31 03 2006

Which Napoleon Dynamite character are you?

You are Napoleon Dyanamite and a buttload of gangs are trying to recruit you.
Take this quiz!


Speaking of Lars….

31 03 2006

My brother’s 3-year-old (almost 4!) son Lars had a skiing accident yesterday and broke his leg. He had surgery and all is looking fine.

Think good thoughts, send good vibes.

We love you, buddy.

The only boy. He is so adorable I could just spit.

Grandpa Lars’ Head Shrinker Story

30 03 2006

I loved my Grandpa Lars.

He was a Norwegian immigrant- a fisherman turned cattle rancher. He was a very big man (and I’m sure even bigger in my mind since my memories of him are from childhood). His accent was very heavy and I would often translate his heavily accented English for my friends.

I always felt very loved by him. Man, I idolized him. But I really felt like he felt the same way about his Grandkids that we felt about him. He came from a culture that treasured family in a way that we just don’t see today.

Growing up on the ranch it was a given that we were all in 4-H. We had an annual County Fair every year that we all entered our steers or pigs or sheep or sewing projects.

And we, as a family, kicked ass.

It probably stemmed from having a perfectionist mother that would make you re-sew the hem of your dress millions of times until the stitches were even and beautiful and exactly right. But, I digress……

One year in particular we really racked up the prizes. Let’s see….my brother had grand champion steer, I was grand champion round robin showman, my sister’s steer ended up being the top steer in the entire state for carcass judging, Shannon and I both had incredible sewing projects……and the list went on and on.

Now Grandpa was pretty proud of us. I especially think he was proud of the fact that the ranch cattle did so well in public. (The fact that I was exceptionally good at “Showmanship” probably does not surprise anyone at this point) So, he decided he was in danger of getting “a big head”.

Since he could build anything with wood or steel, he devised a “head shrinker”.

It was a band of metal that he wore on his head that had an adjustable wingnut tightener on it. He could loosen or tighten this band at will. Whenever someone would come over and the subject of the fair would come up, Grandpa would make this big show of digging out the “headshrinker”, putting it on, telling of our prizes earned, and tightening the device throughout the story. He wouldn’t tell the guest what, exactly, he was doing until the end of the list of his grandchildren’s achievements.

He would then say, “Oh ya, you know, dees kids they do so gut dat I haf to wear dis head shrinker to stop my head from growink and growink.”

And then we would laugh with his cheeks puffing out, slapping his knee over and over.

I wish I had that head shrinker.

After everything that went on with Maya on Monday she had a performance at her Spring Concert Tuesday night. She has always been shy and very reluctant to get upin front of a crowd. She had a “surfing song” that she was singing with some other third graders.

Not only that, she was put right next to the girl that made “the comment” about her skin color.

And she absolutely glowed. She smiled. She sang.

There was no nervousness evident. At all.

And Sophie!

She has always been the one that has craved the stage. And finally, she got a part! She was one of the Japanese dancers doing an beautiful dance called “Sakura”.

She was the only one who really knew it. The other kids looked to her for the clue of what to do next. And she did it beautifully and gracefully and……oh, she was just good.

An old woman who I had never seen before stopped her when we were walking out and said, “If I was a talent scout, I would have picked you honey. You did a beautiful job.”

Did I happen to mention that I am proud of them? (tightening wingnut….)

Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Mo….

29 03 2006

Monday night I came home to a message from Maya’s Elementary School principal (Mrs. Hoban who is incredible and wonderful and non-principal-ish). It stated that she would like me to call her at my earliest convenience regarding something that happened to Maya at school that day. She made sure to add that Maya was safe and was not in trouble.

And, of course, it was too late for me to talk to her by the time I got the message.

I was worried.

Maya is the type of student who prides herself in never getting in trouble. She has been the teacher’s pet in every class so far. It actually worries me. I would like to see a bit more spunk and a bit less people-pleasing…..

When Maya was in daycare I tended to get the call “Mrs. ****, your daughter was bitten by another child in the classroom today.” She was never the one who did the biting.

When Maya came in I asked her, “So, what happened in school today?” That’s all I said. I didn’t say it accusingly. It was just a conversational question.

Maya sighed, her cheeks turned pink, she got a bit teary-eyed and plunked down on the couch with an audible groan.

Of course, because I was always the kid that GOT in trouble, I immediately thought “Oh great, what did she do?” But thank God I didn’t say it out loud.

A “friend” (I use this term as loosely as it could possible be used) got mad at Maya at recess and told her, “I don’t like brown people”.

