Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Zeal for the cause is key to success, according to professional photographer Lisa Jaster. Creating artistic social entrepreneurial opportunities that are win-win is a skill she possesses. Ms. Jaster is innovative at thinking outside the proverbial box partnering with nonprofit organizations. Social entrepreneurial efforts motivate clients to remember her. She serves as a role-model for other artists seeking a unique connection with the community.

Social entrepreneurship thrives when the business owner is genuine and willing to take some risk. Lisa states that it is important to speak with several people at the 501(c)3 nonprofit organization to learn their perspective. Evolve an idea and discuss it with the agency’s decision maker. Sometimes the Development (fundraising) or Executive Director will hesitate but let them know that you have a passion for their mission statement. Start the collaboration on a small scale and grow it during subsequent years. Be willing to adjust the plan because it is a mixture of marketing and altruism. Usually, clients only need a small incentive to donate to a charity.

During 2011 Lisa teamed with two nonprofits to aid their mission and continued her own special project. First, she raised funds for Pet Haven of Minnesota by taking photos of animals for their calendar. She also sold their merchandise in her studio during the St. Paul Art Crawls, Spring and Fall. Second, she offered a free portrait session and 50% off 25 Holiday Cards ($120 value) when clients would bring a bag of nonperishable food items to their photo shoot. This effort resulted in 168 pounds of donations for Second Harvest Heartland while adding to her client base.

Ms. Jaster originated a third effort, which other artists could easily replicate. The Fostering Art Program focuses on emerging youth artists. Ms. Jaster provides space for a young artist (under the age of 13) to post their artwork during the St. Paul Art Crawl. Kids to learn how to promote themselves. The child must have parental approval, price their creations, be present in the studio during the Art Crawl to explain their work to patrons, and contribute to refreshments. Lisa has sponsored youth since 2010 and will be working with a sibling team this spring.

Ms. Jaster grew up in a small Minnesota town west of the Twin Cities. She attended St. Cloud State University and Willmar Community College before moving to the Twin Cities. She worked for twelve years at a photography studio before testing another career. Lisa realized that photography was her passion so she procured studio space. She enjoys both the technical aspects as well as the client interaction. Recently, she traveled internationally to record a wedding. Her work liberates the bliss of the subject. She especially enjoys capturing animals on film.

Lisa Jaster Studio is open by appointment and during St. Paul Art Crawls in the Northwestern Building located at 275 East 4th Street, Suite 110, Saint Paul, MN 55101. Visit or call 612-860-2193 for information. Ms. Jaster won the “Ima Best Social Entrepreneur” award for 2011 Art Crawls. Read the review posted on October 24th, 2011. Included in this article are photos of her work.

Parlay passion into purpose.
© 2012 Ima B. Musing

Monday, February 27, 2012


Memoirs are the focus of this issue. Memory all depends upon the storyteller. Three people standing next to each other experiencing the same five-minute interlude will offer three diverse perspectives. Each is accurate but determined by their personal life record.

A Cavalcade of Lesser Horrors by Peter Smith Four worms
Laughed at the foibles and his unique perspective. Hilarious vignettes from the author’s life. Chapters could have been arranged in a more linear fashion and a few more added to fill in the gaps. Vigil Candles chapter was stunning.

The Rules of the Tunnel by Ned Zeman Three and a half worms
Brilliant insight into the churnings of mania and depression. He seemed most comfortable writing about others to the point of distraction. Wickedly self-deprecating humor and silly cats. Mystifying holes in the timeline. Lucky to have a supportive network.

The Arrogant Years by Lucette Lagnado Three worms
Personal memoir that captures the superior attitude of youth. Strongest sections are biographies of her mother and Alice. The story gets a bit hazy when the remembrances are not pleasant. Very good insight into her internal life. I wish her well.

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls Three worms
Some people should never reproduce. Terrible parents neglected and abused their children. The parents probably were dealing with mental health issues but continuously made horrible choices causing their children to suffer. Somehow Jeannette and her siblings survived their selfish parents and awful circumstances. Shouldn’t give away the ending in the first chapter.

