Thursday, July 5, 2012


This round's on me *Friday After Class*

Awesome Au Jus We're gearing up to do a redecoration of Benjamin's room. (I've started a pinboard on tweenboy room ideas--let me know if you've got any!) I stumbled on this awesome etsy store when I was looking for map art projects. Although I know it's a bit too young for Benjamin, it's not too young for me!

The Fuss Wondering what this God Particle is? This version of the news for non-nerds was helpful.

Good to Know We just got back from a big trip and packing is fun but stressful. These are great tips and diagrams from Real Simple for the perfect suitcase.

Made Me Laugh 

Listen We own this CD and have listened to it many times. We picked up a used copy at a thrift store in Iowa so we had something to listen to in mom's car. Kevin got tired of it after a while, but I never get sick of this song. "Let's dim the daylights for the sweethearts that we are." "Avenues," Whiskeytown

Blogs I've been enjoying the collection of quotes and images on Self Inspiration. It's fun stuff I don't normally come across. (Though, I can't quite figure out what the blog is called: Self Inspiration, Que Sera Sera, Thinso Anyone? She seems to go by them all.)

Quoted “My thoughts are stars I can’t fathom into constellations.” --John Green, The Fault in Our Stars, via Self Inspiration.

Quoted I'm still trying to wrap my brain around this one. “Public opinion is always more tyrannical towards those who obviously fear it than towards those who feel indifferent to it.” --Bertrand Russell (via Happiness Project)


I love this video (via The Daybook) of 8 month old baby Grayson swimming. She's a natural.

Save me a spot at the bar!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Scenes from a Reunion

My twentieth high school reunion was this weekend.

We went to the Hempstead High School tour on Saturday. In the 20 years since we attended the 1960s open plan school, it's undergone so much remodeling it was hardly recognizable. The parts that were the same looked old. Case and point: driver's ed. These driving simulators must be original to the building. Honk honk!

We took a group photo of the people who came to the tour. It was the only time we got to see Karin, who teaches at Hempstead! I miss me some Karin (who is all the way to the left).

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Saturday night at the dinner, we dressed pretty and headed out to the Dubuque Shooting Society. It's a nice place for an event if you like animal heads and a place to keep your gun while you play a game. (The food was plain, healthy and tasty. I was impressed with the offerings for a catered buffet.)

Although not very many people made it, I enjoyed the friends we were able to reconnect with. (Why is my boob so shiny?)

Ryan and Marilynn (Less-Bartels), Lisa Dowel Fields and Me
My group photos are not that great; maybe someone with a better lens did better.

According to the band, Boomtangle, we be old! (Asking the rockers to turn the music down so we could talk = old. They did not turn it down, as they be rockers! Bryce didn't rock my face off, but my voice was nearly gone from shouting over the music.)

Tom, Joie, Bryce and Neil. (We went to school with Bryce and Neil and, I'm told, Tom.)
We reconnected with a few friends at the park on Sunday.

Back: Erika, Lisa, KaJuana, Cherri  Front: Ryan, Marilynn, Doni, Tim
We did another one when Nicky got there.

Back: Cherri, Lisa, Doni, Tim, Nicky Front: Ryan, Marilynn, KaJuana, Erika
My oldest living friend, Sunshine Penhollow, came up from Cedar Rapids. I haven't seen her since college. (It was so hot my bangs decided to go wild.)

And Benjamin climbed a tree.

When we got home, I took a long nap and I felt sore all over.  I'm not coming back for year 30. You all can come to Sacramento and camp in my yard.

Friday, June 29, 2012

FAC *Friday After Class* June 29 | 12

This round's on me. *Friday After Class*

Awesome Au Jus These Edo-era Japanese pregnancy dolls are so rad! I love the weird detail, like the stretch marks.

Listen Do you know the Old Crow Medicine Show? Their name is a bit scary, but their music is a rock-a-billy dream. One of my faves is "Wagon Wheel." (I'd love to find this print in tee form.)

Blogs The retronaut ran a great series on Edwardian Street Style.

