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Saturday, March 17, 2012


Not much to say, just some pictures of some pretty flowers!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Early Spring

The first bloom of spring. Always a welcome site. Always something to bring a smile on a pasty pale winter face. This year's first bloom in my garden occurred last week,  March 6th. Now, after a long hard winter a first bloom, especially an early one would be a huge relief, a sign of warm days to come. 

This year, the winter was, well, not winter. It was warm, and instead of snow we got a lot of rain. Spring flooding will not be a worry. There is no snow to melt off, there is no ice in the rivers to cause ice jams. It made for a wonderful winter of little shoveling and hardly ever wearing a winter coat. Nothing to complain about. 

Perhaps something to worry about though. Last year it was March 19th when I posted about the first bloom of spring. Here it is only March 12th and that first bloom is surrounded by many buddies. Daffodils are about to join them in the warmth and sunshine. The obvious worry, for the flowers, is what if we get a a hard freeze? Which in a normal winter, I would expect to happen. I would expect that these blooms would be blanketed with snow at some point. That is part of the beauty of crocuses though, they are tough little buggers.
 The worries of this unusual winter and spring, are more long term. If it is 80 degrees on March 12th in the Midwest, what is it going to be like come July? Are we in for a drought? Is it going to be 100 degrees on Mother's Day, 110 degrees on Father's day, and snowing on the Forth of July? What is going on with our weather? I know that all seems a little absurd. Is it though? Climate change, though heavily disputed by the great geniuses of our time, Rush Limbaugh, Rick Santorum and many other like minded folks, seems to be real.

Is it a side affect of burning fossil fuels? Is it a normal shift that occurs fairly regularly in our planets cycle. Is it Mother Nature going through menopause? Because if it is that, I can relate. Oh, boy I can relate......
 I guess the thing to ask, is, are we as a people prepared for what the climate and weather are going to throw at us. And if, just if, the REAL scientists are right, and our activities as humans are a part of what is going on, or accelerating the normal cycle of the Earth's climate, would it really kill us to change our ways, even just a little.

Some rant and rave about doing something as little as changing the kind  of light bulb they use. I'm not the biggest fan of the color of the energy efficient light bulbs. They save me a negligible amount of money on my light bill. If it is one small thing I can do to use a little less energy, what is the big deal? The real big deal is that if more and more people use them, then more and more energy is saved, less and less fossil fuels are burned. How can that be a bad thing?
 I don't get the politics of it all. I don't get why people don't understand that doing things that are good for the Earth in turn are good for us. After all, the earth feeds us, shelters us, warms us, and cools us. If we don't take care of it, I'm pretty darn sure it could do us all in and start all over. It did it to the dinosaurs, why not us?

Now, I'm not saying that you have to change your light bulbs if you really cannot stand the curly Q ones. If their color is just too irritating to you then make your own choice. Just try to find something else to do that can make a small difference. Plant a tree in your yard. Take a shorter shower. Wash your truck once a month instead of every week. If you have recycling available to you take advantage of it, you are paying for it anyway.

Is it too late? I hope not, we really have a beautiful planet. It gives us so much. Our flowers, trees and green grass are just the beginning. If we ruin the planet, I think they will find a way back, will we?

100 Years Of Girl Scouts in America

From Life Magazine
Today is the 100th birthday of the Girl Scouts of America. Started by Juliette Gordon Low on March 12th, 1912, after a trip to England. There she saw the beginnings of the Boy Scouts and, happily, for 50,000,000 girls in the United States, she brought the idea back to Savannah and started the first troop with her niece, Daisy Gordon ( the adult pictured with a young scout.)

Girl Scouts has been an influential part of millions of girls lives for 100 years now. For many it may have been just a few years in Brownies and Juniors. For others it becomes a life long passion. Either way, the experience of being a Scout never really leaves.

