Making History at the Low, Low Price of Common Sense

>> Thursday, August 30, 2007

Wal-Mart has chosen an outlet in my home town to make history. "This one location will be the retail giant's FIRST in Canada to remain open for 24 hours - except for Sundays, when provincial law will keep it from keeping the doors open around the clock," states a local newspaper. Wow, what a thing to be famous for.

Come on, are there seriously THAT many people who will be shopping at 3 AM that it pays to keep the power on and pay more people to work the night shift? What has become of our society that we need that much more time for shopping? (Other than being increasingly discontented and ungrateful for what we have, obviously.) I remember we survived quite nicely before we could shop on Sundays. Heck, here in the Valley, we've got ONE night a week when most retailers are open late, which is 8 PM 'round these here parts. And you know what? It took a little getting used to, us coming from the Big City and all, but we've survived. We've learned to plan and work around the Valley's retail schedule. The two grocery stores in town are open every evening until 9, but that's it. Can the highly civilized masses in urban centres simply not survive without being able to shop 24/7?

A spokesperson for Wal-Mart states the location was picked partly because there is an "abundance of shift workers in the area," including those working at a nearby hospital. This, I feel, is a weak argument. I have a sister-in-law who's a nurse and yeah, she works crazy hours, but I've never known her to be without something essential, even though she couldn't pick it up in the middle of the night. Because many of her shifts are 12-hr shifts, she generally doesn't work more than 4 a week and my math might be rusty, but I'm pretty sure that leaves 3 full days that she can run to the nearest Wal-Mart during normal daytime business hours. Not only that, in her 6-week rotation, she has numerous multiple-day breaks, so with a SHRED of common sense and advance planning, she can easily purchase everything she'll need for her upcoming workdays during a day (or week) off. Is this not logical?

Granted, she's a single gal, so life is a little less complicated than it is for some, but what working mother doesn't know how to plan ahead just a little to make her life and the lives of her family members run a little smoother? If nothing else, you ask your spouse, an older child, your sister or mother to run the errand for you. For generations, this kind of system has worked wonderfully. In a pinch, in the Big City there are a couple of Shoppers Drug Mart (large drugstore chain) locations that are open 24/7 and most essentials and emergency items -- like medicine for a child who's suddenly come down with the flu or a visiting aunt who's having an allergic reaction -- can be purchased there. Is there really enough need in that particular demographic to warrant another chain being open all night long?

But yes, now Wal-Mart is giving each and every purchase a sense of urgency, even if it's completely unnecessary and you've been sound asleep for several hours. I guess it'll be really handy for those who frequently wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, thinking, "Oh shoot, if I don't run out and buy that new nose-hair trimmer and silicone oven mitt set this very minute, I might spontaneouly combust!!! THANK GOODNESS THERE'S A WAL-MART OPEN!"

I'm sure there are those for whom this is a good solution to a mildly annoying issue, but for how many? Are there really that many people who simply cannot shop ANY other time on any given week? And what effect will this have on the 'precious environment' that we're all seemingly so interested in fiercely defending and preserving? I'm curious to know by how much the store's electricity bill will go up. I guess being able to shop whenever we want is simply one of the growing number of things that is simply more popular than using common sense.


Makes this a bit of a joke, if you ask me:


But a 24/7 Wal-Mart experience certainly has its supporters. "That rocks! It will be like Shoppers Drug Mart -- but better," said one 17-yr old female who was interviewed by a local newspaper. Well, it's certainly tough to argue while writhing in the crushing grip of THAT kind of logic.

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Wordless Wednesday

>> Wednesday, August 29, 2007


There've been so many comments about my gardening abilities that I'm feeling the need to admit that I SUCK WITH PLANTS!!!! They only get watered if it rains and if Bushman hadn't been fairly consistenly tilling once a week this summer, the good plants would long ago have been choked out by weeds. I'm NOT a gardener, but I do plant a garden every year because I like to EAT the results!
The plants to the left of the girls are corn, and on the other side, leaning into the picture, are my 15-ft sunflowers. In the background is one of three VERY PROLIFIC zucchini bushes. (Hubby doesn't believe in putting just one seed in each hole when he's planting!) As you can see from the picture, we've also got tomatoes and green beans. I also put in onions, lettuce, carrots, and jalapenos and Bushman added cucumbers and pumpkins. I wish I'd also put in potatoes, but for whatever reason, I didn't this year.
But thank you all for your generous compliments on my gardening abilities!!!

