Just Two More Months

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While she awaits word yet on who her new roommate will be at school, our oldest keeps getting notifications about upcoming important dates and reminders. School starts in September. Her first year away from home. College. It’s exciting, but scary, she says.

We toasted our last official ‘family vacation’ together last night at dinner, at least in regard to time spent together in this stage of life for the kids. The house is going to be quiet without her. Graduation ceremonies didn’t make me sad. The goodbye, the 18 hours that will soon lie between us, will. She’s been thinking a lot about it lately and isn’t sure how all this will go. Last night she cried as she was packing up her things to get ready to head for home again today, because the move is coming sooner than later. I’ll cry when she packs up her things to go. And I’m certain when I get home and listen for her to come and go and just be present like she always has been.

The last time I really tried this journaling thing in earnest, it was to chronicle some important changes in her life and ours. I’m going to try this again. The days go by so fast.

Just two more months.

Tank In the Tank

The goat. Is hysterical. Forever looking for what he might climb on, climb in or climb over. Like any goat, of course. But this kid has got some serious personality. It’s why we got him in the first place. The previous owner thought better our place he tear up, than hers.

I’ve been wanting to throw some grass on the roof, build him a ladder and let him go at it. It’s better than the top of the truck, which he was climbing on the other day. Or the roof of my Prius. Where he was as well. The Cowboy is not amused. I on the other hand, tend to run and grab my camera.

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Adventures with Tank

Soaking Up Every Last Ray of Fall

When winter rolls around in these parts, it tends to hang on for what seems a very long time. The winds howl. The temperatures dip. Low. The horses take their place along the shelter belt and the dogs can’t get inside fast enough, much to the dismay of the Cowboy.

So on days like those we’ve had recently, beautiful, warm, sunny and well into October, we do all we can to soak up every last moment. Our 13 y.o. told me the other day, it was too nice out, she was going outside to do some homework. By the time I wrapped what I was doing and went out to check on her, I found she had curled up and was asleep on the lawn, the dogs by her side (until I walked outside) and the horses, goats and the donkey, not too far away.

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I took a deep breath, soaked up a beautiful fall afternoon and let her sleep a little longer. There won’t be too many days like this left. And opportunities to rest – for any of us – especially as we get older, seem rare.

Dawn

There was only about a 5 minute window early October 2nd where the sun broke over the horizon and was in full view here in eastern South Dakota, before ducking behind the clouds for much of the rest of the day. After nearly two years of living here, I am still in awe almost each and every morning of how wide and beautiful the sunrise is from this little dot on a great big map.

South Dakota Sunrise

South Dakota Sunrise

 

The Email

Who waits until late on a Friday to send out really not great news?

Well, a  lot of people do. After working in the news business for decades, I’ve realized that’s actually when most bad news is typically delivered. Press releases often go out right after the closing of the typical Friday business day (or whatever day it might be). It’s an easy out. If there is one. And it happens so that none of the decision makers can be contacted for comment until Monday and it helps delay having to deal with any fallout. Unless one is relentless in pursuing good sources, has an ‘in’ with those decision makers or you track down someone who’s been affected by the decisions and usually they’re searching for you, wanting to talk, you’re hard pressed to get your story.

I’m not good at waiting until Monday with questions I have about bad decisions made on a Friday. When I have questions, I try to go to the source in any situation as best I can and get answers. Not to be a pain, or create conflict. But to simply get answers.

I hung up the phone after talking with the Cowboy here a couple of weeks ago now. And I called our attorney for his thoughts …

“I don’t know. I really have never seen anything like this. I’m shocked by his decision,” he said. Then he added, “What don’t I know? What sort of history might you have with this judge that I’m not aware of?” he said.

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I caught up with a girlfriend early yesterday to go for a ride. She was off the hook to go out and help cut silage for the day – they had some unexpected help. I had enough work in front of me to last a 12 hour day. But I got a ‘please please please please please’ message from her. I couldn’t pass it up. The day was beautiful. Perfect, actually. We all know days like this are numbered as we head toward another South Dakota winter where the wicked winter winds that blow across the prairie make long rides relatively unbearable.

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Barn kitty out soaking up the morning sun

Plus, time in the saddle is great to clear your head.

We also hadn’t had a chance to catch up in weeks. She was dying to know what was in the email I last wrote about. She was frustrated I hadn’t followed up yet with another post on what had happened.

“It’s best, while everything is still ongoing, to not say much of anything,” I told her.

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It’s why I haven’t written much now for over a year. It’s what our attorney feels is best. He’s probably right.

