All posts by prairiewisdom

I learned to share experiences and knowledge with family and friends through stories. I believe in stories and their ability to stick with us when scraps of information are long forgotten. Some stories are funny, some a simple retelling of events, some impart wisdom and some touch the heart. I want my children and grandchildren to know these family stories and traditions.

Everyday Moments {Revisited}

I never get tired of watching my husband fish with our grandchildren. He is endlessly patient. He lets them guide the length and pace of the fishing venture. He is truly present in this everyday moment.

This picture speaks to me. Our grandson has his hand on his grandpa as a if to say, “I can wait too! And, I trust you to make this experience happen.”

Two guys bonding as they get ready to fish. What a sight to enjoy!



Must be the face

It seems everywhere I go, I find myself drawn into a conversation. It must be my face. Someone starts talking and I can’t help but be interested.

Take today. I was sitting in my car 20 minutes prior to the opening of our local quilt shop. Today was the big sale day and the first 50 people were going to receive a project bag filled with goodies. Yesterday, I told my husband that I would not go to the quilt shop early and be ‘one of those people’ who stands in line before the doors open. But, there I was, sitting in my car, in the cold with snow falling outside.

As I patiently waited for the open sign to come on, while fervently hoping that no one in the parking lot would get out of their vehicle to actually stand in line, it happened. I heard a loud voice. I turned to look through the driver side window at a woman in the next car calling to me and waving her arms. Okay. Guess I better find out what’s going on.

I opened my door and leaned out with a questioning look on my face.

Woman: “Isn’t this great! I mean who would believe there would be this many people at a quilt shop on a Saturday morning in a snow storm.”

Now this was unexpected. A small talk conversation between two cars as snow fell on my head and blew into my car.

Me: {Smiling from ear to ear} “It is wonderful!”

Woman: “I mean, look at all these people! I told my husband that I don’t need to go early because there won’t be many people here. But I was done with my errands and thought I might as well head over because you never know how long it will take to drive when it’s snowing.”

Me: “That’s absolutely true!”

This conversation with a woman completely unknown to me continued until another person became antsy and got out of their car to go stand by the door with 10 minutes to go before the opening.

Well, you know what happened next. Car doors all across the parking lot opened and that’s how I found myself standing in line, on an icy sidewalk, at 9:21 with snow falling on my head.

Since I seem to have that face, soon the group in front of me and behind me were sharing tales of their lives. I couldn’t help but be entertained.

With 5 minutes to go, my friend came walking across the parking lot. We had arranged earlier to meet up at the quilt shop. I told the ladies in line that I was going to the back of the line to stand with my friend. They would not hear of it. Karen was happily welcomed into the fold.

Once inside, after receiving my amazing goodie bag, I bumped into more acquaintances and made some new friends. So, yes, if you are feeling lonely, you should definitely visit your local quilt shop. That’s what I do.

Pop Quiz

pop quiz

I surround myself with gabsters. My friends like to talk… a lot. I love that about them! I get to relax, listen and wade into the conversation when and if I want to. It is wonderfully freeing to sit silently after a long day at work where I am required to talk and talk and talk. Talking is part of my job, whether phone calls, face to face conversations or emails, all day long I respond to questions and concerns. By night, I am all talked out.

Occasionally I am required to attend events with people who do not realize that I don’t want to talk. In fact, they think they are doing me a favor by asking questions about my life.

  • “How are your kids?”
  • “How is your job?”
  • “When are you going to retire?”
  • “What do you think about blah, blah, blah?”

To me, this feels like a pop quiz. I don’t feel prepared for the barrage of questions and I am certainly not enjoying them.

So… as a dutiful student of life, I practice before these social events. My husband asks me questions and I try to deflect them.

Husband: “How are your kids?”
Me: “Fine, and how is your family?”

Husband: “How is your job?”
Me: “Great, and how is your job?”

Husband: “What do you think about blah, blah, blah?”
Me: “I’d love to hear your opinion.”

This works well for me. But then, one day, someone was on to my avoidance strategy.

Someone: “How is your family?”
Me: “Great, how is yours?”
Someone: “No, I want to talk about you. Really, how is your family?”

Hmmmm. I wasn’t prepared for that. So, I ended up talking about my family. But, I didn’t want to. My family is doing great but really, is it any of this ‘someone’s’ business? I do not think so. You see, right or wrong, I believe this person views me as significantly less than perfect and I’d rather not talk with them about my family or anything personal.

Last night, I had a dream. I dreamt I responded to this person’s pop quiz with honesty and boldness. The dream started out as a rerun of reality.

Someone: “How is your family?”
Me: “Great, how is yours?”
Someone: “No, I want to talk about you. Really, how is your family?”
Me: “Well, I’d rather have a conversation than an interrogation. I’ve never done well with pop quizzes.”

And that’s when I woke up… smiling.


Living Below the Radar


This is my 27th year at my job and I have done an incredible job living below the radar. I work hard, keep my nose to the grindstone and fade into the background. I am happy.

Recently, I shared some workplace stories with our company PR representative. Evidently, this brought me and what I do for the organization to her attention. Thus, she wanted to interview me for a company newsletter which is emailed to hundreds of people in our community.

I really, really wanted to decline this ‘honor’. But, I can’t say no. So, I said, “Okay.” Begrudgingly.

I thought the interview went well. I was not happy to learn the article required my photo. So, I posed for a ‘selfie’ and emailed this to our PR Lady. She did not like my selfie and asked if she could come to my office and take my picture.

My office is my haven. In other words, it is a mess. But I cleaned my office and when she arrived, I posed for my picture and sent her on her way. Check that off my list.

That was Friday.

At 3:00 a.m. Saturday morning, I sat bolt upright in bed. I had just remembered that while I had straightened my office, I neglected to remove an incriminating picture from my pegboard. This picture would be clearly seen in my newsletter photo.

What was the picture? Well, I answer a lot of questions for people at work. All kinds of questions. No matter the question, I try to answer patiently.

As a joke, a friend sent me a quote that tickled my funny bone. Usually this quote sits in my desk drawer, to be viewed occasionally when I need a pick-me-up. But, recently, I’ve had a lot of silly questions. So, I took this quote out of my desk drawer and posted it on my pegboard.

It’s a joke. I don’t know why, but it makes me smile.

But, having this quote featured prominently in the company newsletter featuring the staff member of the month was quite honestly horrifying.

stupid_jpgSo much for living below the radar….


Time to Listen


My husband is a stamp collector. Over the years, I have learned a lot about stamps but to be honest, talking about stamps is pretty much a snoozer for me.

The terminology is exhaustive and exhausting. Hinged. Not hinged. Fine. Extra fine. Plate blocks. Hidden watermarks. Perforations. The words keep coming at me on a daily basis.

The other day, my husband was talking and I was not listening. I was reading a book and wishing I could stay in my happy place. But being a dutiful wife and not wanting to appear rude, I responded occasionally with a “That’s nice.” or “Uh huh.” or “That’s interesting.”

As his monologue continued, some of his words began to register. “Friend.” “Scantily clad.” “Sushi.”

I thought, “whoa, whoa, whoa!” pay attention! This is not his ordinary postage stamp conversation.

I put my book down and said, “Could you tell me that again?”

Husband: “Sure. Our friend went to that sushi place across from the family restaurant on the west side.”

Me: “That’s nice.”

Husband: “When their food was ready, a woman sat on their table and reclined onto her back.”

Me: “Uh huh.”

Husband: “She was scantily dressed.”

Me: “That’s interesting.”

Husband: “Then the waiter came and placed the sushi on her body. Her bare skin was their platter.”

Me: “Well, I sure hope she exfoliated.”