Thursday, July 31, 2008

Here I go again ...

I admit it. I'm an Abba-girl. I can sing almost any of their songs, and if there is room, I will be dancing, too. Maybe it's because I lived in Norway when they were at their peak popularity (and really, one of the 4 Abba members -Annifrida- actually is Norwegian, they aren't all Swedes ... that was very important at that time to anyone living in Norway ...)
I saw the stage production several years ago when it was here, and today I went to see the movie. Maybe it's also that I travelled around Europe, including Greece, as a young woman, and could certainly have imagined falling in love on a beach and staying there forever, that makes me such a fan of this show.

Whatever the reason, I love this play, this musical, this movie, these songs ... and Meryl Streep is incredible!

Things my dogs know

When I turn off the TV, it's time to get up.

When I put the stylus away on my DS, it's time to get up.

When I put pants on (as opposed to any other article of clothing), it's time to get off the bed.

When I say "OK" it's time to run to the front door just in case I follow the word with "let's go outside."

When I call the boys upstairs, it's time to stand by the door to the garage so no one is "left behind."

When I pick up a book, it's time for a nap.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Office Update

Well, I am apparently totally inept when it comes to modern photographic technology. I took some photos with Ben's camera yesterday, then put it in my pocket and got to work. I cleared out three bags' worth of paper to the recycling bin, and emptied a couple of shelves - not a huge beginning but I felt pretty good about it! Then I came upstairs to load the pictures onto the computer to post here, and they were gone. (cue scary music.)

Disappeared. Vanished. Like they never were taken.

I am totally clueless as to what happened, sorry!

Monday, July 28, 2008


After my usual WiiFit workout this morning I decided to let it weigh me again ... haven't done that since day one, 3 weeks ago.

DOWN 3.1 pounds!

Break out the chocolate! um, err, maybe not the best way to celebrate ...

Sunday, July 27, 2008

an Awwwwww moment

You have to check out this video of these twin babies playing in the backyard sprinkler!

I always say baby anythings are SO CUTE!!!

Hold me accountable, please

OK, this week I am going to clean out my office. All 42 square feet of it (give or take.)

I am between jobs right now and am determined to whip that office into shape. Only problem is, I really don't wanna. But if I write about it here, and know you are all watching, maybe the peer pressure will keep me motivated.

Tomorrow morning I will take some "before" photos. Friday I will take another set.

Hopefully you will be able to see some difference.

Another Book

When I was up at my folks', I borrowed a Wallace Stegner novel I hadn't read before (really!) - and it started out with a Norwegian character in Minnesota, so I thought 'fer shure' I would love it. I have read other Stegner books and enjoyed them greatly, but this one, Big Rock Candy Mountain, just did not draw me in, and in the end I read about a third of it and then skipped to the last chapter, and even that really didn't interest me.

I just discovered that the book is supposed to be autobiographical, which makes it slightly more interesting, but not enough to go back and actually read the whole thing.

Quite the disappointment.

Saturday, July 26, 2008


While at camp last week, I read Without A Backward Glance, by Kate Veitch. It's the story of a young (very young) mother in Australia who, one Christmas Eve, walks away from her family - husband and 4 young children, and never comes back. I really don't want to say anything more about it, even though more is told just on the back cover of the book, because I want you to have the delight of reading it yourself and the author unfolds the story so much better than I could here.

Then I read two of Barbara Kingsolver's books - both of which I had read before - The Bean Trees, and Pigs in Heaven. It's been at least 20 years since I read them, and I remembered I loved the books, but honestly, I could not remember anything else at all. So it was great to re-read them - and yes, they are still great books!

Then when we went back to my parents' to pick up Ty and the dogs, my Mom was reading Anne Tyler's Back When We Were Grownups. I looked at the title and said "Oh, I read that, it was really good... What's it about again?" because I realized I had no memory of that book, either, other than I was sure I had read it and I was sure I had liked it. So I re-read it that night (it's not a very long book) and it made me realize that there are a LOT of books out there that I know I have read already and enjoyed, and can now safely read them again and not know how they end.

