Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Over-Opinionated.....That's Me

I'm over-opinionated......so said my 18-year-old daughter yesterday. She had accidently left her FaceBook page on and I snooped and discovered that she had been conversing with an old boyfriend she supposedly had cut ties with. She had been giving me that impression, anyway. Once again......I'm thankful my generation didn't have so many modes of communication to get entangled in. We had the party-line ground-line telephone, snail mail, or talking face to face. That was sufficient!

Anyway, I blew up and said things I probably shouldn't have, prompting her to do the same. Ah, the wonders of mother-daughter relationships. I have this notion that it is in her best interest at this point in her life to not get so deeply attached to a guy, especially one who, in my opinion, is of dubious potential and appears to be manipulative. So there, I'm over-opinionated, and I over-react because of it. Plus, I feel my daughter was manipulating me by giving the false impression that she had broken all ties with this boy. Sorry, but it just makes me fume.

So, I hollered at her, "Thanks for ruining my week!". Mainly, that came out because this is the week of my older daughter's wedding-----we all have enough to think about because of that event, and we don't need the intrusion of other complications.

As if yesterday's flare-up was just a start of complications.......this morning when I got out to the milkhouse, there was milk running across the floor.....Husband had forgotten to put the milk pipe into the bulk tank! Too much on his mind led to money down the drain. I was just glad that he had been the one to make the error......that way, no one else got chewed out for it. Also, one of the cows is sick with diarrhea, and that meant the vet had to be called out, which is always an expense we don't need. I'm not normally superstitious, but on the calendar, I see that today is the 31st......turn that around and you have unlucky 13. Hopefully, having problems now will mean that nothing will go wrong here while we're gone at the wedding festivities. Yeah, right.

Monday, July 30, 2007


Well, RAGBRAI was in the area late last week. What is that, you may ask.....it is the 35th (Des Moines) Register Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa! Thousands of bicylists take part, many from other states and even other countries. The horde of bikers went by on the paved road that our gravel road intersects with a half mile from our farm. At 9 a.m. I drove to that corner, thinking I would at least be able to cross over the highway and head to town for an appointment. But, no deal. The highway was a solid mass of bicyclists in bobbing helmets. I watched them for a few minutes, then turned around and tried to figure out a way to get to town that wouldn't involve meeting up with bicycle brigade.

On my way to town, I saw many of the cycling team buses which looked like converted schoolbuses painted up with various colors and logos. The tops of the buses were fitted with a fenced area to store bikes and equipment. Many of the small towns in our area had concession stands.......I've heard that homemade pie was the most popular item! The cyclists would ask for that. They must have craved the carbs and fat, after all that exertion of pedaling. The weather was very hot and humid, and water and Gatorade were big hits, too.

The farthest I've ever rode on a bicycle at one time is 20 miles, so I admire those hardy souls who take on the challenge of riding clear across the state over several days time. RAGBRAI always starts on the "west coast" of Iowa where cyclists begin with the ritual of dipping their bike tires in the Missouri River. Similarly, they end the week's ride by dipping their tires in the Mississippi River along Iowa's "east coast". Pretty cool!

One of my mother's friends rode RAGBRAI eighteen times. She said she stayed in tents the first few years, but later took to staying overnight in private homes. She said that was a great experience, allowing her to get better acquainted with folks along the way. News of RAGBRAI activities filled the newspaper front pages and the local news reports. There could be worse things to hear and read about!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Funeral Visitation Musings

A funeral home visitation was on my agenda for today. Its not often that I go to one-----I have to feel a connection to the main survivor, or what is the point, really. Visitations can be rather lame. This time an older man had passed away after collapsing of a heart attack on his first visit to a new casino in the area. He had wanted to see the new facility.....and, ironically, our pastor had preached against gambling a couple weeks ago......so there you go. I'm just kidding......I don't believe the man was struck down because he was at a casino! I have known his wife for a long time, and feel a Christian bond with her, so after convincing my daughter accompany me, away we went to the funeral home.

