Wednesday, June 24, 2009

It's Just Been One Of Those Days.......

OK. So, it was a little rainy here today.

So, Paul agreed to run a few errands. In my mind, that meant we would drop some stuff off at school and go to the grocery store. However, he tricked me and drove right into the parking lot of

which really is just a hardware store on

This brings up a little basic difference between the two of us. Shopping with nothing in mind. I am just not one of those people and Paul loves it. He was totally content walking up and down the aisles of that store and looking at every little item. When I was unable to feign interest in 8,000 gallon air compressors, John Deere sweatshirts or lock sets, he just shook his head and walked right out of the store. So, we headed in silence to the grocery store. I even tried not to laugh when he displayed a bit of

right in the grocery store parking lot. Some lady took up too much of the lane and got an earful from Paul. After all, who am I to point out one's

when I have to admit to a few of my own.

You see, I was getting a little twitchy in that TSC because I could have been doing things I liked better. Like being on the computer. Remember on my last post I shared Paul told me I might have a problem with the whole computer thing? I think he might be right.

I really am not quite happy if I miss a day tweaking my personalized start page on

How wonderful to organize all of my "stuff" from the web.

And then Suzanne showed me her

so I set mine up as well to manage all those news sites and blogs I check every day.

And speaking of organizing, I also am never a few hours away from checking

so that I can catch all of those twitter updates from the news writers I read online.
I mostly keep up on the Twitter news while I am playing one of my five games of


I am not ALWAYS online.
I do other "work" on the computer, too...

Now that I am "back to work" as the vocal director of the summer show, I am so thankful for

which I could not do without. I have no idea what I did before iTunes. I have blocked the memory.

And, last night, I was so thankful for

to help with the rehearsal process I almost became a little

I am now fighting the urge to update to Garage Band '09 because I like to have the latest versions.

After all, I did rationalize the need to have

because it had several nice features. I would be unhappy without it!

And, for those bouts of insomnia or when

there is the this handly little item, the

which is

One of the apps we have on it is

which is pretty much what the title states, random facts scrolling past the screen.

So, I often find myself reading these random facts in the middle of the night. Here's an example of an awesome fact:

"A crocodile's tongue is attached to the roof of its mouth and cannot move it."

Did you know that? Well, neither did I! And, even better, you can email these awesome facts right from the application. So, last night, I was wide awake and came across these two awesome facts:

"If the earth was the size of a golf ball, the sun would be the size of a washing machine."

"In Scotland, a new game was invented. It was entitled 'Gentlemen only, ladies forbidden.'
And thus the word "golf" entered the English language."

I knew several family members who NEEDED to know that awesome fact. So, right there at 2:30 a.m. or whatever god awful time it was, I emailed it to family members, including several of my younger brothers. Technology got back at me and for some reason malfunctioned and so the awesome fact I sent them in the middle of the night was:

"It is common practice in India for a man to marry his elder sister's daughter."

Yikes. Middle of the night. To my younger brothers. Thankfully, I did not include our daughter on the email list. Now, imagine opening that email....

When I saw what I had done I promised I would never email anything in the middle of the night again.

My family scratches their head

about me enough as it is. I don't need to fan the flames!!

So, now I have promised myself during those middle of the night attacks, I will stick to playing:

I am terrible at this game. Paul is incredible. Look, I am a "Skilled Pixie." I am humiliated. But, it will keep me out of trouble.

Honestly, emailing in the middle of the night right from bed. STOP!!!

It is time to admit:

So, I will try to back off on the whole computer thing! I'll keep you posted on my progress!!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Spring Camping 2009

Hello! I haven't posted anything for awhile. Today it is actually too muddy for me to complete my "task o' the day" in the yard, so I am taking the opportunity to sit at the computer instead. Paul informs me I spend too much time with my computer.

So, I counter with a few 'barbs' directed towards him.

It's nice to find consistency in our lives.

We take great comfort in that. And, we love each other!!!

We were able to escape to several state parks for our first venture ever into spring camping. Our schedule never allowed for that during our teaching careers.

We always like to start our camping season at Nerstrand Big Woods State Park. We find it to be the perfect spot for our "shakedown cruise."

What a different world we encountered in this familiar state park. We know the hiking trails in this park, but because it was spring, it was a whole new world for us.

There were so many spring flowers blooming we had never seen there before. Paul took great pictures of the flowers so I could dig through the field guides back in the camper to positively identify all we saw.

