Zeroed out

It usually takes me a day or so to reAlize how tired out I am. Today I went to Hazelton to fill in for the English teacher. I traded the math for English when I got the second call. I should have stayed home with the tomatoes and apples. I have not been in school much this year, but preaching in Eureka has really spoiled me. Standing in the pulpit and looking out at faces that have an interested look on them and don’t back talk or chatter to each other starts to give one the false sense that what a person says is really something to listen to.

Going to a high school classroom tends to bust that bubble pretty fast. All day, as soon as I began explaining directions or reading a question, at least one person in the room would start talking. Not only did some talk, but sitting was not always mandatory. In our German-Russian dialect, we would say, “coy rue I’m aowsh.” I am printing that phonetically. It means not able to sit still, literally, no sitting ability in butt.

By the end of the day my throat hurt from trying to talk over them. Don’t get me wrong, not everyone was like that, but in a really small school a disruptive student stands out more. He or she has a smaller audience, but fewer “good” students to pressure them to behave and allow those who want to learn, learn. I guess I am just really frustrated and the more I obsess about it the worse it was.

I do know that the money is not worth the effort. I would not tell anyone not already in education to go there. I also know that I will not be giving up a day of work at home to drive 50 miles one way in a car with manual transmission and no power steering only to develop a sore neck from stress and then be stiff from driving. Sorry to be complaining so much, but I need to vent. Besides, there are plenty of ways to cut expenses to make up for the $. I could also start selling off some of the clutter. Doing that might solve two problems at once.

I sure know it was far more fun to spend Friday boxing and packing and lifting, and I am so glad that I did not give up that time to spend it with someone who would just annoy me. Here are a few more pictures of how the weekend went.


The pictures above are the living room and the kitchen after we unloaded. Below in no apparent order are pictures of Grandpa James rocking Ana and getting a good-bye hug from Jaxon.


Of course the iPad always puts them in reverse order. Below is a sot of Dickinson as we are leaving. Today I am sad it is so far away.

Now just saying when I got home tonight it was straight to the fridge and cupboard for supper. It was a standard BLT and chips with cheese and salsa, but…without the chocolate cake from my aunt I would not have survived this day. Oh how I need to go on a diet. I wonder if I could eat another piece? I think I have more coffee.


Obedience to ???

The message for today, Sept. 28 in our church, St Paul’s UCC in Eureka is as follows. The scriptures used were Exodus 17:1-7, Philippians 2:1-13 and Matthew 21:23-32. I titled it as listed above, “Obedience to???”

I did embellish and go off script as I was telling the personal part, but essentially it was as follows. Afterwards I had at least one person tell me she could relate. Her son moved over 10 times while of college age, and she and her husband moved him and his new wife while those two were on their honeymoon. Wow, I never had any help from a parent when moving except the time my parents brought me a couch and my dad helped me move it into the semi-basement apartment. Everyone thought it would take 5 or 6 people to move it because it was so heavy. He picked up one end and I picked up the other. I was 21 and he must have been about 42. I guess he was in the prime of his life at that time. I believe we all received our strength from him. My oh my I miss him as I write this. I believe that he would have really liked little Jaxon. Well anyway, her is the message for the day.

Let me start by saying again how great it is to be back here this morning. I am not so sure that the last two weeks have been this great fall break. Last week I took advantage of the fact that the Schmeckfest committee was in charge of worship and I went on a week-long escapade. By the time I was finished driving from home to Hebron to help Victoria do some packing and then over to Jamestown to spend a night and a day with Jessica to attend the Women in Leadership Development Event put on by North Dakota Farmers Union, I had just about had all I could take road time. I am not a fan of the 75 miles an hour minimum that you get stuck in when on the North Dakota Interstate.

I was happy to be home this past week, but with the tomatoes crying from the table to be boiled into something and the apples calling, “take me out of the pail and sauce me up.” I was ready to leave the kitchen. So on Friday morning James and I headed back to Hebron to help load Nate and Victoria’s household to move them to Dickinson. It was two trips in a 20 foot U-haul as well as our van and their car and pickup. Now I think I have seen enough boxes and duct tape and more Interstate to last me for the rest of fall. I had a hard time sleeping last night because I kept seeing boxes and how to move them around to fit the most stuff into the least space. Packing for me is a puzzle and that is what was going on in my brain.

