No Lightning…But Kinda Pissed

First off – let me say that most of today was just fine. That’s why I’m only kinda pissed.

I went to my hometown during the all-school reunion festivities today, & made my first stop my parent’s house. Because, of course, I did! I’m a good daughter!

Dad was out of town, so it was just Mom and me, & we ended up wandering the town to look for Dwight Knuth, the gentleman who wrote his autobiography, & featured one of my blog posts in it. We met up with him at the school, & talked to him for a bit. It was really, very nice & he had to have a hug from us both when we parted.


We went in search of the shadow box my dad built for the school which holds my sculpture of Horton & the book, Horton Hatches an Egg, which I mentioned features my hometown in it.

See the teeny little plaque at the bottom?

Know what it says?

“Donated by the Class of 2015”.



Nothing, and I repeat…Nothing about how my DAD built that wooden box FROM SCRATCH… Nothing about how a member of the Class of 1988 created the sculpture.

Nothing about the hours of time it took my dad to handcraft each piece of this shadow box. The measuring, sanding, staining -painstaking work that he put into this piece, making sure that each shelf fit perfectly into the enclosure, and would hold up over the years. 

This is not a “company-made” piece…this is a hand made, one-of-a-kind piece of artwork. 

But no one knows that, because my dad is too humble to ever push himself forward in that manner. He’ll never tell anyone about the work he put into it.

Just that the Class of 2015 Donated it.

Ungrateful little shits.

Pisses me right the hell off.

Did I get a thank you?

From my Dad, yes.

From the Class of 2015? I got fuck all.


After that, Mom & I blew that popsicle stand & went downtown to have lunch, retreating back to their place afterwards.

I did stick around long enough to hit the “street dance” too… (Nobody was really dancing, more like milling around the street, drinking & listening to a band play really loudly)

I did end up running into some classmates, & had fun talking to them, catching up with where they are, what they’ve been doing, how old we’re all feeling anymore…

And before I knew it, it was almost 11pm, & I had to get the hell out of Dodge. I hate driving the highways so late at night, after hitting a deer a few years back – it makes you a bit jumpy & skittish while driving alone.

So, I’m home, safe. I didn’t smite the town with lightning…although I’d like to smack some little ungrateful wretches from the Class of 2015…

And I scored some homemade strawberry jam out of Mom’s freezer…so…definite win.

So, no lightning, but still kinda pissed.

Going Back…

This weekend I’m taking a little trip down memory lane. Just a small jaunt, mind you.

You see…

My high school is having their 100-year anniversary this weekend, so it’s supposed to be some kind of big blowout weekend all-school reunion.

(Blink too long driving down the highway, and you’ve missed it…I don’t think it’s a whole lot bigger than this photo above suggests)

I’m not going to make a weekend out of it, but I am going to stop in and take a gander at a couple of things that interest me.

First and foremost… There is going to be a gentleman there who wrote an autobiography about his life, part of which took place in my hometown, so he’s going to be signing books at the city hall for part of the time. He used my blog post about Dr. Hordinsky in his book, so I’d like to meet him, face to face, and shake his hand. Talk to him a little & let him know that I did actually read his book and enjoyed it, even the stuff I didn’t write!

I’d also like to stop in at the school & see the shadow box my dad built that now houses one of my sculptures. He asked me to make him a sculpture of Horton the Elephant to go with a copy of the Dr. Seuss book, Horton Hatches an Egg, which has the name of my hometown in it. 

Here’s the sculpture, but I’d like a picture of the finished product!

So, this shindig kicks off on Friday…but, that’s the busiest day of the month for my business, & we’re going to swamped that day, so there’s zero chance of getting that day off. Plus, by the time I get off work…I’m going to be completely brain-fried…

So, I’m going down on Saturday. I figure that’ll give me time to see what I want to see, do what I want to do, and skedaddle out of there before any shenanigans get too crazy. 

…I…don’t have a lot of really fond memories from high school. It was pretty much hell for me there, and I escaped to other towns as often as possible…so, it’s not like this is abnormal behavior to me.

