Just Write {141}

June 24, 2014

In small towns the retired men come to diners or coffee shops every single day, at the same time. If someone misses a day, the conversation is about what they might be doing. And today they’re talking a lot about the ceaseless rain, how high the dam water is, how the lakes are up to the point where docks are drowning. They’ve never seen it like this before. The server knows all of their names, or I should say, their nicknames, because almost all of them have one. Nicknames are as common as gossip here. I kind of want one. One of the old boys talks more than the rest. Some of them don’t say a word other than hello and goodbye. They are all weathered and gray-haired. The Talker laughs at his own jokes and isn’t afraid to admit that he tried to charge his cell phone with his razor cord. He […]

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Just Write {139}

June 10, 2014

I heard the horn, over and over, the crunch of the tires on the driveway. My boys were home, and let me tell you this: I may never let them go more than a 20 mile radius away from me. I missed them so much. During this transition, they were in Texas with their Daddy, and Nanny and Auntie K and Uncle K. Elsie and I were here, in Minnesota, and it felt like months, it really did. The side of the van opened to them and Asher fell into me and we were down, kneeling on the driveway, and he was making this sound I’ve never heard. A laugh while crying sound. I’ll never forget it. I pulled Miles in too, and I cried because of relief and sadness and joy. It’s over, I told them again and again. That part is over. And they seem so much older, the way kids […]

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Just Write {138}

June 3, 2014

I am sitting in the back of a coffee shop, on a love seat. There is a table of men at the front of the place, and a table of women nearby, the wives. One of the ladies turned to me as I was getting settled and told me they have room for me at their table. Oh how nice, I said, hearing my thick Minnahhsooohtan accent lining up with theirs. I turned them down only because I have work to do, over here on the love seat, where I’m writing this instead of doing the work because coffee shops always make me want to write about them. Small town coffee shops buzz differently. The customer’s faces stay the same, but are peppered with new ones–people from all over, here for the lakes and the trees and the very very green everything. We do hang onto our vowels here, long and thick. Those […]

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Just Write {137}

May 27, 2014

My bare feet were up on the dash. The windows were open. No radio, no iPod, no talking, no thinking….just the night sounds of Minnesota. I got to sit where I am the most at home, engulfed in those night sounds and peace. At least for a few hours, the croaking frog chorus, the birds saying good night, the crickets and the back drop of a deeply still silence that makes all the creature sounds beautiful. A few days ago, in Texas, we turned on to our street and Miles pointed out the cemetery. He said, Whenever we turn that corner, or pass another cemetery, I get this weird feeling in my stomach, I don’t know why.    Yeah honey, I know what you mean.  Many might think of evil, of spirits or even zombies, but I think what we feel is grief, goodbyes and all the memory stories of lives left. Yesterday […]

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Just Write {113}

December 2, 2013

I’ve never lived a December with 70 degree weather in it, but I am. I went to open the window in my office, to let the warm breeze in and a fly was freed from between the pane and the screen. Now it wants to land on my coffee mug, to bug. The boys play outside and play outside some more. They can’t stop. Elsie sometimes goes right out the front door, following them, giving me fits. I hear the soft click as she sneaks out and I run just in case she’s going to go out in the street. Her brothers are always on the other side, Stay right there, Elsie…you can’t come out without Mommy. Enforcers. It is no different here when it comes to decorating for the season. Lights are appearing along roof lines and up in the trees. Twinkling deer and angels and manger scenes are being set out […]

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Just Write {94}

July 22, 2013

I was cutting the grass in rows, pushing the mower fast, sweating. I try to stay on task but I always end up going from the side of the house, leaving it unfinished and then to the front, leaving it unfinished, then to the other side….back and forth, making lines and cutting through and going straight and then turning and going another direction. The grass here in Texas is so different from the grass in Minnesota. You don’t want to lie down in it because it’s not soft, it’s more like crunchy and there are vines in it. The blades grow from these vines that press down to the dirt in lines, criss-crossing, like I do when I mow. Sometimes I’ll even go in a circle around a tree and then just keep going in circles for a few turns. Then I look around for straighter rows and go match up with them. […]

