Monday, September 8, 2014

Travelin' light

I had an interesting and amusing observation this morning.  I was up at my usual time, 5 am, and the MA gets up as well, as he is on his way to the greater Eau Claire area for one of his income tax seminars.  Now this sounds somewhat dreadful to me, and I am quite sure that he is NOT indulging in the wonderful shopping opportunities, which is just unthinkable, but this is not really pertinent to the story, other than to possibly enhance the idea that this man is waaaay different than his dearest spouse.  Anyway, let's stay with the story line, he got up and got ready, had his cheerios, picked up his one single bag (small) and left for his overnight seminar.

Let's analyze this statement.  His ONE small bag.  He took a complete change of clothes, placed in my little overnight bag with his toothbrush and toothpaste, and possibly he remembered his dental floss. And likely a comb.  That is literally ALL. HE. TOOK.

I am not sure that I can even comprehend being able to pick up one small bag  for an over night stay. Because first of all, I am a pillow taker.  I take my own pillows everywhere, just because I must.  Then there is the fact that what if I want to wear something different than that one shirt and pair of pants, and what if its raining and what if I need different socks?  Not to mention, I will on a similar trip need to take my running shoes and some sort of workout clothes, and so that means I am pretty much up to a small suitcase, an extra bag with shoes, a book, my computer or iPad, phone charger, other appropriate cords, my makeup bag with a little makeup, and all the things that go with a shower in the morning.  Like my favorite soap, coconut oil, own shampoo, conditioner and then there is the advil, bandaids, hand lotion and a protein bar.  Plus a sweatshirt.  OH and my pillows.  I will have you know I could carry all that in one trip!

In one way I am a little jealous of the ease of his departure, but on the other hand, I would be entertaining myself on my computer, texting my friends with my fully charged phone and having a nice small selection of clothes to be comfy in the next day.  And who knows what treasures I would have found at the local department stores!!

Yeah, well, at any rate, I have the house to myself tonight, which might be a little lonely, but alone in the house can be a joy too!

Hope you have a good night and sleep well!  

Monday, September 1, 2014

A bundle of contradictions


(Wow, I let that last depressing post sit on top of my blog WAY longer than I meant to.  OOPS.)

I'd like to say that I am not a whole lot better than the last time I wrote, but I am starting to relax.  Labor Day is a ball of contradictions, with people coming and leaving, people not coming when they were going to and that secret delight of silence that replaces it- especially after a busy busy 4 days.  There is the joy of the last huge sink full  of dishes that are complete and minimal cooking in the foreseeable future, coupled with a long stretch of no kiddos for company. An old friend showed up in a new way- quite unexpected.  School is starting- and you can say that in SEVERAL ways, go ahead and try some of those out!  There is the mini disasters that occurred and were fixed and the one fix that didn't happen.  ON and on it goes, and I am drained.  However, the sun is out and I think that I will get in a walk, and who knows, maybe the MA will go with me.

The sun magically likes to come out when I enter the school building, and I am sure that it will be out tomorrow when the school year begins again.  It usually is.  This past week was quite lovely whilst I was stuck inside....  Ah yes.

I have my rooms ready, but no clue what to wear.  I have my first few lessons prepared, but have not printed class lists yet.  I am super tired, but anticipate a cruddy nights sleep.  a bundle of contradictions as per usual.  I've been feeling cranky at times today, but then feel bad that I was having ill-will towards a fairly harmless person.  I am happy about one thing, but see the drawbacks in other ways.  I need to quit over thinking. Always.

Anyway, I think I will just publish this fairly disjointed post and go on with my day.  I do want a walk, but I needed this hour of goofing off. After all, it is my last afternoon of quiet for a while.  Maybe I will paint my summer fingernail one last time!

I hope your Labor Day was a good one, whether you were picnicking or partying or sulking or resting or working or loafing or best of all, joyful.

Happy Monday, and now you can spend the rest of the week wondering what day it is anyway!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Don't bother....

Alright, I am writing this to dislodge a whole bunch of angry and upset feelings, so if you don't want to be brought down- move along.  I am really not sorry to say that, because it seems I either end up apologizing for my feelings or feeling bad about them.  So, you've been warned

This is not a typical joyful post, because frankly people, I am not that way all the time.  I am crabby occasionally, I am selfish at times and I allow myself to be hurt. I say allow because really, you have a choice to feel bad about things or not.  So therefore, I am unreasonable and whiny and I occasionally indulge in pouting and self-pity.  And this is starting off to be a pity post.