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ANOTHER GREAT CONTEST!!!!

>> Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Check out 5 Minutes 4 Moms for details of how to win this

HP Photosmart A626 Compact Photo Printer!!

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Of birthdays and handbags and things left unsaid

Ahhhh, here we are again. Sigh. Another week -- and a week away from home, no less. BUT, considering the last week and a half has contained a huge family gathering at the lake, no less than THREE birthday suppers, and my mother and mother-in-law's cooking, I'd say, to be able to report no change -- once again -- is pretty amazing. This is exactly what I was hoping for this week, so I'm right on track. At least in that aspect! I'd planned to lose some weight before maintaining at 184.6 was a victory!! Check out Tales From the Scales for other updates, inspiration, tricks and tips.

I sure did have an awesome week, though. I brought my parents home from the family gathering last Monday and they left their car here for Bushman to bring back to the city when he joined us this last Friday. My first order of business in the city? Treat myself to a NEW PURSE that boldly declares,

"I no longer have to carry
diapers, wipes, changes of clothing,
crayons, games, toys, snacks,
and drinks -- WOO-HOO!!!"


(How'd I do?) I also had to stock up on shoes, pants, and long-sleeved shirts for my Peanut, who's starting Kindergarten next Thursday. Man, that girl costs us money! Dang kid's limbs won't quit growing long enough for our bank account to recover from the last time we had to buy her a new wardrobe!! Thank goodness for Wal-Mart and Value Village.

On Wednesday (my 35th birthday -- gasp!!), despite having 'southern hemisphere nether-region issues,' I had a great day. Mid-morning a delivery guy dropped off a beautiful bouquet of roses from Bushman, who'd ordered them from the semi-truck the day before (how DID we survive before cell-phones?!) and I just generally lazed around -- between trips to the bathroom -- and luckily, because I didn't actually feel sick, I got to enjoy a wonderful Chinese food birthday supper with my kids and parents. HURRAY for big city restaurant PICK-UP AND DELIVERY options!!!!!

Friday, Bushman joined us in the big city and after briefly saying Hi to the girls, he swept me away to another birthday supper at a restaurant with no plastic seats or play places (!!!) and then we went to a CFL game in the evening with Andrea and much of her family. What an awesome night out! And despite being a rather boring game, the right team won! Go, Big Blue!!

And then, after a whirlwind weekend at the in-laws -- which included the third and final birthday supper! -- it was all over again. It really is amazing how I always feel like I'm SO ready to go home again, but once we're on the road, it feels too soon. It's always bittersweet.

Well, those were the low- and hi-lites. It's good to be back.

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Wordless Wednesday

>> Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I'd previously posted this last week, but just had to share it today.
This picture just kills me!
Jennifer Beals, eat your heart out!!!
Remember Flashdance and leg warmers? Can you believe that's like,
TWENTY-FIVE YEARS AGO??!!!
The movie came out in '83, but I'm sure leg-warmers had already been introduced to the fitness and dance world a year or two earlier. But oh, what a fashion craze that movie kicked off for the general public!! Spandex pants and leg-warmers. My mom never allowed the spandex pants, but I vividly remember my pair of sky blue leg-warmers!!! {{shudder}} Man, I feel old.

These are so much cuter -- and actually have a practical use other than a 'Mini-Pops' Flashdance audition.
Check out the Mom4Life website for BabyLegs and lots of other cool mom-designed and mom-made products.
(I know, I know, it's supposed to be WORDLESS Wednesday, but I couldn't help myself. Plus, you should really check out that site.)

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MDWLC Weekly Weigh-In

Well, I'm not at home and I don't want to use someone else's scale, but I wanted to report that I HAVE been doing better at controlling myself, eating less, eating less CRAP, and talking to God more about the whole issue. I didn't do so well in the first half of the MDWLC week, but I shaped up for Friday.

