Tuesday, June 20, 2017

goodbye Cottage Grove, WI

I traveled to Salt Lake City on Memorial Day weekend after Church on Sunday, May 28. Eric was already up in Salt Lake, but Berenice and I met up with him at Nick and Kaylee's house. Mike was fishing in Canada (different Blog Post).

That little Logan is sure a cute little baby. Rachel is so talkative and funny. Cute kids. Good thing I had just seen them a couple of weeks before.  I just spent the night there (didn't even get to see the kids because they were already in bed!) and had Nick take me to the airport early on Monday morning, Memorial Day.  Eric took Grandma to the cemeteries and home to Cedar. I traveled to Madison, Wisconsin. Katie and kids picked me up at the Milwaukee airport and we got to Cottage Grove in the afternoon.

The goal:  Help Katie and family get their house ready for the moving company to move them to Denver May 26.  That's the day the Movers are scheduled to come.  There is just one small glitch. They aren't moving into a home quite yet. Nor are they renting (so much wasted money to rent any longer...they need a home).  They will be in corporate / temporary housing for the first month they are there, hope to extend it to two months and in that two months, they will hopefully be able to find a home to make an offer on, purchase, and move in.  Sounds like a plan, right?  Well, it's more complicated, but that's the gist of it.  Two months maximum is all they can stay in corporate housing.

When Gail and Seth moved "temporarily" into their corporate housing for the basically same reason (the employer is nice and gives them a place to stay and time to get adjusted to the housing marked and decide exactly where they want to live, etc.), their temporary corporate housing is a bit different in that they can continue on for however much longer they need or want--they just have to pay rent instead of living for free.  That certainly saves on MOVES and MOVES are a big pain, are they not?

We made some good progress. By the time my two weeks were up, most rooms were sorted and cleaned out, Katie did a lot of donating and we packed up for a trip across the country to spend a few weeks in Cedar City with three of the four kids. Hayden and Casey stayed behind to wait for the movers.

Pack for a two to three week vacation, or pack for a three month stay in temporary housing in Denver? Yes to both. The van was full.  We hit the road on Sunday after church, but not till about 4:30 pm.

One rest stop in DesMoines, Iowa.  How far to drive?  How long would they last? How long would WE last, driving? (or, how well does Red Bull and Mountain Dew really work?)  We lasted until about 1 am and got a room in Lincoln, Nebraska.
 Here is the Facebook version:
THIS kind of a day is worthy of a blog post, but FB is easier from this hotel spot. Three years ago when Katie was driving alone across the country in the summer (with two little boys ages 6 and 4, so not totally alone), her car was struck by lightening while driving through a severe thunderstorm ouside of Lincoln, Nebraska. Today, we find ourselves in Lincoln, Nebraska while driving across the country from their old home in Madison to stay in Utah for a bit between moves. We had a lot of wind yesterday on the drive, but clear skies. After driving a mere 8 hours with three kids and a dog this time, we wake up from a somewhat restful night's sleep in Lincoln with SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNiNGS AND ALERTS. Yeah. Even my "dumb" phone sent me an alert to warn me of flash flooding in the area. Needless to say, Katie still cringes in lightening storms. A severe storm in lincoln? Yep, we are staying put till it passes this time. We did look at doppler radar after looking out the window when we woke to what I thought (hoped) were airport noises at 7 :30 this mng. There are about three blips of small areas of activity NATIONWIDE, and Lincoln , Nebraska is one of them. So much for hitting the road early today. It was so tempting to just keep on driving last night while they were sleeping in carseats last night at 1 a.m., but we knew we would ALL need to get some rest and comfort of stretching time. One day down, two to go. More or less.

What you need to know about the Lincoln hotel room was that
1) they didn't say they allowed pets, so we basically had to sneak Caillou in
2) they had no rooms with a king and a pull out sofa, so we took a king, Katie brought in one pack and play and the hotel provided another pack and play (port-a-crib). It should have fit everyone just fine, right?