I’ll be in and out like lightning…maybe a couple small scorch marks left behind…no big…

So if Sunday’s paper reads “Lightning Strikes Small Town North Dakota”… 

It wasn’t me…I was home all night…I swear…just ask the cat…

Just A Smattering

Time to catch up on the little stuff.

*We had our first snowfall this weekend.  Actually, it was early Sunday morning, with much bluster and blowing.  But there really isn’t much left on the ground right now.  Normally we get snow right around Halloween, so this is just a few days late.  Guess the time-change screwed it up, hunh?

I’m not a huge fan of the cold, which is ironic, considering where I live, but I do like how clean and pretty things look when the snow first falls.  I could really handle a nice Thanksgiving to New Years’ snow… then poof!  All gone! 

Corner of Broadway & Burdick - Minot

*Now we have to deal with the insanity of that “First Snowfall Driving Experience”.  Every year it’s the same thing, with people forgetting what it’s like to drive on snow and ice.  Or, like this year, with the massive influx of new people we have from out of state, you get those who have no idea what it’s like to drive in this type of weather.  For about the next 2 months, it’s going to be smash-up derby. 

*Update on EldestDaughter – ED is now past the half-way point in her pregnancy, and is ready to be allathewaydone.  I chuckle, because I remember my mom saying some of the same things to me, that I’ve been saying to her lately.  I will get random texts and phone calls now, wondering if she can “eat this?” “take that?” and WHATtheHELLis GOINGonWITHthisALIENCHILDINVADER?  She has gotten into a new 2-bedroom apartment with her fiance’, after my prodding her with my “get a move on before the snow hits” speech.  Now that we know it’s a Y-gendered child living in there, we can start getting the decorations for the baby’s room.  She’s got tons of family down there who all have clothes for the up-and-coming little mensch, so I’m focusing more on other practicalities, like bottles, baby sling, wall hangings, etc. 

*YoungerDaughter has been going through some emotional ups-and-downs as well lately.  Swimming is now over for her, and it was a rough go for a few days.  I think it finally hit her that this is her last year of high school, when she realized that she’d never swim for the high school team again.  Ooof.  Right to the gut.

There are going to be a lot of “last times” this year, and as soft-hearted as YD is… this is gonna be a bumpy ride, I think.  But, I reminded her that this means there are so many new “firsts” to watch for – first place away from home, first day of college, first psycho college dorm roommate… she didn’t find these things amusing.

*OnlySon has been absent much of the time lately.  He has been spending a lot of time with his dad, which, while I want him to maintain that relationship… it gets a little hard sometimes, for me.  I don’t get to do a lot of the things with him that I’d like to.  I think he and I are going to have to come to an understanding – Mom gets time too.  I get it, though, 13-year old boys want dudes to hang out with, not chicks.  Especially Mom-type chicks.  yikes.

Well, that’s just a smattering of the local news.  There will be no “film at 11”.  I’ve been too busy to run the camera!  Up soon, however, will be some of YD’s senior pics, as soon as I finish editing!


Oh, Snap!

I like taking pictures.

I’ve been taking the kids’ school pictures for years, and I’m always looking for interesting things to catch and keep digitally, either with my phone (which, of course, is much easier to carry around), or with my simple digital camera.

I’ve also taken pictures in the last couple of years for friends, and their kids, for senior pictures and invitation/announcements for graduations.

I never planned on “going pro”, or having any kind of business built around it. 

For me, it’s an enjoyable hobby.

But last week, I was stunned – when I received an email from an Assistant Editor at Oxford University Press… asking if they could get permission to publish a picture that I took and posted on this blog!

The gentleman asked me what I thought it would cost them to get the permission and the high resolution photo original for a book that they’re going to be putting together by an author that publishes books on architecture. 

uh……….. ?

That night, I came home, looked up the Oxford University Press, did my research on the author and the books that he creates.

I was dumbfounded.

I was flummoxed.

I was a little sick to my stomach.

What if this was just a hoax?

