Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Weather Madness

So...the unheard of is happening...the Missourri River is bloating to historic levels because of excessive precipitation and the late snow melt in the mountains of Montana.  This event is very bizarre to me because Bismarck was always very dry whenever I visted the area in the past.  Since I have moved there the story has been different and there was a big flood threat in 2009.  This strange, late spring flood is different though and has nothing to do with ice jams or anything like that.  It is going to increase throughout the month of June and the water could be around for a long time as water being released from the dam north of the city increases week by week.  It is worrisome for sure...of course sandbags have been shown to protect buildings from being indundated with water but they usually don't have to hold for weeks or even months at a time...in a current...yikes...The city is building clay walls as a first line of defense so hopefully they hold. 

I sandbagged the long weekend away, helping the family of a friend from my NDSU days and a classmate from school.  Sandbags are sure heavy!  My arms are still feeling it!  It was worth it to see the gratitude for the help.  I didn't even care about working during a traditional vacation weekend.

Our little house is an uphill climb from the river so it will stay safe.  When I left I looked at it and thought how much I would hate roll up the rugs and move the furniture out and leave it alone behind a wall of sandbags and know that I wouldn't be able to see it for days or weeks.  There are alot of people in that situation and I don't like it at all...

I made it back to Fargo last night just in time to encounter one of the more violent thunderstorms I have experienced!  As I approached the city around 8:30 on Monday night, I could see lighting in the sky and when I turned to drive toward Andrea's I found myself looking at a sky that was black like night!  It was very menacing so I drove to her street as fast as possible and pulled into the driveway just as a huge gust of wind came up so fast that I didn't have time to even grab any of my bags from the car...I ran to the front door and the screen door almost ripped off the hinges as I opened it.  Andrea was standing at the top of the stairs and informed me that I was possibly just outside in a tornado!  She had her computer on because the satellite dish had lost service.  The radar showed a red cell of storms right above us and soon we heard the emergency sirens blaring.  I think that is one of the eeriest sounds to hear!  We went to the basement until the wind calmed a bit. 

The next morning it was discovered that the satellite dish had been ripped loose and shingles had been torn from the roof.  Some of the neigbors were missing shingles, satellites, and had damage to fences.  Around town I saw mangled trampolines (they were everywhere!) and alot of broken and bent signs.  I also saw one of those igloo dog houses floating in a drainage ditch.  Apparently it wasn't a tornado but the winds were very powerful and damaging.  Some residents of the city are still waiting for their electricity to be restored. 

I generally get bored with excessive weather talk but this is all just getting too weird! 

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

I have so much to tell about...I got some new furniture, I have finished quilts to show off, and my town is in emergency mode because of impending floodwaters.  I will talk about that in the next few days.  For today, I will observe Memorial Day.  I used to play Taps on my trumpet at the city Memorial Day service when I was in high school and I think the simple melody is very beautiful (especially when played by someone else)!  I remember reading the poetic lyrics in a Memorial Day newspaper years ago so I looked them up again for your enjoyment: 

Day is done, gone the sun,

From the hills, from the lake,
From the sky.
All is well, safely rest,
God is nigh.

Go to sleep, peaceful sleep,
May the soldier or sailor,
God keep,
On the land or the deep,
Safe in sleep.

Love, good night, Must thou go,
When the day, And the night
Need thee so?
All is well. Speedeth all
To their rest.

Fades the light; And afar
Goeth day, And the stars
Shineth bright,
Fare thee well; Day has gone,
Night is on.

Thanks and praise, For our days,
'Neath the sun, Neath the stars,
'Neath the sky,
As we go, This we know,
God is nigh.

In observance of Memorial Day I am going to share these cool scanned records I found on Ancestry.com.  They are WWI draft registration cards belonging to two of my great grandfathers.  Neither ended up being drafted as far as I know.  Gustav turned 18 just as the war was coming to an end and Carl was in his late 30's in 1918.  I also added two that I found from Justin's side of the family after a quick Ancestry search (In intend to look further into his family tree after I make more progress with my side and get some more starting information from him).  There are more records out there but I will spare everyone...each person has 4 great grandfathers so that would get excessive! 

