Wednesday, April 28, 2010


I had an appointment with my wonderful counselor of 10 months today and she said, to help during the grieving process, do whatever I feel is right or what makes me happy for the time being. Feel what I want to feel and acknowledge those feelings at the time, but also spend time doing things that I enjoy.

Therefore, I have a list. Of course I made a list - hello!? Have we just met? My list is a collection of movies I want to see. I love going to the theatre and sneaking in cookies and a pop for a "talkie." Mom recently told me that her and Dad once saw 52 movies in one year during high school. They went to one movie every single weekend for a year. This tells me that at the very least, I can blame genetics for my admiration of the theatre. I also love renting movies and curling up with my blanket, beau and beast to travel to a make believe place like Hogwarts. Most of all, I love being able to escape reality if only for a few hours (see previous 'Survival' post).

To ensure a safe and happy trip, I prearrange movies that will take me somewhere I'll enjoy or will make me feel an emotion that's a little easier on the heart; laughter for example. Shawn is constantly making fun of me for the shows I pick or the movies I watch over and over and over. He's always saying we can't watch rated R material after 9pm at the DeBoer house. Although it's true, I stopped caring a long time ago. Forgive me for not wanting to see a horrible, wretched, bloody, scary movie right before I drift to dreamland.

Without further ado, the LIST:

Movies to Rent
1. Iron Man (I know, I know. I never saw it but heard nothing but raves and with the second one coming out, it's essential to begin at the beginning.)
2. It's Complicated (It's got Maryl - come on.)

Movies in Theatre
1. The Backup Plan (I'm so in the mood for a great, cliché, romantic, albeit predictable, chick flick I can't stand it! I can almost taste the wine that would follow the outing!)
2. Date Night (This looks hysterical and I look forward to the laughing.)
3. How to Train Your Dragon - in 3D (This will entertain my childish side whilst acknowledging my visual senses.)

Movies Coming Soon
1. Iron Man 2 - 5/7/10 (Hopefully it's as good as the first is promised to be.)
2. Babies - 5/7/10 (I'm so excited for this documentary. If you haven't heard of it or seen the preview, Google it now!)
3. Robin Hood - 5/14/10 (A new twist on a classic and I'll be there with Sara to support her withstanding relationship with Mr. Crowe.)
4. SATC - 5/27/10 (I've saved the best for last, Sex and the City 2. While I always enjoyed the show much more then the first movie, I'm curious to see where they'll take the story. The show always focused more on the relationships and not so much the fashion or even the fun. It was more relate-able. Obviously Aiden's back so at the very least, I'll have a tall drink of water to sip on.)

What's on your list?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


"Don't you think daisies are the friendliest flower?"
-Kathleen Kelly (You've Got Mail)

Okay, so these aren't your typical daisies. In fact, I don't even know if they are, in fact, daisies or if they are even in the daisy family. What I do know is this little vase is my sunshine. No matter my mood, they always make me smile. They were part of a very large floral arrangement sent for my Dad's funeral (typing that makes me cringe). The rest of the arrangement slowly faded, but not these. These have withstood the test of time, transport, transplant and yes, tears. So… the solid thing I know for today, and can confidently advise, if you find yourself sending flowers for a funeral - check that - for any reason, send these.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


I ask myself every day… now what? What do I do now? What follows the greatest tragedy in my life? What should I think about? Who am I now? What should occupy my time? How should I feel or think? What is the process I should follow? Truth is - there is no answer.

So for us, Team DeBoer, right now… there is baseball. I don't mean to sound cynical, in fact, I'm quite sincere. The Minnesota Twins and their new stadium bring us a sense of exciting normalcy. For a couple hours, we disappear into the shade of Target Field. We root for Cuddy, our favorite player, cringe for Punto when he comes up to bat and say a little thank you to the screen every time they show Mr. Mauer. For nine innings, we don't have to think. And with 162 games in the season, that's a lot of mindless, blissful, pure entertainment, that we'll cling to for now. For later, well…

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Play On

When I die and they lay me to rest
Gonna go to the place that's the best
When I lay me down to die
Goin' up to the spirit in the sky
Goin' up to the spirit in the sky
That's where I'm gonna go when I die
When I die and they lay me to rest
Gonna go to the place that's the best

Prepare yourself you know it's a must
Gotta have a friend in Jesus
So you know that when you die
He's gonna recommend you
To the spirit in the sky
Gonna recommend you
To the spirit in the sky
That's where you're gonna go when you die
When you die and they lay you to rest
You're gonna go to the place that's the best