The Late Homecomer by Kao Kalia Yang Three worms
War and rotten refugee camps wrecked havoc but the fortitude of her family is to be admired. Book became rather bewildering when relating stories of the entire family. Final chapters were most insightful regarding her grandmother.

Prior review was posted on February 2nd.

Have you journaled today?
© 2012 Ima B. Musing

Friday, February 24, 2012


“A dream itself is but a shadow,” mused Hamlet (First Folio II.2.260). Thought that I’d record the dreams I remember and try to figure out the message.

Dream A:
Lying on the grass in my parent’s backyard about ten feet from the house. Sleeping on my back with my current cat Tillie snoozing on top of me. Awoke to see a huge black bear swipe at my childhood dog Toto and standing next to a swing set. I grabbed the cat that was on a leash and ran for the back door. Managed to get the cat and I in the house. Called the police. Watched the bear leave my parent’s yard. Called the neighbors to warn them as the dog got up. Awoke from the dream. Odd to dream of dreaming.

Interpretation of Dream A:
Love being outside, sleeping in the sunshine. Love my cat and miss my dog. Wish that I had kids but afraid that a monster would kill them. The loyal dog would try to defend but could not defeat the monster. Probably due to childhood sexual abuse by my step-grandfather.

Dream B:
Hotel with my friends. A few months before I had given a black & white feline to friends who wanted a cat. They brought both their cats to the hotel and the cats got out and roamed the hallways. We caught one but the black & white tabby was gone. I was more distraught than my friends. I kept looking and gave hotel staff money to help me find her. It wasn’t until a few days later at dinner that my friends admitted that they had given the cat away because they didn’t like it. I was angry. I would have taken the cat instead of them giving it away. The weather was cold but I demanded to be taken to the hotel, packed and left.

Interpretation of Dream B:
Fear of rejection, lies, and deception by people I thought that I could trust. Intellectually, I know that once you give a gift to someone it is theirs to decide the fate. If they don’t want it and regift it, that is okay. However, I seem to have a strong attachment to cats. I think it is because I am lacking in human affection. I really need a boyfriend!

Dream C:
Someone gave me a two-room log cabin tree house with 25,000 acres of woods and mineral rights near Calgary, Canada. I was suspicious so I hired a lawyer to determine if the gift was legitimate and any complications. None were found and the donor had contributed an additional million dollars to pay for taxes and living expenses. The only catch was that I had to live there for a year. I went to the cabin and it needed repairs. Hired a couple guys and ended up romancing them. End of dream.

Interpretation of Dream C:
I’m always afraid of something that will disqualify me, fear of rejection. Wish that an anonymous person would provide the means for me to continue to write. Home repairs are never done. I need a boyfriend.

Aw heck, I don’t really place a lot of confidence in dream analysis. I’m sure that we only remember a small fraction of the images that flash through our brain while we sleep or exist in semi-consciousness. One theme is the need for a boyfriend. I can only resolve that issue while I am conscious.

Dream On.
© 2012 Ima B. Musing

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


A 4-H friend of mine was a Princess Kay of the Milky Way Runner-Up. She won the local contest and represented the Minnesota Dairy Association at pageants and special events. She lived on a working dairy farm, knew a lot about the animal husbandry and business aspects of dairy farming, and was cute. As a result of serving as a Princess, her likeness was carved out of a huge block of butter at the Minnesota State Fair. It was weird to see her smiling face twirling around in a huge refrigerator in the Dairy Building.

The next summer her family hosted a corn feed. They had frozen the butter-head after the fair so it was safe to eat. It was surreal to swirl butter onto a corncob from her skull. At least 200 people enjoyed a festive atmosphere. A polka band played and the party lasted into the evening. Country folk know that you have to party when the opportunity presents itself. Tomorrow may bring a hailstorm and wipe out your entire crop.

Farm life is not for the faint of heart. The movie Sweet Land is poetic but not reality based. As a child you quickly learn about the cycle of life and death. Don’t name the animals or grow emotionally attached because they can get sick and die, have to be sold, or be slaughtered for food. I had seen my grandmother decapitate chickens and her neighbor slaughter a sheep. However, the most traumatic experience was on the D’s farm. A calf had been born with a leg deformity. Three veterinarians had been brought in to determine if the leg could be broken and set right. Their prognosis was negative. The calf could hobble but once it was mature, it would not be able to walk properly with full utters.

