Easter and the Target Syndrome.

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Yesterday my mom, Edie and I took a road trip to the big town to pick up my books. It was so exciting to meet up with the woman who has been helping me through the project, to see her big smile walk into McDonalds where I was winning Mother of the Year and feeding my child chicken nuggets for a 4:00 lunch, and page through all those months of hard work, and years of stories and photos.

I can’t wait to get them in the mail to you all and see you in the next few weeks on my book tour. Next week I’ll be heading to Fargo and Grand Forks and leaving Edie at home to handling calving with her dad, but the fact that we’ll be back to the big town in a few days didn’t stop the three of us ranch girls from performing our favorite big town ritual.

A trip to Target.

It’s mandatory.

If we don’t do anything else, we at least have to see what they have there that we didn’t know we needed but desperately needed. Like a third pair of brown strappy sandals, a beach bag for the one time a year we go to the lake, a pack of pretty stationary, a bottle of red nail polish we can add to our collection of red nail polish or, in Edie’s case, this pineapple hat that’s a size or two too small…

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Turns out the Target syndrome must be something that’s passed on down through the generations.

It runs strong in the Veeder women blood.

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I mean, she’s like five months into walking and already she’d prefer her own cart, thankyouverymuch.

There’s just so much she needs.

So many pretty and delicious things…

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Sorry about the banana, Target. (don’t worry, we paid for it)

It couldn’t be stopped.

The same way we weren’t leaving the store without the pineapple hat.

See you out there everyone.

Or at least, I’l maybe see ya in Target.

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For more information on the tour, or to order a signed copy of the book, visit www.jessieveedermusic.com

Peace, Love and Happy Happy Easter,

Jessie, Chad and Edie

 

 

Sunday Column: On diapers and carseats and general panic…

Last week I received this text from a friend.

Googling
Little did she know that I already have that part down.

It’s all I’ve been doing lately. I mean between the Parenting magazine I got delivered for a cent an issue because I bought maternity leggings at a pregnant lady store, the daily reminders from Babybumb.com (notarealwebsite) or whatever that I am now at 25 weeks and should be thinking about painting a nursery or taking another picture of my growing belly or deciding what kind of nursing bra I should wear and, of course, all the time I’ve spent on Amazon.com searching for the safest/cheapest/best/most stylish diapers/cribs/blankets/socks/onsies/carseats/strollers I am fully convinced that

A. Almost everything that I buy is either going to make my baby’s head flat

and

2. There is no one product anyone can agree on when it comes to keeping a baby completely safe, unless it is a full body helmet, which I haven’t come across yet in all my time spent on Amazon, but I’m sure it’s out there being invented by some nervous mother as I type…

and

III. I have no idea what I’m doing.

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See what I’m saying?! Terrifying.

Yes, I have to say that all this access to information via the world wide web, talk radio and whatever morning news show I happen to catch is getting to me. I am at information overload and the only thing that’s keeping me sane is the actual human to human connections I have with moms who have done this before.

I tell you, their advice is way less scary and confusing. Because it’s mostly this: “You can’t plan for everything because it will all hit the fan and you are going to be just fine…as long as you have diapers…”

Ok.

Ok.

Deep breath.

And so that’s where my head was when I wrote this column last week. It was swarming with product reviews and advice and a constant prayer up to the sky for a little guidance on raising a happy, healthy baby…

Because I screw a lot of things up. Most things actually. I’m impatient and I don’t pay attention because I am impatient and my mind is always wandering and I’m not like those moms who were just born knowing the right way to hold and bounce a baby or with a strong tolerance for boogers and snot.

Boogers and snot are like my one aversion and as far as I’ve learned so far babies come with an unending supply of boogers and snot…

Yes, I’m awkward and worried this won’t come so naturally…and that I will run out of diapers like I run out of toilet paper…unexpectedly and in the middle of nowhere…

So diapers. I should be focusing on diapers…

Belly

Coming Home: New baby’s happiness won’t depend on stuff.
by Jessie Veeder
8-16-15
Forum Communications
http://www.inforum.com

I listen to a lot of talk radio. It drones through the speakers while I sit behind the wheel of my car on my way to town or to a show or to the grocery store and back. 