Part of packing and moving and working under that sort of time pressure is also stressful, and every now and again someone in the group would get just a pit testy. If we wouldn’t have been so intense, we might have had a laugh at ourselves because at times we were good candidates for being on a Snickers commercial. I am guessing that some of you know the commercials I am talking about when I say, “Have a snickers bar.” There is usually someone in the action who is doing something totally out of character, and someone pulls them aside and says, “Have a snickers bar, you are not yourself when you are hungry.” I can relate to that thought.

When I am on a roll or in the zone working on something, it feels like I can go and go and then all of a sudden, I hit the wall, and I have to stop to eat, or sometimes rest because my actions and words get rather muddled until there is food. We were a bit like that this weekend, and I am thinking that was the case with the Hebrew people in the days of Moses when they realized there was no water in this place they were camped. They were upset and maybe rightly so.

We probably would have noticed similar actions by the Hebrews if we had studied them last week. The scripture then was about their having no food and God sent them manna. However we skipped over that particular sermon to host Schmeckfest. I guess we can get two in one here today with the discussion of water. The bottom line is that the Hebrew people were not very happy about being out in the desert with nothing to drink, and they let Moses know about it in no uncertain terms. It seems that he isn’t able to say, “Have a snickers or anything else cute. Moses is almost afraid of what they might do, and he goes to God pleading for help. Moses knows that again this is one of those times when he is not able to come up with an answer on his own, and he needs God to give him the solution.

And once again, God gives him the solution, just like the way God parted the Red Sea, like the way he had Manna drop from heaven, this time God says strike the rock and there will be water, and because Moses obeyed, God made it happen. It almost seems as easy as the Snickers commercial where just eating the candy bar makes everything go back to normal and work out. As much as it might sound that simple, I think it is more complicated. God wanted to protect and care for the Israelites, but sometimes they were off track, and it was only when they turned back to him that they were able to experience the goodness, the escape from the Egyptians, the food in the wilderness, the flowing water that God gave them to help them survive.

In Matthew’s passage today we see the great teaching technique that Jesus uses so often when he asks a question to answer a question. This technique can really be annoying for the person who wants to hear a straight out simple answer, but I see what Jesus is doing in this passage. He is trying to make the questioners come up with the answer on their own, and when they realize that he has actually tricked them, they refuse to answer because they don’t want to be caught in their own treachery.

Matthew goes on to relate a parable told by Jesus about a man who had two sons that he asked to do a task for him. How many of us as parents can relate to this story. You ask your child, perhaps your grandchild, maybe even a niece or nephew to do something for you. Which one would you be happiest with, the one who refused the task then actually did it, or the one who accepted the task then never got off the couch? Boy I can relate to the second one.

James and I were more like the first son this past week. We didn’t think that we would be able to help Victoria and Nate move. I was supposed to be in school in Hazelton and James didn’t think he would get the day off since he had been gone for two days to a conference. But it turned out that we were able to get there early on Friday and help with more packing and all of the moving. We did, though leave them a threat that if there is another move within five years, we will for sure be the second son in this story. We will say we are helping, but instead we will leave the country until they are in their new house. I actually wanted them to sign a statement saying they promise not to move for another five years.

I might joke about the way these two sons acted when asked to do a task by the father, but in all seriousness, either reaction by the child is frustrating. When you stop and think about being the parent in that situation, they both drive you up a wall. And the point Jesus was making is that is how humans act towards God so very often. We either say yes, yes, then fail to follow in the ways that we need to go, or we blow it off when asked, and later realize our mistake and come back to where we belong.

Of course Jesus was making the point that the one who finally went and did the work is the son that did the will of the father. And then we realize that Jesus means the story as a metaphor showing that a repentant sinner is the one who does the will of God not the self-righteous leader who thinks they are above all others. It is the one who repents, who is obedient to God.

