Tuesday, October 17, 2017

fat cat

Fat Cat. I took Woodrow to the vet at 11:00 yesterday. He had a rabies shot but the focus of the visit was on his weight. The vet suggested a reduced calorie food as we’ve already cut back on treats, follow feeding guidelines, and he no longer gets tuna at noon. In spite of all this, he gained two pounds. I brought him home and left the low cal food on the counter. Regis came home a couple hours later to find a bag of caramels ripped open and strewn around the living room. What the.

Woody is a fussy eater. I doubt he ate any caramels. It was definitely an act of rebellion.

And it wasn't Gus because Gus never gets into things. If there is food on a table right in front of him, he might rest his nose within inches, but he won’t touch it.

They have been known to work together. We came home once to find an Egg McMuffin wrapper on the floor. Gus wouldn't take something off the counter and Woody wouldn't eat it so it was a mystery. We finally figured out that Woody knocked it to the floor and Gus ate it. Devious little pals.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

upside down at the park

Upside down

Easton likes to look at things upside down. Here he is demonstrating by hanging over my lap at the Rock Bend Folk Festival, just getting a new perspective on the huge crowd of funky people. It's a really good idea, the upside down version of the world. When you start to get a little glum or grumpy, tip your head and look at things in a new way.

The park was filled to the brim yesterday. Many vendors (which I will look at more closely today), wonderful music, good friends and family, food and drink. A bee took a bath in Regis's beer and fast little bugger that he was, managed to bite him on the end of his tongue before being spat out upon the grass. Other than that, a good time was had by all.

We're going back today because there's more music that we love: The Frye, City Mouse, Everett Smithson, Erik Koskinen. It must be what heaven is like...good music in the sunshine surrounded by all this hippiness. Peace and love, man.

Friday, September 08, 2017


Ever since the election, I have felt compelled to check the news first thing every morning just to make sure the person occupying the White House hasn't done anything crazy. Most days he has which only serves to reinforce this bad habit.

This morning, there was political news but also forest fires, the aftermath of Harvey, the impending doom of Hurricane Irma, and two more hurricanes forming and lining up to pummel the already battle-weary islands in the Caribbean. Did I hear something about earthquakes, too? It's all exhausting but for some reason, this round, I am able to watch it and let it go. It doesn't weigh on me all day like it sometimes does.

Yesterday I spent a couple hours with Easton who is almost 8 months old. He loves to watch the cars and trucks roll by on Broadway, he loves his toys, and he loves to play pat-a-cake. He grins at me now when I go in to pick him up after his nap. It's fun to watch him move...for a baby who doesn't crawl yet, he's pretty quick!

Yesterday, the sedum in the garden was covered with painted ladies. A sweet calming for the spirit.

Today, I'll go to yoga. And I've been spending time outside every day. Every single day.

Funny how we mark time with firsts and lasts and every years. So many first day of school photos are being posted on Facebook. I love them all. For most of my life, I went back to school in September, either as a student or as a teacher. One of my friends who is considering retirement is going through all the last of the firsts. Bittersweet in many ways.

The local folk festival, Rock Bend, started in 1991. I'm pretty sure I have been there for at least a part of it every year for 27 years. The weather should be perfect for it this weekend and if want to experience some pure soul cleansing, this is it. Sitting in the September sunshine, listening to music while the smell of BBQ drifts across the park talking to friends and maybe holding a baby. Bliss.

I'm working at the Arts Center this afternoon. Ah, life.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

ah, september

The shorter days in September serve to remind me of the things I usually do in the summer that I didn't do this year. Woody and I like to start the morning on the back porch, he in the window and me in the hammock chair with a cup of coffee. Not this summer.

We went to a furniture store yesterday and bought me a recliner. I have always loathed recliners because they are gigantic and ugly. I found one that is less gigantic and therefore not as ugly as some so it should be satisfactory. I may be able to rid myself of the low back and shoulder pain that has come from sitting awkwardly in a chair that allows me to slouch. I could have picked out a custom fabric but that seemed like too much trouble. The fabric on the chair I bought is called Brass and I like that. I always bought wine by the label and I guess I do the same with chairs.

