Friday, July 01, 2011

Random Ramblings and a Bit of a Rant

There are many things going on in my mind these crazy days of summer - lazy and hazy, as the old song used to say, do not apply. For me, the 4th of July is the beginning of the downward slide back to school days and a bit of routine again. At least we can hope.

Livi's been taking a reading class this summer, three days a week, for an hour. One day she brought home a book to read that brought back such memories. I remember this book so clearly from my childhood, and I haven't seen it since. I hadn't thought of it in a long time, but I enjoyed reading it with Livi. Does anybody else remember it?

Each brother had a special physical gift and they traded places with each other to save their lives. It was a fun blast from the past.

These reading classes are held over lunch hour, and the kids eat lunch with their teacher. This is where the rant part comes in - free lunch is offered at several schools here in town. It is a nice thing for the kids - they get to see their friends, eat a good lunch, and it is free. But really not free. I could be called a hypocrite, because I have taken advantage of it on the days I have the girls. But I just don't quite get how this is possible when we are a trillion dollars in debt as a nation. But what bothers me more than that is the waste that goes along with the "rules and regulations." For instance, I wanted to take one lunch for the twins to lower waste. But they told me I'd have to buy a milk for the other one if I took only one lunch for two kids. I clarified with them that they'd prefer I throw away a lunch in place of giving me an extra milk. Adults have to pay $3.50 for the same lunch, which is fine. But you can't eat any of the kids' food rather than throw it away. And you can't take anything home with you, rather than throw it away. Seems a tad wasteful to me.

Changing subjects -- I think I started something the other day that has gotten pretty big. At least, that's what I suspect. I called the city because the street we drive down many times a week was looking very scruffy. When the houses were built and the street was put in, the homeowners along this street put their fences about 4 feet from the curb, and I guess the city landscaped it. It looked nice for years, but eventually the "decorative" rock began to disappear, the black plastic under it began to show and shred. The bushes and trees began to die, and nobody was taking any notice of it, seemingly. It was so ugly. There were also a couple of pine trees that Dwight had noticed were infested with a bug. I was so pleasantly surprised when they were out within less than week, cleaning it all up. It looks so much better. They also noticed some really bad sections of sidewalk that they replaced. Ever since, they have been out there every day putting in new handicap accessible curbs at the intersections. I wonder if, when they came out to check out the trees and bushes, they realized nothing had been done on this street for a long time, or if they already had this work scheduled. Either way, it's been a good thing.

Veering off the path even more - I have quite a few authors I follow as they write a book most every year. Mary Daheim is one of those - her books have been alphabetical, and she's been writing this series for 20 years now. She is up to V, Alpine Vengeance. I love it that you can go to a favorite author's web page and actually e-mail them a message. I have had several answer my messages. I wrote Mary with a comment about the latest book, and it began a lengthy back and forth conversation. She's quite the character and I'd love to meet her IRL. She surprised me with her willingness to not only answer my questions, but give me lots of insight into her journey through this series. What fun.

My family, meaning my birth family, has always had a favorite pasta salad for the summertime, particularly picnics. It must have originated with one of my grandmas, probably my mom's mom, Grandma Wildman. It is made with ring macaroni, made by Creamettes.

It's a simple salad with tuna, peas, celery, a bit of onion, and some Miracle Whip. And of course, a bit of sate, or my preference, seasoned salt. We have never been able to find the rings out here in Colorado, so any time we went to Minnesota, we'd pick some up and bring home several boxes. A few years ago they changed the shape of the box from the rectangular box (like Kraft Mac and Cheese), to this square box. That was okay, as long as the product was the same. When I didn't have any, I made the salad with little alphabet shaped pasta, but I haven't even been able to find them lately. Last summer, we picked some up when we were in Minnesota, and then my aunt sent us several boxes each (Mom, sis, and me). Now, the bad news - my aunt can't find them any more in Monticello, Minnesota. So so sad!!

We love this salad so much that my brother, who rarely gets it, putting a forkful in his mouth, stated, "Savor every mouthful!" Nothing fancy, simply delicious.

As promised, an update on the Dwight Carlson Park - come on over for a cookout any time! I have a couple of boxes of rings left, so I could make a ring macaroni salad - which our family calls "Minnesota salad."

The last iris of the year - one we never saw before - absolutely gorgeous.

I'm not very good at coming up with analogies with life in nature, but these shots of flowers and rocks brought these thoughts to my mind. When I saw this tiny yellow flower growing from this big rock, I immediately thought of how tough life is at times and how it sometimes feels like we're living in such a tough spot. But the fact that the flower is surviving and even thriving in this hard place gives me so much hope. Sometimes lately I have felt like this little flower! And God has helped me grow in this rocky place.

When I saw these beautiful flowers climbing this rock as they grow and spread, I realized that's how it is to get as close to the Rock of Ages as possible.

Hayley told me to take this picture - she has a good eye, don't you think?

Have a wonderful Fourth of July!


nancygrayce said...