Our epistle reading today is about the church in Philippi. The Church of the Philippians that Paul writes to is the very first Christian church in what is now Europe. It was made up of Gentiles, and Paul’s writing in this chapter centers on the topic of unity. He is explaining to them that they need to work together, and their work needs to be Christ centered. They need to look towards Jesus for direction; it is to his teachings that they must put their obedience. It is also for us to look to Christ and his teachings for guidance on how to act, how to work together as a church, how to think as he would have us think. Paul says, have the same mind that was in Christ Jesus. That was a mind of humility and obedience to the will of God for him. That is the same thing that God asks of us that we obey his requests of us easy or hard.

Just as Moses obeyed on behalf of the Hebrew people while they wandered in the wilderness, just as the son in the parable told of by Jesus and just as Paul advised the church in Philippi, we need to be obedient to the demands that God has for us. When we humble ourselves and accept those tasks, we realize that God always wants what is best for us. Just like the friend who hands over the Snickers bar and says you are not yourself. God hands us the ability to be our best self when we are obedient to the tasks set before us. Amen!

Moving to Dickinson Day 2

I won’t be able to post much today. We are trying to empty this house as best as we can, but anyone who has ever moved knows how tough the last of the packing is.
We are about to leave and then we will have no internet, so here goes.




These are just random shots of what we were doing.


Above are Jaxon and Ana as we are trying to pack up.

Nearly full and ready to go catch you tomorrow.

Moving to Dickinson Day 1

Well, James and I got out of bed before sunrise today to head to Hebron to help Victoria and Nate with the big move. This will be a two day process so today was just moving the boxes and more packing. Tomorrow is the furniture and last round up. Nate actually has the Uhaul until Monday because he ordered a 26 footer and they only had a 20 footer, but it was plenty for today. The concern is tomorrow’s puzzling out all of the furniture. They could do another trip on Sunday if need be, but we will be out of here by supper time tomorrow. So very hard not to be able to stay, but that is how some things go. Here are the pictures we grabbed today.


Top is the view from the front steps. At the signing they were told that they own that long narrow area full of weeds. Their realtor is checking it out in more detail. The bottom is the view of their house.


This was the garage with half the load off. It doesn’t look like much left on the truck, but it was to the ceiling and heavy stuff. The garage was nearly full when we left.

Vic right when they came from signing.


Jaxon was having fun at Sanford’s where we ate. Very good food. We were there the weekend we went to Medora.

And of course the little sleeper. I saved her for last just because. She is just the most fun to hold and fuss with, but she still isn’t interested in much more than sleep, eat and keep the system moving. I guess that is what we are all about, apparently!


Sunrise Tuesday morning

Sunrise Tuesday morning

If any of you recall, on Tuesday I posted about stopping to take a picture of the sunrise, but I never showed how it looked. I also lamented about nearly driving down a steep ditch because of the way I had the car hung up. Well here are the pictures, finally. The one above is from my driveway. The ones below are one that dike road while hung up with the clutch car.

Sunrise down the road

Sunrise down the road

Same exact view, same time just adjusted the shutter speed. Yikes.

Same exact view, same time just adjusted the shutter speed. Yikes.

Again nearly the same view, just a different setting on the camera. This was the spot I got into trouble with the car.

Again nearly the same view, just a different setting on the camera. This was the spot I got into trouble with the car.

As long as I am doing pictures, I might as well throw in the one of my new view to the south. The owners of the neighboring house have decided the backyard was uneven. This is the solution of someone with major farm equipment. I have been thinking that we need that in our front yard, but we have been slowly adding soil of pieces of sod as we have them to smooth out the dips. I guess if you want it all done at once. I wish them better luck than we had in getting new grass to grow. It took us five years to get the front lawn to be something we could mow. The only year it really sprouted was when we planted the grass just before a major snowfall. Yup, the nitrogen went straight in just like adding anhydrous. I like it to come from nature best, but that doesn’t always work.

Yard next door through the onions.

Yard next door through the onions.

