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....


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."


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

View Larger Map

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 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.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Rules to be Friends with my Husband

Once my husband had a friend at work whom I absolutely loved. She was funny. She was cute, and she seemed to have a good sense of humor. I told her I thought she was great. As time went on, I noticed her getting super critical of me and super complimentary to J. Bird. She developed a crush on my husband.
I can distinctly remember her telling me things like

"You just don't know how lucky you have it."


"You know, Jason wouldn't like that."

I mean, I married the guy. I know how lucky I have it. I know what Jason likes and dislikes. Most of the time. It's one thing to not know everything about your husband. It's another thing to have some lady at work tell you you don't. I quickly moved from loving her to despising her.
This is a topic I discuss frequently with my friends - How to be friends with the opposite sex if friends at all. With their help, I've developed a list of rules. Not all of these boundaries have been crossed in my immediate experience. A lot of these boundaries have been crossed in my friends' lives or their friends' lives.

Rules to be friends with My Husband.

1. Don't send my husband hundreds of dirty text messages every day. One once in a while might be O.K. But, it might be wise to send it to both of us rather than just one of us.

2. When expecting my husband at the door, don't answer the door in only a towel. Daa. If you do that I may have to kill you.

3. Don't ask my husband; "Why didn't we have sex in high school?" If you do this, I just may have to kill you.

4. Don't tell me how to cook the food I'm making when I've invited you over for supper. For example, don't say things like "Ewww."

5. Don't ask me to make you lefse when I'm nine months pregnant while you flirt with my husband. Lefse is serious business. It takes hours to make. When I'm nine months pregnant, my husband needs to be making me lefse.

6. Don't tell me how good I have it. Tell my husband how good he has it. This will earn you brownie points with me. Never ever tell another woman how good she has it unless you are her friend and her friend only. Telling me how good I have it only implies that I'm an ungrateful hag who doesn't appreciate bearing two ten pound girls to my wonderful man who deserves better than me.

If anyone else has a rule I've missed let me know. I'm open to any suggestions. Thank you.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Fourth of July

We spent the Fourth of July at a parade in Plummer, MN. The girls are standing at attention as the flag passes. I'm not a usually patriotic person. But there is just something about the flag in a Fourth of July parade especially if the flag is being held by older veterans like these.I also love the whole candy aspect of parades. Here is a picture of Jason after he has been candy dumped by a fellow employee at Digikey. The girls will have candy for the next month or so.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Poison Ivy

When I finally figured out I had poison ivy, I was astonished. This is the first time I've had poison ivy in my life. After a childhood of climbing trees, exploring trails, and using forest leaves as T.P., you'd expect I would have encountered poison ivy before this. I can't figure out where I got poison ivy. Where in my yard is this elusive pretty weed? I took my search to the internet to find out all I could about poison ivy. To my surprise, I saw a website that said "Ways to Avoid Poison Ivy." I quickly clicked on the site and found this picture with the caption. Look for signs like these.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

I Found My Left Inner Thigh.

After many weeks of working with the lovely Christel, I finally found my left inner thigh.

Now many of you are probably thinking; "Lovie, ummm... it's right there. It is somewhat noticeable."

Well, I have to admit you're right. It isn't exactly small. It's just my brain was ignoring it.


On my last visit, Christel helped me find just where this muscle is. We tried many different exercises until I found at least two that would help me find this muscle.

I told Christel; "I think it's actually getting sore."

And that's a good thing.

I was actually sweating.

And that's a good thing, I think.

As I get more interested in working out, the less interested I am in eating junk. I know you probably don't believe me, but I'm not craving sugar 24/7. Sometimes, I only eat when I'm hungry.

Who is this masked bandit?

A lady who has found her inner thigh.

Flowers for a Friend.