Thursday, March 27, 2014

Prairie Grl Struggles With Her Own Challenge

I have only sent one handwritten letter since Wednesday's post announcing the challenge - 30 Days/30 Letters.  It is not because I don't have a list of people I want to write to.  It is not because I don't have something to say.  It is because I don't have the correct cards to write my messages in.

I went to Target today to find some birthday cards.  They all seemed lackluster and contrived.  A bouquet of flowers.  A fuzzy cupcake.  Soft focus children.  Dogs wearing party hats. (Well, I kinda liked those.)  Then I looked at the packs of "Thank You" cards.  Ugh.  Nothing says "Thank You" like a card with a teeny, tiny gerbera daisy on it.  It is rare that I don't find what I want at Target, but I left with just some mouthwash. 

Some of you know I make my own cards.  Cards I make need to have rick rack, polka dots, and hot glue goobers.  I need to find picture I like and pair them with colors that make me happy. 

Look at the fun cards Prairie Sherry made!  She made these after an 18 hour collage fest.  She never fails to impress me.

Now I am looking forward to a mega card making session.  Am I nervous about meeting my goal of 30 cards in 30 days?  A little.  So, if you receive a piece of lined paper, folded in fourths, adorned with a crooked "Hello Kitty" sticker, you'll know why.

Continue to move forward, Prairie Friends!  Make those trips to the mailbox memorable!

Prairie Eydie

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

New Prairie Grl Challenge

Even The Boss, Bruce Springsteen, has signed up for the Prairie Grls challenge.

The calendar it says it is Spring!  That means it is time for a new Prairie Grlz challenge!  (I debated waiting until April 1st to start the challenge, but I dislike the idea of waiting to start something.  I believe in starting things whenever the mood hits.  Not just on New Year's Day or on Mondays or on a full moon . . .  )

The challenge is:

30 handwritten letters/cards/postcards in 30 days
Make going to the mailbox an event again! 

Now, don't freak out and say "No way!" until you read my answers to frequently asked questions.

Do I have to write one letter a day?
Nope.  I actually started the challenge March 24 and wrote five letters in one sitting.  Your goal is to have 30 letters written in 30 days.

Why did you get to start early?
Because I needed authentic photos for the blog (see above).  It has nothing at all to do with my competitive nature.

Give me some ideas.  Who should I write to?
For starters:  college roommates, co-workers, friends, kids, loved ones, politicians, students, doctors, teachers, dog walkers, neighbors, authors, singers, baristas, organic farmers, people with birthdays,  and muses.  OH! Don't forget the Prairie Grlz!  That should get you going. 

What if I only want to write 6 letters in 30 days?
That is fine.  You can make your own rules, but that means I win!  (Seriously.  Set your own number.  I chose 30 because I want to push myself out of my comfort zone.  I have no idea what your number is, only you do.) 

What if I write all 30 letters in 1 day?
FaNtAsTiC.  Then YOU win. 

What should I write?  Purpose please.
Reminisce about a fun time
Say "thank you"
Send a joke
Believe in someone
Share a recipe
Say "Hi"
Catch them up on your life
Send a photo
Write a haiku
Say congratulations
Express yourself
Write a pun (that is for you, Kristen)
Cheer someone up
Cheer someone on

Can I work on my SMASH journal and The 30 Letters Challenge at the same time?
Good question.  YES!  As you are finding things for your SMASH journal, you will probably find stuff to send to others.  (Kinda like If You Give A Mouse A Cookie.)

Do I get extra credit if I make the letters all pretty?
I have been a teacher for 24 years and I am not a fan of extra credit.  However, I am a fan of buying the perfect postage stamp.  Right now I have Johnny Cash stamps and Ray Charles stamps.  I also love putting stickers both on the letter/card and envelope.  It is an extra dose of goodness!

Does my letter need to be handwritten?
Yes.  After being declared "dead" on the internet, even Jon Bon Jovi realized the importance of a handwritten note.

Well?  Are you in?  I hope so.  (Drop me an electronic line to let me know how it is going, though I do accept handwritten notes.) 
Prairie Eydie

Monday, March 24, 2014

Prairie Eydie SMASHES her journal - Part II

Prairie Friends, I hope you spent the weekend gathering up ticket stubs, cartoons, drawings, quotes and whatever else brings you joy.  (If you feel lost, make sure to read Friday's blog, Prairie Eydie SMASHES her journal - Part I)

Let's continue our journey through my SMASH journal

Your SMASH journal is a great place for all those vacation postcards you never sent.  (Let's face it.  You KNEW you'd never send them, but were just sucked into the gift shop vortex.) NOTE: I have yet to see Pa's fiddle in person.  It is not in DeSmet, South Dakota as I once thought.  Rather the fiddle has put down roots in Mansfield, Missouri.  (Prairie Sherry and I will be making that trip in the near future.) 

