This week, our daughter visited us with her two children for a few days. We invited our other daughter and son-in-law over for St. Patrick’s Day dinner. After a tasty dinner of Irish stew, green jello, rolls, and shamrock butter cookies, the boys went outside to hit a golfball around in the melting piles of snow. The girls stayed in and chatted around the dinner table. Our granddaughter sat in front of us, the brightest centerpiece ever to adorn our table. My two daughters and I began to sing songs with her. Granddaughter acted as our conductor and sang along with us. Her favorite song that day was “Happy Birthday.” We sang the song many times. Granddaughter’s bright blue eyes shone with her cheeks puffed up in a smile, looking as though she was happy to be the centerpiece. Once the song was finished, Granddaughter “blew out” the battery-operated candle, with her mom’s perfect timing of flipping the off switch. The minute the candle was “blown out,” Granddaughter immediately said, “Again.” The candle got switched on, and we started the song from the beginning. Singing the song many times didn’t seem like a broken record. We were happy to follow her instructions and enjoyed each little vignette.
Our singing went on until our conductor was ready to explore other opportunities. The first thing she found was the bottom of the candle and how the switch operated. Once she figured that out, we were off to the other room where all the toys waited. None of us wondered how she managed to wrap us all around her little finger. We followed our little conductor to see where her curiosity would lead us.
While we try to teach our children all about life, Our children teach us what life is all about. ~Angela Schwindt
Little sprouts of green Inching toward a sky of blue Daffodils awake!
Last week, I was surprised to see the daffodils sprouting. They were sleeping under the largest pile of snow in the yard, tucked under the leaves of fall. I thought it’d be a while before they’d make an appearance. As soon as the snow melted, the sprouts appeared. Now I watch them grow and wait to see their flowers. The daffodils are sure to keep up the good fight, even if winter hangs on for a while.
During the cold snap, we didn’t take Lila outside for a walk, except for one day when the temperature got to be ten degrees above zero. A couple of days before, we went shopping for dog booties. Lila’s paws weren’t used to the subzero temperatures. Arctic blasts never used to bother her but now that she’s almost 12-years-old, the cold took its toll on her. After her outdoor potty breaks, she had a hard time walking back to the house. Her rear paw couldn’t bare the bite of the cold any longer. She held her back paw high to keep it off the crunchy snow. We found a small pet store not far from our house, which had a large selection of booties.
”Hello. What’s your return policy?” I asked the man who worked there. “In case these boots don’t fit our dog.”
”Since it’s nearing the end of the season, we’d like to get them back within the week. We’d like them back without any scuff marks.”
”Ok, thanks. These should work,” I said.
”Make sure to wrap them snug, so they don’t slip off. Have your dog walk close to you. It’s best if they don’t run.” I nodded yes while I thought about the times our other dog lost one bootie here and then another bootie there while we were on our walks. “Try to keep your dog out of snow banks too, because they fall off and then there’s no way you can find it.” Been there and done that too, I thought. Where was this guy 20 years ago, when I bought booties for our dog, Music?
We purchased the boots, which practically cost more than what I paid for mine, and went home. The next morning, with the temperature still hovering below zero, I fastened them onto Lila. I wrapped the Velcro as tightly as I could. Lila pranced about trying to get used to the feeling and probably wondered how to get them off. Each step was a quick jaunt of touching the floor then lifting her paw back up again. I sent her outside where she continued her prancing style. At times, she reminded me of a bucking bronco. One of the booties fell off and landed on top of the snow, which sent me out in my parka to retrieve it.
Lila didn’t feel much better about the booties when I put them on her before our walk that afternoon. After we got outside, she ran and hopped in every snow bank on the way. When we got to the trail, Lila excitedly ran up to a chocolate lab and a yellow lab. Lila usually doesn’t get close to other dogs. It was like she wanted one of them to get the strange things off. The other dogs didn’t wear booties and their owner didn’t have them on leashes. The labs were being walked by a young man who asked, “Do you feed your dog that corn?” My husband had a plastic bag of corn from Gag Gift Gone Good. My husband didn’t hear him, with all the commotion of trying to settle Lila down.
”We feed the squirrels,” I said. Since it was quite cold, I didn’t tell him the story of Gag Gift Gone Good.
”It’s really bad for dogs’ digestive systems,” he said. “They’ve been finding it over there by those trees,” he pointed the way.
”Oh, sorry. We won’t put it out there any more,” my husband and I chimed as we continued on our way. I thought how if he had his dogs on leashes, he could prevent them from going over by the corn, but I didn’t say anything. Maybe he didn’t see the sign that says dogs must be leashed. We said we’d dump the corn in the marsh, but we ended up throwing it in the garbage.