Well, neither of the babies would get into the cribs, so ALLof us were in the bed. I mean ALLof us. I was perched on one far side, Katie on the other with a variety of small bodies in between or on top of ...or under. All. Night. Long. Once, Hailey fell off the bed. Eventually Quintin fell asleep so he could be put into the crib. Corbin is a snuggler and he crowded me all the night long. Do any of you remember the children's song, "There were ten in the bed and the little one said, I'm crowded, Roll over" Then there were nine in the bed and the little one said....etc. etc. It was like that. Kind of. But at least we had a long to rest in the comfy bed.

The hotel also had laundry facitlites which we desperately needed to wash baby blankies. We'd brought some, but they had been stuffed in a corner with the Dog Bed which had NOT been laundered before departing. Ewww, stinky dog, stinky blankies. So Katie got all those laundered while we waited for the thunderstorms to pass by. We also enjoyed their complementary breakfast.

Day two begins! Driving across Nebraska and on into Colorado. Uneventful drive EXCEPT that Corbin didn't feel really well. He said he had a headache. Our first stop was a hot and dirty tourist place with a Wild Bill Cody museum or something. Where I accidentally locked the keys in the van. Oops. Diaper changes, potty stops. So hot. Luckily the van had windows down a bit so that Katie could reach through and unlock the van and retrieve keys. It's really hard to keep track of kids and dog! I can see how people leave children behind by accident! It's tricky to orchestrate all of this.

Our second stop of the day was outside of Denver where we found a Target Store for bathrooms and food. We knew it'd be air-conditioned, too. They have family toilet rooms. AND they have some areas of the store that do NOT have breakable stuff to toddle past. The cart we used was one that held lots of kids, and they just all wanted to sit in the fun cart and not walk and get their wiggles out! So Corbin and I took the cart and kind of played hide and seek while avoiding Katie and the babies in the sheets and towels department (non-breakable, right?). Corbin still had a headache, he'd been sleeping much of the way, so I told him I'd take him to the bathroom, but please drink three big gulps of water first (because it was so hot and I'm sure he hadn't had enough water!). While walking through the isle, I slipped on something wet on the floor! Yikes, I nearly fell. I had been pushing Corbin in the cart backwards with him in the front --because he was keeping a lookout around the ends of isles for babies--, but then I hit ANOTHER puddle of something slick and wet and looked at Corbin. He was the source! He'd thrown up those three gulps of water I'd just made him drink, poor kid! He was really feeling bad.

Oh, I forgot to say that we'd snuck the dog into the store with us, in a pink paper "Victoria's Secret" shopping bag because it was way too hot to leave him out in the car. Soooo, I needed to get Corbin to a bathroom, I needed to let a store employee know about about the mess on the floor, all while keeping the dog out of sight. Of course, he didn't want to stay in the bag and kept trying to get out...

Corbin, Caillou and I made it to the bathroom. He went in, I cleaned up the cart, I tried to keep the dog out of sight while reporting the vomit to clean up in the aisle, I texted Katie to let her know what was going on. Ugh. What a fiasco! The employee was so kind--he gave Corbin a ring pop to get the bad taste out of his mouth.

The eatery in Target was Pizza Hut, so Katie ordered some bread sticks and a personal pizza. Corbin was feeling a bit better, so he ate some. And threw it right up, this time in the Pizza Hut restaurant area! Sooo, we let them know again that there was some more vomit to clean up. Luckily, the restaurant was totally devoid of customers, but the babies got a chance to run around a bit more, eat a bit (which they, thankfully, held down!).

However, during this stint in Target *I* was making multiple trips in to the ladies room. I was having some little bouts of . . . uh, lower digestive tract difficulties. And I can never spell that "D" word. EVER. But that's what I had for the full hour or more that were were there, cooling off, using bathrooms, running babies and cleaning up vomit (or avoiding it, as the case may be). Interesting day at Target. We were loading kids into the car on our way again, complete with a barf bag or two for Corbin while I made one last trip in to the bathroom. Ugh. Luckily, it was sufficient and I made it the rest of the way without mishap.