After signing the guestbook, we stood in line dutifully gawking at all the flower arrangements and other memorial gifts. Wow.....lots of them were lovely outdoor decor for a lawn or garden. There was a large stone cross with the Lord's Prayer etched on it, and a very heavy stone birdbath filled with flowers and an angel. Its been awhile since I've been to a visitation, so these gift ideas seemed new to me. They were beautiful, as if anyone really needs such things, though. You really see alot of that kind of stuff for sale nowadays in the stores. Everyone has so many decorations inside their houses; thus, the decor makers have turned their attention to yards and gardens.

The quiet line of sympathy moved ever so slowly by a table of photos, a wedding book, and other momentos of life. Finally, we were able to hug the wife and visit for a few minutes. She seemed to be holding up well. Her children don't know me, but I introduced myself to one of them.....that was enough.....that's when it starts getting lame......when you are offering sympathy to people who don't know you, and look at you quizzically. Then its time to quietly slip out of the crowd and head for home.

Actually, I would rather not have a visitation when I die-----as if I will have any say in the matter. The thought of people shuffling by and peering down into the casket at me and saying, "Oh, she looks so nice" or "My, she really doesn't look very good"......what is the point of that?! Where did that custom ever originate?

The first visitation I remember going to was when I was five years old. A playmate of mine, a four-year-old boy, had fallen out of the cab of his dad's grain truck and been run over, right in his own farm yard. I remember hearing his mother talk about it.....how her little boy had died in her arms. At the funeral home, my dad was holding me up to look into the white casket. The boy had a nice suit on, and in his lapel pocket was a stick of Doublemint gum. My five-year-old mind thought, "Wow, he is lucky to have his own full stick of gum." I always had to put up with getting only a half a stick at a time. A couple years ago I visited this little boy's grave for the first time since his death many years ago. His dad now rests beside him.

My parents have told me many times that this is what I said when I saw my little friend in the casket long ago: "Well, it was nice while it lasted." I don't remember saying those words, but they say that I did.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Mary Magdalene's Day

This is my 50th blog post! So exciting, isn't it?!

Also, I post today in honor of my wedding anniversary.......29 years young is our marriage. Some of the lyrics from an old 1970's pop song, "Still The One", sung by the group Orleans, seem to hit the nail on the head for this marriage.....

"We've been together since way back when;

Sometimes I never want to see you again!

But, I want you to know....

After all these years.....

You're still the one I want whisperin' in my ear!"

I love the honesty of the first two lines. Husband and I were 15 when we met, and then got married at age 20.....that's quite young by today's standards. Maybe in a way we've grown up together. I would assume that nearly every married person has had the thought, "What was I thinking back then? How did I get myself into this?!" You just make up your mind to stay the course, and pray for wisdom. I have learned to keep my mouth shut about certain things, laugh as often as possible, and if all else fails, just head out the door and take a long walk.

I didn't know it back then in 1978 on my wedding day, but July 22 is also the day set aside to honor St. Mary Magdalene. (The church I grew up in didn't commemorate saints' days.) The Lutheran church I belong to now has been getting more into that sort of thing, and in our new hymnal The Lutheran Service Book, there is a hymn to honor special women of the Bible, "For All The Faithful Women" (#855). We sang it this morning in church, not all 13 verses, but we did sing verse 11, the one about Mary Magdalene. The Old Testament lesson was Proverbs 31:10-31, which begins with..... "An excellent wife who can find? She is more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her." I really chuckled inside, considering this was also our anniversary day. Humorous little synchronicity!

Later, Husband commented about the verses of Proverbs 31: "What's the husband's role all the while the excellent wife is doing things like bringing food from afar (verse 14), considering and buying a field (verse 16), making and selling garments (verse 24), etc., etc.?" I replied that the husband is to be "known in the gates where he sits among the elders of the land", as stated in verse 23. We wondered if that means Husband should sit in the town coffee shop and play cards with the old guys?!

