Friday, July 30, 2010

Girl Power: My heroine

7-30-10 pooped brain
July is coming to a close, and I find myself pooped out from all the activities of the month. My "girl power" is currently very weak. August is already over-booked, so at a time like this, I will need to take a close look and prioritize the most important things to the top of my list.... and let go of others.

Speaking of "girl power", my current heroine is Elizabeth Warren. She is fighting for me, aka: a regular everyday working person. I just want to make enough money to live life out of poverty. I am not striving for riches, I just want to work, I want to give a little, save a little and be happy to live on the rest.

I do believe in the need for stronger consumer financial protection. The U.S. middle class is evaporating fast, and if a finger isn't put in the dike soon... our country will evolve into a poor country, with a few rich people and corporations running the show.

HERE is a tiny piece on Elizabeth Warren.... along with video (actually a very funny video) Enjoy the laugh from California Girl on her blog Women of a Certain Age.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Another farm, another state

7-29-10 bird brain
I read a blog called Synch-ro-ni-zing. It appears this blogger, Ruth, lives on a farm in Michigan, maybe a little like Molly in Kansas. They have chickens and Molly has chickens.

Check out Synch-ro-ni-zing HERE to see some cool pictures.

Below are pictures from Molly's I took on Girls Weekend on th Farm.

This is just one of many chickens I was attracted to... then Peeps wanted attention from me. I think Peeps is a bit over protective of me!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

GWOTF: the wrap up

7-28-10 animal brain
GWOTF ended with a trip out to visit and feed the animals Sunday afternoon. It was hot out and I’d rather be back in the pond floating, but we walked down from the main house and hopped on the “mule” truck. Peeps came along.... but not on the truck.

Of course the animals are use to being hand fed and were willing to come out of their cool watering hole to visit us.

Ann fed a lama, Kelley was posing with the donkeys....
Thanks Molly for another fantastic Weekend on the FARM!

Oh... and I forgot to post this funny picture of peeps and the pigs! Oink Oink Renee!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

GWOTF: the food

7-27-10 happy taste buds brain

Eating is always a big part of Girls Weekend, since Molly is skilled and creative in the kitchen. This year she made for us a "melt in your mouth" BEEF dish, the one Julia Child makes. Molly was able to do most of this beef dish the night before…. Now I can’t remember what it was called, since I am a non-kitchen person myself. We also had corn on the cob! Ann and I can not get enough corn on the cob!

This year, after the pond float and belly dancing we were hungry, so we didn’t fuss as much as last year with the ambiance…. So we dug right in… without any fancy table setting. And every thing tasted SO GOOD!

Dessert was utter perfection too! Teresa made these delicious chocolate cupcakes which had a Bailey’s Irish Cream frosting. HERE is one of Teresa’s favorite food blogs… Annie’s Eats where she found this recipe.

Monday, July 26, 2010

GWOTF: arts-y farts-y

7-26-10 creative brain

Still a few more posts regarding the Girls Weekend on the Farm from last weekend. We got creative this year on Sunday morning.... late morning, after sleeping in. I know I was awake until 1:00AM… and I was the first one who went to bed. So we all were moving slow on Sunday morning.

I found these cute paper mache pigs in a shop up in my hometown over my 4th of July visit and thought this could be a fun creative play project for us, with this farm animal theme.

Here Mom's cat was a bit intimidated by them.

I wasn’t sure if all the gals would be into art, or if it was just Molly and I who like to paint… but this project was a hit. Ann called it "artsy-fartsy".... sometimes gassy, middle-age women being artistic.

We set up a big table, threw down the old sheets and got to painting, cutting from old magazines and using the good old decoupage.

Teresa got right to work with a vision of creating a special pig for her daughter. She found some interesting “sayings” …. my favorite one was “This is not a wall, this is an opportunity”. Not sure what magazine she was clipping from, but Molly had a good pile from Oprah to garden to cooking magazines.

Kelley got distracted at reading recipes. We made one "autograph pig which we each signed our name.... along with "girls just want to have fun" written across the nose.

