Pageviews past week

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Who's the Adult here?

Today during some down time (roughly translated that means I'm not standing in front of my class as the authority figure), one of my boys had taken scotch tape and taped one of his eyes from his eye brow down. That looked like an open invitation to Kid #2 to rip it off. How do I describe this? Think waxing. Think removing old bandages when you were a kid. Fortunately one of the merciful components of being a seventh grade boy who would think to tape his eyes is an apparent lack of pain receptors. But I'm so embarrassed to admit that what should have been me leaping across my desk to grab Kid #2 by the freaking scruff of his neck was me breaking out into uncontrollable guffaws with the rest of the class. It was hysterical! Do you ever look around waiting for the REAL adult to show up and make things all better only to realize that sadly you are now that adult...?

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Beatles Italiano

When I look in the mirror I often gasp. Who is that and where did she come from? Graying temples, little crease lines around my lips. And then if we head south...let's not. In my mind I feel young. I have never been more comfortable with who I am or what I'm doing. But recently I was brought up short by a triple dose of generation gap-itis. One of my seventh graders asked me if the Beatles had come from Italy. I stopped dead in my tracks. Then I just turned slowly, walked to the window, and looked out over the street below. Is it possible that an entire generation (and I hold his parents responsible) will enter adulthood (however loosely we define that) not knowing the Beatles???? No Hey Jude, Revolution, Martha My Love, Here Comes the Sun?? NO HERE COMES THE SUN??? Can anything possibly fill that gap? It was a grim moment. I realized that not only am I waxing old and cracking as I do it, but the world I'm entering is peopled by short humans who will never know the 60's or Reagan or black and white TV or nickel ice cream cones or wearing dresses to school every day. And even though I can plaster my classroom walls with Beatles posters and teach poetry from a superb book called Beatles to Beowulf, it will just never be the same as turning on Ed Sullivan and watching America ape out as four mop tops direct from ENGLAND bounce around on a stage and change society as we knew it. And that is truly a sadness.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Remembering Wayne Johnson

My brother-in-law died in Minneapolis today. Exactly two weeks ago we received news that he had a massive brain tumor; then he had surgery; then he developed a fever and now he is gone. He stopped speaking a few days ago, but he did reach for a piece of fudge offered to him. I smiled when I heard that. In honor of his passing I'd like to record my best memories of our ten year friendship as the spouses of a brother and sister.
--canoeing the Boundary Waters of northern Minnesota (and talking forever afterwards about the size of the insects!)
--camping on Lake Superior
--hiking all day near Lutsen Ski Resort, Minnesota
--biking 40 miles along an old railway track to Red Wing, Minnesota
--chomping on huge grilled turkey legs at a Renaissance Fair near Minneapolis
--Thanksgiving feasts
--eating decadent caramel cashew sundaes at ButterBurgers MULTIPLE days in a row!!
--shopping doorbuster sales at Kohl's!
--receiving Wayne's homemade caramels without fail at Christmas
--big friendly bear hugs and a kiss on the cheek every time we met
--feeding the missionaries during the Christmas holidays
--meatballs at IKEA
--watching the slide show of Diane and Wayne's marvelous adventure in Alaska
--teaching me how to rollerblade around Lake Harriet in Minneapolis
--strolling through Boys' Town in Omaha on a beautiful autumn day
--taking a day to explore the Bridges of Madison County in Iowa (Mugsy insisted on sitting on Wayne's lap the whole time!)
--taking pictures of each other in front of John Wayne's birthhome also in Iowa
--bar-b-ques at Carefree (summer home of our parents-in-law)
--meeting for the first time and cutting up vegetables for Don and Mitzi's 50th wedding anniversary together at the sink as we got acquainted
--eating those gigantic hamburgers and taking a boat trip around Duluth, Minnesota
--exchanging gifts
--giving Wayne and Diane the two bit tour of Bear Lake and Montpelier a year ago
--a taco party when I came for Charlie's birth in February--the last visit with Wayne
--lively conversations about Mormonism and Lutheranism
I have only good good memories which I shall recall always with fondness. Good bye dear friend.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Remember the Ugandan bandits?

