Friday, August 31, 2007

month end wrap up

I cannot believe that I've only posted eight times this month. I've got several that I've started and not finished.

I'm still trying to figure out where I'm going with the blog. I am very mindful about what I put in print.

I really enjoy writing for the blog, so for a while I was using the blog as a way to punish for myself.
*No reading/writing/commenting until you've finished the Gazette/NUVO/MKNA newsletter piece.
*No blogging until the house is clean/fit-for-company/Christmas lights down.
*No Internet until the yard is mowed/weeded/garage cleaned.
*No writing for fun until the desk is clean/bills paid/thank you notes written.

All that accomplished was a messy house, an unbalanced check book and a very crabby Nora.

Also August was incredibly busy, both good and bad.
Here are some things that I did not get a chance to write about.

August 1
Fundraiser for the Mayor of Indianapolis
Again, I don't want this to be a political blog even though I consider myself very informed on local issues -- which means that I vote for the person not the party. The event was held in a neighborhood tavern and called "Beers for Bart." It was fun to be part of the rah-rah crowd for once.

August 2
Fundraiser for the Mayor of Indianapolis
This event was held in a downtown law firms swanky board room. The suggested donation was 20 times more than the event the night before. And I was there as "the help." Second Helpings has a catering program to further train our graduates. There was a snafu and I wound up bartending. Lesson learned: Its it pretty short trip from top of the heap to the bottom.

August 6
Poker with the guys
I used to be in a weekly poker game that fell apart about five years ago for many reasons. It was good to see everyone, laugh, lose some money and remind myself why that I don't want to play every week.

August 8-19
State Fair, State Fair, State Fair.
I attended the preview night and went to the Fair five more times. My friend Tammy calls it Fairapy. And she's right, you can't leave the Fair without feeling better than when you arrived (maybe not your tummy, but defiantly your spirit).

August 13
Funeral in Lafayette
The boy-I-should-have-married's dad died. My dad and I ran up to the funeral home. I really liked Greg's parents and they were a great example of what a marriage should be. Greg's mom said some lovely things to me. I was happy/sad to see Greg and the gang. I was feeling fairly emotional at the end of the evening. I'm not a hugger at all, but I attempted to hug Dad good night, I managed to poke him in the eye instead. He said "get on out of here if that is how you feel." I left the farm laughing.

August 15
Line Cooking and Board Meeting...later that night, David Cassidy
Line cooking is the student exercise where they set up a mock restaurant. I love it 'cause I get to expedite and play restaurant manager, but I'm exhausted at the end. Chased that with a board meeting.

August 17
Downtown Records in Lafayette
Back to Lafayette to write a NUVO piece about a cool all-ages punk venue. Arrive to signs in the window announcing the place was closing at the end of August. Saw three great bands (Dollyrots, Johnie3, The Peggy Sues) and took lots of great photographs. NUVO killed the story since the venue is closing.

August 18
Maura's gone to Oregon
Maura's going away party was amazing and sad. Ken and Becky's backyard was full of cheer and good wishes for Maura. Maura always jokes about the giant cookie going ways office parties. Of course I had a bake her a giant cookie.
I miss her already.

August 19
State Fair/Hayride at the Farm/Party at Linda's
Yep, you read that right. Hayride on a 90 degree August day. I started the day at the Fair and headed out to the farm. My dad, my brother and his family, my cousin Jim and his family and some neighbors picked tons of sweet corn, shucked, parboiled and cut it off of the cob for freezing. My timing was perfect. As I pulled in the driveway my brother was hosing off the picnic table signaling the end of work. Dad pulled out the hay wagon and fired up a tractor and off we went. Nothing better than a wagon load of kids laughing and wiggling around.
My college friend Linda started radiation treatments the next day. We ate an amazing dinner (yes, my third, for those of you who are keeping score) and toasted Linda's health.