Whether memories circle around friendships, camping, community, or crafts, some part of Scouting becomes a part of a girl forever. It is a time always remembered fondly. A time when respect  for self and others is instilled deeply into the soul.
Nancy, Julie, JoAnna, and me

Much of my time in Scouting was spent with the women in this picture. Julie, Nancy and I were together from the beginning. Brownies scouts, who happily did crafts and cookouts. Julie's mom, Mary, was our leader, and my mom was our assistant leader. I remember in the earliest years meeting in someones basement. As the troop grew we moved to a local church. As Juniors JoAnna and her family moved to the neighborhood. At that time, JoAnna's mom, Jan, our friend Tari's mom, Pam, and my my mom led our troop. We took trips to places that I am sure I would have never gotten to go to without Scouts. One of my favorite trips was to Tennessee. We went to Nashville. We saw the Grand Ole Opre, went to Orpe Land and spent days with other troops from all over the country At the Opre Land  Girl Scout Jamboree. We learned that The Desperado song was sung many different ways than how we learned it. We traded patches and stories with girls of many backgrounds different than our own. We made new friends, if even just for a few days.
Camp Sacajawea
One of the most important and long lasting effects of Girl Scouting is learning self reliance and independence. That is where camp comes in. You know all those cookies you have bought over the years? Scouts use the proceeds from selling those to help them pay to go to camp. They earn their way to camp. They learn that working hard, selling those darn cookies could help them get to camp. They learn they can rely on their own hard work to get to a goal they have set. Not just expect someone else to give it to them. 

At camp, girls get their first experiences of being away from home for more than a night. They learn to make friends outside their comfortable little circle back home. They learn to work together for common goals. Even if that goal is as simple as starting a fire to make S'mores. Girls can be  fickle creatures. Getting a bunch of them to work together, especially as teenagers, can be a challenge beyond all others. Girl Scouts teaches that this can be done. Sometimes starting that fire, on a rainy day, is the only way to get to eat supper, so get along, work together and start a fire must be done. Once the fire is started, supper made, and tummies are full, there is a feeling of accomplishment that is undeniable. It is the start of independence, the start of self accomplishment. The start of becoming an adult. One that can be strong, self reliant and personally responsible for their own actions in life. 

Part of that cookie money also goes to the troop. That money is spent on activities for the girls as a whole. Like that trip to Tennessee. With that girls learn that their hard work can also help others, the whole troop. Maybe a girl, who could never afford to go on a trip like that will get to go because everyone in the troop pulled together to help her get to go. That happened to me as a Senior Scout. My last year of high school got very busy. I had a job, was in drill team and was a wrestling cheerleader. Scouts meetings were hard to get to, and I missed many of them. I didn't have the time to sell cookies. I had resigned myself to the fact that I would miss the trip that year. I hadn't earned my way. I knew it wasn't going to happen. It made me sad too, the troop was going to Wyoming. A place I had always wanted to go. As it turned out, one of the other girls, couldn't go. I don't remember why, but her trip had already been paid for by the troop. Carolyn, my leader at that time, called my mom, I would be going on the trip after all. That trip meant more to me than an other. Though I hadn't earned my way, my troop decided they wanted me there. Though I hadn't been to many meetings that year, my troop still thought of me when the other girl couldn't go. I was over whelmed. I was so grateful, and I enjoyed that trip like no other. I tried very hard to pitch in and get things done. I found myself not dreading the things I dreaded on on other trips, like washing dishes, finding firewood, putting up or taking down camp, or even just getting up in the morning. I looked forward to doing these things as a thank you to my troop. I may not have earned the money for the trip, but I would earn the trip while I was there. I grew up a little because of that trip. I learned not to take for granted a gift given by others. I started to see that there were things beyond my little world to be grateful for, like my fellow Girl Scouts. 

The most important Girl Scout in my life, my mom

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Mr. and Mrs. Berry's Reception

December 10, two days after Josh's birthday and two days before Caitlin's the happy couple got married. The wedding was beautiful, very traditional. For more about that see A December Wedding. This is about the reception. Though, I did feel it absolutely necessary to include two pictures from before the ceremony. First, of course the bride and groom. Just minutes before seeing each other right before the wedding. Second, the flower girl and ring barer. How could I NOT post these two pictures.

Josh and Caitlin waiting with anticipation to see the other. Josh had not seen even a picture of Caitlin's bridal gown, and had no idea what to expect.

Kahlen and the ring barer, well, they are just to cute, if I do say so myself. As I said before, they did an excellent job and just need to shown off.

The reception was a lot of fun. It was in a restored barn in Johnston, Iowa called The Simpson Barn. I don't remember the whole story behind it, there are details of that night that are blurry. We were up late the night before decorating. We were aiming for a winter wonderland effect, which I think, with the help of many, especially my friends Dawn and Kelley, I think we achieved.