Afterwards we had fun admiring our pigs and putting them on display. Peeps was curious.

Friday, July 23, 2010

GWOTF the dancing part

7-23-10 dancing brain
First we dried off from our swimming, and found scarfs and jiggly things to wrap around your hips. We pushed the furniture back, clearing the center of the room and we gathered around our instructor. She then first did a short demonstration, then she broke the movements down into steps and we attempted to learn these.

This was harder "exercise" than I expected.... we tried to be serious students, but I am afraid there was too much laughing going on.

At the end we decided to do a show for Molly's husband Jeff, and she phoned him down at the other end of the farm where he was hanging out. We went out on the lawn for our show.... and Jeff ended up pulling one over on us.

(Ann's picture)

He arrived in his (new) old firetruck with sirens blaring. He got out with his fireman's coat on and danced for us a bit.... then drove away. I don't even remember if we danced or not, we were laughing at him too much.

Here Ann caught me dancing for Peep's the Peacock.

(Ann's picture)

Peeps just kept following us around and when we were inside, he was either looking in the window at us, or at the door wanting to come inside.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

GWOTF part 3 of several

7-22-10 silly brain
Late afternoon and early evening pond time Saturday was like swimming in a bath tub… the water was so warm, and extra full with all the spring rains. My new "game" I created for this year was seeing who could have the most interesting swimwear fashion... I won, cause I forgot to let the others know of this new "competition". Part of my "look" was the white-face sunscreen and the newly purchased swim cap.

Peeps, the pet peacock was eager to hang out with us girls again this year

We could have floated longer into the evening, but we did have a planned engagement. Molly had arranged for belly dancing instruction for us at 7:00 pm. Molly is one who is always taking unusual types of classes and she had done some belly dancing over the last several years. So we gave up the yoga this year for this new class. Next year we were thinking about a pole dancing class. I’m sure Molly’s husband Jeff would love to install a pole for us… Greg would probably help too!

I'm trying to decide if I need to post pictures of the belly dancing class or not ..... hummmmmmmm? We were a bit water logged... and it was harder to learn than it looks.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

GWOTF part 2 of several

7-21-10 luncheon brain
We first met for lunch “in town”…. on the south side of Kansas City, since this is good meeting up point between our KC house and Molly and Jeff’s farm (Aggie Acres). The restaurant we chose was “Zest” in the Mission Farms shopping area. This was a good choice and everyone was happy with the food. Zest has a nice patio, but sadly, it was too hot to eat outside.

Here are the pictures from lunch.

Mary and Bonnie joined us for part of the weekend, but our core group again this year was Molly, Annette, Ann, Kelley, Teresa, and me. Interesting to report that Molly, Kelley and Ann all turn 50 this year. I was the oldest of the group at age 54. Oh sorry, Ann doesn't want to be reminded of her upcoming B-day... but I keep telling her the early 50's are great!

I little bit of shopping was done after lunch, but this was mostly “window shopping”. Since Saturday’s weather was hot and humid, we were all eager to get out to the farm and jump in the pond. Continued tomorrow....

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

GWOTF part 1 of several

7-20-10 smiling brain
This last weekend was our 2nd Annual “Girls Weekend On The Farm” hosted by Molly and I. I wrote about all the fun we had last year HERE on my blog (there was at least a week’s full of posts from last year)…. This year will probably be the same, since there were so many fun activities to report on.

When we decided to make the GWOTF an annual event, I wondered if it could live up to the high standard of fun we all experienced the first year….. But I am happy to report we had just as much fun this year too, as last year. We followed a similar list of events, but changed things up a bit to keep things interesting. Molly is always full of good ideas!

What GWOTF means for me is spending some time…. REMOVED from TIME. Out at the farm, we mostly don’t care what the clock says…. We do what we want, when we want. This reminds me of summertime as a child when the days were long and filled with spontaneous fun and laughter. GWOTF is were we can travel back in time and experience “play” like only young girls do best….. Experiencing freedom to be ourselves, fearlessness, silliness, and a special kind of fellowship between female spirits.