My loyal "following" will remember a past post with a tragic story involving a brother-in-law, Uganda, several years of faithful journals saved on a hard drive, and FBI coming to the rescue. Right? We Thanksgiving-ed with this family including the FBI nephew of mine. I am so so sorry to report that it was all in vain. Two missions to Africa recorded meticulously in detail were not retrievable. We can only hope that they fell into gentle hands and will eventually end up loosely veiled as a pop novel in Ugandan bookstores and libraries. That reminds me of another missionary robbery tale. Brazilian thieves this time. Tabernacle Choir cd's and player instead of a computer. However THIS time the cd's were returned to the missionary's front step the next day. I guess the MoTab's not the hottest seller on the Brazilian black market...

Dear Santa

It's officially time to write to you, Santa Claus. First of all this year I'm asking (for the eleventh straight year...) for an American Girl doll--Kit--she's the cutest. I assume that because you seem to keep forgetting this item that perhaps you run out before you get my letter--so I'm early this year. I also need some new pajamas--preferably red (my signature color)and flannel. Because I'm going east after Christmas Day, I also need some ready cash--in $50 (about 6 or 7) denominations is OK. And I want Michael Chabon's newest book--you'll have to the title, Santa. That's all. Short list this year. And I've been ever so good with just a few exceptions. Love to you and the Mrs. P.S. Sorry about the pitiful assortment of movies about you this year. That must be so tiresome year after year to have to sort through them all. ONE EXCEPTION: Stalking Santa! Ho HO Ho on that one!!! Especially cute "elf".

SPAM what am!

I deleted 243 email from my spam file yesterday and wondered to myself, "Do you think that SPAM is offended that we have named all of our junk mail after it?" In fact, email spam is WORSE than that. Real SPAM at least has a history and somewhat of a following. My worst SPAM experience was on a camping trip. The girl in charge of one of the meals made us SPAM foil dinners with canned peas and carrots. My best SPAM experience was at the Minnesota (aka Home of SPAM) State Fair. When you go there look for the SPAMMobile. You get free SPAM on a toothpick AND SPAM refrigerator magnets for which I am a sucker. Actually I'm surprised that Hormel hasn't taken this all to a higher legal level. Perhaps they have and lost. I can just see a judge passing down sentence that there are only so many synonyms for GARBAGE and we just all need to move on.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Hot Flashes

Sooner or later we all knew this blog would deteriorate into a discussion of female hormones. Actually I don't really suffer from those symptoms, so we can move on. What I'm talking about is the vast range of temperatures I feel during the night. I am undermined in my determination to sleep by my husband Jerry who was a furnace in a former life and my dog Mugsy who is not only charcoal with fur but is also heavy and gravitates towards me every night. I also need to admit here that I am chilly at night before I go to bed (which explains why I leap blithely into bed every night from the pile of clothes I shed to the sheets--did I SAY I sleep in my skivvies??? No, but I will neither confirm or deny that). Our electric blanket takes the immediate chill out of the bed, but I have an issue with that blanket. Yes, I love her dual controls, and yes I admit that I am sorely dependant on her. But recently when I have reached to turn her off midway through the night--Mr. Furnace and Mr. Charcoal having kicked it into high gear--she has failed me and I am forced to dangle a leg, arm, or both out into the cold night air of our bedroom. THEN, the rocket scientist that I live with discovered that our controls were twisted!!! I was turning off his side of the bed (morphing him into a heat seeking furnace) and mine was staying revved up! Can you feel my pain dear reader????? Dog on top, husband shimmying up for heat and I'm gasping for air under a fully heated blanket! At any rate, problem is remedied. Sleep well. Hey, I'm getting blogging lessons for Christmas! My blogging instructor has been sold into white slavery, so I've been forced to seek other sources. Hang on. I'll be zinging your eyes out soon. Incidentally we've had a week of funerals, sadness, and deep ponderings. I think there's a law against blogging on downers. Stopping before I digress.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Let's go HIKE!

