Archive | August 2011

The Versatile Blogger Award

I am excited to tell you that Jodi Stone nominated my blog for The Versatile Blogger Award!  Thank you, Jodi.  I am very honored to accept this award!  I discovered Jodi’s blog one night when I was tag surfing.  I enjoyed reading about Jodi’s dogs at Life with Sampson and Delilah….The 411.  We have been trading comments on each others blogs for a few weeks now!

There are four simple rules for The Versatile Blogger Award:

Post a link to the person who gave you the award.

Tell your readers seven random things about yourself.

Award 15 newly discovered blogs.

Send them a note letting them know you nominated them.

Seven random things about myself:

1.  This is the first award that I have received since receiving the “Funniest Person Award” when I worked at McDonald’s when I was a teenager.  A sense of humor can go a long way in life, let me tell ya.

2.  My dream is to write a book and get it published.  The idea that I have right now is to write a story about growing up on the north side.  My Grandpa would be one of the main characters.  I have many fond memories of my Grandpa.  Our family is very proud of the work he did as a wood-carver.  I am taking another writing class at The Loft this fall so that I can become more inspired and hopefully achieve my goal!

3.  My husband makes me and our kids laugh almost everyday.

4.  I work as a legal secretary, and I like my desk because I can see outside from many different angles.

5.  If someone would have told me a year ago that I would have a blog right now, I would have told them they were one card short of a deck!

6.  I am pretty sure that my Book Club could be in the Guinness Book of World Records for staying together for so long.  We have been meeting since 1985.

7.  I cannot follow professional sports teams no matter how hard I try.

Now, for the nominees I have chosen.  I have been following the first eight nominees either by liking their post or commenting on something they have written.  The rest of the nominees were found after a very long search, and I am glad that I found these blogs because I am looking forward to following them too.

1.  Off Beat Behavior.  I like reading how this college-bound blogger brings humor to awkward situations!

2.  She Has Cute Shoes.  This blogger relates various life situations to shoes.  I never saw so many cute shoes!

3.  Storytelling Nomad.  Check out this site for updates on what this blogger is reading and helpful writing inspiration.

4.  Hotdish & Catfish.  Two bloggers sharing stories north and south of the Mason Dixon line.

5.   Travel with Bubba.  A plastic man goes on journeys to interesting locations.

6.  MN Prairie Roots.  This site gives updates on the happenings in Southern Minnesota.

7.  Byron’s Curse.  This blogger writes about many different subjects as she ventures through her journey of being a writer.

8.  A Mental Squint.  I enjoyed reading this blog about pen pals when it was recently Freshly Pressed on Word Press.

9.  An Antiquarian’s Personage.  Check out the beautiful photographs on this blog.

10.  Marisa Reads It and Writes It.  A truthful book review blog.

11.  Dabodog’s Blog.  A blogger’s life experiences on Martha’s Vineyard.

12.  Trying to Control the Chaos.  A Mom’s blog about raising five children.

13.  Give Me Your Forever.  Blogger who writes about what’s on her mind.

14.  Words We Women Write.  A Writing Group’s blog.

15.  Mom Makes.  Find delicious recipes here.

I hope you enjoy the above blogs.

Northern Minnesota Dog Moves to The Suburbs

All our family knows about Lila’s past life is that she came to the Animal Humane Society in Golden Valley from a coalition shelter up in northern Minnesota.  I was surprised that we couldn’t learn more about Lila’s background.  I didn’t really think there would be much difference in a dog that came from northern Minnesota.

As we were leaving the Golden Valley Animal Humane Society on the day of Lila’s adoption, Lila jumped back when see saw the large, bronze statue of St. Francis.  St. Francis welcomes visitors with one hand outstretched towards a bronze dog with a bronze bird perched on his shoulder.  Lila relaxed and the bounce returned to her step when she realized that the looming statue was not alive.  We decided that this was Lila’s first encounter with a large statue either in or outside of northern Minnesota.