Ann and I arrived in KC Friday, and pictured here Saturday morning, we awaited the arrival of Kelley. GWOTF started out on the “dressy” side this year for lunch.

The dress I am wearing came from Marge’s basement (the neighbor up in my hometown) who I wrote about last week. Marge keeps everything, and her daughter Jan spotted this dress that her mother had sewn in the 60’s and thought it was such a cool vintage dress, she wanted me to have it, since it didn’t quite fit her properly. I love it, and worn it proudly for the first time to our girls lunch…..

Oh, I should mention that of course Ann was up early Saturday morning before Greg and I, and she was out the door scouting out garage sales in the area, and stopped by the Brookside Farmer's Market. Here she is with some of her purchases!

In the meantime, I was making some water balloons, and Greg was off to a car show mid morning. Continued tomorrow.....

Monday, July 19, 2010

Three times the FUN!

7-19-10 Monday brain
(back to work after 2 week vacation)
Mid-week, last week.... My sister was able to spend a few days in Des Moines with me, along with niece Sarah and they helped me one day cleaning in my basement. Jan was still "one-handed", but she is good at telling me to throw stuff away.

Last week, Greg also happened to be working in Iowa and was home one night, so he got the three us of all lined up for a special Mini Cooper photo.

Today it's back to work.... tons of email to get caught up! Mixed emotions... glad to sit at my desk to rest.... but sad to see my summer vacation end!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Vacation report: part 6 of several

TGIF vacation brain

Wrapping up my vacation report from my visit up in my hometown over the 4th of July with a few more pictures….. this post is especially for childhood friends Robin and Laurel who were not back in Charles City this year.

Neighbor Marge, one of my Mom’s good friends who helped lead our in-town 4-H group, (the Peppy Pals) along with my Mom, is known for her cooking & baking skills, her bird knowledge, and her sewing. Her daughter Jan was back visiting (same class as my sister Jan)… so we got together for coffee at Marge’s along with Barb, the older daughter who now lives in Robin’s old house in the neighborhood.

This is next to the house Laurel and Lynn lived in. Here is picture of their playhouse, where all us girls like to hang out. Glad to see that this has survived over the for 40 years!! can it really be that long ago?

Also during my vacation in Charles City, Greg, Steve and Vanni and I went over to Jean Ann and Doug’s house to see their new deck addition.

Their son Kalen was home from college and working for Doug’s excavation business, and he grilled us hamburgers for lunch.

Steve and I posed for a picture on the rocks in Jean Ann’s front yard. Yes, Steve is tall and played on our high school basketball team. He then moved to Alaska for college and where is he has stayed working as a teacher in Barrow.

There he met (finally) a perfect gal to bring home for our approval a few years ago... Vanni, and they celebrated their 5th wedding anniversary this month. I love Vanni just as if she were an original hometown friend!

Sister Jan’s hand is on the mend and she is acting like her usual self again… back texting and using the computer.

I return to work on Monday, good thing, since I am going to need the “rest” after this weekend holds in store the 2nd Annual Girls Weekend at Molly’s Farm.

One last picture of Dad in his new Marine shirt I bought him. This was a memorable 4th of July for us all!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

special edition....WOW

Today there is news that the Gulf oil well was capped successfully and finally stopped spilling oil... AND reform in banking passed in the Senate! Maybe my basement cleaning is a positive shift in the energy of the universe...

OH yeah.... I forgot, the universe does NOT revolve around me!

Vacation report: part 5 of several

worn out vacation brain
Slow progress is being made in the basement cleaning project. I didn’t know were to start, so first I cleared a corner, swept with a broom, then shop vac'ed, then got down on my hands and knees to scrub the cement floor with pine sol cleaner.

After rising several times, I got out my steamer mop.... I can't wait until the whole floor is steamed clean.

Next, I cleaned off one shelving unit and dismantled and carried it up into the backyard to hose it off. Then, I set the clean shelf back on the small clean section of the floor and starting dusting off boxes, throwing out some, and putting some back on the clean shelf.

