There and back

I feel like I semi disappeared there for nearly 2 weeks, but, I did mention the vacation thing so I’m sure you figured out that I hadn’t just dropped off the earth.

We took our yearly spring break adventure with vacation mom and her son and this time we went to an SCA event in Mississippi.  It is a big one, Gulf War, but I’ve been calling it the Gulf Event so my non-sca friends aren’t afraid I’m merrily shipping out in military service.  While I was there I had to think hard about if I had been to the event once or twice before.  Both times were pre-blog so I don’t have an easy way to look it up, however, I’ve remembered enough that I can say with 99% certainty that I have gone 2x.  Once for sure the year our friend got knighted, that was just after we moved to MN.  The other trip was a year or so previous and we flew out of the east coast and I only truly remember it because it was just after 9-11 and it was my first flight and I remember seeing a bunch of great fighters on the flight so I knew we would be ok.  I basically remember nothing else specific from that first trip.  Crazy how easy a trip like this was pre-kids, so easy I hardly remember doing it!

(Now that I’ve blog-archived my sketch recollections of the other 2, here is my mini report of this one. )

Even though I have been to the event before, I started just telling people it was my first time because nearly everything was different.  This was my first time camping (hoteled in the past) at this event, I now have 3 kids (wasn’t even married before), and I’m more mature in my SCA life with multiple awards and responsibilities due to the title where last time I was just a regular person hanging out and having fun.  I can’t say what version of me had more fun but it was a pleasant week overall.

I know it is on the pessimistic side but I went in with generally low expectations.  I set myself up for success by just hoping for warm weather, a set of events I really want to go to, both on Wednesday, and to see a few friends.  Building a giant schedule of things I want to get to makes me stressed when I can’t get to them because of timing or kids so I just pick 1 or 2.    Giving myself the freedom to go with the flow and take care of the kids made everything easier.  Another giant bonus was that a camp mate took on the dinner cooking so that made things even better to not worry about meal timing.  I still cleaned the kitchen daily because it needed to be done, and, made breakfast and lunches for us but I do that most days anyway.  I didn’t push to go out at night for parties because I didn’t have a built in grandma night sitter like pennsic and as a result, I got more sleep than normal and felt nearly rested by the end.  Vacation Mom volunteered one evening of kid watching so Lars and I got to go out the final night and had a fantastic time listening to a great band at the ‘tavern’ and like the stars aligned, all the people I wanted to see were all there that night too.

Our camp site was entirely primitive with a walk to the bathroom and showers (in a building lovingly dubbed the ‘murder shack’) and no power so I made the decision to just check my mail once a day and leave the phone in the tent off otherwise.  This was a really nice technology break but I miss that I didn’t take any pictures at all the entire time.  The kids were without screens too and they actually didn’t seem to miss it.  There were endless games and trips to here and there.  The kid freedom is pretty limited at big events but they did all right most of the time.  We did archery and water-bearing and they went to a class with VM and Niamh wrangled some time with another friend in the fiber arts area doing some natural dyeing.  Niamh and Zoe got to fight in the big kids battles and all of them were good helpers pitching in with dishes and mostly not causing problems.  They also got to go to page school a few days there and they all enjoyed it.  I know I met most of my friends in early SCA in a program like that, plus, learned a bunch of the basics so I am glad they wanted to go.  They went on little field trips around the site and actually saw more of it then I did I think!

I did actually get to my Wednesday events.  Through careful planning (and page school) it all worked out so Lars could still fight and I didn’t miss anything and I had a fantastic time.  I got to dress up and meet a few new people and see old friends and relax and sew while watching first a jousting event and then a tournament, both with lovely snacks and drinks.  Lars was walking over to see how things were going just as I was leaving so it was a perfectly timed day.

There was a share of general blah too.  It was COLD at night and I got pretty good at making blanket burritos out of my kids.  Those swaddle skills last longer than you think!  I also remembered that fuzzy socks make decent mittens.  Mornings were also cold but we were warned and I had warm outfits for layering.  It was also the first camping trip of the year so I forgot all the little things that make camping easier, however, we made notes so the next event will be much easier.   The event also started and ended with a cold downpour and that was not fun at all.  Tent puddles to start and then packing up wet to end was not as bad as it could have been.  Our team worked pretty well together and the kids decently behaved that nobody got over stressed.  We ended up leaving a little earlier than planned but all for the good since we got to the hotel early enough that the kids and VM could have a swim.