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Moving was such a big thing, you know? From Minnesota to Texas, a flurry of boxes and cleaning all the things and saying goodbye and hello. In some ways, moving from state to state feels like you’re being transported through time. Everything is that new. But the date is the same and the people in our home are the same so we’re okay. I mean, if the calendar date had inexplicably changed, I might not have made it. Time is tricky enough going along at its usual slow/too fast speed, 24 hours a day. The kids are amazing. It’s as if nothing happened. Maybe it’s simply because they’re young enough to really only concern themselves with whether or not their parents and siblings and Things are together. Sometimes they ask questions that reveal their confusion, and that they miss certain things and people. We talk openly about all of it and then I […]

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Just Write {91}

July 1, 2013

In the night, rain had finally come. I know for sure because Tia, our dog, is so afraid of thunder and had come to our bed, panting hard like she does when she’s scared. There’s a certain sound to the breaths of fear. In the morning, rain was still dripping from the trees and off the side of the roof, landing in little puddles along the back porch, making that blip blip blip sound. The air was cooler than it has been since we moved here, where people talk about the weather as much as Minnesotans and that’s a lot. I sat at the table and sipped coffee, watched the scaredy cat dog pretend to be super brave while huntin’ for squirrels. Everything is brighter after a rain. Water is magic. Before the storm and bed and the panting next to the bed, I had cried and I couldn’t stop. I don’t remember […]

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There’s too much to say and nothing to say. There’s pain and a heavy heart in watching my parents drive away on Saturday, Nanny and Bapa and Auntie Kay riding away in a white car, and the five of us–our little King family–standing on a new-to-us sidewalk, waving back. There’s not enough time to say any of all that’s changed and happened and there’s all the time in the world. Ryan made dinner  last night. Asher said the dinner was burned and he was sitting there not eating it while Miles was trying to convince him that it was awesome. They’re both exhausted. They play and play and play and play with new neighbor friends. They play everything and nothing, as many hours as they can fit inside one day. Like it’s their job. Later in the day, after our family left, we went to Goodwill. On the way in, a woman told […]

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we have arrived

June 17, 2013

It’s been almost a week since I tried to figure out how to do a blog post from my phone and told you Just Write was delayed. Then I never came back. I’ve been terribly occupied. We’re here! In Austin, Texas! We’ve been unpacking and decorating and breaking down boxes and figuring out the watering system for the lawn and geocaching and we went to Austin New Church and the YMCA and SONIC FOR HAPPY HOUR SLUSHIES. (x3) Also. IKEA for curtain rods. Also. The H.E.B. Plus for some food. Then we unpacked more boxes and more boxes and more boxes. I stopped to do some free-writing on Saturday, so Just Write will be back tomorrow! (Which really means later tonight, since I try to get the linky thingy up ahead of time for y’all.) (That was me, trying to practice Southern speak.) Will you write with me? Remember, Just Write is all […]

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Just Write {88}

June 3, 2013

Turn the TV down Elsie, Nutella Face stay off the bed! Are you dressed? I asked you to get dressed. Someone get Daddy up yes I’m making you some Elsie no hitting! why are you hitting Asher? (much crying) Miles, the library books must go back find them now why aren’t you dressed? No, don’t open the door! the dog’s feet are wet stop, please. (door opens) Boxes are all around. In two days, the moving truck is coming. We sat down and made a list and tried to guesstimate how long each thing would take and the total was 27 hours and there is work and kids and life. But the windows are washed and most things are packed and now it’s the mind-bending what goes where and last-minute cleaning and you get the idea. I have been so peaceful and preparing, organizing, working hard. I’m waiting for a meltdown because I […]

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Just Write {87}

May 27, 2013

There are two apple trees in the backyard. They stand watch over the chicken coop. Their blooms are a soft pink, almost white. This year they will grow more fruit than our family can keep up with. We will leave this home before those apples are ready for picking anyway. Someone new will pull them down (or pick them up off the ground, hundreds of them), and I hope she knows how to make pies or crisps or something. The grass is littered with petals, like snow and the chickens peck at them and then drop them back down. Not tasty. We’ll soon say goodbye to our three just-over-one-year old feathered friends. The kids are struggling with this and I am too. We can’t take every part of life with us. We’re talking a lot about the good things, the very most important things, like each other. We’ll be there together. On Sunday […]