I loved the Declining (or Nodding) Trillium.

And the swamp buttercup.

The wild blue phlox was very abundant.

The park is known for its population of trout lilies. There is also an endangered dwarf trout lily growing in the park. The plants live in colonies and literally carpet the park in the spring time, even in the campground. They had recently finished blooming before we were there, but we searched and were able to find a few "late bloomers." They disappear as summer progresses, so if you hike in this park after the month of June, you would never know they even exist.

We documented 17 different wild flowers from our hikes.
However, we were even more captivated by the birds migrating through or working to set up nests in the park. We could remain in our campsite and identify a wide variety of birds we had never seen before.
But, we did bring our field glasses with us on the hiking trails and were able to add to our list of sightings. We listed 25 different species of birds during our three days there. Neither of us had ever seen a black and white warbler before. Is it obvious where they got its name?

Our favorite of the trip had to be the scarlet tanager.

As we sat around the campfire
we decided we needed to get out as much as our schedule permitted so we could take in more of the spring weather.

So, we went the next week to Frontenac, another favorite state park.

What a difference a week makes. We wore sweatshirts and jackets during our stay at Nerstrand. The warmest weather we have had all season thus far greeted us as we moved into Frontenac. So, we brought out the shorts and walked!

We love the campground in this park, situated on the bluffs above the Mississippi. Every time we hike down to one of the overlooks

we always remember the camping trip years ago when the four of us were standing looking over the river. Nick, who was about four years old, pulled out a harmonica and started to play. Neither of us knew he had packed one along with him and so the sudden sound of a harmonica took us completely by surprise. We share a good laugh every time we come back to this spot. Thanks, Nick. You bring joy to our hearts!

The violets were especially abundant along the forest trails.

We hiked right down to the point on the river in the park. It was so windy it was hard to stand there.

We always like to go to Villa Maria, a retreat center owned by the church, and hike through their grounds. There were all sorts of spring plants flowering, including Pussy Toes.

I am sure Dad was laughing at me as I made Paul take pictures of these plants.

Remember how he would cuss those yellow flowers in his bean fields? Here I am, 40 years later, discovering there are so many different varieties of mustard!
What a I have become in my adulthood.

The grounds include a cemetery for the convent that used to be part of the school which operated from the late 1800's until the 1970's. The entrance is marked by an old "stations of the cross."

The sisters are buried in circles.

On our walk here last year, we discovered an old friend of ours is buried in this cemetery. She had left the sisterhood, but they allowed her to return for burial.

Once the weather cooled down a bit, we had a comfortable stay in the North Trail.

We documented 32 different bird species on this trip and 15 different blossoming flowers. My favorite had to be the jack-in-the-pulpit right in our campsite.

Two weeks later and we were set up at Wild River State Park.

We were back in our sweatshirts for most of this trip. The bikes came with us this time as there are paved trails in the park. We put up the rain fly and it served as a garage for the bikes.

It rained the first night and morning we were there so we were glad we had brought it on the trip.

After the rainy beginning, we had perfect weather and had a wonderful stay.
The wild geraniums were the dominant plant in the park during this week.

They were followed quite closely by the wild lupines.

We documented twenty different blossoming plants on our trip. I think one of my favorites other than the lupines and geraniums were the hoary puccoons. How could such a pretty flower have such a peculiar name?

I also loved the Penstemon Grandiflora blooming out in the meadows

and the Large Flowered Trillium blooming right in the campground.

One of our days there we drove to Crex Meadows Wildlife Area outside of Grantsburg, Wisconsin and explored there for four hours.

The area is abundant in birdlife and we were not disappointed.

We even enjoyed watching a hognosed snake

and stopped the car to look at an iris blossoming on the roadside.

Thank heavens for digital photography and a patient husband!!!

We both would agree our favorite birds we saw on this trip were the indigo bunting

and the golden crowned kinglet right in our campsite.

By the end of our stay we had positively identified 45 different bird species.

We love the camping life. It's not everyone's

but it is what we love and can afford!

We only wish we could be out there more often!

But, we both are looking forward to our summer activities. Paul will be at Scott Highlands during the days working at the

and I will be spending my evenings at Eagan High School working on the community theater production of "Fiddler On The Roof." It just happens to be one of my all time favorite shows!!!
There will be a few of these moments to be enjoyed,

I am quite certain! However, the cast is very talented and I am having fun!!!

What's next? We'll keep you posted!