I will not indulge myself in a laundry list of complaints, because first of all, no one needs to know the specifics and seriously I don't need to be told how lucky I am that those are my worst problems, or some other line of bull.

Basically, I am tired today and I feel gypped out of a goodly section of my summer.  I know that is the way life goes, tick bites happen and I was smart to be aware of what was happening and I acted on it the best I could. So I resent the 2 weeks of afternoons spent on a couch.  Aside from that, I was ambushed by someone's anger, and it really was unreasonable. Though I freely admit and did admit and apologize for the mistake I made.  However, it does not change the fact that I am again being taken advantage of because I do not enjoy conflict.  So here I am the coward that I appear to be- writing my anger instead of verbalizing it.  I do see the wisdom, though, of not addressing this right at this moment.  I will wait until cooler heads prevail. I have had a few people take advantage of my good nature lately, and like adding stones to a bucket- the bucket gets full and over flows.

I know that I am having a tough time transitioning back into school mode, because God knows it isn't looking any easier this year than it was last.  Anyone who think teachers have it easy is delusional.  I do not say we have the toughest job in the world, but it is right up there.  I feel the weight of the little bits of things starting to add up already and I haven't even opened up my room yet.

I wish I was a person that could deflect the monkeys that other people try to give me, and I am working on that.  But I find myself trying to please people way too much.  I found myself feeling badly about myself because I don't have the same taste in food that another person does.  Why would it be a negative because my taste buds do not agree with someone else's??  That is seriously not the way it should be.  You are not less of a person or an inferior person because your taste buds are a certain way. Again, this person did not try to do that to me, but this is how I felt.  It was good for me to realize that, as now I see it for what it is.  A difference between people.

I think much of my mood is a combination of events- a perfect storm if you will.  So I am assuming that my mood will pass.  But it did not let up over night, and so this is one that is going to hold a while.  I hate that.  And there isn't a hell of a lot I can do about it right now- except write my irritations and reassure all of you or any of you who might read this, this is not a deal breaker, and trust me- it most likely isn't you to whom I am referring.

Maybe I will publish this and maybe I will not, but I knew that the conversation I was having with myself was not helping at all.  So I do well working things out on the proverbial paper.  Such as it is.  I guess that it is a moment of discontent with life, though for the most part I wouldn't trade mine.  I just need to reboot and decompress.  And bitch for a few moments.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Late August sighs

I have discovered that somewhere along the way here, it is still dark at 5 am now!  When the heck did this happen??  Oh yeah, that would be during the almost 3 weeks of semi wasted summer due to that stupid tick bite.  Sigh
Wild waves on the big Lake

I am in the process of transitioning myself to school hours, so that involves getting up at 5 instead of 6.  I don't really use an alarm, since I wake up frequently at night anyway, so it is pretty easy just to get up when it is time.  I have not been sleeping particularly well, either, a combination of a somewhat warm bedroom (been a little humid lately), snoring (it is allergy season in the northwoods for the MA), a jumpy brain (lack of good exercise and school thoughts) and heaven knows what else is going on there. So I just get up and get myself moving.  I am hoping that by shifting my day's schedule I will be desperately tired at night and will be able to fall asleep BEFORE 11:30 or 12.  AND I feel well enough now to hit the gym harder and get out for walks and bike rides again.  Now if only the rain would cooperate.

So the north is turning towards fall- some of the weaker trees are beginning to turn a little, there is fog in the mornings, the skunks are out digging around in the yard (oh goodie), and the subtle smells and sounds of the outside are changing. And of course I am visiting my tomatoes daily, willing them to hurry up and ripen. My inservices begin next week and then the day after Labor Day, school will begin.

It is always exciting to have the beginning of a  brand new school session, especially against the contrast of nature heading towards the end of its current life cycle.  It is a good way to go into the fall.  I am energized this year by the  really good class that I sort of half missed. But enough filtered through for me to have a mind set of positivity and keeping the eye on the REAL prize.  Which is teaching my students through art, encouraging their growth as people by expressing themselves with pictures and other media.  Not with the incredibly intrusive, and irrelevant in many cases, over load of educational pedagogy that is being thrust on all teachers in our state.  When did the methods become more important than the students?  I am not sure.  sigh

But that is what it is, and I will do my best to fulfill the true needs of the students and the wants of those who are "in charge" at many levels.  Therefore, of course, instead of spending the last week at school busily preparing for the school year ahead, I have been indulging in last minute summer immersion. (No one said I was logical!!  :) ) I returned Monday from visiting the kids in southern WI.  Tuesday, I was fortunate enough to spend a late birthday journey with my sweet friend Jane up to the Lake Superior shores of Wisconsin and Michigan.  Wednesday, I did some necessary errands and then had a fabulous birthday massage (finally), and then yesterday, I spent a lovely afternoon with my dear friend Cat- again a late birthday event- up in Ashland.  AHHHHHH  it has been a lovely week.  