I spent the weekend at a family gathering at the lake and as I'm sure you're all aware, these types of shin-digs offer FAR too many opportunities for over-eating and under-activity-ing. I'm pleased to report that I did well in both areas, taking my 40-minute walks both days and eating only at meal times -- or at least decreasing the amount I ate if I'd had a bit of a snack in between.

I'm in the city now until Sunday or Monday, and both my mom and my mother-in-law tend to make way more food when they have guests than when they're at home alone, so I still have a very challenging 5 or 6 days ahead of me.

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Laughing Out Loud

>> Friday, August 17, 2007

I'll be away for at least the next 10 days, so I don't expect to make more than one or two short entries during that time (unless mom and dad have upgraded to hi-speed...), but I wanted to leave you with this.

Do you have a built-in gauge which tells you exactly how funny something is? I do. When I'm by myself and I read or see something that makes me laugh out loud, that's when I know something is truly hilarious. I generally don't laugh out loud when I'm all by myself. (Makes me feel a little crazed) But when I can't stop laughing, well, it's worth sharing.

Pioneer Woman is one of my favourite blogs. This woman has an incredible sense of humour and is a very talented story-teller and photographer. Many of her posts detail events and life on their beautiful cattle ranch. (Vegetarians and squeamish, beware! I do mean DETAIL.) Once you've visited her site, I'm sure you'll be adding her to your list of favourites, too. Unless you're a vegetarian or easily grossed out.

Anyway, yesterday I decided to check out some of her "Gross Out Stories." I never even made it past the first one. I was all by myself..... holding my sides and laughing until there were tears in my eyes.

You seriously MUST read this!
Especially if you're planning on buying a Barbie and some accessories in the near future.

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Wordless Wednesday

>> Wednesday, August 15, 2007

(click here for more Wordless Wednesdays)


I know, I know, it's not actually Wednesday yet even though that's what it says on the date stamp. So sue me. I'm having a COMPUTER-FREE day tomorrow. ALL day. Gotta get my act together and start getting things done around here. (Haha, wish me luck!!)

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A Strong Woman vs. A Woman of Strength

>> Tuesday, August 14, 2007


A strong woman works out every day to keep her body in shape.
A woman of strength kneels in prayer to keep her soul in shape.

A strong woman isn't afraid of anything.
A woman of strength shows courage in the midst of fear.

A strong woman won't let anyone get the best of her.
A woman of strength gives her best to everyone.

A strong woman makes mistakes and avoids the same in the future.
A woman of strength realizes life's mistakes can also be God's blessings and capitalizes on them.

A strong woman walks surefootedly.
A woman of strength knows God will catch her when she falls.

A strong woman wears the look of confidence on her face.
A woman of strength wears grace.

A strong woman has faith that she is strong enough for the journey.
A woman of strength has faith that it is in the journey that she will become strong.

- author unknown
Hmmmm, I wonder what woman I am? Sometimes, I think, neither. I'm a very weak woman when it comes to self-discipline. Once again, there's no change in my weight. And I know there are those of you out there who've been congratulating me on maintaining, but you know, honestly, maintaining an overweight body isn't a challenge! I'm only 11 pounds lighter than my very heaviest weight and I've been at that weight several times in the last 6 years. Maintaining something quite close to my maximum weight isn't something I feel I should be congratulated for, it's something I'm ashamed of. I'm abusing and taking for granted the body God gave me.

Paul tells us in the Bible that God says to us, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." (2 Cor. 12:9) This always sounds to me like I'm helping God practise His power by being a weak, undisciplined person. I know that's not necessary. God's power has been perfect from the beginning of time. So what does this mean for me this week, exactly?

I know I'm forgiven when I give in to temptation and have a second piece of dessert or helping of mashed potatoes, but this week I want to concentrate on how God's perfect power can be demonstrated through my lifestyle and decisions. Through my developing ability to restrain myself at the table (and while the girls are napping in the afternoon!) and desire to be active.

