Monday, December 29, 2008

Did you know?

I was an election judge in Minnesota. We were very meticulous with counting our votes. When we fed our votes through the machine, the machine tally counted a write in vote for every single judge. Of course, we went through each ballot and made sure each vote was counted. There were no write ins for those offices.

Of course, we pointed this out to our County Auditor. Of course, they recounted our recounts. Of course, they had to recount the recounts later when the Coleman/Franken race was so close.

I counted about seventy votes through a machine. Somehow the machine couldn't even count those seventy votes correctly.

I'm not minding the recount. I already knew the machines were unpredictable and full of errors.

It's just a shame that we had to pay for them.

Sorry... I threw out your Christmas Lights.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Sorry I ditched you with my grandma....

I figured out a cool new trick. When your long winded grandma comes to town, try this out on your spouse!!!!

First - Listen to your grandma's stories. You miss her. You love her. If she starts to get long winded and starts to talk about her B.Ms. Start looking for your spouse.

Second- Spot your spouse. Shout out "Hey Good Looking!" You catch his or her attention.

Third - Keep smiling at grandma like she's the most interesting person in the world.

Fourth - Wave your spouse over.

Fifth - Exclaim to your grandma "Oh my gosh Grandma, (insert name) would love to hear the story of how you canned twenty-seven jars of beans."

Sixth - Walk away. Don't look back.

Seventh- As you fall asleep that night, say "Sorry I ditched you with my grandma."

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Sorry

I gave your seven year old daughter the Dirt Devil that we don't use for her birthday.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sorry...

Sorry, I threw out the crap I bought from LTD because I'm too lazy to send it back.

Sorry ! I threw out your crap.

Last night as Jason was painting our fourth bedroom, he asked me to find his curling slides. Jason curls ... you know the sport. The slides fit on the bottom of his feet because ice just isn't slippery enough. Fear not. I have a lot of life insurance on this boy.

As I was looking for his slides, I went through many baskets of crap. Whenever I have company I spend lots of time putting things away, but there is always a basket of crap that I have no idea what to do with. I have about twenty baskets of crap.

I emptied basket upon basket looking for his slide hoping to find it. I decided some of my items in my crap basket had to go. I feel so guilty at my waste, but even a 3600 square foot house fills quickly.

I'm sorry I had to throw away the empty black bag with a strap. I don't know what it belongs to and or to whom it belongs.

I'm sorry I threw out the holiday ashtray you gave me. I don't smoke.

Sorry!

You know those really cute wicker placemats you gave me because they were taking up space in your kitchen? Gone.

Sorry!! I threw out the scraps of fabric I bought. I might need them one day.

Sorry! I threw out the embroidery thread that jams up my embroidery machine.

Sorry! I threw some quilting magazines away.

I hope you're no offended that I threw out the afgan I started making two years ago and forgot about until now.

Ummm... those jeans I was going to make a quilt with... you know the ones stacked in the living room. They're gone!

And all the forgotten lip glosses? Well. They're forgotten. They didn't even exist.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

How I became a teacher....

When the girls started going to school, I found myself volunteering at school. I watched the teachers and remembered how, at one time, I was that close to receiving my degree.

To make a long story short, I figured I had my degree until two weeks before graduation. I called the school and ask why I hadn't heard anything about the commencement ceremony. I wasn't graduating.

After enough volunteering at school, I got offered a job at the school as a paraprofessional helping students and teachers within the classroom. One afternoon, they were desperate. One of the teachers was ill and their substitute became ill. They asked me to sub. Because I wasn't a licenced teacher, they opened the partition between the second grade rooms and made the other second grade teacher the official teacher in the room while I taught my lesson, and she taught hers.

At the end of the day, the principal stopped me and told me that she was glad I could help, but this situation would never happen again.

Then she turned to me and said, "You know, you'd better go back. You've got to decide if this is something you want or not."

The next day, I called Shawn Soderberg at MSUM records office and discussed my course of action. I was enrolled at Minnesota State University Moorhead January 2007.

I was on my way.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Why did it take so long??


View Larger Map


I went on google maps tonight to see why my travels to pick up Allie's friends took so long. It seemed that my drive went on and on and took up so much time. Well, as I look at the map, I can see that my usual fourteen mile drive was a little long. And yes. Next time, they will meet at my house!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

How I Met Allison, or What I was Doing Seven Years Ago Today


Did I ever tell you about the time I met Allison?

I was due November 21, and I was big. Very big. Because Natalie had weighed 10 lbs 1 oz, Dr. Zeller wanted to do a C-section which that was great for me. I wanted Allison to have the safest delivery possible. I was worried as Natalie had broken her clavicle in birth.

I was scheduled for 10:30am November 21 for Allison's delivery.

Well, on the 20th we sent Natalie to Missi's to await the big morning. At
10:00 we sat down to watch a movie.

"Oh my gosh, I think I just peed my pants." I announced to Jason and Corey who had been visiting us.

I went upstairs to change.

We started the movie again.

"Not again."

This happened a few times until Corey piped up "Maybe your water broke."

"But I'm scheduled for tomorrow at 10:30 a. m."

It turns out that, yes indeed, it took a man to convince me I was in
labor.

The nurses checked me and told me to sleep until I started to have pains. My labor started at 2:00! At 2:30, they brought me into surgery. I remember being scared
that I would have to push her out. (they were expecting a 12 lb baby) They
were ready, but my blood pressure was raising and raising. I finally asked for Jason.

"Oh yeah... he can come in now."

My blood pressure went down after that. I remember holding his hand and it
was all better. I wouldn't have to deliver my giant girl. She was only 10
lbs 5.3 oz. She came out smiling... Allison had it made.

Things kids ask me...

Student: How come I have to learn this stuff if I already know it?

Me: Prove it.

***********

Students: Mrs. Aakhus how come we always have to talk about you?

++++++++++++++++

As I'm dancing during homeroom...

Student: That's just wrong.

======

Me: Has anyone here ever read Diary of a Wimpy Kid?

Student: I have.

Me: Isn't it great?

Student: No. It's boring.

__$$$$$$_____

Me: Has anyone ever read Stargirl?

Student: I have. I have.

Me: Didn't you just love it?

Student: Not really.
%%%%%%%

Me: Has anyone seen Horton Hears a Who?

Student: I have.

Me: Oh. Isn't it great? Great animation!

Student: Boring.

***********

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Dirt and Leaves...

As I've mentioned before, I was a brat growing up. Well, we all were. I remember one neighbor who didn't like us scrambling over their yard. I think I actually threw a crab apple or two into that yard, just to show them. I wonder why they moved? Hmmm?

I used to love climbing trees. Did I mention this? I may have. One of my favorite yards in the neighborhood was the yard with the crab apple tree. My friends and I sat in the crab apple tree for hours until one of us would announce for no particular reason.

"I gotta go."

And run very quickly to their own home.

This yard also had some very tall spruce trees that I climbed. What about sap you ask? I didn't do laundry back then, silly.

One time up on that tree, one of my friends convinced me that I was invisible and no one could hear what I was saying. Just then, I saw my unsuspecting parents in our backyard across the alley. My mom was hanging clothes up on the clothesline. My dad was working up the garden.

She dared me to holler out the S word.

"Sh#t!" I hollered.

"Roberta Louise Guillemette! Get down from that tree now! Your @ss is grass!"

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

School and Home

What I find the strangest part about teaching is how now kids like me. In Junior High, I was voted most popular. I was thrilled. Then, I found out it was a joke. I was crushed. I spent the morning in the bathroom.

