One woman saving the world a blog at a time…
March 25th, 2015
March 12th, 2015
Sorry, had to get that out. Man, has this weather not been amazing? It has been great feeling the warm sun and watching my yard go from a frozen tundra to a massive mud pit. I can’t say my furry child Missy is as happy about the climate change. While the sun is nice, my princess now has to tiptoe through the slop on her outings.
This week has been a bit crazy. It’s nearly kept me from taking a moment to just enjoy the change in temperature.
Let’s first talk about springing forward. I don’t get it. One of the many great things about living in Arizona was the lack of daylight savings time. Who does it benefit? Seriously. I’ve always thought maybe it was for farmers. But since I’ve moved to sunny Iowa, I learned quickly that along with the postal service, dark of night does not stop the dedicated farmer — especially when his combine has headlights.
One hour seems like a miniscule amount of time, but as I groggily stumbled out of bed Sunday morning I’d be inclined to disagree. That began the busy week ahead.
I could have used that hour Wednesday morning when I overslept and made a mad dash out of bed to get dressed for work. Or later in the day when unforeseen circumstances caused things to be due at the same time.
I’m sure I could use that hour today as Femme Wonder and I prepare for our first jewelry show of the season at Sibley’s Farm and Home Show from 9-2 Saturday. I’m sure I could argue I need several extra hours to prepare. I suppose as long as we look at it as a learning experience, we will have a good chuckle Saturday when once again we’ve forgotten something we needed to bring along with us.
To quote the famous philosopher Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
I am making a promise to myself that this year I will take those moments to pause and reflect. The moments to get the things done I’ve set out to do versus falling back into the bad habit of plopping down on the couch and not moving until it is time to go to bed.
Last night, I determined what exactly is going in our garden this year with input from the hubby man. Tomatoes (lots of tomatoes), carrots, potatoes and peas. Simple, yes, but it is what we are most likely to eat. I’d like to try corn personally, but, that may be too hard to grow enough for what I would want to can in the space of our yard. I can live with that.
I chuckle in the fact that my research and decision on what to plant took less than 10 minutes when I’ve put it off for two months or more. How silly it is to put off something like that because of the excuse “I don’t have time.”
It’s amazing how one hour can change so many things. There are several people I can think of right now that I’d do nearly anything to get one more hour with. I’m sure we can all relate.
February 27th, 2015
Well, my little brother and the kids got a good dose of what an Iowa winter feels like last week in their own backyard. Much of my home state of Kentucky was hit by inches upon inches of the white four-lettered “s” word we pretty much take in stride around here.
I tease him mercilessly about it when the girls have snow days for less than an inch on the ground or even more so when the threat of snow leads to the district calling off classes and nothing happens.
Now to their credit, the weather in Kentucky can change at the drop of a hat, particularly in the central part where we’re from. I remember years ago what was predicted as a “light dusting” was anything but. The entire town was practically shut down and as a collective, most people lost faith in the weatherman. Since then, it seems whenever a flake is in the forecast, bread and milk aisles are cleared at Kroger, Meijer and Wal-Mart.
Just to show some things never change even decades later, my brother Shane confirmed the bread and milk blitz on the grocery store while he casually perused the discount Valentine’s Day candy. (That’s my boy! Always looking for bargain chocolate amidst the chaos.)
As you might imagine, with half a foot of snow or more can shut down the state, moving here was a bit of a shock. The first winter I spent here, I saw more snow in three months than in nearly three decades of life. Hubby kept telling me the winters here were no worse than they are back home. Ha!
I remember trying to run through a drift at my father-in-law’s house, stepped too deeply and managed to find myself able to sit on top of the snow with my legs covered and stuck. People, I am not short. I’m 5’9” and 44” of that are my legs. (Thanks Dad!) Think about that.
However, I did appreciate the ability to make epic snow angels, which I took pictures of to send back home.
I’ve adapted now. Seven winters here will do that I suppose. Thirty degree days are now considered relatively warm. I find myself braving winter temps in T-shirts when it is reasonable. Canning ensures I’ll have food on the shelves. It’s not milk and bread, I know, but I am sure we can manage.
