31 March 2009

In like a lion...out like a pissed off baracuda.

V has been home from school for a week and a half: we can't get to Grandma's, and most of the stores/movie theaters/places of entertainment have been closed during this time. We all have a terrible case of cabin fever. So we bundled up and went out to the backyard yesterday, to burn off some three year old energy, dig for treasure, eat falling snowflakes, and make snow angels.
You may recognize this bonnet from last winter, when it was new. I could make her a new one, but this one still fits, and I'm lazy. The pattern is from Amy Karol's Angry Chicken pattern. It looks like they're restocked for Easter. It's a well written, easy to follow pattern that takes me a little less than an hour, start to finish. (There are many more examples in this flickr group.)
V likes the bonnet because it keeps her ears warm, and it also shields her eyes from the sun. Yesterday it helped keep the snow from blowing straight into her face. I think bonnets are so underappreciated in today's world.

Anyway, as you can see, at least one person in Fargo-Moorhead had fun yesterday. Hope you find time to make yourself a snow angel today.

30 March 2009

Insult to injury

Sarah and Robby's, yesterday. The plank in the forefront is the railing of the deck. You can see on the tree where the river crested, froze, and is now dropping. This is the view out of their basement door. On the other side of those sandbags is over 5 feet of river water. It's kinda freaky.
Anyway, the water is receding, slowly, but right now it's snowing. They tell us this precipitation will not significantly change the river levels, but it certainly slows down traffic and makes me worry about powerlines and Hendrum, too, where my mom and sister and her family live.
The snow is coming very fast, but as you can see it is fairly light.

Our house remains safe and dry, thankfully. With this new snowstorm will come strong winds, and so we hope the levees hold, and the giant ice sheets on the Red hold the water down and don't become battering rams that break through.

It feels as though spring will never come.

27 March 2009

Waiting for a miracle

Most of my dear readers know that our city, Moorhead, Minnesota, is waging an enormous flood fight. It's difficult to blog about as it happens, because there is so much uncertainty, and any minute I'm not trying to directly make things better I feel guilty. But Shaun is working today, so I'm home with V with no vehicle, so here we sit, and here I blog.
On Saturday & Monday I was at Sarah & Robby's, friends of ours who have a beautiful home. On Rivershore Drive. Their house takes water at 36 feet, and our crest (which is still rising) is predicted between 41-43 feet. This photo is from their back deck, which normally stretches 100 yards or more to the river (I think. I'm not great with distance, but it's a ways). The river is at about 34 feet in this picture. That little black dot in the center of the photo is their tire swing. Man, I hate it when my tire swing is 9 feet underwater.

A few days ago, Fargo's mayor suggested we should all be prepared for evacuation. Better to be prepared than not. So I gathered a few things: it's daunting, though, thinking about leaving. In all likelihood, our basement would fill with water, but little on our main floor would be affected (at least that's what I'm telling myself). It's more of a matter of what we absolutely need to live a week or two away from home. I packed all our medications, our IDs, V's social security card/birth certificate/baby book, our wedding/honeymoon/reception photos. Then I packed 3 pairs of underwear for each of us. And then I stopped. Because really, as I'm watching people staggering under the exhaustion of sandbagging and worry, I figured we could wear the same clothes for a few days until the crest passed and we could come back home. Despite the fact that I'm a packrat, material possessions do not define me, and though we don't have flood insurance, we would manage. There is so little in our lives that is irreplaceable.

But now it's a few days later, and I find myself packing a second suitcase. Clothes, pajamas, socks for all three of us. A couple of the collage projects I've completed. V's harmonica. Then I remembered that tucked away in a corner of the basement, I had a few things I might miss, after all.

On the left, a pile of quilt blocks I forgot I even owned. I'm not at all sure how to put them together, but I'm not leaving them to be eaten by the river, either. In the center is a completed quilt top, the only one I have that's not quilted, and the hardest pattern I've ever done (which is funny, since I've only done about 3 patterns in my life). On the right is our reception guest book, which I made in the form of quilt blocks, and which all our friends and family signed. It makes my stomach hurt, now, to think I might have left those behind. I would've been really, really upset. I'm upset at myself for not remembering them in the first place.

Now, though, they're tucked safely away in a suitcase by our door, awaiting further orders. Hopefully the river will crest lower than predicted. Hopefully all the sandbags and clay will hold the water. Hopefully life will be back to normal soon. Because I have some quilts I need to finish up.

