Wednesday, March 31, 2010

When things fall...

When things fall... I know I can come here and count on all of you to understand how I am feeling and that you will offer all kinds of encouragement. So many of you have been where I now walk.  I love that you "get" the pieces of me that I share, and know me well enough to fill in the blanks when I neglect them.

 Your words fall... into the deep crevices of my fissured heart and keep it from splitting open some days.

I've been wondering a bit if things started to fall, because I picked the word reach.  I naively thought I'd get to choose what I'd reach for... not perhaps, what would reach me.  Or that I'd be reaching up, not out.  I thought I picked the word, but perhaps it picked me?

When things fall... I am finding out it isn't always such a bad thing.  I'm finding they may be shifting simply to re-order themselves into a far better arrangement than I alone could have conjured myself.


My entryway table was begging to be let in on a bit of spring and Easter decorating.



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I have been looking for these ceramic rabbits my mother and I made when I was 9.  We found them buried in her closet the other day.



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I put out everything I thought was spring-y and pastel-y... but something was missing... no matter how many times I rearranged and worked other pieces in... nothing felt right.  But then...
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 I kid you not, the doorbell rang.  In a package all the way from Canada, was the missing piece.  But I didn't know it was missing till I set in on the table.  Voila!  I am no decorator, I just happen to know what I like when I see it.  This, I love.  I won it in a giveaway over at The Original Art Studio, from Bonnie.  If you haven't had the pleasure of meeting her, please go visit soon!  Thank you Bonnie!


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When things fall, I realize, sometimes they fall right into place.  

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Monday, March 29, 2010

I am doing this

I can hear it in his voice every time I call and say we can't come. We have hockey practice, homework, skating skills, dryland training... I think all he hears is "too busy." My Dad tells us its fine. He understands. But I know he doesn't really. Today I went to visit Dad alone, the boys at a baseball clinic for the afternoon.  I so badly want the sight of me to be enough.

But the disappointment registers instantly on his face when I tell him I am by myself.  I used to bring the boys to him and they would play catch in the front yard.  But the boys are stronger, bigger now.  Dad is weaker, and not able to move very far without his oxygen levels dropping.  The boys were so excited to go to their baseball clinic.  I try to explain, but it just sounds so empty.  He sits quietly, nodding his head. The whoosh of his oxygen tank the only sound in his room.

Finally he looks at the calendar and asks if I'll take him to his next doctor's appointment on Wednesday at 2:45. "We could go for lunch at Village Inn, and then you could take me to my appointment afterwards" he says.  I cringe, knowing he has forgotten the kids will be out of school at 3. He reads my face and says, oh... well don't worry I have 4 more appointments coming up, maybe one of those will work? I know I will take him to one or more of those times, trying to make it up to him.

How did this get to be so difficult? When did I start having to choose? My family, or my family.  I want to do both.  I need to do both.

I realize as I am driving back home today, it HAS been a long time. I take the side streets I avoid in the winter that are usually clogged with snow and ice. The houses look weathered. The trees are brown and bare, the grass dormant and bent over from the load of snow its hidden under for months. I recognize the culprit, the same one responsible for the look on my father's face. Winter-weary.

Its sunny today and I can feel the warmth of the sun, as I squint, feeling more intensity in the rays streaming in through the window. I wind my way down by the river and am surprised to see how much it has retreated. I pull over to look.  I sit there for a bit, with the words "I want to do both" playing in a loop in my mind.  Slowly, I begin to chain my thoughts together, using the beams of the sun to glue and bind them into a solid path.

I reach for my phone. "Dad," I say. I know its free pie day at Village Inn on Wednesday.  If mom takes you to your doctor's appointment, I'll bring the boys over and meet you at Village Inn after school gets out.

I know convincing the boys to go for pie will not be a hard sell.  Dad will get the cherished time he wants with them, without having to wear himself out.  After a pause, "That'll be fine," he says.  The absence of the disappointment in his voice is enough for now.

I continue home.  I can do this.  I am doing this.



