typical upper respiratory infection (nurse talk for a common cold).  It gave me some down time but I couldn't waste it so I crocheted. I did finish the tunisian crochet baby blanket I showed you a week or so ago.  Not to brag, but I was pleased with the final result.

As I crocheted I also spent nearly an entire day watching Netflix.  I just finished the series "Life".  It is about a cop who is framed, spends 12 years in prison, is exonerated and wins a multi-million dollar settlement and then goes back to work as a cop again.  It was entertainment for me anyway.  

Being sick now is sure different than it was for me a decade ago.  Many of you know that when you are raising kids you don't get to just watch tv and crochet when you are sick, you just keep moving anyway.  Also, if my job were different, I'd have kept working.  However, I don't think it would be kind to pass even just a common cold on to our hospice patients.  They have enough to deal with and there were healthy nurses available to take my place.  Anyway, if felt weird to just sit down and relax.  

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Who I Am

Jessica Andrews sang a song quite a few years ago that I just loved.  Check it out here.  In this song she is singing about self-confidence derived from knowing who she is and knowing she is loved.  She refers to her family tree and how it is all a part of who she is.  I am fascinated with genetics and this song puts a pretty spin on that.

Maternal Grandparents

Maternal Great Grandparents as Homesteaders

For the most part, my family tree makes me proud.  I don't find perfection but I can find kindness and goodness.  I can find evidence of a good work ethic and strong spirituality.  I can find gentleness and humor.

What if a part of your lineage is a bit painful to examine, though?  I think it is pretty common to look at your family tree and find parts that are a bit shadowy.  It may be hard to see yourself as a direct descendant from someone who's life you do not admire.  How do you deal with that?  It's not like you can carve out pieces of your own DNA.

Or what if you are adopted and don't have the stories or photos of those to whom you are genetically linked?  Does that make you any less YOU?

As fascinating as genetics is it is not the end of the story for any of us.  I know it plays a big part but we have choices.  We have options to who and what we want to be, which part of our genetic heritage we wish to perpetuate.  We have paths to healing.  For me, that path has always been my faith.  I've been chosen to be a part of God's family.  I am wanted.  I am noticed.  I am cared for.  I am strong because I am not alone... ever.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Cupcake Dress for a Cupcake Girl

Cordy LOVES cupcakes!  She like to  make them.  She likes to eat them.  She likes to talk about them.

So, when I saw this, I pretty much had to get it for her now, didn't I?  Last night, when I showed it to her, she was shrugging off her other dress almost immediately.  The cupcake was definitely a hit!

When was the last time something made you that pleased?  Were you able to express your joy or did you feel inhibited?  

Sunday, April 22, 2012


We are about to wrap up this ABC's of Bible Memorization business.  Today I present to you the verse for the letter "Y"...

Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet 

and a light to my path.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Hospice Hilarity

Just so you know, people are allowed to have fun at hospice.

This week we had a training day.  It is mandatory and I rather expected it to involve a lot of sitting and squirming.  Those who planned the day, though, put a tremendous amount of effort into it.  They came up with a circus theme.  When it was time to change workshop locations, circus music would be played overhead.  When we met in the conference room we found animal crackers and those orange candy peanuts set out at our tables.  People were asked to bring white elephant gifts (although some brought nice gifts) to exchange.  There were juggling and balancing acts; we even got to give it a try ourselves! I wasn't good.

Of course there were serious sessions on such topics as public safety, personal wellness, medication titrations and equipment training.  We were given helpful knowledge to enable us to be better prepared to serve our patients.  But, silliness was interspersed in a fashion so as to keep us balanced.

We were all asked to wear a costume of a circus character.  I couldn't come up with any grand idea that I wanted to do and was just going to blow that part off, but then had an idea.  I decided I would be an animal rights activist protesting the carnival.  Sneaky,  huh?  That way I did not have to spend the day in an uncomfortable costume, but I gave the illusion of participation.   I carried a sign.  That's all I did.

OK, I admit that it was rather a feeble attempt to make it appear I was being cooperative.  Perhaps I felt guilty about that but for some reason I did cooperate with a photo opportunity that presented itself.  Actually, one of our hospice aids painted this scene.  I was impressed.

Other people did get into the spirit of the day, though, and even allowed me to take their photos.  