August 21-28
AVS in town
The visit went well, I think we've figured out the whole friendship thing after four years. His old band played one night, and they sounded great. We also managed to have a dinner or two without me crying by a dumpster.

August 29
Funeral in Logansport
Jerry and I attended the viewing and rosary for fellow blogger Loner's father. I enjoyed meeting Loner, but I'm sorry it was under those circumstances. My dad went with us, he is from Logansport and knew a ton of people. Dad took us to dinner and we met up with cousin Cindy. Somehow that led to open-mic night at a tiny bar and me getting home at 1:00 in the morning.

In the midst of all of that fun I worked a ton, wrote a bunch and attended more board and committee meetings than one person ever should.
See you in September.

Thursday, August 30, 2007


I love getting mail which has manifested into an unnatural affection for my mailman. I leave a cooler on my steps with water and sodas in the summer and leave candy bars and coffee gift cards in the mailbox in the winter. I have met his family and know when his birthday is.

Last week was an especially good mail week. First Nancy Drew, then this package arrived at work.

Which reminded me of something that I wrote on August 2, but never posted:

It occurred to me that the whole soda/beer mishap could have been avoided if I still had my beloved Morrow Kennels Cup.
My cup disappeared two months ago and quite frankly I have not been the same since then.

A little birdy sent me some inside information and a damning photograph.

You see, Cliff drove 1,000 miles to hand deliver two cups but could not seem to make the eight mile trip to the post office in Tekamah.

The birdy reminded me that postage is a lot cheaper than gas. The same bird suggested that Cliff send me a red cup as better to mask the Miller Lite.

I never posted it because I didn't want to bug Cliff. And I was feeling a little guilty -- you see, I have something for Cliff that I've never mailed. I'll be putting the box the cup arrived in to good use.

I will tell you the strategic planning committee meeting at 7:30 yesterday morning was a little more bearable with the smiling Morrow Kennels dog grinning at me.
Thank you Cliff!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

nancy drew

I came home from work last week to find a slim package at my door.

My friend, David sent sent me the audio book of Secret of the Old Clock, the first in the Nancy Drew series.

It was a big, slightly emotional week and it was nice to have my friend Nancy in the car with me.

As a young girl, I didn't so much read Nancy Drew mysteries as inhale them, from yellow cover to yellow cover. I would be mourning the end of the book even before it was over. How was I going to get to town to the library to get the next one? Or to Danners, if I had enough money saved to actually buy a book?

My best-friend-since-first-grade Ann Herr and I would discuss clues, trade books and carefully craft our birthday and Christmas wish-lists to avoid duplicates. You can't leave the fate of your book collection in the hands of Santa Claus.

Ann and I spent many hours sitting next to each other reading. Our younger siblings would run circles around us, whooping it up and playing. There are several photographs of that time with our brothers and sisters playing games -- there are none of us sitting on the steps reading, not a very exciting picture, I guess. My favorite Christmas gift ever was a bookcase. That bookcase has moved across the country with me, and still houses many of those same books I had in fourth grade.

Much has been written about the impact of Nancy Drew on womens lives. Every woman I know has a Nancy Drew story. Most center around Nancy's spunk. "Nancy manages the almost impossible feat of being wholesomely 'feminine' -- glamorous, gracious, stylish, tactful -- while also proving herself strong, resourceful, and bold," novelist Bobbie Ann Mason wrote in The Girl Sleuth. "Perhaps most important for a girl reading Nancy in the early 1960s, she showed that girls could have it all, complete with a wardrobe of sweater sets and sheaths, and a boyfriend, the endlessly tolerant Ned Nickerson, who never got in the way of her sleuthing."

I also wanted to Be Like Nancy, but really, who wouldn't? She was adventuresome, quick-thinking, smart, fearless and independent in her sporty blue roadster. But, then again, I knew plenty of spunky girls (I was not one of them, but Ann Herr was) and by the late 1960s, early 1970s spunk was expected/encouraged in young women.

