Saturday, October 29, 2011


 Last Saturday we went thrifting.  Knowing my son would soon be coming home on leave motivated us to finally get out and look for a bed for the spare room.  We went to a new thrift store and hit pay dirt as far as we were concerned.  Matt found this cute little wooden cardinal tealight holder originally marked 50c which rang up for 13c!!!  It's an adorable addition to my growing cardinal collection. 

We also picked up two more of the Harry Potter series, both hardbacks, for $10 each.  The books looked like they were in brand new condition.  I think we just need two more books to complete the entire collection.  Matt's been waiting for us to pick up book three so he could continue the series in the correct order so now he has reading material. 

I also found this beautiful headboard marked down to $9.99.  With a bit of cleaning up it looks very nice - not to masculine, not to feminine, and not to childish.  I apologize for the disorder in the picture.  Matt had been putting in the molding around the floor so we had pushed everything to the middle of the room.  It was fortune that we went thrifting because Wednesday my son informed me he'd be home the next day!  Wow, talk about very little warning.  Matt and I managed to pull the room together and he has a peaceful place now to rest and sleep.  Matt even managed to get our old tv brought in and hooked up the cable for him. 

On a serious note, I haven't posted regarding my oldest son being injured in Afghanistan as it was very personal for me and I was very emotional for a while.  About a month ago he was shot multiple times while on patrol.  He was extremely lucky and none of the shots caused any serious injury.  He's been in a hospital in Qatar since and wasn't sure they'd let him come home on leave.  Thankfully they did because mom really needed to see her son to make sure he was okay.  Creating a sanctuary for him was my labor of love and a way to focus my energies.  His Purple Heart Medal is beautiful BUT I wish he'd never gone through what he did to receive it.  I was one of the fortunate that when I got the call it was from my son and not a stranger.  My heart and prayers goes out to all those moms who aren't so lucky. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011


This post didn't go where I had planned.  I had planned on it being a description of the ball we attended last night in a positive light - but my thoughts took on darker notes and I decided to go with those thoughts. 

One of the great things about our area that I do like is that there's a yearly ball held in October.  It was started by a group of friends to celebrate the life of someone who'd died and who'd left them money to have a celebration for him.  Unfortunately few know the original history of the Ball.  In school I loved attending the proms each year.  The first year I attended a prom I was in 8th grade but my boyfriend who was a junior and asked me to attend.  The funny thing is I never attended my senior prom.  The Ball is like a prom for grownups and a lot more fun to say the least.  There's even an open bar which we never had at our high school proms.  It was a huge surprise that a friend came from out of state to attend and never told anybody she was coming. 

As great as the Ball has been, I'm wondering if it's not getting to large and will experience a slow death.  As typical in our society, everything needs to be bigger and better - but is it necessarily better?  When I first started attending the ball about 8 or 9 years ago there was 130 person capacity and it never sold out the first couple years I attended.  We were a bunch of friends having fun - there was an intimacy to the group.  Everybody knew most of the people or recognised them.  Then the organizers changed a bit and with the increased promotion and popularity of the the ball started selling out.  One couldn't wait until the night of the ball to buy tickets, you had to buy them in February when they went on sale to ensure you'd be able to attend or take a chance that somebody would be selling tickets prior to the ball.  The decision was made that the venue wasn't large enough and we had to move to another location and increase the capacity to 200 and then the following year to 300.  This year brought another change in venue with a 500 person capacity.  Tickets sold out in just three weeks.  This year also brought a change that the Ball was held inside a hotel instead of commuting people back and forth between.  Due to problems with the venue this year there's talk of another new venue next year and a huge price increase that have people already grumbling.