”Oops,” I said to my husband. Oh well. At least the booties stayed on. 🙂
Never say, “oops.” Always say, “Ah, interesting.” ~Author unknown
The other day, my husband and I were heading home after running errands. We decided to take the side streets. We drove by the fire station, and suddenly, the car in front of us slowed down and veered to the left. It looked like there was a large garbage bag sitting in the road. When we got closer, we noticed that a turkey got hit and killed. I thought there was a vulture circling around it, on the ground, but as we got closer, I recognized it was another turkey. The turkey that survived circled the one that died, while it ruffled its feathers and bobbed its head. It was very sad to see. The turkey lost its friend. ☹️
Later this week, I read through some Nextdoor postings, and there was one about the Fire Station Turkeys. The initial post informed people about the death of one of the Fire Station Turkeys and how sad they were that the turkey got killed. The turkeys have a lot of fans who live over by the fire station. Several comments ensued. The initial comments continued on in the same vein. Some people were quick to judge and assumed the turkey had been run over intentionally. My first thoughts were how lucky these people must be. Have they never gotten into an accident? Sometimes, when you’re driving, you have to make a snap decision and go the route that’s going to cause the least damage. It seemed like a long while of scrolling before I got to the part where someone said they knew the driver. The driver felt bad about running over the turkey. The lady then stated, “It was an accident.”
I’m guaranteed to learn something new, when I read through the Nextdoor posts. Others commented about how a bunch of turkeys live in a nearby yard where someone feeds them. The two turkeys that were on the road were both males. One lady posted that the circling around of the one that’s gone, is how turkeys have their funerals. The comment that made me smile was when a young lady posted how she liked seeing all this concern for the turkeys and that maybe people will think twice before eating one this Thanksgiving. 🙂
It was a sorry sight to see the turkey hovering and dancing around the other one. Hopefully the people who made hasty comments about the incident being intentional, read the rest of the comments to see that they were mistaken.
As long as the world is turning and spinning, we’re gonna be dizzy and we’re gonna make mistakes. ~Mel Brooks
Every Christmas my husband and his cousin exchange gag gifts. The tradition of this exchange began many years ago, when my husband picked up a little plastic snow globe from Walgreens to give to Cousin. Cousin gifted it back the next year, and it got passed back and forth for years. I’m not sure where the snow globe is now. I think it got gifted to someone in the next generation a few years back. The globe is old and tattered and almost dried up. There have been many silly gifts over the years. Once Husband gave Cousin a Justin Bieber Christmas ornament, which was like a boomerang. It came back the next year.
This year, since we weren’t going to celebrate Christmas with Cousin and his family, Husband decided not to get a gag gift. What’s the point of a gag gift, if you’re not going to see each other? I asked our daughter and her husband to drop off our gifts at Cousin’s house. When they did, Cousin had some gifts to give to our family as well.
On Christmas Day, Daughter dropped off one of the gag gifts from Cousin in the garage and gave Husband the other gag gift. The one that made it into the house, was a gallon can of peanuts. We haven’t had to buy peanuts for a while! When all the commotion of Christmas wound down, we took a good look at the gag gift taking residence in our garage. It was a 50-pound bag of Nature’s Own Wild Life Food. It contains whole corn.
What in the world are we going to do with this big bag of food, we thought as we exchanged conversations about it for a few days. I didn’t want to scatter it around our yard, because I didn’t want to attract animals. I had visions of turkeys, deer, squirrels, and rabbits all over the place. Since we have a garden, I have a difficult time keeping our little furry friends from eating any flowers or plants that might grow there. We don’t need more critters in our yard, even if it is winter. They might decide to stay.
We thought about dropping it off at a nature center, because keeping it in the garage also gave me the willies. The garage is a place where mice like to visit. At night, I dreamt of parading lines of mice running to and fro in our garage, each one carrying a kernel and building a nest somewhere.
We eventually decided to bring the corn down to the park where we walk our dog. We brought about a pint and dropped it far away from anyone’s house, close to the marshland. The next day, we checked the pile of corn to see if any creatures noticed it. There was not much activity. The day after, we noticed that the stash was getting smaller. After seeing much of the corn gone, Husband packed up more in a plastic bag, and we dropped it off in the same location. We’ve had this routine for about a month now. Pretty soon the bag will be empty.