Since last week, I have been true to my word and I'm spending at least an hour outside every day. Some days I do something productive like work in the yard and some days I just sit and watch the sun go down. I'm storing up Vitamin D for the long days of darkness.

We have a new tiny girl grand-daughter since I wrote last. She was under 6 pounds last time I held her. Her bitty legs didn't go to the bottom of her newborn sleeper. Such a miracle. We're still waiting on the other baby...the boy named Sullivan. I wish he would make his appearance because, well, because I worry. The doctor is hoping for one more week in the womb and I guess he knows best.

A not so busy day today. House picking up this morning and Arts Center this afternoon. Music in the park to look forward to this weekend.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

there was that

Yeah, that thing about too many things on the list. That was Sunday.

So, I let go a little and today I can barely walk through the kitchen.

I was gone a lot yesterday and only stopped at home after buying groceries long enough to unload the bags and put the cold things away. The kitchen floor is littered with full and empty grocery bags because by the time I got home at the end of the day I didn't feel like doing one more thing except eat and nap. Sigh.

I promised Gus a walk today and I promised myself an hour in the sunshine. Maybe we'll walk over to see the little kids at the park. Gus loves kids.

There is fall in the air. A few yellowed leaves are falling, the air is chilly in the morning, and the light has a different cast, a warmer color. I'm thinking meatloaf, baked potatoes, chili, cornbread. A small fire on the patio, a visit to the pumpkin patch soon, and back to school.

Getting up and starting my day's mission.

P.S. We added another baby to our brood yesterday. Natalie Nicole was born to Amber and Reg at 5:27 in the morning. She's bitty...only 5 pounds and 15 ounces. That's number #6.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

too many things on the list

I like to think of myself as a person who can say no but I'm starting to get the notion that's a fallacy. I think I'm quite good at feeling irritated when I am doing something I don't really want to do but the inkling says that I am not so good at predicting that and saying no at the start.

Most often it's things I put on myself.

Since I retired, I've been telling myself that I should get my addresses organized. I have a big pouch full of envelopes, a notebook filled with scribbled addresses, lists of addresses organized by such titles as Small Saums or Friends in Iowa, and sticky notes with phone numbers and no names. I have to try and remember from the color and condition of the sticky note where I might have been and whose number I might have written down. Right.

This summer I decided that the mess is just fine. I know where to find an address when I need it.

Same thing with recipes. I keep trying to organize them and keep them organized but it's a waste of time and energy. I will always have a stash on the shelf of recipes I have printed and made and want to make again. I will always have binders full of favorites in plastic sleeves which I usually can't find when I need. I will probably always hoard recipes electronically...unopened saves on Facebook, recipes on Plan to Eat, Folders full of recipes on every computer. Don't talk to me about the cloud. I know, I know.

So, that's my battle plan for today, folks. My cognitive work. Just give up on some of that crap. I think I'll be happier for it.

Mom's reunion story

As we get out of the car after a four hour drive we are welcomed by the smell of pine trees, hugs, and " we are so glad you are here".

This is the third year year my nephews and nieces have had a first cousin reunion.   I am privileged  to be invited as I am the only auntie in Minnesota.  This year however my 94 year old sister is coming from Seattle, Washington. Does this mean I have to give up my throne?  Everyone treats me like a queen and I have grown accustomed  to being the queen.

I am staying with Greg and Becky on Lake Tulaby. They have a wonderful home; you can tell Greg is an avid hunter as he has deer head mounts and also a huge elk rack.  Their home is delightful  and  they are a great host and hostess.  I have a wonderful bed and a bathroom just a few steps away.

Ah ha , the big moment has arrived.   My sister and Punk are here. Jean has not been here for many years and Punk  has not been here since she was a kid.   Great to see both of them.  Pat, Helen, and I flew out to Ephrata, Washington  for Jean's 90th birthday and have not seen them since.   We visited for awhile  and then had a delicious meal and spent time getting to know everyone.

