Thursday, April 30, 2009


We've been contemplating a vehicle purchase for months now as we faced the fact that Amanda is leaving for college in a few months and has chosen a destination where she will need a personal transportation device. We went back and forth on whether to buy new or used; something for us or something for her....six of one, half-dozen of the other.

In the end it came down to the fact she's used to driving our 10-11 year old Camry. Since we bought it new all those years ago, we have a good handle on how it's been treated and maintenanced. We decided it will be her graduation gift and she can take it to college.

That meant any "new" car would be driven primarily by either Doug or myself. Since the Camry is/was his car, the new car would be his as well.

Thus, we bought a new Toyota Yaris. Picked it up tonight. It looks good, gets great gas mileage (40-43 mpg highway!) and is the least expensive model in Toyota's fleet. After owning Toyota's for over 20 years, we're glad to add another.

And we have, at the moment, the only Yaris sedan in the blue color shown above in Fort Dodge.

We think we will set a trend.....that's what happened with our gold Sienna after all!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


I'd like to start a campaign to change Tuesday to Twosday.

First of all, Tuesday is so named in the Scandinavian and English languages for the Nordic god, Tyr. This god is the equivalent of Mars/Ares in the Roman/Greek pantheon.
(Those who speak European romantic languages will note the connection to the Roman god Mars as in the French name for this day, Mardi.) You may recall from your schooling that Mars/Ares (and likewise Tyr) is the god of war.

Frankly, I'm not so sure I really appreciate having a day of the week named for the god of war. I'm not particularly fond of war on any scale be it world war, ethnic or civil war, the war on terrorism, family feuding or the war I have going with my cats and their use of the litter box. (Let's not go there right now!)

War has a sense of violence, destruction, pain, and endings about it. Tuesday already has the bad luck of following Monday (the worst day of the week in the opinions of many!), so why add to it by pinning the day with a name centered on bloodshed and killing? Does that really seem right? fair? appropriate?

I believe "Twosday" would be much better. We could celebrate all things that come in pairs. Twins. Shoes. Knitting needles. (Although double points come in sets of four or five.) Two scoop sundaes. Hands. Feet. Eyes. Ears. Cups of coffee. Some flower blossoms. Well, you get the point.

Also, we could stimulate the world economy by switching to Twosday. Stores everywhere could offer BOGO sales on Twosday. Buy one, get one. Twosday. Makes perfect sense to me! I'd like a good reason to go shopping (or eat out) on a Twosday, wouldn't you? I think creative business owners everywhere would have to go with me on this one. There are a ton of ways to celebrate Twosday!

(Are you listening yarn store owners??)

I suppose I should get back to work now.

Happy Twosday!

Saturday, April 25, 2009


At my high school, eons ago, the prom was a Senior Prom. So unless you were dating someone older, you had to wait until senior year to attend. As it turned out, I didn't end up going to prom, but went out with friends for a less expensive evening of pizza and a movie.

Here, the school offers a Jr./Sr. Prom. Amanda opted not to go last year. This year she's going with a gaggle of girlfriends. We went and got her hair done this afternoon which was fun. She picked her dress out last year (or even the year before, I can't remember!) She looks great, as do her friends.

Here they are!

They're headed out for Chinese food and the dance, which is taking place at a local historical location (not the high school gym). They should have a fun evening!

Hopefully everyone will have a safe, fun evening without incident or accident(especially the automobile kind!)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

My First Copyright!

So the web page you're looking at isn't really much to see. But it looks awefully good to me!!

I have my copyright in place with The Library of Congress and the U.S. Copyright Office for the photographs falling under the work "Churches of Webster County."

Since the book was never published and all materials were shot by me using my own camera equipment and I was never compensated for the photographs, the copyright belongs to me!

Yeah!!!!!! I breathed a huge sigh of relief today when I found that they had finally been added to the inventory of the Library of Congress.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


I tried to figure out who wrote/sang the song with the lyrics:

"I'm so dizzy, my head is spinning..."

but a quick Google didn't turn up the answer.

The fact is, the lyrics are true for me today.


Woke up with vertigo/spinning.
I think it's due to congestion in my right ear.
It's not fun, this much I know.

So I'm laying kinda low today. Trying not to turn my head much.

I needed something simple to knit, so I'm making Elizabeth Zimmerman's baby blanket which is knit in four sections. (I found the pattern in my copy of The Opinionated Knitter.)