Friday, March 26, 2010

Vintage...

I am trying to clear the way for Spring to come and stay awhile. I thought if I stripped the house of the last shreds of winter, spring may start working her magic on the dormant and still frozen grass, as well as the brown and dingy look of the bushes and trees. So I've vacuumed and scrubbed up buckets of gravel and grit from the floors. I've been laundering winter coats and hats and making room for them in closets downstairs. But first, I had to rearrange some childhood treasures.

I often wonder the types of things the boys will remember from their childhood and adopt as their cherished treasures. Will it be the lawnmowers that Nolan has pushed around our yards ever since he could walk? The hotwheels that Colton still plays with, strewn about on the floor of his room? Or will it be one of the many items the boys  have come to collect, like Bukugan, or Pokemon perhaps? I wonder...

My mother threatened to throw or give away some of the toys I grew up with, for years. I begged her to hang on to them hoping to have room for them one day. I've pared the lot down to a few things and took a few moments to remember yesterday, sorting through my childhood.




Mrs. Beasley, from the tv show Family Affair, has become a collectible doll.  I've seen her listed for as much as 250.00 dollars in pristine condition.  However, mine is severely loved on.  She threw out her glasses, and the little collar around her neck.  She is dingy in places, and has smudges of black marker left over from my brother Lee.  She doesn't talk very clearly anymore... but at her age, I'm just happy she is still sitting upright!






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The Crissy doll, with hair that grew from the top of her head. She also came with twirler beads that plugged into the hole on top of her head and could be wound around her hair. My Crissy doll is a bit bedraggled these days. Her hair was rather tortured by my 7 year-old-self. The little brushes and combs that came with Crissy, were awkward at best and worked mostly by yanking them through the hair... poor Crissy.  I must say, she still has the most amazing eyelashes to this day, however!

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Susie was my very first doll. She is a Horsman doll from the late 1960's.  Below is a picture of me holding Susie while my Dad held my brother new baby brother, Lee. As you can see I was a bit misguided in wanting to drag her around by the top of her hair, and it shows.






So unbeknownst to me, my mother while I was at college, for Christmas one year, had Susie refurbished.  She got new hair and new clothes and my dad even made a little wooden chair for her.  She resided in my bedroom till the boys took a very rough and tumble interest in her and she is now retired to my closet.  Poor Susie has some fairly wild adventures to tell.


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This is nothing more than a dimestore, (Ben Franklin) purchased tea set.  But I love how perfectly intact it is.  I have the entire set without a scratch or chip out of it.

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So how about you? Do you recall any of these? Do you have a special memory of a toy you loved?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Titan All-Stars.

In between the games at the Xcel, our own boys played in a hockey showcase in Andover, MN, this past weekend.  We weren't sure what to expect as we were placing our confidence in the boys and a couple of new-to-us coaches and hoping for a good outcome.  The players come from all over the state of Minnesota and are then placed on teams.  Our 4 Moorhead boys were placed on the "black" team.

I think we were all pleasantly surprised at how well every single one of these boys stepped up and performed.  Jack, directly to the left of Nolan, was chosen to be the honorary captain as he had performed well in the practice Friday night.  The boys played well with their new team mates and settled in quickly.  It was clear the black team had a bit of an edge on the white team they played against.

The black team was victorious with a score of 8-2.  Ryan, in the maroon and Gold M on his jersey had a goal and a couple of assists.  Riley in the Titan t-shirt, had a goal and several assists which was enough for him to earn the second star of the game.  Nolan, with 2 goals and a couple of assists, was the first star of the game.  It was clear to me, however, they were all stars of the game as they skated as a team, encouraged each other, and represented the community of Moorhead well.




Riley and Nolan with their trophies.

Nolan scoring the second of his two goals.

Monday, March 22, 2010

River crest, Huskies and Fighting Sioux.