The work was good therapy, as I was starting to calm down about the Charles City School Board's decision to tear down the neighborhood school which I attended grades K-12..... but then I found myself getting pissed off at..... Greg... my husband.

Here I am busting my buns to clean, and he is not helping, he is back at work. He conveniently chose a few important boxes to take to the KC house, and the rest of the accumulation from 17 years of marriage is left for me to deal with.

This is not feeling very "equal" in our otherwise good partnership of a marriage. But, I guess either way, if I want to sell the house and move to KC, or stay in Des Moines.... this basement needs to be cleaned. I just am going to have to buck up and do it! However, it's obvious the 3 days will not be enough to finish this project.

Here shows some progress on the one side:

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Vacation report: part 4 of several

working vacation brain

Yesterday, 3 days late, I FINALLY made it down to the basement for my “stay-cation” cleaning project. The timing was perfect because I was pissed off.

I do my best cleaning when I am pissed off at someone…. Unfortunately this doesn’t happen often enough… thus my dirty, cluttered basement has piled up over the last 10 years.

I was pissed off at my hometown School Board….. details further into this blog.

My vacation visit up to my parents last week turned out to be a bit more exciting than I was hoping for. I wanted to zone out, but instead, I had to take on the role of an adult, for the first time that I can remember, I had no one to rely on but myself. I rose to the challenge, and took care of my older sister in a way no one else could.

Last Tuesday was our usual bush/tree trimming project for Dad. This is usually a fun project since our friends Vanni and Steve help and we enjoy working together as a team. Vanni does a great job!

Things were going well until my sister Jan had the mishap to put her hand up reaching for a branch as Greg was still trimming with the hedge trimmer .... The large one Steve is holding below. As you can see, John is out trying to supervise us.

Jan yelled for me to take her to the ER, and off we went with her right hand wrapped in a towel. Long story short…. This was serious, and Jan was transferred via ambulance to Rochester, MN /Mayo clinic which is 1.5 hours from Charles City.

I traveled behind her and we were lucky that she got to come home after being checked out by a hand specialized, and stitched up. This turned out to be a long day, since we didn’t arrive back in Charles City until 11:00PM that night.

On a bright note, I got to visit my old stomping grounds when I was in Rochester in the mid 70’s attending nursing school. Some things changed, and some were the same.... on a funny note, the ER admit gal thought I was Jan's daughter! :)

Next, since I was still in town helping with my sister, I attended the School Board meeting with my Mother and our former neighbor friend Cherri, who was a school teacher at the elementary school in our neighborhood. I spoke as a student of the first kindergarten class of 1961 of our newly built neighborhood elementary school. We attended this public hearing to protest the decision to tear down this school. We spoke well and passionately and we were quoted in the local town newspaper, but the School Board went ahead with their demolition decision.

PS: My sister is recovering well. My 2nd trip up with her on Monday to Rochester indicated she was healing well. Jan is very lucky to have no nerve or tendon damage. The many stitches will be removed next week.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Vacation report: part 3 of several

vacation brain, who cares what day of the week it is....

A few of my favorite pictures from the 4th of July Parade in Charles City, Iowa.

I had to take over Dad's role of chair-placer again this year, like last... because Dad was in the parade again this year. The parade is at 10:30 AM, and I arrived about 8:45 AM and just barley got our usual spot.

Do you know of any other town where people put their chairs out early, and then go back home until about 10:00 AM? I was thinking Main Street looked like the "rapture" had occurred. Greg and I decided to stay downtown and we went and sat in the shade over in the park for awhile.

So Dad was on a "Honor Flight float" (say that fast three times).... He is in the red hat up front, waving.

Another highlight for me, the Governor of Iowa was in our Parade, and I shouted "Governor over here".... and he came up and shook our hands. It's an election year!

I was smart and took an umbrella to provide shade for Mom and I.

So it was a good parade with the usual: marching band, horses, over sized animals, farm equipment....

and political candidates... one being my high school friend Jean Ann's husband Doug, who is running for county supervisor position. Here is Jean Ann handing out flyer's for Doug. If I had not arrived home so worn out Friday night, I would helped, and have walked the parade with her.