I showed this record to my dad (Gustav was his grandfather) and he noticed Gustav's very nice penmanship (an usual trait for any men in the family and also many females including myself!)  I find these records very interesting because they say what the person did for a living they also include physical aspects such as eye color and height. There is even a box to designate if the person was bald or not!  I wonder what that had to do with fitness to serve... 

Carl is my mom's grandfather.

Adolph is Justin's dad's grandfather.

Carl is Justin's dad's other grandfather. 

As I said, I don't think my relatives fought in WWI and I am not sure if Justin's did but it reasurring to know that they were willing to serve if asked.  Most of the people I found records for had brothers that went with them to sign up on the same day.  Maybe they had a nice day off from work and stopped at the Draft Office and then had a drink and maybe looked at whatever farm machinery was available at the time!  Or maybe they stopped at a store and drooled over hunting rifles like Justin and his friends and cousins like to do.  Or maybe they were more solemn because the idea of getting drafted scared the crap out of them.  Who knows!

So...I hope everyone is having a peaceful and enjoyable Memorial Day.  My weekend in Bismarck has not been that way...more about that later!

P.S. I just previewed the post and realized that the images are too large to fit on the page...if anyone wants to read them in full click on the image to open it!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Happy Birthday Justin!

Although the day has almost passed, I have to mention Justin's birthday!  He is 28.  I am glad...it makes me uncomfortable when he is older than me for 6 weeks! Haha.

I wish I had some funny childhood pictures of him to show but I don't!  We look like children in this one...I believe we were probably 20 and juniors in college.  I love that shirt with various types of booze all over it!

This was taken at AGR, which explains the cluttered, masculine looking background!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Computer Issues


This post is not going to be anything special...I am having computer problems!  AAAahhh...this is the worst.  Yesterday afternoon I was nonchalanty surfing the Internet when everything started getting really slow...then a pop up that looked like a legitimate windows virus program appeared on the screen and told me that my hard drive was unstable, etc.   I know not to trust anything I didn't put on the computer myself so I didn't do what it said and instead tried to restore my computer to an earlier setting.  It was the strangest thing...all the icons on my desktop dissappeared. 

The restore point I chose worked and my desktop looked normal and the Internet was working again.  However, something strange is going on...my Internet "favorites" list is now empty and I also just realized that my picture folders are empty!  However, the pictures are still visible when I open my camera software.  Ugh...what a mess.  I generally can figure out how to fix these things myself but I have no idea what is going on here...So I appologize for any lack of posting in the next few days!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Marathon Weekend

It was the Fargo Marathon this weekend and I was involved as a spectator!  My parents and sister ran the 1/2 marathon and I knew many other people participating in the various events.  There was a very high chance of rain on Saturday but it didn't happen!  What a relief that was.  I was relieved I wouldn't have to stand outside with an umbrella and soaked feet.  I can't imagine how relieved the people running were! 

I had to share this photo that Andrea took of my parents and their training buddies!  It makes me laugh!  Jake, of course, is tearing ahead, and Wally is running by my dad's side like the typical loyal dog. 

 Jake is such a maniac! He would dominate a marathon if such a thing existed for dogs.

We (myself, Kirk, my cousin Katie, and Kirk and Andrea's neice India) caught the runners as they ran the 6th mile through one of the beautiful, tree shaded neigborhoods.  My dad was leading the pack of people we were watching for but we missed him running by and only saw the back of his head because a paraplegic competitor travelling the course in some sort of wheelchair/bike combo went by with a police escort simultaneously and distracted us.
Next came Andrea and her sister-in-law Robyn. 

They are the ones in the middle.  Robyn is wearing all black and Andrea is right behind her in a blue shirt with a pink hat.  I cropped this a bit but couldn't remove that poor guy in the corner without distorting the image!   