But wait! There's more. We were really considering just powering right though to the end and driving through the night to get to Cedar City in the wee hours of the morning, but it would have been like 4 of 5 am. Kids were sleeping, but how long would that last? Would they be uncomfortable and start screaming again? Who knows? Our own sleepiness made the decision for us. I simply couldn't stay awake and neither could Katie, so we opted for a hotel in Grand Junction Colorado about 1:30 in the morning. Or maybe it was 1, I really don't know. All I know is that I was tired and so was Katie.The babies woke up from SOUND sleep when we took then into the second floor room (with no elevator at this Ramada Inn). They were so stinky and sweaty and dirty, we bathed them quicklly, put on clean jammies, Katie set up one crib and crawled into one of the two queens with me and a very tired and sleeping Corbin in the other.

And the fun begins. Those babies would NOT go to sleep! We were trying. Really we were. But they were either crying their eyes out, screaming or --get this--giggling and laughing. I really messed things up when I went over to try to help and proceeded to wake one further, but the one was almost out...it was a mess. I'm so sorry! Then it escalated. They were jumping and crawling all over Katie. At one point they were playing with each other and just laughing and giggling with each other. We couldn't get the room to be totally dark because of some exteriour lighting and not-very-efficient drapes...oh my goodness. We laid there for 2 hours, listening to these babies bounce and yell and cry and laugh. We found ourselves laughing into our pillows. Partly from exhaustion and partly from being just plain slap happy and entertained by their escapades. Finally, we just said, "Why try? We're not sleeping. We may as well be driving!" and as soon as we got on the road again, they fell right to sleep in their car seats and slept for HOURS. I drove into Salina and pulled over for gas and then we parked and slept in the car for another couple of hours till the sun came up.

And we got to Cedar in the morning around 8:30 a.m. or 7:30 am on Tuesday. We made it. All in one piece. Tired. But alive and that's what counts!

I wish I had photos of
Kids running around in bare butts at our first rest stop--they really needed to air out
Caillou in the Victoria Secret shopping bag
The state of the van at the beginning of the trip and at the end. Yowza.

beautiful Wisconsin farmland and country side.

Crossing the Mississippi

First rest stop. We found a great play area, and later we did let them run diaper free (but not go down the slide!)

Yes, there were Six in the bed and the little one said, "I'm crowded. Roll over." They all rolled over and one fell out. There were five in the bed and the little one said...

The Target cart.Katie's phone had a progression of photos of Corbin who had a forced smile, then a grimage, then NO smile as his condition deteriorated.

Free at last!

He SAID he felt better and was hungry...too bad it didn't last.

SUU Hammocks in the Student Center. Katie and kids came to join me for lunch on Wednesday or Thursday that first week back.

One of the down-sides of moving across the country from humidity to near-desert conditions--possible nosebleeds.  Poor Corbin.  At least his tummy is feeling better by now!

Those poor Target employees. We are so glad the Pizza Hut was a place out of the way of traffic and devoid of customers.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Yard work

Well, I figured since Robert and Donna have both shared what yard work they have been doing lately, I'd show what we've done around here.

:-)  Not a whole lot, but every little bit helps, especially when we now have many yards to care for (ours, Berenice's, and the rental yards we're managing for the Fife's).

Here is Mike taking the neighbor's rototiller once around the garden. I took over once my cake came out of the oven. Eric had done it they day before, but Mike then dumped several bags of steer manure over it and that needed to be tilled in. Plus, we didn't feel like Eric tilled it deep enough to begin with. But it was a good start.

Here is our front yard flower bed. It's full of tiny irises and some dying tulips that were stunning a few short days ago. Mike added those big blue pots. I believe we have some strawberry plants to put in those. :0).  They are ready with dirt and everything.