The intimacy of the original Ball has fast fading.  I no longer know most of the people attending.  Larger and larger groups of strangers are coming and a lot of them are young.  It's no longer about who has the best outfit but who has the biggest entourage with to vote them king or queen.  Those that wear costumes don't bother even dressing to the theme of the ball anymore. The theme this year was Alice in Wonderland and yet a zombie won as king over a mad hatter and a march hare.  Some spend outlandish amounts on costumes.  A friend of mine confided he'd spent $1500 this year on a custom made costume for the Ball.  It was absolutely beautiful version of the Johnny Depp's Alice's white queen - but seriously was it really worth $1500?  Granted he got his picture taken with a lot of people and if attention is what you want.....  Another friend also had a similar costume custom made and she was nominated for queen - she also lost out to a female zombie.  I'm part of the group that dresses like this is a formal ball and I wear a formal long dress for it.  I've also never spent more then $50 on a dress.  I'm in agreement with those that don't like the costuming because we feel this is a ball and not a costume party.  We use to brag about how cheap we got our dresses at garage sales and thrift stores - now people brag about how much they paid for custom ones.

Yes, I'm set in my ways and I don't like change for changes sake.  I'm starting to hear the grumblings though and can't help wonder.  Are the organizers starting to go too far in their attempt to make it bigger and bigger instead of allowing it to stay smaller and more intimate?  Does everybody that says they want a ticket really have to have one?  Do we really need people from other states attending?  Will people get hotel rooms but not buy tickets and just meet up in the rooms instead, which is what's happened to another event in our area. 

In all honesty, this ball felt like an ending.  Of what I'm not sure.  Possibly my morbid views are due to the fact we may not be here next year and it could very well have been my last Ball. The Ball has long since lost it's celebration aspect and has become a huge party and is now becoming a huge costume party. Maybe it will be easier for me that so I don't feel the loss of community so closely if we do in fact move.  It's always a sad thing though when a book you enjoyed so much comes to an end and you have to close the cover.  Whether or not there will be a sequel is unknown.

Monday, October 10, 2011


It has been very busy of late.  We just returned last Tuesday night from our trip to North Dakota.  We absolutely fell in love with the Fargo area.  Unfortunately we weren't able to see other areas of the state during this trip, but we're planning to return.  Our five days there were filled with activities though and we thoroughly enjoyed our little vacation.

By accident I discovered Viking Ship Park while checking out a map for area attractions so we ventured across the bridge to Moorhead, Minnesota, to check it out. Seriously, who could pass up checking out a Viking ship?  This mural is at the entrance of the center.  The ship has a wonderful story about it being built by a teacher from Minnesota who had initially planned the contruction of the ship, the Hjemkomst (Homecoming), and to sail it to Norway, the land of his grandparents (ie The Homecoming).  The design was based on ships the Viking would have sailed in approximately 700 AD.  Construction was planned to take three years but actually took ten years to finish.  He constructed it in an abandoned potato factory.  Unfortunately the man died of leukemia at the end of construction and wasn't able to see the completion of his dream.  His children promised they'd finish his dream for him and did in fact sail the ship to Norway after his death in 1982.  Incidentally, on it's way from Minnesota to New York through the Great Lakes the ship made a stop in Detroit and there's a letter with Coleman Young's signature on it displayed at the Center.   

The Stave church replica was later built and donated to the center in 1998.  It's a replica of the Hopperstad Stave Church in Vik, Norway, which was built in approximately 1000 AD.  The dragon  carvings on the trim of the roofs are clear indications of the Viking influence and a marriage between their pagan beliefs and the Christian beliefs starting to spread into Norway and other Viking areas.  The church from the side looks like a pagoda and there's a belief that the Vikings, probably from Denmark, made it to China and were influenced by the architecture there.  Our guide gave us a wonderful history lesson on the Vikings.  The carvings are unbelievable and completely done by hand.  The entrance to the church has panels that are heavily carved.  The stave shingles that give the name to the style of church are made using three cuts on the ends of each board.  There's a covered walkway around the entire church, sort of like a porch, where they would walk around the church meditating before they entered it.  It's very visual and our guide said that was intentional due to the fact that the priest and the people probably wouldn't have spoken the same language so the people would have only understood through the pictures.  Our guide was phenominal to say the least.  Below is a picture of the baptismal on the left and one of the carved beams in front of it.