I had worn a red shirt to church this morning in honor of Mary Magdalene, since she was so often portrayed in scarlet garb in old artwork. She was maligned for years by the Church, given the label of prostitute by some pope way back in the 500's A.D. The Eastern Orthodox Church supposedly views her as the "Apostle to the Apostles". Interesting. Today's Gospel reading was from John 20, where Mary goes to Jesus' tomb, finds the stone rolled away, and then has an encounter with the resurrected Jesus. Amazing that she, a member of the lowly female gender, was allowed the privilege of being the first person to see Him alive again after the Crucifixion.

I read The DaVinci Code a few years ago, and I have read a couple of Margaret Starbird's books, The Woman With the Alabaster Jar and The Goddess in the Gospels. I'm not convinced about the theory that Mary Magdalene and Jesus were married, but I did enjoy the latter book because Ms. Starbird goes into detail about the many synchronicities she experienced during the writing of her first book about Mary Magdalene. Fascinating......particularly the time when she unexpectedly met people from Provence, France. Her experience in the psychiatric unit hit me in a very personal way, as I once had a somewhat similar ordeal come into my life. What she wrote nearly gave me chills.

One speculation Margaret Starbird makes in her books is that the title "Magdalene" possibly does not refer to the town where Mary came from, but actually is "the Magdalen", meaning some sort of tower, referred to in the Old Testament somewhere.

Sometimes I do wonder, though, couldn't Jesus have been married? Marriage is not a sin. Scriptures don't directly state whether He was married or not. As a teenager, I remember seeing the movie version of "Jesus Christ, Superstar". Actually, I think our pastor had our youth group watch it so we could discuss the scriptural and nonscriptural aspects of the story portrayed in the movie. Mary Magdalene was given the prostitute persona, I think, and the movie probably suggested that she and Jesus were unmarried lovers, so it was easy for me to then dismiss the whole idea as a fable, since we know Jesus did not sin. Its a little more difficult to totally dismiss if you consider Mary Magdalene not as a prostitute, but maybe as the legitimate legal wife of Jesus. And I can't entirely rule out the possibility that a patriarchal church hierarchy would later cover up evidence of such a marriage.

Think about getting a church year calendar which shows saints' commemoration days throughout the year. I never thought I'd be interested in such things, but it does make me feel more connected to meaningful events far in the past. And if your birthday or anniversary falls on a saint's day, it can seem very special! I ordered my calendar online from the Fellowship of St. James, and it includes dates significant in both Eastern and Western Christian traditions.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Milk Hauler's Amazing Experience

A few posts ago, I told about my experience with the car radio switching stations on its own. Well, a day or so after that, Husband told me this story that our milk truck driver told him. It is similar to my experience, but is much more amazing. I had not told Husband my story, so I was stunned at the timing and similarity.

Our milk truck driver was driving his usual route one morning last week. He had the radio in his truck tuned to the station he normally listens to. There was a thunderstorm in progress, and all of a sudden two lightning bolts struck simultaneously, one on each side of his truck. He said the flash was very bright. As the lightning struck, his truck radio station must have changed frequency to a Christian station.......all he heard was the words "God is light"!! Then his regular radio station came back on.

What an amazing experience! Our milk hauler is not particularly religious......I don't think he goes to church very often. I haven't yet had a chance to talk to him about it, but I do plan to tell him that I think he experienced something special! An fascinating synchronicity, indeed!

A Movie Review

Well, lucky me, I was chauffeur the other evening for a group of 15-year-old boys who wanted to go shopping. They are the age of Jeremy in the hilarious "Zits" cartoon strip. I can totally identify with his mother.

