Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Dating Never Works...Until It does

Are you dating?
Have you ever?
Would you like to be?
Does the prospect sound . . . scary?
There is help.
Fun, funny, practical, conversational, direct, real, sympathetic, encouraging, helpful help.
From a young man who has done it.
Again and again and again and . . . you get the point.
Zack Oates has compiled the lessons gleaned from sincerely trying to find—not the perfect girl—but the one who will walk with him through everything that life can throw. Over 1000 times.
This book is like sitting down with a friend. A good friend who will point out your strengths. But also your faults.
How can you go wrong with chapters such as:
You Don’t Stink at Dating, You’re Just a Good Person
Dating Is like Passing Gas—If You Try Too Hard, It Hurts
Six Ways to Know That You Are the Straight Gay Best Friend
Kindness Is the Most Important Trait for Your List
Girls Go for Bad Boys Because Good Guys Are Idiots
Be You . . . But in Doses
Pepto-Bismol Your Relationship
True Love Isn’t a Fairy Tale—It Does Exist!
And finally (because it is going to work!): BONUS: Great Date Ideas

After reading Zack Oates’ utterly delightful book, Dating Never Works . . . Until it Does. 100 lessons from 1000 Dates, I almost want to go back and try it all over again.
Maybe I’ll just try his dating advice with Husby.
It’ll certainly be fun!

I was given an electronic copy of Dating Never Works...Until it Does in exchange for my honest opinion. Well, I honestly loved it!

About the book:
Tired of mixed messages, confusing signals, and of playing the dating game? Dating expert Zack Oates has experienced it all in this comical guide that will keep you happy and laughing. Perfect for audiences in dating situations of all kinds, these encouraging steps will help you find your perfect mate.
About the author:Zack Oates is an entrepreneur, hot tubber, and blogger. He has started six businesses, which have been featured in Wired Magazine, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. He has an MBA from BYU with an emphasis in innovation and a bachelor’s in advertising and marketing. He was voted one of the top 100 entrepreneurs by VSpring Capital and received first place at the largest university business plan competition in the world (over 800 teams participated). After living in Ukraine for two years serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he started a nonprofit in 2008 called Courage to Hope, which works with victims of domestic violence in Ukraine. In addition to being a finalist and then “Love Guru” on the Mormon Bachelor and Bachelorette, he has an inspiration and dating blog called Bowl of Oates.

Dating Never Works...Until It Does can be found at these fine stores:

Friday, February 10, 2017

I Do

“Well, I think you’re crazy, Man.”
I gave my co-worker a rather weak smile. “I think so, too.” I slid into my van, silently cursing cupid, love and every other word or emotion associated with the day, then put the van into gear and pulled out.
Considering it was such a busy day for those of us on the delivery end of things with our packages and flowers and—yes, even our hate mail—I had managed to hit a lull in the traffic and my trip to her building was quick and relatively painless.
Did I mention quick? In too short a time, I was parked and staring up at the four floors between she and me.
Four floors.
Could I make it?
Did I really want to?
I gripped the package in one hand and continued to stare. Then I took a deep breath.
Better get it behind me.
I climbed out of my van and entered the building.
There were a couple of well-dressed women waiting for the single elevator and I joined them just as the door slid open.
“Ha! Do you really think that?” the one said to the other, pressing the button for ‘2’.
I waited for her to back away, then pressed the ‘4’ and stared up at the lights above the door. Man, this elevator was slow.
“I truly do. That woman is a whack-job.”
“Well, at least she doesn’t report to you.”
I tried not to listen, but you know how it is when you are enclosed with strangers.
In a painfully slow elevator.
“Poor Rebecca. I think she is at her wits end.”
The other woman shrugged. “Well, Rebecca didn’t have that many wits to start with.”
Both women laughed as the door slid open. They disappeared and the doors closed again.
There was a grinding sound as the elevator lurched into action once more.
The light flashed behind the ‘3’ and I sighed. One more floor.
Just as the ‘4’ lit up, the elevator jerked to a sudden halt. I put a hand on the wall to brace myself, then stared at the doors, willing them to open.
They didn’t.
Suddenly, something poked between and wrenched them apart slightly. “Is anyone in there?” a disembodied female voice called out.
“Erm—yes,” I said.
“I’ll have you out in a jiffy!” The voice went on, muttering. “Stupid elevator. How could we be cursed with such a thing?” There was a pause. Then, “I ban you to the depths of hell!”
“What?” I gasped.
“Not you! This miserable *grunt* stupid *grunt* box! Of course it would die on THIS day. This day of heart break and misery!”
Whatever had been slid between the doors continued to wrench at them. Then something clanged and fingers appeared. Stubby, capable fingers.
Familiar fingers.
The doors finally opened enough that I was able to catch a glimpse of a wide, reddened face topped by thinning grey hair scraped into a bun at the back of her head.
White teeth were clutching the woman’s lower lip as thick arms strained to pry the doors apart. “Just. One. More.”
The doors were finally wide enough that I was able to duck and slip through. Or so I thought. When I was part way, her grip slipped and the doors slid shut.
“I’ll save you!” the woman shrieked. Releasing her hold, she grabbed my hand, braced her feet on the doors, and pulled.
I popped out--leaving at least one button and I think a bit of skin behind--and landed on my knees. She had fallen heavily onto her fairly broad backside. We stared at each other for a moment.
Then I held up the package still clutched in my left hand. “Erm—I have a d-delivery.”
She frowned and reached for it. “For me?”
I nodded.
“Where’s your clipboard?”
“Erm—I forgot it.”
She raised thinning eyebrows. “Forgot?”
I felt warm colour rush into my face. “It really wasn’t necess—”
She was already tearing the envelope open. A velvet ring box slid out into her hand. She opened it and looked at me, rubbery lips a round ‘o’ of surprise. “Bruce?”
“Erm—Clara will you—?”
I do.”

