Thursday, April 30, 2009

nice try

I got out of the shower this morning, and Charlie was on the couch, with that look on his face. You know the one, the "I'm not going to school today" look.

I asked him what was up, he clutched his stomach and said he wasn't feeling well. were fine when you went to bed last night.

"No, mom, really! I have a stomach ache, and they said on the news that if you don't feel well you have to stay home!"

"Charlie, you don't have the swine flu, you have the I-don't-want-to-go-to-school flu. NOT the same thing."

It is actually a common illness, when those first bright days of spring hit, I am guessing there are many kids who would love to stay home-near pandemic proportions. I believe it's called spring fever?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

time flies, part IX

Charlie and I were walking home from his friend Alec's house last night. Something we have done, seemingly a million times, since they first became friends in kindergarten. The sun was setting, interior lights were on, and one could get a glimpse of the life going on behind the windows of the houses in our neighborhood.

The grass is that green that it only is in the springtime, intense and lush, after the drab browns and grays of winter. The buds are a gentle fuzz on the tree branches, gathering energy to burst into full leaf, so very soon.

Charlie and I were chatting, when he suddenly burst into a sprint, and ran ahead of me down the pavement. I stopped in mid-step, it was one of those moments, those images that burn into your mommy brain. I closed my eyes, and saw him toddling down the sidewalk, all chubby knees and elbows, on a spring day after he had learned to walk. It went so fast. Did I cherish it? Will I always remember it?

Fast forward, and he will be as tall as me, lanky and walking confidently, not needing his mom to hang out with him any longer. And he will be in front of me, and I will follow from a discreet distance, and remember.

Monday, April 27, 2009

take it off the list

Do you have a list? Whether it is a 'bucket list' or, maybe '100 places to see before I die', or '50 things to do before I turn 50', many people have lists of dreams. I have one in my head, and they say that you are more likely to accomplish things on the list if you write it down. I will put that on my list of things to do today.

One thing I can cross off my list? A news item in this morning's newspaper (a very slow news day, indeed):

Appenzell, Switzerland-Voters in the heart of the Swiss Alps on Sunday passed legislation banning naked hiking, after dozens of mostly German nudists started rambling through their picturesque region...

darn. and I was kind of gearing up for that, some day.

Friday, April 24, 2009

tempting fate

I do it every year.

Make that first fateful trip to the garden center. Buying everything that calls to me, because I am so starved for green, and color.

Forgetting that I live in Minnesota, where it can be 37 degrees on Monday morning and 85 degrees Thursday afternoon.

I throw caution to the wind, and start planting. Knowing that I will have to schlep things in and out of the garage, I buy that dahlia that catches my eye, in a pretty orange color that I haven't seen before, and a columbine to add to my collection, and a new sedum in delicious yellows, oranges, and lime green, and a candy corn plant.

The first round of planting is in the windowboxes-cold hardy plants like johnny jump-ups, petunias, and snapdragons. And new this year, a mini licorice plant, that gives a pop of texture.

I just can't help myself.

There are some mixed lettuces in the herb garden, and a hanging basket of callibrochia in the back yard. The herbs are in pots on the kitchen counter, I bring them outside each day for a little fresh air.

I would show you pictures of these sure signs of spring, but Mike is monopolizing the camera and other computer right now. Hopefully next week I can share my obsession with you.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

to move, or not to move

THAT is the question.

Each spring I get antsy, and feel claustrophobic, from spending the last few months in our tiny house. So I begin to search the MLS, looking for our dream home.

This year the search has been in greater earnest than ever before, as we do feel it may be time to move to larger digs, with room to build simulators. Manufacturing seems to be on our horizon, in greater numbers than before.

We have found several houses worthy of a drive-by, to check the neighborhood, traffic and airplane noise, proximity to neighbors, etc. But none have made it to the next step, the phone call to the realtor to schedule a showing.

Until recently. We found the ideal home for our needs, during an on-line search last week. So for the last several days, I have been playing the "I want to buy a new house/my current house is just fine" game in my mind. You know how it goes:

Look at all of the room!
I would just have more to clean.

That kitchen is fantastic!
You just spent months remodeling yours.

The huge yard, with mature trees!
You can barely get yours mowed and raked, and it is the size of a postage stamp.

We would have a spare bedroom for guests!
We would have a spare bedroom for guests.

We could get a 30 year mortgage for less than 5% !
Our house is paid for in just 8 years.

Look at all of the storage for all of our stuff!
We would have to pack up and move 17 years worth of stuff.

The family room! For entertaining!
We don't have a family room now, therefore no furniture for one.

The huge office has a fireplace, built in shelves, a huge window overlooking the back yard, and a door to the porch.
I currently share a 10' x 10' room with Mike for my office....

Upon our arrival home from the drive-by, I clutched the phone to my ear, grabbing the calendar at the same time in breathless anticipation of scheduling the showing. The realtor answered, and informed me it had already been sold.