The boys shopped for awhile at Target, then decided they wanted to take in a movie. So we drove to the 12-plex movie theater there in town, and they picked a movie to go to. After looking the list over, I decided to go see "License to Wed", thinking Robin Williams might possibly be good for a few laughs. A very few, it turned out. What a stupidly contrived plot. Robin Williams was a minister who turned out to be a rather hellish pre-marital counselor. I laughed exactly twice.......once when the bride-to-be had made a sarcastic statement, and Robins William's character chided her by saying, "Sarcasm is the ugly step-sister of communication". I chuckled and thought how very true that was.

The young engaged couple in the movie was of course cohabitating.......you would think that maybe just once Hollywood could be daring and portray an engaged couple not doing that. But, the couple was so sweet and the girl so innocent-acting. The minister asked them to give up sex until their wedding in three weeks.......the groom-to-be acted as if this would absolutely be fatal to him.

The second time I laughed was when the couple was being given a tour of the birthing unit at a hospital......the minister's attempt to discourage them from having kids very soon. The OB nurse giving the tour was hilarious. Also, I'll have to admit the two robot babies were quite funny, too, especially the expressions on their faces.

My movie got done way before the boys' movie, so I had to sit out in the van and wait quite awhile. As I sat looking at the massive new building which houses all the theaters, I thought about what a waste the whole thing is, really. Most of the movies shown are stupid and promote immoral behavior. They cost millions of dollars to make, and what is the purpose, really? So idiotic people like me can go and spend $7.50 to get in and $6.00 for popcorn and coke, and sit there shivering in the A/C and wondering why they came. Oh, well, it was nice to spend time with my son and his friends once again, anyway.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Memories From Sixth Grade

After mentioning my sixth-grade class trip to the State Capitol in yesterday's post, many memories of that event swept into my thoughts. Let's see, it would have taken place in May of 1970. My friends and I were totally excited about going. For the occasion, I sewed myself a new jumper to wear----out of blue print fabric. It buttoned at the shoulders with blue buttons and I wore a blue blouse with it. Lots of us girls sewed many of our clothes back then, often for 4-H projects. Things were different then----we didn't have computers, or cell phones, or DVD's. We read Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden books, passing them around from person to person. We could hardly wait to get the next one to read.

In the schoolbus on the way to Des Moines we played cards and sang silly songs. "Ninety-nine Bottles of Beer on the Wall".......good grief......we sang all 99 verses! As if any of us were beer drinkers at that point in time. We took along snacks and sack lunches.

At the Capitol building we toured the grounds, looking at the various statues and taking lots of pictures. Lincoln and Tad was my favorite statue. Once inside the Capitol, we received the grand tour, even venturing all the way up to the cupola on top of the golden dome. I wonder if anyone is allowed up there anymore. Walking around up inside the dome made me feel whoozy, as I gazed wide-eyed at the dizzying view down to the basement level. We also toured the State Historical Building across the street.

Back to my sixth-grade attire......at some point during that school year, girls were allowed to wear pants or jeans for the first time ever at our small-town school. Can any girl nowadays imagine not being able to wear jeans to public school?! I remember the first pair of pants I wore to school......a red, navy and white striped denim pair. I was so proud of them----I thought they were really cool. Goodness! During grade school we had been allowed to bring pants to school to wear under our skirts and dresses at recess time, and we girls would usually wear shorts under our skirts anyway, so we could play comfortably at recess and not have to worry about boys seeing our underwear.

My kids stare at me like I'm from outer space when I tell them these types of stories from my growing up years! And my parents can tell truly amazing stories about living with no electricity and farming with horse-drawn equipment and riding streetcars in town. Each generation witnesses many changes!

Monday, July 16, 2007

A Day in Des Moines

This farm girl spent a day in the city again over the weekend. Younger Son and I travelled to Des Moines so he could take part in a bachelor party which included a day of golf and dinner out in the evening. That left me to spend the day motoring around the Des Moines vicinity, doing some shopping for my bride-to-be daughter. She wanted me to try and find several large glass bowls to use at the wedding reception, so I searched at several Goodwill stores. I love to browse at second-hand shops, so what an enjoyable day I had! I did find a few bowls, and some extras----a couple tank tops, a few books, a mug with a good friend's name on it (for her birthday), a school-house bell for my son's girlfriend, and an odd wooden vase with MY name on it. That was weird, because, I never find anything with my name on it!