Never been a sinner I never sinned
I got a friend in Jesus
So you know that when I die
He's gonna set me up with
The spirit in the sky
Oh set me up with the spirit in the sky
That's where I'm gonna go when I die
When I die and they lay me to rest
I'm gonna go to the place that's the best
Go to the place that's the best

Sunday, April 11, 2010


We’re sitting in a house that Dad built; we’re surrounded by his craftsmanship, his perfectionism, his hobbies, his photos, his music, our memories and his life. We’re brainstorming, remembering, rambling, laughing and trying to explain what made Dad, Dad. The task is deemed impossible. Not because we can’t think of anything but because it’s impossible to articulate how much we love Dad and how much he means to us. With such a difficult task, it’s good to have a plan. Dad was a planner. So, step one of the plan: Make a list of everything we remember about Dad. Step two: Add to the list. Step three: Come to terms with the fact that we will never be able to find an end to the list so give what we have to Kali so she can get something written. Although this is a collaboration of that list, know that there is so much more we’ll take with us. This is just some of what we’ll remember, “give or take a little bit.”

Dad had a long-term relationship with his 1977 Silver Mercury Cougar that was equipped with red interior and an eight-track player. A deliberate tear was shed the day it left. Dad liked Billy Joel, Neil Diamond and Lobo. He got a kick out of the quirky movies Edward Scissorhands and Fargo. He always was the one to suggest playing 500 and was always the first to bid nello, which he almost always won. Although there were times he would also bid just so he could see what was in the blind. These times didn’t turn out near as successful. He rooted for the Saint Louis Rams and the Miller Lite Dodge car once raced by Rusty Wallace, now raced by Kurt Busch. Although he liked Nascar, it appeared he liked Nascar naps better. He was the unofficial family handyman. We saw how long he kept the Blazer running, how he added a garage to the house he already built, how he resided and re-stoned the front of the house, and how he laid every brick by hand on the front sidewalk and the back patio. He could do anything and would do anything for us. We did have to remember though when he was done fixing our cars to turn back our radios. Somehow it always got left on his favorite radio station. This is probably the same station that plays nonstop on the radio in the garage. Even when he wasn’t in there, the radio was on. Guess this was just the next natural step to his vinyl records and eight track tapes. Also, if anyone came to the house when the whale tail was on the wall, they would agree that he was an exceptional artist. He could paint, sketch, and even carve small horses, whales and dolphins out of wood. He was also an excellent photographer and took beautifully detailed pictures.

Dad was also meticulous. He was constantly tweaking things to get them just right or just so. Whether it was teaching us all how to fold jeans, mow the lawn (his way), budget for something we really wanted or vacuum by placing our ear next to the vacuum hose, no one paid more attention to detail then Dad. We might not have been very receptive to these details at the time of teaching, but we’ll never forget the lessons we were taught. Mandi won’t forget learning about tomatoes and if you manage to escape eating them the first time, you weren’t going to escape Dad going out to the garden and picking a fresh one to make sure you had a slice. Kali won’t forget learning about the weight of her love seat. Carrying that love seat up those three small flights of stairs may have only taken Dad and Shawn 20 minutes, but the story has withstood five years so far. Allie won’t forget Dad teaching her how to ride a bike. Especially because we have evidence of it in a series of photos, ironically ending in a wipe out. Ty won’t forget learning of Dad’s hunting analogies when it came to sports. For some reason, it was easier to explain the game or the perspective of playing by relating it to his greatest passion, bow hunting. He also learned that he wasn’t going to be able to change the channel when Dad fell asleep watching the TV because Dad hid the remote, every time. Son-in-laws Andy and Shawn have even learned their fair share from Dad as well. Andy has learned that Dad likes to ask and know everything about the ship he’s on. Even if it’s asking 20 questions for 20 minutes about a 2x2 foot section of the ship. He was fascinated with how things like that worked. Shawn has learned that if you’re going to ask Dad for his blessing to marry his daughter, you had better be prepared to end up alone with him, on a drive, to the woods, on his favorite hunting ground, for three hours. As scary as it probably seemed, nothing meant more then at the end hearing him say, “Sounds good.”

