Summer…full steam ahead!


Summer is looming large, and there is so much to do!

I am excited for Older Son. He will graduate from high school at the end of May, and then will be going to work. He’s decided that school isn’t what he wants to do, and that he’d rather be gainfully employed. He’s nerve-wracked about it, but I know that once graduation is done and he’s landed a full-time job, things will smooth out for him and give him a sense of independence that he really needs. I’ll be helping him get launched, and I’m nervous for him with all the changes he will have to get through, but he’ll make it ok.

This weekend, I finally got around to getting Older Son’s graduation invitations made and printed out. Now comes the task of getting them addressed and mailed. I keep having the sensation of needing to put on my seat belt and crash helmet as there are so many changes coming up so quickly.  That’s ok…the good news is that I can see pretty much everything that’s coming, and can have some kind of preparation in place. Feeling prepared, sometimes, is half the battle.

Not only do we have graduation to get ready for, but it appears that I will be making another trip to court. Yes, ladies and gentleman, my ex is taking me to court. Again. It’s my hope that this will be the end of it, no matter how it comes out. That comes June 15th, so hopefully after that the rest of the Summer will be smooth sailing.

Once graduation and court are done with, I will have a lot of things to look forward to. The first thing I can’t wait to do is get my garden in. It will be put in way before the middle of June, but I do enjoy watching the plants grow and puttering around in the garden. The absolute best is harvest time. There is nothing quite like going into the garden and grabbing bunch of grape tomatoes to take to the office with me to snack on all morning. Hmmm…..yummy!

I also have a bunch of home improvement plans. I’m getting new doors, and will be painting my bedroom, painting and putting new carpet into Younger Son’s bedroom, finishing up paint and reinstalling the carpet in Older Son’s room, reorganizing and installing more storage in my basement (can’t wait to show you pictures of my new pantry!), and reorganizing my kitchen and living room.  That’s a whole bunch of stuff to do, but I am hopeful that a weekend here and there across the Summer will help me get it all done.

We bought fishing licenses this year, and have plans on going fishing a lot. It’s something I enjoyed as a kid, and Younger Son enjoys. The Flirt perked my interest in fishing back up, and we have a whole summer a head to pull in a bunch of fish. I’m hoping that we have enough by the 4th of July so we can have a fish fry. It used to be a tradition in our family that all the fish we caught through June got filleted and went into the freezer for that weekend. I’m hoping it’s a tradition I can revive.

The weather hasn’t been so cooperative lately, so I haven’t been able to get out and go walking much, but I am looking forward to getting out and walking every morning again, especially on the weekends when I can take my time and go to different places in town to walk. to go along with that, I am hoping to drop another 20 pounds in 2012. Younger Son is a weightlifter, and has given me some advice about how to get rid of the flappy parts on the back side of my arms. I’m looking to have that tightened up by the end of the Summer too.

I’m also looking forward to doing some fun landscaping in my yard this summer. Those of you who’ve been reading my blog for a while know that I am all about edible landscaping, but I have to admit that it is quite a challenge to put in mostly edibles when we need hardy plants that take a lot of bad weather and abuse. The good news is that I found a fabulous shrub called a Carmine Jewel Dwarf Cherry (picture courtesy of Gurney’s). This neat little plant is not only pretty as an ornamental, which grows in environments up to zone 2, but also produces prolific amounts of cherries that you can eat raw or bake with. It’s something my Dad said he’d like to grow, so it will be something I can surprise him with for Father’s Day.  Double win!

I also have an opportunity to cross a really big thing off of my bucket list: A trip to Sturgis, SD for the annual bike rally, for me and The Flirt . My bucket list is something I will blog more about later, but suffice it to say that I have gotten to a point in my life where I’ve decided that there’s no time like the present, and no point in waiting. The hotel is paid for, and the planning has begun. The Flirt is a motorcyclist and has been to Sturgis already, so he knows the ins and outs and where to go to see some interesting things. We’ll be spending three days and two nights, which won’t be enough time to see everything, but we’ll see a lot. This trip comes toward the middle of August, which will be nice end to the summer. It will be my first weekend trip away from the kids after the divorce and will be a little nerve-wracking, but they are ok with it. I think Younger Son would have liked to go with us, but not this year.   This trip is for me and, while I normally would feel guilty about taking a trip like this, it’s harder to find my way to the place that allowed me swim in guilt and self-doubt these days. I’ll chalk that one up as emotional progress.

Once the trip is over, it will be time for Younger Son to start school again, beginning with football practice. Older Son will be working a full-time job by then, and will have his own wheels. With any luck, Younger Son will have his driver’s license and will have saved enough from his summer job to buy his own starter vehicle. Summer is going to scream right by…I’ll have to hold on with both hands and put the breaks on hard I can so I can feel like I’ve stopped to smell all of the roses, and eat all the tomatoes, I can!

The good thing about this Summer is that I have more good things coming up than bad things to get through, and that is a huge blessing. Here’s hoping your Summer plans hold as much good fun and adventure as mine will.