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Just Write {83}

April 29, 2013

From snowing to seventy-something degrees in a just a few days, we jumped. We’ve been soaking up sun like the pale and vitamin D depleted Minnesotans that we are. The sliding glass door bangs every few seconds, in and out and in and out. There’s dirt sticking to my bare feet from the muddy shoes. I don’t even care this time, this winter was just too long to begrudge a little dried spring mud. We are going through all of our things and really considering each item, Do we need this? Are we taking this to Austin? Will we get there and open a box and say “Why in the world did I pack this? Now I have to find a place for it and we never use it.” I’m a tosser, he’s a keeper. Our new garage is about a quarter of the size it would need to be to fit all […]

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Just Write {82}

April 22, 2013

I always ask for spinach and black olives and pickles and lettuce and spicy mustard. If I get the spinach, I’ll feel healthy. Doesn’t it make everythign healthy? Jared, the sub sandwich guy who lost all that weight, would be proud. On the way to the airport, alone, I sat again with Ira Glass and This American Life. The two hour trip goes by quickly with Ira in the passenger seat. So to speak. Spinach leaf stems keep popping out the side of my mouth with the bites and I suddenly am fully aware that there’s someone at the table next to mine and he feels too close. Too close for eating comfort. We are basically eating together but so separate, waiting for planes. This trip was planned starting yesterday morning, and here I am, alone in an airport but not alone because of the strangers. But still alone. This isn’t the easy […]

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Just Write {78}

March 25, 2013

We pulled things down from the shelves in the storage room downstairs, holding them out to Grandma, What’s this? Do you want this? Goodwill? Do you want to give it to someone in the family? She answered over and over and then went upstairs for a while, to sit down and watch basketball. Her name hit the top of the list of all who are waiting to live in apartments at a lovely place in a city nearby. Two of her sisters live there now. My Grandma, she is too well to go to assisted living and ready to not have the whole house to herself anymore. It’s time to move away from the house. We found a box of things Grandpa used to have at the lumber yard, back when it was his, years ago. The guys would come and hang out there. I remember sorting nails in little containers all in […]

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Just Write {74}

February 25, 2013

We were talking numbers with a realtor. The discussion back and forth between Ryan and this 26 years veteran of real estate left me dazed, staring off toward our piano, wondering if we’ll take it along when we move. They worked out the numbers. The only thing my brain would do in regard to numbers was try to plan how many plastic storage bins I want to buy this week because they’re on sale. I was imagining putting all the things in them that we don’t use every day, to pare down and clean off and give the house the appearance of tidy and minimal and open and big. After our realtor left with promises of putting the house on the market on March 1, I took the bins we already have and headed downstairs to go through our storage space. I organized the kids’ clothing and re-organized the boxes and bins already […]

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Just Write {73}

February 18, 2013

  He’s humming a Christmas song and sometimes breaking out, off tune, with the words to the song instead of that low hum. I have no idea how a Christmas song came to mind, other than the fact that it’s winter in Minnesota. He’s banging around the kitchen; I hear the pots and pans and cabinet doors slamming. He called out and asked if I wanted eggs. Yes, of course. Our chickens make the best eggs. We got home late yesterday afternoon from Austin, Texas. We saw friends and drove around to many neighborhoods. We spent time downtown and on S Congress where we had great Mexican food and strolled through boutiques and shops. We got the kids some Zots at the big candy store. Do you remember Zots? Hard candy that starts fizzing from its insides when you bite it. The boys hopped around squealing and saying how sour it was when […]

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December 28, 2012

My Grandma hopes to move into an independent living place that is attached to an assisted living place. We checked it out last spring and loved that it had a movie theater and yoga classes, but mostly we love it now because two of my Grandma’s sisters live there. For now she’s on the waiting list and the waiting list isn’t budging. That means she stays in her home of so many years and doesn’t really get to know when things will change. Maybe this was the last Christmas Day in that house, maybe it wasn’t. We don’t know yet, and still I tried to decide if I should cry or not. I went downstairs, to the basement with the ping pong table, by myself at one point and stood looking around. I could hear the mumbling of conversation above me, through the floor. An occasional burst of laughter and the stomping quick-feet […]