Quoted  "We have our Arts so we won’t die of Truth." --Friedrich Nietzsche (via Brain Pickings)

Quoted I thought this line from this piece about why people become writers was a good reminder to all of us mothers out there, and all of us who felt underparented.
"Because the truth is that no mother’s protection and love can stop a writer from being a writer." --Lauren DeStefano

Made Me Laugh Nora Ephron made me laugh and I'm so saddened by her passing. Earlier in the day on the day she died, I had this thought after glimpsing one of her books on a shelf at a thrift store: I look forward to the next one.  I recently read "I Feel Bad About My Neck" and "I Remember Nothing" and really enjoyed them. Although our lives have followed very different paths and our ages and life styles set us decades apart, her wry aplomb spoke to me. Wise and light, funny and poignant, Ephron allowed women to be both rational and fickle creatures. She will be missed. Make some trouble.
"Whatever you choose, however many roads you travel, I hope that you choose not to be a lady. I hope you will find some way to break the rules and make a little trouble out there. And I also hope that you will choose to make some of that trouble on behalf of women." From Wellesley Commencement address, 1996


Save me a spot at the bar!

Surfing the Thrift

We went to Goodwill the other night. In addition to seeing my mama's picture on the wall, I found two treasures and another at St. Vinny's.

A vintage basket handbag. $2.00.

An earring box. $1.00.

A shellacked plaque of dogs watching a donkey drink water. 65 cents.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Scenes from Dubuque

Clothes on the line.

Austin is a fish. Here is a conversation I overheard:

Austin's Dad: Quit swallowing the water.

Austin: I'm not...I'm choking on it.

Tandem surfing.

Mom's custom plates! (Austin has always called her Pan Cake!)

Joey found a mole hole.




Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Recovering Perfectionist *Wise Wednesday*

I've often described myself in my thirties as a recovering perfectionist. Apparently, I'm not alone in this self-analysis. For most of us perfectionism is a debilitating practice that cripples our enjoyment of life and poisons our interpersonal relationships. The inability to "be perfect" in our own lives has created many of emotional breakdowns I'm sure.

You've likely seen this TED talk by Brene Brown called "The Power of Vulnerability" making the rounds over the past year. In many ways the practice of perfectionism is about keeping vulnerability at bay--it's affecting reason and order in a world we can neither predict nor control.

Many of my students who struggle with writing are stuck in the perfectionist's loop of negative self-talk. Occasionally writer's block is about creative depletion and exhaustion, but most of the time it's about perfectionism. There are so many wondering quotes by Anne Lamott about writing and getting past the blinding light of "perfect." Here is a bit of her Wisdom for your Wednesday.

“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won't have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren't even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they're doing it.” --Anne Lamott (via Yum & Yuk)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

When I'm Cleaning Windows

We all got a big chuckle watching the pilots clean the windows on the plane. No wiper fluid for them. Nope, they open the hatch and pour out some bottled water. It took a couple of bottles to finish the job. Considering airport prices, that was some expensive wiper fluid!


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Notes from . . . the Airport

Airports are their own genre of location--not quite a place as a building or house is a place, as even though it's a stationary place, the people and planes and luggage are on the move. No one is there to stay, which creates this sense of dislocation. There is a sort of transience about it, the energy vibrates at a different frequency.

We spent Saturday afternoon at Denver International, and here are my notes . . .


The airport has far more hicks than one might expect. Where are they all going to and from? When your iphone case is camo and clips into your belt, does that make you a hipster hick?


Put some clothes on people! I'm not saying we need to doll ourselves up in our best like we're taking the express in 1887, but seriously, pants and shoes would be nice when you're traveling in company. Is wearing flip flops and sports shorts really that much easier at security? You can't re-tie or re-slide on real shoes? And, don't tell me you're on your way to Mexico. You're going from air conditioned car to air conditioned airport to air conditioned plane back to air conditioned car to air conditioned hotel. I think you'll survive in dockers. And, airports often require us to run to make connections. Who wants to run in flip flops? (The gal I saw running on the people mover in flip flops did not look happy.) I always dress so that if need be, I could walk 8 miles in my shoes and clothes. You never know when it might be necessary.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="A hat so big you can't get through the door."][/caption]

In Denver there are hundreds of connections to midwestern cities. Over the intercom "Schultz" and "Schmidt" are being paged for locations like "Bismark."

I love seeing our service men and women in uniform, knowing some of them are going home to family and some of them are off to serve our country at home and abroad. I was pleased to find out that United gives complimentary bag check and priority boarding to those in service.

I was super excited to see they had a Jet Pens outlet in the terminal, only to arrive at it and find Jet Pets instead!

[caption id="attachment_567" align="aligncenter" width="630" caption="(Insert sad, visually-impaired face here.)"][/caption]

Traveling is stressful. There is running and sweating and shivering and lugging. Even when it goes well.

Turbulence never gets easier.

My belief in a God is most ambitious at take off and when we hit turbulence.

I am never happier then when we land.