Yeah, big-time senior moments here ...

Friday, July 25, 2008

Tigger or Eyeore

I just heard on the radio that Randy Pausch died today. He's the author of The Last Lecture, the professor who became a world-wide celebrity based on the way he chose to handle his diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.
I just went on YouTube and re-listened to his lecture, and have tears in my eyes knowing that even as I see him sharing his wisdom on my computer, his family is saying goodbye to him today.
His views on life, choices, and attitude are worth spending time reflecting on. But it really can be boiled down to one question he asks near the end of his lecture. He says you have to decide how you are going to live your life: as a Tigger, or as an Eyeore.
Love it.
At the end of the lecture I thought to myself "this is one truly great man." And now I am going to be more Tigger-like.

Where's the Advil?

Pain ... sore ... oww ...

I can attest to the quality of Wii Fit. My Tae Kwon Do instructor used to say it was his job to make the students hurt in new ways with each session.

Wii Fit would please him.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Ben Patrol

A full 25% of the scouts in our group last week are named Ben. Whenever anyone needed something done, they yelled "Ben" and had a good chance of one of them being in ear-shot. Even the camp counselors just started saying "Ben" to any scout in our group, figuring their odds were pretty good that the scout they wanted would respond!

Afraid of heights, are you?

Here is the fire tower at the camp. It's 100 feet high (134 steps but who's counting?) and it shakes in the wind.

Part of the information our guide gave us was how deep the cement foundation it is secured in goes. Seems that is a common question.

And here we are at the top!

Some Many Point Photos

Here are a few photos from Many Point, the Boy Scout Camp we were at. It's a beautiful camp - has been the official Boy Scout Camp for Minneapolis-area troops since the late 1930's.

This is the beach where all the water activities took place. They had kayaks, canoes, sailboats, a water trampoline, and of course a beach for just plain 'ol swimming. During the morning and afternoon there were scheduled activities here, but in the evening everything was open for free time. This is Ben getting ready to sail during free time with Jeff, one of the older scouts who is more experienced with sailing.A bit of trivia for you - this camp, Many Point, has a larger fleet of Sunfish Sailbots (90 in total) than any other place in the US!
Here they are up close, and again from a bit farther away. Ben loved sailing, and got pretty good at it by the end of the week.

Wii Fit Update

Well, this morning I got on the Wii Fit ... it nicely reminded me I haven't been on it for 13 days. There's a good feature, guilt the user. And I did a full 30 minutes' worth, after which it cheered for me. This is the first time I have done the full yoga component and boy are my muscles tight! I can see a huge difference in what I can do today vs. what I could do when I was in yoga class or Tae Kwon Do. So I know what my goals are.

It's just SO NICE to go down the basement and get a good workout that is fun, too! I worked up a really good sweat, and got my heart rate up to a good number, and when I quit after a half-hour there were still plenty of options I didn't even try yet so I don't think it will get boring.

I'll keep reporting in here to keep myself accountable.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Friday AM Update

No rain for over 24 hours.


Yesterday was a bit more exciting than we as the troop would have liked. One of our first-years was hiking in boots that frankly, to this mother, looked a bit too big and a bit too loosely tied, and the inevitable happened - he tripped on a shoelace and ended up breaking his arm. He spent a couple of hours in an urgent care clinic in Detroit Lakes, and his Dad drove up last night so that they can head back today for the surgery needed to repair the break. But the young man refused to leave until after his merit badge session this morning so that he could finish up the requirements necessary to earn the badge!

HUGE teachable moment, though, as now all the leaders throughout the camp are going around looking at campers' shoes and saying "better tie those up ... yesterday a kid didn't and he BROKE HIS ARM."