If you need an opinion, you will find it out there on the airwaves. Tune your ears to the universe, to the World Wide Web, to the TV or radio and you’ve got an answer, hundreds of different answers, no matter what answer you want.

And today I’m feeling overwhelmed by it all. Because it’s making me feel like I have no idea what I’m doing.

I mean, just because we’ve been planning on having children for seven years doesn’t mean we’ve spent seven years figuring out the safest car seat, the best all-terrain stroller with built-in cooled and heated cup holders, the baby swing that won’t flatten out her head and the best and most certain ways to ensure our child’s chance at becoming a millionaire so when she has a child of her own she can afford all of the stuff that apparently we need to raise a kid these days.

I’m spending half of my time frantic to know everything and the other half annoyed that everyone’s overthinking it.

I see a baby bathtub I like, read the online reviews and find out it’s not big enough, soft enough and doesn’t come with the Jetson-style auto baby scrubber that you need, therefore it’s crap and it will make your baby’s head flat (I’ve found that’s a running theme).

Didn’t my mom just wash me in the kitchen sink next to the noodle strainer?

I’m not the president or anything, but did I not live and thrive despite having a childhood void of a surveillance security system in my nursery?

When we get down to it, all this stuff is just a means to a common end result — to raise happy, healthy babies into happy, healthy adults.

And if I’m not mistaken, happy healthy adults existed back before they invented the wipe warmer or DVR.

Which brings me back to all that talk radio I’ve been listening to, because last week the word “happiness” was being discussed at length; how we lack it, how to achieve it, how to help our kids find it.

It was interesting timing because the day before my friend and I were visiting about how different it will be for us to raise our own children in a time when everything’s so structured. Your kid wants to play hockey? He better be on skates as soon as he learns to walk. She wants to dance? Buy her jazz shoes and schedule private weekend lessons. Because if they don’t start honing their skills early, they won’t be successful, and doesn’t success equal happiness?

The lady on the radio chimed in to answer that question. She said when she thinks of childhood happiness she thinks of playing in the backyard, having parents that laughed, listened and made her feel safe, and free time to lay back on the lawn and ask questions about the clouds.

While the two of us were thousands of miles and generations apart, it was one of the first relatable and reasonable things I’d heard on the airwaves in a while.

She didn’t mention one thing about the stuff we need or the plans we must make to get us there. I could have reached through the radio to hug her.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I remember my favorite book and the day I got my first 10-speed bike. I remember those things making me happy, but only because that book meant a bedtime story from my big sister, and that bike meant I could go have adventures with my best friend up the hill.

And I liked basketball and 4-H and most of the other structured experiences that helped grow me up, but I liked them sprinkled in with spontaneous water fights and mom’s lasagna at night.

You know what I don’t remember? The color of my crib bedding or if my mom used a fancy bottle steamer sanitizer thingy.

So I think I’ll buy a couple of cotton onesies, turn off the radio, take a walk and continue on this happiness quest.

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At the Farm and Fleet…

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One of the most worthless things on the planet are rubber boots with holes in both.

I own a pair and, well, there’s nothing worse than squishy toes when the mud is so nice and ripe for mucking around in.

Because we’re not out of the woods yet in this whole winter thing.  And that’s ok. We need the moisture, and I need a few more chances to learn my lesson about mud.

Anyway, so I need a new pair of rubber boots, which gives me a good excuse to go to the Farm and Fleet store.

I love the Farm and Fleet store. Any Farm and Fleet store there is, I don’t care. There’s just something about the racks of work gloves, the spring seeds, the paint, the plethora of barn jackets, long underwear, dog kennels, tack and brushes, fly spray, heat lamps, medicine, fencing supplies, tools, generators, extension cords, lawn furniture and toy farm animals that make me feel like anything’s possible.

I could spend hours browsing and dreaming of a perfectly organized tack room, or a summer spent in a light, long sleeved snap shirt and this cute Carhart cap right here.

In Farm and Fleet I become another woman in my head. The kind of woman who would raise chickens in a coop built with all these damn supplies and tools surrounding me!

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I’m the kind of woman who would raise and feed those chickens to collect farm fresh eggs for farm fresh omelets on any old regular weekday morning.