I'm making it from this:

It's Knit Picks' new organic cotton which comes in these lovely natural colors.
Handy that there are 4 colors. And EZ's blanket is knit in four sections.

It's all garter stitch and I don't have to watch my hands move to do it.

Typing on the computer, however, is making me nauseous, so I guess I'll sign out and go back to the couch.

Hopefully I won't be spinning tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Having one of those days where I felt I should do something before my first interview at 9:30 am - either journal or blog. But not feeling terribly inspired when I sat down and looked at the screen.

So I decided to check in on some of my favorite blogs first and see what others were up to.

One friend has been sewing and posted a funny meditation on her blog. I think that laugh sparked my brain into first gear.

Looked at photos another on-line friend posted from his trip to Budapest. I have GOT to go to Europe some day, but for now I love traveling vicariously through seeing what others have seen.

Was reminded that this day, like every other, is filled with both beginnings. (Laurie is starting a garden at Crazy Aunt Purl) and endings (Yarn Harlot joined the on-line knitting community in grieving the death of Kay from Mason-Dixon Knitting's husband.)

When I landed at Cast On, I found Brenda's blog post to be just what I needed this morning. It's a great video from You Tube.

This song sums it up for me today!

Friday, April 17, 2009

If I Had $$$$

I had the pleasure of doing a one-on-one tutoring session r.e. digital photography with an acquaintance from church. She knew that I had been doing photography and writing since leaving my call as her pastor. She also purchased a new digital SLR and wanted someone to teach her how to use it one-on-one with camera in hand, unlike her class experience at the local community college.

I was very happy to oblige. I love photography and I love helping others to love photography too. Also I like the challenge of learning a new camera system. As it happens I am most familiar with Nikon products since that's what I use. She had a Cannon. It was fun to get my hands on one and compare/contrast.

Our time together did serve to remind me of what I'd do with an extra $800 if I had it just laying around (or suddenly found myself the receipient of an unexpected windfall)......

I've been secretly (Doug might say "not so secretly!") coveting the Nikon D60 digital SLR for quite some time now. Having looked at and compared the D40, D60, D80 and D90, I think the D60 is the best option for me. It has enough pixel power. It doesn't break the bank on pricing. It's a good size and weight.

I really, really, really wish I could afford to get one!

I often hear people express surprise over the fact that I currently shoot with a high-end point-and-shoot digital rather than a digital SLR. I take that as a compliment to my abilities as a photographer and chalk another one up to the old addage that it's not the camera that makes great photos, it's the person behind the lens. (Still, on some level, having a good camera does help!)

Happy Friday!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Happy Birthday!

Today is my friend JoAnn's birthday. Happy Birthday!

I am very blessed to have her as a friend. I get to see her fairly frequently because it's her coffee shop I work at a few times a week, the same coffee shop where my sit-n-knit group meets every Wednesday morning.

Also, my sister celebrated one of those "milestone" birthdays this past Saturday.
Happy Birthday Sis!!

I feel very lucky to have a sister! She's someone who understands me. We can talk about anything and share everything. Hope you have a great year ahead!!

Friday, April 10, 2009


Here are some things that I've found helpful along the way in writing.

The very first book on journal writing I read during college for one of my classes.

Although its ideas center on spiritual writing, these are concepts which can be applied to any form of journal keeping. I think keeping a journal is the best way to begin writing. First, it's just for you. Therefore you needn't worry about spelling, punctuation or grammar. Your handwriting doesn't need to be legible. There are no rules. You can write whatever you like! Make a list. Doodle. Free write. (That just means putting the writing instrument to the paper and writing out whatever pops into mind without stopping for a set period of time. 10 minutes is a good starting point!)

A book I gave my daughter for Christmas is very helpful for more generalized writing. (She is going into Creative Writing at college this fall.)

This book offers short, one page essays on the writing task/life and then gives one or two short exercises for the reader to do each day to stimulate his or her own writing and experiment with different styles, etc. I liked this so much, I'm getting my own copy!

Some other books on journaling I've read and liked are:


This last book is my most recent aquisition and I'm only partly done with it. I like what I've seen so far, however! It too offers up ideas and exercises to get the ink (or graphite!) flowing.

Tips for beginning:

1) Get a journal that you like. Consider whether you want lines or a blank page. Think about what size fits best. Do you want a binding that allows the journal to lay flat, or does that matter to you?

2) Get a pen (or pencil, though I'd recommend ink!) you like. Is it comfortable in your grip? Does the ink flow smoothly? Do you like a thick line (medium point) or thin line (fine tip)?