Off they go! 

My mom came next.  She is in the white, turning back to see who was yelling in the crowd! She was not at her best because her ankle has been acting up.  She had a veteran high school basketball coach tape it for her a few times and said felt like she had a spring in her foot afterwards! I think my dad tried to recreate the effect hte morning of the race. Taping is a new concept for this family...we seem to have highly performing ligaments and tendons.  I always thought the taping routine that so many of my teammates and classmates endured daily during sports seasons seemed tedious. Hopefully now that this race is over she will heal.

Results can be seen here:

Good work to everyone! 

Meanwhile, at our house, Justin was having the trees in the backyard trimmed. 

I will have to see this in person to really see the results but it looks better back there.  Hopefully our garden will get more sun this summer and we will have better results!  I love the trees and shade back there but there were some nasty branches up there. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Over the weekend I did what I said I would as soon as the weather improved on Sunday.  I planted some flowers!  Oooh I love it.  I love picking them out and arranging them in planters.  I have some favorites I always buy, including marigolds, geraniums, petunias, and of course the proportion balancing spikes.  I also like to experiment with something new every year . This year I bought those dark purple things which you can see in the right corner, which don't get flowers but instead add interest by trailing over the sides of the pots.  

I visited three greenhouses to get my full inventory and they were all busy and chaotic. I could barely push my cart around. It was like the Black Fridy of buying plants I think.  I guess I wasn't the only one who was excited by the idea of bright flowers and working in the sun. I always have to reign myself in to avoid buying more plants than I have room for.  It is hard to grasp the idea that each pack has six plants that grow and spread quite fast.  Last year I put one too many plants in some pots and some plants were overgrown. 
I set up my little work station in the back yard and got to work. The sun felt so wonderful and I could hardly remember when I last felt that kind of warmth!  It was delightful.  We are accumulating quite a large collection of planters which is great. There could never be too many in my opinion!  Our neighbor has two large discarded planters shoved out of the way by the fence in his back yard and it was very tempting for me to just grab them and plant stuff in them and set them in front of his house! 
They look so sparse but I know they will fill out in no time! 

Our front steps are perfect for displaying planters!  Once they grow and get heavier some will be displayed on the ledge.  Last year that trough shaped planter blew over many times was looking kind flat on one side!  There is a hook under the roof overhang so I intend to get a hanging basket also...perhaps in a few weeks when the plants start going on clearance.  

I love those dark purple leaves!  I also love the smell of geranium plants.  Not only the flowers, but also the leaves smell pretty good. Someone should bottle that!

I love the little labels that come with each pack of flowers!  I don't save them but I had to take a picture before discarding them. 

On a note not related to gardening, it is Constitution Day in Norway!  I was there for this day in 2006.  It was only our 2nd full day there and I was jet lagged and confused but the day was still quite an amazing experience.  That day was cold and raining but masses of people still celebrated in Oslo. I have never seen so many umbrellas.  I saw the photos of a friend who is currently living in Norway on Facebook today and they looked just like this except the sun was shining and the weather looked warm.  It made me so jealous! 

One day I hope I will see this sight in person again! 

Sunday, May 15, 2011


I am spending the weekend at my house, it is Sunday morning, and it is beautiful and sunny.  Unfortunately yesterday was cold and it rained all day, which foiled most of our plans for the weekend.  I had plans to spend the morning doing some outdoor oriented volunteer work with other young lawyers and that didn't work out.  Justin had an appointment with a tree cutting service to remove some dead and overgrown branches in the back yard and that didn't work out either.  After that, we were going to do some planting which of course didn't happen. 

When I was returning from my volunteer work I noticed that there were a few rummage sale signs on light poles and street corners...and I couldn't help myself!  I went home and told Justin of my plan and he wanted to come sale shopping too! 