So much for the lousy housing market.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

piles of books

It is still chilly, yesterday felt positively autumnal, and if it weren't for the tiny shoots of green peeking from the lilac bushes, or the ever greening field across the street, you would have thought it was November. A very blustery day indeed.

Secretly, I am okay with the fact that winter is hanging on, just a bit. (guess it isn't a secret anymore...). I am still feeling a bit hibernatory (if it isn't a word, it should be). I have piles of books still to be read, and savored under a warm blanket with a cup of tea.

My current read: "One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd" by Jim Fergus. I picked it up on one of our travels, perhaps New Mexico? It is such an interesting (albeit fictional) story, that is far removed from the British mysteries I have been reading most of the winter.

I have a habit of collecting books, LOTS of books, whether it is at rummage sales or school book fairs-favorite authors, or authors I have never heard of. I have a very wide range of things to choose from in my library (feel free to come and borrow something!) and there are never enough hours in the day to dive between the pages and let my imagination take me around the world.

Reading is such an important part of my life, I MUST read before I can sleep. I have to read the newspaper each morning (please don't let them be completely replaced by the internet), and if for some reason I can't, my day just feels a bit off kilter.

What is your current read, or an old favorite you would like to share with me that I simply MUST add to my bookshelf?

Monday, April 20, 2009

time well spent

While it is vital for families to spend time together, I think it is just as important for them to spend time apart.

This past weekend, Charlie went to Boy Scout camp, and had a wonderful time away from his parents. Whether he was hiking, building fires, or earning his Tenderfoot badge, he reveled in pursuing his own interests.

As previously mentioned, I got away for a spa weekend with my mom and sis. We shopped, we relaxed, we talked. We did not do any laundry, cleaning, or cooking. We drove back to our homes, ready to take on the world.

Mike had a rare weekend alone, and went bicycling, dirt biking, and even had a garage party! Not only that, I came home to a sparkling clean house.

And on Sunday night, when we were all back together, we had a pizza and shared our stories, happy to be a family again.

Friday, April 17, 2009

it's time...

..for the Hanson Girl April Get Away!

After the fun we had last year, we decided to make it an annual event. It will always be the weekend after Tax Day, as my sis gets to enjoy a three day weekend for surviving the last few months in an accounting firm.

This year, we are heading back to Grand View Lodge in Nisswa. It was the perfect spot for spaaing (I know, not really a word, but it was fun to type it), relaxing, shopping, and just taking a giant deep breath of fresh pine air.

Find out more, here:

I have honestly been looking forward to this for MONTHS, as it was a hard working winter/early spring without a lot of fun infused into it. And I am ready for an infusion of fun.

I just wish every woman I know could experience the same thing this weekend.

I promise to channel my joy and calmness to all of you, through the pine scented air, across Gull Lake, and out to wherever you are.

Are you feeling it yet?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

time flies, part VIII

Over the next two days, Charlie and his classmates are going to be interviewed for Biztown-a program through Junior Achievement-where they take part in operating a kid size city. They have put together resumes, will interview for jobs they want, and then perform those jobs at the city, located in Maplewood. Such a great experience!

The teachers advised them to dress for interviews-so Charlie walked out today in a white button down shirt, and his plaid cargo shorts. I pulled back, and didn't do the mom thing, and let him go with it. A direct quote "Mom, since today is a special day, I went with my special deoderant. See?" He handed me the stick of Old Spice, showing me he went with the 'SWAGGER' scent, as it is 'the official scent of confidence'. After topping it off with a couple of drops of his Old Spice cologne, he was set.

At least he still likes to eat chocolate chip pancakes (as long as they aren't from the children's menu)
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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

signs of spring

In Minnesota, no season is more eagerly anticipated than the arrival of spring. Mostly because it shows it's face to us slowly, in fits and starts. It teases us one day with warm sunshine and soft breezes, only to plunge us into the cold, with wet, sloppy snow, the next.

Garden catalogs are well thumbed by the time the dirt will let your spade slide in. The empty clay pots, that you forgot to scrub out last fall, are calling to you from the garden shed to imagine the possibilities. The patio set, that never made it into the basement, needs a good scrubbing, and the cushions needs to be plumped and ready for extended family dinners of grilled hamburgers and iced tea.

The softball field across the street is now swept clean and rechalked each morning, and the sound of the ball hitting the bat echoes through the neighborhood after school. White legs glow from the short clad bodies of the children riding through the neighborhood, happy spring smiles stretched across their faces as they ride their dusty bikes.

A chorus of birds greets the first rays of the sun each morning, compelling you to get up before the alarm clock to cherish the beauty. Tiny shoots of bright green grass push through the dead leaves, yearning to touch the sun. The slender branches of the lilac trees are sprouting buds, whispering their promise of the heady blooms to come.