Mr. D was heartbroken. The calf was the offspring of his favorite cow. He prepared the family that the calf would be fattened up until the malady was insurmountable. I was visiting on the late spring day when we said goodbye to calf #1708 and he led it out of the barn. Farmers strive not to kill an animal in front of their kin because the surviving animals will be terrified that they are next. Lana, her siblings and I heard a gunshot. We walked over to the building where the calf was now strung up by its hind legs. A neighbor had come over to help because Mr. D was too sad to cut apart an animal that he cared about. The smell of blood and internal organs was overwhelming. I remember a stream of steaming blood on the ground and Mr. D looking forlorn. We ate chicken that night.

Mr. D was called “touchy-feely” because he wasn’t completely detached from the herd. He deeply cared and the Holsteins were affectionate with humans. Calves would be taken from their mother within a few days of birth otherwise they would drain their mother dry of milk and never warm up to humans. The bottle-fed calves were placed in a separate section of the barn and socialized with humans. The critters were kept indoors until they were large enough to venture into a fenced yard.

Calves are very vulnerable to attack. In the early 1970s there was a huge problem with near-wild dog-packs. People dropped off their dogs in the country and the dogs would hang out together and act like wolves. The most docile canine will become a raging creature when following the lead of other dogs. The dogs would hunt together and go after sick or young animals. It got so bad that a bounty was offered to kill the dogs. Alerts on the radio station would provide sightings of the animals. Posse members would respond and shoot the dog-wolf group. Lots of farm animals were sequestered to their pens because of the dog packs. No humans were attacked but kids weren’t allowed to roam.

The D’s would make a yearly assessment of the herd. Any cow that did not produce enough milk, some females calves, and all the males were sold, a sad day indeed. Calves of productive mothers were kept to replace the cows sold. Each of the kids selected a calf to train for competition at the County Fair. They would have responsibility to feed the animal, keep it clean, tend to its needs, and teach it to be led by a harness. The D’s offered to sell me a calf for the fair. I couldn’t keep it in town and I had no way of traveling out to their farm on a daily or weekly basis. I liked to ride my bike but 20 miles was a bit egregious.

I envied kids who would show their 4-H animals at the County Fair. Huge 1,500-pound beasts next to a scrawny 90-pound kid, quite the juxtaposition. We had a dog that was too stubborn to train. My grandfather had given up his horse farm when I was 8 so I had no resources. I could have joined FFA (Future Farmers of America) and been on the Cattle Judging Team. The FFA’ers had such cool jackets and got to go on interesting trips. Alas, too late now.

Dairy Farm Tails, Part VI, most recent posting was February 20th.

Farm envy.
© 2012 Ima B. Musing

Monday, February 20, 2012


Blood and it was more that a few drops. I was certain that I was dying. There was no other explanation. I was nine years old and no reason why blood was on my underwear. I was visiting my friend Lana on the farm. Lana was still sleeping because we had been up late. I retrieved a clean pair from my suitcase. I layered toilet paper on the undies in case I bled some more. I washed out the soiled skivvies and decided to go to the kitchen.

Mrs. D was alone when I asked to call my parents. She queried why and I was evasive. Since it was long distance phone service she kept pestering me. I finally admitted that I was bleeding. As a former nurse she was concerned and asked where. I wouldn’t tell her. I was embarrassed to admit that my private parts were bleeding. She frowned and was a bit irritated. Then, she figured it out, and her eyes lit up. Grinning widely she chuckled, gave me permission, and requested to speak with my mom after I was done talking.

I called my mom and stretched the phone cord into the living room to explain that I was bleeding between my legs. She said that I was now a young lady. How could that be? I was too young. My older sisters didn’t start their menses until they were 13 or 14. I was crushed. I slumped at the kitchen table and handed the phone to Mrs. D. She smiled and laughed as she spoke to my mom and said that she would take care of the situation. I was scared that I’d be sent home early.

