Archive for the ‘writing’ Category

Getting to Know You   Leave a comment

I haven’t been on WordPress in a few weeks to check on my blog stats.  I was surprised that on March 12, I had 45 hits on my blog and the search engine terms following this post were used to find my blog.  Any Devereauxs out there looking for me?  My maternal grandmother’s name was Devereaux.  I’d be happy to make your acquaintance.

The term “Archbishop Hoban High School” was also used.  Any Hobanites out there who might be former classmates or friends or siblings of classmates?

“Hibbing High School Hematite” was used and my blog was discovered.  My husband is a graduate from Hibbing High School, class of 1968.  The Hematite is their yearbook.  May I pass along some greetings to him?

Someone recently has found my blog by searching for saintpaulgrrl_wordpress_com.  That was close enough to lead a person to the URL for my blog.  It could be the same person or a different person or a combination of persons, but someone recently has read a dozen of my posts and all my “about” pages.  Do I have a new friend or a secret admirer? 😉

Stop in and say hello! 🙂


Search Engine Terms

These are terms people used to find your site.




happy anniversary funny 5
diarrhea cakes 3
otters celebrating 3
devereaux 1700s 2
the funny side of life 2
archbishop hoban high school and ogt passage 1
is the family tree missing a branch or two 1
monday evening funny animals 1
mindful eating lolcat 1
funny get well 1
funny anniversary 1
poop cake 1
forever friends cards hallmark 1
get well soon funny 1
hibbing high school hematite 1
Other search terms 7
Unknown search terms 7
Total search terms 32


Your visitors clicked these links on your site.



Clicks 2 1
Total clicks on links on your blog 3

What Is A Woman?   4 comments

I wrote this little piece about ten years ago. I have taken it from my “archives” and reprinted it here because it addresses another facet of my personality and development as a woman who was born in 1955. It is as follows:

I have been a writer since early adolescence. That was when I began to express my fears, anxieties, and frustrations about my chaotic homelife, and just the generally chaotic business of growing up, by way of short-story fiction. I needed a strong, guiding figure in my life so I created my own “parent” in the fictional guise of Michael James Peters, a pediatrician who was at that time in his early 40s with a wife and six kids. I started out writing about his interactions with his adolescent patients, adolescent medicine being his specialty area, and left no area off-limits. (I seemed to be particularly fascinated with 16-year-olds contracting STDs. Considering that this was 1969, I was a little before my time!) I delved into a highly sensitive area when I created one of Mike Peters’ patients, a 13-year-old boy by the name of Randy Kelly who was in an abusive home and took Mike into his confidence. When Randy was assaulted by his stepfather and required hospitalization, it was Mike and his wife, Gloria, who stepped up to the plate to take Randy in as a foster son. (Can you imagine my mother’s horror when she discovered this story, penciled in a school notebook by her eighth grade daughter? The original draft somehow just *vanished!*)

I made many discoveries about myself through this writing over the years and let my therapist read some of those stories some years back. Since my own self-esteem issues were part of the therapeutic discussions, he asked me, “Why did you make Gloria this nonexistent character? What’s up with that?” This is what I wrote in response to that question:

In the original “Behind Door #3” story, Gloria is a nonexistent character. All the interaction takes place between Mike (her husband) and Randy while Gloria typically sleeps through these major episodes. Bruce [my therapist] was the one who pointed this out to me. He observed that Mike is this strong, sensitive, professional, intelligent (and good-looking) man, and he’s married to this woman who apparently has no personality and no major contributions to make. Bruce asked me if I really thought that a man such as Mike Peters would be married to such a nondescript woman. He further pressed me to think about why I had developed her that way to begin with.

I thought long and hard about it and realized that I did not have a very positive impression of womanhood. I really didn’t have positive female role models in my personal life when I was growing up. I wanted to be exactly the opposite of my mother, as a matter of fact! My father was my supportive parent, the one I turned to for understanding, comfort and strength.

The social climate at the time I was growing up further reinforced my impression of women as ornamental rather than functional, as weak rather than competent. Of course, a lot of it was gleaned from television: the early sit-coms of “The Donna Reed Show,” “Leave It To Beaver,” “Ozzie & Harriet,” “Father Knows Best.” The husband and father was always going off to work at the office to accomplish great things and provide for his family, while his wife just stayed at home in her dress, high heels, and pearls and put wonderful meals on the table for her family to enjoy when they came home. If anything serious happened on the show, “Dad/Dear” had to be called in to the rescue to deal with the crisis.

