Guilty of stupidity in the first degree…

After using a simple flower display (that has long been in my bedroom) for some photos I took with the tables Mike made, I realized that the flowers were looking a little haggard.  They were droopy and dusty and had seen better days.  I tried beating the dust off of the flowers, but that did not help a whole lot.  I concluded I would have to rinse the dust off of them.

As you can see in the above photo, the two colors in the display were a deep velvety dark red (almost a burgundy) and soft white.  I am using the past tense as the red flowers are no longer the same color as they were before.  Apparently, the red flowers were not designed to be washed.  When I tried my tried and true approach to washing silk plants and flowers – putting them under the shower spray – the dark red that poured off of them made it look like a murder had occurred in the shower.  It was brutal.

What I thought would be a 30 second rinse became a half hour cleanup job.  I didn’t dare move the flowers out of the shower until they dried, but I also didn’t want what looked like blood stains to permanently mar the shower.  That kind of stuff scares visitors.  This was an exercise in stupidity on my part and it was compounded by my stalwart determination to still save the flowers.

The flowers are clean and look quite fresh now.  They are a much brighter red than they were before – more of a cherry color than a burgundy.  Unfortunately, I think my shower may very well sport a tinge of pink for the rest of all time.

When I told my son Noah about this debacle, he said what he always says when I do such things,  “Hmmm…a Ph.D. huh?”  What can you say after you just cleaned up a crime scene?  I had no defense.  I was guilty as charged – this was stupidity in the first degree.  ;-)

Day one thousand three hundred and seventy-eight of the new forty – obla di obla da

Ms. C

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A smile on your face and hope in your heart…

When I run across a great article that I want to reference in my blog, I typically supply a summary and a link to the article.  Unfortunately, the number of folks that check out the original article are often only a fraction of those who read the blog entry.  Sometimes that is of little concern to me, but tonight I want to share something with readers of The New Forty that I want to make sure is read.  It is a story that I cannot adequately summarize, but what I would consider a must-read.  Hence, I am sharing it here today in its entirety.

Below is the article, written by Al Edenloff and published on April 12, 2014 on INFORUM.

Are there really angels among us?

Larry Kvitek of Alexandria had an unusual encounter a couple of weeks ago.

It all started when he came across a stranger in the parking lot of The Coffee Pot Café. The man came up to where Kvitek was parked and asked him for a ride to Walmart.

Kvitek was a little wary of the request. He knew there was danger in driving someone he didn’t know clear across town. But it was a cold day and the middle-aged man, dressed in a plaid jacket, didn’t appear to be a threat, so Kvitek obliged.

The two didn’t speak during the short trip. Kvitek just dropped him off and felt good about helping a stranger.

About a week later, Kvitek ended up in Knute Nelson, recovering from a fall on the ice when a man, wearing a Paul Bunyan-style plaid jacket, walked into his room – the same man he’d helped out that cold morning.

The man didn’t say anything. He just held out his hand and dropped a small, metal, silver-colored cross into Kvitek’s hand. Kvitek looked at the cross, admiring the soft, rounded edges. He turned it over and saw the word, “Blessings” inscribed on it.

When he looked up to thank the man, he was gone.

When Kvitek walked out into the hall to find him, the man wasn’t anywhere in sight. It was as if his visitor had disappeared into thin air.

Kvitek asked a couple nurses outside his room if they’d seen the man. They hadn’t. He asked if someone had checked to find out what room Kvitek was in. No one had.

Kvitek, who said he’s just as skeptical as the next person about strange experiences, was shaken by what happened. Once the co-owner of the old K&K Sports that used to be on 3rd Avenue, Kvitek has been a resident of Alexandria since 1948, and he said this is the first time he’s experienced anything like this.

It’s left him with a lot of questions.

“How did he know I was at Knute Nelson?” he asked. “How did he know what room I was in?”

When Kvitek told the nurses what had just happened, how his visitor was the same one he’d helped a week ago, one of them started to cry. “It must have been an angel,” she said.

Kvitek still isn’t sure what, exactly, took place. “He was gone so quickly…I didn’t see him when I looked up. I’m not exaggerating. That’s how it was.”

Kvitek knows there will be skeptics out there who will come up with other explanations, but he’s not dismissing the angel possibility.

“If someone else tells you something like this happened to them, you’d probably make light of it,” he said. “But not when it happens to you.”

Kvitek has since put the cross in a small, cushioned box. He takes it out every now and then and feels the soft, rounded edges, and he thinks about kindness to strangers, blessings and the possibility of angels.

This is one of those stories that puts both a smile on your face and hope in your heart.  Are there really angels among us?  I do believe there are.  Indeed, the article offered us two – one in human form (Larry Kvitek) who evidenced kindness toward a stranger and the other more mysterious one who visited the hospital in his plaid coat.  Kindness toward others is the manifestation of God’s will and within that framing we could all find ways to be an angel in someone’s life.  As for Larry Kvitek’s angel, I surmise we will never know for sure whether the man in the plaid coat was a heavenly angel.  As for me, I believe in the beautiful energy that surrounds us whether it comes to me wearing plaid or not. ;-)

Day one thousand three hundred and seventy-seven of the new forty – obla di obla da

Ms. C

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Niloufar is one of us.

