Friday, July 31, 2009

Life without Love?

I watched a few episodes from the first season of "This American Life" yesterday on Netflix. This episode struck a chord with me.

Of course, I believe in love. I think most of this past eighth grade class believed in love too. They were hopeless romantics like most of the other teens portrayed on the show.

I wonder what I would say to this kid if he was in my classroom. I hope I'd be respectful, but I'd have a hard time trying not to convince him there was such a thing as love.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


There is one thing you and I as parents cannot do, not do we want to do if we really think about it, and that's control our children's will—that spirit that lets them be themselves apart from you and me. They are not ours to possess, control, manipulate, or even to make mind.

(Barbara Coloroso (20th century), U.S. parent educator and author. Kids Are Worth It, epilogue (1994).)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Grandma Tracy is a Rock Star!

Every two years, the Aakhus family has a family reunion somewhere in Northern Minnesota. When J and I first got married, I was somewhat grumpy that I had to go to a family reunion. I mean, I didn't even know these people.

I was so wrong.

I can't believe I wasted all that time whining in my head!

Every two years I look forward to that weekend in July where we meet and go through family pictures and discuss family stories. The Aakhus family has all sorts of great family stories. Jason's Great-Grandpa Tallak had three wives with twelve kids.

No no... he wasn't Mormon; his first two wives died young.

Now, Grandma Tracy married the youngest of the twelve, and so, she was the youngest of the aunties. In fact, She is the only auntie left of that generation!

And this is why when we go to these family reunions all of the grandchildren run from across the room and hug Grandma Tracy! She is the rock star of the family. She has adoring fans surrounding her throughout the reunion.

One of my favorite memories is when I ate lunch at Ron and Marcia's house the first time I went to a reunion. I remember enjoying the picnic and thinking what great hosts this couple was and how nice there kids are. Little did I know at the time, Ron and Marcia are old family friends of mine. My mom and dad have been friends with Ron and Marcia since 1986. When I was young, I'd go to the Rural Electric Association conventions with my dad at Breezy Point and the Holiday Inn in St. Cloud. We'd swim in the pool with other Electric Brats and have a jolly old time.

One evening, My mom and Marcia were sitting together for supper at Breezy Point while discussing their Norwegian Heritage. Marcia said to my mom; "My mom's maiden name was Aakhus. That is as Norwegian as it gets!"

My mom's mouth dropped!

"My daughter married an Aakhus!"

Funny how I could enjoy a day at the reunion and not recognize Marcia or her daughters!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

A day at the pool

I found this video of the Allison with her cousin Mariah jumping into the pool. Do you remember jumping in with a friend?

I love this!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A fun post

I always get a kick out of reading Kurt's stuff. For one, we graduated together. We were classmates from the start. I'm not sure if we were in kindergarten together or not, but we've known each other for a long time. Growing up, we lived a few blocks apart. So it's fun to read his take on our same neighborhood. And of course, Kurt is an English teacher too.

It's cool to live in a small town. We share a lot of the same memories. In that way, we all have a lot in common. We're all sort of brothers and sisters.

Recently, Kurt wrote about one of my favorite memories from high school. Gosh darnit... I love this story.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Chunky Old Cars...

The other day Natalie was browsing at my blog. She noticed my labels and hollered out, "MOM... do you write about Dad's old cars?"

"Yes." I answered proudly.

"I thought that was a secret... I don't want people to know about those."

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Facebook Statuses I find Revolting...

Almost everyone and their grandma are on facebook now! Yee ha! Of course that's great news, because now you can keep contact with anyone you want but only on your terms. You know where they are without having to worry about losing them again.

For the most part, my favorite part about facebook is my friends' statuses. Woo... They are fun. My favorite statuses include something they are doing with a hobby, what books they are reading, invitations to a party, stuff about ninja abilities... My least favorite statuses include insults, political rants, or TMI.

One morning, I woke up to find a status about a friend's divorce....

Joe Shmoe is going to get a divorce.

I commented...

Bobbi Guillemette Aakhus is sorry to hear that.

Later that day...

Joe Shmoe is going to work on his marriage.

This person's status changed every few hours... Seriously. It did. This poor guy gave me TOO MUCH INFORMATION. Holy cow. He did get a divorce. Probably because his ex-wife was sick of the status updates.

Another status that annoys me is the political status updates. Facebook is not meant to include deep thoughts... hello that's what blogs are for... Right? These status updates are going to offend someone on your friend list FOSHO! There's a reason why our ballots are private! Keep it to yourself.

My least favorite is the argument on the status. Usually, you'll find this on your younger friends'status. People will actually will call each other Bitches... they will announce to their 547 friends that their former best friend didn't answer their text message or phone call and what a bitch she is. Durr... yeah Nice...