I am really enjoying getting to know many of the adult leaders and many of the kids. (Of course there are also a few I am eager to depart from.) The food continues to be great and plentiful, and now that the weather is cooperating, all is well. Ben is finishing up his Environmental Science work, First Aid, and Photography - he will still have a couple of requirements to complete after we return home, but he is very close. Last night I went with one of the boys I didn't know well up to Archery -- he had to have a buddy in order to go, and everyone else wanted to do water-related activities. Turns out this guy will be in Ty's class at school this fall! So that was a fun coincidence.

Tonight is the closing campfire, and tomorrow morning we have breakfast and then break camp and head out. Ben & I are both looking forward to long, hot showers, and then sleeping as long as we want to! We have a bugler in our troop who is just 11 years old but is very, very good. I have actually really enjoyed hearing the Reveille every morning, and Taps at night. But. Sleeping a bit longer in the morning is going to feel sweet.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Thursday Update

Well, we have gone 17 hours without rain but the skies are gray ... Did sleep well last night, though! The mosquitoes are in hog-heaven. I'm going to try to get a picture of everybodies' legs with all the red welts. Nas-tee.

We are looking forward to the end.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Even the turtles are crying UNCLE!

OK, it's Wednesday morning, 10:00, and I am hiding in the administration building where they have free wi-fi (I just learned this fact last night) because it is POURING outside.

Yes, rain. Or, as the staff says here, there's a little dampness on the grass.

We got here Sunday at noon. Ben & I had a pleasant journey across the middle of the state on small roads and in cheery sunshine. We arrived, got our tent up, settled in to the camp, and all was well! That night it was cool - but not cold - and we slept wonderfully.

Monday was crisp and clear and we spent the day going to merit badge classes in the morning and then Ben went to the shooting range in the afternoon where he got to experience and try out a lot of different historical weapons - he really enjoyed it. That night he went sailing with one of the older scouts in his troop and they had a fabulous time out on the lake.

Monday night we got in bed around 10:30 ... just as the thunder started. For the next 3 hours we had a HUGE thunderstorm ... I would try to find a more colorful way to describe it, but frankly, I am tired. It was massive. Our tent held strong and tight until about 1:00 AM when two drops of water came through and I braced myself for a deluge ... but then the storm blew over and we had a peaceful rest of the night.

Tuesday dawned clear and sunny, and the tent dried out quickly. Mid-day we had a few scattered showers but nothing worth getting the rain coat out for, and then we had a beautiful evening. Mosquitoes are everywhere, but other than that no complaints at all!

The food has been terrific. Very filling and quite tasty, too. Every morning adults can go into the staff dining area and get fresh homemade caramel or cinnamon rolls, and coffee. THEN we join the kids for the real breakfast. One day we had breakfast corndogs (pancakes wrapped around breakfast sausage on a stick), one day Belgian-style waffles, today bagel breakfast pizzas. Lunches have been hamburgers, taco salad ... dinners spaghetti, ham and baked potatoes ... and every meal has a dessert of some sort. So we are not losing any weight while here!

We aren't gaining any, either. Yesterday I wore my pedometer all day just to see ... I walked nearly 9.5 miles. And our camping area is near the beach, at the bottom of a hill, and pretty much everything else is up the hill - the showers, the dining area, many of the merit badge class areas ... so we are going up and down all day long. Some of the paths are mud and rocks, some have actual steps, but all are steep!

This morning we awoke to rain - a gentle drizzle. It stopped as we walked to breakfast, and we hoped we were in for some sunshine. Not to be. While we ate, the drizzle came back and quickly escalated into a full-blown rain storm. So another leader and I got our computers after we got all the boys to their first merit badge class of the day, came here to the Admin building, and I am sitting here feeling a bit guilty that I am inside where it is dry and I know the boys are out there walking from class to class, getting SOAKED. But it wouldn't help anything if I got wet, too, right? That's what I tell myself anyway. It is supposed to rain all day today but tomorrow and Friday should be clear and sunny.