Today we celebrated the birthday of Cory’s girlfriend Niloufar. Her actual birthday is on April 15th, but this was the day when we could bring the whole clan together.  We were together two weeks prior for Cheyenne’s birthday and two weeks before that for the birthdays of Cory and my dad.  We will have a bit of a family birthday hiatus now until late May when Mike’s birthday rolls around.

So we celebrated Niloufar’s birthday today with a couple of her favorite foods – pizza and chocolate cake.  Cory and Niloufar have been together for over a year now and we really enjoy having her in the family.  She is such a lovely person.

Niloufar’s family is not in the area (see Happy Nowruz!!).  She loves and misses her family terribly.  I know we cannot adequately fill-in for her family, but we do what we can.  Cory often says I am trying too hard, but I try to do for her what I would do for my other children and my other children try and do for her what they would do for each other.  As clumsy and off-putting we may be as a collective, you can know one thing for sure: when we decide you are one of us – you are one of us. Niloufar is one of us.

For Niloufar’s birthday, Mike made her a bench that she can put in the entryway and sit on to put her shoes on.  Mike made it with the same type of clean wood look and finish he made Cory’s table with – simple lines and a basic Danish oil finish.  It turned out nice – sturdy and functional.  I gave Mike my design ideas as translated through Cory and he did the real work.  Mike has gotten really good at creating my design ideas. I did do the cushion and the basket selection – that was the extent of my engagement on the project.

It is a pleasure to be able to do such projects for family members – and as I said, Niloufar is family.  Gifts like this – gifts we make – are that much more special.  It makes me very happy to know that we can create these special pieces for them.  And when I say “we” of course I mean 100% my idea coupled with 90% of Mike’s labor and 10% of my labor…okay maybe it is more like 95% and 5%.  ;-)

Happy birthday Niloufar – may your 26th year be filled with blessings and happiness!

Day one thousand three hundred and seventy-six of the new forty – obla di obla da

Ms. C

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Do you want to build a snowman?

My 15 year old daughter Cheyenne who fancies herself as the knower of all things cool and all things obviously not cool (I live in the latter category in her estimation), is totally enraptured with Disney’s movie Frozen.  We saw it when it first came out and when it was all said and done, I thought it was cute and very Disney like.  However, I did not think the earth shifted off its axis.  Apparently, I do not get it.

Cheyenne, the household designator of what is cool, thinks it is the best thing since sliced cheese.  She knows all the lyrics of all the songs and is constantly singing them as she goes about her day – in the house, in the car, and every other place we go.   What that means to me is that I end up with the songs running through my head.  Without even thinking about it, I find myself humming Do You Want to Build a Snowman?

After this winter, that is the last song I want to be humming.  I must admit though that I do like the idea of Cheyenne finding equal value in a movie soundtrack (particularly a Disney soundtrack) as other popular artists’ music.  And hearing her sing these songs almost continuously, I am reminded that she was fortunate in avoiding her mother’s sad and seriously lacking singing skills.

So – yes, I am humming songs from Frozen these days.  Given my lack of skills, you will be grateful to hear that I am humming them softly.  Feel free to sing along – if you are a cool kid like Cheyenne. ;-)

Day one thousand three hundred and seventy-five of the new forty – obla di obla da

Ms. C

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The Colorful Eclectic

At the beginning of 2014, Mike and I agreed that we would indulge his woodworking and building hobby by starting a little side business.  The business, The Colorful Eclectic, was officially born in January.  In our initial conversations about the business the plan was for Mike to slowly build an item here and there over the summer so we could have a small number of items to sell at an event in September.  That plan seemed reasonable and do-able.

That lasted for all of about three weeks, then my daughter Sarah suggested that we participate in the West Fargo bi-annual rummage sale on April 12th.  The sale typically features a variety of items from crafts to garage sale items.  The space was only $30 (with early registration) so I rationalized that it was a low level commitment that would allow us to stick our toes in the water to test the market.

Well, more than our toes got wet.  There is quite a bit of energy involved in ramping up initial efforts when the never-ending winter lingers and one’s garage is not heated.  What essentially happened is this – Mike spent the past four weekends making projects for this sale.  I spent a good chunk of time giving my input on types of projects and colors and trying to survive the stinky finish materials when the finishing had to be done in the house.

We now have eight furniture pieces to take to the sale.  The majority of them are up-scaled items made from pallet wood.  Mike just gets better and better at this with every piece.


After going there this evening to set-up, I am not so sure that this event is the place to sell our furniture pieces.  But what the heck, we are in it now – so onward and upward!  This is just the beginning of a long journey.  ;-)

Day one thousand three hundred and seventy-four of the new forty – obla di obla da

Ms. C

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