Well, not much else to say today. It is super hot. I turned off the air, so I am dozing on and off as I read. The canning is finished for the morning. Today was 2 quarts of whole tomatoes, 3 quarts of tomato juice and 2 qts of hamburger dill pickles to fill the canner. I need to do apples or another batch of tomatoes tonight, or possibly both. I must, must, must get the sermon written before I can may can another jar of anything. We are headed to Hebron early tomorrow and staying until Saturday night because Nate and Vic are finally closing and moving. Not a day too soon. The mice have just found their way into the kitchen at their place. I think they figured out the point of entry (the exhaust pipe of the garbage disposal) so they can finally put a stop to it. Vic said that was always extra cold around that area, and last winter it froze, so something cracked and if you know mice, without any bones, they can flatten out to almost nothing to move around. There now that you are totally grossed out, I will quit. Happy whatever you are doing.

Three days in one

It was interesting to me when I checked my stats this morning I found someone had opened “Misty Morning Musings.” I didn’t leave home until after 9 am because of the severe fog. Here is what it looked like on the trip. IMG_0731.JPG IMG_0735.JPG IMG_0736.JPG I took those through the windshield so partly you see the dirt and the water built up outside, but you get the idea. After I got to Eureka and talked to Dan, one of our deacons, I had to agree with his comment that it seemed to be getting worse rather than better. I pulled over after I arrived in town to get this shot of the lake. It looked like a cloud was sitting on it. IMG_0737.JPG I wore a sleeveless shirt because the weather reporters kept insisting it would be 80 degrees today. I want to know where? Hawaii? Luckily I was smart enough to grab a sweater in case I went to the basement for a bathroom break. Currently I am hoping that the heater starts working. We just had it installed in this new office, and I turned it to 75 yet can’t feel any warmth. I finally took the cover off the thermostat and wiggled on it. The heater now feels warm, but I don’t quite see how it heats my feet when it is mounted three inches from the ceiling and heat rises.????

Yesterday was another of those three-days-in-one days. First I subbed, which was fine, but it still wears you down a bit and standing out in the wind for noon recess nearly gave me an earache, but am fine today. When I got home there were the carpenters doing up the back steps, hurrah! Problem there is it started misting and got dark earlier than normal so they left before it was totally finished and the door still needs to be installed, so maybe soon. It is really wonderful already, and this will be one check I will gladly write. IMG_0729.JPG So the other part of this Day Two in my Tuesday was picking up the two dead mice (one on upper deck and other in the driveway) then making supper for myself. Cooking after a mouse burial is always an interesting thing. I don’t actually bury them, but I do say a kind word as I fling them into the tall grass behind the dike. In terms of cooking I grabbed some things from the fridge, threw them together and made up a Cajun Chicken Alfredo that I will put up against any of the pasta chains around here. So supper, steps, visit from the aunt watching news and Wheel of Fortune, all in Day Two.

On to Day Three of my Tuesday: I was about to cash in and go to bed when I checked the tomatoes that I had sorted the night before. Good grief there were like five that had gone bad. I can’t afford to be losing anymore of them so roll up the shirt sleeves, bite the bullet and get to work. From 7:30-10:30, I managed 10 quarts of spaghetti sauce. This time I used the recipe, well somewhat. I put in 1/2 cup of canola oil and that seems to smooth it out. I used some basil dried from this year as well as the purchased Italian seasoning and canning salt and sugar as normal. Rats, I am realizing that I used no lemon juice, yikes I will have to use this batch soonest.

So this is middle of the Day Three part, as I was finishing putting the spaghetti sauce into the jars, like on 6 of 10, my cell phone rang. I ignored it. It was James, I could call back. Next jar, the house phone rings. Now I have the canner full, and I have lots of sauce left, so quickly heat up three more jars one at a time and fill them with sauce that is continually boiling, and the cell phone rings again. Now I want to answer just to scream, “Leave me alone.” I finished filling the jars and set them aside to seal with the intent of marking them for the fridge. The canner is full on the stove heating up, and I sit down to call James back. Well of course he was frantic about why I didn’t answer. What did he think? He had called my sister Adrienne to check what happened to me. Now I had to call her with the house phone while talking to him on the cell phone. This must be multi-tasking in the highest.