The commercials, however, were the worst of all. Women fretted about such important things in life as “ring around the collar” and “ugly wax build-up” on their kitchen floors. They were devastated if their husbands complained about stale sandwiches in their lunchboxes because she didn’t use the right plastic wrap or their glassware came out of the dishwasher with water spots. My personal feeling was, “If this is what women do with their lives, just take me out and shoot me now!”

Likewise, my upbringing and my Catholic schooling reinforced this message that women were weak and dependent. Even though I was a straight-A student and began talking about being a doctor when I was about twelve, my mother would look at me like I had my head up my butt and advise, “You’d better take typing and shorthand, anyway….just in case your husband is ever out of work. Then you’ll have something to fall back on.”

Of course, the nuns thought it great when a Catholic girl had the noble aspirations to be a good wife and mother. Academic performance didn’t really count for much. The straight-A college preppies got no more encouragement towards career goals and personal achievements than their average counterparts in Home Ec and Secretarial Skills 101.

I realize that I did not like the messages I was getting about women’s roles in our culture. Unconsciously, I aligned myself with the male world where I felt more emotionally comfortable, where individuals were encouraged to achieve and succeed, where it was expected that one would show strength and competency.

It took me quite awhile to realize that women are strong, competent, intelligent people, too. That was when I consciously began to work on developing the character of Gloria Peters, trying to turn her into a woman I could be proud of. Of course, in the process, I was trying to change my own attitudes about myself and my perception of the female role…

Posted January 31, 2009 by StPaulieGrrl in Baby Boomers, writing

Dale, Take a Bow for the Audience!   Leave a comment

   Last weekend, I was supposed to sit down and write my 50% of the holiday newsletter.  (We celebrate a lot of holidays.  Christmas is the least of them!)  Dale had already written his 50% during his week off between Christmas and New Year’s, but before I had even had a chance to read what he had written, the laptop computer crashed.  With the laptop now fixed, thanks to the cute Geek from Best Buy yesterday, I was finally able to pull up the newsletter and read what my husband had written.  I got a kick of it!  He is a good writer, and he always makes me laugh!  So, Unbeknowst to Dale, he is writing the post tonight, lifted from the as-yet unpublished holiday newsletter.  (I think we’re aiming for Groundhog’s Day now as a release date!)

Without further adieu, a sample of Dale’s writing:

The News From “Up North”

As some of you may recall, our Two Harbors property “came with” a John Deere riding lawnmower.  Actually, the mower had been abandoned with a blown engine – quite literally, since its piston was poking out of a hole in the side of the motor.  Dale, being an engineer type of guy, cannot stand seeing broken machinery lying about.  So, he undertook a recovery and restoration job on the old John Deere.  Before all of the snow was even melted, he hauled the broken down mower back to Maplewood.  It turned out that finding a new engine was not going to be the simple task that he had envisioned.  The mower was no longer being manufactured and parts were no longer available for it.  A sane person would have given up at that point, but an engineer would just see the situation as a bigger challenge.  After extensive research, Dale was able to identify the original manufacturer for the engine and the correct model number.  That led to a bit of shopping on the Internet and an order was placed for a new motor.  While waiting for the new engine to be delivered, he dismantled the rest of the mower, cleaned it up, painted it and put everything back in good working order.  The old John Deere hadn’t looked that good in years.  Then he waited, and waited some more, for the new engine to arrive.  Eventually, the supplier admitted that the engine was out of stock and they were not sure when – or  if – they’d have one available.  Apparently, that model was being discontinued.  This time, Dale wised up (old dogs can learn new tricks) and contacted the manufacturer directly.  He found not only that they had a couple of units in stock locally, but they would gladly sell him one.  A new order was placed and the engine showed up on our door step a week later.  The mower was completed and tried out on the small amount of lawn remaining in front of the house.  By then it was early June .  The mower seemed to work reasonably well during the trial run.

With the sweet smell of success in the air, Dale then hauled the refurbished mower back up to Two Harbors to put it to use.  Of course, the grass and weeds up there resemble virgin prairie, not a suburban lawn.  Those conditions really put the old John Deere to the test.  Unfortunately, it couldn’t cut the mustard – or the heavy weeds.  At one point, it started spewing oil out of the hot exhaust port resulting in a small, but very exciting fire.  The fire was quickly extinguished and Dale reluctantly loaded the mower back into the pick-up for the long ride home.  At this point, he was convinced that the new engine was defective – maybe bad piston rings or something.  The machine got dropped off at a local hardware store certified for doing warranty repairs on engines.