It was a beautiful day- no, really!
Today is involving my last summer Bayfielding for the year.  I am sure we will be getting up there again during the fall, because, you know- apples.  (It was a tough winter for the apple trees here) AND I am seeing another Book Across the Bay happen, because that was just fabulous.  I foresee a day of  berry picking in some form, lunch, coffee,  standing on the dock and weeping er, admiring the view, no matter what the weather, and hopefully some hiking about the area.  Yes, summer is awesome.  sigh.

And I would  imagine that pictures will follow!  I have a lot of editing to do and frankly, my photo taking has let up a little because I am trying to take everything in and truly be present with my friends.  Connecting with people, enjoying the sights, taking a few photos, eating some truly fine food and dipping my feet in the lake- these are the things that refresh, satisfy and bring true joy!

Don't forget to share some joy today!  

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

On the road yet again...

WHY?  Why oh why why why WHY must I make the day before I leave on a mini trip so full of jobs and tasks that I end up stressed out and exhausted by the end of the day??  Good grief.

Seriously, was it necessary for me to reorganize parts of my closet on the day that I needed to do laundry, pack, go to the bank, the grocery store and the feed store?  Not to mention, cook up the last few fresh veggies in my frig, throw out the few scraps of yuck under those veggies, bake the MA a cake, make sugar water for the bees, wash the kitchen floor and then, clean up after myself multiple times.

And naturally I have not learned my limitations yet with the remnants of the tick disease that I got.  After being busy all morning, managing to find the MA for lunch, then getting to the bank/feedstore/grocerystore, I had to lay down for an hour...... And then another half hour..... Of course I kept hopping up to do things, like bake that cake - oh and I made a batch of bread and butter pickles for Greg and Sarah, because I had 4 huge cukes left and Greg likes them....oy.

But I did get it all done and I'm so tired I think I should sleep well.

If any of you were wondering, the Dirty Girl is off the schedule for the weekend.  I decided not to land myself in bed for the rest of the weekend, so that will have to just go by the wayside.  I will be able to spend more time with Greg and Sarah and Greggy, so that is a win at any rate.  Will probably also see my mom again, and of course I'll be hanging out with Jon and Sarah and Ella as well.  Fun times for Grandma!  OH and my seesterrose is going to be there too!

I will have to hit up the mall, too, as soon I will have to go back to school.  I know I need a few things. And since I did NOT get to go shopping in Eau Claire- grrrrr- I have a little catching up to do.

Even though I had made the grand statement to myself, OH I don't have that much to do today, indeed I was hallucinating.  Or else I was so confident that I kept adding more things in, not taking into account my current lack of staying power.  Only 7 more days on this horrible antibiotic and maybe I will feel like myself again.....  Let's hope.

BUT good news for the joyfully inclined!!!


Monday, August 11, 2014

Garden shed update!!

Maybe you are curious about the state of affairs with my garden shed, these are not THE most up to date photos, but there have only been a couple little things beyond this.  

First of all I am loving my Mr. Ed doors, which really must be painted white sometime in the next year or two. The wood looks totally incongruous with the rest of the building.  It bugs me, but I am giving it a year.  I have to have different hardware too, I hate the ones on there.  Patience, Debi.....

Mr. Ed doors-
And I have my ceiling fan in and it fits just fine above those rafters.  This will be a really good thing.  And btw all that crap that you know who is stashing up there will be going buh bye as well.
YAY for ceiling fans
Here is the large work table that was built for me- in a big moment of creativity, I told the MA to have the sign side up.  I kind of like it.

I think this is a really good size work table and it is on a wheels.
Things are being straightened up now and put away, some of the shelves are built-

Much of this is going into the garage again.

Hidden behind some wood is another work area - and shelves
I do want to paint the press board on the walls, I have not decided what exactly yet, but I will start with a coat of white and then get a color from there.  I have ideas for making this a convenient and well organized work space.

And then we have this one..... 
It is really nice to be poised at the point of being able to organize and clean out this building and make it mine!

That will definitely be a joy!

