Friday, July 30, 2010

Chadron Adventure

So, I know I said it would be Tuesday or Wednesday when I would post it again, and here it is on Friday.  I've been reading - a lot.  In the past 2 weeks, I have managed to read The Boarder, The Help, and the 3rd - 6th books in the Stephanie Plum series.  I've just started Water For Elephants, have Middlesex, Under the Tuscan Sun (I've seen the movie 50 times, but have never read the book), and I Capture the Castle (I recently watched this movie on Netflix, and loved it, then I found the book by accident at the library).  The local library is also holding the 7th - 10th books in the Stephanie Plum series that my mom is going to pick up for me today and bring them out when she comes to pick up my niece and nephew who are spending the day with us.  I won't even mention the dozen or so new books sitting in my bookcase that are waiting to be read, too!

A pic of the autogate that is on the road between the two Stewart farms.

Last Thursday was a very frustrating, very long, and kind of scary day for us.  We left town around 7am, and expected to be in Chadron around noon, local time.  (*When ever I say or read the name "Chadron", it's always with a french accent in my mind.  Don't know why that is, but it is.)  Due to various reasons, but mostly due to the ungodly amount of road construction we encountered, we arrived about an hour and a half later than planned.  On our way, we pulled on to Autogate road to take a couple of pictures of the house my great-uncle had built for Irene when they were married.  We didn't have the heart to head over the next hill to see what horrible shape the old family farm was in (that's another long, bitter story).  We were being spied on as I was taking pictures and picking wheat trying to stop the few handfuls of wheat that kept jumping into my hand.

We got into town, checked into the hotel, then looked for the Highland Cemetery south of town.  Apparently, there are 2 Highland Cemetery, and the one I thought we wanted was only about 3.5 miles out, but the one we really wanted was around 25 miles out of town, not too far from where we had stopped to take pictures.  We didn't know that when we had stopped.

My mom and uncle had an appointment at 3:30 with the estate lawyer, so I dropped them off, then went to pick up some flowers for my 2 great-uncles, my grandparents, and my aunt.  And off I went.  I stopped at Greenwood Cemetery to make sure everybody there had flowers, and looked nice for Friday's graveside services.  Then, I went to the Catholic cemetery where my grandparents' stillborn baby girl is buried.  I was able to find a bright hot pink Gerbera Daisy for her, and as I was shoving it into the ground, I was disappointed to notice that her view of the crucifix is now obscured.

I had some time to kill, as I was still waiting for mom to call me to pick her and uncle up, so I went to the viewing.  I looked and looked, but failed to find Irene in that face.  Mom's godmother was there, so I chatted with her for a few minutes till mom called.  I picked them up, and we were debating on whether we wanted to head out to Highland Cemetery before we ate or after.  The skies to the north were really black, and the southern skies didn't look much better.  So, we put off supper for another hour, and were hoping to miss the heavy rain.  It barely sprinkled on us the entire time we were driving.  The whole way out there, mom was making worrisome comments about the rocks hitting the's her new baby.  When we got out at the cemetery, we did notice a huge temperature change, but just shrugged it off.

We got past Chadron State Park, on our way back to town, when we started noticing things.  "Huh, looks like there was some rain while we were gone."  "Do you remember seeing those branches down earlier?"  "OH MY GOD!"

This is what was on the ground when we went back by Greenwood Cemetery to check on the flowers.  For the most part, the flowers survived.

This window is just down the hallway from our rooms.

The trailer park on the South edge of town got hit the worst.  The next 3 pictures are from there.  The middle one is part of a trailer that was tossed into a field along the east side of the park.

So, yeah.  I saved my mom's new car from complete destruction.  Okay, maybe not complete destruction, but it sounds good!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Aunti Em! Auntie Em!

So, we're in Chadron. It took us 1.5 hours longer than expected to get here. Early this evening, we left town to go find a cemetery out in the middle of nowhere. We were only gone about an hour, and we came back to a town that was damaged by horizontally flying quarter size hail, strong winds, and a tornado. Our hotel had lost power for several hours, but it's back on, now.

The funeral is tomorrow morning, then we're leaving (after a stop at the lawyer's office - we're still trying to get Faye's estate business finished), but I'll fill you in on the excitement, with pictures, and a tutorial next week. After the funeral, we'll be driving 6 - 7.5 hours (depending on construction) to get home. Then, we pick up my dad and boys and drive another 4.5 - 5 hours to Kansas City for a family reunion this weekend. So, might be Tuesday or Wednesday before I get back to blogging!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Bittersweet Birthday

Irene (Wolvington) Stewart
July 16, 1926 - July 15, 2010

Dear Irene,
Although my memories of you don't begin until my 4th or 5th year of life, I know that you have always been a part of it. I still remember eating at "our" restaurant when you showed me how Indians fed their babies. I don't remember how old I was. It was sometime during the four years after Charles died, but before we lost Grandma. You dipped my straw into my soda, put a finger over one end, then told me to open my mouth. Once the open end of the straw was over my mouth, you moved your finger, and the soda was released. I believed you at the time, and now it's just a funny story.