Instead, I was given a pad and safety pins. In the 1970s we used menstruation pads that were about a half an inch thick and were pinned to your underwear. It felt like you were walking with a deck of cards between your legs. The safety pins always tore the undies and the pads leaked. I had cramps and was not a happy camper. Mrs. D gave me a couple aspirin and a supply of pads. Her oldest daughter, Laura, hadn’t even started her period, yet. Of course, Lana’s whole family found out and the school upon our return to class. I was mortified and the first girl in my class to start puberty. Not a positive distinction. The mean kids taunted me with cries of Bloody Mary whenever I was near.

A couple months earlier I journeyed to another school and was ushered into a gym filled with older girls. The junior high health teacher talked to us about blossoming into young ladies. We watched a slide show which explained that puberty would make us grow taller, our voices become higher, hair protrude, and we would bleed. I had three older siblings who had already made the transition. I knew that the “monthly friend” was neither welcome nor friendly. I was in fourth grade but my mom wanted me to attend the slide show because I kept asking about my hormonal moody sisters. The slide show stated that girls don’t start their period until after the age of 12 so I had many years to wait. Ha-ha-ha.

Well, its 30+ years later and I’m still bleeding. Approximately 420 irritating cycles. The only exception was when I was pregnant for a few months. I miscarried during the first trimester. A few months ago I experienced my normal 5-day period and then it started again. Two weeks of yuck. This month is was normal except for a one day extra bleed. I guess that menopause has begun. Sad not to have experienced a full-term pregnancy and childbirth. I never met anyone that I wanted to have kids with and I refuse to be a single parent. Kids deserve two caring adults or a single adult with a supportive network. I have a network of friends but I don’t think that they would do well with kids.

Peruse other farm adventures posted February 8th. This is Part V of Dairy Farm Tails.

Men All Pause?
© 2012 Ima B. Musing

Thursday, February 16, 2012


My niece Liza and I attended An Evening of Art and Dance collaboration presented by Ballet Royale Minnesota on Friday, February 10th. This is the third year that the ballet company choreographed pieces based upon two-dimensional artwork.

The evening began with an introduction by Ballet Royale Co-Directors Denise Vogt and Rick Vogt. The visual artist spoke about their personal journey of painting and the choreographer discussed their process. The youthful dancers performed which was followed by a brief reflection before the next artwork chat. A screen projected a photo of the artwork to the left of the stage while the original hung in the lobby. Unfortunately, the stage at the Lakeville Area Arts Center is deep with a narrow proscenium extension, which does not provide much room for movement.

Skeletal tree branches extending into the winter air echoed with the sound of small deer hooves (toe shoes). Marcia Cushmore’s painting, “Bones: Reaching” is simultaneously haunting and soothing. Rick Vogt choreographed Vaughn Williams’ “Fantasia on Greensleeves” with mostly classical ballet positions. The troupe performed on a cramped stage and mimicked the tree branches with their flexible motions. The piece began crowded with dancers, the second section had better structure, and finished with a beautiful meditative motion. The troupe floated like leaves and ended as branches. The simple ballet costumes were a lovely reflection of the pastel hues in the painting.

Hard angles, texture and roughness describe Alison Price’s “Hindsight Bohemian Flats” inspired by the wreckage of the 35W Bridge Collapse. The rusting metal was stored in the park downstream from the site for several years after the structure was disassembled. Ms. Price sent photos of the artwork during development and met with the ensemble so that they could choreograph the piece simultaneously. Dance designer Bailey Anderson collaborated with the dozen performers, aged 13- 17, and utilized a variety of tools to create a modern dance. Barefooted youth wore simple black leotards with rolled up jeans and danced to excerpts from the movie Chocolat`. The dance included perky, calm, and bouncy elements in a rather discombobulated fashion. It was wonderful to hear from the dancers after the performance though a bit unnerving to view their gnarled feet. Alison Price was profiled on this blog on January 9th. Contact her at 612-805-1886 or for details.