Summer vacations at Lake May

I got a picture from my brother a few days ago- of Lake May near Walker, MN.  He is vacationing up there, the lucky duck.  Anyway, the picture made my eyes sting a little, with tears of remembering.  The very sight of Lake May brings back fond, fond memories of summer vacations.

Little Debi with Grandpa Oberley
We used to load up the car most every summer and drive up to Walker, MN from our home between Beloit and Janesville. We had to wait until mid to late summer so my dad could come with us.  He had to stay home a few times, but usually he was with us. It was such an exciting time- we would spend several days planning what books we were going to bring, what activities and games we might bring, begging mom to buy us a few snacks for the road.  As I recall, we didn't usually have too many snacks, though.  Of course any sibling of mine remembering things differently, this is totally through my eyes, ya know??   There were 4 of us kids, plus mom and dad- a bit of a crowded car- so Rose always sat in the front seat between them.  I remember thinking that it was because they liked her best, but I am thinking in the cold light of adulthood that she managed to get in trouble with everyone, so it was probably safest for her to up there!!  (sorry Rose! :) )  

My Great Grandma Dickinson with me and I assume brother Ed.  (nice face there Debi) I must have been 3
We packed our clothes, when we were old enough, with special attention to the fact that we spent most of our time in the lake.  We would take along nose plugs and those face mask things and of course a swim suit.  We could NOT wait to get up there to that lake.  Even packing the car was exciting, my dad would cram all the suitcases in and the fishing equipment and then they would stuff as much food from the garden in as they could.  We would frequently stay for 2 weeks, so we undoubtedly ate them out of house and home.  But I am pretty sure they enjoyed having us there.

Rose and Debi on a tube in Lake May
It was a 9 hour drive to get up there.  How in the world my parents put up with 4 little kids in the car for that long is beyond me.  I do remember stopping for lunch up in Hudson at a little A&W for burgers, and then driving through downtown St. Paul.  I loved it!  I still love cities.  Later when the Twin cities bypass went through, we went to a Burger King somewhere on the north side of the cities.  We rarely went out to eat as a family, so this was a very special event.  One of the many things that made the trip something we looked forward to every year.  Then we passed by the prison somewhere in the middle of Minnesota, the Paul Bunyan statue in Bemidji (or was it Brainerd??  Lol) and all the land marks that came up as we traveled.  When we finally turned on Lake May road and were almost there, we craned our necks and argued about who saw the lake first.... 

Grandma and Grandpa Oberley's house.  My mom and most of her siblings were born there
We did our best to get into that lake at least 2 times a day- after lunch and then after dinner, and once in a while we managed to get a before lunch swim.  For some odd-ball reason, they would not let us go into the lake for a minimum of 30 minutes after lunch, it could have been an hour, but I don't remember that for sure.  I know they couldn't have really believed that old adage,  but I suppose it is possible. Talk about exquisite torture!!  The anticipation was horrible!  Kind of like putting on a wet cold swimming suit after supper!  Yikes. There had to be a darn good reason for us not to be in there as long and as often as possible.  We would get out only when our lips were blue and we were shivering.  It was great. 

Rose, foster child, Penny,  me, Russ Ed and Alice, also a foster child.
There was more to going to Walker than just swimming in the lake, though.  My dad loved to fish and it was one of the few truly recreational things that he did.  He never, as far as I know, fished anywhere else besides in Walker.  We would go out pan-fishing in the early evenings and sit out in the boat as the mosquitos descended and the fish started to bite.  Lake May and Long Lake had a good crappie and sunnie population and it was pretty fun to catch those fish.  Grandpa usually went too, and he was always so fun to have around.  If we were being reasonable and we wanted to, we would go Northern fishing at least once every summer.  That involved sitting and not doing much else.  You needed to be patient to sit and fish like that, and I am surprised in retrospect that he would sometimes take all 4 of us. I, at least, did not go a lot.  Not my cup of tea.  I am not sure about my youngest brother, but my brother Ed, who is one year younger, liked to fish and definitely still does.  He went fishing in a row boat one year, with my cousin Mike, and caught a BIG northern. I do not remember the size but it was a beast.  My Grandpa was spying on them through the monocular from their house and saw it happen.  The story is best told by Ed, but in essence, Mike had to row them back to the dock (probably a half mile or so) and Mike sucked at rowing.  I imagine he was pretty worked up when Ed caught that thing, and he ended up having to sit on the fish while Ed paddled home.  I saw some of the paddling that Mike did- it was pretty funny.  That fish was a proud moment for my brother!