I am the kind of woman who could butcher one of those chickens to fill our freezer and then take it out to whip up a batch of delicious homemade noodle soup or chicken and dumplings if we happen to have unexpected company.

Boiling Chicken

In the Farm and Fleet store I am the kind of woman who wears an apron and shoes her own horses.

In the Farm and Fleet my horse becomes something better too. Better groomed. No burs. Never even saw one in his life because he exists in our perfectly weather proof stable. His hair shines like the sun because, well, Show Sheen! In the Farm and Fleet I’m the kind of woman who buys it buy the barrel.

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That and fancy tack. The kind with silver on it. Because, well, at the Farm and Fleet, only the best for my horse with the Fabio hair.

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In the Farm and Fleet store I am redecorator. A barn painter. A farmer with a garden that could feed the neighborhood.

And I can everything. Like meat and beets and corn and carrots. Because at Farm and Fleet you can buy a book that will show you how to do it.

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And when I’m done canning, I will train my dog to herd the cattle into a nice group and load them up into the stock trailer on command. Because there’s a book for that at Farm and Fleet too.

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Then I’ll buy myself a nice pair of leather gloves, because a woman needs a good pair that fits for all the fences I’ll be fixing… for all the weeds I’ll be killing…for all the dirt that needs tilling and the piglets I’ll be raising…  and the mud I’ll be slopping around in this spring…

Because a woman like me, well, she…oh yeah…she needs new rubber boots…

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Ever had one of those days?

Ever had one of those days that starts with good intentions, a comfortable pair of jeans, a groovy hat, a cup of coffee to go and a list. You  load up the car and drive on up and out of the farmstead, with the one-eyed pug in the seat next to you shivering at the idea that he might, indeed, be going to the vet today and you’re feeling pretty happy with yourself and the day off that you have mapped out in front of you: A little grocery shopping, a stop at the thrift-store because husband finally cleaned out his closet, downsizing his collection of high school wrestling tees and wiping out any trace of  polo shirt and dorky belts. And as you zip down the gravel road, Cosmo Radio on the XM, you smiled at the thought of a cleaner closet and the light and accomplished  feeling of checking “rabies vaccination for the pug” and “shots for mom’s new and beautiful stray rescue cat” off of the list, a scent  a little funky, a little narly, enters your nostrils.

You look at the pug who looks back at you with the best “innocent” look he can give with one eyeball  and open the window a crack to let out the stench. Shame on the pug, no matter the talk we have about manners, he always seems to let one rip at the most inappropriate and confined times.

yeah...I make him wear that when we go out in public...

But to your dismay, when you open the window, the smell only seems to get worse, filling the car with a stench that is a little less pug fart and a little more cat shit.

Shit.

The cat shit.

Realizing that you are only a good ten miles into your thirty-five mile trip to the vet, you manage to hold your breath long enough to make it through the windy and weaving road of the badlands’ breaks and out the other side to an approach where you pull over, get out of the car in the 20 degree temperature, open the back hatch and assess the shit-uation that came from the beautiful wandering feline in the kennel in the back of your car.

Yup.

The cat shit.

Like, a lot.

Yeah...just because you're pretty doesn't mean your shit don't stink...

And the towel your loving mother provided to keep the new wandering, fluffy kitten comfortable on her way to get civilized was not nearly the protection the rest of the world needed from the explosion that came out of that cat’s ass on the way through the badlands.

Shit.

So, to make the best of a bad poop, you take that towel and throw it in the only stray grocery bag you have floating around your messy car and seal that thing up as tight as Jane Fonda’s abs in the seventies…and then hold your breath and plug the pug’s nose as you drive the rest of the twenty-five miles to the vet, only to realize when you get there that not only are you a half-hour late for an appointment you weren’t aware had a timeline, but they are not thrilled with you…and probably less thrilled with the shit covered cat-in-a-box sitting outside their door.

Flash forward to the next thirty miles where you reach the drop-off point for husband’s khakis and turtlenecks that never saw the light of day and mosey on over to the Wal-Mart on the other side of town. And as you are counting the amount of toilet paper rolls and frozen pizzas you will need to purchase to get you and your dearly-beloved through the rest of the month, you make the turn into the parking lot only to notice blue and red flashing lights in your rear-view mirror.

