Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Perseverance and the Human Spirit (mixed with an inborn work ethic)

On the Fargo, ND flood
The best photos I have seen yet From Boston.com
You MUST check these 30 pictures out,

As most of you know by now I was born and raised in Minnesota. I came home from the hospital to the same house and the same room that I left 18 years later to attend college. I fled all of 45 minutes away to Moorhead, MN. I worked and eventually lived in Fargo, ND while attending college. This is where I met dearest....

I was born into a working class family. You earned what you had, more hand to mouth than anything else. Each generation is just hoping to do better then the last. This is a very unique area for several reasons.
First, the leading income for generations has been farming - this is hard work. It has called for a simpler lifestyle. Next, to live here, quite frankly, one needs to be hardy with a temperature range from 100+ degrees to -40, there is no other option. But the thing that stands out in my mind most is that we are a humble people, talking highly of ourselves is to (inadvertently) speak poorly of others. Therefore we start to think "what makes me any better".... however, I am breaking this unwritten rule wide open.

I am going to brag (you heard me grandma) about the perseverance, work ethic, dedication, will power, team spirit, and ability to pull together in a crisis that you will find in almost every true Midwesterner.
A portion of the definition of a "midwest" from Wikipedia: The Protestant and Midwestern [are influenced by] ideals of profit, thrift, work ethic, pioneer self-reliance, education, democratic rights, and religious tolerance...

The region was shaped by the relative absence of slavery (except Missouri), pioneer settlement, education in one-room free public schools, democratic notions brought by American Revolutionary War veterans, Protestant Faiths and experimentation, and agricultural wealth ... Wikipedia
We (from here on our we = Midwesterner) are strong people with an inborn work ethic. We will not sit around and ask "Who is going to help us" we ask "Can I help you?" whether it is holding open a door or moving your neighbors furniture to the top floor so it isn't damaged in the flood, we are there to help. People have flooded the Fargo/Moorhead area to help. In fact there was so much help that officials had to ask "outside" help to refrain from coming in for fear of clogging up the roadways and impairing emergency vehicles routes. You will never see people pull together here like you will when a crisis hits. Providing endless meals (hotdishes), lawn care, and help when a loved one passes away, to fundraisers for those stricken with illnesses, or in this case when a flood knocked on their doors (and levies) two communities (separated only by a river) pulled together, put their heads down and started working. People weren't asking, "what about my house" or "why should I help". They knew that working together would be better then working as individuals. Many hands make for light work

For those of us that couldn't be there to help - sticking to the "no outside help" request, our hearts went out to the workers, home owners, and officials who worked so well together. As for our part - many doors opened to those forced to evacuate, and when the waters recede you will find us there helping to clean up.

Fargo will persevere - it is what they do. They will continue working together, they will clean up, and we will continue to be humble about all that has transpired. Saying things like "we are fine", "it wasn't so bad" , or "no big deal" or "oh this is nothing, ya know, you should see Sven's house" , ... But for this day I want to throw aside this attitude and say -
Good Job Everyone,
your spirit, heart, determination, and stamina have shown the world what we are about. You looked doom in the face and stared it down. I am proud to call myself a Minnesotan/ former North Dakotan/ Midwesterner/ and a hard working sole who was raised in this area and chose to return for the above reasons. May God continue to bless you and your efforts. May you have a warm bed to lay your head in and your family close, because right now that is what important. You all bring a tear to my eye. Thank YOU.
What strikes me about the pictures you are about to see are the smiles. Everyone is smiling. Minnesotans and North Dakotans are like work horses, the heavier the load the harder they pull. We are in this together, and despite the impending doom with a single leak of a levy, we know that work is better with a smile and kind words. Comradory I think it is called. Our spirit seems to thrive on hard work and a purpose. Satisfaction is found in a job well done, knowing we did our part.

It is inevitable that some defeat will enter even the most victorious life. The human spirit is never finished when it is defeated.
It is finished when it surrenders.
Ben Stein
This is a time at which the forces of nature, of the Red River, will meet the forces of the human spirit."
Clay County emergency center spokesman Dan Olson
Can you see the people
stranded in this picture
(click to enlarge)

"The eyes of America are on Fargo, North Dakota, and they're getting a very good impression of what the people of North Dakota are like."
Sen. Kent Conrad, D-North Dakota
Do you notice on all the
pictures with people
that they are smiling?
Always smiling...

"What's going on here really is an inspiration for the country"
Sen. Kent Conrad, D-North Dakota.