We were a grow-it-yourself kind of family and always had a huge garden. We froze tons of corn and had an overload of potatoes, which Dad always took out to Grandmas to store in the cellar. A familiar Sunday meal contained chicken, potatoes and a veggie. One of our favorite meals was Dad’s homemade pancakes with homemade syrup of course. Another favorite meal was his milk rice. It didn’t matter that we were just eating rice for supper. It was more then enough because it was so good, despite the length of time it took to cook. If it wasn’t grown, it was often grocery shopped for every two weeks. Especially when Mandi and Kali were little. Getting groceries was a highlight because we got to stop at Caseys on the way there for a treat or Pizza Hut on the way back for supper. In line with highlights were our nightly trips to the swimming pool for family hour. Like clock work, we were there. Also like clockwork were Dad’s trips to Cabelas. These visits may have been for a new pair of hunting gloves to replace the 5th pair he lost in the woods or for material to add to his faux tree and deer stand in the backyard. Our Dad liked bow hunting so much so that he took a pole from our old swing set, propped it up on the far northeast corner of the lot, screwed branches into it to make it look like a tree and stuck his deer stand in it so he could practice. Speaking of northeast, you needed to learn which way was north in this family. Dad was always describing locations as north/south/east/west; never left or right; never visually; never by landmarks. It was a brilliant system once we learned which side the sun came up on so we knew where he was talking about.

We’ll never forget Dad’s smell. He always smelled like oil and GoJo. We’ll never forget his fondness for all things John Deere. We’ll never forget his hands. They were larger-then-life hands of a working man. His seasonal beards couldn’t have been bushier and his old summer haircuts couldn’t have been buzzed any shorter. His obnoxious sneezes will be heard in our dreams, as will the squeaky duck noise he made with his cheek. We’ll remember his advice and the way in which he phrased it. It was all from “a guy’s perspective.” He would say things like, “A guy could get the basement framed in a couple days” or “Alls a guys got to do is order the parts himself.” Along with the advice, we’ll hear his quirky little songs. On our future birthdays, we’ll all still look like monkeys and we’ll all still smell like them too. When visitors come, we’ll all know someone’s knocking on the door, someone’s ringing the bell, we just have to do him a favor and open the door… and let ‘em in.

Despite the fact that his life was much too short, we are grateful he got to come to our games, see us play, help us in school and listen at our concerts. Mandi and Kali are grateful to have been side-by-side with him at our weddings. Dad didn’t like a lot of attention so he may have been uncomfortable having everyone look at him as he walked us down the aisle, but we’re both positive he couldn’t have been prouder. How we all are is a testament to the kind of dad he was. He was an old soul with a big heart who taught us how to live. While being a teacher he was also always a student. He always wanted to learn more. He was always reflecting internally and always trying to grow and change and improve. We admire him for the journey he pursued towards bettering himself and it needs to be said that he is a great example to follow when it came to recognizing where he needed to reevaluate and dig a little deeper. No one knew Dad like we did and no one is prouder of him then we are and even though he’s not with us anymore, we know he’s getting heaven in order. We know he’s working through a list with God, putting some tree stands up, plotting out a mowing pattern, gassing up a motorcycle, sketching out a house to build and constantly checking up on us because he knows we like to make him proud.

The situation is surreal but the feelings are concrete. We love and miss you Dad and want nothing more then to see you again but are comforted by the fact that you are calm, quiet and at peace. Don’t get too settled up there though because you’re going to be pretty busy. We’ll be taking you with us. We’ll take you with us to Allie’s wedding someday and Ty’s graduation. We’ll take you with us to meet Kali’s children and tour Mandi’s acreage. Someday we’ll see you again but for now we’re going to lay you to rest so you can go to the place that’s the best. Go on up to the spirit in the sky. We are proud of you, we miss you, but above all, we will always, always, always love you.

Mandi, Kali, Allie and Ty

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Resolutions - an update

We're a quarter of the way through 2010. In an attempt to be more accountable, below is my exact list of resolutions as posted last January. Below each is an update. Some good, some bad, some still to be determined. 

My personal resolutions for 2010 (in no particular order):
1. Accurately read food labels before purchasing (so as to avoid things like cinnamon apple sauce, onion tater tots and unsalted ketchup)
Update: While I intend to look closer at food packages and labels, I did encounter a setback not too long ago. Of course I don't remember what it was but I do remember thinking, huh, so much for that resolution!

2. Travel to a foreign land
Update: Not yet, but soon I hope.

3. Raise funds to afford to travel to a foreign land
Update: Thanks to freelancing, both of us working some OT, our tax refund, not to mention having the windows paid off, we're climbing this hill every month. 

4. Continue my campaign for a buddy for Norman (say… a black Great Dane named Guinness)
Update: So no Great Dane. I did, however, convince Shawn to get another basset. We're in the search for a basset we can adopt through Basset Buddies Rescue here in the Twin Cities. The one we really wanted was of course adopted so we're still looking.

5. Exercise (because the elastic in my sweat pants is giving out)
Update: I'm happy to say I did join a gym and ran throughout the winter until up to about a month ago when we had more layoffs at work and I fell into a cynical slump surrounded by beer and Oreos.

