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  • A Very Long Drive

    Recently I spent three weeks one day driving through Montana. Huh? You are probably wondering what I mean unless you have done the same thing. My daughter and her new husband decided to move from Seattle back to Minnesota, where his parents live. Now, the jury is still out on whether that was a good plan, but nevertheless they, their cat, and their worldly belongings had to get from point A to point B. Enter . . . the moms. Yes, with everything loaded into a rental truck and the cat drugged and loaded in their small car, we headed east.

  • The Library Book Sale

    Our public library has a great way to make money, clean out its old and duplicate titles, and help people in the community clean off the bookshelves at home. Once a year, the library requisitions the city auditorium for several days and has a huge book sale. The books are gathered all year long, both from the book shelves at the library and from donations of people in the surrounding community. People can donate any sort of book, whether it's an old textbook, a novel, a children's book, cookbook, craft book, whatever—as well as all kinds of magazines.

  • A Fun Movie

    I took an older friend of mine to a good movie last night, Kitt Kittredge: An American Girl. My friend Lyla really enjoyed it, especially because in 1934, when the movie is set, she would have been the same age as the protagonist Kitt. Lyla really identified with many of the topics in the movie, most of which dealt with the Depression. She said the talk of people losing their homes and jobs and the groups of people called hobos really hit home. She remembers her mother cooking food and taking it outside to feed some people who had come asking for help.

  • Remodeling

    My husband has embarked on a huge project for the summer. He’s doing some remodeling of our house. He's very competent when it comes to carpentry and electrical and plumbing work. As a result, I think our kitchen and living room will be out of commission for several months.

    First on the to-do list was to put in new windows throughout the house. Next, tear out the kitchen cabinets, rip out the carpeting, and remove the texturing on the ceiling. Finally, install new cabinets and flooring. Makes me tired just to think about it.

  • Mud Island

    Here's a spot to put on your must-visit list: Mud Island in Memphis, Tennessee. What a great place to take your family! I was hesitant about going to Mud Island, but let me assure you that I saw no mud at all. It is indeed an island on the east side of the Mississippi River, connected to Memphis by both a bridge and a monorail.

  • New Orleans

    One afternoon our mission team drove into New Orleans to see the city. We had a self-guided tour that led us through some of the sections that had been devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Wow, seeing pictures in magazines or on television does not begin to convey what those parts of the city look like.

    In the Lower Ninth Ward we were struck by the emptiness and the loneliness. A few homes had been rebuilt and reoccupied, and a few were empty, waiting to be reclaimed. Most of the area was empty lots with maybe the remains of a concrete slab and a back step.

  • Mission Trip

    My husband and I just returned from a mission trip with a few other adults and 16 high school kids. It was an excellent experience in spite of the very loooooooong bus ride there and back. We worked on a house in Slidell, Mississippi, that had been severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina: roof blown off and interior damage from rain. The woman who owns it, Ms. Margaret Russell, is a retired RN who has lived in that house since the 1960s. Her father built it for her, and she raised her three children there.

  • Grandkids, Water Park, and Natural History Museum

    Grandkids—gotta love 'em, but goodness they are busy. Our son and his wife have five children between the ages of nine years and less than one. I certainly admire their organizational skills, which are, I imagine, necessary to survival with a large family. Our son was here with the kids for a couple of days—we enjoyed them immensely, but what a switch from our regular lives. Lots of diapers to change (two of them are still in diapers), lots of noses to wipe, and lots of kisses to give. We have a little one-year-old Westie, who was in heaven with all of the kids with whom to play.

  • Loretto Chapel's Circular Staircase in Santa Fe

    Circular Staircase in Loretto Chapel in Santa Fe Santa Fe. Ever been there? What a great place to visit—great food, great scenery, great history, great art and culture—all rolled up in one relatively small city. My husband spent part of his childhood there and has made sure that I’ve been there to visit several times, as well as introducing both of our children to it.

  • More Flower Varieties Appreciated

    What gorgeous weather here today after a week of cool, drizzly, stormy weather. I finally planted some perennials I bought quite a while ago. I have moved them in and out of the garage, trying to protect them from the high winds and torrential rains that have come through. I still have petunias and ageratum I need to plant, but I got hot and decided to sit inside where it’s cool and write this instead. This year I am trying to buy annuals only for the flower pots that sit on the deck and put perennials in the flower beds.

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