You can imagine Bonnie’s surprise when she took a call for Dale from a place called “Bi-Swingers.”  Actually, it was Beisswenger’s, the hardware store, reporting that there was nothing wrong with the engine – aside from some fool putting too much oil in the crankcase – and would the fool please come and get his mower out of their shop.  So, the old John Deere was back in the garage at Maplewood.

After an unsuccessful attempt to sell the mower, Dale decided to trade it in on something different.  For the John Deere and “only” $450 in cash, Dale became the proud owner of an “Estate Trimmer.”  He describes it as an industrial strength “weed-wacker” on steroids.  Nicknamed “Brutus,” the new machine makes short work of clearing the walking paths on our Knife River property.  That’s about all that we plan to do up there until we can afford to retire and build a home on the land.

With the trail situation finally under control, Dale had time available to begin trying learning the arcane art of fly fishing.  That’s him below, next to a photo of the Knife River.  The third photo is a yet unconfirmed sighting of “Bigfoot” in the north woods outside of Two Harbors.

                                                                            Knife River Morning                       sportsman-july07.jpgBig Foot Sighting

Posted January 7, 2008 by StPaulieGrrl in Minnesota, Two Harbors, writing

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A 7th Grade English Assignment   Leave a comment

I wrote this piece on Memorial Day, 2005.  It didn’t start out to be a piece on the grief of losing a brother or a statement about the Vietnam War.  It didn’t start out to be a tribute to my brother, Lester.  It was meant to be an adolescent’s discomfort with seeing things from a different perspective, of writing about the obscure angles of things and not the obvious.  This piece ended up being all of those things, however, and I’m reposting it here:

It was at the end of seventh grade that the full weight of my difference from my peers hit me like a sucker punch to the belly. Mr. Becker’s English class. The homework assignment had been to write six sentences and six sentences only describing the worst meal we’d ever had. It was an assignment designed to hone our succinct descriptive abilities. I completed the assignment, as did all the other students in my class, and the next day we had to read our creations out loud. I don’t think I or any of us knew that that was going to be required of us the next day. However, one by one, we volunteered for a turn to read what we had written to the class.

Each essay was remarkably the same. All the students wrote about some yucky, horrible, oogy-boogie meal that they had had to eat as a kid. Some were holiday meals, some were meals made by a sibling or babysitter. Some were embarrassing cooking attempts by the writer. Some were written with a slant towards the humorous. Others strove for the “shock and awe” value. All contained a host of adjectives describing the unappetizing concoction.

I hung back and did not want to read my little essay to the class. All the while each of my classmates was reading, I mentally cursed myself for the stupid, embarrassing thing I had written. I was panic-stricken inside, knowing that I had really botched that silly assignment. What I had come up with was so totally weird.

But finally it was my turn. I was the only one left who hadn’t read their bit of fluff to the class. In a strained voice, I read my six sentences. It described the most horrible meal of my life: the leftover roast beef and mashed potatoes that my mother and I tried to choke down at our kitchen table after getting the news that her stepson and my half-brother, Lester, then just six weeks past his nineteenth birthday and a corporal in the Marines, had been killed in Quang Tri province in South Vietnam. This horrible meal had occurred about nine months earlier during the infamous Tet Offensive in January 1968, and would never be forgotten, in spite of its relative palatability.

My classmates stared at me with furtive, embarrassed eyes. After the other essays, there had been comments, feedback and jokes. There was none for mine. The class was dead silent. I sat down, my cheeks flaming. Mr. Becker was subdued as well. “Nice job,” he murmured. That was all he could say.

I was different. There was no one else in my entire grammar school who had experienced what I had, no one else who had thought to describe a meal — any meal — from an emotional perspective. Only me. Leave it to me to be out-of-step with everyone else!

So, you might run across things here from time to time that are a little different, a little out of the mainstream. I’ve come to expect it of myself. You should, too.

A small tribute to you, Lester, on this Memorial Day. You’ll never be forgotten for your willingness to serve your country in one of the United States’ ugliest military actions. Bless you, brother.