Here comes the final part of Day Three of Tuesday. James and I start talking about this new steps area. I made him look it up on the blog to see what it looked like. He said he didn’t think the grill would fit on it. So I am telling him it will fit just fine. As I am talking, I walk out onto the steps in the cold, dark, misting night. The windows are open in the house to let the hot air from the canning out. I step out of the doorway, and the wind sucks the door shut, tight. I am locked out. It is not funny. I have just gone around the house and locked all the doors because I am home alone. Thankfully I have shoes on and there is a key in the car. I have two choices, go to a relative with a key for my house, or get out the ladder and try to find a way to enter on the second floor. Yikes! Thank goodness my aunt was still awake. I would have hated to try to break into her house. I could have cried if it wouldn’t have been so ridiculously funny.

At least the cats realized that I can feed myself, and they didn’t bring any dead mice to the upper deck. From Monday morning to Tuesday afternoon, I cleaned up 7 as in seven dead mice. Yuck!! However the smoke detectors do not appreciate closed bedroom doors in one part of the house and open windows with cold air coming inside on another. At 6 a.m. I was roused twice to alarms blaring. I was sure the neighbors were going to come knocking. I didn’t try to find the problem, I just opened all the doors and waved a towel and eventually it quit. Sophia was so upset that she baled until I left after 9 without my purse because I was so upset about being so late. So, enough of my marathon day.

I didn’t take any pictures of the spaghetti sauce, but below are the jars of salsa and pickled green tomatoes that I did on Monday. Now my green tomatoes are gone and all I have is the tomatoes in the garage. Oh yes, and I refilled the house tables with the apples. I was quite sad about all the rotten ones I found in those pails. I knew better than to leave them in pails, but I had no other choice at the time. Well, we all know what I am doing with my second and third parts of Wednesday, if I ever get the first part finished.

Happy Canning!! IMG_0726.JPG

Sub day

Sitting in Linton in James’ room at the computer. The students are all accounted for and the one James would be dealing with is on the computer doing accelerated math. Both Accelerated Math and Accelerated Reading are great programs. I loved having the reading program in the schools where I worked, and would recommend it to any school that needs a bit of a boost in the reading department. But, that was not what I was about today when I went to start this post. I wanted to download the pictures that I took on the way out of town. I wish I could find a better setting to capture the sunrises and sunsets. When I can manage a download, I will show you the differences of what I captured based on the setting.

Now for the real story, and I may need to take a walk to grab a picture and explain this better. For those of you who live in or around Herreid, you will get this story from the explanation. From my place north there is a gravel road that you can take to leave town. I took that this morning to avoid the slow down for the school thing. I was driving the little green neon which is a clutch, and no power steering, so you can understand why I would take the path of least resistance. The dike runs to the east of that road, and so I couldn’t get the picture of the sunrise to the east. Right where the road turns west there is a little hill where you can go up the dike a bit, which I did.

Instead of stopping the car to get out and walk up the hill and take the picture, I figured it was quicker to just take the picture from inside the car. Not such a good idea. By the time I realized what I was doing, I was pointed down the hill, and more towards the ditch than the road. Now the ditch in that particular spot is a nose dive drop off. With an automatic transmission car, not a problem. With a clutch I was in a bind. I finally worked the clutch and brake a bit with left foot with slamming on the gas to put the car in reverse. The real saving force was having turned the wheels so short that I couldn’t go down the ditch. I got out of it, but did realize that I get into some sort of pickle every time I have anything to do with that car. Perhaps we should have kept the red neon licensed and on insurance.

Well, hopefully I have some energy left when I get home tonight as I really need to clean up the tomatoes that were on the table in the house. It will be nice to have at least one product safely in the bin so to speak. So, happy gardening, canning, knitting or whatever you are up to at the time.
So far the energy is not hitting me. I promise to add those pictures to a later post. I am finishing this on the iPad as I have no other computer right now. I will share a couple of pictures of what I found out the back door when I got home. So sad for my fancy old steps, not!


The door came too, but it is the wrong one so now reorder. Hopefully they come back tomorrow to finish.

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