Want a little more of Bruce and Clara?
Bruce and Clara have visited us twice before. Here. And here.

Each month, Karen of Baking in a Tornado collects words. From fellow writers. Then she shuffles and re-distributes and voila! USE YOUR WORDS.
My words this month are: love ~ cupid ~ flowers ~ hate mail ~ heart break ~ I do
And they came from my friend, Dawn, of  Spatulas on Parade

Enjoying this? Read what the others have done with their assignment!
Baking In ATornado                        
Spatulas on Parade                   
Dinosaur SuperheroMommy              
The BerghamChronicles                  
Not That SarahMichelle                            

Thursday, February 9, 2017


What would the world be like if the children were in charge?
Daughter (hereinafter known as ‘Daughter’) and her five-year-old daughter (5YO) were discussing a mutual acquaintance.
“He always gets mad,” 5YO said. “He shouts at people and throws stuff. I don’t like it.”
“It is hard to be around people who lose their tempers,” Daughter agreed. “They make us uncomfortable.”
“They do!”
Both looked over at their husband/father seated nearby.
“Does Daddy ever get angry or make you uncomfortable?”
5YO shook her head. “He never gets mad. He just says, “Oh, my goodness!”
Daughter nodded. “We like to be around Daddy, don’t we?”
“Yup.” 5YO nodded. Then she got thoughtful. “Even though he does burp and toot a lot!”
Tooting over shouting.
She does have a point.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017


Her man and she were getting on in years, I’m forced to say,
The two of them were speaking with a friend the other day,
Explained to him that they had problems with their memory,
And he said writing notes would help the wife and her Husby.

They decided they would try it out, and write things faithfully,
Improve communication ‘tween he and his Honeybee.
I’m here to say the trial could be labelled a success,
For though they spurned their friend’s advice, they were happy, nonetheless.

When sitting watching ‘telly’ Husby got up for ice cream,
Politely asked his wife if she would like to share the dream,
She said, “I’d like a bowlful, Dear. But you should write it down.”
He shook his head, “No I’ll remember. What am I, a clown?”

She shrugged and said she wanted toppings on her frozen treat.
Some whipped cream and a cherry, both, would make her bliss complete.
“And please, my dear,” she said again. “You’ve simply got to write.”
He said, “I think that I’m detecting just a note . . . of spite.”

And off he went, quite message-less, into the kitchen there.
And she heard fridge and cupboard doors as something was prepared.
When he’d spent some time, she thought, an inordinate amount,
At last returned. She looked at him. “What have you been about?”

He handed her a plate containing ham and scrambled eggs.
She stared at it, then up at him and calmly crossed her legs.
And reaching for the plate, she said, “Your mind’s a sieve, at most!”
“And, my dear, you’re getting old, ‘cause you forgot the toast!”

Each month, our good friend, Karen, gives us challenges to share.
And we sweat hard in our attempt to get from here to there.
Our theme this month was 'family' with 'friends' somewhere nearby.
So, tell me now, just what you think? Because, you know, I tried!

And here are the others:
Karen of Baking in a Tornado: Hugs and Kisses
Dawn of Spatulas on Parade: Friends and Family "How I love ya"
Lydia of Cluttered Genius: Friends are family
Kristina Hammer of The Angrivated Mom: Influenced Insanity

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Water. And Soap

Okay, yes. This is different generation. But the dirt is the same . . .
For many, many years, Husby served as a scout leader.
Babysitting. With sticks.
And fire.
Their experiences were many and varied.
Their close calls?
Equally many and varied . . .
For one of their camps, Husby had chosen a spot in the mountains.
A stream fed by a slowly-melting glacier flowed musically past their camp.
A tiny trickle that begged the building of a dam.
Which, with great industriousness seldom seen by any of the boys’ families, was finally completed.
Water began to pool.
Now they had a pond.
Did I mention that said water issued directly from a glacier?
Right. I did.
Well, that meant it was cold.
Or more accurately: C.O.L.D.
Husby, ever the leader, told the boys they would need to use their new construction for the purposes of cleaning their camp-begrimed bodies.
They smilingly declined.
At the end of three days, his urging took on a more—insistent—note.
Let’s face it. Three days of camping with no soap and water can make even the least fastidious among us—umm—cringe.
And head upwind.
Husby was standing with one of his older scouts on the edge of the pond.
I should probably mention that Husby had already ‘done the dirty’—or the ‘clean’ as it probably should be called—when he had scrubbed himself shiny in the frigid waters the day before.
Now he was encouraging his boys to do the same. Admittedly, his ‘encouragement’ was couched in the form of: “Son, you have two choices. You can go in willingly. Or I throw you in.”
The young man’s response? “It was easy for you, Scouter. You have much more body fat than I do.”
I will close with these words: The young man only got one choice.

P.S. On a more positive note, he and his laundry were cleaned at the same time.

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Romance still wins!
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