On the Fargo, ND flood
The best photos I have seen yet From Boston.com
You MUST check these 30 pictures out

More to come

I am working on a post right now -
about perseverance, work ethic, and the human spirit.....

Hang on, I'm workin' here

Monday, March 30, 2009

Strong Coffee Dreaming - Monday

I need strong coffee on Monday

Maybe this would do...
Photo from Flickr - here

of drinking it here

pic off the web

Wearing this....

Now wouldn't that be a way to wake up?

What are you dreaming of today?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

And it was so

11 Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation:

seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it,

according to their various kinds.”

And it was so.
Genesis 1:11

Pic by Barbara Villiard

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Something to Ponder

If I screw up raising my kids
Nothing else I accomplish
Matters much
from Cheaper by the Dozen

Friday, March 27, 2009

Love Them
"Write Out Loud"

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tick Tac Tag

I was tagged by Julochka on Monday. I saved the tag for today, knowing I would need prompting on my blog today (having my stent removed, doesn't make for a lovely day)
So, here are the rules:
1. Respond and rework. Answer the questions on your blog, replace one question you dislike with a question of your own invention; add a question of your own.
2. Tag eight other un-tagged people.
3. it can be an idea to post the answers together with several completely unrelated pictures. :-)
What is your current obsession? Blogging - really we are in between right now - not quite winter, but not really Spring and my brain just can't focus on anything else.
Good fika (coffee break) place? At the foot of my bed watching "my" birds. Dearest arranged a bench for me to sit and watch the 4 feeders - it is like O'Hare out there!
Do you nap a lot? I try to daily, just 20 minutes of laying down can sustain me through the day - I have even blogged about this before - here-
Who was the last person you hugged? My kids as they went off to bed
If you were a tree, what tree would you be? Sugar maple - sweet and sticky during the Spring, a useful shade tree in the summer, and a brilliant display of colors to make all happy in the Fall
Have you ever had an altercation with the police? Not really - the last officer I saw was because I rolled through a stop sign and was close to causing an accident. When he pulled me over I said "that was bad, wasn't it. I really scared myself, I am so sorry..." I went on and on. He was so flabbergasted that he shook his head and started telling me all the things I was doing right like buckling up myself and my son and so forth so on- I got off with just a warning (I should have gotten a ticket, it was bad!)Camping with GI Joe
(set up and photo by wee one #1)

What was the last thing you bought? Groceries -always groceries.
What are you listening to right now? The sound of dearest snoring and the refrigerator humming, cats settling in for the night, a child rolling in bed, and the keys on the keyboard seem WAY too loud, as if they may wake everyone.
What is your favorite weather? Oh, that would have to be end of August when the humidity is leaving the air and it is still 80 degrees out.
What’s on your bedside table? too much! A stack of books unread and read, tons of love letters and art work from my children especially from my girly girl, pics of dearest and the kids, a lamp for reading, two reading lights, seed catalogs, three "pinch pots" the kindergartner art project/Christmas gift, lots of dust (see too much), pony tail holders and bobby pins, a necklace I made hanging from the lamp, pencils and one pen, graph paper - way too much.Homemade chicken noodle soup

Say something to the person/s who tagged you. Julochka, my bloggy friend, we have only known each other for a bit - yet I am amazed how our blog worlds collided and am thrilled to have you part of my (blogging) life now. Yours is the first blog I read every day....
If you could have a house totally paid for, fully furnished anywhere in the world, where would you want it to be? That is a tough one... I haven't traveled enough to know. Right now I would say on the SW slope of Colorado, with extra land for dearest to finally hunt that elk he wants so badly. (I encourage you to link to this house - amazing!)
Name the things you can’t live without. My family, everything else is replaceable
What would you like to have in your hands right now? Money, enough to pay off our house, so the paycheck would stretch further.
What is your favorite tea flavor? Depends upon the season - winter I like warm flavors like almond and chai and spicy stuff in the summer more fruity blends. All time favorite was Celestial Seasonings Apricot Ginger - but they discontinued it.
What would you like to get rid of? All the extra clutter, especially in my laundry room and storage room.First day of Spring in Bemidji, MN - snow

If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go? Balize - I must see turquoise water before I die
What did you want to become as a child? a teacher - always a teacher
What do you like better, e-mail or telephone calls? depends upon the day. Sometimes emails are so much easier - but so much is lost without intonation and expression of voice - so I get in trouble a lot on emails, my sarcasm doesn't relay it just sounds wrong!View from fire tower Kabekona, MN