We noticed tracks in the snow from squirrels and rabbits. We thought deer would make an appearance, but we have not seen their tracks. No wild turkey prints are on the scene either. During our last walk, we made sure to get a bunch of corn to the spot before the cold snap kicked in. We also try to drop off a bunch when snow is in the forecast. A few times, we’ve seen a squirrel running from the pile up a tree. He doesn’t look overly plump, but he seems happy.
When the bag of corn is gone, will we buy another? Gosh, I feel like that squirrel is counting on us now. 🙂 It’s funny how we fretted over the gag gift and how it’s turned into a fun activity. It was a gag gift gone good!
Well, it may be humorous to you, but it’s a very serious matter to the squirrels. ~Lisa Kleypas
The Magnolia Story is written by Joanna Gaines in one font, with Chip Gaines chiming-in in another font and co-authored with Mark Dagostino. Chip and Joanna tell the story of how they met and take the reader along on their journey together through dating, their engagement story, wedding day, and family life. It was interesting to learn the ups and downs of their businesses and how they work together.
In the beginning of the book, Joanna describes herself as being introverted, and she talks about how she thinks she could have been happy with the way things were going in her life, before she met Chip. She didn’t mind being on her own and enjoyed working at her father’s tire company. Right before she met Chip, she was trying to decide if she should go back to New York City to pursue her career in communications.
One day at work, the guys Joanna worked with, egged her on to go talk to one of the customers. Her co-workers thought this guy would be a good match for Joanna. Joanna refused but after a while gave in and embarrassed herself by trying to talk to this cute guy. She leaves the building to go outside where she finds Chip sitting on a bench. She sits beside him, and they talk for a while. She doesn’t really think much about the conversation after it’s over. She just thought about how Chip was blessed with the gift of gab and how she didn’t really get a good look at him because he was wearing a baseball cap. Chip calls Joanna soon after they met, and Joanna often wonders why she was so agreeable to being with Chip. She usually had doubts before dating someone and didn’t really have much experience with dating.
Chip is always on the go and working to advance his businesses. When they’re first married, they move into one of Chip’s rental properties, and Joanna comes up with some designs, and they fix it up together. Joanna ends up loving what they’ve done to the place. Just when Joanna is ready to settle in, Chip buys a new property for them to flip. The house flipping is a common theme throughout the book, of course! I personally felt bad for Joanna when they had to move out of their beautiful Victorian home, with four kids, because Chip bought a new place for them to flip. It turned out to be a good decision in the long run, even though Joanna had a hard time accepting it at first.
The story also tells readers how they got discovered for their series Fixer Upper. Chip and Joanna didn’t even know about reality TV, because they didn’t own a TV. They asked friends what it was all about. Things that happened in their lives seemed to have worked out for the best. Joanna shares some of the obstacles she’s had to face and how she overcame them, with regard to her experiences with balancing work and raising a family. They both share their trust and faith in God, which they talk about in snippets throughout the book, in a down-to-earth way. Their goal of bringing attention to and supporting their community in Waco, Texas has definitely blossomed.
I rarely watch shows on HGTV, but I liked learning about Chip and Joanna’s lives. If you like inspirational, humorous, and uplifting stories, give The Magnolia Story a try. 🙂
On a beautiful summer day many years ago, while we were staying at a lodge in northern Minnesota, my husband took the kids and me fishing. Earlier that day, we were busy throwing our lines over the side of the boat but it wasn’t enough to fish during the day. We also had to fish after dinner, because there was a dock close by and you have to use up as much bait as you can.
With the kids being the ages they were at the time, they had not mastered putting bait on or taking fish off the hook. I didn’t mind baiting the hook, but I rarely took a fish off a hook. Fish are slippery and poke you with their fins. Husband must have sensed how leery I was and took over those jobs.
I have a picture in my mind of Husband on the dock, walking back and forth, and weaving about our three children with bait in hand. He baited each one of their hooks, reminded them how to cast, and how to reel whatever they caught back in. He also reminded them to be sure to watch their hooks before they casted their line just to be sure no one was behind them. It’s not good to get the hook caught on anything or anybody.
As he danced around the dock, helping take fish off hooks and making sure the bait was on, he noticed that Katie wasn’t getting any bites. The bobber just stayed in one place.
“Katie, reel your line in. I wonder why you’re not getting any nibbles.” When we looked at the pole, Husband noticed that there wasn’t a hook at the end like there used to be.
”I wonder where your hook went,” Husband said to Katie. We didn’t see it laying around anywhere. Husband put a new hook on the line, got the worm situated and gave Katie the fishing pole. Katie casted and was back in business, catching more sunnies or crappies.