Now as a Junior High teacher, I'm finding facebook friend requests from my students. I add them; I'm pretty wholesome on facebook.

I'm finding that Mrs. Aakhus props up in their status reports. As in, "I love it that I say big words and the only people who understand them are me and my english teacher."

I'm finding that sometimes I'm in three conversations at once. Sometimes, I have to put it away, and find myself at home in my own kitchen with my own family peeling potatoes for supper.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Ten Years Ago on This Day...

I was in labor.

Actually, I started labor about 12:00 on November 6th. My water broke. I thought I peed my pants.

I changed pants and celebrated my last day of work with some co-workers. I remember having a Filet Mignon at Whitey's. It was fabulous.

Afterwards, I went home and fell asleep. When Jason came home that night, he found me still in bed miserable. At midnight, I had a feeling I was in labor.

I remember driving around Grand Forks trying to think of things to do before going in to the hospital. After fifteen minutes, we decided to call the hospital.

I remember they gave me a test, and it turned positive that my water had broken! I did not pee in my pants after all! !

Natalie June Aakhus was born at 12:08 that afternoon. After twenty- four hours of various stages of labor, I had my ten pound package in my arms.

A lot of images pass through my mind about that day.

I remember

Falling asleep between urges to push.


The expressions of the doctors and staff as she came into the world bigger than most one month old babies.

Being so cold and having nurses wrap me in hot blankets.

An intern actually yelling at me to relax as he was sewing up my tears.

My daughter crying because her mom coudn't figure out how to feed her.


The first time being hungry for normal food after nine months of constant vomiting.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Ya Gotta Love 'em

I've been thinking a lot about my students lately. I'm starting to get to know them. They are starting to trust me.

For instance, CL, a seventh grader, told me he wasn't lifting his feet today as he shuffled into the room..

Why? I ask

Just because.

****************************************

In art class, one of my eighth graders decided to have another friend paint his eyelids so it would appear that his eyes were open when they were shut like Captain Jack Sparrow.

Too bad when the paint was drying, his eyes started sticking. When the art teacher tried to wash it off, the paint went in his eyes, and she had to use the eye flusher.


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Today, the rotory club was selling roses. Many girls were walking around with roses. I remembered back to the days when I was in high school and secretly wished for a rose.

After a long day teaching, I spent an hour with a yearbook staffer. As we were closing up shop, a student came in and brought me my very own rose. It took me twenty years, but it was worth the wait.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

It's Thursday Night

It's Thursday night

J.Bird's making waffles for supper
Nat practices piano
Allison plays teacher
J.Bird grumbles because the house is a mess...
And me, I'm checking out my facebook.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What? They recorded my song?

When I was a little girl, I loved to make up songs. I'd sit on the swing while my mom put the cloths on the line and pump my legs so I'd go as high as I'd go. My songs were always about love, friends, and exciting travels.

Sometimes, I'd get out of control and mom would have to wag her finger at me and say "That song doesn't sound very nice..." I'd sing it some more and then I'd get a "Roberta Louise- STOP."

So, I was really surprised this morning when I was listening to the radio and heard this song. It sounded like something I would have made up on the swings.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Cringe

I really have to say Heather Armstrong got me reminiscing today as she wrote about "Cringe" today. Uggg... Have you ever taken out past written works... and then, just about died?

I know I can think of a particular person who wrote plays to be acted out by anyone interested to be in her "show."

I can think of a particular person who set up her garage to be a printing press for the" State Avenue News" - really interesting newspaper written by kids and their take on neighborhood gossip. For instance, did you know that the Smiths are having marital problems? Read it up.... we got the goods in "State Avenue News."

I don't have any copies of my writings from my youth. I don't have any writings from my half- hearted journals. I'm somewhat relieved and somewhat sad.

My friend Angie has all of her journals from at least 1986 and all through college. She has all the dirt... If we have any questions, we can just ask her. She can look it up for us. I don't think I want to remember.

However, the good news is that we grow. We no longer see those small things as important. Most of us us are not as emphatic as we were in high school and college. We are not as dramatic as we once were. Really, that's very good news.

My New Retainer.

Jason says that I talk like Sid the Sloth from Ice Age. Or a thirteen year old girl. He just can't make up his mind. In the mean time, I'm eating less. It's just a pain to be taking my retainer out for a quick bite to eat. I'm so lazy. I'd rather starve. It's about time.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Another reason I'm a Church Lady...


Yesterday, I spent the entire day at the church working at the Smorgasbord. What's a Smorgasbord? It's a Norwegian tradition at our church. Ya. Uff da ya!

Every second Saturday in October, we bring fancy cookies, deviled eggs, homemade pickles, homemade buns, mashed potatoes, Swedish Meatballs, Lutefisk, Lefse, rosettes, flat bread, and krumkaka. Don't forget the rommegrot, or Sot Soup.

This year, we served 350 people. Our crowd is getting smaller. Five years ago, we served 600.

I love this church dinner. I love to see the old ladies running around in their traditional garb. They really love the whole bossiness of the ordeal.

Every year, I make the potatoes for the lefse. Sometimes, I come and roll out the lefse. I enjoy the laughter as we work. We're always laughing at ourselves. Jason's sure I'll make it to heaven because I donate my lefse skills to the church.

Overheard at church.

Old lady: "Is that your second piece of cake?"

Me: "Yes."

Old lady: "I'd watch it if I were you."

Thursday, October 9, 2008

An afternoon out...

Yesterday, I went out with the seniors because I'm the yearbook adviser, I got to accompany them out to this cool old bridge. They took their picture on the train track... It'll look real cool.

I love Fall. All the great things happen in the Fall.



Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Why I Talk to my Husband

Have you ever visited with your friend and then, suddenly realized they don't talk to their husband? Mistakenly, I assume that everyone gets married because they have a connection with their spouse. I assume that they have found someone in life that they want to cheer on.

Perhaps, they have found a true soul mate who shares everything with them and they have a common mind. Sometimes, I find a couple and wonder if they only got married because they thought their genes would produce the new Arian race? Or perhaps, they found the perfect wedding dress? It bothers me when I know more about someone's spouse than they do.

If I figure someone doesn't talk to their husband or wife, I decide right then and there, I'm not going to be friends with them. O.K. I know it's harsh. It's just, I have to wonder about them? Don't they ever think? Don't they have pillow talk? Don't they wonder what's crossing the mind of the person living parallel to them? Do they ever pass the ball and ask "What do ya know?"

When you're married to a person, you should have similar personal legends. If you don't, life's gonna be hard. If one of you wants to be a parent and the other doesn't, you have to realize this before you are married. Ta da! Some people can let their dream of having children go by the wayside. No matter what, you can't have one parent wanting kids and another not. The decision has to be mutual. Children will need the both of you.

I admire Miss K. She was in a relationship. She loved him very much. One day, she woke up, and realized he wasn't cut from the same cloth. She loved adventure. She wanted to travel. He wanted to buy a farm and stay there for the rest of her life. She knew that she was willing to live on the farm, but he wasn't willing to try the adventure. She cut her losses and traveled to Egypt before signing on to teach in Korea for a year.

J. Bird has a brain. He talks a lot about his passions. I listen. When I listen to the news, I can tell you; "Uh oh. Jason isn't going to like this." I know I won't have to ask his best friend what he thinks. I am Jason's best friend.

Jason knows when I'm thinking about my students. He listens patiently as I read passages from Catch 22. He knows my secret dreams for our children. He knows my secret fears too.