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I AM Stylish…an award!


Be careful...it's frag-eee-lay

I was blessed today by having been bestowed, what is to me, a Major Award. My blog buddy, Aimee, whose blog is called A Day in the Life of My Crazy Little World, was kind enough to include me in a listing of  blogs that she enjoys: The Stylish Blogger Award. I would like you all to make sure you take a trip over to Aimee’s blog, because it’s chock full of goodness in the form of hilarity, great life stories and no-holds-barred, no-B.S.  insight that will have you pointing at your screen hollering, “Yes!! I know exactly what you mean!” before you can even think to stop yourself. Aimee has been an inspiration to me, as she has killer organizational skills, and fabulous ideas for all sorts of things.  Stop what you’re doing right now, and take a trip on over to her blog and check it out. Go on…I’ll wait…(can you hear the Jeopardy music in the background?)

Ok…for those of you who were naughty and didn’t go check out Aimee’s blog yet, shame on you! Well, while we’re waiting for the others to return, I’ll fill you in on the rest of it. Apparently acceptance of this award (She likes me, she really likes me!) hinges on following the rules:

1.Supposed to link back to who nominated you.
2.List seven things we might not know about you.
3.Share the “love” and pay it forward by naming six other blogs you enjoy.

(Crack’s knuckles) Ready? Here goes…first thing, a link back to the blogger who nominated me:

Aimee’s blog can be found at A Day in The Life of My Crazy Little World. Something you’ll notice right away is that she not only has mad organizing skills, but she has style. Her blog is entertaining and cute!

Ok, so I need to share seven things that you may not know about me. Hmmm…alright, here goes!

1. I live in the Great White North, or at least close enough to Canada to count…and I despise being cold. However, we have plenty of hot as well as cold in North Dakota. In the Summer it can reach 100+ degrees, and this winter we experienced -50 degrees counting the windchill, which is a transitional temperature range of 150 degrees. I actually have a “goldilocks” temperature zone preference of 50-75 degrees. I’ve instructed my kids to get jobs in more temperate climates when they grow up, so I can be a Snowbird and come visit when the weather up here is too cold to deal with.

2. Even though I have begun to really hate winter, I don’t think I’d ever want to leave North Dakota permanently. I love it here. The picture posted to the right is a sight that makes my heart go pitter-pat. That gravel road leading to what appears to be nothing but open prairie and deep blue sky is a common thing here North Dakota. Many people take a look at this picture and think there is nothing there. I have news for you. Not only are there many different plants growing on The High Plains that have culinary and medicinal uses, but there is a lot of rich fertile soil to be found here. If you look really hard, off in the distance and to the right, you can see my log cabin, and the beginnings of acres of orchards, berry bush groves, and gardens. This is of course a complete fantasy, and can only take place after I’ve won the lottery big. But…a girl’s gotta dream, and that’s one of mine. One of my big ones. People make the mistake of  assuming that there’s nothing to do, or nothing worthwhile going on here because it’s pretty empty. I think it’s the best kept secret in the Nation. Shhhh…don’t tell anyone!

2. I believe that I was a farmer in another life. I have this overwhelming urge to live off the grid, grow my own food and live off the land. Currently I live on a 10th of an acre in town, which is a completely blank slate with the exception of my house. I’m going to begin landscaping my front and back yards only with shrubs, trees and plants that give me something I can eat. Apples, blackberries, strawberries, cherries, kiwis (you’d be surprised what grows up here)…its’ going to be a busy summer for me, and I’m hoping that within a couple of years, it’ll pay off and keep my family in fruit to freeze, can and make wine with.

3. I want to learn how to card and dye fiber, and spin my own yarn/thread. I’d also like to raise animals and plants to provide me with the materials to do that with. This Spring, I’m going to try to plant some flax, and then next winter I’ll see if I can actually spin thread out of the fiber from those plants. I’d also like to raise angora rabbits for their fur, but unfortunately rabbits are banned in my city as pets (booo, hiss!). I can buy animal fiber on-line, though. Someday, when I’ve built my Magnificent Log Cabin on the Prairie, I’ll have animals I can get harvest fiber from.

4. I like to crochet. I’ve made so many baby blankets and afghans over the years, I’ve lost count of them. Currently my favorite pattern is the Granny Square, because it’s so easy I don’t have to pay much attention to the pattern while I’m working on it. Right now, I’m working on a baby blanket and will be making an afghan for a young friend of the family who is graduating from high school this May. In honor of that special occasion, I’m going to learn the Waffle Weave Stitch, and I can’t wait to try it out!

5. I lost count of all of the places I’ve lived. My family moved around a lot due to my dad’s job, and then when I was in college I moved a lot. I quit counting at 20 some years ago. I’ve been in this house the longest of any place I’ve ever lived, 11 years, and I don’t expect that I’ll be moving any time soon.