22 March 2009

Women gone wild

I'm really annoyed when the media/world/general public refers to females over the age of 18 as "girls." Yet I also remember being a freshman in college and struggling to get used to us being called "women" by our professors. And though males over 18 are often called "guys" instead of "men," it's somehow just more casual, rather than demeaning. Language is so complicated. But wait, that's not the point of this post. Sorry. I've been on spring break all week, and I tend to digress even more than usual when I'm not working.Last weekend, four of my friends and I rented a cabin near Brainerd, Minnesota, packed up our favorite kinds of snacks and liquor, and left our spouses and 8 children at home so we could laugh and eat and put on too many fake tattoos and update facebook and talk and watch movies from the '80s and drink margaritas and champagne and pretend we were cougars and go to new bars and eat exotic bar food. We were gone for two nights, which was a scheduling miracle, and just long enough to start to kind of miss our families. A little.

It was wonderful. Sarah thought it up, sending us an e-mail in mid-February saying essentially "I'm going crazy! Can we run away?" I think she was surprised when Carla, Tenessa, Susanne, and I all said "Us too. Let's go."

Motherhood rocks. So does finding a person with whom you want to share your life. But both are exhausting, too. Despite the Disney myth of happily ever after, or the social construct of fulfillment through family, I need more. I need 48 hours of laughing until vodka comes out my nose (oh, it burns!) and waking up with a houseful of people who don't need me to do anything for them before we can start our day. It makes me a better Mama, and a better wife. It makes me, most importantly, a happier girl. Or woman. Either way.

08 March 2009

Why I Took my Daughter to Dairy Queen

(Photos are from last weekend, and are unrelated to this post except in spirit).
On Friday, on V's way home from school, I started telling her the story of how her father and I got married. She's heard parts of this before, but not details, like how Uncle Steve was home from Texas, and Auntie Beth was home from Colorado, and they both did readings for us. And how Auntie Jess brought her guitar and sang "You Are My Sunshine" as my parents walked/wheeled me down the driveway (she liked that part a lot).
Then she asked "Where was I?"

"Uh, well, you weren't born yet." That was easy enough. But she wasn't letting me off the hook yet.

"Oh. So you left me at home." She said this like of course, this is what you do all the time, you lousy parents.
"What? No, we didn't leave you at home! We didn't even know if we were going to have babies yet when we got married. It was almost seven years ago, and you're only three." Logic seemed the only way out of this conversation.

"Well where was I then?" Math had failed me once again. The fact that she would've been negative 3 1/2 didn't seem to phase her. I decided to go all philosphical on her.

"You didn't exist yet. You hadn't been made. There was no such person on earth named V Elizabeth yet." (you reincarnationalists can be quiet out there)

Her tiny brow furrowed. "So I was still in your tummy?" I've never liked it when women call their uterus their tummy, but it is much easier to explain, anatomically. And finally, I saw a chance for resolution.

"Yes. Yes. You were still in my tummy, and in Daddy's body, and we hadn't made you yet." I had to give him partial credit, I figured. I hadn't planned on covering the birds and the bees just yet, but if she was gonna keep asking, I was gonna keep answering.

"Okay," she said, looking out the window. "I wish I had some ice cream."
Mercy. You're not the only one, child.

And it was delicious.

03 March 2009

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree...

I'm impressed at how well these two are listening really closely to Shaun.... ...and then to Grandma Mary....
...and then back to Shaun again.

Nothing quite like supper together at Grandma and Grandpa's to capture the attention of wee ones and retirees alike.

02 March 2009


Saturday night was cold and clear, and the moon was a lovely silver sliver. Since I've been having some luck with photos recently, I thought I'd try to get a picture. I took about 15 shots, and this is the best one.How sad is that? I just can't hold still enough to make it not blurry. So I embraced the blurry.I moved the camera on purpose. Slowly, quickly, all over. Standing in the dark in -19 degrees, I played with moonlight. Swoop. Swish.

Then I thought hm, I wonder if I could make something recognizable with this moonlight blur?
Well, look at that.
And again.

I'm trying to explain to V that most mothers do not write their child's name in moonlight, that she's so lucky. I assume she'll appreciate me eventually.

V and I played with the saturation and color settings on the computer, and came up with these. She thought that was pretty cool.

I'm so glad we didn't name her Elizabeth.