As of Monday, Shane still had his sanity and hair following a week of cold temps and kids out of school. I keep telling him it isn’t so bad up here in the winter. I’m not sure Mother Nature helped my argument. But, now that he has survived and thrived, maybe I can convince him he needs to move closer to his big sister.
And yes dear, you were right, the winters here are finally the same as they are in Kentucky…
February 16th, 2015
February 3rd, 2015
Sure, there are days that work is stressful, no matter what your vocation is. If I said the newspaper biz was always peachy keen I’d be a liar. But there are days that make me smile and be glad I do what I do.
Last Saturday I was privileged to watch students gather at Sibley-Ocheyedan to learn about science. On paper that sounds like it would be sort of dull. Though I know I’m a nerd at heart, I think most people would have been equally amused to observe the event.
I couldn’t help but laugh as I watched duos run through the hallways of S-O Middle School, one pushing the other on a scooter as they attempted to navigate a slew of obstacles. The screams, laughs and sparkles in the eyes of the kids instantly brought a smile to my face. To be honest, I wish I could’ve flown down the hall on one of those scooters, but I’m not sure I’d have been able to get back up off the ground afterwards. I was tired just watching the energy.
Friday night I got to cover the chili cook-off. I’ll level with you, I had no idea what to expect. I’m not really a chili person. I don’t do spicy foods well at all and when you come from a family that expects chili to be hot, well, you avoid it at all costs.
When I arrived, I was amazed at the turnout and more so by the creativity that was put into the booths. I can only imagine how long it took to create not only the aesthetics but the concoctions that were the focal point of the evening.
After a little coaxing from Jesse, our Daily Globe photographer, I finally tried a few that were on the mild side, and they were pretty good. I received an education on styles of chili and learned there were many combinations beyond just beans and beef. I can now say I’ve tried pheasant, thanks to the chili opener.
Now, while Jesse coaxed me to eat chili, no amount of coaxing on the planet could have talked me into getting out on the ice Saturday afternoon. If the shift in temperature wasn’t bone chilling enough, the mere thought of walking out across that lake scared me to death.
I know, I know, it’s sort of a stupid thing to be scared of. But all I could envision was me either A) falling down on the ice and hurting something I probably wasn’t even aware I had or B) falling down on the ice and breaking the video camera I’d been entrusted with or C) falling through the ice and taking the plunge myself. None of the above sounded like a great way to spend my afternoon.
But a few things warmed my heart while I observed people dressed as ninja turtles, sharks and even bacon jump into the water. On the shore I saw Berniece and Norma, two ladies I’d met the night prior at the chili cook-off. I found the pair delightful when I met them and discussed with them the finer points of chili, but seeing them all bundled up on the shore made me grin ear to ear.
The pair told me they were good friends, both widowed, and had pledged to go out and try new things together. They often go on outings with one another, and to continue their first Winterfest experience they had agreed to watch the dippers.
I have no idea how long they stayed. The wind was pretty brutal. But all I could think of was, “That will be Femme Wonder and me when we get to that age.” When I relayed the story to Bec later, she asked if that would be us before I could even confirm the thought.
Little warm fuzzies like those are why I love what I do. I enjoy the people I meet and the new experiences I get to have that I might otherwise never have considered. But no way am I getting out on the ice willingly. Nope. Unh-unh, not happening.
January 21st, 2015
You would think in writing this blog for the past six months it would have dawned on me at some point to explain why I have, or rather how I earned, the nickname Power Femme. However, you’d be wrong — well, until this morning that is. Femme Wonder mentioned it offhandedly a while back and it went in one ear and right out the other, likely jumping the turnstile in the middle to speed up the process.
In my estimation (at least my definition) of Power Femme would be a woman who is strong, a bit feminine but can still hold her own. I think that describes me well. I like to think I am a pretty tough cookie, albeit a sweet one likely covered in sprinkles and probably full of… chocolate.
But here’s how I got the name.
Years upon years ago, I want to say 2000, I was living with another Robin. It made for some interesting phone conversations to determine which of us the caller wanted. (Aah, the days of house phones.) Anyway, Robin bought a house in a decent neighborhood back home but the house was a fixer-upper to say the least. Unbeknownst to her at the time, she’d bought the house of the neighborhood drug dealer that practically every neighbor was happy to say good riddance to. One even took the “For Sale” sign out of his yard when she introduced herself as a jail officer.