Do any of you have such silliness at your place of employment?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Indulging the Grandmas

I am not Cordelia's only grandma but I am the only one living in the same town.  This is why I must post cute Cordy pictures a lot.   You see, it is kind of my obligation to give the other grandmas a peek at her.   Therefore, I'm not just a bragging grandmother.  I'm only being thoughtful and trying to share.  :-)

Earlier this week I went with Maria and Cordelia to story time at our local library.  Cordy used to be really timid at these events.  Besides the stories there is usually singing time with actions or dancing involved.  We all start sitting on the floor and Cordelia would tell us she was shy and then smoosh herself into either of our laps to just observe the other kids.  Those days have changed!  When we first arrived at the children's section she said she was shy but soon she announced that she wasn't going to be shy after all.  It turns out she was right. What a fun little person to observe!

I tell you what, though, that friendly stuff takes a lot out of a girl!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Birthday Season

It is birthday season in our family.  Do any of you have those times where it is about a birthday a week for awhile?

Last night we gathered to celebrate our daughter, Maria.  She is beautiful, isn't she?  She's just as kind as she is pretty...just so you know.

We had people working on our shower in our bathroom, which had to be replaced.  I've also had the refrigerator repairman here and we replaced the dishwasher and microwave, among other patches and improvements.  I guess it is not just birthday season but also repair season.  Anyway... we just let the bathroom people (not their official titles) work and carried on with our party anyway.

When it comes to decorating, I have been known to go all out.  Actually, that is just a big fat lie.  This little banner is the extent of it for me.  I've used it for years and probably will continue to do so forever.  Oh sure, I've decorated a bit more when the kids were little but not much.  Maria is so much more into that sort of thing but it just didn't seem right to ask her to come over and decorate for herself.

Cordelia helped set the table.

I'd been at work all day so Pizza Hut brought us our meal.  It was so nice of them to cook for us!  I did make vegan cupcakes the night before and frosted them before I left for work.  They were kind of sad looking but they tasted good.
Cordelia is always helpful.  She enjoyed helping Maria blow out candles on the cupcakes. 

Mike was out of town, actually already on his way home, after having been gone a few days.  Since he didn't get home for the party, Eric took photos to send to him.  More specifically, Eric took photos of each of us, separately, wearing Mike's jean jacket and Case Tractor Hat.  That wasn't weird enough.  He also dressed each dog up in Mike's attire as well.  If you are crazy enough to want to see such photos, go here.  I'm not sure how much of that operation was observed by the people working on our bathroom!

No matter how we celebrated, I'm just so very grateful for the chance I had to mother this beautiful person.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Celebrating our Starter Child

Today marks one of the top most important days in my life.  Our first baby, Maria, was born on this day!  I love remembering how I felt as I saw her for the first time.  Meeting this little person that was a mixture of me and Mike was such a remarkable experience!

Maria was an active baby, a precocious toddler and an advanced child.  I once told Mike that she was like a little adult just trying to pretend to be a child so as to fit in with the other children.  She's always been inquisitive and concerned about the world around her.  She was such a joy to raise!

Maria is a wife and mother herself now.  She's an artist a writer and a teacher.  She's creative and kind and beautiful and loyal and forgiving and honest and she's my friend.  She adores her  brothers, laughs at her Dad's jokes and always makes me feel special.  She's funny and knows how to let loose and be silly.  She has deep compassion.

Although she was our starter child, we must have done something right because she turned out to be someone who makes us so very proud.  I hope she knows that.

I thank God for this lovely woman in my life, my daughter.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Recycling Ziplocks

A confusing thing happened recently.  I was visiting with a group of women, very nice women.  They were chuckling about odd things people saved and quaint things people did to save money.  It was a charming little conversation that suddenly took a twisted turn.  One friend, expecting shock and laughter, told how her mom even washed and recycled ziplock bags.  Everyone laughed.....everyone but me.

I just didn't see the humor.
Do you?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Turner, MT and the Wall Street Journal

I grew up a bit like a gypsy child, moving a lot.  Mike,  however, grew up living in the same house.  In fact, after we were married, we lived for about 4 years in that same house.  That house was on a farm about 7 miles away from Turner, MT, very close to the Canadian Border.  I moved to Turner when I was 15, attending 3 years of high school there.  When someone asks me where I am from, I usually just say Turner.  However, among my former classmates, I am likely still known as the "new girl".

