Thursday, May 30, 2013

Candid Moment

Photo from Keith's sister's April wedding.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Family Photo Reenactment

2004 - Family picture at Grandma Vik's 80th birthday

2013 Re-enactment 

Nine years later, everyone is bigger, three cousins are 
missing, and our niece's husband passed away last summer.

There's a big piece of furniture where the photographer 
needs to stand, so we couldn't get everyone is the same picture. 

Grandma can't go down stairs anymore so she's sitting up top. 

Family faces are magic mirrors. Looking at people 
who belong to us, we see the past, present, and the future. 
--Gail Buckley--

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

How An ISTJ Buys a Car

A Myers-Briggs temperament test says I'm an ISTJ. (Introvert, Sensory, Thinking, Judgement.) ISTJs over-analyze things.

My ENFP husband is the exact opposite. (Extrovert, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceptive.) This results in frequent clashes in how we approach life.

Case in point: our recent car purchase.

Keith (intuitive), has gut feelings and things either FEEL right or they don't. His favorite car-buying method is to have a general idea of what he wants, and then see the right car parked on the side of the road with a For Sale sign.

Since 2004 we've driven a useful, 14 mpg, maroon 1993 Ford Econoline passenger van. Five years ago I suggested buying something with better gas mileage. Since the van was paid for, Keith said we'd replace it when it died.

Taking the ferry to camp at Big Bay State Park last fall.

Only it never did. Despite our abuse, at 215,000 miles, it still runs. However, now we rarely drive anywhere with the whole family. We no longer need a van that seats eight people.

Keith has picked all our cars. "Molly", the blue Pinto I got instead of an engagement ring. "Feather," the blue VW Superbeetle he brought to our marriage. A blue Volkswagen van named "Vincent Van Gogh", followed by "Stacy" the blue station wagon. We drove a blue Ford passenger van for five years. Do you notice a pattern here?

When he bought our current maroon van, I wasn't sure I could drive a car that wasn't blue.

Fast forward nine years to 2013. I trust Keith's judgment but I hadn't chosen a car in thirty-five years and I wanted input on our next vehicle.

My priorities were good gas mileage, handling snow well, and room enough for four people to comfortably drive six hours to see the new grand-baby in July.

I didn't want a red car. Any color but. Why manufacturers make red cars is beyond me. I preferred blue, of course.

Keith could only handle a few hours of car shopping before getting overwhelmed. I spent hours on Craig's List, Yahoo Auto, and Car Gurus.

I suggested flying to another state for a better deal. Rural Northern Wisconsin isn't the cheapest place to buy a car. Keith would drive seventy miles to Duluth if need be, but he preferred to buy local.

I compiled a detailed spreadsheet, listing thirty car options in order of mpg, headroom (Keith is 6 feet tall), and rear legroom. Fuel-efficient cars without enough headroom got crossed off the list. Red cars never made the list. Maroon was okay, red was not. No exceptions.

We tried a Subaru Forester and Impreza because they handle snow well. However, Foresters don't get good gas mileage and Imprezas don't have enough headroom.

We vacillated between roomy minivans and smaller fuel-efficient cars. We almost bought a local blue Dodge Caravan. The Ford Fusion and three Focuses we drove didn't feel right.

We drove a really nice 2010 Prius that unfortunately was really expensive. We both liked driving my friend's blue Toyota Matrix. My poor husband had never tried so many cars before buying one before.

We'd drive a few cars, then wait for Keith to get un-overwhelmed, while I spent countless hours on the Internet. Keith still hoped to stumble upon a local good deal. He'd get emotionally flooded with too many options, while I scoured cyberspace and found good deals from Portland to Pittsburgh.

Last Thursday we spotted a used, bright RED Pontiac Vibe at a local dealer.

A Pontiac Vibe is the same thing as a Toyota Matrix. My OCD research showed Vibes get good gas mileage and have good headroom. After a test drive, my intuitive ENFP husband said, "I really like this car." After six weeks of shopping, Keith finally had his "Stumble upon, feels right" moment.

I couldn't see beyond the ugly red color. Keith said, "Really? You'd let color stop you from buying a car?"

"Yep," I said. I didn't want a car that looked like lipstick.

We drove three more cars but Keith liked the Vibe best. The dealer said technically the color was "Lava" and I wouldn't notice it after two months. I almost cried on the way home. I really didn't want a red car. Why couldn't it have been any other color?