Getting the house ready to move in was a nightmare of sorts. Doors and windows had to be replaced. You never think when buying a house that you need to inspect every pane of glass in the windows to ensure they are there. When I managed to windex the bushes in the front of the house… I learned this is something you need to do.
Femme Wonder spent hours upon hours with us bleaching, mopping, painting and more to get the house in order. It’s pretty bad when Beccie splashed bleach on the wall accidentally and discovered that minty green kitchen was actually baby blue.
Part of the prepping process of the house was to paint the inside of the closets. The two-bedroom house was unique in that the closets connected the rooms to one another. The bedrooms shared a long closet between them and the second connected the front bedroom to the living room. We had removed the long shelves from the closet, moving them to the garage for painting purposes. They’d been drying outside for several days as other projects occupied our time. Finally, they were ready to return, and Beccie and I were ready to earn our nicknames.
Robin had left to go somewhere. She might have made her 1,000,000,000th trip to Home Depot or Lowe’s, maybe she was getting lunch, I don’t remember. What I do remember is she left Bec and I in the house alone with a determination that we too could be savvy with home repair.
We were given the task to put the shelves back into the closets. This should have been a no-brainer and certainly an easy enough task for two competent women such as ourselves to accomplish, right?
We carried the first one into the closet and it went in fine — a little loose, but fine. A shared high-five led us to shelf two, and that’s when we hit a snag. This one was just a little too big. We struggled, strained and tried everything short of slabbing butter on it. With glistening brows covered in sweat and not just because it was summertime in Kentucky, we began to discuss what the problem was and what the most logical solution would be.
We deduced that the wood must have swollen due to it sitting outside for however long it had been there. Kentucky summers are nice and humid, surely that would have caused the wood to expand. Well, with the problem determined, next we needed a solution. Like kids in a candy store, our faces lit up and our mouths curled up into mischievous grins as we saw the answer to our dilemma… a power saw.
Now, to be fair, Beccie tried to talk me out of it, I think. The argument being with the chute attached for blowing sawdust out of the way, we’d make a mess. Once I agreed to clean it up and to operate this thing in case Robin was upset, we were full steam ahead.
I should tell you, I can’t cut a straight line to save my life. Using a power tool I had never tried did not increase my odds either. With the saw above my head, I tackled that board now impossibly wedged in the closet. After multiple passes I had taken a good six inches off one corner and maybe half an inch from the other on the end I could get to.
I let go of the trigger and set the saw down to survey my handiwork. Beccie and I both were covered in sawdust and sweat but let out a triumphant cry as the shelf fell into place. It wasn’t soon after the front door opened and Robin returned to see us both pleased with our “accomplishment.”
I explained how proud we were but that she should refrain from putting anything heavy on that corner, since it really no longer existed. We’d managed to place a few items in the closet to cover it up.
Robin, trying to be diplomatic, nodded her head as we spoke, grinning ear to ear. She wiped her hand across her face before quietly speaking.
“You do realize you could have just switched the shelves out, right?” she asked.
Following our “triumph,” Power Femme and Femme Wonder were born, and we were never left alone with anything beyond a screwdriver or a hammer again.
January 9th, 2015
It’s one month til my birthday! One month til my birthday! If I didn’t think my co-workers would find me stranger than they already do, I’d start a conga line singing that mantra. As it stands, I am dancing in my chair. Da-da-da-da-da-da!
While another year older can occasionally be a bit distressing, this year I think will be okay. I have a theory as to why, but for me, turning 25 was one of the hardest birthdays I’ve had. Several friends have agreed with me so I am thinking I am not alone in this. My theory is that at 25 I started looking at friends and other classmates from high school to compare where they were to where I was in my life. Several had graduated from college. Others had gotten married and started families. Many had begun what I’d refer to as a career vs. a job. At 25, I had none of that, unless you count the four-legged children. It really made me question where I was and where I wanted to be. When I was 18, I was so sure by 25 I’d have graduated and found my dream job, dream spouse and started on my dream family. That wasn’t the way the cookie crumbled, and in hindsight I am thankful I didn’t get what I wanted then. Aah, the wisdom that comes from getting older, I suppose.