The first time our family pulled into Turner I saw a vision that still sticks with me today.  The last several miles into Turner weren't yet paved and all streets in town were gravel only.  It was a windy summer day and tumbleweeds were blowing down main street.  I was instantly charmed!  Looking back I am kind of surprised that I loved it so easily.  I'm guessing most 15 year old girls would have thought they were being punished to have to move there, but I was very excited, not sure why.

My first day of high school I found that I made #13 for our class.  There were only 3 other girls and they all lived about 30 miles from Turner so I usually only saw them at school or school functions.  The boys had known those 3 girls probably their entire lives so I got more attention than I deserved.  Those girls could have hated me but they were nothing but sweet and welcoming to me.  I still think of them quite fondly.

There are some serious advantages to attending a small high school.  In Turner I was able to play basketball.  My first year there was their first year to have a girl's basketball team and there were only 7 girls on the team.  I did not make the starting 5.  I really didn't have a full understanding of basketball and I also had very little natural ability.  Nevertheless, I was welcome to play and I came to really enjoy it.  We didn't win a single game that year but we had a blast!  I do want to tell you that the girls' basketball team did end up having some very good athletes and some very good years.

I was also a cheerleader for 2 years.  Although some of the cheerleaders were truly athletic, I couldn't even do a cartwheel!  I got to run in track and I'm not a runner by anyone's standards.  One the way to one track meet I remember the coach saying he had no one entered in the long jump.  I volunteered.  Then, I asked him to tell me how to do it.  No, I didn't do it well but I did indeed do it!  What do you know?  Sometimes sports can be about fun, even for those who aren't particularly talented.  What a concept!

When Turner held a prom, everyone from junior high age on up would come.  Yes, kids went to prom with their parents and grandparents.  That was the only way to be able to afford a band!  I don't think that was necessarily a bad thing and I imagine to this day it is still open to all.   Like everything else, the whole community is involved.  I've never lived anywhere that knew how to develop a sense of community like Turner, MT.

When Mike & I were ready to be married, my Dad had been unemployed for a time and my parents had struggled financially.  That was no problem.  One kind lady, Bella Sanguins,  made our wedding cake as a gift.

  I think anyone would agree that it was absolutely beautiful!  She even incorporated some of the little silk flowers I'd made for the wedding party bouquets and boutonnieres.

Another lady, Darlene Erickson, volunteered to play for our wedding without charge.  The church ladies put on the rest of our reception in the church basement.  Money doesn't matter so much when you've got a whole community helping you put on a wedding.  Weddings out there are a big social event and everyone comes; funerals are the same.  You see, in a small community, every person is important, valued and known.

To put into perspective a bit of how isolated we were in Turner, we had to drive about 80 miles to get to the nearest McDonalds.  It was about that far to deliver our first baby, Maria.  I will tell you that it is not a fun drive when in labor, but I made it to the hospital.  Not all mothers have been so lucky.

The weather up in Turner can be pretty brutal.  The first year I lived there I remember high school graduation was postponed for a week because a big blizzard had knocked out the power.  That was when I learned how to melt snow to put water in the toilet tank.  Another year, after we were married, Mike & I were snowed in for quite a few days in June!  I guess that is why Turner produces such sturdy people; they grow up learning how to handle tough situations.

Everyone from Turner has stories of people helping each other out there.  My favorite from Mike's family is the story of his Mom driving a bunch of kids to Vacation Bible School or something and having a flat tire.  I may have mentioned that before but it is worth a re-mention.  A local farmer, flying overhead in his small plane, spotted her.  He landed to help her change her tire!  Although the community has built a nice little airport, people out there also land on the roads or homemade runways alongside fields of wheat when needed.

Recently we learned that Turner was given some national attention as it was discovered to be the town in the contiguous US furthest from a major league baseball team.  What a funny thing to discover!  Apparently author Craig Robinson published a baseball trivia book called Flip Flop Fly Ball.  I don't really understand why but sports bloggers then started making some less-than-flattering remarks about Turner and the Turner Community spoke up about that.  I guess all that internet action is what led to the Wall Street Journal's interest in Turner.  It looks like they even sent a reporter out to get info and shoot this video.   The video itself made me a bit homesick, but I also realize it makes Turner look a bit bleak.  The things is, though, in the winter much of the character of the town takes place indoors and wouldn't be seen from this video.

I'd have never guessed that Turner, MT would end up as the lead story for the Wall Street Journal but here it is.  What a weird claim to fame, huh?

Now, having learned all that about Turner, MT, isn't it strange to know that particular town produced this particular fan?  You can read more about him here.

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