We arrived back home from Minneapolis Sunday night to the news that the river had crested at 36.99 feet! Such a blessing and a huge relief! Other than some minor inconveniences and the weight of the whole will it/won't it debate, the flood was downright manageable this year. It still ranks in the top 7 of floods for the river. But its highly unusual that two of these seven historic floods have been back to back. Regardless, a permanent solution in the way of a river diversion has been a major source of debate for a couple of years. But funding, at the tune of billions of dollars and placement, as in which side of the river does it belong, have been great sources of debate.





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We knew we had made a good decision in leaving for our big hockey trip as the temperatures soared into the 60's our first day. We were downright hot in our coats and long sleeves and it felt good to shed our heavy clothes along with our stress.

The first photo I took as we drove to the Xcel Energy Center, home of the Minnesota Wild, NHL team.  We were on our way to watch the Western Conference Hockey Association Final Five teams compete for the Broadmoor Trophy and seeding for the 4 different regional tournaments these teams will play in next weekend.  16 teams will compete in 4 regionals next weekend, 8 the next weekend and finally the frozen 4 and a national NCAA winner will be crowned.

Our small community of Moorhead, happens to have 6 of its hockey alumni playing in the Final Five tournament this weekend.  Division I hockey is a very high level of hockey and for 6 of our alumni to be playing this weekend is a major feat for our hockey community.  Rick scored a media pass to go and photograph the entire event and bought tickets for the boys and I to go cheer for our Moorhead players, playing for St. Cloud State, University of North Dakota, and Denver University.




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Chris Vande Velde is in his last year with the UND Fighting Sioux. He comes back to Moorhead in the summers and coaches Nolan's hockey camp. Nolan has looked up to him since 2005 when he played in high school for Moorhead Spuds. Vande has been drafted by the Edmonton Oilers of the NHL and is due to join their AHL affiliate as soon as he finishes his college career this year.




Nolan made signs for his favorite players as daddy spoiled us with tickets "on the glass." We had front row seats for the first two games and Nolan was hoping for his chance to be on tv. When we got home Sunday night, he was so excited to see himself as well as Colton and I in several shots on the recordings we had of the games.


John Lee, younger brother of Brian Lee of the Ottawa Senators in the NHL. John has been drafted by the Florida Panthers of the NHL, but is currently playing for Denver.



Jordy Christian, playing for St. Cloud State University, has been a friend since we first moved to Moorhead and enrolled Nolan in his first year of hockey. Jordy has deep hockey roots dating back to his grandpa who won a silver medal in hockey for team USA in the Olympics in the 60's. Jordy's uncle, Dave Christian, played on the 1980's Miracle on Ice hockey team that brought home the gold medal. What we love about Jordy however, is his passion and the exemplary manner in which he conducts himself on and off the ice. He has taken a genuine interest in our boys and has been known to take them golfing, or to come watch them play hockey when he is on break.






Our final night, the championship game pitted Jordy Christian and the St. Cloud Huskies, against Chris Vande Velde and the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux, against each other. While it was an easy decision for most of us to wear out red and support Jordy, Nolan has been a Sioux fan for too many years. He bravely wore his Sioux jersey and cheered loudly against all of us. But the one time he took off his Sioux stuff, was when he waited for Jordy to come up from the locker room to see us.



Nolan, Ryan, Jordy, Riley and Colton.  All of these boys have been Jordy fans since they were very young.




A highlight for Nolan to get his picture taken with Vande.  The Sioux came out on top in a close game, 5-3.  Vande's parents live in our neighborhood and instantly recognized our two boys who are always in the yard playing some kind of ball.



Of course the Final Five games weren't our only hockey games for the weekend. Nolan and his friends were invited to play in a hockey all star showcase. In case you weren't completely filled up on hockey already, I have more news and photos to share tomorrow...

I can't wait to come and check up on all my blog friends... I will be slowly making the rounds soon!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Full on Flood Fight

As the assembly-line of big dump trucks began snaking their way down our streets last night, the reality of the flood hit a bit closer to home. When the "flood" lights were brought in so that the trucks could dump their loads... all. night. long. it was like deja vu all over again. That tickle in my tummy and the shiver in my spine were all too familiar. The rumble roar of the trucks provides for little sleep, and yet it seems a small price to pay for the extra protection they provide.

