Saturday, July 30, 2005

We're Online!

Our splitter works! We have the computer hooked up via the cable splitter in our living room and I'm posting. Yeehaw! I still won't have much time to blog, but I'll try to keep everybody updated on our progress.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

I'd Rather Be Blogging!!!

As I write this, the computer desk and our bed are the only things left in our bedroom.

Another home-improvement project has hit priority status. Right before I got sick, I noticed several spongy-feeling areas in our bedroom floor. I didn't have the heart to tell L about this until last weekend. We've already got WAY TOO MANY unfinished projects!

We're now in the process of emptying out our bedroom so we can remove the carpet and see what's up with the floor. L went under the house and didn't see any obvious water leaks. We're thinking it may be carpenter ants.

Tomorrow or Saturday we'll be moving the computer into the living room. We're hoping that we'll be able to access the internet by splitting off the TV cable in the living room. Even the cable company is unsure if this will work or not. It depends on the strength of our signal.

If we're able to get internet access this way, I'll TRY to post pictures of our subfloor replacement project. If not, I'll talk to you all after the project is finished. We're HOPING to be completely finished within a month, but it's hard to do this kind of project when L and I work alternate shifts. A lot of this work is a two-person project. Oh well, we didn't really have anything we'd rather be doing with every spare second of our time, did we?

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Grandma's Collection

This post is sort of a special request. Vest wanted more of my family stories. Sagepaper posted about conversations with her grandparents and great-grandparents. This got me thinking.....

My paternal grandmother was a saver. Grandma never had much, so she never disposed of anything with a potential use. Grandma religiously reused aluminum foil, wrapping paper, screws and washers. Yes folks, she was even known to straighten out used nails! Fabric scraps turned into beautiful quilts and oven mitts.

The other things that Grandma saved, involved emotional attachment. We grandchildren quickly learned to gift Grandma with only our FINEST craft projects. If we gave Grandma something we made, it stayed on display in her home, FOREVER!! Many shapeless hunks of clay and pipecleaners haunted us well into our adult lives. My cousin embroidered Grandma a calendar in 1967, that was still hanging on the dining room wall in 1985!

Grandma's oddest collection was her scrapbooks full of obituaries. One of my earliest memories involved sitting on Grandma's lap, in her beat up rocking chair, listening to the stories connected to these obits. I don't know if SME remembers, but she had this experience too. Grandma's stack of scrapbooks were always neatly stacked by her chair. Her collection contained obits from both her and Grandpa's side of the family; relatives, both close and distant. Too many surnames for a child to keep straight. There were also obits of friends and neighbors dating back to her childhood. As we got older, my cousins and I tended to shy away from Grandma's obituary stories. It just seemed too creepy to our new-found "mature" minds.

Two of my cousins have recently begun exploring our family's history. Much of Grandma's lineage is documented. Our Grandpa's history, other than parents and siblings, is totally blank. My cousins have had grand adventures, armed with machetes and pruning shears, into abandoned cemeteries. They have started filling in a lot of the holes with names and dates acquired off long forgotten tombstones. They have spiral notebooks filled with possible links to our ancestors. Some of these have been added to our family tree; others turned out to be unrelated strangers. They have given me several names and dates to track down as well. It's been a fascinating experience.

The last time I talked to my cousin, J, I mentioned Grandma's scrapbooks. I said: "I know we always laughed about it, but wouldn't it be INVALUABLE to have Grandma's obit collection NOW?" J got a funny look on her face and leaned over and whispered in my ear: "I HAVE them!" At the time of Grandma's death, J had wanted something that had been important to Grandma. Now, almost 20 yrs later, she has a treasure trove of information! The only problem is that NONE of us payed enough attention to Grandma's stories to be able to sort through who's who in the collection. We can't remember which ones are Grandpa's relatives, Grandma's relatives or just friends and neighbors.