What about all those "I Love You" notes from your loved ones?  The above note from my oldest erased all the times he puked in my hair and pooped after I just changed him.  He earned extra points for writing in pink marker. 

As an artist, I like to collect poems and quotes that I might be inspired to use in one of my collages.  The above is a poem called Arriving At Your Own Door.  I had to add it to my journal after finding out Oprah had the poem painted on the wall in some room of her house.  (I want to say "bathroom," but that doesn't seem right.)  Here is the poem, by Derek Walcott, just in case you need it too. 
Arriving At Your Own Door
The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other's welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
Things to keep in mind.
My sentiment that "Most Things are Better With a Glue Gun"  seems especially pertinent with a SMASH journal.  A simple glue stick will work for some flimsy stuff, but not everything.
SMASH journals are for everyone!  Prairie friend, Jenell, said her young daughter, Lilly, knew just what to do with her journal.  (Jenell was a bit flummoxed, but that is understandable!)
Don't worry about chronology.  It will drive you crazy.  Just start with whatever makes sense to you.
Don't search Pinterest for ideas if you are at all insecure about your creativity. This journal is for you, no one else. 
Plug in that glue gun and let me know how your SMASH journals are coming along!
Prairie Eydie


Friday, March 21, 2014

Prairie Eydie SMASHES Her Journal - PART 1

A couple of years ago I bought my first SMASH journal.   (I used a Hello Kitty sticker to camouflage a greasy splotch on my SMASH Journal's cover.)  You can buy SMASH journals at Target or Michaels.  Or you could just use a spiral notebook or a three ring binder and build your own.  (I have been giving SMASH journals as gifts and no one seems to know what to do with them.)   

What is a SMASH journal?  It is a journal where you can keep all you scrips and scraps.  All your quotes and doodles.  All your notes and cards.  All those pieces of paper you want to keep, but have no place to keep them in.  There are NO rules with SMASH journal.  For some people this is frightening and for others it is exhilarating!  

Let me take you on a tour of my SMASH journal.

My ticket stubs have finally found a home.  David Sedaris, k.d. lang,  Stephanie Miller & the Sexy Liberal Show.  (I went to the Sexy Liberal Show with Prairie Sherry  My.  Goodness.  I blushed through the  entire show.  Prairie Sherry did not.)  I scratch notes next to the tickets because there are no rules and I can.


Once in a while I get a sweet letter from a student and/or parent.   These letters must be preserved because they are so rare.  On days when I wonder why I continue to teach, I open up my SMASH journal and am reminded. 

These two pictures of The Indigo Girls (minus one of the Girls) and James Taylor were on my refrigerator for years.  They traveled with me from Madison to Seattle to Milwaukee and back to Madison.  Now my fridge is crowded with kid art work, so the Girls and James have taken up residence in my SMASH journal.  I can visit them whenever I want to.

What about all those little drawings and pieces of writing that you love because they make you smile?  Glue them into your journal and keep on smiling.

I will continue my SMASH journal tour on Monday.  In the meantime, start gathering up the scrips and scraps of your life.

Prairie Eydie

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Art of Saying YES

Beware Prairie Friends who are threatening a visit.  This is who you are going to get.   

“Accept what people offer. Drink their milkshakes. Take their love.”
―  Wally Lamb, She's Come Undone

I had sinus surgery yesterday.  I could write about taping gauze mustaches under my nose to catch bloody ooze or describe how my face feels like it was scooped out with a melon baller. But I am going to skip ahead to my "Aha moment", a la Ms. Winfrey.

According to MY plan, my brother, dropped me off at the outpatient hospital yesterday at 7:15 AM.   My sister-in-law, Heidi, was coming to the hospital 8:30 ish.  I staunchly declared, to myself and others, I was going to be fine by myself for such a short amount of time. 

I entered the hospital with a resolve to be independent.  I calmly checked in, accepted my wrist band, and floated over to a hefty Fall Issue of InStyle magazine.  Soon, a nurse called my name. I followed her to a mini hospital room. Patiently, I once again answered all the questions I had just answered at the reception desk and on the phone the night before and at the pre-op visit.  I was brave and capable until  . . . the nurse rolled over an IV.  As if on cue, I began to cry and feel panicked.  I lied, to save face, and told the nurse I once had a bad experience with IVs. 