When I realize I know more about someone's spouse than they do, I see a red flag. I wonder if that person is shallow. I wonder what sort of person would listen to me if they don't even listen to their spouse.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Budge Wilson

Budge Willson, an author in my seventh grade literature book is quoted to saying;

" A person who loves to write is never lonely; within his or her own head, a writer always has a safe and very interesting place to go."

I love that!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Apologizing

At some point in our lives, we all can be rude or hurtful. I'm sure we'd all like to stay in our little bubbles and think we're the nicest thing since cheez whiz on cinnamon swirl bread with olives. That would be lying to yourself.

Here's what you do if you need to apologize.

1. Realize you need to apologize. This might actually take an hour. Sometimes when someone has told you that you've hurt their feelings: realize they may be right before you become defensive. My first instinct is to turn it on them and say "Oh yeah... well..." That's not going to get you far. Be quiet. Rephrase what the person just said to you. Tell them you need to think about it if they're standing there looking at you with their mouth open waiting for an apology.

2. Again, repeat what your victim has said. And say "Oh I didn't realize I hurt your feelings. I'm sorry."

3. That's it. Don't give yourself an excuse. Don't give them an excuse. The sorry is enough.

Swim Team

Fosston is so lucky to have a swim team. They've been having swim meets every weekend since school has started. I've decided I want to join the swim team.

I long to feel the cool water rush across my face and watch the reflection of my arms underneath the water. I love rhythm of breathing of the freestyle.

When I was in high school, we didn't have a swim team of course. Swimming was the only sport I was good at. I long to be on the Swim Team.

I can see myself lined up with the other girls cheering my team mates on. I can see my not so perfect dive as I get used to the water.

Do you think they'll notice a thirty-four year old chubby mom wearing one of those two piece swimsuits with a skirt?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My favorite compliments

I'm a compliment whore. I thrive on compliments. They give me the feedback I need to hear. On the surface, I'm a modest person willing to give others credit, but on the inside, I want to hear what a great job I'm doing and why you think I'm great. I'm not saying this is a good thing. It's not. It's pride, and it's very unchristian of me.

Before I went back to school, I was a para. I worked in a preschool room. Paraprofessionals work one on one with students who need that little extra help. I loved it.

Now, as a teacher, I have paras in my room. Little by little, I've been noticing the paras smiling at the back of the room and nodding their heads.

Yesterday, I showed another teacher tube video to my seventh graders. At the end of the fourth period, one of the paras stopped after class and told me that she really likes my teaching. She really liked the video!

I was on cloud nine.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Don't Laugh at Me

This week at school, I've been teaching a Bully Unit based on a unit my cooperating teacher in Thief River Falls taught last year. I found an article on bullying from lifescript.com and printed it out for them. We used a reading strategy called SQ3R and read the article and discussed bullies in school and on the internet.

After reading the article together and demonstrating how to use the SQ3R method, we discussed bullies and what to do about them. Some of the students were brave and shared how hurtful it was when they were the teased. Some of the bullies apologized to their victims. I was a little overwhelmed with their reactions.

One of my favorite teaching strategies is to find a video that connects to the theme of the lesson of the day. Today, I showed a video of Peter, Paul, and Mary's "Don't Laugh at Me."I love the video, and it brings tears to my eyes almost every time I watch it. I noticed tears in some of my students too.

Monday, September 15, 2008

It's just wacky...

It's been a while since I've blogged about my trusty physical therapist Krystle. Last month, I went to my last appointment. She graduated me. She said I'm cured. She also wrote a prescription for a retainer.

Last winter, I had my wisdom teeth removed. It looked like an easy deal. I decided to have my dentist remove them himself. I wanted to save some cash.

The first time I went in, I had my right side removed. My dentist whistles a lot. He sings as he works on my mouth. As he pulled my crazy tooth, the whistling stopped. He couldn't even hum a tune. I saw a small look of panic in his eyes. My dentist encountered a problem when one of my roots was wrapped around my jaw. He had to finish what he started. Afterwards, I ended up with an infection.

A month later, I had my left side removed. I ended up with another infection I can't even talk about. It was a nightmare. A creepy gross nightmare. Let's just say all the hygienists came and took a lookie inside my mouth. They had never seen anything like it.

Ever since, I've had TMJ... Chronic tension in my jaw. At first, I thought it would go away. I thought I talked too much.

Krystle noticed my funny jaw movements in our sessions. I told her about my wisdom teeth ordeal. She mentioned the retainer.

Today, in class one of my students called out;

"Hey what's up with your jaw? 'Cuz it's all wacky"

Friday, September 12, 2008

Where'd the Hot Teacher Go?

The other day, I was sitting in my room correcting papers at my desk with my door open. I could hear students bustling on their way to class. One student called out to another after looking in my room;

"Dude, where'd the hot teacher go?"

Dude, she's in Korea.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Ms. K, the Saint in Korea

All day, my students have been telling me how much better Ms. K. was, and how, she never made them do any work like everrrrrrr........

I replaced Ms. K. She took a position in Korea. She is there now.

I told them they should write her a letter, and I liked Ms. K. too.

Their mouths dropped wide open.

"But, you never met her."

"Yes, I did. When I was hired, I came one day and met her. She told me you were the best students in the whole world, and she didn't know how she was going to survive without you while she was in Korea."

"Really? Wow."

Of course, I lied.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Primaries...

Tomorrow is primary Tuesday. It brings me back to September 2000 when I wheeled my Grandma Shirley down to the community hall so she could vote for Mark Dayton. Weeks a head of time, Grandma made my sister and I promise we would go down and vote at primaries to be sure that Mark Dayton would be the Minnesota Democratic Nominee for United States Senate. Looking back, how could anyone resist a seventy-five year old dynamo with oxygen tubing in a wheelchair?

Grandma told me about Mark Dayton's bus trips to Canada. Grandma was convinced that Mark Dayton was the answer to her and her friends' prayers. He was sincere, honest, and he cared about the cost of medicine. It seemed like everyday the commercials got her excited. Anytime we would call with news of her great-grandchildren, she would bring up Mark Dayton and the hope he offered Minnesota, the United States, and the world.

Grandma died in January 2002 almost seven years ago. Tomorrow, J. Bird and I will be election judges for our township. As I count the votes of my neighbors, I'm going to remember wheeling my grandma down to the community hall casting her vote for her hopes and dreams.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Mahna Mahna

Today in Homeroom, we were doing mad libs. Some of the kids decided to use Mahna Mahna as their exclamation. They even used it as a noun in places and a verb in some places.

When I started singing the Mahna Mahna song, they mouths fell open.

"How do you know this song?"

"Ummm it was on The Muppets. Didn't you ever watch The Muppets?"

There faces were blank.

I sang it some. They sang along with me.

"Where did you find this, if you didn't watch The Muppets?"

They looked at each other and smiled;

"Youtube"

Thursday, September 4, 2008

This is My Town...

This video was made last fall concerning our school's science program. The sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Salberg, specializes in Science. The fifth grade teacher, Mr. Mueller, specializes in Social studies. Together they came up with this Glacial Ridge program for the kids at our school. This will be Natalie's first year with the program. She's thrilled. Mrs. Salberg is her hero. Mrs. Salberg and Mr. Mueller are my heroes too.












http://www.edutopia.org/wetland-ecology-technology

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

How Does an English Teacher Marry a Rocker...

This morning at class, I told my students that Jason used to be in a band. Evidently, this is a big deal.