Dinner was catered by a local BBQ resteraunt. If you ever watch Man vs, Food, you may have seen it, Jethro's BBQ.  It was tasty and filling, and relaxing not to have to worry about it.

After dinner there were of course the speeches. The best man's speech, was probably my favorite. He predicted children for them soon, and that they would be great parents. How could I disagree with that?The came the bride and groom's first dance.

Their eyes only on each other. Oblivious to all of the eyes that were upon them, watching as they held each other tenderly. They moved on the dance floor, not in a well trained dance, but on a cloud of love. 

After that it was Caitlin's dad's turn to take the new bride on the dance floor. He, was the proud papa. Dancing with his youngest daughter, now a married woman. Each very proud of the other. A kiss on the cheek ended the dance. 

The next dance, Josh and the mother of the groom, me. I got to dance with my son. At Alyssa's wedding I watched from the side and cried with joy as my husband danced with our daughter on her wedding day. This wedding was my turn.

I picked a Barry Manilow song. I Am Your Child. With lyrics like, "Where ever you go, you take me too. Whatever I know, I learned from you, whatever I do, you taught me to do. I am you child." "And I am your chance, whatever will come, will come from me, tomorrow is won, by winning me, what ever I am you taught me to be, I am your hope, I am you chance, I am you child." How much more perfect could it be. I cant believe I didn't cry through the whole song. Looking up at my grown son, dancing with him at his wedding, was one of the most amazing moments of my life. One I will never forget.  .Next up on the hit parade was a dance by the wedding party. I don't remember the name of the song, but I do remember they had a lot of fun. They wiggled and danced and made a few of the older folk blush, but most thought them entertaining. The groomsmen also did a dance of their own. They all seemed to have a very good time. 

Willie and I danced during the aniversery dance. We almost ended up being the last ones up there too. We were beat out by one year. So, close, twenty seven years just didn't quite make it. We danced happily with our perfect little granddaughter. I think the music was a little loud for her, she seemed to want to be held a lot. Which I had no problem with. I knew my chances for holding her were slowly coming to an end for a while. I always miss her so much.  Shane and Alyssa, still newly weds themselves took the chance to enjoy the evening. As did Valerie and Joel. Valerie danced with her brother during the dollar dance. The party went on until all were exhausted. 
After all were partied out, the time for clean up came. Everything went down faster than it went up, though with exhausted worker bees it didn't seem like that. 

Monday, March 5, 2012


I think, maybe, just maybe, it might be...... yes, yes, it just might be..... I think perhaps it is...... that most special time of the year! That's right, it is almost Let's All Pretend It's Spring Day! I have declared that Tuesday will be this year's Let's All Pretend It's Spring Day!!! I had almost forgotten about it. This year winter has had such crazy weather it just slipped my mind. How, oh how, have I let that happen! Without Let's All Pretend It's Spring Day, how will winter know that it is no longer welcome. That it is time for it to move on and let spring flowers bloom. This could have been bad, very bad. We could have ended up with two feet of snow in July had I not remembered.

Here's a photo from last year of what
I am looking so forward to now
It won't be as hard to pretend it is spring this year. I already have daffodils that are about six inches tall in my garden. They look like they could bloom any day now. Maybe they will bloom on Tuesday, that would be awesome, huh? I can't wait! I have been looking all over the yard for early bloomers, haven't found one yet. I can't wait until I do. Although, I admit it is really freaking me out that these flowers are already up. The way the weather has been this year, I'm not sure if it will bee 120 degrees in July, or if we might just have snow on the ground. That alone makes Let's All Pretend It's Spring Day all that much more important!

We need to show the year 2012 who's boss. We need to get spring on its way and chase all of the doomsday predictions out of here! 2012, you are going to be a good year! That is all there is to it!

"If you change the way you look at things, the things you are looking at are going to change." - Davy Jones

Thursday, March 1, 2012

My Heart Is A Little Broken

In my life time I have heard of the passing of many entertainers. Often it was people that I really didn't know. People from my parents', or even grandparents' generation. People like Katharine Hepburn, James Stewart or Cary Grant. People that I'd heard of, but at the time of their passing, had very little knowledge about their talent. As I have grown and found the Turner Classic Movie Channel have  learned to greatly admire and enjoy their work. I have found myself watching movies like The Philadelphia  Story, or Harvey, or Arsenic and Old Lace over and over again. Thank goodness for DVD, to keep these wonderful talents at our beckon call.