Alps 2006!

The river flowing through Interlaken, Switzerland looks like it's flowing with Crest toothpaste!

Three days after we hiked here below the JungFrau, a huge huge (able to cover small countries) part of the mountain slid off in an avalanche. Grindelwald (where we had stayed in a hostel two nights before) was filled with dust for a day! It was in all the international news. Yikes!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Madeline L'Engle

Madeline L'Engle died today at 88. I'm pausing to pay tribute to her and thank her for being a significant person in my life. When I was ten years old I was confined for about four months with hepatitis. My Aunt Dorothy sent me her new Newbery Award book for the year, A Wrinkle in Time. I remember how wonderful it was to escape the tedium of my sick bed by reading that book. I LOVED it. Her book, Two-Part Invention, about her marriage also impacted me. Read ALL her books!! I met Mrs. L'Engle at a tea sponsored by Victoria magazine at the Park Hotel in New York City about 11 years ago. My friend Bonnie and I attended the tea which was quite a posh affair--women in hats and gloves, little cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches, and mints shaped like little teapots. When the time arrived to buy books and have Madeline autograph them, Bonnie and I only had credit cards which they wouldn't take, BUT they DID let us write out IOU's!!! We couldn't believe it!!!! I've never been ANYWHERE that would let me write out an IOU let alone smack dab in the middle of New York City!!!! Thank you Mrs. L'Engle for being such a gracious woman, smashing author, and most of all for being so willing to trust us! Carry on. I was always so jealous that you were the next door neighbor of one of my other favorites--M. Scott Peck. How you must have enjoyed each other.

Saturday, September 1, 2007


I really could sit around all day and blog. It keeps me sharp. I never know what will come out onto the page, nor do I know whom I will offend or inspire or push over the edge. Today I feel pressed to write about flies. Some of you may or may not know that I work during the day as a 7th grade English teacher, but I also moonlight as a fly hit man. Who would ever guess that 54 years into this party I would FINALLY discover that I do indeed have latent talents in this department! For instance, yesterday I was on duty. My beat held its regulars--the out-of-control-in-your-face guy who is almost as big as a hummingbird. He zooms around the house at full throttle looking for a new place to land (and probably defecate which is what flies do every time they land. Right??). I grabbed a nearby swatter---I have strategically placed a fly swatter approximately every 3 feet withing my grasp. Now the chase was on. My method is not as scientific as Jerry's. He slaps where he predicts the fly will land and has about a 99% positive return rate. I prefer to swing the swatter and bang it down randomly. I somewhat resemble the one time I played golf. I chased this fat boy around the kitchen, circled with him as he teased me at our compost tub, clipped a wing at a window, and then he headed upstairs. Sensing that I had him at least cornered, I tore up the stairs two at a time swinging the swatter in a menacing manner and yelling in my best Nazi gestapo voice, "You villain! I vill get you!!!" When I got into the bedroom, I paused to listen for his motor. Silence. I swatted the floor a few times to let him know I meant business and he'd better come out and play fair. No fly. But I had time and could wait. And wait. And wait. Three chapters later still no fly. Now my experience with flies (and believe me it is vast) has taught me that seldom do flies die of heart attacks or emphysema. Nor do they calmly open doors or sneak back outside through the screen cracks through which they entered. Besides, he was probably off breeding and would hopefully tire of even that and reappear. Later last night I took a portrait of Taggart off the wall in the library to move it up and AND THERE HE WAS!!!!! SLEEPING!!!!!!! Well, I went balistic!!!! My evil twin wanted to start chucking books at him! Corner him in a mayonnaise jar and remove hairy body parts with tweezers while he screamed for mercy!!!!!!! With all the skills I could muster I grabbed a swatter, went into my wind up, and smashed that sucker!!!!!!!! He smeared all over the wall, my swatter, and I think he even hurled a kidney in the direction of my how-to books! I'll teach him how-to...$#@!)!_#)$$(%(($))_#@()#@++!)@)#((($ I may be over the edge here. Today I comtemplated taking the blinds down to see if flies were breeding in the inner workings--you know that bar at the top? I think I'm hallucinating too. Now I see tiny little flying objects. I think they're F.I.T.'s (flies in training) and they seem to outnumber their elders by about 20 to 1. More on this later. Duty calls. bzzzzzzzzzz.....*$((*(&*(??@$#!!!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Wa Wa Wa!!