When we opened the door to our mini-van, we expected Lila to hop right in and find a comfortable seat, but she would not budge.  We pushed her rear, we snapped our fingers in front of her face, we talked in very sweet voices, but she would not move one inch.  My daughter, Laura, lifted Lila up and placed all 60 pounds of dog behind the front passenger’s seat.  As we drove away, Lila stood on the floor of the van and looked out the side window occasionally.  Lila was not intrigued by the passing scenery but was mostly trying to concentrate on which leg to stand on so that she would not fall over in the moving vehicle.  We decided that Lila was not a dog that got to go for rides in northern Minnesota.

After arriving home, Lila christened our front yard with a big surprise that we were glad did not happen inside the house.   When we took her for a walk, she looked up at the airplanes that flew overhead as if she had never seen such a thing before.  She also watched each car as it drove by.  I like to watch her ears as they twitch at each different sound.  We decided that there were many new sounds for Lila to get used to now that she doesn’t live in northern Minnesota.

As we were getting ready for bed, we thought Lila would want to be with the rest of the family during the night and join us upstairs.  Some silly suburban dwellers let dogs sleep in their bedrooms.  When Laura went upstairs, Lila got confused and went to look down the basement steps to see if she could find Laura there.  We tried to get Lila to climb the steps, but we soon realized that stairs were something she never tackled before.  Again all our cajoling did not work, and Lila slept on the main floor that first night, and she still sleeps there today.  We decided that Lila is used to sleeping alone because that is what she must have done when she lived in northern Minnesota.

When there was a thunderstorm, Lila stood next to the house and appeared to have a knowing look on her face like she knew that thunderstorms are something that just happen and there is nothing that can be done to stop them.  She didn’t get scared and want to be in the house like some dogs do.  We decided that she was used to being outside during storms when she lived in northern Minnesota.

We were so excited to get to know our dog, and we were anxiously awaiting to become better friends.  Since Lila developed kennel cough a few days after she came home, she was very lethargic and rested for many days.  She did not want to play or go for long walks with us.  When we got her to stay outside for a little bit, we thought it was a little strange that she liked to sit on or hide under the bushes.  We decided that Lila took naps in bushes when she lived in northern Minnesota.

When we give her little milkbone treats, she happily eats some of them and then hides the others.  We can tell that she is going to bury a bone when she just holds the bone in her mouth with a very serious and intent look on her face.  After making it known that she needs to go outside, Lila very carefully digs a hole, places the bone inside, and covers up the hole with the top of her nose.  She is very neat with her method of burying bones.  So neat, that we have not seen her retrieve any of them.  We decided that Lila used this trick when she lived in northern Minnesota.

The first time Lila noticed her reflection in a mirror, she barked at what she thought was another dog.  It seems as if the television is a new invention to her also.  We decided that Lila spent most of her time outside when she lived in northern Minnesota.

I wonder does she miss where she used to live?  Did she get to be off her leash all the time and wander about northern Minnesota?  Did she have her own dog house to hang out in?  Were there other animals around her there?  Does she wonder why we put her on a leash and tie her up all the time?  Does she wonder why we go with her when she does her daily duties, and why we always carry around plastic bags?

We decided that Lila likes this new beginning, and all the love she is getting, even though she is no longer living in northern Minnesota.

This is part of the Saturday morning blog hop.  To link up to other blog posts, click here.

I Like Your Outfit!

Last winter, I had an encounter with a woman who I never met before who was wearing the exact same style of blouse that as I was.  We both looked at each other in the eyes, then at each other’s blouses, and we slightly turned around and looked at each other like we were going to start a wrestling match.  Thankfully, we broke the trance and silently continued to walk off in opposite directions.

This reminded me of other times when other people noticed that we were wearing a similar item of clothing.  During the late 1970s, when cute dressy clothes were hard to find, I was a guest at a wedding reception in northern Minnesota.  A lady who I never met before approached me wearing a smirk on her face and a very familiar dress, the same dress that I was wearing.  This dress was not very flattering.  The fabric was white with small pastel flowers and a stringy-type belt that did not enhance the waistline.

“I went all the way to Minneapolis to buy this dress.  I didn’t want to see anyone else wearing what I was wearing,” she said to me in a very crabby voice.