And to talk to God about it. I'm guilty of believing God doesn't care about my weight, that there are so many more important issues for Him to concern Himself with. And in reality, there are. But there is no such thing as a trivial prayer and this week, I will concentrate on praying for myself and developing my strength in Him.

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Blown Away

>> Monday, August 13, 2007

Oh my goodness! I'm speechless. Susanne @ Truly Captivating has given me an AWARD!! For being NICE! (Good thing I haven't done what I often felt like doing and ranting and growling about pet peeves and ornery individuals like I've sometimes been tempted to do!!)




"This award is for those bloggers who are nice people; good blog friends and those who inspire good feelings and inspiration. Also for those who are a positive influence on our blogging world. Once you've been awarded please pass it on to others who you feel are deserving of this award."



It's been wonderful getting to know Susanne through her blog and feeling like we're so similar in so many ways. I'm honoured and humbled all at the same time to know she feels this way about me and that she's letting other people know. Thank you so much, Susanne -- not only for the award, but for your encouragement and the kind words you so often leave on my blog.

And now, to pass it along.

In the last several weeks, you may or may not have noticed my "Blogosphere Favourites" column getting longer and longer. There are just so many wonderful blogs out there and I've actually told myself I'm not allowed to visit any more new ones because I'm trying to curb my computer time and blogging is just NOT helping!!

However, I do have a few favourites that really stand out -- women who've inspired me, moved me, encouraged me, and helped me learn new things about myself and God -- and I want to acknowledge them now. So I pass along this award to:

Sandy @ 4 Reluctant Entertainers -- for helping me see that hospitality doesn't mean having people over for a fancy meal once your house is spotless; it means simply giving of yourself. Also for the numerous examples of how easy it can be.

Christine @ Fruit in Season for inspiring women to be godly wives and to devote themselves to honouring their husbands and heavenly Father.

Lori @ The Simple Life at Home and Alyson @ Proud to be Country! for their thoughts and ideas on slowing down and simplifying our cluttered, busy, whirlwind 21st century lives.

And for Thea @ I'm a Drama Mama for being very human and very real in a world where it's so easy to just pretend, and for her constant words of encouragement to me in my struggles to break old, bad habits and form new, good ones.

Hugs and huge thank you's to all of you!



tammi





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Successful Swimmer and Happy-on-Horseback

>> Saturday, August 11, 2007

Wow, am I ever glad this week is over!! My Peanut had swimming lessons in a nearby town this week and they do things a little differently than back in the big city. Here, the lessons are twice a day for one week. And of course, the lessons aren't back-to-back, or even an hour apart, but FOUR-AND-A-HALF hours apart. Too long to just hang out in a tiny town with two little kids and nothing to do. The one week commitment is nice, but driving 20 minutes both ways TWICE a day is A LOT OF DRIVING! Not to mention either needing to line up a babysitter for Punkin or trying to convince her that it was fun to just watch Peanut swimming from outside the pool enclosure! (you can imagine how successful that was!)

In any case, we knew Peanut was ready for lessons and we'd already decided we'd be okay with this week being a write-off in terms of getting things done around the house and yard due to all the driving, so we did it anyway. Swimming lessons are important enough to put aside lawn mowing and laundry for a week. Well, as I write, my house is AN ABSOLUTE DISASTER, but I have an avid little swimmer! She couldn't be convinced to jump into the pool, but other than her method of entry, she did really well. She listened well to the instructor (after being reminded the first couple of lessons that she had to keep her head above the water in order to hear the teacher!), and performed all the tasks well.

On Friday, instead of driving back and forth in between lessons, we were invited to spend the afternoon with friends who own a small hobby farm a 5-minute drive from the pool. Punkin's had a fascination with horses since she could talk and immediately wanted to ride. Peanut did too, but the instant the horse started to move, she decided she liked being on the ground rather. Punkin is still completely fearless and after only a few minutes, she was looking like a natural. Ferlin was only too happy to spend time leading her around on their gentlest horse. She couldn't have been happier!