“Surely he can’t be pulling over such a law-abiding citizen like myself,” you think to yourself in a panic as you search your memory for any foul play that may have ensued on the five-minute drive across town.
Seatbelt? Check.
Blinker? Check.
Speed Limit? Check.
Complete stop at the red light? Ummmm….you must have blacked out while thinking about paper towels.

Still unsure of your offense, you pull into the parking lot and search frantically through your glovebox for the registration papers and insurance card you were certain you put in there last week, but now has somehow grown wings and flown away…maybe it escaped when you rolled down the window to let the shit-smell out.

“Tap, tap, tap,” goes the cop’s fingers on your window.

“Hello officer,” squeaks your voice from your throat.

“I pulled you over because your tags are expired,” he says politely.

“What!! Really?! Are you sure?” you say a little too passionately, a little too loudly, as you jump out of the car, paperwork in hand, to check the front license plate, only to look down and find that the yellow tags were indeed not affixed to your plates but, you know, right there on the registration card that you were just waving around in exasperation.

At a cop.

A cop who tells you to scrounge up your drivers license and that insurance card that flew out the window and get those tags on the car before he comes back from doing whatever cops do in their cars after they pull people over and humiliate them in front of their fellow Wal-Mart shoppers and he will settle with a warning.

Yes, you were warned, and just the right amount of annoyed…the perfect combination to help get you through a care-free shopping experience in the land of the inappropriately dressed with a list ten-feet long that includs everything from deodorant to light-bulbs to socks to the kitchen sink.

An hour and a half, one comment from a little lady that went something like “I wouldn’t want to be paying for your cart-load,”  a suggestion from an employee that I shouldn’t just leave my purse in the cart and go walking around the store all willy nilly like that, geesh, and a receipt long enough to wrap three times around the sun it was time for your next stop: the liquor store.

A magical place where you would make all of your husband’s dreams of stocking the top of the fridge with a variety of whiskey flavors come true. And while you were at it, your momma’s dream of a little Kahlua in her coffee. But as you explain to the nice lady who helped you carry out the three boxes of booze that, no, there was no party planned, but that you live in the middle of nowhere and it is going to be a long winter, you gasp as you open the back hatch of your car to find that the eggs that you intended to safely place on the top of your pile of goods had not so gently dropped from their perch and landed in a nice, cracky pile on the floor of your car.

You consider cracking open that bottle of Jack for the drive back to the vet to pick up the animals, but don’t think that a second run-in with that cop would be good for your record, so you opt instead for a giant bag of McDonalds and a diet coke and turn up the radio to sing along to Bruce Springsteen between cheeseburger bites as you drive down the road to face the vet you so rudely scorned with tardiness earlier that morning.

But when you arrive she has nothing but good things to say about the shitty cat and the pug who looks so bad-ass now without on of his eyes. Nothing but nice things to say to a woman who can’t get her crap together enough to get to an appointment on time or put her eggs in a safe place.

So you load up the pug and the shitty cat and drive on out toward home, thinking this day wasn’t so bad after all, thinking about frozen pizza for supper…

thinking…wait…what’s that smell…Chug?

Nope.

Shit.

The cat shit.

Again.

Ever have one of those days?

it's a damn good thing you're pretty cat...

No?

Me neither.

Meow.

Why crafting gives me a wedgie…

Well, the cold has settled in at the ranch, making everything look all cozy and sparkly and holiday like. Which is nice, but it reminds me of what I should be doing. Like, I should be making my Christmas shopping list. I should be scrubbing the toilet. I should be looking up delicious and complicated recipes in Martha Stewert magazines so when we head to Thanksgiving at the in-laws’ on Thursday I can present something other than a turkey shaped cheeseball with a Rolo for a hat. I should be washing windows, cleaning the garage, brushing one of the six cats, picking burs from the horses, peeling potatoes, or tackling the ginormous pile of laundry that has built up in the bedroom and the bathroom and the basement during the past month…the past month that I have been obsessed…

Yes, this is my kitchen table...I am not too proud to provide evidence of the reality of the situation...