Rummage sales can be very successful or they can be a huge bust.  Sometimes I wonder why the people even make the effort to set up the sale for the crap that they have out when they could just as well donate it or throw it.  Also, many sales are nothing but baby and kid oriented items which would be right up my ally if I had a kid.  There are ALOT of outgrown baby clothes out there in the world...

This reminds me of the rummage sales my mom, aunt, and grandmother used to have at my grandparents' house when I was younger (as elementary school young).  Between my mom and aunt there are 4 girls and 1 boy born within 6 years.  That first year there were mountains of girls clothes that had been saved through the years.  (My brother's contribution was sparse because his clothes were generally destroyed.  He spent alot of time crawling around on the floor with tractors and diving after balls in the grass as a child).  We girls had quite nice and gently used wardrobes, however, and a nice young mom of daughters showed up that first year and scored a haul.  She returned to the subsequent sales and I was glad my clothes were being appreciated.

Yesterday was surprisingly successful.  Early on we stopped at huge garage.   Most of the doors were closed because of the cold and rain and when we walked in we were pleased to see that it was all dishes and knick knacks as opposed to kid merchandise and adult clothes (adult clothes are something I walk right by unless I spot something Bison related or a wool sweater that my aunt could use for crafts).  Justin spotted these unused cross country skis in the corner and found them to be priced at $10.  They are wood as opposed to synthetic materials and the brand is "Normark".  It says "made in Norway" at the bottom.  We looked online later and they appear to be a unique item that cold be sold for quite a bit more that $10. 

We are not going to sell them, of course! We will probably hang them on the wall or something! When I win the Powerball and buy a rustic log ski-in/ski-out chalet at Big Sky they will look really nice there!  They are very long!  As you can see in the picture they are taller than the door frame!  I can't imagine maneuvering around in the snow with those!

At another garage, I found that light yellow bowl, just sitting with other dishes like it was nothing special.  I recongized it right away as Fiestaware!  Oooh, that was an exciting find.  I am always on the lookout for it and have seen it at thrift stores a few times but never at a rummage sale before!  That Christmas tree is hard to see but it is a napkin holder.  It was 25 cents and I love Christmas decor and especially Christmas trees so I thought I might as well buy it. 

At the same garage where we found the skis I spotted that owl napkin holder (yes, two napkin holders in one day!  Very odd!) and mug set.  I find owls to be cute and amusing so I was drawn to it right away.  Justin was opposed but I prevailed and we left with the skis and the owls!  If he gets really tired of looking at it on the table I thought I could use it for organizing mail or files at my desk.   

Hello, wise old owl!  Haha!

Hopefully we will be able to get some flowers planted today and if we do there will be pictures!  It will be something to look forward to for the week!  Haha.  I bet you are on pins and needles. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Spring Storm

I love the power of a thunderstorm although they scare me sometimes! Regardless of how threatened I feel by storms, they are a sign of summer so they make me happy.  Around 3 a.m. this morning, my dreams were filled with a loud whooshing sound.  It was like an airplane was right outside the window.  I finally woke up completely and realized that the sound was the wind.  It was thundering and lighting was flashing.  Of course, I went back to sleep and in the morning the sun was shining.

I went upstairs and noticed these strange objects in Andrea's dining area!

The storm was more severe than I thought!  The howling wind that woke me up also ripped these shingles off the roof!  Do not be alarmed.  You can see that the shingles are attached to some sort of plastic piece...these belong along the peak of the roof and are more like a finishing touch than functional shingles.  It's still crazy that they blew off though!  Good thing Jakey was safe inside!

Today was beautiful and humid and felt like summer.  The grass has turned bright green and lucious over night and the leaves are finally opening on the trees.  I went for my first rollerblade spin of the season and it was delightful!  The only thing that made me stop was hunger!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day

Hello and happy Mothers Day to anyone reading this who is a mother!  Allan already called me and told me I was the best human mom he knows.  Ha ha ha.  Last year I made a very nice post with pictures of all the mothers in my family and nothing has changed since then so I will refer you back to that post for some nostalgia.