In the process of the day, I became better acquainted with Des Moines streets and roads, getting a better handle on how to get around in that city. Its not so bad, really, once you get familiarized. A couple times my route took me near to the golden dome of the state capitol building, gleaming bright in the sunshine. Suddenly, I was a sixth-grader on our spring class trip again, trying to get a glimpse of the capitol building we were about to tour. Somewhere I still have photos of that momentous day. I was so excited about that trip to Des Moines back then-----I couldn't even get to sleep the night before!

After finishing the Goodwill shopping, I made my way toward West Des Moines, stopping at Gordman's, Michael's, and Kohl's, checking out clearance racks and shelves. I'm drawn to the word CLEARANCE like a bee to a flower. I have this goofy notion that if I happen to find interesting things at clearance prices, then it must be "meant to be" for me to buy them! Its like they were put there just for me to buy, even if they sit in my closet for awhile......usually they turn out to be the perfect gift for someone, or just the right thing to wear!

In the evening, I was allowed to tag along to the Granite City restaurant with my daughter and some of her friends. There are SO many eating places in West Des Moines, it just boggles my mind! I had never heard of Granite City before, and I asked my daughter what its claim to fame was. She thought it was the beer they brewed. It was a nice place, high-ceilinged and too chilled with air conditioning. I ordered a Greek chicken salad----very tasty, with lots of tomatoes and olives. It was fun to listen to the girls talk. They were all high-school teachers. I sat across from my daughter the art teacher, who was next to a science teacher, who was next to a P.E. teacher, who was across from a foods teacher, who was next to a math teacher. What a variety! I found it very interesting when they discussed the challenges of having autistic students in the classroom----that must be fairly common now.

It was 10:30 p.m. before my son and I finally left West Des Moines for the three-hour drive home. Son instantly fell asleep, leaving me alone with the organized mayhem of I-80 and I-35 as they tangle and separate. I'm learning to negotiate all the right exits and on-ramps, and soon we were sailing north in the darkness on I-35, leaving the heavy traffic behind, thank goodness. I drank Coke and set the air-conditioning to very cool in order to stay alert. I kept changing the radio stations, trying to find some music I liked. A old Chicago song finally caught my ear, and my thoughts drifted off to here and there in the past. Suddenly the radio station went fuzzy and another one pushed through long enough for me to hear a men's gospel quartet sing this line very clearly, "Jesus satisfies my every longing". Then that fuzzed out and the Chicago song came back. It was sweet and strange----like a little message swooping in from somewhere, just for me. I thought, "Lord, You can speak that way to me anytime You want to!" Maybe He was letting me know the angels were watching over us as we sped along in our car through the warm summer darkness, making our way toward home.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

A View From Forty-nine

My forty-ninth birthday recently came and went, leaving much to ponder over. How long does middle age last? Until the first grandchild is born? When will I start feeling like an old person?

Honestly, at this point in my life, I feel in some ways younger than I've ever felt before. It could be that as a child I didn't always feel young. Being a first-born, I was expected to show responsibility at a young age by being a helper to my parents on the farm and a caretaker for my younger siblings. I'm not complaining-----just pointing out a fact of my life. One of the lines my mother said so often to me was "See to do things without being told!!" In other words, when there is work to be done, get busy and do it. Don't wait for your elders to tell you to do so. Anyway, it helped shape my eventual adult self........serious-minded, dutiful, dependable........and quite boring!

In my 20's and 30's, life was all about taking care of my children. Motherhood is wonderful, of course, but also exhausting, especially during the years when children are completely dependent on the parents (mostly the mother) to provide constant care and supervision. For years, it seemed, all I did was watch little kids, forever keeping an eye on them so they didn't wander off and get lost in cornfields or run over by farm machinery. During those years, I felt old and pressed upon, and constantly tired. I used to listen to working women say that they couldn't wait until weekends were over so they could get back to the peace and quiet of their jobs. Hmm. I began to wonder if I had made the right decision to forego a career.