The moral to my story is: the next time a family member starts rambling on about long dead relatives; WRITE IT DOWN! Better yet, record or videotape the stories! You will not only keep the links to your past alive; you'll be making your loved one's day, by acknowledging the wisdom in their memories.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

New Blog On the Block

Some friends of mine have started an informational blog on boycotting Chinese-made products. I'd go into their reasons for doing this, but they are much more eloquent on the subject than I am.

If you agree with this boycott, please SPREAD THE WORD!! I have emailed all my friends and family about this and hope you do the same. I will also be putting up a link to this site in the near future.

Don't just sit there; CHECK IT OUT!!
(I can't figure out this add a link thing, so you have to type it in yourself. Sorry.)

Monday, July 18, 2005

Sickie Update

Our Hairry Potter

I took this picture this morning as an indication of how my recovery is coming. For the first time in 4 days, Hairry decided it was safe to kick back and relax. Hairry has had to be in CONSTANT physical contact with me since I got back from the doctor on Friday. His behavior puzzled me until I looked at my prescription history on the prescription I got on Friday. The last time I had a prescription filled was 2/01. This was 9 months before Hairry was born. Hairry had NEVER seen Mom sick before, and it worried him.

Things are definitely looking up today. I woke this morning to find that the fog had finally lifted from my brain. This is probably due to the fact that I can now take deeper breaths and actually get some air to my brain. I had planned on returning to work today, but after yesterday, I decided to stay home today. I did laundry yesterday and got dizzy and winded just sorting the laundry. Not a good thing.

The weather is actually a cool 65 degrees today! This is supposed to change tomorrow, but I'm enjoying it today. L and Z did an admirable job of cooking over the weekend. They even cleaned up their mess!

Z is totally well and L still has a stuffed up head. He'll probably live, but then. . . .
Thanks everyone, for the concern and the sympathy over dealing with sick men.

L picked our Harry Potter up from the post office this morning. The postmistress said that she expected us to pick it up on Saturday. WTF? Amazon said they mailed it on Friday! They must have had a glitch in their email notifications. So it looks like we DID get the book on time. SO THERE SME, we had it first after all, nyah!! L managed to read 100 pages before he went to work.
I was going to reread the other 5 books first, but I think I'll take Squirl's advice and dive right into 6 while L is at work. I can always reread everything later.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

House of Pestilence!

The last week has been NO FUN! It started last Saturday when I got called in to work for a sick co-worker. As the day progressed I could feel myself sliding into illness. My throat was sore, my chest hurt, I had a killer headache. I came home from work and crashed. By Sunday I had a nasty cough, and my head and ears were totally plugged up.

Sunday L started displaying symptoms. Monday Z joined the club. So much for babying myself. I had 2 sick men to contend with! I went to work Monday and started feeling a little bit better every day. Then Friday hit me like a brick! While at work, I got so I couldn't stop coughing or draw a full breath. My boss, (one of my best friends) called in a replacement for me, made an emergency doctor appointment for me, and booted me out the door.

My doctor says that I have a severe bronchial infection that's developing into pneumonia. He couldn't understand how I was still walking around and semi-functioning with the little bit of air my lungs were supplying to my body. He prescribed 10 days of antibiotics and an immediate MASSIVE shot. This is some new kind of shot that takes about 3 minutes to inject. It's mixed with novocaine as it will be unbearably painful otherwise. The novocaine made my hip go numb by the time I got home. The shot also knocked me out for 3 hours. This was a great relief, as I hadn't slept well for a week!

I'm breathing a little better this morning. My head is still very fuzzy and muddled. The doctor says I should feel a LOT better by Monday. Fortunately L and Z didn't get the worst of this bug. L vomited for a couple of days and Z only has a mild head cold.

Our house is a certified disaster area! Dishes, blankets, pillows, and books are stacked everywhere! I must "crack the whip" over my guys and get them to picking up their mess.