Mike on the left and Ed with the BIG one that he caught in a row boat- and cousin Mike almost missed it with the net.  Oops!  
We also did a lot of day trips and camping as well- I really don't remember all the places we would go over the years, but the one really low point was having to leave Minnesota and go see my aunt and uncle and cousins in God Forsaken North Dakota.  That is all I need to say about that.  We went several times to Lake Itasca where the Mississippi begins.  There are so many memories of campfires and sleeping in the front seat of Grandpa's truck or the back seat of a car.  Of Grandma making those pie things out of bread and pie filling and picking berries and so many outdoor adventures.  We would have been happy never leaving the lake, but in retrospect there are a lot of great memories in those events.

When I got a little older I spent a lot of time with Grandma, baking and cooking.  There are some stories to this, too, but I don't think everyone needs to know about rolling the molasses cookies in salt instead of sugar.  Grandma was a very sweet little lady, and very frugal- she'd tell us if we didn't finish up some little left over from supper, that we would have to have it the next morning in a bowl with milk and sugar on it.  I have her old cookbook and I treasure the memories that I have when I  look at it.

Some years we would be there alone and some times some of the other cousins would be there as well. It was always the best when the Seversons would be there- the family of my mom's oldest sister.  I loved hanging out with my cousin Connie and the rest of them were just fun to have around.  The other cousins sometimes showed up as well, which was not always as welcome.  We hated sharing Grandma and Grandpa and the lake and most importantly the bedrooms in the basement.  One of the most vivid memories I have is that basement. Mom and Dad slept upstairs in the other bedroom up there, and we were in the basement.  There was a big room that had two double beds in it and a smaller room that had one.  There was also a dark back room that sometimes had a bed in it, plus a little functional bathroom with a pull string where we would change to get into our swimsuits.  When other people showed up, we had to then sleep in other places.  Like cars and campers and I think once in a tent when there was a ton of us there.  

Even though this is in Florida, here is my aunt and uncle- the Seversons, Grandma Oberley and mom and dad
So many things have surfaced while writing this, and it is impossible to get it all in one spot.  The rootbeer from the rootbeer stand for floats, being on a pontoon on Leech Lake, walking to town to buy souvenirs, picking the raspberries that would ripen in the late summer that Grandma would give us with cream. So many fun times, so much love in that little house.

As time went on, we quit going as a family.  We grew up, we went to college or started jobs.  One of the last times I went, my sister and youngest brother and I went "nature camping" as in Rose did not want to take any food along, and just catch fish.  Mom and Grandma made us take potatoes and a few candy bars.  Rose was resentful!  Lol  We had the potatoes that night, but the candy was off limits until we got home.  Anyway,  we canoed through Lake May and Long Lake to get to 3rd, 4th and 5th lakes- maybe there was a 6th, I really don't remember now.  And we camped on an island off of one of them. It was sort of a creepy night, lots of noises in the night.  I got the hints of my claustrophobia when I  couldn't BEAR to have my feet caught in that sleeping bag- you know one of those mummy kinds?  It didn't zip down all the way and so I ended up trying to sleep with the thing on top of me, with my sides getting cold.  That was quite a night.  While we felt totally alone, it was a bit annoying when my mom and Grandma and Grandpa drove around the lakes and found us.  We were on the island, so they couldn't actually get to us, but they found out where we were in case we needed to be rescued apparently. 

My brothers and I sitting on the road looking down at the creek that went through Grandma's yard
I believe after Grandpa died,  Grandma's house was sold to one of my Grandpa's cousins.  I have no idea who owns it now, but I think it is still in the family.  I am glad that it is being well taken care of, and no matter what has happened to it, I will always remember it as it was when I was little.  Before the remodeling downstairs and the plain little bathroom with the pull chain was renovated and the downstair was turned into Grandma and Grandpa's summer home.  They headed to Florida for the winter!  

An old picture of the lake, looking at Grandpa's boat from the hill where the garden and the raspberries were
My Grandma and Grandpa lived to good old ages.  My Grandpa was in his mid 80s and Grandma was into her 90's.  Unfortunately, my poor Grandma was stricken with the same thing that has its evil grip on my mom.  We only saw them a couple of times a year, but we felt so close to them. The summers in Walker were magical.  I can only hope to give my little grandkids as special memories as I have of my Gramma and Grandpa.  They were certainly some of the biggest joy givers in my life.

Thanks so much to my brother for giving me the gift of reliving some of the best times of my childhood.  Muah!