Strength emanates from Manidoo-giizhikens’ female and male essence on the shores of Gichigami. Hazel Belvo’s magnificent “Spirit Tree Dusk I and Spirit Tree Dusk II” two part painting captures Lake Superior’s Little Cedar Spirit Tree located at Grand Portage, MN. The artwork shows the power of the sweeping trunk as its roots cling to rock with the vermilion clouds crashing like waves in the background. Movement composer Denise Vogt appropriately chose Phillip Glass’ “Prelude and Dance” from Akhnaten I and II for the performance. The dancers chose costumes resembling the cloud-waves in the painting. Mixture of contemporary and classical ballet swept over the stage. Disappointed that the piece ended because it could be extended to a full performance. Visit the inspirational conifer at

Unique format provided some interesting insights, but advisable to repeat questions from the audience into a microphone during Q & A session. It would be wonderful to hear more from the teenaged performers. The Ballet Royale website needs an extensive explanation of the event with a link to the center to procure tickets. The City of Lakeville should add written directions to their website because the Lakeville Area Arts Center map is not adequate. Liza, my honorary niece who is the daughter of my best friend Allie, already wants to attend next year’s show.

Keep On Dancing!
© 2012 Ima B. Musing

Monday, February 13, 2012


Since perfection is an illusion, I will be content with Mr. Wonderful. Perhaps I have delayed too long. I didn’t want to get married until I finished my undergrad education. It took me five years to work my way through college. I expected to find a great guy and get hitched anytime after the age of 22. My first “love” Terry broke my heart and left for Europe to visit his old girlfriend. I worked at a horrible job for a year and decided to return to graduate school. Procured a master degree and planned to find a mate and jump the broom after the age of 25. Dated Mike, he proposed and I requested a bit more time. He dumped me and married someone else within a year. Didn’t hurt as much as breaking up with my first serious boyfriend (I was dealing with the miscarriage when Terry left town).

I dated a lot during my 20s, a bit during my 30s, and nada in my 40s. I have made plenty of relationship mistakes. I don’t know if “one got away” like a fish slipping a hook. I have hung out with several guys that I never kissed. Not sure why. More of an intellectual match than a physical spark. I do wonder about Keith. He and I got along very well during grad school. I finally decided that I wanted to kiss him but he disappeared and moved out west. A few years later he returned to Minnesota, got married, and had four kids. I wonder if I should have gone over to his house and grabbed him before he ran away. Not healthy to dwell on the “what if” scenario.

Intelligence is the number one trait. I am attracted to smart men. Not arrogantly intelligent. Smart enough to know that they aren’t smart enough to know everything. Honesty and integrity is the foundation of a good relationship. If we cant trust each other, what is the point of communicating? Humor is important. Not to be mean to others but to chuckle at the foibles of life. Open minded and accepting of diversity is imperative.

Physical traits aren’t all that important. Grooming is, like taking a shower, brushing teeth, and wearing clean clothes. The clothes don’t have to be fancy but at least not raggedy. I really like nice teeth; perhaps it is because I spent so much time with horses as a kid. My grandpa said that the teeth are an accurate indicator of health of an animal. Also, I feel rather self-conscious of my teeth because they are weak. I do not like aggressive men because any form of abuse is not acceptable. Period. End of Discussion.

Infidelity is not tolerated. It is fine to date other people but once a couple declares their “love” or commitment to each other, the sidebar relationships must end. The only exception is if the couple has an “open” relationship and both people can date other people. Full disclosure is better than cheating. However, if they have kids or get married the sidebars must stop because polygamy is reprehensible. Kids get neglected when their parents are diverted by other relationships.

I don’t feel very self-confident right now. My anxiety level is deplorably high due to extended unemployment. I need a nice person who loves me because of my myriad imperfections. I don't mind being single but committed coupling would be enjoyable. It would be absolutely fabulous to be accepted, appreciated, respected, and physically touched.

Wookin pa nub.
(Buckwheat Sings by Eddie Murphy)
© 2012 Ima B. Musing

Sunday, February 12, 2012


Well, its official now, I no longer count because my Unemployment Benefits are exhausted as am I. 451 resumes, seventeen interviews, five phone interviews (does not include those which led to an in-person meeting), two tests, and eight online questionnaires have yielded no positive result. Frustratingly depressing especially since some human resources personnel are rude enough not to even send me a rejection email or letter after contact. I don’t expect communication when I mail a resume but I do when I spend the time with a questionnaire or attend an interview.

