1-cent notebooks are elusive

I admit that I’m a sucker for penny school supplies.

I love picking up 1-cent notebooks or folders, even though I have a plastic tub full of them. It’s a guarantee that we’ll never run out in the next four years that I’ll have students in my house.

Sometimes I buy a bunch and give them to charity. Other times, the stash is used by my youngest son as doodle pads that allow him to spend hours drawing cars, trucks, motorcycles and self portraits.

Over a lunch break, I stopped at a store that advertised penny notebooks in this week’s flyer. You guessed it, they were out. They thought they would get more on Thursday or maybe Saturday.

Another store has them for 17 cents. That’s a huge difference, even though it is a great price, too. With a limit of six notebooks for a penny each, why does spending 96 cents more seem so wrong.

Let me put a pencil to that … as soon as I find a notebook.

Whoa! How did this anniversary sneak up on us?

I remember the state’s 100th anniversary, and I still have an empty Coca Cola bottle in my cupboard to commemorate the year.

But get this, the state is planning for its 125th. Next year! Yep, 2014.

Here’s a news announcement Gov. Dennis Daugaard put out today:

PIERRE, S.D. – Gov. Dennis Daugaard has appointed a nine-person commission to generate ideas for celebrating South Dakota’s 125th anniversary of statehood in 2014.

The group will seek ideas from the public between now and Oct. 1, 2013 on how to promote South Dakota’s history, increase tourism during the special year and encourage state and local events, such as all-school reunions. Its first meeting will be Wednesday, Aug. 14, 10 a.m. CDT, at the Visitors’ Center next to Capital Lake in Pierre.

They say time goes faster the older you get. Maybe. By the way, I use that pop bottle to hold my angel food cake pan upside to cool just like my mother did. I learned that years ago, way longer ago than 1989.

Here is the list of the commission members:

Jay Vogt, Pierre, current director of the State Historical Society
Dr. Brad Tennant, Aberdeen, associate professor of history at Presentation College and current president of the South Dakota Historical Society
Dr. David Wolff, Spearfish, Black Hills State University dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Western history specialist and author of Seth Bullock: Black Hills Lawman
Joyce Whiting, Porcupine, Oglala Sioux tribal historic preservation specialist
Representative Bernie Hunhoff, Yankton, publisher of South Dakota Magazine and member of the South Dakota House of Representatives
Representative Leslie Heinemann, Flandreau, dentist and member of the South Dakota House of Representatives
Yvonne Taylor, Presho, executive director of the South Dakota Municipal League
Jim Larson, Sioux Falls, former executive director of the 1989 Centennial Office
Shelley Stingley, Sioux Falls, former chair of the 1989 Centennial Commission

4-H Pledge for mothers provides good perspective

Three days until my boys will exhibit their 4-H projects at the Sioux Empire Fair Achievement Days. That clearly is not enough time.

There are cookies and bars to be baked. Photos to mount on foam board. Coats of varnish yet to be applied. Garden veggies to be picked, washed and sized. Cards to fill out, and probably a bunch of things that I am not evening thinking of at this point.

As a 4-Her myself as a kid and the mom of 4-Hers, this can become overly serious business if you let it. My oldest son has clearly reminded me not to worry about it if it doesn’t change to trajectory of our lives. He’s right.

But it’s also nice to see I’m not the only mother who wants so much for her children to do their best. Check out this woman’s blog. I can totally relate, and I think we could be good friends. Clearly, she could teach me a thing or two, and I love her revamp of the 4-H pledge, this one for moms like me.


Tasseled corn beautifies the landscape

South Dakota’s landscape is one of the prettiest this time of year.

Besides awe-inspiring sunsets, corn has tasseled and in Minnehaha County at least acres of fields of vibrant green stalks with golden tops provide a stunning view, especially when the crop fills the slightly rolling hills around here.

When you think about it, corn’s production is pretty complex. There are male and female parts. Tassels, pollen, silk, ears, kernels. It all has to work in a timely way with the best weather conditions and takes place at specific times. Drought and heat cause stress. But when it is all said and done, everything has to come together right to produce those tiny kernels on ears that add up to a bunch of feed for livestock and humans.

I was near Crooks this morning when pollination typically takes place. The weather was beautiful, and I had to take a picture.

Even though this is field corn and not sweet corn, think about the miracle of corn the next time you eat it off the cob, either straight down the row or in a circular motion, whichever you prefer.

And if you get a chance, take a drive in the country and look at the fields. It’s pretty inspiring.

The tassel

The developing ear

How does a dog know?

Yesterday, my husband took our Golden Retriever to the groomer, who operates out of a vet clinic.

When he picked Buddy up, he looked great, all trimmed up and handsome as could be. But it was the story the groomer told my husband that was more impressive.

You see, Buddy had to go outside for a potty break and in doing so, passed by a family who was crying because they had put their dog to sleep. On instinct, Buddy went over to them and snuggled up with them, getting hugs and pats. He knew they needed a little love and needed to give it back too, apparently.

Anyway, the groomer reported that it was a really nice thing for the family.

Buddy, who is almost 12, is a great dog, always a people pleaser, very patient and loving. But yesterday, I think he surprised even us for being just what that family needed.