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Just Write {56}

October 8, 2012

I have a plan, she says. Oh good, I love plans. What is it? I’m going to be an arm chair psychic and have my own television show. I know I’m psychic because I was thinking of a friend and then he called me.  We laughed a lot, at this. Yes, yes. Another great plan. Go for it. When people ask how you know you’re psychic, you have SO much proof. No problem! We talked about knowing things. About looking back on the past and celebrating the times we did not get what we thought we wanted. She said, I was going to move to Minneapolis and become a graphic designer. I mean, obviously, if you’re from small town Minnesota, that’s what you do, you strive to move to the Twin Cities. Many of us, anyway. I never did get to Minneapolis, but I’ve had a really interesting life. I got all choked […]

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{all the photos in this post came from google images after searching “Father of the Bride” house and “mid-century modern homes”} ::::: Hi, my name is Heather and I am an OnlineHouseHuntingAholic. Since we’re sort of kind of planning to move, I have been spending a lot of time on the web, surfing through homes, putting in my criteria and then refining the searches. It’s like smoking, only you don’t get cancer. Unless we find out that too much time on the computer gives you cancer, which we probably will…but I digress. That’s depressing. Looking at houses is not, so let’s do that:   Realtor.com (hat tip to Erin) – Realtor.com also has an excellent app for your smart phone. This helps while you’re out and about, in finding homes for sale near you. Despite too many ads on the website, Realtor.com is clean and easy to use.   TheMLSonline.com (hat tip to […]

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September 19, 2012

Maybe there’s a word for this nesting place. This place where perhaps we’re nexting, looking on to the Next Big Thing, finally, for the right reasons and at the same time, we’re right here. We are right here and open to NOWAYYOUARENOTCHANGINGATHING if that’s the message we receive. And we will still tantrum like the children we sometimes are because we’re not getting our way but then we’ll sit in the morning light and talk it out and let it go. Whatever will be, will be. We’re in flux and in the middle and ahead and behind and not any of those things all at once. We’re planning (sort of but not really because planning isn’t even the right word when you’re content with whatever) a move back to the Twin Cities. We’re working hard on our house, the house we absolutely adore, to make it ready to sell. Our hearts get heavy […]

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These are my ninjas. All parts to these costumes as pictured above are now strewn about the house. There were plastic swords and knives involved, that could be slid into a backpack type of ninja-wearing thing but most of them are gone. Somewhere in the yard or the playhouse or probably downstairs, buried in Legos. The masks? Maybe under a bed or something. But for one day, the boys were TOTAL ninjas and they loved every second of it. Especially the candy part. Right before trick or treating was coming to a close for us, they started actually saying trick or treat and thank you. This is progress. They don’t like talking to random people. Even random people with candy. Since that night, we’ve been battling sickness, each of us. Elsie has her first ear infection and right now as I type this, I’m trying to ignore the chills and the cough and […]

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1. So, that One Room at a Time thing? We’re still doing that, it’s just that it’s taking a really long time to do one room at a time. We’ve been working on the dining room for a while now. I still plan to do some Big Reveals complete with riveting before and after pictures, but stuff keeps getting in the way. Like life. Silly life. 2. I’m really excited to be starting something new here on the ol’ blog. I’m going to be interviewing people, about their life stories and then writing about them here. You know, like I’m a jouranlist of my own making or something. I’m actually interviewing my friend Jen this very day about her journey with breast cancer, starting in her early twenties. She’s absolutely beautiful and a complete rock star and I can’t wait for you to meet her. I want to call this series something but […]

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January 13, 2010

Wednesday~January 13, 2010 He comes in the door and his face is red from working all day in the Minnesota cold. He looks so tired. He says he loves the smell in here and I’m all proud because I’ve been working on his favorite, Mexican. Cilantro and garlic are mixing through the air when I look at him, hoping my meal is spicy enough. He likes spicy to the point of sweating the very most. I fumble around the kitchen, stirring and flipping tortillas and asking him questions. He peels off layers of winter weather wear and he sits down with a thud, like it’s all he’s wanted to do all day. Instead, he’s been lifting and bending and pounding nails and building. Miles wants him to build with Legos now and he just can’t. There’s just been too much building. Since 1970-something…building. He’s built innumerable houses and our lives. That’s what he’s […]