L isn't letting me do anything this weekend. I guess I'll just blog and read. Amazon screwed up on the delivery of our new Harry Potter. We won't be getting it until Monday. Oh well, I wanted to re-read the other 5 books anyway.

I want to take this opportunity to wish my friend, Vest, a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Where I'm Coming From?

This post is in response to GreatWhiteBear's challenge:
"We all pretty much know what we believe. But ever ask yourself why you believe what you do? Did you have an epiphany? Ever think about who might have influenced your thought process? Do you believe the things you do simply because it's what your parents believed? My challenge to you.... Tell me who you are, what you believe, why. Who influenced you, who you admire. Post it on your blog or in my comments (let me know if you blog it)."

My post of 6/1, pretty much covers my views on religion. My Robert H. Heinlein quote of 6/3 gives you insight on how I live my life. NOW I need to look inside myself and discover WHY I live the way I do. Tough assignment GWB!

I guess my life boils down to the old nature vs. nurture debate.
Genetically, I come from a 100% Norwegian mother and a 50% German, 50% English, Scotch-Irish father. OH BOY, a LOT of stubborn, hard-headed genes here!
I'm almost 100%, 3rd generation American. Most of my family came here in the 1850s, although 1 branch of my mother's family has been here since the 1820s. This branch stayed out east for a generation before heading west. The rest of my ancestors headed west to Minnesota and Wisconsin immediately upon arriving in America.
My Dad's family was 100% live off the land, self-educated, do-it-yourself farmers. We pioneered southern Minnesota! Unlike GWB, we never fed George Washington. However, Frank James tried to buy horses from my great-grandfather, after the Northfield Raid. My great-grandpa's best friends, as a child, were the Native Americans in a nearby village. My Dad's family was never rich, but they lived a joyful life, filled with the love of nature and children. To this day, our family reunions are conducted outdoors, with kid-friendly activities. We're a noisy bunch, with all our 4th and 5th generation kids and dogs running around. We survive on potlucks and the "my house is your house" credo. If one of the kids scrapes a knee, we think nothing of going through each other's medicine cabinets. We all have a great sense of humor and tease each other unmercifully.
My Mom's family is more educated, and snobby. Here, I come from a long line of bankers, teachers, Lutheran ministers and administrators. We also have a famous Norwegian artist, Andreas Askvold, on this side of the family. There were also a lot of farmers, but they've been pretty well forgotten, as the lower side of the family. Family reunions, on my Mom's side of the family, are quiet, civilized, and totally BORING!! It would be UNTHINKABLE to enter one of their homes or refridgerators without express permission. Z and L have refused to attend another one of these events. My Mom's side of the family is extremely proud of their lineage and can trace it back to a barbarian Queen of Norway, Queen Sigrid the Beautiful. I've never been able to find ANYTHING about this woman, so I'm starting to think she's a "delusion of grandeur".

Now for the nurture side of my personality.
I'm an only child, so all my parents' hopes and dreams were wrapped up in me. My parents are ultra-conservative. EVERYTHING is black and white to them. Shades of gray don't exist! I was raised in a very strict, loving environment. My parents encouraged me to think for myself and not follow the crowd (that one came back and bit them BIG TIME). I was taught to respect the property and rights of others. My Dad taught me to respect the balance of nature and to "leave it as you found it". My childhood was filled with tent trips into wilderness areas that have since been civilized. I take pride in the ability to light a fire, ANYWHERE, with only 1 match. My Dad learned carpentry and cabinet making from his uncle and I was Dad's apprentice. Dad taught me to raise a puppy to become a member of the family. His family loves, respects and understands animals and I have never feared ANY animal. This trait has passed on to my children. My parents instilled a strong work ethic and tremendous sense of self-esteem in me. This has seen me through a lot of hard times.