"How does a teacher marry a rocker?"

"What do you mean? Teachers are some of the coolest people around."

"You don't look like a teacher who'd be married to a rocker."

I passed them a picture of Jason.

"He does look like a rocker. Wow you're married to a rocker."

First Day of School

Yesterday, I had my first teaching day. It was just me and the kids. Their assignment was to complete a reader's inventory. One kid sent it back to me and said; "No thanks, I already know what books I like to read."

I handed it back and told him it was worth ten points. He groaned and went back to his seat.

Today, we wrote Bio Poems. (Biographical Poems) We also listened to Jessica Andrew's Who I am and discussed tasers. (I'm still not sure how that came up) I can't wait to get their biographical poems back.

Psst... Can you keep a secret? I found a new awesome website. I think I'm in love. The only thing is that these video websites suck up all of the school's bandwith. So, I'm not going to flash it all over school. I need that bandwith baby.

Now, just to get my projector ready with speakers.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Seventh Grade Orientation - Meet the Students

Thursday Night, we had Open House up at the school. About sixty seventh graders and their parents filled the commons area. Mr. Strom told them all the ins and outs of Fosston High. I listened carefully, I don't even know this stuff.

7th graders came in and greeted their friends. Some had dyed their hair pink over the summer. They were thrilled.

Meanwhile, I took pictures upon pictures for the yearbook. 7th graders started to line up because they thought they needed their pictures taken.

While Mr. Strom talked about their first year at Fosston High, parents worriedly filled out their forms. I could read their minds... They were thinking of their first day of Seventh Grade. They were thinking of getting lost, or being the only one to bring a purse around the school.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

My First Day of Work..

Today, I had my first real day of work. Wahhoooo. I got up on time. Got out the door on time. I even made it a few minutes early. I even wore a dab of makeup.

Our superintendent and principals made our breakfasts. They made us homemade pancakes, muffins, sausage, and fruit. It was so yummy. I was impressed. I'm glad to be a part of a school district where the superintendent and principals get up at 5:30 in the morning and dedicate themselves to making every one of the employees feeling welcome to the district.

I'm excited to be a part of this. My room is getting ready. I have the desks set up and seats assigned. I have my first weeks assignments on the board. I'm setting out my outfit for the first day of school.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The End....... of Summer.

This morning, I was reading The Chick's post about her son returning to school. I realized that my girls would be retuning to school. I always feel a little nostalgic about them returning to school. As we go back to school, I have them try on new clothes, and it's evident they've grown. They're feet are bigger, they're legs are longer, and they're arms are long enough to reach the moon. I'm sort of sad that summer is over and the girls are another year closer to growing up.

And yet, while I feel nostalgic, I know they are so ready to go back to school. They are starting to get annoying. There I've said it. My kids are annoying. They are bickering more. They are whining about bedtime snack. At this very moment, Natalie is whining and crying. Why? She won't answer me. Allison's no better. She was crying a week ago because I couldn't find this perfect outfit that looks just like Natalie's that she doesn't even have.

And so, the nostalgic moment fades. I'm packing up their school supplies in their new backpacks excited for the day when they are asleep by nine. I'm excited to have an hour and a half on the road without them every weekday...

Monday, August 25, 2008

Ashlee Hewitt





Last night, Jason and I took the girls to see Ashlee Hewitt and Justin Gaston. Ashlee Hewitt and Justin Gaston have been playing around the area since the end of Nashville Star's Season. The girls had so much fun. Every Monday in July, we rushed home from the pool to catch the latest episode. We were rooting for Ashlee because she was from Lancaster, Minnesota. She's a friend of a friend of a friend. We loved her from the start.






The organizers from the event put the concert on the street between the hardware store and the bank. They sold a whopping 500 tickets. When we heard they were coming to Red Lake Falls, we called the hardware store and got our tickets. We ended up being front and center. I hate to brag, but we had the best tickets in the house.




We were true Minnesotans as we just sat there. We didn't get up and shake our booty at all. We sat and watched politely as they sung their hearts out. I mean.. that's how we get excited. We just don't. I tried to get things shaking a couple times... but you know, a cheerleader like me can only do so much.




I was really impressed with Ashlee Hewitt and her sister taking Justin Gaston under their wings and taking him on their tour across Northern Minnesota and North Dakota. I really dug it when he sang "Girl Just Wanna Have Fun." How awesome was that? I had a crush on him by the end of the night even if I'm about fourteen years older than he is.





However, the highlight for me is when she sang her original song "Mike's Hard Lemonade." If you watched the show, you'd know she loves to play guitar in her bare feet. By pure accident, I even got a photo of these......



Saturday, August 23, 2008

How to Know if You're Not Following Your Personal Legend

If you've been reading my blog, you probably know I like to think about my personal legend. Sure, I know it's cheesy. Well, I know others may think I'm cheesy. I don't care. I'm happy.


Sometimes, I know I step a way from focusing on what matters and then, I'm not following my personal legend.

Sometimes, I look at people I know and think; "They really need to find their personal legend."


Here are some clues that you are not following a personal legend:


1. You complain about your mother-in-law too much.
2. You talk about how big your t.v. is.
3. You watch soap operas when you're not 75 years old.
4. You call me on my cell phone to just see where I am.
5. You ask me what it's like to read a book.
6. You talk a lot about the color of your hair.
7. You talk a lot about how many calories are in McDonald's Food.
9. You gossip too much.
10. You talk about what drama queens/coffee drinkers other people are. A LOT. I mean, you bring it up all the time.... (I'm bad a this one actually.)
11. You wonder why other people are not fulfilling their personal legends.

ha!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Grandma Vicki's Advice on Travel...


Recently, I gathered my mom's traveling advice. My mom loves to travel and loves to give advice. When I was sixteen, she was my Girl Scout Leader and brought my troop to Disney World. She was very stern and had us all in tow. I still remember "the good times." Here is some classic advice a la Grandma Vicki

1. Don't drink. You act stupid when you drink... Someone could like steal your wallet when you're drunk.

2. Put a DO NOT DISTURB sign on your door. What do you want maids in your room for? They might steal your stuff. Hang up your towels to dry and reuse them. Bring your own shampoo. Make your own bed.

3. When you get off the plane for connecting flights, don't have the first thing you look for be food. Find your next gate.

4. When traveling in a group, wear matching visors. You want to be sure to stand out.

5. Wear comfortable shoes. Whatta ya think this is? A beauty pageant.

Grandma Vicki loves to travel. She really should have her own travel talk show. Some topics she might discuss on her talk show are;

1. Taramisu is really good. I mean, really good.

2. Don't go to Paris. They are so rude, I mean they're rude.

3. Italian Shoes- They're Cheap.

Monday, August 18, 2008

A Letter from Petra

A few days ago, I got this letter from Petra. Petra is a lifetime friend who happened to be an exchange student during our lovely "Global Studies" experiment in Red Lake Falls in the nineties. This is her reaction to my 911 Post.
I am totally amazed at how she can be so articulate in English. I wanted to share this because I loved it so much. I love how strong her voice is in her writing. I love that anyone can read this and know Petra. Anyone can know how thoughtful and loving she is. I've left her wording mostly as she put it... Her voice is so strong and lovely.


Hi Bobbi,

I just read your blog (I somehow didn´t notice the link, when I read your
email the first time). It is great, I just love it. And I loved the critical
part as well!