Finally, all my children were in school, and I was in my early 40's and feeling like I was on vacation alot of the time, because I no longer was preoccupied constantly with a child's physical welfare. Shopping became enjoyable-----I could go to town without a child in tow, and was actually able to spend time browsing in peace for clothes for myself once again. I could attend my older children's school activities and actually watch them instead of keeping a constant eye on the younger ones. If Husband needed me for tractor-driving or other chores, I could drop what I was doing and be immediately at his service. (Oh, joy!) Yes, the forties for me have been rather liberating and have definitely taught me that life goes on after childrearing, and in some ways is better than ever.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Deep Summer in Iowa

Many years ago I read a novel, Deep Summer, by Gwen Bristow. Its setting was during the early 1800's on a plantation in the Deep South during summer. The author aptly conveyed the feeling of thick, heavy humidity and heat which blanketed the landscape, and permeated the homes and lives of the story's characters. That's all I really remember about the book, no other details come to mind. Right now, here in Iowa we're enveloped in similar overwhelming heat and mugginess. It's good for the crops......supposedly you can hear the corn grow if you're outdoors on a hot, humid night.

The photo shown here, one of the first taken with my new digital camera (sorry, I can't seem to get the photo to upload......imagine a green-striped farm field) shows where I spent all afternoon on Saturday driving the tractor pulling the hay baler. Not a bad place to be, since the tractor had good air conditioning. The guys unloading the bales had a much rougher time of it, as they labored and sweated out in the hot sun. Round and round the field I went, keeping an eye on the green swaths of hay being gobbled up by the rotating tines of the baler. Watching is important to make sure the baler doesn't get plugged up, even though it means getting a stiff neck from looking backwards all the time. Sometimes other things will go wrong, like the twine will stop tying around the bales correctly, or a pin will shear on the flywheel. Then I have to stop the tractor and assess the situation, fix it if possible, or call Husband to come out and help. Fortunately, nothing like that happened on Saturday, the baler operated smoothly like clockwork.

As I bounced along and steered the tractor, my thoughts wandered and I imagined that the bales are like the days or years of our lives. Each one being molded, shaped, and tied into a block of hay which then gets deposited in the wagon. When the wagon gets full......well, that's it folks.......a load of days and years gets dumped out and put away.

Make the most of whatever moldings, shapings, or tyings come your way today!!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Two Too Sad News Stories

I was saddened on this Independence Day morning to see the newspaper story about a recent tragic accident on a dairy farm near Bridgewater, Virginia. A young farmer, his wife, two daughters, and a farm employee, died due to breathing methane gas in a manure pit. The farmer had climbed down into the pit because something was clogged, and had been instantly overcome by the gas. The employee, the wife, and the daughters went in one by one to try to assist, and were also immediately stricken. Oh, my. The couple also has two other little daughters. Send prayers for them.

We have a manure pump system in our dairy barn, which pumps the manure to an outdoor open pit. The description of the closed underground pit involved in the Virginia accident sounds much different than the set-up we have here on our farm. We don't have any sort of enclosed area where lethal gas could build up, and we pump the manure out every day. Still, one always has to be aware and careful.

Turning to a much different, but likewise, tragic subject, a few days ago there was an article in the newspaper about a young girl in Egypt who died as a result of an FGM procedure. If you don't know what an "FGM" is, as I didn't, then Google it and find out. Or Google her name, Badour Shaker. I was ignorant of the fact that such cruel atrocities are being perpetuated in this day and age. Its difficult to fathom the mindset of people who would deem it acceptable to do such things, whether it be for social, cultural, or religious reasons. There could never be a valid enough reason for doing such a horrid thing to a girl. Respecting the cultures and religions of others in the world is important, but if a culture or religion advocates FGM, then respect goes out the window, in my mind, anyway. Another incomprehensible thing is that most FGM procedures are done by older women......they must be able to do that because it was probably done to them when they were young. Can't something or someone bring the horrible cycle to a halt?