What do you do when you get time alone? Wander in circles, really - I don't know what to do with free time yet. I am still in the "on call mom mode" I do like to read and garden and do crafty things and I love movies... when I do get free time I forget to do things I like and tend to clean instead.
What is the next fun thing you have planned to do? We are going to a concert on Friday (dearest and I) Dearest won tickets on the radio :)
Headwaters of the Mississippi River

Tag 8 people- I just don't know if I can come up with 8 people(pain kicking in, brain shutting down). So, I will throw it out there again to whom ever would like to accept the tag. Go for it.
It is kind of fun

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Hospitals and Gowns

A hospital gown, is a short-sleeved, thigh-length garment worn by patients in hospitals and other medical facilities.

The hospital gown is made of fabric that can withstand repeated laundering in hot water, usually cotton and is fastened at the back with twill tape ties.

Most doctors, especially in hospitals, find hospital gowns convenient for listening to the heart and lungs. For nurses, giving vaccinations in the buttocks is easier when the patient is wearing a gown rather than street clothing. Hospital gowns are much thinner and looser than regular clothing, so patients are less likely to overheat. Patients wearing gowns are also less likely to be bothered by other clothing issues, such as uncomfortable clothing, having to keep multiple changes of clothing on hand, or removing clothing to use the toilet. The gown is significantly easier and more comfortable to move around in than street clothing. Wikipedia

click to enlarge photo

This is me showing the latest in hospital gown fashion.
(Dearest said I looked scared)
This is me at 3 o'clock getting prepped for surgery

Notice the lovely white paper/plastic wrist band
that comes complimentary with every gown
This is me 3 hours later, still waiting to get into surgery....
The hospital gown, not the warmest fashion choice
But it coordinated nicely with my green I.V. clamp
I rub my eyes and forehead when I am stressed/bored,
Any trace of makeup I had on was long since rubbed off!

I have worn many different hospital gowns in my life. They have been tan, green, blue, I even had pink ones when I had my babies (those have a peak-a-boo nursing top )
but my favorite was this one.
This is a Polaroid circa 1977 (I was 4 going on 5). I was at the Mayo Clinic/St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester, MN. This gown was yellow with circus animals on it. My room mate was from India I believe. My favorite one had Winnie the Pooh holding onto balloons - I still remember it. I finally was able to go to the playroom, dragging my I.V. behind, I was wearing the Winnie the Pooh gown that day.

Yep, I have been styling hospital gowns for most of my life.

Sitting in the sun

I am home after my surgery last night. I am drinking coffee (after a 30+ hour fast yesterday) and enjoying every sip as I sit in the sunshine of my living room window enjoying the company of wee one #4 and dearest.... all things considered it is a lovely morning.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Surgery Today

photo from here
When you are under
From anesthesia
You don't dream
You see nothing
Only black...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Saturday, March 21, 2009

'For behold, the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone.
'The flowers have already appeared in the land;
The time has arrived for pruning the vines,
And the voice of the turtledove has been heard in our land.
'The fig tree has ripened its figs,
And the vines in blossom have given forth their fragrance.
Arise, my darling, my beautiful one,
And come along!' "
Song 2:11-13

My Event

As you know yesterday I was off to an "event"
It was a Mom's Night Out

Put on by the Early Childhood Program here in town
where my Wee One's have spent their earliest years.

The Mom's promoted their wares

Food was set

The band played

People came (not as many as I had hoped)

Mom's got to just relax for a bit

Speakers informed and entertained us

The committee members got to feel pampered and beautiful
(something unknown to new moms)
by being "models" in the fashion show. Clothing from here.

I am in the red shirt with capri pants
My girly girl is in the brown skirt with jean jacket
side note:
This group of woman above
I believe could move mountains
I am in admiration of what we as a group can do....

And my hair?
I need not have worried, Final Touch Salon was there
to save the day and promote themselves - they whipped
it into shape and gave me a quick and amazing "up-do"
Thank you Casey and Jennie!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Out of Practice

I find myself looking more like this

I am getting ready for an "event" tonight.
Needing to look a little better then average I put my hair in hot curlers.

I am obviously out of practice....