I just will write down what I think (I won´t check my spelling, just write
very fast and I will be quite direct, as it takes to much time to be
friendly all the time. I hope you don´t think, I´m mean European idiot)

Everyone was cuckoo after the planes crashed! But for Europeans it isn´t
something new to have a war next door or even terrorists in their own
country, we had that in the 70s and of course not all of them vanished and
having a war next door, is just normal. So we are safe, but not 100% safe,
but you actually never are. So for us that feeling vulnerable is "normal".
But still everybody was extremely shocked at 9/11, it was just so big and so
horrible. I don´t wan´t to say, that it wasn´t, it was!

But since then so many other bad things happened and from my point of view
some of your politicians just lost it. They are close to start a new war.
And what will happen then? The same that happened the last time. A lot of
people will lose their lives (on both sides, and not just terrorists) More
unhappy people, more extreme media and more fundamentalists (cause extreme
unhappy situations generate more fundamentalists). And less democracy. And
there I´m not only talking about the middle eastern countries, I´m as well
talking about the US. In Germany Hitler gained power without breaking the
law. I´m not thinking something will happen to the U.S., but if you are
living in a constitutional state / free government under the law you should
be proud of it and make it the most important thing at all.
For me as a German, the law that they can search your house, you, you data
and your computer, just because they think you might have connections to
terrorists, is just awful. That's like the Gestapo or the Stasi.
And that people are being kept in Guantanamo without trial, is just bending
the law and making it small and unimportant (again as the Naxis or the
Kommunists). After the trial of Bin Laden's driver, some U.S. official said,
that even if someone is found not guilty, they will still not set him free,
as he might be a danger to the people. And the people were just nodding
their heads. I was just shocked! If they can´t prove anything they have to
set him free. Like that it isn´t right. Principles have to bee as important
as safety. Else we all can live a controlled life in a kind of prison without
anything to lose. What is right, has to stay right. And Personal freedom is
as important as safety. There has to be a way, that both can exist parallel.
And for me it looks like this isn´t the case anymore in the U.S.

When I was little we Europeans were looking up to the US (at least it looked
like that to me), but we don´t anymore. Actually we are proud now , that we
learned our own lesson.

But that's just politics, of course I´m not talking about us as people. :)
And of course there is enough crap going on in Germany as well, so don´t
worry, I won´t loose it. And I hope you still like me, even when I´m a
critical German (that is exactly what we learned, and actually you Americans
taught our grandparents to be critical again).

Take care! Love

Petra

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Swimming Lessons



The girls have finished their swimming lessons. They got their "report cards." Allison was excited to see that she passed level three and moved into level four. She was thrilled. Allison is six. Allison has been swimming in the deep end on her own since the middle of last year. Allison knows how to dive. In case you don't realize this, Allison is an excellent swimmer. Sometimes when I visit with acquaintances at the pool and they see Allie go off the board. They stop the conversation and say;

"Bobbi, look!"

"Oh," I say, "she does that all the time."

"Without a life jacket?"

"She's been doing that for over a year now."

Maybe they forgot. I'm a swimmer too.

When Natalie got her report card, she took a peak and saw "Continue with level four." She was fine with it. A lot of her friends are still in level four. Natalie is an excellent swimmer too. I was proud of Natalie's reaction. Usually, she's so competitive.

I forgot something though.

After getting over her disappointment, she turned to Allison.

"Did you pass?"

I waited.

"Yes... Natalie, I'm going to be in level four with you next year. I'm so excited."


Again, Allison is six.

Well, Natalie is nine.

Natalie ran to the mini-van and closed the doors. Her little sister was in the same level as her. Her little sister who is three years younger.

I got into the mini-van and prepared myself.

"Natalie you are an excellent swimmer."

Her eyes were filled with tears.

"Natalie," I said, "We all have our special gifts. You are great swimmer, but you are an awesome writer."

She sniffed.

"Natalie, I like to write. When I read your writing, it amazes me."

"Really?" Sniff. Sniff.

"Really."

A smile crept to her face. "Am I the best writer in the family?"

"Yes... Natalie you are."

Then, from a forgotten corner in the back of the red mini-van, I heard from Allison;

"Aren't I a good writer? What about me?"

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Your Personal Legend....

."whoever you are, or whatever it is that you do, when you really want something, it's because that desire originated in the soul of the universe. It's your mission on earth." ...."And when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." Paulo Coelho


There's this dad who sometimes visits with me at the pool. Whenever I ask him how he is, he always answers;

"Better now."

And then, you're almost obligated to say;

"I didn't know anything was wrong."

Then, he goes on how his wife doesn't appreciate him. How he's always with the kids. Blah blah blah blah..

If you are the type of person who likes to complain about life, and your life doesn't have any meaning.... Please step away from me.

There is nothing more annoying than someone who is deep, dark, and depressed because he doesn't know the meaning of life. There's drugs these days that work for that. I promise!

In the meantime, my life is full. I don't need to hear about your life being meaningless...

Do you know what your personal legend is? Is your personal legend to get a big screen t.v? I hope not. If that's your personal legend, it's time to get a new one. That personal legend might be the reason you feel life is meaningless.

What's a good personal legend you ask?

Well, first of all, you just may need to turn off the T.V.

You just may need to take some walks or bike rides or jogs or go rollerblading. Maybe you could explore the various scat in your backyard or the bike trail? Take a bird book or a flower book with you.

Actually play with your kids. Take them for a bike ride. Watch them play. Do your kids complain that they don't know the meaning of life? Na... They whine about ice cream... You know, the important things.

Playing is one of the best ways to find your personal legend. Climb a tree. Or, when no one's looking... climb the water tower.

I can't tell you what your personal legend is. Maybe your personal legend is to sail around the world like Bellhop and V. Or, maybe your personal legend is to build your own home in the middle of a beautiful forest like J. Bird.

Whatever it is... find it. It just makes life that much more rich and beautiful.


Monday, August 11, 2008

From DeNae to J.Bird




DeNae took this picture among others at Bergeson's Nursery last week. When she shared them with me I asked her if I could share them with Jason. So here's a few for you too!


Here's a picture of DeNae... not to be confused with Sally




Climbing Mountains

I found this on Paulo Coehlo's blog this morning while browsing. Very beautiful and inspiring as usual his writing makes me sigh....

I thought about when I went back to school. I was very overwhelmed and scared. I felt intimidated. There was just something there that made me want to be there. My first round of college I was intimidated also. I didn't join many clubs nor did I put a lot of thought into my classes. I sort of coasted my way and skipped many classes. I used to have nightmares (surprise surprise) about taking courses and forgetting to go all semester and showing up for the final without any idea about the subject matter.

The second time around. I only missed three classes and that is because of actual blizzards. I had to be convinced by my professors not to come. The difference was that I was twelve years older and paying for the courses out of my own checkbook. The difference was that I was a mom with girls and a husband rooting me on.

I took each path day by day. I never looked too far a head because it would be overwhelming. I decided the 180 mile round-trip drive was a wonderful journey. When class would meet, I made friends with a lot of the younger students. Sometimes, I even forgot that I was at least ten years older than most of them. I even started to listen to some hip hop on my way to school.

At the end of the year, I made sure all my loose ends were tied. I made sure every i was dotted and every t crossed. The workers in the registrars office got to know me by name. It was worth it. I went through the ceremony, and received my diploma in the mail. A few weeks ago, I even received my license- my license to teach. The view from the top of my mountain was beautiful... I may have been sidetracked, but when I finally finished my climb, I was celebrating that much more!