Sometimes it was people I did know but had no real connection to in anyway. People like Bob Hope, Harry Morgan, Maurice Gibb, or Elizabeth Taylor. People who's work I had  greatly enjoyed, and upon hearing of their death thought "how sad," but then went on with my life. Kind of like losing a distant relative. One you never really knew, but you knew it made your mom or dad sad and you were sad for them.

Once in a while it was someone like, John Lennon, Michael Jackson, or Whitney Houston. People who were  a little more from my generation. People who's work had touched me in someway. Maybe it was as simple as dancing to their music at a school dance or a party with friends. Maybe it was growing up with them in my life for so long. When they passed away it sent a little shock through my system, it made me think about mortality, and the loss of great talent. I might have paused to think about their lives and what I knew about them. It was a little more personal. I had watched them rise to fame, and now saw their demise. It was weird, and a little unsettling, but not personal. I was still fairly young in 1980 when John Lennon passed away. Though I grew up listening to the Beatles, via my sister, It wasn't the same for me as I'm sure it was for her.

That more personal feeling of loss came for me yesterday. Wednesday  February 29th, leap day. A day that has a certain whimsy to it. A day that only comes around every four years. It makes it a little special and fun. Not fun in a party it up way, but fun in getting to write 2-29-12, silly little things like that. I have a forty-four year-old cousin who celebrated her eleventh birthday yesterday. What an odd thing it must be to have been born on such an unique day.

When I went to lunch yesterday at about three-thirty I turned on my iPhone and opened up Facebook. That's when I saw it. If I hadn't been at work I'm sure I would have started to cry. I felt the pit of my stomach trying to rise into my throat. I had to swallow hard to keep my composure. I had never had that kind of a reaction to the death of a celebrity. Not even Michael Jackson, but maybe that was because he had gotten so strange and unrecognizable. No, this one hit me, it hit me hard.

Davy Jones and the Monkees have been one of my very favorite groups, my entire life. The Monkees have actually, been the subject of this blog twice now. When I had heard they were on tour last spring I wanted to go see them again, so bad, it hurt. Putting it in blog helped me to deal with the fact that I was going to miss this tour. Listen to The Band put my hopes in writing. Monkee Brain helped me get to sleep one night while my thoughts swirled about how to get the money to get a ticket to their concert in Indy. When I knew all hope was lost, I looked forward, I might get to see them later in the tour. Maybe they'd add Des Moines. Then abruptly, the tour ended. There would be no Des Moines concert added. "Maybe, just maybe, they would resolve whatever happened and get back on the road at some point," I allowed myself to think.

Davy Jones will be missed. Not just by me, but by millions of people. He brought us happiness, and giggles. He made some swoon to the point of fainting. He made others dance and sing along. OK, maybe the Monkees weren't the Beatles. A comparison that had been made over and over again. The Monkees were a fabricated band, who weren't even allowed to play their own instruments, at first. "They don't write their own music!" Was written in many music magazines. "They don't play their own instruments!" They were called the prefab four.

Then again, the Beatles weren't the Monkees. Though modeled after the Beatles and A Hard Days Night, The Monkees, as a TV show brought music, and zaniness and laughter into American households week after week. The Monkees as a group grew out of the show. Magic happened, magic that still sparks to this day. Rolling Stone Magazine, where once the worst of the Monkee bashing had begun, even gave a great review to their last tour.

Their. Last. Tour. Such final words now.  Even if Peter, Micky and maybe Mike toured again, it wouldn't be the same. There would be a definite hole. It would be the same if it had been Micky or Peter. The three of them together, that made the Monkees. Mike left himself out for so long that his hole was filled well by the other three. Davy though, I know that Peter and Micky know that he cannot be replaced in anyway. Two without the third, it can't be done.

To Davy's family and friends I'd like to say how sorry I am. To lose someone you love so young. To his children and grand children, especially, I'd also like to say thank you. Thank you for sharing your dad and grandpa with the rest of the world. Thank you for loving him so long and so well that while he missed you dearly out on the road, he knew, you knew how much he loved you. Please, know that his fans loved him greatly, and we will miss him. The hole in our hearts, while much, much smaller than the hole in yours, will never be filled.

We will miss you, Monkee Man.