My problem with that is, and I said this to her … the situation we’re in and that so many others are as well, has just about everyone afraid to talk. If you do, too much is at stake. You don’t ever want to say anything that might piss off a judge who could possibly be ruling on your case. Or any of their buddies on the bench. Because they do talk. They do keep an eye on what you are doing. And they do in turn, have absolute power to change the entire course of your life and on top of that, make you pay. Literally. In so many ways. Regardless of what actual facts in the case may be and the law.

Unless someone knows. Or digs. Or isn’t afraid to pursue what is lawful and based on fact. Or share their story. More people need to share their stories, and it is happening across the country. Because it’s time.

In the meantime, we are quite certain the fact we’ve (more the Cowboy than me) been outspoken advocates for shared parenting in South Dakota and across the nation, has in fact, affected the rulings in our own shared parenting case.

“There’s just no other logical explanation,” our attorney said, shaking his head and looking hard at us in a recent meeting to follow up on ‘the email.’ A shared parenting proponent himself, he felt absolutely terrible leaving things where they were at. He had even helped draft what this year became the new law on Shared Parenting in South Dakota and felt our case was a slam dunk if there ever was one. It is most likely one of the last meetings we’ll have with our attorney. This one …

O-Mok-See

Our computers most often anymore, get set aside over any and all weekends. Especially weekends we are blessed to have all the kids around.

So the email… the email that came in just as the workday ended last Friday that stunned us both… we agreed to forget about the best we could for the weekend and enjoy our time together. And we’re glad that we did because it may have been the last warm, beautiful weekend we’ll see for quite some time.

There was little that could be done to change the situation anyway. At that point. And, we should have expected nothing less than the news we received, given our previous experience with the South Dakota family court system.

So before I get to discussing what was in the email .. this was from Sunday night. I started journaling again right before the power went out.

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Sunday has been a long day but a wonderful one at that – it was the first Sunday School session of fall, the whole family took part in our first O-Mok-See which lasted all afternoon… honestly, the first time I even heard the word was that afternoon when we were there. It’s different than what the kids are used to doing as well as the horses. So it was good for us.

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The Cowboy and the boys left early to get to their first fall flag-football practice (which they are totally stoked about), we all got home later than we would have liked on a school night and still had to put the horses and tack away, grab a shower, a bite to eat and get to work.

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The girls picked up their homework and went out to my office – the newness and privacy of it all has them excited and wanting to work out there. Needing somewhere quiet and with the Cowboy and the boys still not home, I stayed inside, sat down at the table, and started to catch up on emails, interviews yet to be logged and think through the articles due Monday morning at the paper.

The email, I still haven’t looked at it. But I already know what it says. We’re pondering the various ways we might folo-up this week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dish-To-Pass

What is your first thought – when you’re asked to bring a dish to pass?

We’ve got a potluck after church today. Our daughter is among those being confirmed. And everyone is getting together post-service to celebrate in one place versus everyone going off and doing their own things.

My co-workers will vouch for this: my potluck staple is salad. Fresh, leafy greens, strawberries often on top and perhaps some sliced almonds, salad. Usually, while others heavy, fat-laden, cheesy and fulfilling home-cooked dishes would get snarfed up, I’d go home with a good deal of lettuce left in the bowl.

But, I can’t do a ton of heavy dishes.  I just can’t. I feel awful for hours afterwards, even eating in moderation. Those spaghetti hot dishes, macaroni salads and meatballs that often grace potluck tables really are good, they really are and I enjoy them immensely. But I eat more like a rabbit. I graze. Mostly on fresh fruits and vegetables. And, well, cheese and bread. I just feel better. And the older I get the more I realize I’ve got to watch what I eat as much as I fit in any exercise. So salad it is.

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But as I get set for this mornings potluck, I’m thinking back on some of the more common dishes my mom and dad used to make and take – German Potato Salad, Goulash, Cheesy Broccoli and Rice, Mint Ice Cream Brownies.. to name a few. And I’m feeling like perhaps I’m missing out by bringing .. well, a nice leafy green salad.

So I’m wondering what others may say is their favorite, home-cooked, bring to the party, make ahead of time and stays delicious, potluck or one-pot dish? The ones you love to eat or make?

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As I flip through one of my mom’s old, well loved and used church cookbooks, I’m not certain any of the casseroles are ones I want to necessarily make, not today anyway. But they do bring back some wonderful memories of dishes made and shared with friends, and time in the kitchen and around the dinner table with family.

And if all I continue to make are salads, what sort of well used recipe cards or cookbooks will I be passing along to my kids?