Truth?  I had made a huge mistake and didn't want to be by myself.  I wanted someone holding my hand while my active vein scampered around, avoiding the IV needle.  Someone to squeeze my fingers and tell me I would soon be feeling better.  Someone to reassure me that I would come out of the anesthesia and that sinus surgery rarely causes blindness and brain damage.

Many wonderful people had offered to stay with me at the hospital.  I turned them all down.  Why?  Well, here are just some of the reasons. 
  • I didn't want to inconvenience people. 
  • I thought a 46 year old woman should be able to handle being at a hospital for 1 hour and 15 minutes by herself. 
  • I didn't want to appear vulnerable, in my hospital issued gown and non-skid socks. 

My "Aha Moment" hit me, while the nurse continued to poke around at my misbehavin' vein.  I should have said "yes" to my friends.  I should have accepted their support, friendship, and love. 

As I was coming out of the anesthesia, I was so happy to see Heidi.  (She had been reading the exact same Instyle I had reluctantly left behind.)  She got my medicine and distracted me with fun conversation.  Heidi didn't mind that my nose was bloody or that my eyes were slimy.  She even didn't mind my tears because I was dehydrated and dizzy.  She handled everything so I didn't have to.  And I am so grateful.

So, in closing, Prairie Friends.  When people offer you their support, take it.  I guess this African proverb says it best.

I am because we are.
-- African Proverb,        

Prairie Eydie       

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Top Reasons Why Prairie Eydie Can't Wait For Sinus Surgery

(Prairie Sherry has heard a lot of this during
the past months.)

The last time I posted, I bitterly complained about pulled wisdom teeth and dental hygienists.  Surprise!  I have moved on to other health problems, like a sinus infection that started in September and is still residing in my head.  By now the infection has set up a mini fridge, a Lay-Z Boy recliner, and is streaming Netflix.    

Tuesday I am scheduled to have sinus surgery.  My CT scan proved that all my sinus cavities are full up of mucus, phlegm, and major yuckums.  (If I was Prairie Sherry I would be posting pictures of my scanned sinuses.)  No wonder I have been dragging my sad self around for months.  No wonder the Prairie Grlz "Go Get 'Em Spirit" has been hit hard! 

(Who came up with the term "neti pot" anyway?
Nothing more than a nose douche.  Call it
what it is, sisters and brothers.)

Prairie Readers, you know I am a believer in  Top 7 Lists.  So here you go:

Top 7 Reasons Why Prairie Eydie Can't Wait for Sinus Surgery

(Seals everywhere are offended by Eydie's

1.  The barking seal cough will go away.  No longer will I be shunned at boot camp for uncontrollable barking.  It is no coincidence that people in my group head over to the hand sanitizer three times more than people not in my group. 

(Hoping that Eydie's children aren't packing corticosteroids in their lunch boxes.)

2.  I can fill the fruit bowl with fruit instead of inhalers, antibiotics, codeine-laced cough medicine, etc.

(Will someone bring her a box of Kleenex?)

3.  Bedtime can be at a more adult hour like after 10:00 instead of 8:15.

(Prairie Sherry didn't even recognize herself in this
picture.  That smile looks a bit menacing.)  

4.  Prairie Sherry will stop cursing out my doctor for not referring me to an Ear/Nose/Throat specialist.  Hopefully my dear friend can also cease her chorus of, "You sound terrible!!!"

(Could you at least add a zesty scarf?)

5.  I will once again add color to my wardrobe.  I have been wearing lots of grey - in solidarity to the color of my clogged sinuses. 

(Wondering if Prairie Sherry is going to
get one of those gift cards for all
of her unsolicited but excellent medical

6.  Mucus will stay where it belongs.  Today, a very detail oriented co-worker, innocently asked, "What's this?" She went to remove what appeared to be a piece of fuzz from my hair.  To our complete and total horror, the fuzz was phlegm.  Now I have to buy her a hefty Starbucks gift card and hope to she forgets the incident (or at least doesn't mention it in the teacher's lounge). 

(Seriously, Eydie hasn't looked like this in months.)

7.  I will get my energy back and return to blogging regularly!  I have so many ideas to write about!  My ideas are waiting for me in my notebook.  (In the meantime, visit my extremely talented friend Leah's blog at  You will be in good hands.)

(This is more like the Prairie Eydie
I have been keeping company with for
the past 5 months.)

Oh.  I almost forgot.  Feel free to shower me with cards, visits, and emails during my 7 to 14 days of convalescence.     

Prairie Eydie

I am guessing that last comment was directed largely at me for forcing Eydie to spiritually, emotionally, and materially celebrate my 365-day birthday for the past two years.  It is payback time.

Prairie Sherry