December 2014

Just Write {168}

December 30, 2014

It seems a rational thing to start at 4pm on a winter’s break Monday. Elsie Jane thought it was a great idea, and decided on purple for the replacement color after all the wallpaper border is slowly and meticulously removed, shred by shred. She is a helper, to an extent, so proud of her ability to peel big strips off with her tiny strong hands. But then, as these things go, I was left to fight the sticky paper while she played. She would “talk on the phone” to the “plumber,” telling him that she dropped an earring down the drain. She would scold him for not understanding, and then huff and hang up on him. Poor plumber. The wrath of EJ. Then she’d tell me she was going to work, and “Hey Annie, can you babysitter my babies?” Sure, I’d say. Then she’d sit in the hallway outside the door, instructing me. […]

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December 29, 2014

Many unwrapped gifts are still under the tree, waiting their turns for attention. We sit close on the couch, in the first morning light and eat my sister’s banana bread while making yum sounds. We sit together and even if we don’t talk for a long time, we’re here. With the kiddos on break, we are lazing around, finally, after all the holiday running. Piles of Legos are like minefields across two rooms. I look around at the Christmas decorations and consider putting them away, but then I don’t. We like having strings of lights inside the house. We have had all the winter germs inside our bodies. Strep and Influenza, infections, and plain old nasty colds. Please let us be done. That’s a lofty goal, to be done, but please. We are coughing and coughing, sometimes in unison, shaking up the quiet house. In the mornings, I look at Facebook for a […]

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Just Write {167}

December 23, 2014

I walk the aisles of thrift stores, and I search for treasures. The book aisles are off limits for right now, because I should really read all the un-read ones already at home, tucked in rows on shelves all over the living room. Wouldn’t it be something if we could sit and read for days and days? Would it ever grow old? For those of us that love books in a mad passionate way, I doubt we’d get sick of it. Especially if we could sit on a porch or a beach or maybe even just our favorite spot on the couch. I was thrifting for Christmas presensts. (Shhhh, don’t tell my family members that their gifts are used, they will never know.) I’m a regular thrifter, I’m pretty sure I’ve made that clear here. But I guess I just figure that if I need to buy something, and I can find it […]

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Just Write {166}

December 16, 2014

We trimmed a fake tree last night. It’s a beautiful fake tree. The kids don’t at all care about whether or not the tree is real. Two glass ornaments were broken, and I didn’t even freak out. I just went and got the broom and dustpan. (I did say “don’t move” because bare feet on glass = ow.) It was a peaceful thing, no chaos, which is weird because there were three kids involved and ADD me. Maybe we were all too tired, to have the energy for chaos. We’ve had a week of both strep and influenza and I have to tell you….that sucks a lot. But there we were, getting well together. And we took the long way sometimes, especially Elsie, since she’s three. She took a bunch of ornaments off the tree, just to put them back on. Isn’t that just it though? She’s got it figured out. It’s not […]

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Just Write {165}

December 9, 2014

I was driving and thinking, Who in their right mind would board a plane or go on a long road or train track trip to come here this time of year? But I was still wishing you all could see it, the magic and mystery of west central Minnesota, at night, in the heart of winter. Where is the heart of winter? I don’t know, maybe it doesn’t start pulsing until after the holidays, but I think they actually call that the “dead of winter”. Don’t come at that time, wait until spring. The driving at night thing doesn’t happen a lot for me anymore. I’m either tucking in kids or myself, getting ready to start another super early day, when I leave just after sunrise. I come very close to driving in the dark most every morning, with the kids to school, or to The Building to bust out some writing work. […]

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Things may come out wrong, but standing around all quiet is not always a good plan, no matter what your Scandinavian roots are trying to scream-whisper to you, ever so passive-aggressively. Most Americans don’t even really understand what racism means. So we deny it, justify it, ignore it. We stand around saying we’re not racist because we have black friends. Or a friend. Or had a black friend once, in the service. I hear a lot of that around here. Rural Minnesota is a beautiful and heart-breaking place. It is etched into my very soul, and in my bones. The people here are more often progressive and intelligent than is assumed. But I see and hear a lot of Ignorance here, when it comes to race…and people don’t like for me to call them ignorant, of course. There’s pride, you know. We’re not stupid. No, no you are not. That is exactly why […]

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Just Write {164}

December 2, 2014

I can’t sing. (No really, I really cannot sing, it’s okay.) She can’t remember all the words yet. She’s just three, but like many preschoolers, she loves the made-up song, the timeless songs, the carols, the rock and roll. Anything with a beat, a melody, a tune… She will try to carry it around inside her and she lets it out with that abandon that only children are capable of, in the shower, outside, in the store, at the kitchen table. Elsie Jane would sing for the whole world, as long as the whole world would watch. And the whole world should really watch, because she’s magic. She walks around with her pants falling down, because she’s in that going-from-pudgy-to-string-bean stage. She turns and says, look at my butt! And she laughs. She is the little sister of two brothers. She is also born to express, stay vulnerable, joke around, say it like […]

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