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S.M.A.R.T. Habits Saturday

(Haha, in keeping with the whole not wanting to have 'theme days' here on my blog.... )


Well, a few weeks ago I came across the S.M.A.R.T. Habits Saturday site and thought, "hey, this looks like fun; I could use some smart habits." So I made my first SMARTy-pants promises and almost promptly forgot about it.

I've missed the last couple of Saturdays, but I have to admit I gave up on my flower beds. I mowed over the weeds in an effort to better distinguish them from the good plants, but the roots are just too deep. Without a motorized tiller, I just can't do anything there now.

But, I'm proud to report that I did finally go through my youngest daughter's dresser last week, and yesterday, I carted all the outgrown clothing to the church's thrift store. I'd said I was going to spend 15 minutes a day tackling that task, but ended up doing it all in one day just last week -- and discovered that it only took me about an hour in total. And that included making sure the 2-piece outfits were together again, folding all the clothing, and packing it in boxes.

I've come to realize there are two major problems with my approach to chores around the house:

  1. I've got this preconceived notion that most jobs will be monumental, when in reality, they likely only require a relatively small amount of time once I actually get started.
  2. I think about jobs too much beforehand, rather than just tackling them. That time I spend thinking about them is likely why a simple task begins to grow complicated in my mind.
So having learned that about myself, I'm going to try and keep that revelation in mind this week while I'm:

  • harvesting and preserving garden produce
  • helping the girls tidy up the toys each day as part of bedtime prep
  • keeping my kitchen clean and tidy
  • getting ready for a camping weekend, followed immediately by a week away

(It might be 2 or 3 Saturdays before I can update this since next weekend is my dad's huge annual family gathering at the lake and the weekend after that, we'll be in the city visiting family.)

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Thankful Thursday

>> Thursday, August 9, 2007

I wasn't going to get into the habit of doing 'theme days' here on my blog, but since thankfulness is something I often struggle with, this week I will follow Sting My Heart's lead, prompted by Andrea's "H is for Happy" post and have a Thankful Thursday!

When I sit down to really think about all the things and people in my life that I'm thankful for, the list is infinite, but today I'm going to focus on a few simple things. Right now, as I'm sitting here typing, no one else is awake and in the stillness of my quiet time, somewhere out in the yard, a songbird is singing beautifully. I'm thankful that for once, it's not a magpie I'm hearing!!!! (Oh wait, there's one. Fortunately, it's further away.)

I'm so thankful that I have a yard where birds, other than pesky house sparrows and grackles, want to make their home. We talk a lot about moving back to the city for better job opportunities for both of us once the girls are in school and I tell ya, it's going to kill me to leave this yard. I love it that my girls have 4 acres to run around in -- although I'm not always thankful for the amount of yardwork! (In spring when we have to mow 3 times a week, I sure wouldn't mind a 50X100' city lot!!)

I'm thankful that my girls are old enough and that we live in an area where they can just go outside and play for hours, exploring our shelterbelt, picking raspberries, and playing with kittens. There are often days when I don't see them for several hours, but occasionally hear their laughter, shouts, and conversations. They love being outside and I love it that they can be. I love it that we have a play structure and a nice big sandbox -- and that they don't take up our whole back yard.

I'm so thankful for the learning opportunities this yard out in the middle of nowhere presents my daughters with. I can't imagine having enough patience to homeschool them, but this yard has been a wonderful 'school.' We've seen puppies being stillborn, we've seen a successful litter of kittens being born, we've studied hummingbirds from our dining room window, we've watched ants scurry back and forth in efforts to repair their home after stomping the anthill, we've watched plants grow, we've watched the flowers on the beautiful mountain ash trees turn into little green berries to bright red berries to bird droppings, we've stood under the blooming plum trees in May and marvelled at the steady hum as hundreds of bees, wasps, and other winged creatures collect nectar from the blossoms, we've witnessed death -- accidental, deliberate, and natural -- and we know EXACTLY where meat comes from and how it gets to our table.

