After taking Monday off to spend with my three-year-old Godson (he’s visiting Grandma and Grandpa Buntjer’s farm all this week), I returned to the office to a lot of work once again.
We reporters are in the midst of setting up appointments with individuals to interview for the Daily Globe’s Annual Report edition, which publishes in late March. A select few of us were assigned seven stories to write for this massive edition – an overwhelming amount of work considering we still have our day-to-day assignments.
Rarely does one catch up with work in this business - there’s always new assignments and new deadlines – and this time of year is always the worst for me.
Thank goodness for little things like nephew Matt’s basketball games, taking niece Jessie to the movies or spending a day with Reece, playing Memory and going out to the barn to see the cats, to offer a refreshing reprieve from the stresses at work.
Below a raised eyebrow, his eyes shimmered and his grin gave it all away – he had the Old Maid card right in the middle of his fanned-out deck of cards, and he was bound and determined that I would pluck it from his fingers and lose the game.
Nobody wants to end up with the Old Maid in my family.
When my three brothers and I were kids, our deck of Old Maid cards was filled with bent corners, creased cards and slight tears – all done in response to someone’s attempt to damage the Old Maid card so they could easily identify it in their opponent’s hand. We siblings kept each other honest. If the Old Maid card suddenly developed a creased corner, about five other cards in the deck would get the same corner creased, and on and on it went.
And our deck of Old Maid cards featured the nastiest looking old maid – with a wart on the end of her nose, spectacles drooping down from her eyes and a tight bun at the back of her head of grey hair.
Today, nephew Blake’s Old Maid card features a friendly-looking little old lady who is even smiling! Imagine that. Maybe the new decks are meant to make kids feel not-so-bad when they end up holding the card at the end of the game.
I must give nephew Blake credit though. After three games – all of which started with me holding the Old Maid after the cards were dealt and ended with him holding the Old Maid as my hand was empty – Blake just grinned and said, "Aw, shucks! Let’s play something else!"
A while back, I brought out the Old Maid cards with another set of my nieces and nephews and one of them – who shall remain nameless (for fear of retribution) – actually started bawling when he ended up with Old Maid.
Nephew Blake played his last hockey game of the season Sunday, so the folks and I headed over to Fairmont to watch the little Mites face off against teams from both New Ulm and Spirit Lake. It was my first official hockey game as a spectator – our last trip to Fairmont included watching the kids practice.
I was trying to be a good aunt and watch as, every two minutes, Blake and half of his teammates would rotate onto the ice. I marveled at his skills on skates – going forwards and backwards, and moving the hockey puck from one side of his stick to the other. At seven, he could skate circles around me (I, of course, would be flat on the ice because I couldn’t possibly stand up in those silly skates!)
Anyway, I took my eyes off the game for about 30 seconds – I was showing my sister-in-law a gold dollar I had received – when, wouldn’t you know it, Blake scored a goal … his only goal of the three games … and I missed it!
Now, certainly I wouldn’t admit such a blunder to my nephew – and thank goodness he didn’t ask me if I’d seen him score! Nope, I was safe in saying, "Good job Buddy!" and giving him a hug after he walked off the ice.
Next time I better just keep my eye on the puck – even if I have to sit through an hour and a half of hockey!
I drove out to the family farm for a delicious fish fry Thursday night (I think it was the last of the sunfish I caught with nephew Zach last summer), and I discovered something.
All of the snow that melted away in the last couple of weeks has suddenly revealed the squeeky toys that belong to my dear little Molly.
As I’ve said before (well, maybe not in a blog, but at least to some of my friends), Molly is not the most obedient, well-trained pooch. She loves to fetch, although sometimes she likes to add in her own version of keep-away. Then, there are times when I toss her toy and she can’t find it; or times when she’s simply not in the mood for fetch and the toy stays wherever it lands.
The latter is what happened back in December after several rounds of the obedient catch and release. The squeeky ice cream cone landed in a snowdrift (which was later compacted into a much larger snowdrift after a storm). That’s the toy I haven’t found yet, of course the snow drift hasn’t entirely disappeared either.
Then there’s the furry little hedgehog look-alike. Unlike the squeeky toys, it grunts. I couldn’t resist buying it for Molly’s Christmas present. Anyway, I found the hedgehog on the driveway – undoubtedly Molly found it in a puddle left by melting snow.
I also found her orange- and purple-colored tennis ball dragonfly laying in the yard.
And at last, the one toy Molly will never allow to disappear – the first toy I gave her after I brought her home from her family at Steen – was seen laying up near the house. It used to be a plastic puppy dog with a squeeker inside, but it had to endure Molly’s puppy year (just as I had to!). The toy is missing it’s little red nose, half of one foot and doesn’t make even the tiniest squeek anymore, but it’s Molly’s favorite. It is her comfort toy. I can’t find another one like it. And even if I did, I’m not sure it could take the place of the one she cuddles around every night on her doggie pillow.
While at the Minnesota Newspaper Association convention a few weeks ago, I volunteered to have our staff judge entries in another association’s better newspaper contest.
I always find it interesting to see what other papers are doing, from reporters’ writing styles to photographers capturing the daily events in their communities. It’s interesting to see the unique newspaper designs, and I always enjoy getting ideas from other papers on how they reach out to their readers.
Well, after five hours of reading the best of what the Maryland-Delaware-District of Columbia Newspaper Association had to offer, critiquing our top choices and boxing them back up, we are ready to notify the MDDC of the top winners in about a dozen different categories.
I can’t give anything away in this blog post, as better newspaper contest winners are always kept a secret until the unveiling at their annual awards ceremony. I must say, however, that there were several great submissions and some good ideas for us to try.