The drive was actually longer than Pennsic and about the same as going to NY.  All the kids did well due to being used to it, being older, 3 of 4 can now read books, and I give out candy every hour they are good.  We only lost candy once each way so not bad at all.  We also took a trailer for the first time and it was a very good experience.  I like that I didn’t have to be super careful packing and when it was all wet in the end it wasn’t a disaster, just an inconvenience.  We are probably going to get a little one that a friend is selling, not anything grand but enough to pack what we need and still fit people in the car too.

Yesterday we unpacked and mostly were lazy all day with TV and snuggles and today the kids were off again so more or less more of the same.  I’m mostly done with the washing, just need to put things away, and I’m really very very glad I cleaned before I left since it was so nice to walk into a tidy house.  This trip was an end mark on my calendar so I need to dig in and see what is on deck.  Birthday season is nearly upon me plus house businesses (building, renting, selling – all of the above).  I’m sure I’ll keep busy but I hope I can hold onto some of the vacation calm I achieved over the past week.



Monday update

Guess what?  The kids are not in school!  In 2018 they have only gone to school on a Monday 4 times…  They also have next Monday and the Monday after off for spring break.  Today is a snow fear day, like it is going to snow, but isn’t really doing much yet.

Oh well, I’m glad they are getting old enough to mostly entertain themselves so I did get laundry in and kitchen and bathroom clean.  I still have things to get done not just normal stuff but things for the trip.

Remember that spiral from last week?  I was semi-hesitant to even post about that but I did for a few reasons;

  1. I want everyone out there to know that I don’t have it all together all the time, I know I feel so much better when someone I know talks about something like this because I don’t feel alone in the world.
  2. Talking about it puts it out there so people can cut me a little slack.  (as well as themselves)
  3. Sometimes putting your fears out into the universe delivers some sort of a solution


Over the past 3 days I’ve pulled myself out a bit, and, life has chilled a bit.  Even with kids on a Monday, I’m still keeping it up because I’ve been more careful about food and sleep and I’ve been chugging along on projects instead of hiding under the covers.  I also got a bit of a gift from the universe – my townhouse might already be “rented” and I don’t even have an official move out date from the people there right now (but they have had their own good luck and found a house and should be moving in 30-60 days).

In other news – my oldest has discovered online games like Words with Friends and so we have a game going.  I have discovered that while she is a bad speller, she is a fabulous game player and picked up on the way to win really fast – I can’t be easy on the little shark or she will eat me alive.

Ok, the natives are restless and it is time to change the laundry so off I go marching ever onward 🙂

Happy Snow Day!


bit of a spiral

I’m in a bit of a spiral.  I probably need a good nap because Fiona has gotten in the habit of waking me up around 2am and then 6am to ask if it is 7am for the past 4 days.  There is a clock in her room, and, the clock next to my bed can be seen from the hall, AND she can tell time!!!

The start of this spiral was Tuesday when the builder finally admitted that the timeline slipped and our new house won’t be ready until August.  This dominos to so many things including the fact I had 5 people lined up for a rent to own preview in 3 weeks for a June move in.  The real estate market is now starting into the HOT phase and the plan last year was to sell in March.  Like now.  Now is when we should be selling but if we do then we don’t have a place to live for months.  I put this angst on Facebook and got plenty of support and a few valid suggestions but no, I’m not going to move to NY or TX because I can’t just be absent from the process or the builders might just decide to go on a holiday or something…

I have half my house in storage, that includes all the next size clothing for my 3 kids. (and easter and a tote I need for our upcoming vacation) We were supposed to be UNPACKING that storage unit in time for summer clothing and now I need to either mine the storage or buy more.  We were supposed to be enjoying our giant extra-long summer in our new house and now I need to entertain 3 kids in a house we need to be packing up, or, in option B, living in a townhouse locally so we can sell now, buy a little place that we could rent easily after.  But summer with no yard and less space and making new friends just to leave them….

The spiral continues to create a giant dog pile on me when I consider other variables of moving including the fact that I’m probably going to have to deal with flipping one of our rentals at some unknown time in the future.  I also have a big trip I’m looking forward to but it takes to prep and a long drive and an unknown site at the other end but all my time now is in a war between vacation prep and house selling prep.  I probably sound like a crazy person but the finance math, timing, examining what is the best choice while missing two-thirds of the data is making me a crazy person.

So things that are normally easy and fine are now added to the pile.  I volunteered to be in charge of a big 2 night potluck and accepted a position on a finance planning board (I’m actually decent at money stuff) and both would be no big deal if they were the only extra I was doing.  My temper is short, my ears are more sensitive to loud games and fighting, I’m just not feeling capable to handle it all, all the time.