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Teenagers

This morning, I was browsing my myspace page. I haven't logged on for almost a month. It isn't because I'm a myspace snob necessarily, it's because I enjoy facebook so much. So much.

I noticed Jason's cousin's space had a few youtube videos listed. This video was so silly and cute. It reminded me of me and my girlfriends when we were going into 8th grade. Very Silly! Life for an 8th grader is full of drama and drama and some more drama. There are so many OMGs on her page. I love it. She's preparing me for next month.

Yes, next month. I'll be in the front of the classroom without another adult. I'll be in charge of making sure these students know prefixes, suffixes, grammar, and literature. To tell you the truth, I'm a little nervous. While at yearbook camp, I had many reps and other teachers say to me;

"Oh.. a newbie. You've never even taught a class. Oh.. you don't even know what you're doing."

Can you believe they said this to me? I wasn't even scared of teaching until they started saying that. So, now, I'm having the nightmares. This time I'm not feeding chicken feed to my children, but rather, frantically setting up power point presentations. I have nightmares about being late for class or ending up at the wrong school on the first day of class.

I remember that I'm 34 and not 22. I have an edge as I am most the age of my students' parents. I'm going to lie to my students and tell them that this is my second year of teaching.

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Long Drive Home.

As I drove home from my yearbook training, I realized how much fun being alone really is. I listened to my own radio stations. I didn't have to talk to anyone. I could just be me without any requests.

I made a stop Moorhead State University. I stopped at the bookstore and bought the girls t-shirts and Jason a hat. I stopped at the admissions office and told them I needed items to decorate my classroom. I left with pennants, notebooks, a cosmetic mirror, mouse pads, and about 100 tatoos with the MSUM logo.

I drove home thinking about how fun life is. How it's fun to meet an unexpected friend. I drove home thinking that my life is good.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

She Hearts Jason

Not my Jason actually. I heart my Jason.

Here I am in Wahpeton attending yearbook training having a great time. Who knew? When I accepted my position at Fosston High School I knew I would be the Yearbook Adviser and knew it would be something I would enjoy.

But there's always one person who takes things to an extreme. One group had matching t-shirts and bags. Their adviser kept raising her hand shouting out answers before anyone else could answer. She was so excited. She hearts Jason the rep... I'm sorry but there's only room for one Jason in my heart.

Then, there's the know-it-all adviser who argues with everyone and everything. "Oh why doesn't my yearbook sell? Oh my.... whine whine." I'm thinking it's because she's so whiny. Who wants to spend forty dollars for a book of whiny?

Then, there's the lady who sat next to me opening night copying anything and everything the rep puts on the board. Very diligent.

Me, I'm just overwhelmed with an expensive camara. I'm taking notes. But, I know I can call the rep, Jason, or Ben, or whoever it is with my questions.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Yearbook Training

Today, I leave for Yearbook Training. I will spend two days at North Dakota State College of Science learning various techniques for Yearbooking. I suppose I will learn how to line teens up on bleachers. Exciting things like that.

I'm going to be staying in the dorms. I don't even know why I did that. I should have stayed in a hotel. I haven't slept in a dorm since ummm.... 1996. I forgot about the community showers and running to my room in my towel hoping not to meet anyone or drop anything.

This is a rare time when I leave the girls behind with Jason. This is the first time I'll be going somewhere all by myself. I won't have anyone asking me to make me a peanut butter sandwich.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Church Lady?

It's official. I'm a church lady.

OH no. Watch out for me at the pool. I'll be sure to let you know that if you have too much cleavage.


Watch out for me at the Spot or any other bar. I'll be sure to tell you if you've had too much to drink or seem to flirt too much with single men.

I figured out my church ladyness on Friday morning when the funeral home called me.

"I see you're in charge for August. We have a funeral for you on Monday."

Oh... I'm a Beacon Leader. A Beacon Leader is in charge of finding people to help at church. They ask people to serve treats at the end of service, serve communion, and usher. Also, Beacon Leaders are in charge of serving funerals.

This means the funeral home can call me on Friday expecting me to cater a meal to 150 mourners in August or June.

Now, of course, this is an honor. Right? It means that people can call me and ask me and know I will say, "Yes, of course, it'll be done. No problem."

You see, that's what a church lady says.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Wordle, Fosston, Crop Circles




In case you didn't notice, I'm really enjoying this wordle website. This morning, I copied and pasted the article from the Grand Forks Herald's article on Fosston's crop circles.

I love it.
I love it that some kids probably went out into a wheat field and made some cool designs and now it has everyone in the region talking. I think that making crop circles would be a great mathematical problem since you really can't go all willy nilly in a crop and come up with a design. These kids had to have had a plan and had to think about how they were going to make perfect circles with the design.
I love it.
I wish I was in the cafe drinking coffee with all the farmers listening to their talk.
I wonder what they say.



Wednesday, July 30, 2008

911- I'm not the only one who went Cuckoo.

Since Bellhop has recommended Penelope Trunk, I've read a little bit of her archives every day. I enjoy her advice, her humor, and her candor.

One night, I went to one of her blogs from the beginning. After reading her "First Hand Account of 9/11." I couldn't sleep. I was horrified. The images of Trunk under all those bodies and drinking out of a toilet wouldn't leave my brain. It amazed me that she was even able to write about it.

I thought about my day in Minnesota on September 11, 2001. And of course, that day wasn't as tragic for me as it was for Penelope Trunk. I was working at Wilcox Furniture as a bookkeeper/salesperson. Natalie was almost three, and I was seven months pregnant with Allison. I was watching the news while getting ready for work when I heard about the first airplane going into the World Train Center.

At first, I thought about what a horrible accident that it was. After the second plane hit the World Train Center, I started to realize the world was going crazy. After the next two planes crashed, I wondered when it would end.

I began watching T.V. all the time. I needed to know there wasn't another attack. I needed to know what was going on in the world at all times. I'd fall asleep to the news and would wake up if J. Bird turned it off while I was sleeping. Even in the hospital after having Allison, I ended up leaving the T.V. on because I needed to know my children are living in a safe world.

At this time, Jason and I were in the middle of buying a different house. Our first home was on Main Avenue in Red Lake Falls, had a total of about 900 square feet, and cost us a mere $21,000. Our next home, the one we live in now, was about 1800 square feet on our main level, on 12 acres of land. I started having nightmares of feeding my family chicken feed for supper.

I know I am not the only one who went a little cuckoo after 9/11. More people started driving around town with American Flag decals in their windows. Country music started singing more songs with the theme of "America is so Awesome ." Sure, I'm proud of veterans in parades, but sometimes, the whole "United We Stand" theme started creeping me out. Sometimes, I think we go a little overboard on the whole patriotic theme. A little patriotism never hurt anyone. A little nationalism? Not so much.

Eventually, we moved into our home in the country. J. Bird wouldn't hook up a T.V. in our bedroom, and I learned to sleep without watching CNN or Fox News. We even started a garden. I started canning tomatoes and spaghetti sauce and the nightmares started to fade.

Not So Much....

5

As a 1930s wife, I am
Very Poor (Failure)

Take the test!





I took this test and found out that I am a very poor 1930's wife. Maaannnn... I'm not the best at keeping up on the laundry or dishes. I don't even cook half the time. But, don't worry. J. Bird doesn't have it all that rough.

Here are the reasons J.Bird is lucky to be married to ME.

1. I mow the lawn. He has me convinced he is allergic to the smell of fresh cut grass.

2. I make rhubarb crisp.

Enough Said.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Rules for When Your Friend is Divorcing

At this moment in time, I have at least three friends and/or relatives divorcing. I'm sure many of you are in the same boat. I'm sort of a pro at this now days.