I remember chasing (and getting chased by) the geese at your house in the country. Your country home always amazed me. Just up the hill from Faye's, it seemed so little from the outside, but so big on the inside. I remember helping you, Grandma, and Mom in the kitchen, getting ready for one of our big family dinners. Then, eating in the dining room that always seemed so huge. There were three doors off the living room, one I knew led to the kitchen. I assumed the other two led to your bedroom and the bathroom. It wasn't until just a few years ago that I found out you never had indoor plumbing there, and that your home is even more amazing because Charles built that house as a wedding present for you.

The weather here has been kind of unpleasant. Lots of heat and humidity. My mother-in-law's flowers seem to love it. The boys brought home a couple of bouquets from her garden. I don't have many flowers planted, yet. Just my hydrangeas (I've gotten 16 blooms from my tiny little plant this year!) and one rose bush. Jeremy accidentally sprayed my other roses with weed killer. It's starting to come back though. The Lily of the Valleys that I transplanted from Grandpa's are doing well. They've almost completely taken over the entire bed I put them in! I also planted a lilac bush, I'm hoping it'll hide the dumpster soon! We'll be putting new siding on the house next year, and as soon as that is done, I'm finally going to plant my "field" of daisies.

I had planned to call you today, to tell you happy birthday and to surprise you with the news of our visit in a month. I found out yesterday afternoon that if I call, you won't answer this time.  You'll be celebrating your 84th birthday with Grandma, Grandpa, Faye, Charles, and many other loved ones.  Give them all big hugs and kisses for me!  I'll see you next Friday, though, and I'll bring some flowers.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Keeping Busy!

Well, Hello! Long time, no see!  Like my hydrangeas?  I love 'em...just wish I could figure out how to keep the petal from turning brown.  I don't know if they're getting burned, or what.

We have been uber busy around here. Looking at my calendar, there were only 3 days in June that we had absolutely nothing going on. The weekdays in July are a little calmer, but our weekends have been pretty full so far. This coming weekend, the only thing I have planned is grocery shopping, then the boys and I are headed to Kansas City next weekend for a family reunion. About three weeks after that, we'll be headed up to the panhandle - still hoping to convince Jeremy to come, but he's not a traveler - for a few days. We'll come home one day, have the next day free, then the boys start school - I'm exhausted just thinking about it!

We've given a good chunk of our summer to baseball and softball. There are 3 baseball teams - A Team (ages 9-10), B Team (7-8), and Little League (11-14). In years past, the A & B teams have practiced on the same night. They've had the same coach, and since there are never enough boys for the A team, several of the older B team players play for both. They also always played on the same nights. Everything changed this year. Taylor was on the A team, and Landon was on B (they are also always short, so they let 6-year-olds play). They had 2 practices a week each, on different nights. Taylor had 2 games a week, and Landon had 1 (unless it was a home game where they played a double header), also on different nights. Although the practices dropped off once the games started, we were still at the field to watch my niece play softball!

This also seems to be the year for reading.  I had watched Emma when it was on PBS, and was inspired.  She made a list of 100 titles to read, so I did the same, although mine has grown since then.  I am always adding to it!  I've noticed from several other blogs and comments by many different friends on facebook, that there are a LOT of people who have decided to read 100 books this year.  I haven't given myself a specific number or timeline, but I did create a blog here with my list, and I write a little review over each book (I'm not the best writer, so please bear with me!  I've been working on getting the list into alphabetical order, but it's a work in progress.

Other things that have kept me from my blog?  Well, last weekend between 1:30pm Saturday and 4:30pm Sunday, I put together 2 poodle skirts from scratch, with no pattern (and my mom helped hem the underskirts, which was a HUGE help).  I was pretty impressed with us!  I've also been searching for a new dentist...ours walked into a propeller, and his replacement isn't comfortable with the tools, yet.  I've been making almost daily calls to my great-uncle's estate lawyer's office in Chadron (long, frustrating story there).  I'm getting things ready for a new grand opening of my shop, and am still trying to decide if I'm going to stay with Etsy, or go somewhere else.  I've repainted the living room and kitchen, and wallpapered the kitchen backsplash.  One of my new projects is going to be a Grandmother's Garden Quilt.  There's a pretty good post about them here.

And, yes, I did go see Eclipse, and even beyond the terrible acting, there were few parts of the movie I actually enjoyed.  Disappointing after all the hype.  The Bug and I are looking forward to November when the first part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows comes out!

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