Yup, I should really clean up this mess…or at least clear a path to the couch so husband can collapse in a heap of bewilderment when he gets home from work to find me, day after day, hunched over the kitchen table squeezing glue, cutting photos, scattering beads across the linoleum floor, tearing the bark off of branches brought in from the trees, slicing my fingers with my exacto-knife and then burning them before gluing them together with the hot glue gun.

Yes, I’ve been in a trance these last few weeks getting ready for what I was certain was a wonderful idea to set up and execute a photography show with one of my friends who takes beautiful photos on the other side of the Blue Buttes. Remember her? Lovely, lovely lady. One day she made the mistake of mentioning to me that she wanted to sell some of her work, not knowing that ideas like these were right up my crazy ally. I don’t blame her. She hasn’t known me long enough. She doesn’t know how I get. So I chimed in in a classic Jessie move. I jumped, scrawny arms and legs flailing, into the idea. I said “Hey, let’s do this! Let’s get it together, lets bring our genius to the masses. We got this girl!” And my friend, my dear, dear, talented, innocent friend, agreed.

And just like that I had a partner in crime and a date to take on a new creative challenge.

And just like that I regressed into my former, delusional, obsessed, manic, crafting, idea spewing, focused, sporadic self.

Picture the mad hatter, only in sweatpants and wool socks instead of the weird suit, sitting at a kitchen table in a house too small for her supplies, scissors clip, clip, clipping, flinging paper in the air around her, pieces of crusted glue stuck to her face, eyes wild with ideas, humming to herself, quietly at first and then full-out singing as the mess grows larger and the laundry piles dangerously higher.

Yes people, I’m in to the dreaded “bottom of the drawer” underwear, but have been so focused on getting out into the world what I have in my head that I haven’t really noticed the constant wedgie I’ve been sporting for the last week or so as a result.

It’s a small price to pay though, ignoring the laundry, dealing with a five day wedgie, to get it all together. At first I said to my friend, “no big deal, just bring what you have, I’ll do some music, there’ll be food, it will be chill and relaxed and you know, whatever.”

But that chill and relaxed quickly progressed into late nights sorting through the seven THOUSAND photos I have stored on my computer, agonizing over what people might like to see in print. And once that order was placed and the matting arrived and the frames were purchased and made and stacked in the corner of my small house that seems to be shrinking smaller and smaller every day, I decided, well, I think I need more. MORE!  I need more frames, more matting, more PHOTOS! What if I chose the wrong ones? What if there aren’t enough pictures of horses, flowers, cowboys, sunsets, grass, berries, dogs, cats, grain bins? What if I can’t please the masses? I need to order more! And so I did, late at night with a tall glass of margarita sitting on the TV tray beside me.

And while I was at it, what the hell, I decided I should make JEWELRY! Why not. I’ve never done anything like this before in my life so why not try now…now when I have a deadline and no idea what I’m doing. That’s what instruction manuals are for. That’s what online tutorials are for. That is why the internet was INVENTED. RIGHT?!

Damn you internet for keeping me up late at night ordering more beads, typing in questions like “how do I turn my photos into beautiful and classy pieces of one of a kind jewelry that people will actually want to buy?” Damn you internet for making it too easy for me to purchase things like “organza ribbon” and “Diamond Glaze” and “glass beads” without knowing fully how to put them all together successfully to create a finished product until I have tried and failed several times…

Damn you internet for giving me false confidence that I might wake up tomorrow and become a creative, crafting, together, jewelry making, casually cool and confident artist who is master of sales and shipping and organization instead of the wild haired, overzealous, obsessed woman in glue crusted sweatpants with too many ideas and not enough time or band aids or space sitting at her kitchen table at midnight surrounded by piles of boxes and paints and scissors and barnwood and a hot glue gun she forgot to unplug having a nervous breakdown because she’s suddenly found herself alone in her greatest hour of need…

oh wait, I’m not alone…husband is around here somewhere…I can hear a whimper coming from underneath that stack of photo framing supplies…I think I see his arm..isn’t he supposed to be at work?