When Jorge got his first divorce, I let him know what I thought of his wife Tess. I went on and on what a jerk she was. How I wasn't surprised that they didn't make it!

Later, when my friend Lena got a divorce, I told Jorge about it. Jorge said "One thing I know is don't tell her what a jerk her ex is. When you say that, you will make her feel as though she is the dumbest person in the world. She already feels stupid." Unfortunately, this advice was a day too late. I had to call Lena and apologize. This brings me to the first rule.

Rule #1. When a friend gets a divorce, say, "I'm so surprised." Even if you are not surprised at all. Most of the time, people don't want to be reminded that they picked someone that didn't appreciate them, that would cheat on them, or who would spend all their money. Sometimes, this advice is really hard to say. But, if you really want to help this person feel better say. "I'm so surprised."

Rule #2. This may seem obvious, and it should be. Don't talk about what a jerk the ex is in front of children. Not your children. Not their children. Not even in front of children you don't even know. Kids are great at picking up gossip. They're some of the best gossips I know. If you need to know something, just ask a kid. Most people don't realize that kids are listening to their every word. Also, kids will repeat anything you say about anyone. How many times have I heard what people think about me because they talked about it in front of my kids? Lots.

Rule #3. This rule also applies to kids. Be careful what you say to kids. Make sure they know that divorce is the last resort. With all the divorces between friends and family, my kids have come to the conclusion that divorce is a great thing for kids. They think that means you get double the Christmas presents and birthday presents. They don't understand the pain. They don't understand how kids have to put up with their moms and dads crying and being depressed. The other day Natalie actually asked Jason and me;

"So, mom and dad, if you guys get divorced where am I going to live? Where's Allison gonna live?"

"That's not going to happen." I mean really?

"So, like if you get a divorce who do you think you'll marry?

"Again, Natalie. We are not getting divorce."

"So, like what if you did?" She was daydreaming about all the possibilities.

"We are not getting divorced. Every morning we wake up and choose to love each other. The divorce is not happening."

Rule #4 When your friend is getting a divorce, try not to judge. Your friend may actually get drunk. Get over it. They had a designated driver. Your friend may start wearing tight clothes and bleach out her hair. Don't look at the camel toe and be patient. Your friend may start telling you about his sex life with his ex. Pretend to listen, but quietly say the word "Smithsonian" in your mind until your friend changes the subject.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Stuff White People Like AKA Things Bobbi Likes

As a I was reading Penelope Trunk's blog, I followed a link to the Stuff White People Like blog.

It's "Awesome" with two thumbs up.

I read through the list and called myself out on many items on the list. I see myself in about 80% of the blog. I see a lot of my friends in this blog too.


I mean look at #99 Grammar

and at #23 Microbreweries.

Maybe I'm the only one who didn't see this blog. I'm finding articles about it all over the internet as look up the author Christian Lander.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Jason and The Softball Team

Today, I'm at home with Allison. Allison spent last night throwing up in a yellow Tupperware bowl. Today, I am watching movies with her and listening to her ask me.

"Am I still sick?"

Jason went to Natalie's softball tournament in Bagley.

A couple of the softball moms got together and bought some water and Gator Aide for hot days like today. I helped Jason get the cooler ready. I gave him a ten dollar bill and told him to buy two packages of ham and two packages of buns because the kids were not going to buy anything at the field as they save their money for Dairy Queen after the game.

Eventually, Jason was ready. I sent along my cell phone in case I needed to call him. I told him to pack his lawn chair and gave him wet wipes because they only have outhouses at that field. As he drove away in his 1984 Chevy Celebr*, I waved to him in the driveway still in my pajamas.

Allison was at the door when I got in the house already asking;

"Mom, am I still sick?"

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sally- She's Complicated


Sally and I have been friends since first grade. Sally is a twin. I remember sitting at the little circle tables and being amazed at the two girls who had the same blond hair, same blue eyes, and same freckles.

As we grew up, we spent many a night at each other's house. Sometimes, we would meet half way and then go swimming in town or go back to her house in the country. To tell you the truth, Sally's house was more fun. Sally had eleven brothers and sisters. Her family owned a dairy farm.

On the farm, Sally would take me for rides on her dirt bike. We hit every mud puddle between her house and the river. We'd climb the hay bales and talk philosophy like thirteen year old girls do.

Sally and her brothers and sisters had to work hard on the farm. They'd get up very early and milk cows. They'd either go for their morning jogs or come in and take their showers and go back to bed.

I used to make Sally's brothers and dad chocolate chip cookies. They helped me decide which recipe was better.

In high school, we spent many nights getting ready for Plummer dances. Sometimes Missi drove. Sometimes Sally drove. (I didn't get my driver's license until I was eighteen) Plummer is a town about twelve miles northeast of Red Lake Falls. It has a population of 100. People came from Oklee, Plummer, Red Lake Falls, McIntosh, even Thief River to these dances. For some reason, they had the best dances with the best music. Everyone was on the dance floor for "Fishing in the Dark." We'd rush on the floor for "What is Love?" I remember dancing and laughing until midnight or so.

Later, I met Jason at one of these dances though that's a whole different story.

On the way home, we always talked about our adventures. Which dumb drunk cowboy wanna be danced the worst. Which dumb drunk cowboy licked whose ear. We were sort of snobs in our way.

This summer, Sally came home for a visit. I was honored with a trip to the park with her son, Shawn. Natalie and Allison had a blast cooing over Shawn's deep brown eyes and doing silly things to make him smile. After ummmm....... how many years? Twenty-seven. Twenty-seven years is a long time to have a friend. Even though I don't see Sally every day, I consider her one of my best friends.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

My Classroom


Friday, I found myself in Fosston getting all my paperwork. I found out about all the health insurance plans, my sick leave, and all the retirement hoopla stuff. Of course, I can't remember it. I try, but I'm an English major after all. I do the best I can.

Afterwards, I went in to Principal Strom's office and got my key to my room. This isn't the first time I've been in my room, but it is the first time alone. I noticed the projector up on the ceiling. I was glad it would be ready for me on my first day. I have many memory sticks full of fun lessons and movies appropriate to "The Learning Environment." I'm cuckoo for technology.

I have a lot to think about. I know Fosston's youth need me to give them the best. I'm looking at this blank room and see the beginning of something good.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Plastic- Sleep Soundly

For the past few weeks, I've had a lot on my mind. Plastic. I have a jumbo box of plastic out in the garage just waiting to go into to town to be recycled. Plastic from milk jugs. Plastic from pop (soda) bottles. Plastic from medicine containers. Plastic from laundry soap.

How green am I?

Not so much. It's embarrassing.

I've been re-using my water bottles. Then, one day, my mom told me to stop. "You know, reusing water bottles can cause cancer."

"What?"

That just sounded nuts to me. My mom is the queen of water bottles. She buys great big packs every week.

My theory is that the marketing departments at the Water Bottle Companies decided to scare the crap out of us all so we'd keep buying more of their product instead of reusing this inert product. Nothing better than scaring soccer moms to selling more of your crap, right?

I went home and researched. All the evidence I saw pointed out that plastic was safe.

I called my mom.

"Mom it's a hoax. You can reuse your water bottles."

"Yeah, but can you trust your girl's health to that?" Geez, she got me right where it hurts.