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Thursday~January 7, 2010 For You Capture this week, Beth’s assignment was to post your favorite photos of 2009. In my computer, there are thousands of 2009 pictures and I think I might love them all. What to do? What to do? I guess this will be a two post kind of day. Or maybe three or twelve. Kidding. Maybe. Let’s start with some favorite recent photos. We’ll call them moving house and holidays and snow photos…because that’s quite a good title for something… Here goes nothin‘! The day we moved, I took a gazillion photos of things we saw every day, to remember them. Like the window with the electric candle in it over at the house of The Best Neighbors in the Universe And The Best Neighbors in the Universe themselves. (Yes, that’s me crying because I’m going to miss them…and I do. A lot.) Looks like a good day for a […]

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Thursday~December 31st, 2009 Most people wouldn’t choose this particular house. It has a flat roof except for the vaulted ceiling part which is what Miles calls the half triangle shape. This house has it’s very own personal style that doesn’t really fit with the trends of the time. Kind of like our family. When we were looking for a house, it was the first one that we saw. After that we saw house after house after house and couldn’t stop thinking about this one, “the funky house,” as our realtor consistently called it. The day we told her it was the one we wanted, her face lit up and she said she knew it would take just the right people to appreciate this house. It’s true. During an open house, I watched the other house hunters look around not seeing it with their totally groovy contemporary modern goggles on like I was. We […]

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December 28, 2009

Monday~December 28, 2009 I felt heavy. Heavy footed on the heavy snow. I had dropped the boys off next door. It would be their last visit (as neighbors) with our friends who are family. They would do as they usually do. They would eat lemon cookies and dip them in milk and then maybe they’d play The Lump and The Blue Monster, their made up games that are only for them and our neighbors. I was so glad they could go while I went back to packing boxes. And I was so sad it was the last time until we visit. I couldn’t stop thinking about how much our neighbors mean to us as I walked away. They have been like honest to goodness angel people, gracing our lives with their help and support and wisdom and easy going nearly daily visits with our boys that they love so much. The tears were […]

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December 21, 2009

Monday~December 21st, 2009 I’ll miss the colors of my room, he mumbled, his eyes big with sad. What honey? I looked in the rear view mirror, trying to figure out where the sad eyes came from. I’ll…miss…the…colors of my room I SAID. He said it like he wished I would have heard him the first time so he didn’t have to feel silly for missing colors. It came out of the blue and then there was a lump in my throat like his. Yeah, I’ll miss the color of my room too, Sweetie. Maybe we could paint your new room with the same colors you have now, the giraffe colors? He was quiet for a while and so we drove along thinking. Then he said he wanted his new room to be blue. Yes. Fresh paint in a new color. A fresh start. That’s what we have. . . . We’ve been saying […]

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November 29, 2009

Sunday~November 29, 2009 I pass by crusts of peanut butter sandwiches, the ones strewn about the table, pushed off the sides of small plates by small hands. I don’t have time for the mess, so I head from one room to the other, attempting to quiet bedtime demands. Back and forth I go through dark doorways, one I need more water and I’m scared at a time. I try to calm anxious thoughts about what it means to move house, yes you can bring your bed and even your poster, yes. Now please go to sleep, child. Our plates are so full, we’re watching half of our bounty roll to the floor for the dog. Blessings and curses together, spilling over for the much. Then we panic and clench our fists and our jaws and we scramble to make sense of the mess on the floor. We are trying to prioritize what to […]

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7 Quick Takes

November 20, 2009

Friday~November 20th, 2009 -1- I don’t want to rush my children through their childhood. But man, I want to sleep later in the morning. You know, later than say, 5ish. -2- I don’t know Anissa Mayhew like so many of my blog friends do, but I’m still praying for her because that’s what happens in this community. I’m blown away by Annisa’s strength and vibrancy. She’s touched my heart this week and I’ll continue to pray for her and her family. (Anissa is a 35 year old mother, wife, and blogger who suffered two strokes this week and remains in the ICU. You can read more from her husband today at Hope 4 Peyton) -3- Have you heard about Christmas Change? I mentioned recently that Seth and Amber Haines had something exciting up their sleeves, and Christmas Change is it! If you’re looking for ways to share in the giving of the Christmas […]

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