6. I want a dog. I have guilt that my kids were raised without a dog in the house, but nobody is home during the day and I can’t in good conscience lock a dog up in a crate for 8-12 hours a day because the rest of us are at work and school.  When I win the lottery and can build my Magnificent Log Cabin on the Prairie, I will finally have my dog. Dogs are a joy and I can’t imagine how boring my childhood would have been without them. I once had a dog who liked to escape, and she didn’t even have the grace to stay in the country. No…she had to run away to Canada.  We lived out in the boonies close to a border crossing, which was 100 feet from my house. The Canadian Border guards always laughed at us as they waved my brother and I through when they saw our dog barreling past them up the highway.

7. I never dreamed that I would have so much to say, that blogging would be so fun, and that I would meet so very many interesting people.

Ok, now onto sharing the love! I’d like to preface this list by saying there were too many to mention, so I went back in the award thread a little bit to see who else of the bloggers I read have been given this most prestigious award already.  The Life of Jamie, A Piece of the Pie Hole and The Idiot Speaketh are definitely on my shortlist of favorites, but since they’ve already been bestowed the Stylish Blogger Award, I’d like to highlight some of the rest of my favorites.  What? Noooo…I’m not cheating by listing more than 6 of my favorite blogs. I just mentioned them. With links. That wasn’t a list, honest!

Here they are, in no particular order:

1. Brea’s Air –  Brea is one of my dearest friends, and one of the few who I would call Sister. She is not only insightful, but she’s funny, sarcastic and there aren’t too many holds barred on her blog. She is also an amazing writer. She persevered and won an award for finishing NaNoWriMo, and continues to entertain and make me think with her short stories. She’s brilliant and I guarantee a visit to her blog will keep you busy for a while.

2. Old And In The Way – According to his bio, Sank’s blog has been described as a cross between Red Forman and Erma Bombeck… I couldn’t have said it better myself. The man is drop dead funny. He writes with a straightforwardness that is not only extremely amusing, but it will also give you something to think about.

3. The Curse of Future Tom – Tom is an amazing writer, and is a published author. I love sense his humor and the way he takes on the varied kinds of B.S. that we all put up with in day-to-day life. Topics range from family to politics and all matters in between. He is another blogger that will not only make you laugh out loud, but give you something to think about and take with you when you have finished reading a post on his blog.

4. Sleep Talkin’ Man This blog will make you laugh so hard you might wet your pants. Seriously…very funny stuff. Karen’s husband Adam talks in his sleep, and she records it and puts snippets of the recordings on the internet. Amazing and unbelievably funny!

5. The Miller Times Andrew Miller is one heck of a blogger. Not only does he have an interesting and unique way of writing about things, but he has a real knack for saying a lot in fewer words than I could ever make meaningful. His latest post shows the surprised expression on his new fiance’s face after he’d asked her to marry him…priceless!

6.Plot Mamas This blog is written by several women who call themselves The Mamas. They are authors, and mothers,  and have many interesting things to blog about. They all take turns and it makes for an interesting mix of things to read within one blog. I most especially enjoyed the a recent post about Ground Hog Day, and what should really be done with that rat who seems to have been given the responsibility of determining how quickly Spring can come. (As far as I am concerned, he’s fired. Bring in the new guy…maybe he has some better ideas about what February should feel like. Just my humble opinion!)

There you have it folks, this brings me to the end of this post. Again, I’d like to thank Aimee for the nomination, and a big thank you to all the bloggers I posted about here today. I wish you all knew just how much you help me keep my sanity after a long day…you guys all rock!

Edible Landscaping


I read a book that has really influenced the way I look at my yard. It’s called Edible Estates: Attack on the Front Lawn. It details the history of why people have large expanses of grass, as well as giving accounts of several families who chose to replace their front yards with vegetable gardens.

Most people just aren’t happy unless their grass is smooth and weed-free. This last Sunday I drove past no less that four people within in 15 minutes who were either spraying poison on their laws to kill the dandelions, or digging them out by hand.  Little did they know they were killing something you can eat like salad (the leaves are very nutritious), but you can also make a lovely wine from the flowers. The idea of investing time, effort and money into something that will not give you anything back, except admiring looks from passersby, drives me nuts. I think I have more dandelions that actual grass. This is exactly what my front lawn looked like yesterday morning before I mowed it… and I like it that way:

Aren’t I the rebellious one?!

Don’t get me wrong… lawns are pretty, and certainly nice on bare feet. I just think your yard should give you something back, in stead of being a drain on resources.

Eventually I plan to replace my little front lawn with all things that will grow me something I can eat, or use. There are a lot of things one can grow in a front yard that are pretty and give you fruit to eat. It’s my fondest wish that I will have NO grass at some point in the future, and the whole yard will be landscaped with lovely things that just keep producing fruit for me year after year. It might take me five years to get there, but I’ll get there. Here are some pictures of the lovely things I will landscape my yard with:

Lingonberry

Top Hat Blueberry

Nanking Cherry

Arctic Beauty Kiwi