So, I took out the big guns. I asked my friend, Bellhop, who's dad is an oncologist. This is what he said:

"I think he tends to use polycarbonate bottles ("Nalgene") (i.e. Plastic) or aluminum flasks."

Then he went on to say that his wife (who is now an animator- how cool is that?) used to be environmental toxicologist, focusing on human health risk assessment.

Bellhop's answer?

"Per V's friend, no significant toxicity risk.

Sleep soundly :) "

I got my answer. At least, I can sleep soundly and perhaps a little more greenly.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Just so You Know

Today, I'm teaching preschool at my Church's Vacation Bible School. This should be something else. Uff. I haven't been with preschoolers for ummmmmm...... a year and a half. Wish me luck!

Lady Slippers


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I am finding more and more lady slippers. Within the range on the map above, I'm sure one could find at least five hundred lady slippers. Just remember - Late June-Early July. At this point, the petals are wilting.

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Dirt, Leaves, and Other People's Trees

As you may know, I grew up in a small town. In fact, there's a picture of my small town in the upper left hand corner of this blog. As a young girl in a small town, I must tell you I was a brat.

This may surprise most of you that I would say this. After all, I'm such a kind church going lady nowadays. As a young girl, I thought of the entire neighborhood as my playground. This probably has something to do with the fact that I was related to at least three different families within a hundred yards from my front door. Also, the other neighborhood kids were all somehow related. This is why I married out of town. (Though this is not the only reason.)

Back in 1980, we woke to church bells, we ate lunch and supper to church bells, and fell asleep to church bells. We knew when we heard the bells it was time to go home either to eat or get ready for bed.

Our neighborhood was prime for kids. We lived next to the high school, three blocks from the Catholic school (and it's play ground), and one block from Tom's yard. Now, I'm sure you just don't understand the absolute coolness of Tom's yard. Tom had a great wooded path on a hill that led down to the football field and river. Tom also had a great dog named Sally.

Sally was a mutt with dark red curly hair and a big smile. Every morning, we'd wake up and go visit Sally over at Tom's. Tom had a great sense of humor. He didn't mind it if we were in his yard all afternoon playing tin can alley or picking his flowers. I mean think about it, he had fifty football players tramping down his yard every morning and every lunch. This guy was basically a saint. A saint high on pot, but a saint none the less.

I remember knocking his door and visiting him every chance we got. Then, we'd tell him knock knock jokes. How annoying is that? Tom didn't seem to mind. One time he had a knock knock joke for us.

Knock Knock
Who's there?
Madam
Madam who?
Madam foot's caught in the door.

Oh! We laughed at that one. I still laugh when I think of that joke.

My favorite was when Sally would have puppies. They were best. I'd always bring one home and tell mom that Tom wouldn't mind. Mom would make me bring the puppy back home. I can't begin to tell you how many times a puppy peed on me, and I'd just let it air dry.

Another great aspect of Tom's yard was that people used his hill as a dump. I found an old gutted piano and convinced my friends that it was a harp. I'd practice on those rusty strings for hours at a time. Tom had privilege to private concerts. What a lucky guy.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

I"ll Always Be "Mrs. Aakhus" to Them.

Last night, we took the girls to the fair in Thief River Falls. The weather was miserable. It was 55 degrees, windy, and rainy. The weather did create some advantages to us as it made all the lines shorter and weeded out some of the crazies that are always at a fair.

The girls and I had a blast. Jason - not so much. He's coming down with the same cold I've been battling all week. He ended up waiting for us in the car.

At the fair, I saw several of "my kids." These kids are the ones who were in my seventh grade communications class this Spring.

"Hi. Mrs. Aakhus." They would say in unison. Always in unison. Because, it's a formal affair to say hi to one of your teachers.

One time, I spilled a bunch of pop on the floor and I asked them not to tell anyone that I wasn't smooth. They nodded "Of course, of course." so seriously.

I remember when I started student teaching how foreign the title "Mrs. Aakhus" was. I always felt they were sort of making fun of me. I've never been "Mrs. Aakhus." I've always been "Bobbi." It took me about three weeks to get used to the idea that I was the "Mrs. Aakhus" they were talking about.

I love these kids. When I stood in front of them with some great lesson on "What's the Difference between Situational Irony and Verbal Irony?" I 'd look out into the classroom and see the very best in them. Sure, they could be annoying. Sure, they'd say snotty things to me or to each other.

I'd tell them; "Oopsies, I think you just hurt her feelings." They'd apologize.

You see, once you tell kids that you have high expectations of their behavior, they give you their best. I've heard nightmares from my student teaching friends about students refusing to leave the room when sent to the Principal's office, and well, to tell you the truth, I never had to send a kid to the Principal's office.

One of my adult friends said, "I bet they really can pull the wool over your eyes."

And I said, "Yeah, but that's o.k. with me. I don't need to know their dirty little secrets. I don't need to know how nasty they were in gym class. In my room, they're all little darlings who sometimes make mistakes. Big deal. Sometimes, I was a nasty little snot in gym class too. Kids need someone who sees the best in them. I want to see the best in them, so I do."

I'm a little on the dreamy side. I'm a new teacher. I'm a little naive. That's just fine with me.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Equal Shared Care Parenting

The other day I was driving somewhere, and I actually was able to listen to NPR. Where was I driving and where were my kids? This, I can not tell you, but they could not have been with because they never let me listen to NPR as they beg for another station or talk talk talk whenever I try to listen to NPR.

On to the point, I was listening to this interview with a couple who do shared care parenting. It sounded good, but I knew better. These parents divide everything fifty-fifty. I can't help, but roll my eyes at that one. Yeah right. To me, there's nothing more annoying than two people constantly negotiating child care and work around the house.

Has anyone ever heard of just doing your best? How about if the diaper needs changing- just change it? Some of this shared care stuff just takes me back to childhood when my sister and I would make arrangements such as

You unload the dishwasher today

I unload the dishwasher tomorrow.

I know, I know. Most of my friends are probably remembering me back in my feminist days. Well, I'd still think I'm all about women's rights, but not in the case of micromanagement. And sure, most nights, I am the one who tucks the girls in to bed at night. I like that.

If one of the kids is sick, they usually call out for me. I like that.

Even though I have been the "mom" for the past nine and a half years, I see all that my husband has done too. I haven't been keeping score. I haven't made a list. I just see the times when I was in school and Jason stayed home with the girls when they had strep throat. I know about the times I went to MSUM and J. Bird was the one to tuck them in at night.

I think most people already do shared parenting. I don't think it has to be a list with initials assigned to every task. I think once we start keeping score we all lose.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Legend of the Lady Slipper


Monday night as I was roller blading. I noticed some Lady Slippers. At least one hundred. As you probably know, they are a very rare flower. The take up to sixteen years to produce their first flowers. When I told Jason of my discovery, he was so excited. We drove to the patch after Natalie's softball game, and he took these pictures. (I wasn't taking any chances on poison ivy.) When he got home, he got on the Internet finding all he could about Lady Slippers and even called his mom.

Of all the information, I found the Ojibwa Legend of the Lady Slipper the most interesting...

A courageous girl braved a fierce snowstorm to cure her ailing family and fellow villagers. Wearing deerskin moccasins, she walked all day until she reached the wigwams of the people who have healing herbs. Worried that the illness at home may be worsening, she insisted on setting back immediately and lost her moccasins in the deep snow; still she trudged on, leaving bloody footprints on the white ground. Her valiant efforts saved the village and, when the snow melted, she and her beloved brother find lovely, moccasin-shaped blooms in place of her bloody tracks.