I'm thankful for my husband's garden -- I'm calling it his because other than plant and seed it, I haven't really done any of the work in there this year -- because it's an inexpensive way of filling our freezer and pantry with food. I'm the first to admit I don't like gardening, but as harvest looms in the near future, my goal is to make use of as much of the produce as I can. I do love fresh garden produce and I look forward to many containers of salsa and packages of corn and green beans in my freezer.

I don't know, I could really go on and on, ad nauseum, but I want to share this little poem with you and then I'll quit.

I'm Thankful For...

The mess to clean up after a party because it means I have been surrounded by friends.
The taxes I pay because it means that I'm employed.
The clothes that fit a little too snug because it means I have enough to eat.
My shadow who watches me work because it means I am out in the sunshine.
The spot I find at the far end of the parking lot because it means I am capable of walking.
All the complaining I hear about our government because it means we have freedom of speech.
That lady behind me in church who sings off-key because it means that I can hear.
The piles of laundry and ironing because it means my loved ones are nearby.
The lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning, and gutters that need fixing because it means I have a home.
My huge heating bill because it means that I am warm.
Weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day because it means that I have been productive.
The alarm that goes off in the early morning hours because it means that I am alive.



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Wordless Wednesday

>> Wednesday, August 8, 2007


My niece, Malia


See Wordless Wednesday's official website.

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MDWLC Update

>> Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Once again, no change.

August is such a bad month for trying to stick with anything around here. Two large, 3-day family gatherings, a weekend at the lake for church camp, I've got a week in the city planned for right after one of the family gatherings, and this week I'll be driving back and forth from the nearest pool (20 minutes away) not once, but TWICE a day, while Peanut has her swimming lessons at noon and 4 PM. To say I'm not really caring about what we eat, so long as we get something in our mouths this month, is putting it mildly! I'm sure that's the wrong attitude, but I'm already exhausted -- even though we opted out of the first family gathering and so nothing has really even happened yet!!


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Just a dusty, deserted back road...

>> Sunday, August 5, 2007

The picture in my blog title is the 1-mile stretch where I walk almost daily. I'm pretty much the only one who uses it -- definitely just for walking anyway. Just on the other side of the trees you see in the distance is a cattle farm as well as a horse farm, but neither have homes; they're just where the animals are kept. I think I'd have to walk almost 5 miles down that road before I'd come to another house. I walk to those trees and back at least 5 times a week. Recently, since The Bushman often leaves early in the morning and comes home late, I've started taking my girls in the bike trailer, using it usually as a stroller, but occasionally as it's intended. It's never quite the same though, if it isn't just me and Whiskie.

My walk is my time to daydream, mostly. I've planned sermons, argued with The Bushman, (argued with almost everyone, actually!), prayed for my friends and my daughters, argued with God, pleaded with God, and done an awful lot of daydreaming. I prefer to take my walks first thing in the morning, before anyone else is even awake yet, in order to plan my day, organize my thoughts -- and wake up a little more myself before coming inside, pouring a cup of coffee, and doing my devotions.

I think the thing I love most about my walks, and the reason I'm quite jealous of that particular quiet time, is the varied experiences I've had while walking there and back on that 1-mile stretch of road. I've experienced thunder and lightning, blizzards, impenetrable fog, pouring rain, gigantic wet snowflakes, pitch blackness, semi-darkness, unbearable heat, mind-numbing cold, and warm gentle mist. That 1-mile stretch of road has challenged me -- DARED me -- to face ALL weather for the last almost 2 years.

Another thing you would probably not guess about that rather uninteresting stretch of road is the wildlife encounters it's presented me. I've seen several deer, countless coyotes and jack rabbits, too many skunks, and just 3 days ago, a porcupine -- which I thought only lived down by the river. Not surprisingly, Whiskie found it too, but amazingly, she seems to have learned her lesson from her 2 nasty run-ins this spring. There were only about 24 quills to pull this time! (As opposed to 2-3 THOUSAND!!!) I think the coolest two animal sightings have got to be from spring a year and a half ago, and just this afternoon.