“Oh” was about all I could say to her.  What could I say?  That I was glad I did not make a roundtrip for a total of eight hours to buy an ugly dress even though I was wearing it?  What did she want me to do?  Remove my dress?  Thankfully, she walked away while firmly stomping her heels.

Another memorable day that occurred later in the 1980s was when a co-worker commented on the dress that I was wearing.  I liked my dress – it enhanced the waistline.  Apparently my co-worker liked my dress too.  She asked me where I bought it.

“Penney’s,” I said proudly, feeling like I was receiving a very nice compliment.  You can image my surprise when I saw her wearing that dress just two days later at our place of employment.  Do you think I said anything to her?  No, but I bet she was surprised at the look on my face.  I think she thought she was paying me a huge compliment by going out and buying my dress, but I didn’t see it that way.  After she saw my expression, she had that same silly smirk attached to her face – the smirk that was on the Wedding Reception Lady.

Could it be that I might be slightly immune to being shocked at seeing other people wearing the same thing as me because I wore a school uniform for eight years of my life?  From 1st grade to 5th grade, the girls at St. Austin’s wore green and blue plaid jumpers.   A red ribbon tie with a button-hole ensured that our white blouses were buttoned at the very top button.  Blue knee highs adorned our legs.  We eagerly awaited being in 6th through 8th grade because we would no long have to wear jumpers:  We graduated to skirts of the same plaid material.  The skirts could be rolled up at the waistband to show off  a little part of our legs above the knee that had been hiding under jumpers for many years.

I have learned that it helps ease the tension in these types of situations by smiling, approaching the person and saying “I like your outfit!”  It is much better than getting an ugly smirk on your face, stomping your feet and getting mad when you find out that someone else has your good sense of style.

My English Teacher’s “Words” Always Stuck in My Head!

This post is inspired by The Red Dress Club RemembeRED prompt:  “Everyone remembers that first inspiration or mentor in their lives that made them want to be or do something in their lives, whether you actually followed through with it or not. Tell us about that inspiration/mentor. How did they affect or change your life!”

Going into 9th Grade was a big change for me because I was going to be attending a different school.  My plans were to attend the high school in our neighborhood, but just a short time before school started, a  judge ruled that the kids who lived on the 35th Avenue stretch of blocks on the north side of Minneapolis had to attend Jordan Junior High School.  After completing 9th Grade, we could then attend our neighborhood high school.  If I would have lived one block closer to the high school, I would have been allowed to attend Patrick Henry High for 9th Grade.

I had one other friend who I knew from grade school who would attend Jordan with me.  I also knew some neighborhood kids, but we were not close friends like we used to be when we were younger.  I was pretty nervous about going to a new school, and I felt that I would have been more comfortable at the high school.

Looking back, I realize that Jordan is where I met some of my closest friends and where I met one of my favorite teachers, Mrs. Hallberg.  I admired Mrs. Hallberg’s soft-spoken ways, her pretty blond hair and petite figure – she could have been one of those actresses who portrayed a mom on television.  We were assigned many writing assignments, and I still treasure my paper where Mrs. Hallberg penned in the corner:  “You write very well.  Keep on improving it and you may be able to make a career of it.”  Her words always stuck in my head.  She was the first person whoever complimented me on my writing.  Mrs. Hallberg did not know that I wrote stories and poems all the time on the multi-colored, pastel notebook paper that was very popular back then.  

Mrs. Hallberg’s words frightened me too.  I did not have enough confidence to be a writer and do things that writers do, like join the school newspaper.  I knew that writers get noticed and complimented and/or rejected and criticized.  Hard things to accept for someone who just wanted to blend in.

Almost 40 years later, I finally gathered enough courage to listen to the words of Mrs. Hallberg.  I am taking writing classes, started this blog, and making writing a priority in my life.  I now know writing is something I just have to do for me. 

Even though I was very upset about the  judge’s ruling back then, attending Jordan turned out to be a good experience for me.  Teachers’ comments can last a lifetime!