Oh!  and our dryer died so I got a new one and I don’t know if something is wrong or it is just weak but it is semi-pathetic in its only job – making clothing dry.  It also put me a week behind on laundry. I’m sure things will work out, I am going to go take a nap instead of sewing or cleaning or packing.  Maybe I can reverse the spiral with sleep and coffee.

Pets and Weather

I’m getting a little sick of Facebook and their algorithm that shows the most ‘popular’ things at nausum.  In a way, I didn’t mind it before because I would at least see the big thing going on in someone’s world, but recently, it is a spotlight on whatever new trainwreck we are all arguing about!  There are already ways for me to be alerted instantly if someone commented on something I comment on, I don’t need to ONLY see the argument posts because I’m missing what I loved about the site; normal friends doing normal stuff.

As with other difficult times, you look for things you can talk about without offending too many people and long ago I found that pets and weather were the true winners. Lucky for me, this is a week that I can happily add to the ridiculousness of the world by discussing my tiny dog.

I mentioned that the dog needed a serious groom and the word ‘naked’ was used and wow they were not wrong.

But now I get to make dog sweaters!  Here is a nice hack for anyone with a tiny dog – take a sock, cut off the toe for the head hole and cut a slit (or two holes if you like) in the heel for the front legs and vola! Tiny dog sweater.



She now looks even more tiny, lets compare her to some things:

kitchen scale and entree-sized storage container


willing to bet her collar is 1oz.  I do wish I had a before weight to see how much hair she had

and since it is cookie season (nearly over by the way) here she is in a case of thin mints



and just because I wondered if she would fit, here she is in a box of peanut butter sandwich cookies



I cut the bottom to put it on over her back because she is shorter than the box and I didn’t want to hurt her.  


She is annoyed at me at the moment because of the box thing so I can’t take a picture of her in an actual teacup…

Now I must get back to the rest of the day.  Hope you are having a happy Monday!



Normal program

I got back to MN in good order and promptly got back into the swing of things, kinda.  My break from routine continued because kids were off Monday (why would they go to school on a Monday?!?) so here I am on a pretend Monday, doing the Monday things.  The only real victim of my trip is the dog who was already on the knotty side but now is an absolute mess from getting no grooming for a week and frolicking in the snow and air drying into a brillo pad so today she is getting a serious haircut.  The groomer used the word ‘naked’ and suggested she will need a sweater.  Can’t wait to see this.

Part of me wants to stay checked out on the news because every place I look it is a series of serious problems that I can’t really do much about other than worry.  I live in an area that has guns because people here hunt, I have girls who will have to navigate the #metoo world and both what created it and what it will evolve into.  I am doing my best to keep them prepared but not paranoid and that is a very hard line to walk.

The best thing over the past few days (other than coming home) was the opportunity to watch a few things and read a few things;

Olympics!  Niamh is a BIG FAN and wants to watch every night.  It is on a bit late for her but so far so good.  Since we cut the chord (no cable) we have an old-fashioned antenna and it actually works really well.  The only problem is no pause or rewind and we have to watch live so timing is a factor.  Compared to the last Olympics where we had hours and hours stored and we never watched it – I don’t think the ‘now or never’ proposition is hurting us.

A bribe for Fiona to be good for the week was to go to a ‘real’ movie in a theater.  Sunday we looked at the options and the sorry sorry options for kids and I really wanted to see Jumanji because I love 2 of the actors in it so we did our research and then showed the preview to the kids and everyone was on board.  Finally, finally, we got to see a movie as a family that we all actually wanted to see.  Fiona loved when the hippo ate the guy.  It was a very good family movie and the fact that they were in a video game with 3 lives made it easier for the kids.

Last week I asked for some book recommendations and got a plethora from my friends.  I downloaded one described as ‘laugh out loud funny’ and she was absolutely right.  A walk in the Woods is a fantastic little book.  I’m not quite done but it is a fun mix of real experience of hiking, observational humor, and the history and biology of the trail.  I’m coming away with a decent increase in knowledge of the subject.   A boyfriend and I hiked a chunk of the trail over a weekend and it was just enough to know what the author is talking about, and, also a belated apology to the boyfriend who was telling me we were not at the camping spot when I pointed out a perfectly fine camping spot.  Apparently, the AP trail is pretty rules orientated about camping in the shelter areas and there was no shelter near where we were, however, it was July and it was very hot and I was done with wandering around in the woods. (I just spent 15min looking for the pictures I took, I know I took a roll of film and developed it, but I don’t have it anymore).  I’m glad the book is more than just a diary of the trail and also not just a guide book of the area, together the two topics play nicely together and I’m looking forward to finishing it today.