We will pack up our long underwear, our polar fleece, and our boots. The shovels will be tucked back in to the garage, hopefully for the last time. The salt and the slush will be washed from our car floor mats, and the sleds and skiis pushed up into the rafters. The last of the pine boughs will be pulled from the window boxes, and the forgotten Christmas ornament that landed in the herb garden will join the others, pushed far back in the attic.

For it is spring, really and truly, and we are more than ready for it.

Monday, April 13, 2009

lonesome cat

Mr. Claude enjoyed our spring break at home, without us. Thanks to our dear friend Tracy, he had a daily dose of fresh food, medication, and hugs.

But at his advanced age, he needs lots of people time. And now that we were gone for Easter, he has a huge hug deficit just waiting to be filled.

As I type this, he is stretched out next to me, as close as he can be, without lying on top of my keyboard. He slept next to me all night, and follows me all around the house.

It's nice to still be needed.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

time flies, Easter edition

Was this really just five years ago?


A happy and blessed Easter, or Passover, to all of you!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

dental fun

Charlie had his check-up and cleaning yesterday (gee Kristi, thanks for sharing every intimate detail of your boring life...) but I had to blog about it today, as it gave me pause to realize how life often comes back, full circle.

What the heck am I talking about?

Okay-work with me. When I was a little girl, I LOVED going to the dentist. Our family dentist, Dr. Bengston, was a kindly older gentleman who truly was gentle. He always had a big smile behind his glasses, and would rest his hand on my arm after giving me gas and ask "is your tummy on the merry go round yet?" I loved picking through the treasure chest for a glittery ring after getting my cavities filled, and that lingering feeling of calmness would last all the way home.

Okay, I know it was because of the gas, but still.

His receptionist was also the woman who owned and ran the popcorn wagon in downtown Bemidji during the summer months. Hey....she was kind of driving business to her boss! But I digress, as I never broke a tooth on a piece of her popcorn.

I have been going through some physical stuff for some time now, and really need to get my back in working order. I have been trying to get into Mayo, on my chiropractor's recommendation, and it has been a long, frustrating process dealing with my primary clinic to get the help I need. But thanks to a connection my brother-in-law has to a high school chum, I am finally going to be seen down there at the end of this month. Huzzah!

And what does that have to do with going to the dentist?

The physician I am going to see is the son of the dentist I had when I was a little girl.

Rather serendipitous, isn't it? Wonder if he has a treasure chest in his office...

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

up north post mortem

I love digital cameras. You can take gobs of pictures, with very little effort.

But then, you have gobs of pictures. To sort through, and determine what to share.

I narrowed it down. A LOT.

On our way up, we stopped at Jay Cooke State Park, to see the swollen river rush through.Love the hanging bridge:In Duluth, a late lunch/early dinner at our very favorite restaurant, Va Bene. Charlie is checking out Mike's Italian beer.

I wasn't kidding when I told you the lake ice piling up on the shore was blue!Mike found out the ice isn't very thick so close to shore, and the water is COLD.The guys had a perfect day of skiing on Monday, before the big storm hit:Grand Marais is a pretty sleepy town in the winter,
Many stores don't open again until May (except of course Ben Franklin, which never closes!)But the skiing was wonderful
Charlie went down all of the black diamond runs with his dadAnd we come home refreshed and ready to tackle whatever life dishes out.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Superior Snapshots

Sorry for the delay-trying to get back to normal life!

Quick post, to show you the ever-changing beauty we were witness to, right outside our window:

Sunday:Tuesday:Wednesday:Thursday:Back to regular blogging tomorrow!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Superior Diary-day 5

I am thinking that God took a down pillow, opened up one end, and is gently shaking the soft, fluffy feathers over the coast of the north shore.

Not one day here has been the same, weather-wise. Yesterday's snow was bloated with water-today it is soft and ethereal. All of the ice is gone from the water in the bay, we kept the window open in our bedroom and were lulled to sleep by the water lapping at the icy shore.

The skies are shades of gray-longing for a bit of blue. Perhaps tomorrow?

Winter still has a firm hold here in Grand Marais, spring seems to be very far away.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Superior Diary-day 4

The winds have stilled, the snow has not. Today it is gently falling, in huge flakes, and piling up on the deck of our patio. Yesterday the bay was frozen out as far as we could see, today the lake is pushing up against the shore, heaving huge chunks of ice and snow, piling up in frozen sculptures. Seagulls swoop down, looking for a snack amongst the ice. While yesterday felt wild and out of control, today feels calm, and quiet. I plan to head out today with the camera and get some pictures, that I will post when we got home to St. Paul.

Lutsen got 14" of snow yesterday, Mike and Charlie are in for quite a different skiing experience today than they had on Monday!

My dad is being released from the hospital this morning, all of his tests came back fine, so once he gets rid of his infection he will be fit as a fiddle. The whole family will slide home to Bemidji today, and return to normal life.

Every once in a while, life reminds you how precious it is, and what really matters.


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