PLEASE keep your fingers crossed for us.

Last night Ben & I agreed that we were having a good time. Tonight may well be a different story. I hope he is able to keep his spirits up when soaking. We were supposed to do archery this afternoon but I am sure that won't be happening. And tonight is our night to climb the fire tower, but that may well be cancelled, too.

I have been taking a lot of pictures so will eventually get some posted here (we don't have the connecting cable to put them on the computer here.) I will be back to check email and comments again probably Friday morning so will report in on the water-tightness of our tent (so far, so good ... but I am worried about the length of the rainfall today ...) and the level of our spirits!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Friday Night Lights

Greetings from the Great "Up North"! The boys, dogs & I arrived here (my folks') around 8:30 tonight. At 8:30:05 the heavens opened and we were soaked to the skin just running the 20 feet from the car to the front door. The "lights" we are seeing here are magnificent bolts of lightning over Lake Superior. Tonight, very aptly named.
This follows our excitement yesterday when a violent yet brief storm swept through Bloomington, and our power went out. For 24 hours. Just long enough for us to be miserable and for the refrigerator to completely warm up.

But we got our freezer contents safely to a friend's house so all would stay frozen, and we emptied the refrigerator, and then left town. Just another day in the life of this suburban housewife.

Sunday I deliver Ben to Boy Scout Camp. Six months ago when I signed up to stay in the tent with him for a week it sounded like a grand adventure. With two days' worth of nasty storms, it's not sounding quite so good to me right now. I will be taking close note of which hotel is closest to the camp ground, just in case.

Hopefully tomorrow will be sunny and beautiful.

It is July, after all.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


Today the boys & I were out running errands and, on a whim, stopped at the Mall so Ben could check out Legoland for what's new. When we got there, we decided to walk around for a while - using the pedometer to make it feel like exercise - and we walked past the store "Game Stop." I glanced at the name above the door and for some bizarre reason read it as "Canine Soup." I know, not even close. But it made me giggle, and when the boys asked me what I was laughing at I stopped to explain, and somewhere in that 2 minutes we were standing I got the urge to go in and say to the sales clerk (who looked to be about 14) "I don't suppose there is ANY chance you have a Wii Fit, right?" ... and being the realist I am, I started to walk away before he even answered ... because when he said YES, I about fainted!

So there we were, in the middle of the Mall, and I could not stop grinning and saying "WE HAVE A WII FIT!!!!!" Over and over. The boys begged me to stop.

So. Came home and tried it out. Ty went first, being the Wii champion he is. The body testing was not pleasant. It weighs you, did you know that? And then it asks your height and your birth date. Then it tells you the bad news. Both Ty & I are NOT in the "good health" category, and both of us have body ages above our real ones.

But ok, that's why we bought it.

We made the rule - well, *I* made the rule - that NO ONE, and that means NO ONE, is allowed to talk about what they see on the Wii. What happens on the Wii stays on the Wii.

Anyway, both Ty & I did about a half-hour's exploratory playing-slash-exercising with it, and you know what? It felt good. Like a good workout, fun, and worthy of feeling of accomplishment and pride at the end.

And THAT, really, is why I bought it.

Friday, July 04, 2008

My least favorite modern convenience

People sometimes wonder why I hate the phone, as if I am some sort of weirdo. Well, I am not alone. I found this post and after reading it and the ensuing comments, I feel like I am in VERY good company!!!

Phone-haters of the world, unite!

My Inner European

This is only because Norwegian was not an option ...

Your Inner European is French!

Smart and sophisticated.

You have the best of everything - at least, *you* think so.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008


This is the end product of my afternoon's activities. Well, not this EXACTLY but one just like it (I am too lazy to go take my own photo and upload it here. Much easier to find a photo someone else already took. And this is what it will look like when there is snow ... which, according to the wonderful weather in Minnesota, could be in as little as 3 weeks.)
It's way fun.