After about an hour of fun, we went back to where we were staying and settled in on the comfy sofa ready to watch a show. Husband got ready to settle in with the rest of us, and just as he sat on the sofa, he let out a loud scream. Husband was not one to scream, so we all looked his way with panicked looks on our faces. I wondered if we should call 911. Was he having a heart attack?
“I think I found Katie’s hook!” he told us, as we anxiously studied his face. Somehow, the hook had lodged itself on the seat of Husband’s pants without any of us witnessing the occurrence.
Forget injuries, never forget kindnesses. ~Confucius
While Staying with the Dogs, Bauer, a beagle and blue heeler mix that belongs to my son, seemed upset when I went outside without him one night. During that day, we got about an inch of snow – the feathery kind that floats away on a breeze. I kept the front door open, so we could peak through the storm window at each other. Bauer usually doesn’t like to be left alone but has been known to wander around the house by himself. Ever since we found him on top of the dining room table pawing at a tray of Christmas cookies one year, we make sure to keep an eye on him.
I waved and talked to him between each shovel of snow. When I looked up without seeing him there, it caused a flutter in my gut. By the time I dumped my next shovelful of snow, he reappeared with paws up against the window, his eyes pointed my way. Could it be that Bauer had a smug look on his face? It was as if he was happy with himself for some reason. After I finished clearing the snow, I went back into the house. Next, I got my boots, coat, hat, and mittens off and went into the family room.
Since we’ve always had female dogs, I was shocked to see a big wet spot on the table cloth where it falls down the side of the table. A little puddle was underneath. There was no way Lila, our lab, could have accomplished that feat. She’s too reserved and not equipped to do such a thing.
I wondered what Bauer was trying to tell me with his expression of smugness. I let him out the back just before I started shoveling. Perhaps he was upset because I didn’t let him join me out front. I thought I was doing him a favor by letting him stay in the warm house, since he’s not one that enjoys being out in the snow.
What could I do but throw the table cloth in the wash and clean up the mess? Maybe it’ll be best to have him join me in the snow piles next time.
There are as many ways of expression as there are moments in a day. ~Rose Wilder Lane
Whenever I see the little torn patch in the blue and white comforter, it makes me think of my grand dog, Bauer. Bauer is a beagle and blue heeler mix and lives with my son. I watched Bauer for five days during one of the coldest Januarys about seven years ago while my husband and son went on a trip to Florida. After the rush of the holidays, I didn’t think I would mind staying with the dogs. I took a lot of time off for Christmas and felt guilty about taking off more, so I stayed in Minnesota.
While at work, I thought about how I wouldn’t have to cook when I got home, because no humans would be there. I went to one of my favorite downtown lunch spots, which makes homemade Italian food. I rarely ordered the lasagna, because it’s quite large, but I thought how great it would be to eat half for lunch and go home and eat the rest for dinner. When I arrived home, two dog tails wagged wide while they jumped up to greet me. After I took off my outer layers, I carefully pulled out the white styrofoam container from my work bag and put it on the kitchen counter. The dogs took a quick trip outside, and I fed them both at the same time, in opposite corners of the kitchen. They have learned to respect each other’s space, so long as they get their food or treats at the same time, or more so when Bauer gets his food or treats first. Even though Lila, our lab, outweighs Bauer by at least 50 pounds, Bauer has a stance that lets others know who’s in charge.
As they munched away at their food, while eyeing each other closely, I opened up and looked through the mail. While walking over to the kitchen counter, where the delicious lasagna sat, Bauer raced ahead of me, jumped up, clawed the container, which caused it to fall to the floor. Since it fell so far, the container couldn’t help but open, and Bauer stood over the scrumptious feast, slurping up every last bite. ☹️ I stood there in awe and wondered how a little dog could jump so high and what would I get to eat for dinner.
Any other dog would have chucked it all back up, but Bauer has an iron gut. He’s gotten into my son’s refrigerator and eaten raw steak without any problems arising afterwards. Bauer likes to sleep in people beds, so I knew we’d be bunking together. I prayed he wouldn’t get sick. I slept pretty good even though I worried Bauer would suffocate since he likes to be under all the blankets. As far as I could tell, Bauer’s nose didn’t pop out once to get a good whiff of air. Lila was the smart one; she slept in the family room. Thankfully, the rest of the night went well, with only a few tears to the comforter, which happened when Bauer tried to get comfortable.
Staying with the dogs is a fun memory, but next time, I’m going along on the trip!
The dog wags his tail, not for you, but for your bread. ~Portuguese Proverb