How did he know?

Here’s our Buddy, all handsome this morning.

For the love of Sioux Falls

I fell in love with Sioux Falls from the backseat of a red Ford Fiesta.

In the late 1970s, my pastor and his wife, E. S. and Lois Skaar, drove me to Sioux Falls in their tiny car in order to attend a Lutheran synod convention on the Augustana College campus. They thought I would enjoy working with other youth leaders and seeing the church-affiliated college.

It was my first trip to the state’s largest city. Previously, I had been as far south as Watertown. It also was the first time I ate at a Wendy’s drive-through restaurant and stayed in a college dorm room. Except for family vacations, I had spent my entire life in northeastern South Dakota.

That trip helped me decide to go to Augustana, a choice that was not only right for me but amazing in its scope. Like many people, college was the place where I grew, figured out who I was, developed life-long relationships with peers, earned a liberal arts-centric degree and continued to fall in love with Sioux Falls. I took jobs in a couple of other cities _ Indianapolis and St. Cloud, Minn. _ but came back.

Sioux Falls is just a welcome place and where I want to be. When I stopped by the college to take photos to go with this blog, President Rob Oliver walked by and struck up a conversation. It’s that kind of friendly that makes us who we are, Sioux Falls.

And it’s a love affair that has kept me here, after all of those years.
The Sioux Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau is urging people to share their stories about their love of the city, using the hashtag, #FallsInLove.

That’s my story. What’s yours?

Here’s the administration building at Augustana, almost hidden in the full trees on campus.

KISS plays part in high school top memories

In my high school in the late 1970’s, we were addicted to KISS.

We listened to their music, danced to it, sang along and adopted band members’ dress on occasion. We embraced their rock music without ever seeing them in person. A group of classmates even formed a band and played KISS songs. They were wildly popular and amazing. We thought they sounded just like the real deal and were thrilled the day they were allowed to play on the gym stage for an assembly. I’m still not sure how they got the principal to allow it.

This week, KISS – the full band – is coming to Sioux Falls for a private show with today’s teens. See story here: http://www.argusleader.com/article/20130717/ENT/307170050/KISS-appear-Brennan-Rock-Roll-Academy-dedication-Saturday.

I can only imagine what it would be like, listening to icons from my teen years 35 years later. I would want to “Shout It Out Loud” or “Rock and Roll All Nite.”

Maybe it’s best if those moments continue as cherished memories instead of realities.

Hooray for the shortest distance between two points

Tomorrow, my life will change for the better.

The bridge on 250th Street going from the west side of the Big Sioux River into Baltic will open. The city is having a party at 6 p.m. to celebrate.

That means my children can go three instead of eight miles one way for school workout sessions and classes themselves once they start in August. It means shorter travel for every activity.

It means a grocery store is closer but not a gas station, since that closed after bridge traffic was banned last September when inspectors found the structure was unsound. I can more easily go to our small library again and get dog food at the elevator.

There are, of course, bigger problems than a bridge being closed for 10 months so that it can be replaced — lots bigger. But the shortest route is welcome after “going the long way around.”

Ice cream rankings? Count me in

There have been a couple of rankings lately highlighting South Dakota as the best place to do business and Brookings as a great place to live.

But a different list has my attention: Food Network Magazine’s 50 best ice creams in 50 states. I’m not sure how they picked their best recommendations, but does it really matter? I want to try some of them anyway, and lists are always subjective.

But this is a list I can get behind.

Not surprising, South Dakota State University’s cookies and cream ice cream made and sold at the campus Dairy Bar was chosen as the best in our state. It’s certainly good.

I expected to see Blue Bunny as the top Iowa choice but instead it is Hickory Park’s salted nut roll in Ames. That sounds pretty good, too.

There are a couple of flavors on the magazine’s list that I’m not inclined to try, though. The Montana choice is Sweet Peaks’ ranch dressing ice cream. Nope. Not doing it, although it comes with carrot sticks for dipping. I also wouldn’t order North Dakota’s Whirla Whip with dill pickle relish in Stanley. Blech! But I’m sure they’d have something else I would like.

In case you are headed to Nebraska this summer, the top choice is the root beer float at the Lincoln Dairy Store. As for neighboring Minnesota, the recommendation is the Convention Grill in Edina for the strawberry malt.

If you want to check out other states, visit this site for an interactive map. http://www.foodnetwork.com/50-states-50-ice-cream-treats/package/index.html

Spring chickens lead to summer eggs

The chicks we bought this spring to help fill in for our hens that are showing some age are starting to lay their first eggs.

It’s amazing really that between February and June the chicks go from needing heat lamps to stay alive to laying free-range delicious eggs. For those urban ag proponents who raise a few hens or those living the country life like me, first eggs are simply miraculous.

For starters, they are tiny, just slightly bigger than a robin’s egg. But they’re perfect — hard shelled, yolk inside, everything right with nature.

So in a proud moment like the first day of school or a summer vacation, I’ve taken a photo of our teeny egg from one of the 30 pullets running around my acreage. It’ll take a while to make a cake out of these babies, but they’re pretty adorable.

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