3) Set aside an attainable amount of time every day for one week and stick to it. Can you commit to 10 or 15 minutes? Maybe half an hour? When will you do it? First thing in the morning? Mid-morning or mid-afternoon? Just before bed? Pick a time and stick with it for one week. After that switch it up if that time isn't working for you.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Just Say "Yes!"

I had one of those experiences that makes me realize I'm a typical Midwesterner today. It came to me as I thought about a conversation I had while at work at the coffee shop over the lunch hour. The conversation went something like this:

"So, you're the editor of the Today magazine?"

"Yes, I am."

"So do you write as well?"


"A lot?"

"Well, usually two or three articles each month."

"Does it come easily?"

[insert awkward feeling, long pause on my part.....]

"I guess so. Most of the time."

Did you spot it there? Just at the end? The big "MIDWESTERNER/IOWAN" sprang up and bit me!

Why is it so hard for so many of us to simply say, "Yes" when it comes to acknowledging a gift or talent we might have?

It's not like the person I was talking to was trying to discover if I had an overly inflated sense of my self or my abilities! She genuinely wondered if I found writing to be a major pain/difficult task or not. (She is on her own journey of discovery about her own gifts and talents and reflecting on whether writing is something she could or would pursue.)

I have been writing on a fairly regular basis since I received my first diary in 4th grade. I have always enjoyed writing letters. Through the years I've had many pen pals, both in the U.S. and across the world.

In high school I was on the newspaper. Although I'm a GREAT procrastinator and usually finished papers about 4 hours before deadlines in college, I still enjoyed writing and usually received good marks on my papers. In grad school, the writing continued. As a pastor, I did a lot of writing--newsletters, sermons, letters, etc.

Now I write for a living. (Ok, it probably doesn't qualify as a "living" given the fact it's less than half-time, but it's what I do!)

I often hear people who seem honestly amazed that I write. Not because they know me and wonder how on earth I can do it, but more so because they do not see in themselves the ability to write, let alone for publication. It has led me to believe that writing is a gift or talent. Not everyone has the ability. I am blessed.

We need to learn to claim the gifts and talents we have been given. We don't need to be showy about them, but neither do we need to be overly humble or dismissive of them. I'm learning to simply say "yes" when someone inquires whether I've done a knitted piece which catches the viewer's eye.

I think next time I am asked if I write and whether or not it comes easily, I will smile and simply say, "yes."

(And yes, I took the photo.)

Monday, April 06, 2009


I'm listening to the CD of the soundtrack from the movie Across The Universe and Bono is singing "I Am the Walrus" (track 1, disc 2). Those of you familiar with the song will know there's a line saying "I am the egg man."

I seem to be surrounded by eggs today.

I bought some Easter cards for family today at Target. (My new favorite brand of cards? Papyrus! Why? It has a cute hummingbird logo and this statement which goes with each card:

"Legends say that hummingbirds float free of time, carrying our hopes for love, joy and celebration. The hummingbird's delicate grace reminds us that life is rich, beauty is everywhere, every personal connection has meaning and that laughter is life's sweetest creation.

Papyrus supports long term environmental sustainability and is committed to protecting and preserving the environment by using recycled and FSC certified paper and vegetable based inks whenever possible. Visit our website at to learn more about our efforts."

The cards are beautiful! The envelopes are lined! They are an all-around "good feel" purchase!) The cards I bought all had eggs on them or were shaped like an egg.

Then I had to use the little plastic Easter egg I keep tucked in my end table for sock darning when I wore through the heel of my favorite pair of hand knit socks.

Since I was feeling like I needed to blog, but have a raging case of writer's block, I decided to delve into the photo CD archive from when I shot film and found this photo I took of Easter eggs the kids dyed a few years ago.

Aren't they great colors? Part of the secret to getting such saturated colors was that I shot this photo in the evening, on a cloudy day. I used the macro setting on my lens and layed down on the lawn to shoot at the egg's level. (Yes, I did this in my front yard! With lots of cars driving past. I'm sure a few passers-by must have thought me nuts. Oh well, small price to pay!) Also I believe I was using a Kodak film which was specially made for saturated color.

I would make eggs for supper tonight, but I've already planned for homemade chicken fried steak. (Wait a minute, that has "CHICKEN" in the title. And where do eggs come from.....hmmmmm??!! Maybe this post is coming round full circle.....)

Maybe I am the egg (wo)man?!

Koo koo ka choo!