I need to get back on schedule to roll the ball forward.  I need to do more for the school and check in on the builder and get this house ready for market and prep for the trip we are taking as well as keep up on the girl scout cookies and normal things in life.  So that is what I’ll be on about over the next few weeks – back to my regular (not so regular) life.


The after action report

You know what might be harder than a post about the death of a loved one?  The next post after that…  How can I follow with something frivolous or fun but I can’t keep an endless stream of sad posts either.  So, how about an after action report~

Rewinding to the weekend I spent in a blur of getting stuff done for the week away and I realized with some surprise that I was NOT leaving babies, I was not even leaving anyone who can’t toilet and shower alone, so,  Lars and the kids would be fine.  Who cares if the house was clean or if the valentines were done the way I would have, he is good at making food, they are pretty good at knowing what they need to do, and they had school every day so they were all up for the task.  When I let that worry go (after prepping the things I could at least) and had as much time available to answer the slow coming questions about death that would pop out of them.  The best few were;

Zoe; “What will happen to Grandy’s pills?”  (my original answer “I don’t know”.  the final answer; she had nothing with real kick so they went in the trash)

Fiona; after a long discussion about how people needed to die because people kept getting born etc and so I asked what she proposed instead of babies and her firm and final answer was; “Bushes”

Niamh and I talked but oddly enough she has coped with a few deaths already and didn’t have anything new or wild to say.  She was in the mode of making sure I was ok and Grandma was ok and after we put her to bed she sent a sweet text to her Grandma that shows that empathy does happen.

Getting to NY was a trick.  The plane was super early in the morning so I had to acknowledge the existence of 4am but thanks to a good teacher friend who has to get into the cities early anyway, I got to the airport without too much bother.  The TSA line was incredibly long but also very fast, I’m a big fan of the sniffing dogs, didn’t even have to take out my computer.  I ran into 2 people I knew online, I guess I’ve lived here long enough to actually stand a chance of knowing people most places.  All this was cake compared to getting the airplane to actually take off…. it was running too long and ran out of battery (or something) and we had to wait for a jump start on the taxiway.  Then there were other issues and eventually, they got us a new airplane but it took 3 hours.  I was flying direct and had a little wiggle room for timing so it worked out better for me than others.  I changed into funeral wear at the airport and proceeded to the wake directly.

The wake(s) were what you expect but done very well in my opinion.  We were at the place that I hold all other places against for comparison because it is THE funeral home everyone uses locally.  I’ve been pretty lucky and I don’t even know what the inside of the MN local funeral home looks like and I would like to keep it that way for a long time.

The following day was the actual funeral and we got a nice spring day.  Everything went very well and I made the only error when I had no idea I had a line following the reading until I looked up at 50 faces all mouthing something at me and trying to mentally convey that I missed something.  I ended up just saying “what?!” on the altar and quickly said the line but hey, what funeral doesn’t need a little laugh.  Why my sister the DECON didn’t do the reading I’ll never know.  ANYWAY I know people always say it was a ‘lovely ceremony’ but this time I truly mean it.  The priest that said the mass was a close friend of my grandmother and knew her very very well.  He didn’t say a generic thing at all and I’m glad my grandmother had such a good friend.

Those two days were non stop planned activity that kept everyone busy so on day 3 I did not have a plan.  Since it had been a 4 days since I had cleaned a fridge I decided to go with something helpful and my sister and I cleaned out the fridge and freezer and the majority of the other dry goods.  It was also nice to look at all the things in the house and remember them with my sister.  We both played with these (sturdy priceless antique) and were never allowed to touch those (fragile more priceless antiques).  When this or that was acquired during travel or gift.  So much of my ideas of decorating come from the upbringing that you don’t buy things to decorate a room, you collect things of meaning and beauty around the world in the course of your life and you display them.

Since I am here I’ve taken the opportunity to catch up with a few friends.  I love dropping in on their lives and being a part of them, even for just a day or two.  Next time though we need to have less funeral and more anything else.

It is an odd week though. I have not been without the kids this long nearly ever.  Once I had a business trip for 10 days after Niamh but before Zoe but that was so full of work I hardly had time to think.  This time I’m in a place where I feel like my kids should be because usually, they are.  The time has passed very quickly and I’m glad to be here to help but I’ll also be glad to go back to my regularly scheduled life.

And that is it for now.  I hope my return flight is uneventful and I expect to have a lazy day with the kids and husband ignoring any housekeeping chores and just being there.



Proof I’m here and well in my NY “office”