All I seem to have attracted on my blog are WHINERS! I go into the comments looking for positive affirmations and all I read are: You're dropping out here! You're not writing comments back! You have a dirty nose!!!
Sheesh. Is this blogging just another responsibility??? I'm feeling some pressure to keep it going--sort of like a plant that needs watering or a dog you have to potty! I say to one and all -- I HAVE A LIFE TOO!!!
There I've vented. We're sweating here. It's hot and we're getting cranky. I'm in the process of breathing life (now, THAT'S NOBLE!!!) into my library. We got some really tall IKEA bookcases and I immediately began to load one up with my "vast' media. The idea was to have aisles (like a real library!), so I stuck a shelf kind of in the aisle position of the room. When I came back a while later, it had crashed to the floor, my videos and dvd's were scattered all over @$#%^$#!!, and now the wall has been gaping wounds. A tragedy of gargantuan proportions. I guess we'll have to fill up the holes and slap some more paint up. Putting books on shelves shouldn't be THAT big of a deal....unless you have to put them all in categories and alphabetical order. The older I get the more that way I have become. I guess I need to spice up this blog with some pictures. So anyway, what does blog mean? Is it an acronym? Best liberal offerings galore? Belly laughs or grins??? I'm just musing here. Maybe it's a combination of block and log or something. Anybody know the derivation of the word? Sweating here. Dripping all over the keys. Sticky. Grouchy. Thirsty. Book plus log equals blog. Actually it sounds more like a caveman name. Blog hungry!!! Blog make fire!! Blog hunt beast! Blog no like your face! So, there. I'm agonna post this. I guess I'm setting myself up for some more whiney wieney comments out there. OK. I have a question. Do you like look every day to see if I've posted???? Am I supposed to keep that good of track of you??????????????????? A little more info on blogness here, please. I realize the majority of my readers are yucking it up in California. I can't believe THEY have time to critique my blog, but nevertheless they are running home from Disneyland to fling some mud at my blog!!!! Enough already!!!!! Go put your mouse ears on the think happy thoughts. In the meantime, I'll try and be more regular. Prunes, anyone????

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Helloooo out there in Blogland!

Not dead here. Aw go on, you say? It's true. My bones are still kicking around this old earth. If I were being paid to blog I'd have been fired by now. Someone needed to coach me through the initial stages of bloghood. Shame on you for not!!! My current excuse is that my laptop is permanently sleeping or someone euthanised it when I wasn't looking. At any rate I have to share --- and in spite of having grown up with Bert and Ernie I don't share well with others! Hey, speaking of Bert and Ernie!!! I want a cookie! Send COOKIES!!!! So today we did the family thing in Utah. Ah the family thing...ya gotta love it. Actually today we were welcoming my sister and brother in law home from their mission/adventures in Uganda. Now huddle up for this one--my B.I.L. Doug is an anal WAIT!!!! DID I SAY ANAL????? I meant AVID journal keeper. He has volumes and volumes and bookcases full of these intricate entries. Rumor has it that when he gathers his clan (they number in the dozens now) he READS out of these journals to them....six years ago on Christmas, when Noelle was born yadayadayada---(I think his journals are one of the coolest things about him, actually, And he is way cool--been in our family since I was 9 for heaven's sake) Well, for the last 7 years he's been journaling on his computer. A few weeks back he put all 7 years on a thumb drive. Smart move????? Au contraire, naiive reader!!!! Some nasty bandit Ugandans broke into their house and snatched away that thumb drive which was resting inconspicuously in a brief case side pocket!!!!!! Are you just gasping???????????? I nearly wet myself at this point in the story being the English writey bookish sort that I am!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Poor poor poor Doug...It knocked all the wind out of his sails for journaling. Well, I GUESS SO!!! But the rest of the story is that a missionary couple is bringing the computer home with them soon, good son Darrin is going to take it to work with him at the F.B.I. (Can you hear the cavalry sounding in the distance???? Oh reader! Let it swell in your breast!) and they're going to extract all 7 years. I'm sobbing here...Isn't that a great story? Aren't you glad I'm back??? Now comment and I'll write more and you'll comment and you'll send COOKIES!!!!! Right???? Oh, I have so much more to say. Another time. Au revoir.

