Saturday, September 27, 2008


There was a primary activity at This is the Place Heritage Park today.

Shortly after we got to the first cabin, Amelia ran over to one of the pioneers and asked if she could try the stilts:

She wobbled around a bit and was, as usual, super cute. As I watched her, I had a flashback to a lesser moment of glory from my childhood.

We had some scrap wood out in our barn, and I had decided that the only thing in the world worth doing that day was to build some stilts. How hard could it be? So, I got about the longest pieces of wood I could find, cut some triangular wooden foot rests, and found some old screws. I pounded and twisted those screws in until they were sticking out every which way while still holding the wood in place, and then I went and recruited my younger sister Eileen with my promises of sure fun.

I couldn't get up on the stilts well because I had placed the feet rests about 4 feet off the ground. (If I was going to walk on stilts, they were going to be stilts!) I climbed up some bails of hay and told my sister to kind of just hold the stilts while I got on. "That," I told her, "is the way you play with stilts". She dutifully did so, with the pointy screws sticking right at her, followed by my inevitable tumble towards her defenseless ankle.

Let's just say it did not end well... and that my sister may still harbor a bit of a grudge.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A sad, sad day- Zim's has gone away


I have just had some of the shocking news of my life.

We all went downtown to buy some glow in the dark paint and some styrofoam balls. We're going to make stars, comets and planets to hang in the girls' room. As we walked up to the doors of one of my most beloved places on earth, Zim's, an ominous sign caught my eye: 'Going out of business'. Nevermind that everything in the store is 40% off, the mecca of all craft stores will soon be gone.

Some of my fondest memories as a child are when Mom would take us to Zim's and give us $10. We were free to roam the isles, dreaming of the fun things we could make with each item. We would carefully choose our treasures to buy. No trip was complete without beads, pipecleaners, google eyes and pom poms. That place was a wonderland of endless fun.

When I brought my treasures to the counter, the clerk mourned as she rang them up.
"Where else can you buy tiny baskets?" She rhetorically asked as she held up a basket the size of my pinky nail, "Nowhere! Who else sells these? No one!"

Gram put it well when she lamented, "Zim's is a historic landmark!" Oh historical preservation society, where art though?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Geography Quiz!

Random places I'd like to know a little bit more about: (in no particular order, and this list is not all-inclusive)

Baku, and the Abseron Yasaqligi area of Azerbaijan

Arusha, Tanzania

Ufa, Russia

Gouyave, Grenada

Whangarei, New Zealand

Southampton, United Kingdom

Natitingou, Benin

Sitrah, Bahrain

Does anyone want to share what they know? Maybe we'll be lucky and find some people from these places who can tell us a bit about them. If it works out, perhaps we'll make this a regular topic.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

"Talk is cheap - except when Congress does it." -Cullen Hightower

So I'm a registered Republican.

I admit it. Here's my reasoning. In this state, you cannot vote in the Republican primaries unless you are a registered Republican. The Democrats have open primaries. (This isn't always the case, but has been of late). This way, depending on which race I'm interested in, I can vote Democratic or Republican. (We're talking about primaries here, in the general election you can vote for whoever you want to). I think that it's important to be involved. I am concerned about my community and want to have a say for what I think will or won't work.

I try to go the caucuses every year. This last year, I was the only one there in my precinct that wasn't going to move. (This is a heavily Democratic area, so not many people show up to Republican caucuses). Consequently, I was elected as precinct chair, county and state delegate. What does this mean? Political meetings, calls from those running for office, free t-shirts and an active hand in our democratic process.

I mostly agree with the state's Republican platform (before you knock it, you should read it). That said, now I can vent about what it means to be associated with any one party.


In my view, we should be electing those candidates who are best qualified to do the job. I think we should vote for someone based on shared ideals, morals, views and, MOST OF ALL in my mind, WHAT THEY ARE GOING TO DO while in office!

I will not vote for you because of party affiliation.

I will not vote for you because of your race, gender, religious affiliation or origin.

I will not vote for you because of your looks, your money, your associations, your status or where you shop for groceries!

Tell me what you are going to do for our community. Tell me what you plan to do about health care and education. What do you think about alternative energy? Do you think farm bills work? What about school vouchers? What do you think about bailing out private companies? Insurance companies?

I'm tired of name calling, mud slinging, propaganda, finger pointing and false camaraderie. Give me the meat!

I mean, really. Isn't government supposed to be bipartisan? Isn't right right? (Okay, I'm treading on thin ice now, but that's what I think). Let's just get along. I believe government should work with the people.

That's all.

Friday, September 12, 2008

"He who loves, flies, runs, and rejoices; he is free and nothing holds him back." -Henri Matisse

We went to the Monet to Picasso exhibit yesterday.

I am so inspired!

Some of my favorites were Giovanni Segantini's Pine Tree, Amedeo Modigliani's Portrait of a Woman, Auguste Rodin's The Thinker, Claude Monet's Wheat Field, and my very favorite was Gabrielle Munter's Future (Woman in Stockholm).

We also saw Renoir, Cezanne, Van Gogh and many more. It was thrilling.

I was especially excited to see some of Matisse's works. He didn't paint things as they were, he portrayed things as he "felt them". (That's my kind of style). Although his paintings aren't my favorites, he as an artist definitely is.

He lived a beautiful life full of trials. For instance, his wife and two of his children were arrested, tortured and deported during the Resistance. The thing that to me is most inspiring about him, is that despite the harsh realities of life, he looked for happiness and beauty. In the [translated] words of Marie Sellier, she said, "...because he seeks to transform all into joy, he finds happiness even within his misfortune."

In his own words:

"I desire an art of balance and purity which neither disturbs nor troubles. My wish is that the man who is tired, worn out, and overworked should taste peace and calm as he stands before one of my paintings."

As I looked at Interior with an Etruscan Vase, I certainly did feel at peace. Thank you, Mr. Matisse.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Lately . . . last July.

While in New York we went to Howe Caverns with Mike.
Here Mike and I are doing a promotional photo shoot. We make compelling models.

Matt and the girls. Who were carried. By Matt.

Us on a boat in the cave! Cool. Even cooler? We took an elevator to get into the cave.

Now, what you can't tell in this photo is that my head was nearly knocked off by the outcropping of rock above me. You can see the terror on my face.

Amelia posing next to a giant brain formation. She is utterly fascinated by its beauty.

Me. In a cave.

Amelia on the love rock. Now she has to get married within a year. You can tell she's thrilled at the prospect.
Ellie kept trying to touch the cave wall. She just laughed a laughed. She's a hoot.

Cute! Matt and Ellie. This spot reminded me of the narrows. It was called "The Winding Way".

Afterwards we bought bags of dirt with gems and fossils and did some prospecting. We practically made a fortune.