Now for the epiphany part of my life. This is the hardest part for me. I've never really thought of any "light bulb moments" in my life that have changed everything. There HAD to be something as I'm a LOT different, politically, from my parents.
Graduating in 1974, I'm a product of the hippie generation. Having been raised surrounded by nature, I found the back-to-nature movement a natural progression in my life. I recycle and compost religiously. I avoid all man-made fertilizers and herbicides. Out of necessity, I have been forced to sparingly use commercial ant-killer. Birds, bats, and dragonflies help keep the mosquito population down in our yard. Prescription medications are kept to a minimum in our lives, although Prozac saved our daughter's life when she was a teen. I'm currently successfully treating my perimenopause and my husband's restless leg syndrome with vitamins and herbal remedies.
Free love wasn't much of an issue in my life, as I'm a totally monogamous individual. However, I DON'T believe that marriage is a piece of paper, it's a lifestyle! Committed couples, living together, are just as married as those who have the piece of paper, in my eyes. I also don't believe that homosexuality is a CHOICE! I think I've FINALLY convinced my parents of this; one of my major life accomplishments!
I think the biggest hippie influence in my life has been the anti-establishment movement. Ever since my teen years I've ALWAYS questioned authority. I'm extremely suspicious of big business and the two-party system. My parents came close to disowning me for not voting for "Saint Bush" in the last election.
The next, and perhaps greatest, influence in my life, has been my husband. I was raised to be a "good girl" and lived my life trying to please EVERYBODY. My husband taught me to unashamedly revel in my wild side. He taught me to be accountable to myself first, followed by our accountability to each other and our children. What a freeing idea!! My parents have NEVER forgiven him for this.

I guess this about covers my life up to the present. I like to think that I'm constantly evolving as a person. Some would say that I'm "stuck in a rut", but I really enjoy the rut we have created for ourselves. We live a relatively peaceful, loving life. What more could I possibly ask?

To my readers: Feel free to take up GWB's challenge. Let me know if you write a post on this topic.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

I Don't Know

Z asked me a question today that stumped me.
If the black box on an airplane is indestructible; why can't they make the whole plane out of the same material? He went on to say that he had heard this question posed on different occassions and the answer was that it would make the plane too heavy. Whew, Z answered this question himself!

Wrongo! His next question was about some new supersized airbus, that I hadn't heard of. He wants to know why a plane this big can carry an incredibly large load, yet they can't make a regular plane out of black box material?
Any answers out there?

Monday, July 04, 2005

Happy 4th of July!

John Trumbull's "Declaration of Independence"

I had a sleepless night (at least from midnight-3 a.m.), due to my north and south neighbor's drunken love affair with very loud, illegal incendiary devices (fireworks). These idiots were actually in possession of the cannon launched type of fireworks that our local fire dept. shoots off tonight. They were shooting them at each other over a state highway. Unfortunately, they were doing this in short bursts, so the sheriff's dept. couldn't catch them at it.

This experience got me to thinking about the TRUE meaning of this holiday. A lot of people see July 4th as an excuse to party. Others gather at parades, BBQs, and fireworks displays (the licensed, supervised kind). I choose this day to reflect on the events that led up to a handful of our "founding fathers" deciding to sever ties with England through the publication of The Declaration of Independence.

My favorite "signer" is Ben Franklin. I have always appreciated Ben's sense of humor. Reading his comments on society, I come away with the feeling that human nature hasn't changed in the last 229 years.

This morning I learned that Ben's formal education only occurred between the ages of 8-10. ALL his other knowledge was self-taught. Talk about a successful homeschooler!

According to Thomas Kindig:"Benjamin Franklin may by his life alone be the most profound statement of what an American strives to be." Kindig goes on to say:"Benjamin Franklin: Businessman, Writer, Publisher, Scientist, Diplomat, Legislator, and Social activist, was one of the earliest and strongest advocates for the abolition of Slavery, and for the protection of the rights of American aboriginal peoples."

Today, I ask my readers to take a few minutes to study this document and the brave men who signed it. Look up background information on the signers and tell me who your favorite "patriot" is.