I have probably had my own moments of being a drama queen on facebook. I've probably announced to my 237 friends that my camera is dead, that I'm so tired, or that I went for a walk. I'm sure my friends just roll their eyes and continue taking their quizzes on what they should name their children or what town in Minnesota they should live in.

Friday, July 17, 2009


Here's to the Crazy Ones

Here's to the crazy ones.
The misfits. The rebels.
The troublemakers. The round
pegs in the square holes - the
ones who see things differently.
They're not fond of rules and
they have no respect for
the status quo. You can praise
them, disagree with them,
quote them, disbelieve them,
glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing that you
can't do is ignore them.
Because they change things.

- Jack Kerouac

Good advice for me!

Search others for their virtue, and yourself for your vices." Buckminster Fuller

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I found this today...

and thought it was an awesome picture from Homecoming last year.

Avalanche Ranch...

Last night, I took the girls to church for Vacation Bible School. This year's theme is "Avalanche Ranch." Each kid got a cowboy hat, and they sing cool country themed Christian songs. All of the kids are amazed with the props and stage.

And the costumes>>

And the big kids helping the little kids!!!
Allie was having so much fun!
I got a big bang out of this kid in his cowboy get up--- Those chaps... and the scarves! ha!
The Men's Group at our church are some of the best examples of good Christians. Every year, these guys jump at the chance to serve our Vacation Bible School. The flip pancakes and fry sausages with a smile. These men aren't young either. Most of these guys are in their eighties. Besides serving pancakes to seventy young people on a Monday night, these guys voluntarily mow our lawn every week. They amaze me. Their example speaks volumes to me and my generation at church. These guys are also in charge of the local food shelf. Yep. they are prettty much my heroes!Here's a good picture of Natalie considering the day's Bible verse in a deep, thoughtful way. Her friend with the brown hair is too. Or maybe not.

Look at all these cowboys and cowgirls yipping it up!

Sunday, July 12, 2009


I took some video of the chicks this afternoon. I love watching them. There are two flocks. This particular flock is combined with an older chick who takes care of three younger chicks. They are a unified bunch. The other flock is a momma, auntie, and septuplets. There is one chick out in the garage that hasn't been accepted by either flocks. That chick follows Jason around the yard.

My battery on my camera went dead before I could get them on video. I will get them in the next few days. Something that precious needs to be videoed!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

"Why Do We Need to Know Stuff Anyways?"

I hear this at least once a day in the school year. I always say "Why not?" It's a whiny question that doesn't deserve a lot of thought in my book. Students try and distract me. Students sulk because they must work.

I've always thought that learning languages and about the English Language can make a mind sharp and give one a keen self esteem. And now, boys and girls.... Ta da! I have proof.

Do you think the doctors that researched this grand hypothesis paid attention in seventh and eighth grade English class? Did they ask "When am I going to use this in everyday life?" ?

I guess not.

Can Language Skills Ward Off Alzheimer's Disease?

Adding to the deep body of research associating mental acuity with a lower risk of Alzheimer's disease, a study published online on July 8 by the journal Neurology suggests that people who possess sophisticated linguistic skills early in life may be protected from developing dementia in old age - even when their brains show the physical signs, like lesions and plaques, of memory disorders.

That discrepancy is not unheard of: many elderly patients develop the brain lesions, plaques and tangled neurological-tissue fibers that are indicative of dementia and Alzheimer's disease, but not all of them exhibit the memory loss and confusion that typically characterize these disorders. In fact, the number of such patients may be greater than researchers first thought. In a November 2008 study, a team of scientists used a new positron emission tomography (PET) brain-imaging technique developed by Drs. William Klunk and Chester Mathis of the University of Pittsburgh to image the brains of live patients - a leap forward in a field that long had to rely on postmortem analyses of brain tissue to confirm diagnoses after the fact - and showed that some 21% of patients with physical signs of dementia suffered no outward symptoms of cognitive impairment. (See how to prevent illness at any age.)

The leading theory to explain this fortunate disconnect is the brain-reserve hypothesis, which suggests that people who have more cognitive ability and more neural tissue to start with - sharper minds, broadly - may be better able to withstand the ravages of age. "In some ways, you could think of it like a trained athlete who might be able to resist some atherosclerosis of the heart," explains Dr. Bradley Hyman, director of the Massachusetts Alzheimer's Disease Research Center and a professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School.

Past studies have shown that patients who have so-called asymptomatic Alzheimer's disease - those who have the hallmark brain lesions and plaques of Alzheimer's disease but no memory loss - also have enlarged neurons, compared with patients who suffer cognitive impairment. Dr. Diego Iacono, a neuropathology fellow at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the future director of the Brain Bank at Sweden's Karolinska Institute, conducted several such studies in predominantly male populations, but his latest research, the study published in Neurology, demonstrates the same patterns in an entirely female population - of nuns. (See pictures of the sisters of Summit, N.J.)