More than that Nancy Drew opened up a another whole world to me.

Nancy's dad, Carson would send her on errands to other towns in her roadster. My dad sent me pull weeds, pick up rocks, burn trash or sweep out the barn. My mode of transportation was a big yellow school bus or an Impala station wagon. Mr. Drew was an attorney, a profession that I had no first hand knowledge of. I now have many attorney friends, but none of them wear a hat or send their children with "important papers to a neighboring town."
Nancy's friends took trips together, traded clothes and never had to babysit or go to Sunday school.
No one ever questioned Nancy's judgement. She could be gone for days or get herself locked in a closet and was always a hero.

Even now, that we are officially too old for Nancy, Ann and I still exchange Nancy Drew mysteries for Christmas. And, I will still pull out a yellow book and head out to the backyard, - alas, no secret tunnel -- and spend an afternoon curled up with Nancy.

It was good having Nancy with me in car this week.
I've missed her.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

small world...or nebraska, anyway

I worked at the Red Key tonight.

A young man sitting at the bar was wearing a tee-shirt with an outline of Nebraska and a star on the eastern edge of the state line. The tee shirt said "Herman is here"

I asked him if "Herman" lives in Tekamah, and he almost fell off of his barstool.
Chris graduated from Tekamah-Herman High School (home of the Tigers).

Off to bed -- after I email Cliff.

Friday, August 24, 2007

still here...

No, I didn't run away with David Cassidy.

I've been super busy, even by my crazy standards!

Later gator,


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

i think he loves me...

....cause he told me so.

It's been a good week -- from the tractor parade to David Cassidy.

Monday, August 13, 2007

state fair

When I started this blog I vowed that I would not write about politics (neighborhood, city, state or national), family issues or work problems. I also promised myself that I would not write if I was angry, sad, tired or upset. No rants or “beer blogging” either.

This list just about covers anything I had to say in the last couple of weeks.

I finally snapped out of my funk yesterday, when a childhood dream was realized.

I rode in the tractor parade in the Indiana State Fair.

I was as amazing as I thought it would be.

I am a State Fair junkie.
I have a 4-H license plate, enter baking and antiques in the open show and considered not taking the Second Helpings job because I would not be able to attend the Fair every single day (like I might have for three years running). My only political aspiration is to be on the State Fair board of directors.

Dad found an old bike in one of his barns and he hauled it to my house and we rode down the Monon Trail to the Fair. It is exactly one mile from my back gate to the fairgrounds...and as Dad observed--six miles home.

We had a great day. My friend Scott joined us for part of it. We looked at goats, sheep, cows and horses. We ate from every food group (beef, pork and potato) and looked at all of the antiques in the “women’s building” including my third place guitar salt/pepper shaker. Dad and Scott told me how my snickerdoodles and toffee looked much better than the winning entries.

The first thrilling piece of Americana we saw was a giant cheese sculpture being carved. The theme of the sculpture is the Indy 500.

We spent the most time in Pioneer Village. The Purdue Extension program has run the living history exhibit since 1961, “almost 50 years ago” as the narrator was telling us. I had to pipe-up and correct him. 1961 was barely 46 years ago. I know of what I speak!

They set up and run a threshing ring, a lumber mill, blacksmith shop and butcher shop and mill. It’s all terribly dirty, loud and amazing.

Dad and I hung out in this area most of the day. I love Pioneer Village and visit it each year, but this was the most time I’ve spent in one chunk. We saw them move a log with horses, and send it though the giant saw powered by a steam engine tractor and pulleys.

The threshing ring was amazing. More steam, belts, gears and cogs than you can imagine -- and I can imagine what could go wrong.

My favorite part of the day was the big old tractors. Wendell Kelch brought 3 tractors from his and his wife Mary’s collection.