One writer on an FGM website pondered whether this mutilating corruption of women's bodies also has an affect on the men in those cultures and religions, helping to fill them with anger which they then unleash in acts of cruelty and terrorism. Obviously, its an atrocious cycle which needs to stop.

I sit here in my pleasant, sheltered life on an Iowa farm and wonder.......is there anything at all that I can do to help this situation?? Fervent prayer is possibly the only recourse.

Happy Independence Day.......just a normal day on the farm. Cows don't take time off from eating and producing milk, and the hay needs to be cut, so that is what Husband is doing. Fireworks were a big deal when the kids were little, but now, no one's too interested in going to see them anymore. By dark, I'm just ready to collapse into bed, anyway.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Bridal Shower Weekend

Let's see if I can get a post done during these few minutes of peace and quiet on a Monday morning. The weekend was extremely full of busyness and noise. Daughter and her fiance arrived Saturday morning, she to attend a bridal shower given in her honor at my sister's house. Great fun was had by all at this event. We enjoyed silly shower games such as fashioning wedding dresses out of toilet paper, trying to blindly find safety pins in a bowl of rice, and drawing the bride on a piece of paper on the tops of our heads. Many laughs! My younger daughter and her teenage cousin were in charge of planning the games, and I thought they did a very good job! Four young nieces were there, ages 5, 6, 7, and 10, and it was obvious they were enamored with their older cousin, the future bride, as she opened her gifts and chatted about the wedding plans.

Also, at the shower, I was privileged to finally meet my future son-in-law's mother and his brother's sister. They were easy to be around and all impressions were very positive. Afterwards, we loaded up the lovely gifts and headed back home to the farm where Husband and Sons, and Grandpa, were hosting Daughter's fiance's father and two brothers. They had spent the afternoon touring the farm and playing horseshoes and bocce ball. Beautiful weather had graced the whole day!

On Sunday, Daughter and her fiance were still here, searching through old photographs to use at their reception. Over the years, I have taken many, many pictures, but have not done well at getting them into scrapbooks. Maybe its just as well. They are organized in boxes, and the kids can go through them and take whatever they want.

After church, Older Son and his girlfriend decided to make us taco salad for lunch. Fortunately, all the ingredients and toppings were on hand. We also made a smoothy drink out of pureed peaches, lemonade concentrate, Sierra Mist soda, and optional peach schnapps. It was very tasty. The kitchen was busy and noisy, and very much a mess by the time the meal was over. I actually enjoy cleaning up the kitchen in solitude, so quickly I made that clear to everyone, and they happily moved outdoors to play bocce ball. I put on a Phil Coulter CD and spent the next hour filling the dishwasher and washing dishes and cleaning counters. Truly, I have always preferred cleaning up to cooking.....
is that weird? Signifies some strange flaw in me, I suppose.

This morning has been a typical Monday. The phone woke me up at 6:15......it was the parent of the boy my younger daughter babysits for, wondering if she could come over right away instead of at 10:15 a.m. What fun it was giving her that news.......she hates getting up early! Then when I got to the barn, Husband was in a grouchy state because he had noticed that the neighbor's old horse was out in our hay field, something he would have to attend to after milking, which would delay all his other plans for the day. Those plans of Husband's included shingling his dad's garage roof today, so that is where he and Son are now, and I must hurry to take lunch to them.

Babysitting Daughter just sent me a text message......she had dreamed last night that her big toes were pierced with earrings! The other night she dreamed all her teeth fell out and when she looked at them they were painted with nail polish and 4th of July designs! There must be some message there......maybe she will see change in herself soon. Probably so, as she soon will start college!