Than this

I Didn't Graduate In The 21st Century

I felt old for the second time ever yesterday.
One of the "ladies" I am working with on our Mom's Night Out event which is tonight
(vendors, speakers, food, fashion show, fun sort of thing hosted for the mom's of early ed/preschool kids)
The story: As we were planning I mentioned that dearest could do something for us since the event will be held at the High School where he teaches (math). This gal asked who dearest was. Then stated, all so casually, that she never had him for a teacher.
What? Why would you have? He has only taught for 10 years in this town........
Then it hit me - of course he could have been her teacher - so came the question
"What year did you graduate?" I asked
"2004" she stated.
I felt old.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

New Listing : Island Property

Have you been searching for that perfect island home?
Your own spot in paradise?

We have the locale for you:

This island is a new development.
Be one of the first to enjoy the newest vacation paradise.
The rich volcanic soil will provide for a prosperous property
(as soon as it cools).

Some landscaping required

(previous work with hot lave helpful).

Intimate setting, space is currently limited

Submit interest here and we will contact you.
(as soon as the volcano stops erupting)

A real steal made for this economic down time!

"You wouldn't worry
so much about what
others think of you
if you realized how

seldom they do."

Eleanor Roosevelt

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

This makes me happy

Water flowing, snow melting

Steely Grey Spring Sunsets

First Self Portrait by Wee One #4

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Just Kidding - Kind Of

Why does everyone think they are Irish on St. Patrick's Day?

AP Photo

I don't pretend I am African American during Kwanzaa
Nor do I dress up and partake in the Chinese New Year

(Just kidding, kind of)

Why oh why must everyone slap themselves in green (especially gaudy shamrock necklaces and hats) and wish everyone Happy St. Patrick's Day and pinch people who aren't wearing green?
Do they even know what the Shamrock represents?

I guess these people don't know or don't remember what it was to be an Irish-American during the immigration/potato famine. Consider this:

...No group was considered lower than an Irishman in America during the 1850s...
...Our immigrant ancestors were not wanted in America ...Ads for employment often were followed by "NO IRISH NEED APPLY."...
...They were forced to live in cellars and shanties, partly because of poverty but also because they were considered bad for the neighborhood...they were unfamiliar with plumbing and running water. These living conditions bred sickness and early death. It was estimated that 80% of all infants born to Irish immigrants in New York City died. Their brogue and dress provoked ridicule; their poverty and illiteracy provoked scorn...
The Chicago Post wrote, "The Irish fill our prisons, our poor houses...Scratch a convict or a pauper, and the chances are that you tickle the skin of an Irish Catholic. Putting them on a boat and sending them home would end crime in this country."
From this site
I know people are just looking for a reason to have fun - to go out and be social. I understand.

But First:
Being 1/128th Irish does not make you Irish
Learn the History of St. Patrick
and Ireland
and the Immigration
and then for fun check out this site:
10 fun facts about St. Patrick's Day (image on site not suitable for children)

O.k. NOW go out, wear your green, drink beer, and be merry pretending to be Irish - but go knowing that St. Patrick's Day is a holiday celebrating a Saint, the shamrock represents the trinity: The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and being Irish wasn't always merry!

Monday, March 16, 2009

On The Way To The Farm

Every Saturday I make a journey out to Solway, MN (about 25 minutes one way) to a farm where I get milk directly from the cows.
This allows me to by-pass all the processing and additives the government requires.

Join me on my Saturday trip to "the farm"

Arriving I feel soft eyes looking at me - it is the cows, always curious

I turn to the back of the van to grab my cooler when a wet nose meets me
This boy was enjoying the warmth of the sun in the door of the cow barn.
Not much of a guard dog

We walk past the barn door on the way into the milk room.
We have drawn notice.

My littlest is helping me this morning.
His job is to get the jugs out.
He then helps put the lids on.

The "bulk tank"
This is where the milk goes after the cows are milked.
It is cooled to below 40 degrees and held for the milk truck
to come and pick it up to take to the creamery.
This is where we get our milk. Unprocessed - pure-healthy

Our jugs are filled for the week - 4.5 gallons.

Enjoying the fruits of his labor
Milk doesn't get much fresher than this!

This gal wishes us good by. We give her a little nuzzle as we go.
(cow noses are wet)

With warmer temps in the air it made for a lovely
Saturday morning trip.

As we leave the dairy I always slow to look at the barns down the road.
This is one of my favorites.
Thanks for joining me.
If you are worried about our health, or are intrigued by the idea here is a site with wonderful info. Please choose your farm wisely. We chose a farm that processes on site and supplies milk to the local grocery stores. (Hence the long drive) For example: The farm will not allow anyone to take milk until it has been properly cooled.
Other sites