My biggest concern this year is a theme for my party. Last year was a no-brainer. I had a Lord of The Rings/Hobbit inspired party. As my fellow “ringers” may know, hobbits are not considered adults until they reach the age of 33. With that knowledge in mind, I greeted my guests with lots of food adorned in a cape and hobbit feet. But this year? I am not sure what I want to do this year.
Two years ago we went out for dinner, bowling and I had a Monster High cake. (Yes, if you haven’t clued in by now, I am a big kid at heart). I am seriously considering a Harry Potter themed party in honor of my Mother, but part of me wants to wait until March and have that party for her instead on her birthday. Yeah, I think that is the better choice. Well, that leads me back to square one. Hmm. You know… When I think about the past year, with all of its ups and downs, I think I can best describe it as I survived. I made it through regardless of what was thrown at me, even when I didn’t want to or think I could. And with the premiere occurring on my birthday weekend… The Walking Dead it is. If I survived 2014, I plan to thrive in 2015. Just like Rick and the others. I can face whatever comes my way, even if I lack epic katana skills.
Happy 34th birthday to me! Now to spend the next month on Pinterest researching zombie-themed party foods. (Like I needed an excuse to pin things.) But for those who want to send me a gift… Daryl Dixon with a bow on his head would be well received. Just sayin’.
January 6th, 2015
The past few weeks have been a bit crazy getting back into work and launching a big sale on our Dovesland Creations Facebook page. We are clearancing out a good portion of our current stock to make way for new inventory. I haven’t felt much like creating as of late, but I can honestly say I am starting to get that twinge of excitement in my stomach about the jewelry business again. Femme Wonder and I have been looking towards 2015 with a renewed confidence and a hope that this year we will continue on an upward trend. No, we won’t be changing our last names to Rockefeller anytime soon, but I’d like to keep on the trend of breaking even at least. I am also excited about a few new directions creatively we are heading in.
I have some other personal goals for next year as well. I’ve decided I want to finally learn how to use my sewing machine. Right now it does a great job collecting dust in the cabinet, but I am pretty certain it has other uses I’ve not fully explored. While I enjoy cross-stitch, I don’t always feel it produces something tangible. What I mean to say is, I can make nice wall hangings or decorate a towel, but in and of itself it doesn’t create a useful item. With sewing I can create clothing, blankets, curtains etc. and feel that what I’ve done has an honest purpose.
I can hand sew … sort of. I learned in Girl Scouts YEARS ago — maybe it was in school — but we learned simple stitches to sew on a patch or hem a pair of pants. Earlier than that, I spent many a night at my Granny’s sewing buttons onto a dish towel. Both skills have made random appearances in my adulthood, but I am convinced mastering the machine is probably the way to go.
I’ve refocused recently on cooking ahead and canning. My typical Saturdays are spent in the kitchen either prepping meals for the next work week or canning. Sometimes I’ll branch out and do things like making my own laundry detergent, which so far has yielded mixed results. Cooking ahead is definitely convenient during the workweek, and I genuinely enjoy it. Now if I can pick up a few healthier recipes to trim the waistline I’ll be even better off.
Now, you might say these sound like New Year’s Resolutions. But I’d say nay. I can’t keep a resolution for the life of me. Several years ago I made a resolution to never make a resolution and I couldn’t even keep that one, so what does that tell you?
No, no, these are solutions. I can handle coming up with a solution to a problem. I like to fix situations and come up with answers. So this year, I am sending myself a message a Re:Solution memo. (Yes, I realize this is the same thing, but shhh don’t tell me that!)
December 10th, 2014
My knees and I have been inseparable since birth. Heh. You are thinking, “Wow, you don’t say?” But in the middle of the night, my right knee in particular decided to make its presence known — and felt.
My dad always said he had “pool shooting knees.” There are pictures of my dad and me going fishing when I was a kid wearing cut-off shorts in the summer that would suggest I inherited this trait. While it isn’t noticeable if I stand up straight, my knees tend to bow backwards just like my dad’s. While yes, this could be an asset when leaning over a table with cue in hand, it probably isn’t the best for Average Joes who aren’t pool sharks.