 We also have two large pots in the back yard on the little diamond block wall that separates the lawn from the garden. Those don't have soil yet, but I'd like to put flowers in those and see how they do. The pots are clay and v e r y heavy.

I believe our apple tree may have a few little baby apples on it.  But they'll probably be frozen off before too long. It is just April, you know.  And we still have at least a couple more snows before winter is gone for sure.  Even though we've had to mow our lawns TWICE already this season--incredibly early for down here.

I think if you zoom in on the photo below, you can see two little asparagus sprigs coming up in that bed.  We love asparagus! I have 7 more shoots in my fridge, will pick these two tomorrow and we'll have them for dinner.  And that's that!  All gone for the season. ha. Good thing they are volunteers (came with the house 25 years ago) and require no work on my part. I just need to save them from the iris and daffodills that are crowding into their space under the apple tree.

Two big bushy peony plants by the back fence, with buds ready to pop out in beautiful dark  pink  blossoms. Or red. or dark, dark pink. They are pretty.

This back corner (above) has a little "Bulb Lasagna" I planted years ago. About the only thing that survived are the grape hyacinth.  Sometimes I see little crocuses in there, but they tend to come out before I venture into the back yard. 

Above is a cute little flower bed that Eric created some years ago. It did have bulbs, but the nasty grass has all but choked out anything pretty in there.  That thick dark stuff is icky grass, not bulb leaves. There's supposed to be jonquils, day lilies and some chives. Once we had star gazer lilies, but they all died. I don't water enough. So, grass grows.

I have a spindley little plum shrub growing next to an iris bed. The corner houses my peach tree (hiding).

And all along the back wooden fence, fully half of the back property line, are raspberry canes.  They were thriving last year, multiplied like crazy. We love raspberries so much, we may just allow them to take over just as much of the back yard/garden as they demand.

 And below is where I spent my afternoon nap because rototilling that garden spot was HARD. I had to push that machine over every inch. It did not move on it's own. I'd planned to plant at least some peas or something, but ran out of oomph.  And time. And I don't have any pea seeds anyway. Next week. :-)

Saturday, March 25, 2017

ART 4500, Spring 2017


So far, we have done Duct tape wearables ( I made a little tote bag), felt collage (mine is a pheasant), needle felting (apple blossoms), and  now this weaving on a homemade loom. Next is a fabric collage of a person or figure...should be interesting. A final independent project is also required, but I am taking this for FUN and a hard, final project does not sound fun to me. A ten page research paper? Ha! Well, to be fair, only 5 of the ten pages need be research. The rest is instructions and directions so that others may accomplish the same thing.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Spring Blossoms

We have a lot of blooming trees in the neighborhood that I have been REEEALLY enjoying.  Even though my eyes are a bit red, burnie and itchy.
Also, Spring is not here to stay. I'm guessing we'll have at least three more snows before winter really ends.  At Least.  So, we probably won't really enjoy any fruit from our trees this year, but you can never tell.

This is in my backyard. The white on the ground is apricot blossoms that have blown off the neighbor's trees that are ALL White and in full bloom.

These are little jonquils by the back fence, struggling up through the trashy leaves from old junk I never got cleaned up in the Fall. It's good that they are so hardy and forgiving.

We have a fairly young plum shrub in our back yard. It's blooming. Last year we got about 20 plums off it it.

Periwinkles (?) under the apple tree. Again, struggling up through all the dead, trashy stuff.

Grape Hyacinths that are blooming through our very weedy grass.

Now THESE are hyacinths!  They live down the block on the corner and are so pretty every year, contrasting with the bright red tulips early in the spring. In later spring there are HUGE Peonies, and summer brings roses! These people have a great yard.

More pretty pink blossoms on the way home from work today.

This is somehow skewed. The phone pole really is straight, but the willow behind it is quite lovely, all decked out in the new spring-y colors.

Another pretty shrub on my way home.

Apricot blossoms. On my way home.

A flowering something tree in my friends' front yard. On the way home today.