I can't rant about it too much or I'll have to take another blood pressure pill, but there is so much money wasted in this country! Anybody with a lick of common sense could do better with our country's budget than "they" are doing!

Love the yellow flower in the rock. I kept looking at it and the rock looks like the back of a hand with the thumb turned under. At least to me!

Have a great 4th of July......looks like we'll be putting up peas and butterbeans. Hate putting them up, love eating them all winter.

Michelle-ozark crafter said...

Oh don't get me started on sidewalks! Very few streets have them and many are still the original limestone. Now get this, if the sidewalks need replaced or repaired in front of your property, you have to pay for it and have the work done. Yet it belongs to the city they say. Oh well. Anyway, awesome post.

Becky said...

Hayley does, indeed, have a good eye for a sunset photo.

Linda said...

Happy 4th Dawn!
The flowers are stunning. He's doing a really wonderful job.
Love the analogies - just perfect. I think we've all felt like that little yellow flower at times. It is so encouraging to see it thriving.
Good of for (the sidewalks). We should all follow your good example.
I've never read those books. How neat that she took the time to write. I hope you get to meet her some day.

Gram said...

My mother always made that salad, but with the small shell pasta. I have never seen the 0 shaped before. Haooy 4th!

Dawn said...

Oh, my goodness, I just re-read this post and found 5 typos! Those who come after here, be glad I did!

Robin in New Jersey said...

I love your new picture! Your grand daughter's are beautiful!

Sammy said...

Great photos of your garden! It's so beautiful! And that pasta salad looks and sounds delicious!

Love the new photo at the top of your blog. And I'll ask the question I bet everyone is thinking--HOW do you keep your skin so smooth?? Botox? Ha Ha, just kidding! But seriously, you have the nicest skin! I hope I'm as lucky as I grow older.

Kathleen said...

I hope you don't have pine beetle. They are horrible damaging. The flowers are gorgeous. The sidewalks need repair? I know in NE the property owners had to pay enough taxes for street and sidewalks it seems. Go figure you pay but if you don't want to scoop the snow off, you get fined? I never could figure how who made that dump law.

LOVE you new header with the grands! Adorable!

Maine Mom said...

The lunch thing does sound wasteful money-wise and food-wise.

You need to contact Creamettes and get them to send that pasta your way!

I love the Dwight Carlson park! So beautiful. Great job, DC! :-)

HOOTIN' ANNI said...

What beautiful landscaping!!! Did Mr. D do all this on his own?!! Terrific job and such gorgeous colors throughout. Of course, you know me,.......that pure white iris is one that only the beholder can relish!!

That lunch scenario sounds so typically American...if only we'd realize just how much is wasted daily...not only in food, but monetarily----heck, even time in the day is wasted.

Your post brought me some true joy this morning as I try and catch up after our long...long....sad week.

HOOTIN' ANNI said...

PS....Dawn, thank you for your kind words this morning. And, I'm really glad I came back to send along my thanks 'cause I didn't see your blog header earlier...I just LOVE it!!

Oh, and the 'mystery book' for the Friday's meme? You didn't catch the NCIS connection?! LOL

grammy said...

Love the new header...the littles look so big (o:

The yard is great. The flowers are all dieing around here.
Ring macaroni? Hmmm...I will have to keep an eye out. sounds good.
The lunch thing is crazy. Government rules I guess.
We had a great fourth and a little rain here and there...we need it.
my ally is a mess. I think it is up to us to clean it is so hot to think about picking weeds and junk up.
I think I am going camping next week....just me and the 9 year old...should be fun.

jmckemie said...

Love the new header photo!
The ring macaroni...not sure I have ever seen it but will look here for it. You can always contact the company and ask about it.
I recently ranted about the waste tht goes with school lunches, too. Chaperoning a field trip was a big wake up call about how much food was simply dropped in the trash every day,most of it never even unwrapped.
I agree about the 4th. For some, it is the beginning of summer. To me, it seems like a countdown to back-to school. With J attending and K teaching at a charter school, their summer break is already 2 weeks shorter than the local public school system. Enjoy the rest of these hazy, but not so lazy (with grandkids!) days.

The Greatest of These is LOVE said...

Dawn, your garden looks absolutely beautiful! It's just like the garden my Mum has in Melbourne. And like the garden I had before we moved north. It's not easy to grow gardens like that up here in Brisbane as the weather is hot and humid most of the year (except winter).
The sunset is beautiful... but you know how much I love sunsets.

Glenda said...

Dawn, your flowers are so pretty, and I love your analogy of the tiny yellow flower growing in a tough spot. Your header is great; the girls are growing so quickly!

Seems that I'm not finding the time to read blogs as much as before, but it's always good to catch up with what's going on in your world.

Sharon Lynne said...

They ought to put a panel of women 60+ in charge of shrinking the debt. Maybe I should write the President about that.

Enjoyed the book, salad and the flowers. Quite entertaining. I especially love the little yellow flower. That was a beautiful analogy!

Robin said...

We used to have those noodles in North Dakota too! I haven't seen them in years - how fun to be reminded!