Becky made us wonderful omelets for breakfast  and then started planning for the next meal. Again, great food.
In the afternoon we sat around and I guess Jean and I entertained a few people.  They thought we were funny , so acted up a little more. Did not even have a lot of wine.

Supper at Bud and Chris's cabin.  Lots of kids and again a great meal.  Rodney made a prime rib and it was delicious.  Mitch and Jolene were hosts,  Dee Ann had a video and it brought back lots of memories. Thanks Dee Ann. Fun to see all the great nieces and nephews. There were five generations. Jean and I were the matriarchs, the next generation were the nephews and nieces.  Next were their children, then their kids had kids,and last but not least was little Ryan.  I had a grand time.
Went back to Greg's home and  Jean showed off her famous kick!!!. We should have a video of that, Punk. In the morning we went to Deb and Rodney;s home.  Another beautiful home!  Rod made his famous heart shaped waffles. Karen made her wonderful biscotti and Janice and Karen made the super egg bakes. I am drooling thinking about all the good food we had.  I hope I am not leaving anyone out as all the food was fantastic.  It is so much fun to see what wonderful people my relatives are.  As Garrison Keeler says, " All the men are handsome, the women are beautiful and the kids are all darling" ...or something like that

Thanks again, proud to call you my relatives. You are the greatest and I love you all. 
Great Auntie and Auntie Shirley.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017


My garden has been neglected lately. On the days when I have time to spend trimming or gathering, the weather or my schedule have not cooperated. It's a beautiful day today and I have the afternoon free so maybe this is the day. I'm starting to think about fall.

I feel pretty lethargic all summer. Toward the end of August, my ambition picks up and I think it's an ancient impulse, the reptile brain that makes it so. Days are getting shorter, nights are cool, and I am thinking of getting ready for winter.

A priority this year is protecting myself from the dark days. My goal is to be outside for an hour a day to soak up the sunshine. I can always walk to the coop or the library...it's rarely so cold that it's impossible to be outside. If I don't want to linger in the cold, I can sit by the sunny windows.

There are things to do in the garden before we get too deep into fall. I'm moving the Joe Pye weed and the veronica. Both need more sun than I can give them in that spot. If you have a sunny spot, I'd be happy to share. They are two of my favorites because of the butterflies and bees they attract. I have a couple of bigger hostas that I'll move in when they vacate.

Regis took this beautiful photo of a spicebush swallowtail on the Joe Pye weed.

There are household things to do before winter, too. Cupboards to clean, spices to organize, and clothes to sort. We have two babies coming soon and that will mean lots of visits and maybe some newborn holding time.

I started to think about patterns because when I look back at my blog, or when my Facebook memories come up, my thoughts are always the same in the fall. I get burst of ambition like I did the other day when I made a list of ten things to do and did them all. I baked bread and a pot roast with potatoes and carrots.

I found a 7th great-grandmother and grand-father on ancestry.com. Here's the lineage:

  1. James Reeves (1684-)
    7th great-grandfather and
    father of ...
  2. Mary Reeve (1712-1782)
    mother of ...
  3. Bathsheba Clark (1744-1809)
    mother of ...
  4. John Soper (1764-1847)
    father of ...
  5. Samuel Soper (1797-1877)
    father of ...
  6. Mary Jane Soper (1832-1893)
    mother of ...
  7. Martha Ellen Chambers (1870-1946)
    mother of ...
  8. Elsie M Saum (1912-1987)
    mother of ...
  9. Estle Wesley Saum (1931-2004)
    father of ...
  10. Teresa Saum (1952-)

James Reeves' wife, Deborah Slatterly, was born in New York in 1684. Boggles the mind that a pregnant woman would get on a ship in the mid-1600s and float across the ocean. I should go back and read some history, I think. Imagine the size of that ship. Imagine the weather. What the hell would compel a person to do that?

Moving on into the day. Be gentle with yourself today, my friends.