The Nun study may not be familiar to most people outside of √Člite neurology circles, but to dementia researchers, it's a gold mine. The long-term data on more than 600 nuns from Minnesota has revealed a great many insights about the effects of aging and the development of Alzheimer's disease and dementia. And yet it was not in the Nun study's core data that its director, Dr. David Snowdon, first discovered a fascinating correlation between the sisters' language skills, based on essays they had written in their 20s when they first entered the convent (Snowdon discovered the essays in the convent's archives), and the likelihood that they would develop Alzheimer's later in life. The correlation was striking: the young women who had more sophisticated language skills - defined as the density of ideas per every 10 written words - were far less likely to suffer from Alzheimer's or dementia five, six or seven decades later.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A Pan of Bars

Your husband took his own life
with too many pills.
I made you a pan of bars.


Watch your kids at the pool....

1. Don't let them dive into the shallow end. I freak every time I see your kid do this. You may be talking to your friends... so, perhaps it doesn't bother you. But I cringe lady.

2. Keep them in the shallow end of the pool until they can swim. I watched your little boy bob up and down to the ladder as he took a deep breath. He gotter done... but man. I was scared.

Dang. I know... I'm fussy ain't I? I used to manage the pool. I used to be the lifeguard who blew her whistle constantly yelling "Walk... Walk..." There's a reason for this ladies. The deck is slippery. Even for your kid. The deck is slippery.

I almost lost a kid. She dove in the deep end the water and floated to the top on the shallow end. LADIES.... this girl almost died. These lifeguards are trained sure... but they are only fifteen!

LADY- this girl would have died if a doctor hadn't miraculously entered the facility. Only he opened her airway.

Come now ladies.

Dad and his boat....

So... Last night we stopped by my parents' house. My dad was outside working when we drove up. I went in and got some pictures from my mom. When I came outside, I realized what my dad was doing.

He had his whole boat dismantled.

He was detailing his boat!

"Dad?" I questioned him.

"I spilled coffee out on the boat this weekend. I'm trying to get this stain out before it sets."

And to think, he has the rest of the summer full of fishing and Mondays - to detail his boat to make sure the coffee stains don't set.

Bless his little heart!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Lake of the Woods...

This weekend, we went to Lake of the Woods at Warroad, MN.

View Larger Map

My mom was thrilled because we were meeting them up there. At 4:00 Thursday afternoon, she called and told us she was leaving. "O.K." I said and told her we would call her when we got there.

At 5:30, she called and asked if we had left yet. We were just leaving the house and had all of the animals fed and ready for my brother-in-law to check in on.

At 5:45, she called and asked where we were.

"Mom? We're only in St. Hilaire. We have to stop by Walmart and pick up some fishing lures and will eat somewhere in Thief River."

At 6:15, my mom called again.

"Where are you?"

"Mom, we are eating at Subway."

"What? You're only eating." She sighed and hung up.

At 7:00, she called us.

"Where are you?"

"Between Middle River and Greenbush."

"Oh. We are eating at Earl's in Roseau."


Jason was starting to get annoyed. I told him to relax and go back to sleep.

My mom mixed things up a bit and called us at 8:00.

"Where are you?"

"Right outside of Roseau."


We got to Warroad put our things in our room and drove down to the lake. Mom took us on a tour of where everyone in town camps, and we crashed a campfire or two before heading back to the hotel.

The next morning, my dad took us fishing in his new boat.

Lake of the Woods is renown for its fishing. Sometimes, one can watch a fishing show and see the professionals fishing on Lake of the Woods. One of my mom's friend's even caught a sturgeon there once. My dad is obsessed with fishing. I mean this guy has even went to Brazil to go fishing on the Amazon. I suppose fishing would be dad's personal legend.

We had a blast! The girls loved it.

For about an hour. After not catching anything, they were done with fishing for the day.

So, for the next three hours we heard them complain about how bored they were. I gave them my ipod, but it didn't have the songs they liked. I gave them paper, but they didn't want to draw.

Finally, we decided the girls should go in for the day. Jason went back to the hotel to sleep, dad went back out to the lake, and mom and I took the girls out to a drive to Rocky Point.

I wanted to see the place I used to go with my family while growing up. We used to meet Grandma Shirley and Roy up at Franks'. Frank was an old bachelor who rented out lots for the summer. His lots were $100. Of course, there was no running water, and we took our baths in the lake.

When we got to Franks' we were discouraged to see the "No Trespassing" signs everywhere. Instead we went to Arnesons' at Rocky Point. We walked out to the docks, and I pointed out the rock island I used to dream about as a girl. The girls admired the beautiful scenery then, hopped into our red mini-van and drove back to the hotel.