Yesterday, Lenie made the reservations for Annie and me to fly us from Annie’s North Carolina home to Custer. It will be Annie’s first time away from her two young children, Gavin, 2, and Olga, 4, so that may well make this Fair hard on her. But then again, it will give her a break from being a Mom. It will also give Annie and me a chance to hang out and have fun together, something we used to do all the time as she was growing up. Lenie will take care of the kids and grandkids back in Camp Lejeune.
Meanwhile, back at the office, I’ve been learning Adobe Creative Suites 3 under the tutelage of Jay Stoler. CS3 is the new publication software BHM will begin using starting with Issue No. 114. I hate learning this stuff. At age 64, I am not only resistant to change but feel as though my time could be used more productively doing other things.
I prefer, instead, to listen to my Great Courses on Tape put out by the Teaching Company. I have a bunch of them, ranging from various sciences to all sorts of histories. Lately I’ve been listening to a 24-tape series titled Europe and Western Civilization in the Modern Age. The courses are essentially selective (and very good) college and graduate courses the Teaching Company has collected from around the world.
Not only do I enjoy the relaxation of listening to an informative lecture by someone who makes a good presentation, but I’ve long realized that being informed about what actually occurred during critical periods of history is one of the essential ways I can prepare myself to think clearly as I write my magazine commentaries for BHM. Too much commentary in America is written by people who have little knowledge of history and science.
In a blog comment on my May 24 post, Shelley Henderson asked how Lemming is played. Here’s how:
Deal four players three piles of four cards each face-down. (If you only have three players, deal them four piles of four cards each face-down.) The remaining four cards are placed face-down in the center of the playing surface.
The game begins when the cards in the center are turned face-up.
The object of the game is to get three sets (or four sets if you have three players), such as four 2s, four Kings, or whatever, which you get by throwing down a card face-up in the middle of the playing surface and grabbing a card that helps you on your way to making a set. You can only switch out one card at a time. As you make a set, you place it face-up in front of you. When you get your final set, you place it down face-up and yell “Lemming.” The last one to yell Lemming loses, while all the remaining players win.
If you yell “Lemming” prematurely, you automatically lose. If you get caught with more than four cards in a pile, you automatically lose. Also, you can’t switch cards from pile to pile, but instead must put a card in the center of the table, then pick it up if you need it for another pile.
This card game tends to become frantic, especially near the end, as the last two players are typically neck and neck on the way to yelling Lemming.
I live in a noisy house. Three teenaged boys with their friends spells noise. Boys don’t grow up too fast in the country, either, so they stay noisy for years longer than in the city. Tonight my three boys, two friends, and wife played Lemming, a very noisy card game, on the living room floor for two hours. The dog slept through it all.
Lenie just booked our plane tickets for the MREA Fair in Custer, Wisconsin, June 20-22. As I did last year, I’ll give a free autographed copy of my book, Can America Be Saved from Stupid People, to anyone who comes up to the booth wearing a Backwoods Home Magazine T-shirt, plus I’ll put the person’s photo in this blog. It was a lot of fun last year. If you think you might attend the Fair, click here for the details. I had just started this blog prior to last year’s MREA Fair. Here’s the link to that blog activity and what transpired with the T-shirts.
This year, my whole family will fly to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina first to visit my daughter, Annie, and her family. Then Annie and I will fly to the Fair and do the show while Lenie babysits the grandkids in North Carolina. Longtime readers of BHM first encountered Annie when she was a 7-year-old girl helping me build the Oregon wilderness home that launched BHM in 1989. Annie will be 26 a week after the show ends. She has maintained an excellent blog for the past three years.
We made deadline, sort of. Neither my editorial nor Note from the Publisher nor John Silveira’s Last Word column were with the package we Fed-Xed to our Wisconsin printer. John and I finished them up late yesterday and sent them via internet. Very strong issue.
By our next issue we will have switched to our new software, Adobe Creative Suites, to publish the magazine. Readers won’t notice any difference, as this is an internal response to changing technological advances. It’ll be a big learning curve for us, especially me since I resist learning computer programs.
Three weeks ago we had snow in my backyard; today it’s over 100 degrees. Even downtown, at the Gold Beach office, it was 82 degrees yesterday, which is about 10 degrees higher than GB’s typical summertime temperature.
Deadline for the new issue is Thursday. We’re way behind, as usual. The content is settled; it’s the layout and myriad of details that are undone. I don’t get too involved with the details, but I come up with the headlines for the cover. Typically we have one main headline, plus some bullets, but this issue we have three articles competing for main headline:
— Richard Blunt’s superb article on whole grain breads. This will be the first of a two-part series, with the second part dealing with making bread from home-ground grain.
— Building Eric’s house by Dorothy Ainsworth. This will be at least a four-part series and will be a “how-to” involving the details of constructing Eric Ainsworth’s home in Ashland, Oregon.
— John Silveira’s examination of why food and fuel prices are rising and what we can do about it. This is John at his best, putting the hard, painful facts in perspective.
I’ve pretty much settled on doing two main headlines: Building Eric’s house and Rising food prices, then lead the list of bullets with Blunt’s article. This makes sense for a bunch of other considerations running around in my head.
I’m also working with Annie on the back cover ad. I throw out an idea and she runs with it. Good system. And I’m trying to get my editorial and Note from the Publisher done, as Silveira tries to complete his Last Word column.
Life is full of twists and turns, and here’s a stupid twist I never expected.
I threw out my back defending myself against Larry Bird, our rooster, who attacked me for no good reason while I was practicing with my golf wedge in the yard. So I took a swing at him and threw out my back in the process. After I limped into the house, I demonstrated my incredible patience and kindness towards dumb animals by not grabbing my shotgun and blowing Larry’s head off.
We’re in the midst of deadline for the next issue, so everything during this busy time will take even longer to accomplish as I make my way from chair to chair. There is a lesson in this, but I can’t figure out what it is. I think it involves stupidity.
The Gold Beach High School Band is so good this year that they’ve won the right to compete in the state competition against other top Oregon high school bands in Corvallis May 6-7. No one can remember the last time that’s happened, and the reason is because of our new music director, Mike Reetz, is so superbly talented and charismatic that he pulled the best out of these outstanding young musicians. Everybody is very excited about this.
The band gave its annual spring concert at the school gym the other night, and Mike gave out awards to some of the band members. The children and grandchildren of Backwoods Home Magazine employees picked up a bunch of them, as did some of BHM’s friends, and even BHM’s owner. It was like a near sweep at the Emmy’s.
The photos show the recipients and describe the instruments they play. The Denning girls are the daughters of BHM Editor Rhoda Denning. The Duffy boys belong to Lenie and me. Cameron Adams is the grandson of BHM Ad Manager Lorraine Adams. Matt Anderson is our personal friend and frequent visitor to both the BHM office and Duffy home. Ilene, of course, is the BHM business manager and owner, along with Dave, of BHM. She volunteers for many things at both the grammar and high school.
Mike Reetz is the real hero of the band’s success. He rode into town from North Dakota one day at the beginning of the school year and took over the band. Things have changed completely since then. He made our band a contender, and famous in our own eyes. Gold Beach will be lucky to keep this young man a few years before he moves on to the bright musical future that is awaiting him. Maybe we can strengthen him in the process by showing him what good, hard working kids from a small town can do.