Standing straight became more of a conscious effort when I entered choir in elementary school. Those knees held me up on risers through my senior year, and I made a conscious effort to bend at least one periodically during concerts to keep them from locking up and me from tumbling down. At least Mr. Stegner, our director, always cautioned us that would happen if we were too stiff for too long.
If I knew then what I know now, I’d have been nicer to my poor knees. Crazy stunts like sliding across a dance floor on them in my younger years looked cool. But, I am sure I am now reaping the results of my actions. Over the years I’ve asked a lot out of my knees. I am now pushing their limits, being the heaviest I’ve been in my life. If you go by what charts say I should weigh, I have exceeded their capacity by a good 200 pounds. I should be thanking them for hanging on this long.
The pain, particularly in my right knee, began a few years back. I’ve always chalked it up to cold or rainy weather. I could probably strap a rooster on my leg and use it as a weather vane. There were a few days that got the better of me and left me struggling to walk, but I just let it slide.
At Monday’s staff meeting, it took me a bit longer than usual to get up out of my chair. The chief noted that my limp is getting a bit worse and suggested I get it checked out. He’s probably right, and it has been at the forefront of my mind since but I am a bit nervous to find out what’s really going on.
The pops and creaks that used to make for stupid human tricks now sing a symphony that screams, “Go have me looked at!”
I also hear Dad echoing in my head, saying if I didn’t learn to stand up and bend my knees the right way I’d need a replacement by the age of 30. I chuckle that had I been raised in Alabama and not Kentucky, perhaps he’d have gotten me “magic shoes” to do just that.
On Tuesday I talked to another reporter who suggested a chiropractor might be able to fix the issue. I stay so busy I don’t think I can afford, financially or sanity-wise, to be put on the sidelines recovering from a full knee replacement. All I know is I have to do something, and what that will be scares me.
November 28th, 2014
Last Friday marked two weeks since I got the phone call my mother had passed away. It was my first Friday back at work since it happened. I still feel like I am sort of moving through days in a bit of haze, and at times the whole thing seems rather surreal.
I was grateful for the distraction of building a parade float with my colleagues. We had a good time shivering and sharing the experience. It provided quite a few good laughs to keep my mind distracted. Surprisingly, I only caught myself a few times having thoughts of “This is when I got the call” or “This is where I was when…”. Heck, I even found myself eating the same thing for supper I had two weeks prior albeit this time it was with two coworkers/friends instead of behind the wheel of a car pulling an all-night road trip to Kentucky. But, in spite of all that, I held it together and was pretty dang proud of that.
While we were waiting to leave the Globe and go get in line for the parade, the four of us crammed into Julie’s Dad’s pickup, and I observed a bunny across the street near the library. I would have normally dismissed this with an “Awe, how cute” and went on with life. However, with the little voice of sadness in the back of my head still wreaking havoc, my thoughts instead turned to how out of place the image seemed to me.
In Ocheyedan, we have tons of rabbits that frolic yard to yard, but I deem that normal due to it being a more rural setting in comparison to Worthington. This bunny, in my stinkin’ thinkin’ mind. seemed alone and out of place, much like me. That surrealness I mentioned isn’t surreal, it is my reality and a new “normal”. My phone has not rang in the familiar ringtone that would indicate my mother was on the other end. When you are used to hearing that daily, it leaves a resounding, deafening silence.
As quickly as all of that entered my mind, it exited as we headed toward the lineup. The emptiness was once again replaced with laughter and last-minute float repairs. (Darn you, wind!) I then left the troops to go set up the video camera and record the holiday procession.
It was nice to see the creativity of the different floats, and I commend the children walking through the parade. It was bitterly cold, and I am not sure if I’d have been as brave. I had fun enough trying to keep my fingers from going numb to press record.
Afterwards, I walked back to the Globe office, with my camera in tow, alone. Without missing a beat, I felt that sorrow tugging on me again. I quickened my pace to cut down on the amount of time the brutal wind was torturing me when I saw something across the street.
There, in the light of a street lamp, was my bunny, but this time he had a friend. Upon this sight I felt a smile creep back over my face. The vision of these two rabbits hopping across a parking lot now seemed normal and not so out of place. And as silly as it may sound, it warmed my heart to know in spite of everything, I and the bunny were not alone.