Monday, February 19, 2007

President's Un-Birthday Day

Nothing is more depressing than to be halfway through the vacation day that you so looked forward to. Nothing, that is, except realizing that you have a mound of 7th grade English projects that you must grade or dispose of somehow within the next 20 hours. I remember thinking one day when I was a children's librarian that I couldn't shelve ANOTHER book!!! EVER!!!! A scary place to reach when that is a large part of your job!! So it is with correcting papers! I think I may puke all over them!!! And how would I explain THAT?????? Nevertheless they await--like the silent gargoyles on Notre Dame-- I'll tell you something else depressing. You were looking too cheery anyway. Here's what's depressing--YOUR face missing from a COMPLETE (as in all siblings and spouses) family photo taken on safari in Uganda a few weeks ago!!!! Don't they know that every word they ever speak about that trip ever again will be like a dagger in my jealous heart?????? Oh well, go have a piece of un-birthday cake for this un-birthday day on which we celebrate the births of two presidents who have moved so far beyond this world that I'm betting they can't barely even remember it!!!!! Go cogitate on THAT one.

Friday, February 16, 2007

No Skinny Dipping in Minnesota!

Hey one and all,
I just returned from a wild and wooly 10 days with my daughter Shelly and her husband Dave and new offshoot, Charlie. I did all the new baby things--counted toes (and fingers!!! In our family occasionally a baby shows up with 6 fingers!!), held an object up to be tracked, folded and refolded all the cute little baby outfits, picked crud out from between little toes, kissed little toes, Q-tipped all the little nooks and crannies, and basically did the grandma thing. It was blessed cold there! -35 one day. Had meatballs at IKEA. Traipsed around the Mall of America. I got an amazing bargain at the Prairie Home Companion Store. Have you seen The Queen? Go. Good movie. When does one get quippy and clever on these blogs??? I'm much more original in my emails. Perhaps I'm a Blog Late Bloomer. At any moment I'll probably erupt into downright brilliance! Until then I'm going to take some blogging lesson from Tanner and hope he can turn this all around. Shuffling off, Mad Hadder

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Let there be BLOGS!

Greetings and similar salutations of the day!
I'm a rookie blogger, but I am probably going to discover that every day of my life so far has led me to this blog page! Finally a place to vent, create, and bend ears (or eyes as the case may be). You the gentle reader can zip in or out and I can continue on as if the whole world is waiting for my next and every word! I hope to pick up some knitters along the way as well as a good sampling of teacher and traveler types. Can we print these things off???? So now what do I do? How do I attract readers? Hey Everybody!!! Free punch and cookies at the Mad Hadder's blogsite!
I need to figure out how to post pictures, videos, recipes, knitting patterns etc. This would be a great thing for my students. Daily journal writing! So who wants to give me Blog lessons???? Amy! Tanner! Laurel! Help!!!!!

Favorite books

  • Me 'n Steve
  • Thundering Sneakers
  • James Herriott's vet books
  • The Count of Monte Cristo
  • Travels with Charley
  • A Walk in the Woods
  • Peace Like a River
  • The Egg and I
  • Mary Poppins
  • Extremly Loud Incredibly Close
  • How Green Was my Valley