Wednesday, September 26, 2007


At least once every fall, my dad would take the kids to the woods for what he called a "mush hike." He called it a mush hike, because if we didn't move fast enough, he'd say "mush," and we'd go faster.

Here are four out of five Wigand kids after we stopped to talk to a horse we lucked upon. Lisa was too little and stayed home with Mom. I was probably too little, too. I remember whining a lot and dad carrying me toward the end of the day.

That was the September after my cowgirl birthday. Check out my Dale Evans hat, shirt, holster, and chaps.

The un-p.c. wild game I'm shooting with my cap gun is a Bengal tiger originally shot by one of my dad's insurance colleagues. We used to lie on that tiger rug when we watched TV. Later it hung on a wall in the basement, and its plastic gums and cheeks became our favorite place to stash our candy wrappers.

It's strange how some things that were the unnoticed background of my childhood seem extraordinary to me now. The tiger rug, the Dale Evans outfit, the picket fence, the playhouse, the baton-twirling lessons, the city park right across the street.

Fun to think about. But I got stuff to do. "Mush."

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Nobody ever heard of my candidate.

This is so weird. I took a little Internet quiz today to see which candidate's views are most compatible with mine. Here's my guy:

He's from Alaska. He helped end the draft after Vietnam. He got the Pentagon Papers published.

And he agrees with me on everything.

The war. Healthcare. Immigration. Reproductive freedom. Gay marriage. The IRS.

Is there something wrong with him? Who's his publicist? According to Wikipedia, he came in third (after Obama and Kucinich) in a recent MySpace poll.

Great. Now I'm quoting both Wikipedia and Myspace polls.

Anyone with real info out there? Who IS this guy?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

25 years ago today...

I love this picture because both Steve and I look like we don't know what we're getting into. (I guess brides and grooms never do.) But circumstances conspired to show me that this would be the best move I'd ever make.

Two weeks before our wedding day, my dad had called to share unthinkable news. He had a brain tumor, and surgery was scheduled for Labor Day weekend. We drove to Minneapolis to be with my family during the surgery. We thought about postponing our wedding to a happier time, but that would have made Dad feel worse, so September 18, 1982, we took the plunge.

Dad was able to attend the wedding, his head still bandaged. For obvious reasons, my parents slipped in the side door of Elim Lutheran Church. I walked the aisle by myself, Steve's loving and encouraging presence beckoning at the altar, willing me not to break down.

That first year was tough--Dad died four months later, and truthfully I spent more time grieving than "newlywedding." It tested our commitment and resilience, and 1982 has become the benchmark for surviving things. We'd made it through that year, so we could make it through labor, cancer scares, lightning strikes, midlife panic attacks, rebellious teenagers, job loss, financial troubles, Steve's near drowning, my serious car wreck, various surgeries, and our parents' aging, along with the normal wear-and-tear inherent in 25 years of living with somebody.

But mostly we've had fun. We've been blessed (a word I don't throw around lightly) with great kids, good friends and more than our share of really good memories. And more love than I could have imagined or hoped for on that bittersweet day 25 years ago.

Ozarks, Part Deux

Between major household projects around here, so we made the spontaneous decision to visit our friends, the great blue heron of Bagnell Dam. Last time we were there we saw about a hundred of them. This time, only a couple.

However, there were several thousand other other migratory creatures in town.

BIKE FEST! As it turns out, Bagnell Dam is a halfway house for certain bikers on their way home from Sturgis.

Saw all kinds of everything, including my personal favorite, biker guy with small lightning rod sticking out of helmet. Unfortunately, we missed the BIKE FEST! parade. Maybe next year.

And, as another surprise bonus...

MOUNTAIN MEN FESTIVAL! So while we were taking in this idyllic scene:

We got to hear the thundering chatter of musket fire.

It was a good reminder that other psychic worlds are alive and well outside Lenexa.

Contrary to what I'd been led to believe, neither bikers nor mountain men are particularly friendly to those of us outside their cultures. Actually, I'd never been led to believe anything about mountain men, but now you know: Neither they nor Sturgis-y bikers will respond when you say "good morning" if you are a mainstream-looking girl holding the door for them at Casey's General Store.

Unexpected overnight, unexpected bikers, unexpected mountain men. It's fun to know that the universe is still out there throwing surprises around.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Greetings from Springfield

Have you been Simpsonized?
It's fun and more or less painless!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Motherhood moment du jour

Context: My three sons are John (23), Joey (22) and Danny (20).

Joey called yesterday around 2:30.

Me: Hi Joe, whatcha doin'?
Joey: Not much. Gonna pick up Danny at work at 3 and take him to get his stitches out.
Me: Stitches?
John: I wanna go, too.

Prognosis is good. Minor boo-boo of unknown (to me) cause.

Lesson learned: "Out of the loop" is a vastly underrated vantage point.