And why did they want my picture, and how did they find this simple little picture I took to test the light quality while I was taking pictures of my kids???

Well, after checking out everything I could….

I decided to take a chance.

After all, it’s not like they were asking to use a picture that was really personal. 

This was a simple “one-off” picture, that I happened to like because of the way the light fell.

So I wrote back to him, telling him that “honestly, I was stunned”. 

That he could have my permission to use the photo, and did he want anymore of that particular location, as it’s right here, in my city?  And as far as payment was concerned… put my name as the contributor of the photo, and… send me a copy of the published book?

Well, today, I got an email back from the same gentleman.

They’re going to publish my photo, and they’d be happy to send me a copy of the book! 

I think that he was surprised that I didn’t actually ask for any money.

Others that I told about this opportunity, asked me the same thing.

And I told them – I’m not concerned about any money I might get from one little picture.

This is my hobby, not my profession, and if I start telling people they can’t use my pictures unless they pay me?  It won’t be fun for me anymore.  It’ll be work. 

And I like this hobby.  I don’t want it to not be fun anymore.

So, I’ll not be asking for anything more than the recognition that I took the picture, and a copy of the book, so I can show my friends and family.

And I’ll be happy.  Because of a picture I took for the light…..


Rainy Days

I’m watching the rain pouring down outside my house as I eat lunch today.  Big, fat, ploppy drops.  Heavy water running in rivulets down the gutters of the streets, washing away dust, leaves that have been blown from the trees in the last few days from strong winds.  Tree seeds that have popped from the branches hanging over the boulevards are pushed down and away from my neighborhood, to be carried to a new location, in the hopes of propagating the trees somewhere else.

I hope that the oak trees in my beloved Oak Park will be alright.  It takes an oak tree 50 years to mature enough to produce acorns.  That’s a long time to wait for your chance at offspring. 

The trees in my backyard have recovered from their heavy pruning we did last summer, growing tall and leafy again.  It doesn’t take them long at all to replace what was lost a year ago.  They sprout up, unbidden, and get mowed down in the fall – to reappear the next spring. 

Everything has its own time, its own life span.  Some things take longer than others, and we have to learn patience for those things that take their time in appearing, growing.  It can be difficult to wait, but it’s most often worth it.

There are days when I love the rain.

Today is one of them.

Time to go back to work.

Saving The Sanctuary

I’ve written before about my sanctuary – the place I retreat when I need peace and quiet, or to escape from the chaos.  Oak Park.

A beautiful haven, stuffed down in the middle of my city, and one of my all-time favorite places to be.

Unfortunately, being in the middle of the city also means being in the middle of the valley.

The valley that flooded this summer.

And all the green, the quiet, the peace, was drowned under tons of gallons of flood waters.

But, even as the muddy water recedes, leaving behind dying foliage, and wrecked buildings and shelters, there is hope.

I’m not sure how it all began, but a link was posted about a week ago that Coca-Cola was giving away thousands to America’s favorite national parks on their website, and Oak Park, my beloved retreat, was in the running for one of their grants!

There are 3 top positions in this contest – 1st place wins $100,000.00; 2nd place wins $50,000.00, and 3rd place wins $25,000.00 to restore, rebuild, and enhance their park.

And as of today, Oak Park, Minot, North Dakota – is in 1st place!  The people of my community, along with many others from around the world, have been voting to keep our park in the top spot of the competition. 

With almost 700,000 votes as I write this post, Oak Park has a very good chance right now of being able to recover from this devastating flood, and become once more the beautiful place I love and remember. 

And you can help.  Click on the link, and it’ll take you to the Coca-Cola website where the voting is taking place.  If you search for Oak Park, Minot, North Dakota, zip code 58701, you will find the page dedicated to it, and can vote as often as you like. 

The contest ends on Sept. 6, and the winners will be notified sometime in mid-September.  I’m crossing fingers, eyes, toes, and everything else crossable that Oak Park is able to win the grant. 

And there are others out there praying for a win, too.

Help them find their way home?