Anyway, this is classic Jessie. I have been wondering where she’s gone. I mean, I’ve discovered all sides of my former, childhood self since moving back to the ranch over a year ago: the nature lover, the horse obsessed, the musician, the poet… it’s about time the freak showed up.

See, I used to get in this same sort of trance back when I was a 4-Her. I would sit on the floor for hours in the evenings while my parents watched the news or Cheers or Seinfield or 20/20 and painstakingly loop yarn through colored holes arranged in a patterns. I would think to myself what a masterpiece this was going to be when it was done. How beautiful will this latch-hooked cow look up on my parents’ wall! How lovely will this fuzzy sunflower be when I have someone help me make it into a pillow! It was madness how obsessed I was. It was all I could focus on in the winter until the project was done and then I’d move on to something else, like wood burning or glueing something to something else.

So I’m not surprised this has happened to me. That much crazy could not be suppressed forever, I just had to find the right project to give her the confidence and purpose to show her sleep-deprived face. But the truth is it has always been fun for me to create something new, to do something I’ve never done before, to make plans with a new friend with the intent on sharing it with others.

But unlike the confident girl who spent countless hours latch-hooking patterns of barnyard animals, I am a little nervous about what I’m about to present to the world. I had a similar feeling when I sang a song that I wrote for the first time in public. I mean, I’ve never done anything like this before.  I’d like to think most all of you can relate, especially you creative types. The idea of sharing your creations and ideas with others is both invigorating and terrifying. There is always self-doubt, always fear that you will be judged or rejected. But for me the sharing has always been a necessity. I’ve never given myself any other choice. I’m not sure where that came from.

Maybe it’s crazy. Maybe some things are best kept to myself (like when I feel the need to share with the world my issues with cow poop or dog puke or encounters with dead bats and raccoons dangling off of the deck.) But there’s something about self-expression that I cannot deny, that I feel the need to participate in. That’s why I talk with my hands even though I risk knocking over wine glasses onto stranger’s laps.

That’s why I have laugh lines and wrinkles on my forehead.

That’s why I dance, arms and legs flailing, embarrassing myself and any relatives that may be in arms length of me. That’s why I laugh loud, cry like really, really hard, kick things when I get mad, squeeze a little too much when I hug, talk a little too long.

Because I need to. I need to get it out of me with the hope that I might get it back from the world and the people that I love. With the hope that we might share ideas, have meaningful conversations, give one another feedback and maybe just laugh until we snort, dance until or feet hurt, sing until we run out of songs…

And so my friend and I will be doing these things (well, maybe not the dancing…we will see) this Friday at the Long X Visitors Center in Watford City. We will be showing those who come through how we see the world through the other side of our camera lens and offering guests a chance to hang that vision in their homes or wear it around their necks or give it as a gift.

I can’t wait to show you what I’ve made, I can’t wait to sing you some new songs and I can’t wait for you to see what my friend has in store for you.

But most of all, I can’t wait to see you there!

So yes, I should be cleaning the glue off of my floors and replenishing my drawer with clean underwear, but for now I don’t mind the wedgie…the most important thing is for me to get husband out from under this pile of projects before he finds a phone under there and calls a lawyer to start the paperwork  on a divorce…because I just don’t have time for a divorce…he needs to help me build FRAMES!!!

See you Friday!

Oh, and if you can’t make it visit my Etsy store to shop for unique items for the holidays!

The Pioneer Museum invites you to relax and celebrate the season and the spirit of Western North Dakota.
“Pieces of the Prairie” Photography & Gift Show
& Pride of Dakota Food and Wine Sampling

Friday November 25, 2011
12-9 pm
Long X Visitors Center in Watford City, North Dakota. 

Shop
Original photography, frames, handmade jewelry and wall hangings by local photographers
Jessie Veeder with “Veeder Ranch Photography”
&
Megan Pennington with “Megan’s Red Barn Gifts”
Throughout the day

Taste
Unique food and snack items made in North Dakota
12 noon – 4 pm

Enjoy
An evening of wine, hors d’oeuvres
music with Jessie Veeder
5-9 pm

Free and open to the public
Hosted by the Pioneer Museum and Long X Visitor Center
Visit tourism.mckenziecounty.net for more information