I blame the United States Congress for the horrible economy. They deregulated the banks, which caused too much financial risk. Greed sank the American economy to line the pockets of the uber wealthy aka 1%, but it extends to the top 10%* income bracket. The corporate guilty parties go unpunished and the wealthy don’t pay their fair share of taxes. Congress has not done enough to re-regulate banks or tax the rich. Big businesses control the United States, even though they are not people. Regular humans don’t matter anymore. That is why is it essential for every citizen to get involved in politics. We can take back the power aka Occupy Wall Street. Don’t elect corporate puppets. Work on behalf of candidates who actually support regular people. Donate time, money, and most importantly vote for moderate candidates who represent the bottom half of the economy aka regular people. is helpful.

I’m in the bottom tier of low-income. I have a Master degree and experience but can’t find a job. My journey began in June 2009 when my full time job was cut to part-time. Located a full-time position in April 2010 but got fired in July. Total unemployment since July 2010 is abysmal. I take responsibility for being imperfect but I did not deserve to be fired. I’m angry with myself for my flaws.

My days are consumed with job search. I continue to seek even though no longer counted by the government. I registered with temporary agencies to provide some income, will sell my stuff, not buy anything except absolute essentials, and hold my breath until I procure employment. My heart has begun to flutter and I’m sure it’s due to stress. I struggle to remain optimistic. Sorry to be bitter today but I need to be honest.

I hated being on the dole aka Unemployment. I’d much rather be working, paying taxes, and making donations to others. I haven’t been sitting on my arse waiting for someone to give me a hand out. I have been actively seeking employment. I feel angry when people assume otherwise.

*Note: There are some exceptionally generous wealthy people in America. They should be praised for their assistance to others and contributions to nonprofit organizations. However, they comprise a minority of the top 10-25% income earners.

Will work for money.
© 2012 Ima B. Musing

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


No depth perception and bitter cold. White obliterated the outside world. The snow was blowing so intensely that you could not see more than a foot in front of your face. Perilous situation. Life on the prairie has its hazards and whiteout blizzard conditions is one of them.

My grandparents had huge metal eyehooks located on the corner of each building about four feet from the ground. Every fall they would string long ropes from one hook to another. It was annoying to have to duck under the rope. However, the rope was a lifeline. A sudden squall from the prairie would powerfully scatter loose snow so that you would not be able to determine where you were in the yard. If you could find a rope, you could locate safety inside a building. Most country dwellers left one door unlocked during the winter to make certain that you could get out of the wind. Too many people die of hypothermia a few feet from safety or just outside a locked door.

Sometimes a storm would blow up while we were at school. It was too treacherous to let the country kids travel home. The bus may drop them off but they could get lost walking down the driveway. Lana and her sisters or other country kids would stay with us during blizzards. I would call home to get permission and we would be let out of class when there was a break in the wind. We would dash home and my mom would call the school and their parents to verify that we had made it safely.

Wind is unpredictable. One blustery day Lana and her younger sister Lisa came home with me. We trudged over four foot tall drifts for two blocks without a problem but then the wind gusted and landmarks disappeared. We linked ourselves together using our coat belts and I led the way slowly. We found my neighbor’s house that always left their garage side door unlocked. The neighbor wasn’t home but I went in to call my mom and left a note apologizing for the snow in the garage. After about ten minutes the wind decreased enough for us to keep walking. The three-block journey took an hour and we were exhausted. Mom called the school and Lana’s parents. The storm howled for three days before Lana’s folks were able to safely journey into town.

Blizzards cause the Minnesota State Highway Patrol and Minnesota Department of Transportation to shut down the roads. Anyone traveling is taken off the thoroughfare and brought into town. The hotels quickly fill and then the trekkers would be sent into private homes. My parents would accept strangers into our home on the weekend and if we didn’t have country kids during the week. We had a lumpy fold out couch to hold two people and a couple cots. Not the Ritz but better than freezing in a ditch.