This is the first International tractor the Kelch’s owned. It is a 1908 “Friction Drive.” For all practical purposes it is a stationary “Famous” engine mounted on a steam engine running gear. [I’m telling you -- carry a reporters notebook, it comes in handy.] A large friction disk transfers the power from the engine to the drive wheels. It was primarily used as a power source for belt driven machines – grain separators, corn shredders and the like.

The 1915 McCormick Mogul 30-60 weighs 23,000 pounds, has a 2 cylinder motor – 10 inch bore and 12 inch stroke. They found in buried in a fence row in North Dakota. I asked Wendell about the green color, it is not typical of other tractors. Olive green was the color of the engines that McCormick produced at the time and they used the same paint on the tractors. Only 800 of them were built and only 5 remain. The original owners found the bill of sale and several photographs of the tractor, including one of the day it was delivered. I would love to see those.

The third tractor a 1917 Titan, is a sister tractor to the Mogul. Click here to read how Mary and Wendell came to own the tractor.

Last week I mentioned that I've wanted to ride in the tractor parade since I was a little kid. Dad arraigned for me to hitch ride on a wagon for the tractor parade that goes down the main drag of the fairgrounds every evening. I was as happy as a pig in poop – I stepped in some of that too.

The parade features lots of old tractors and, well…mostly old tractors. It was a blast. I got to sit in a wagon on a lawn chair and wave.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

fred is forty

My little sister Ann is forty today.
Um, did you hear me? My LITTLE sister is 40!
How in the hell did that happen?

Annie and I have called each other "Fred" for ages. I'm not sure how it started, I vaguely remember laughing until we cried about something that had to do with the name Fred. That was probably 30 years ago.

Ann is fun, loving, thoughtful, stylish and a great hostess.

She is generous with photographs, friends and her love. She's famous for sending cards, notes and e-mails to celebrate birthdays and special occasions.

I called Annie at midnight to wish her happy birthday (even though it was only 9:00 in Phoenix). I'd been calling her all week with messages: "Enjoy the last Monday in your 30s" and other brilliant observations. As the oldest sister I feel that it is my job to tease her.

I was a just-turned 6 year-old, Beth was 4 and J.R. 3 when Annie was born.

Ann asked me what I remembered about the day she was born.
I wish I had a better memory to share than the one I have -- of our Aunt Ann asking me if J.R. had a bowel movement that day. Aunt Ann was fresh out of the convent and in nursing school. Apparently counting BMs was high on her "how to be a good babysitter" list. Asking a 6 year-old about her 3 year-old brothers bathroom habits was something that was never discussed in our prudish household.

(Ann and JR in his back yard -- I still don't ask about his bathroom habits)

Watching Annie swing and giggle does my heart good. She's had rheumatoid arthritis since she was 3 years old. I cannot imagine what living with that pain on a daily basis. She does it with grace and cheerfulness.

Ann and her lovely husband Tim live in Phoenix, so we only see each other a few times each year. They are always in Indiana for July 4th. This year seemed extra fun. We were able to get together several times for dinners, gallery walks and assorted celebrations.
Last year I spent Halloween in Phoenix. I wore my PEZ clown costume to greet the trick-or-treaters in their neighborhood - only a few of the kids cried when they saw me.
They indulged my love of State Fairs and took me to the Arizona version.
Any time spent with them is full of laughter and love.

I love these sweet photos of Ann and our mom. You can tell how close they are.

All of us love spending July 4th together. This photo was taken at the end of the night. The 3 sisters were laughing so hard -- it all started with my Nora sweatshirt and Beth's personalized coolie. Ann decided to make the letter "A" with her hands. One of us had to go to the bathroom and laughing was not making it any easier to pose for the photo.
I squeaked out that maybe Ann should be making the letter "P" which sent us in to hysterics. Growing up in a household were nothing about your body is ever discussed has stunted our sense of humor -- I'd say we're at about at the 1st grade boy level right now.

This photo is not flattering of any of us, but it is one of my favorites -- there is nothing as good as laughing until you cry with your sisters.

Happy Birthday Fred, Jr.