I spent two hours Thursday night on the internet, determined to find a similar car that wasn't red. Surely, somewhere in the United States a reasonably priced blue Matrix or Vibe existed. Unfortunately, I didn't find anything that came close to the red Vibe.

This 2006 Vibe had 44,000 miles and was owned and babied by an 83-year-old woman. Nothing was wrong with it, other than the color. It met most of my criteria AND Keith thought it felt right.

Keith bought the car Friday morning. I felt embarrassed to drive such a bright car. What would people think of it's redness?

Positive reviews so far. The family loves it. Friends say they like red cars. Lava didn't bother anyone but me. Someone said to embrace its redness. To not see obnoxious, but sassy.

I'm slowly adjusting to the color. I saw a gray Vibe yesterday and thought it looked dull. I love my new (to me) car and am thankful the search is over.

ISTJs make things harder than they need to be. My ENFP keeps me grounded. Historically, ISTJ/ENFP differences caused Keith and I to butt heads. This time, instead of clashing, we collaborated. A definite win/win.

Our new to us car needs a name. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Mothers Day 2013

Special meal

Kiah and Anna made scrambled eggs and whole wheat waffles with sliced strawberries, stewed apples, whipped cream, or a combination thereof.

Beautiful, colorful flowers that I don't have to worry about watering.
Afternoon hike

In keeping with our semi-annual tradition, I used my Mother's Day leverage to request a family hike at beautiful Houghton Falls. Blue skies but only around 50 degrees.

Snowball fight

It's not every year you can throw snowballs on Mother's Day.

Walking on the beach

By Lake Superior near Bayfield, WI. Sand wasn't cold, but the water was. Anna said, "It's almost swimmable." Maybe if you're a penguin. Be at least another month before this Mama ventures into the water.

Catan game

Anna won, the stinker. Seems like they should let Mom win on Mother's Day.

Evening lake walk to watch the sunset.
Dairy Queen ice cream cones
Caught Dad eating ice cream while we were gone


Phone call from my son Andrew

Evening debrief on Mom and Dad's bed

Hugs all around.
Full emotional tanks.
I had a nice day.
Thanks girls.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Stupidest Fight Ever

I'm guest blogging today over at Life, Love, and Laughter in a Large Family. My husband thinks this is funny since I haven't done so well posting on my own blog. Lori asked me to do this six weeks ago and it just now got done. So if anyone else would like me to guest blog, I should probably have two months notice, since procrastination pirates regularly raid my house and hold my motivation molecules for ransom.

I wrote about some marriage struggles Keith and I were having and a tool we learned to use to work through conflict. I'm not proud to say that we weren't getting along, but I'm happy to report that things are better. Click here to read more.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

I'm Back - Finally!

Before you write me off as one of the millions of bloggers who quit every year. I've just had an incredibly busy two months and have been away from home more than I've been there. Hopefully things will slow down a bit now. One could always hope.

Here's what we've been up to:

1. Keith's 55th Birthday - Big surprise church potluck BD dinner

 2. Carla's visit - Fun Blog Friend (

3. Book Across the Bay - Local 10K Cross-Country Ski event

4. Keith and I took a week's vacation

5. Lani's 8th Grade Volleyball season

6. Amy's Cross-Country Ski team

 Donut Dash Cross-Country Ski Race in Cable, WI

7. Usual church stuff

8. St. Patrick's Day party at church

9. Easter weekend - Andrew and Rachel's visit

10. Taste of Grace - Helped plan, cook, and serve a free Community dinner

11.  Keith officiated at Andrew's best friend's wedding in LaCrosse, WI

12. Car shopping - time intensive

13. Scrapbook retreat - Fun!

14. Pinning a bazillion scrapbook layout pins on Pinterest - time black hole

15. Keith's sister's wedding in NW Iowa  - time intensive

(Rehearsal - Keith co-officiated at his sister's wedding)

16. Erica's 21st Birthday

Instead of cake, she wanted Peanut Butter Cup No Bakes - Yum!
We didn't have a "2" candle so the numbers add up to 21.
17.  Missions Conference - time intensive

18. Rearranged our bedroom - time intensive (Room Planner App)

That's our last two months in a nutshell. So, how was yours?