I was in grade school and my siblings were in high school when four college students arrived on a wintry Saturday. Males. They were nice but flirted with my sisters. Dangerous. My dad was so paranoid that he pulled out a sleeping blanket and stayed in the hallway that night to make certain that no hanky-panky occurred. The four young studs departed after lunch when the roads were deemed safe. One of them even sent a thank you note and twenty dollars. Another time a couple stole from us so they were the final visitors allowed. A few years ago the city switched to setting up a Red Cross shelter instead of placing strangers into private residences.

I always have a disaster kit in the trunk of the car and another in the house. Usually there isn’t much danger living in the Twin Cities. I’ve been stuck in at home for two or three days due to a snowstorm. I don’t travel out of the Cities during the winter very often due to several near accidents. I call my parents instead of visiting. Prepare yourself, family, friends, and pets for disaster. Make an emergency kit with instructions from and take classes from the Red Cross.

Dairy Farm Tails, Part IV more posted January 26th, January 30th, and February 6th.

Be Prepared.
© 2012 Ima B. Musing

Monday, February 6, 2012


It was a beautiful summer day on the farm, a few weeks before school started. Lana’s parents had converted a small chicken coop into a dual-purpose shed. It served as a kid’s summertime playhouse. During the school year, the shed was hauled out to the end of the half-mile long driveway to provide shelter while waiting for the bus. Lana D and I were best friends. She would occasionally stay overnight at my house in town but had to sleep on the couch due to lack of space. Two bedrooms with adults and four kids…

Lana, her younger sister, Lisa, and I were playing “house” in the shed. I looked out the window when a black and white cow sauntered by. Odd. A thirteen hundred pound Holstein bovine munching on the grass. Mmm. Perhaps it was being used to mow the lawn. Perplexed, I asked, “Do you ever let the cows out to eat your lawn?” Lisa and Lana both laughingly replied, “No.” A curious cow poked its head in the window and mooed. Perfect timing.

It appeared that one cow either tripped or leaned against the wood fence and fell onto the lawn. The D’s had a big pasture but many of the bovines liked to graze near the house. It must have been one of the leader cows because once it broke free the entire herd decided to follow and eat the nice lawn on the other side. We temporarily closed the broken fence with a big stick. We began shooing the cattle into the pasture through a gate near the barn. Sixty head of cattle, no problem for three small girls. Holsteins aren’t very intelligent but are docile when relaxed.

All was going well until I heard an unpleasant sound. It was a low grunt. I looked over my shoulder to see the bull walking toward me. My great uncle had a stud farm and I learned at an early age not to mess with male cattle. They weigh about 2,500 pounds and will kill any perceived threat to their herd. Lana’s bull did not recognize me and began to advance. The bull blocked the path to the house. I walked away slowly and sought a place to hide. It began to trot so I started to run as fast as my short legs would go. No equipment was out to leap upon and I felt panic. The barn was closed up to the west, fence to the south, corncrib to the east, and bull to the north. No time to open a door and the fence by the barn was barbed wire and impossible to surmount. I was trapped and terrified.

My only option was the corncrib. The crib walls are built for ventilation and supported by wooden slats quarter of an inch thick with inch wide openings for air circulation. Not much to hold onto. It was nearly full and internally lined with chicken wire. I crawled up as high as I could upon the ten-foot crib. The tin roof was pitched with no handholds. The bull followed and put its front hooves on the crib and began hitting my feet with its head. The horns had been sheered off to stubs. Nothing to lose so I began to scream. I knew that if I fell I would be stomped upon and probably killed. Lana’s dad heard my cry from inside the barn. He came charging out, grabbed something from inside the barn, and began to whack the bull’s butt. The bull leaped down and let Mr. D lead it to a pen. He saved my life and risked his own. The bull could have easily attacked him or Lana and Lisa.

My fingers were bleeding and I was hyperventilating. I would not climb down until the bull was secured into a pen. My friends had been occupied with the female cows that they had not noticed my plight. I was shaking so badly that I could barely walk. I threw up on the lawn. Mr. D gently guided me to the house. Mrs. D called my parents and let them know what happened. I could have gone back to town. The phone was handed to me and I told my mom that I wanted to stay on the farm. Mrs. D took back the phone and chatted in low tones. She received permission from my folks to administer a shot of blackberry brandy, the country cure-all. I still shook so I received shots number two and three. After that I was buzzed and giddy. I no longer cared that I had dodged death, again.