In spring, the water in the ditches is quite high -- the ditches are probably about 6 ft deep on either side right at our end of the mile road and get only slightly shallower towards the far end -- and it's not uncommon for ducks and geese to spend time paddling around in the ditches in the spring run-off. One early morning, as I walked along, merrily day-dreaming away, I realized I was walking alongside a swimming beaver! I was actually almost past it before it realized how close I was and gave the patented THWACK! of its tail before disappearing. No one believed me that a beaver would be swimming up my ditch, over a mile from the nearest river, but there's really no disputing the tail whack now is there?

And today, I think, was the most bizarre sighting. Not really animal, I guess, though. I was just past the half-mile when I heard a really loud humming sound. Every now and again, for whatever reason, the hydro or phone lines along the road hum, but this was very different -- and it was coming from the other side of the road. I looked and saw a HUGE cloud of flying insects, seemingly hovering above a large patch of tansies and suddenly realized it was a swarm of BEES! And it was moving towards me.

I'd already slowed my pace, but was instantly surrounded by bees. I promptly spun around and began walking the opposited direction (quite rapidly!), preparing myself to be stung numerous times, but in just a moment or two, I realized I wasn't in the thick of it anymore. I turned around to look. The whole swarm was crossing the road and moving off into the field. Just buzzing merrily along, like the family was out for a Sunday drive. Or 'crop-touring' as it's called around here!

I don't know if their hive was destroyed and the whole colony was in search of a new one or what, but I have never seen a swarm of bees like that before -- outside of an apiary -- in my life. And certainly never been IN one before either!! It was just so cool to witness something that I'd never seen before. (and of course, to not be stung!) I watched them for a while, until I lost them against the dark alfalfa bales in the field and shook my head in amazement.

Until moving out here, I would never have thought I'd encounter a beaver or a swarm of bees, but I'm almost to the point where nothing really surprises me here anymore. Just amazes me. I'm amazed at the sky, the view, that I never tire of it and that it seems new and unique every morning. I'm amazed at how the same fields, during the course of the year in their various stages, never bore me. And mostly, I'm amazed at the awesome wildlife I've been able to see with my very own naked eyes on that unassuming 1-mile stretch of road.

And I thought,

"If God can make one dusty deserted road that interesting, how much more can He do with me?"

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My VERY HOT Weekend

>> Thursday, August 2, 2007

And of course I'm referring to how I look in a swimsuit!!! I'd orginally entitled this entry "My Weekend in He**," but I decided to change it. Even though it was STINKIN' HOT, there was no wailing and gnashing of teeth. At least none that I was aware of. (well, maybe a couple of outbursts from the kids when they didn't feel it was bedtime yet or that kind of thing!) So I wracked my brain, trying to think of a witty replacement title, but either my brain is still recovering from being overheated or I'm just not that creative, because this is all I could come up with. It was definitely the hottest stretch of 4 days I've experienced outdoors in my memory!! (which isn't saying much, maybe) And I'm not just talking too hot to work, I'm talking too-hot-to-do-anything-but-breathe-and-drag-yourself-to-the-lake-and-collapse-in-the-water hot! Perfect camping weather. If you're at home during that kind of a heatwave, you've still got work to do, indoors and out, but if you're at a campground during a heatwave, all there is to do is sit around in the shade at the campsite or swim anyway, so it's perfect if it's hot. Even awesome, I'd say.

We arrived Friday around 6-ish and ate supper with the in-laws and one sister-in-law before we positioned and set up the camper -- and once the girls were in bed, we bee-lined it to the lake because both of us were drenched with sweat as a result of our efforts. Actually, that's pretty much what we did after everything the whole time! Finish eating, jump in the lake. Done in the bathroom, jump in the lake. Finished getting dressed, jump in the lake! It was just so incredibly hot and humid.

By 11:30 PM, the whole family was accounted for and on Saturday morning, the festivities started. With a trip to the lake right after breakfast. Man, it was hot. Saturday morning was cloudy and shortly after lunch, we had a short thunder shower, but any hopes that the lightning and rain would clear up the humidity were dashed as the clouds moved on and the sun came out with a fury.