 I did see my mom, Justin's mom, and one of my grandmothers over the weekend. Saturday was our nephew, Blake's, 4th birthday party. It was held in Grand Forks at the steaming, sweltering sauna also known as the hotel pool area.  It was fun for the kids.  The party was at what used to be a Holiday Inn, and the pool area has a pirate/shipwreck theme and a pretty big waterslide, at least for a hotel.  Our wedding was at that hotel, almost four years ago, so it brought back some memories! 

The birthday boy after sliding down one of the small slides.  This picture is pretty bad but the rest were worse.  The lighting was strange and none of the kids I tried to take pictures of wanted to look.  I don't blame them.

Blowing out candles!

Cousin Cayson was in attendance. 

So was Cousin Jack!

I visited the farm over the weekend.  Andrea and Jake came on Saturday morning and it was a lovely warm day and I got to see Jake's newly discovered swimming skills.  Here is is getting ready to plunge into the water to get his ball!  When he jumps in he does this funny pouncing thing that is quite hilarious. 

He is a maniac.

He looks like a werewolf!

My dad's shop is progressing.  When I arrived on Friday there were trenches criss crossing the yard.  The time for wiring and plumbing has come!  I have to mention that there is a machine that makes those trenches...they would be hard to dig!  The were about 12-18 inches deep. 

Wally is a huge cling-on sometimes.  He loves attention!

Justin helped for awhile today while also entertaining Jake's never ending compulsion for play.  There is no end to the "fetch" that dog can play. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Clean Up Week

Everything's getting crazy around town this week...it is clean up week.  During this week, people are allowed to throw items that they would normally have to bring to the landfill themselves out on the berm and the trash collectors pick everything up.  Well, they collect it if the scroungers and dumpster divers don't get there first.  Andrea and Kirk threw some junk out, and it was scrounged while we were all gone today.  One of the items was a cheap but still operable bike that they probably wouldn't have put out there if it were not for the fact that someone would take it.  There was also some crappy chairs that were snatched up.  Theirs was one of the only junk piles in the neigborhood that I saw. 

The impressive piles are always in the older neigborhoods farther North.  It seems like the older houses have bigger piles.  Also, the areas around NDSU usually have alot of junk left out.  I was reminded of this because I went to campus for a Continuing Legal Education class (A certain number of hours of CLE classes are required to stay licensed.  They are useful but overpriced, in my opinion) and drove around the surrounding streets looking for a parking spot. 

When I was goung to elementary and high school, our school always had Clean Up Day on a lovely May Friday.  Each class was assigned an area and went out with rakes and bags to beautify the town.  The younger kids stayed close to school and patrolled the school grounds and city parks (the really young kids really didn't do anything but play) and the older kids went out of town on busses to patrol along the highways kind of like a local version of Adopt a Highway.  Although it involved cleaning, we all likeed it because being outside on a beautiful day in May always beats an afternoon in class.  Also, everyone was in a fun mood, including the teachers, and there was alot of joking around and goofing off.  We got rewarded with delcious popcicles and sno cones at the end of the day.  I don't know if they still do it...someone's parents probably complained that their child had to touch germs or something and ruined the outdoor fun for everyone but I don't know for sure. 

Hmmm...now I am craving a sno cone!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

My First "Real" Quilt is Finished!

You have been with me through every step of this project...from when I bought the fabric through the present!   I finished the final stich last night!  I am very pleased with myself because it is very large and I quilted it on my machine and I used a new binding technique to finish the edges!   

That is my binding after I sewed the strips together and pressed them in half.  It was really long!  I was so nervous about trying this for some reason but it is actually not difficult at all!  This the last step, done after the quilting, so the layers are already held together and there is no worrying about anything sliding apart.