Let me just state this one more time….


The school dealt with it very well. Everyone was called in, it was discussed. Things are being put in place with teachers, playground duties and the administration.

The rest of the day, though, all the kids were asking her why she had to go to the office. This was horrible for Maya. She was so worried that the kids were thinking that she got in trouble for something. It embarrassed her.

I bet the girls that actually said it thought nothing of being in the office. She’s been in trouble before. No skin off her nose.

So, in all of this drama, the one that was being protected ended up feeling much worse than the one that actually got in trouble. That is the part that really sucks. That is the part that makes me cry.

I am not naive enough that this prejudice comes as a huge surprise. But amazingly, I have had people that are just shocked when I tell them what happened. I’m not sure if they just wish that the world was without prejudice or that they really and truly believe that the world (and especially America) has gotten past their prejudice past.

I grew up in a family where the N word was used in certain situations without a second thought. It was never “meant” to be derogatory to a certain race of people.

You probably grew up with some of the same things.

A Brazil nut was not a Brazil nut.

You did not catch a tiger by the toe.

I bartended in a dead end bar in the middle of Montana where most jokes started out, “There was a Texan, a Montanan and a N….”

I never liked it. I even fought with a few people about it.

But the majority of the time I either halfway chuckled at the jokes, or just ignored them. I am not proud of either of those reactions.

When I had my girls I realized that I could no longer just ignore prejudice. Or excuse it because of someone’s age, or how they were raised.

We are all adults. We are responsible for what comes out of our mouths.

Anytime you just ignore a stupid drunk saying the N word, you ignore the problem. You add to the pool of insults that hurt innocent, wide-eyed, big-hearted little 9 year old girls.

You hurt Maya. And that is not okay.

Fight Song

27 03 2006

I went to a high school named Beaverhead County High School.

Yeah, I know.

And, yes. We were the fighting Beavers (hanging my head in shame).

I don’t know what got into me yesterday, but at dinner I sang the entire BCHS fight song to the girls.

“On to victory Beaverhead!
Fight for the Blue and Gold.
Take the ball and keep it going,
Show ’em that you’re brave and bold!

Rah! Rah! Rah!

We will win the game this night,
Rain or shine or cold.
So, on to victory Beaverhead
We fight for the Blue and Gold.

We fight! We fight!
We fight for the score this afternoon!
We fight! We fight!
We fight for the Beavers too.


So on to victory Beaverhead.
Fight for the Blue and Gold.
Take the ball and keep it goin”
Show ’em that you’re brave and bold.

Rah! Rah! Rah!

We will win the game this night.
Rain or shine or cold.
So, on to victory Beaverhead.
We fight for the Blue and Gold!”


This is my post for the day…

24 03 2006


Resume Entry October 1, 2004 – August 23rd, 2005

23 03 2006

Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI)

How do I love REI? Let me count the ways…..

I have been staying at home for a few years when I stumbled onto this job. I didn’t really consider it a long term thing. Just a part time job to get me back into the swing of working outside the home again. I had been looking and looking for an oppurtunity to get back into the workforce.

And honestly? I wasn’t having any luck.

I had decided that the smartest thing would be to get back into the Finance Industry where I had the most recent experience. It really made no sense at all for me to go back to work for less than $16 an hour. Otherwise, there would be no way to pay for care for the kids and all that.

After looking for MONTHS and not finding anything that would bring me in at what I needed, I decided that I would take the next damn job that came down the pipe. That morning I opened the newspaper to the Classifieds and there was a large ad “REI Hiring Seasonal Call Center Employees”.

It was a part-time, seasonal job. It would get me through Christmas while I was still looking for something else.

I interviewed and got the job.

And the variable , every-other-weekend-start-at-4-am-shift.

But I still loved it.

I took calls from people who ordering out of the REI catalog. That is all I did for the first 3 months. It wasn’t the job that I loved, per se, it was the atmosphere.

It’s all about product knowledge at REI. We needed to know everything about the majority of the items we sold. If you were to walk into the REI call center you would see people messing around with stuff like climbing hand strengtheners and star seekers and GPS units.

They would actually have clinics where they would hide treasure around the warehouse and we would have to find it with GPS coordinates. We also had to set up entire campsites in our lunch room – tents, sleeping pads, bags, stoves…..all the way down to the french press coffee mugs.

Nearing the end of my “seasonal employment” I began to panic.

I did not want to leave this low-paying-crazy-scheduled job. Well, at least I didn’t want to leave the company.

They always keep some of the seasonal staff and I was hoping and praying they would choose me.

They did.