The girls had an awesome time playing with their cousins Joelle and Malia (oh, and their uncle and aunts, too!!) -- everything from 'puppy' to "batminton" to wading in the little makeshift pool their grandpa had fashioned out of a small tarp and some firewood. (I know, pretty ingenious, eh?!) The fashion of hat-wearing caught on, inspired by those with fairer skin who wanted to avoid sunburn, and both my girls ended up wearing their dad's hats -- one his fishing hat and the other, a weird reversible hunting hat. Both of which were way too big. And then on Monday afternoon, grandma broke out the skater helmets, so those were a big hit, too. I'm really hoping this doesn't mean we can expect skateboards or rollerblades for Christmas... Not many things would be more meaningless for a couple of kids who live at least a mile from the nearest concrete!

On Sunday afternoon, 2 sister-in-laws left, leaving the 2 couples and grandma and grandpa, and when Les and
Andrea left Monday afternoon, we had grandma and grandpa all to ourselves for the last day. It seemed very quiet after the activity of 8 adults and 4 little girls on the campsite!

Andrea, you should be very thankful you guys left when you did. Monday night was a COOKER. And that's putting it mildly. It was really windy, but for some reason there was little to no air movement down on the ground. I didn't really sleep that well because it was so beastly hot -- and incredibly maddening that I could hear the wind whipping through the trees just 10 feet above us. Boy, was I thankful when it was finally morning and we could go jump in the lake again!!! If that ever happens again, I'm seriously considering a moonlight dip in the lake. Sheesh.

The lake where we camped has lots of sandbars, so you have to walk almost a quarter-mile before it's deep enough for an adult to swim, but it's great for younger kids and for just playing in the water. And our girls did SO well in the water this year. It's funny; two years ago, the Peanut (who's now 5-1/2) panicked in water more than 4 inches deep and this year, she's a total fish. Constantly ducking under the water, swimming (flailing!) like crazy, and floating on her back. She absolutely LOVES the water. Makes me glad I enrolled her in swimming lessons, which she'll start next Tuesday. The Punkin just turned three earlier this summer and she was definitely more cautious, but over the course of the four days, got very comfortable relying on her life jacket and walking out to the deeper water and playing there. She's definitely more at ease in water than her sister was at the same age.

Below are just a few of the awesome memories I captured on film last weekend.





And then there's the thing I love most about being at the lake....

Nothing beats a beautiful sunset over the water.

Though it was good to be home and Bushman was feeling like it was high time to put in some hours at work again, it was over way too soon. I'm already looking forward to next year.


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Parade Friday in Pictures

>> Wednesday, August 1, 2007

"Parade Friday," as it's affectionately known around these parts is the official kick-off for the Valley's annual Northwest Round-up and Exhibition. Having come from the city where everything is open ALL the time (many businesses even on Christmas Day and Good Friday), I think it's so totally cool that the entire valley simply shuts down for Parade Friday so that everyone can attend. The main drag through town is sealed off for the parade anyway, so you couldn't get to a store to shop even if it was open. I think that's awesome. That some days, like Good Friday, Christmas Day -- and Parade Friday -- are still special in some areas of the country.
Our family and good friends of ours, waiting with great anticipation for the parade to begin -- and the opening floats. (Is it called a float when it's mounted standard-bearers?) We couldn't have asked for more perfect weather than we had.
All manner of horse-drawn floats. What a contrast between the massive draft horses and the little minis in the last photo! The funeral home float was beautiful -- all velvety, shiny, and polished. Very luxurious. I hope I die in the summer time (MANY years from now, of course!!) and that they'll be willing to haul me over to my final resting place in a rig like that!


The first picture is the John Deere combine history lesson. You can see the HUGE modern combines behind the first little portable thresher. I love the farm machinery floats. I guess it's still a novelty to me.


And like the farm machinery, you've got your automobile floats. From the ancient to the classic to the banged-up derby cars, we saw them all.

And of course, no parade would be a true parade without the Shriners on mini-trikes and the Red Hat Society in a beautiful, brand new magenta half-ton. And just like that, it was over and with mommy and daddy lugging the huge bags of candy back to the van, we slowly made our way back home....to begin our camping trip.

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