Beautiful forsythia on the way home.

And this lovely flowering (non-fruit-bearing) pear tree is right where I park my bike every day. It is gorgeous. I don't think many bees are out yet, as it is sometimes just a - buzzin' when in full bloom like this.  So pretty.!!  Love my Town.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Another "Foodie" post.

Because I love good food and books on food and about food and so forth, and because I always was overly proud of the fact that my kids were basically not picky eaters, I'm including the catalog record of the book below. It's big. (Eric said I should read it). I need to lose the pride. It was luck, pure and simple.  But this article that Eric shared with me as a great deal of food for thought. Pun intended. ;-)


Currently, my refrigerator contains drawers of produce and very little cheese and processed foods (except that yummy, sugary yogurt).
In my library:

  • Brief Record 
  • Full Record
  • MARC Record

    Salt, sugar, fat : how the food giants hooked us 
    Moss, Michael, 1955-
    Personal Author:
    Moss, Michael, 1955-
    Salt, sugar, fat : how the food giants hooked us / Michael Moss.
    1st ed.
    Publication info:
    New York : Random House, [2013]
    Physical description:
    xxx, 446 p. ; 25 cm.
    Prologue : "The company jewels" -- Sugar : "Exploiting the biology of the child" ; "How do you get people to crave?" ; "Convenience with a Capital 'C'" ; "Is it cereal or candy?" ; "I want to see a lot of body bags" ; "A burst of fruity aroma" -- Fat : "That gooey, sticky mouthfeel" ; "Liquid gold" ; "Lunchtime is all yours" ; "The message the government conveys" ; "No sugar, no fat, no sales" -- Salt : "People love salt" ; "The same great salty taste your customers crave" ; "I feel so sorry for the public" -- Epilogue : "We're hooked on inexpensive food."
    In the spring of 1999 the heads of the world's largest processed food companies, from Coca-Cola to Nabisco, gathered at Pillsbury headquarters in Minneapolis for a secret meeting. On the agenda: the emerging epidemic of obesity, and what to do about it. Increasingly, the salt, sugar, and fat laden foods these companies produced were being linked to obesity, and a concerned Kraft executive took the stage to issue a warning: There would be a day of reckoning unless changes were made. This executive then launched into a damning PowerPoint presentation, 114 slides in all, making the case that processed food companies could not afford to sit by, idle, as children grew sick and class-action lawyers lurked. To deny the problem, he said, is to court disaster. When he was done, the most powerful person in the room, the CEO of General Mills, stood up to speak, clearly annoyed. And by the time he sat down, the meeting was over. Since that day, with the industry in pursuit of its win-at-all-costs strategy, the situation has only grown more dire. Every year, the average American eats thirty-three pounds of cheese (triple what we ate in 1970) and seventy pounds of sugar (about twenty-two teaspoons a day). We ingest 8,500 milligrams of salt a day, double the recommended amount, and almost none of that comes from the shakers on our table. It comes from processed food. It is no wonder, then, that one in three adults, and one in five kids, is clinically obese. It is no wonder that twenty-six million Americans have diabetes. The processed food industry in the U.S. accounts for $1 trillion a year in sales, and the total economic cost of this health crisis is approaching $300 billion a year. In this book the author explores his theory that the food industry has used these three essential ingredients to control much of the world's diet. He traces the rise of the processed food industry and how addictive salt, sugar, and fat have enabled its dominance in the past half century, revealing deliberate corporate practices behind current trends in obesity, diabetes, and other health challenges. Features examples from some of the most recognizable and profitable companies and brands of the last half century, including Kraft, Coca-Cola, Lunchables, Kellogg, Frito-Lay, Nestlé, Oreos, Cargill, Capri Sun, and many more.
    Subject term:
    Nutrition--Economic aspects--United States.
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    Food habits--Economic aspects--United States.
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    Food industry and trade--United States.
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    Nutritionally induced diseases--United States--Popular works.
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