There I go!  YIKES!
The best part about this method is that the corners look perfectly mitered.  Previously, I would bind quilts by cutting the backing fabric larger and then folding it over and sewing through all the layers.  It worked fine, but there was alot more twisting and puckering potential and the corners never looked this good because they had to be hand sewn to finish them.  The create these neat little corners is so easy once you know what to do!  There are tutorials all over the internet so I won't explain very thoroughly but all you have to do is fold a 45 degree angle up and then fold the strip straight down over the fold.  My grandma sewed me a sample so I can see it unfinished which is very helpful. 
The most challenging part was finishing the binding where the two ends meet.  There is a way to make it fit perfectly.  I have instructions in a book but even with those it is still confusing at first.  Sure enough, mine didn't fit perfecty!  I realized my mistake though (The directions referred to a single layer of binding, not a double layer like I have here).  It still looks OK.  The binding was a bit short so I just made it fit with a few tiny pleats! 

All done!  After the binding is sewn around the perimeter of the front you press it away from the quilt and then...my least favorite part...hand sew it along the back to make a nice finished edge.  I was skeptical of the hand sewing, especially around a whole quilt!  It tooke a few hours and wasn't THAT bad although it is certainly my least favorite part.

This is one of those delightful corners I was talking about!  I love it!

I took a few full sized pictures this afternoon but they are all terrible.  In one the sunlight washes out one side of it and you can see the shadows from the window blinds.  In the others it looks all rumply.  I look at a variety of quilting related blogs when I am looking for ideas or instructions and alot of those quilters take artsy looking photos of thier quilts hanging from clotheslines or draped over picket fences.  Maybe I will try to drape it over the deck railing or something!

Changing the subject, my sister bought the commemorative Royal Wedding issue of People magazine and I saw this picture of the maid of honor's evening dress...I want it! 

Sunday, May 1, 2011

I Couldn't Help It...

I couldn't help becoming fascinated with the Royal Wedding last week.  I haven't been obsessing over it for months or anything and I didn't watch the live wedding footage in the middle of the night but I was really excited to see the wardrobe choices of the people involved and I have watched replayed footage and looked at many photos.  I was impressed and thought everything was very beautiful. I think Princess Kate is lovely and I like her style so I knew I would like whatever she chose! 

 I love the official photos that were released to the public.  They are so dignified and ROYAL, of course!  The symmetry is very nice. Kate's dress was so perfect.  I think it is interesting how conservative everyone is dressed (yes, I know that is the "rules" for most of the royal weddings that take place in the morning in historic cathedrals that I have attended!  Haha right!) and they looked beautiful!  Well, I guess I am not crazy about the pastel suits the women all woreg but it seems to be the thing to wear to this kind of occasion. I certainly love Pippa's maid of honor dress.  I know from experience that women with a smaller...bustline...can't go wrong with draping around that area!  My friend was visiting this weekend and we were watching some replayed footage on Saturday morning and she wonder out loud what Princess Diana would have worn for this wedding.  I imagine she would be wearing a pastel dress with a jacket like the other women but I'm sure would have been beautiful and modern looking.  I have a feeling that for the next year these styles will have a resurgence and bridal stores will have more dresses with sleeves.

It was fun to see how relaxed and smiling they were throughout the day.  I heard that Kate had applied her own makeup, which was kind of surprising but I can relate.  I had my makeup done at the salon for my wedding and I wasn't thrilled with the work!  I wish I had just done it myself!  

I can't imagine what a day they had!  I didn't even think about the fact that there might be wardrobe changes throughout the night until I saw this picture of Kate in her reception dress.  I was wondering if the other ladies would change into evening dresses and Camilla seems to have changed right into some sort of oriental looking mumu type of thing...maybe she should have kept the morning outfit on...

I hope these two royals have a long marriage so I can enjoy looking at pictures of Kate's clothes for years to come.  I am sure that as soon as a few weeks pass everyone is going to be scrutinizing the princess's abdomen for baby bumps which will probably be super annoying for her!  She better avoid any styles with an empire waist!