Read the first parts of this remembrance posted January 26th, and January 30th. This posting is Dairy Farm Tails, Part III.

Don’t mess with bulls.
© 2012 Ima B. Musing

Sunday, February 5, 2012


Sometimes I dream of words. During the past two years I have become reacquainted with the joy of writing. I’ve always created perfunctory documents at work but had little interest in leisurely writing at home. One of the few positive aspects of sustained unemployment is the time and energy to write. I’m a non-fiction journal maker, a memoirist with arts, social, and political commentary. I post my thoughts, opinions, and feel honored that you are reading these words.

Despite my dislike of spelling, I wanted to be a journalist when I graduated from high school. After one year at the University of Minnesota’s School of Journalism I switched majors. I was disillusioned because of the sexism in the 1980s media. I studied Studio Arts but it is profoundly difficult to make a living as a full-time artist. I ended up graduating with a degree in Speech-Communications and working in the non-profit 501(c)3 field.

My heart is in helping the community but the pay is generally poor and funding unstable. I usually remain at a job for about two years before switching due to boredom. I ask too many questions. A combination of my forthright personality and insecure supervisors has lead to conflict and being fired. I have no desire to start my own business. I have ideas but it would be absolute agony to deal with the technical aspects of sales and accounting.

Language is powerful and precious. I couldn’t figure out how to read until I was in third grade due to mild dyslexia. Writing has always been a challenge. The words form in my mind but spelling is atrocious. Playing Scrabble is akin to torture. Thank goodness for spell-check. Whoever invented it should be rewarded with lots of good karma.

I really enjoy sharing my stories with the world. I am curious what draws you to this blog. Please leave a comment and join the other Followers, connect on Facebook and Twitter, too. If you write a blog, let me know the address and I’ll become your Follower. Thanks! This is my 150th posting.

Keep On Reading!
© 2012 Ima B. Musing

Thursday, February 2, 2012


Most recent review was posted January 2nd.

Anshu by Juliet S. Kono Four and a half worms
Sorrowful tale of wartime woes capturing the horrible impact on Japanese civilians. Haunting examination of the main character’s development. Brilliantly written prose about the struggle to survive. The final chapters could have been expanded a bit. I hope there will be a continuation of the story.

Driftless by David Rhodes Four worms
Bewitching language. Reminded me of home. Aptly describes many people I knew who reside in tiny towns or where the town is only a collection of memories. Beautiful descriptions but the book was a bit too crowded. It might have been a bit better to divide into two parts and flesh out some of the chapters. Stunning work.

Flash and Bones by Kathy Reichs Three and a half worms
Well written with humor in addition to the macabre scene at NASCAR. Romance was not nauseating as most female writers overdo this aspect of their novels. More details needed for the murderer. Odd that all the characters were assumed to be Caucasian unless indicated otherwise. Q and A at the end of the book was interesting; I hadn’t realized that this was the inspiration for a television series Bones. The tv character barely resembles the book, they should have given her a different name.

Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson Three and a half worms
Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws for Robotics are ignored by a frighteningly possible scenario. What do humans sacrifice by intensive reliance upon computers and machines? Author disregarded the entire Southern Hemisphere and there is always a rear facing guard. If the story had been structured a bit differently, it would have been more readable. Don’t give away the ending in the first chapter.

The Good Muslim by Tahmima Anam Two and a half worms
War is horrible and its terrible legacy continues to haunt the survivors. The final chapters were brilliant. Would have been better as a linear chronology instead of jumping in-between two time periods. Some chapters were unclear with the identity of the narrator, which made it very confusing.

Song of the Silk Road by Mingmai Yip Two and a half worms
Schmaltzy romance novel with bit of erotica. Main character could have used more development. Gaps were obvious. Why are the central characters always beautiful?

Libraries are awesome.
© 2012 Ima B. Musing