But the sight of the national guard keeping watch outside of our house was again instantly comforting. The levee they constructed goes all the way down from the coulee to the street just before the river. The river is just now starting to flow into the coulee. The houses on the north side of the coulee are in the most vulnerable area and need to construct sandbag dikes along the backs of their yards. Considering the dikes last year were over our heads, the wall of water that resides behind them when the river crests, is daunting to say the least. Not to mention the force the water exerts along the face of the levee is tremendous.

So we are packing, getting ready to leave later.  We feel confident in the systems in place and the people who are remaining behind to keep watch.  We are also grateful that so much planning and preparation has been made and so many have stepped up to provide assistance.

Thank you all for your continued prayers and support!










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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

FM Flood Fight 2010

The rumble of the dump trucks is evident again today. As are the overhead helicopters. The sandbags and loads of clay for the levees are arriving by police escort. The war-zone feel has returned.

And yet its different this year. I've been out walking looking for places that needed help. From the places I can get to by walking, the clay levees are replacing the need for sandbags in our immediate area. So instead I'm washing clothes now and doing any major cleaning for when they ask us to cut back on water usage later. We haven't pulled the toilets yet, or plugged anything yet.  Tomorrow we will go to the volunteer center with the kids to see where our help is needed most.



This is what our neighborhood looked like last year. It was sandbag central and all we had to do was walk out our door and go to work.


Currently the river is at 28.66. The forecast is still for 38 feet with the crest coming on Sunday. We've been a bit on the fence about leaving. Last year we had to evacuate, but this year we had a trip planned already.

Nolan is playing in a hockey showcase this weekend in Minneapolis and we think we'll go. Its a little unnerving in the event our sump pump goes out, and yet I'm not certain its cause for us to stay. We'll have neighbors keep an eye on the house for us.

Maybe I only feel this way because the sun came out for the first time in weeks today and we broke 40 degrees. Or maybe because the river is being stopped further away from our house this year, and I can't say that I feel as directly threatened.


This was over just a block directly behind our house last year. It wasn't built wide enough at the base and there was a big concern the dike could breach here. We spent a week on this dike working alongside these fire fighters.  The water eventually came within inches of the top of this dike. But it held.







For perspective, this is the river behaving nicely on a typical summer afternoon.  You can easily see the other side and it doesn't get much wider than this in most spots.  We had rescued a wayward turtle in our yard and returned him to his former stomping grounds on this day.





Instead of the sandbag dike, this is the clay levee going in down from our house by the coulee.  Last year the water come over this road and down throughout all of these backyards.  This year only the houses to the north of  this avenue will have to sandbag.  Our house is to the south of this avenue.









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Rivershore Drive is notoriously the street that needs to be sandbagged the most. The driveways are filled with palettes of sandbags waiting to be placed.

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Traveling along the bridge that divides North Dakota and Minnesota. The river is on the border of the two states and is underneath the highway. A quick snapshot through the window of the car as we passed over.  The water is usually only to the edge of these trees.

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Another bridge that crosses back into Moorhead where you can see a bit of the river spreading well over its banks.

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Woodlawn park which is completely under water now.

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Red River rising... take II...



I'm drawing a line in the... snow. If spring can't come to me, I am bribing spring to take up residence on my kitchen table and in small ways around the house.


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You see completely why I feel this way? Because this is what the neighborhood looks like just day 1 of the big push to construct our dikes before the river rises. The river is at 20 some feet right now... and is going to swell and surge and burst onto the scene at a roaring 38 feet... by Saturday. Try as I did, I could not get close enough to the river for any decent shots.




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The view of the coulee a block over from our house. This year the river is being capped by a huge earthen levy and a flood gate instead of our wall of vulnerable sandbags like last year.

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Please bare with me if I am a bit sparse around these parts this week.  Waiting for the sandbags to arrive along with the National Guard... here we go again.

When you get lucky

When you get lucky

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