6. Wear more hats
Update: Done. I just wore a hat to work today. I'm currently working up the courage to buy a fedora but haven't had the nerve, or the funds just yet. 

7. Finish all books in the Harry Potter series
Update: I'm currently reading the fifth book in the series, The Order of the Phoenix and Shawn and I just watched the second movie, The Chamber of Secrets.

8. Dispose of the sofa in my garage
Update: Nada. Any takers?

9. Grow the nails on my thumbs (so I can finally get that manicure I promised myself if I stopped chewing)
Update: I have not been even remotely successful with this although I have manged to maintain nails on all nine remaining digits.

10. Resist and protest all things texting, Twitter, Facebook and Oprah
Update: Texting - canceled service with our cell phone company; no incoming/outgoing texts allowed. Oprah - haven't watched all year. Twitter - have not, do not. Facebook - became a big proponent of de-friending and spending much less time consumed with it's attractions.

11. Contemplate quitting my consumption of soda
Update: Just yesterday I bought one 12-pack of regular DDP and one 12-pack of caffeine free DDP. I have to get rid of the caffeine headaches first, then I'll concern myself with pop.

12. Memorize and recite Team DeBoer's mantra when asked when babies are coming
Update: Refer to my Poll post below.

13. Clear up my complexion (since I think I've finally hit puberty)
Update: This went from fair to bad to worse to fair again. With some OTC products I borrowed from the neighbors of course and some healthy vitamin D, I'm making progress.

14. Purchase something our neighbors can borrow from us
Update: Done - software

15. Eat first, then ask what the ingredients are (it's a texture thing)
Update: I'm happy to report I'm getting better at this and have a new found love for onions. I also tried and liked, scallops. I think that's what they were. It was some kind of seafood with a mixture of melons.

16. Visit the Spam Museum
Update: Nada.

17. Go back to school
Update: Shawn's back in school. Does that count?

18. Get the Beretta through another year (so I can register for classic license plates)
Update: Just had a coworker repair a wheel bearing and then we replaced three out of the four tires so I think we're sitting pretty. 

19. Update the photos in my house (and actually print some of the gazillion digital photos I have)
Update: I've made progress on my name project but that is it. Maybe after the window trim is painted…

20. Blog more
Update: I like to think I'm keeping a steady pace. This is not a sprint, it's a marathon.


Six years ago this September, Shawn and I were in the Twin Cities in search of an apartment. We were married the previous May and I had just taken a job at Bolger and needed to find a place to live. By myself. That weekend was fun, adventurous and scary. Luckily I landed in charm ville, otherwise known as Cathedral Hill. Despite the happy ending, Shawn and I ventured into some interesting neighborhoods that day. We were done looking at a rather dull, cookie cutter, carpeted square when we decided to do a little sight seeing. Just down the road from this bland apartment emerged the loveliest park we'd ever seen. It had a lake, runners, walkers, dogs, a cafe, a golf course, a zoo, a place to rent paddle boats, a place where they play live music in the summer, a few docks, anglers and plenty of ducks and geese. I remember sitting on a small rocky "bluff" on the lake and fantasizing about Shawn and I living and making a life in this brand new state and maybe some day being near a great place like Como Park. Wouldn't you believe it, Ruggles Street stands one mere mile north of yes, Como Park. While my first and one of my fondest memories of becoming a Minnesotan circles around this haven, I now have a love/hate relationship with Como Park.

Case in point: Tuesday I took the day off work because Shawn is on spring break this week and frankly, the weather was forecast to be much too gorgeous to sit inside on a computer all day. So, I charged my iPods, cut up some fruit for a picnic and Shawn and I headed to Como Park.

Said iPods

Said fruit: grapes, strawberries and honeydew
After the iPods, before the fruit, yep, that's me there below. Welcome to the dark side of Como Park. The running. Shawn and I run around Como lake because if you circle it twice, it's exactly a 5K or 3.2 miles. Needless to say, I hadn't ran in a while and hadn't ran outside around the lake since last fall. I, was, spent. I managed to run the whole thing but not without chocolate regrets and headache consequences. I have run every day since and am reminded of that fact every time I take a step and tiny invisible creatures run at my quadriceps with ice picks and hammers and pretend they're in a drum line. Stairs? Impossible. I'm walking like a cowboy because I have to rock back and forth to put weight on my legs. My freshly pedicured feet are shot. Either my shoes are too small or I run kiddywampus because I'm rubbing my big right toe raw. To top it off, my face and especially my forehead is, well, kissed by the sun as they say. Funny I never pictured us participating in this part of the park that special day six years ago. I do love Como though. I suffer all this because of my love for Como Park. Well, that and because of my love for Oreos.
Me, or what's left of me.


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