Tuesday, July 28, 2015

paddle boarding

We had our wonderful family Christmas in July party on Sunday. The setting was beautiful...a huge grassy lawn and a sandy beach in a sheltered bay. We had the use of a big pontoon but we didn't use it much because the beach and swimming was so much fun. They had two paddle boards and Ella and I watched Youtube videos to learn how to do it. We were convinced we could do it.

But after watching several in our party take the plunge, we played it safe and sat while we paddled. We figured it was a lot harder than it looked.

Yesterday we went out again to make another attempt. At least we wouldn't be on film if we muffed it. Ella got up first and I followed soon after. Ta da! We were able to paddle around, get up and sit down pretty well. I got sassy and tried to go around the raft once, made the turn too sharp and went off the back. I only lost my toe ring...not hat, glasses, or earrings. I had to swim like crazy to catch the board and then had to hoist myself up on it again. No easy task. I think I should write a thank you note to Gunner, my trainer, for the bicep work!

Ella was a champ. She paddled herself around and when I got tired, she pushed me on the paddle board out to the raft and back many times. Sunday she was creeped out by the weeds but she overcame her fears and was swimming like a fish yesterday.

If the weather clears up, we're going out again today.

I think one of the reasons I have been slacking on my blog is that I spend too much time on Facebook. Since I started two skirmishes this week, both related to gun control and one tangentially related to abortion, I think it's time to take a break. Especially with the upcoming election season. I don't need to be made crazier by political BS.

I've told this story many times over the years, but I basically quit watching the news on television after the OJ Simpson white Suburban slow chase down the freeway in California. I decided then that television news had nothing but a nasty impact on my mental health. Once in a while I miss something important, but most of the time it doesn't matter. I only want to know if the bad guys are coming down my street.

I don't need to know that people who use that very controversial flag as their profile picture and pick fights with me on Facebook over gun control, actually live in this community. He made hateful remarks and told me to leave the country. Really? I don't need this in my life. I went through and unfollowed everything that is remotely educational or political. I now follow the Audubon Society and the League of Minnesota Poets. Not much controversy there.

I found this article to be really helpful in my thinking about how morons think. Any goofy thing they think, they make into an arguable point...it's their opinion and therefore is valid. Nope. It's not your opinion, you are just wrong.

I unquit my job at Lone Star. When I went in to work on Saturday night, Abby asked me if, after this weekend, I would be willing to work Friday lunches only. I said yes, because I really didn't want to quit. I love working there but nights are a different sort of cat. People can be a little moody and unpredictable. I like a calm and less stimulating environment.

I'm also considering subbing a day or two here and there. Maybe in Cleveland or Nicollet. I only said considering.

Well, I have piddled away several hours shopping for toe rings, earrings, compression sleeves, and other random junk. Time to get vertical.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


I meant to write more in July. Sigh. I don't know where the time goes. I was better in June when I wrote 8 times. But July...boo hiss. This is only my third post.

I haven't had much gumption this summer. Since I had shingles, it seems to me. Judy, my oncology nurse, says maybe my immune system is a little wonky. I love those medical terms. By all measures that they currently have, all is well but she says there is much we don't know. So, be lazy, she says. Sit on the patio and read, she says. I can do that, I say.

I did have a spurt of energy this morning. I tidied the house, did the dishes, took some stuff to the basement, and made a nice breakfast. We had a weird minor disaster yesterday. I came home from work to find half and half spilled all over the counter. It had been there long enough that things were stuck in it. I cleaned that all up and inquired of Regis when he came home if he knew how it happened. Nope, he said. This morning, I opened the cupboard door and there is half and half spilled all over the inside of the bottom shelf and all over the inside of the door. Clearly, aliens are coming into our house and making themselves at home.

I have an impending sense of doom about my upcoming medical appointments in August and September. I have a Zometa infusion on the 5th of August. I hate those. The first time, I had terrible side effects for about a week, terrible aches and pains but unable to sleep. The second time, nothing. I am hoping for the best this time. On the 17th, I have a mammogram, blood work, see the nurse, see the doc, and have a bone scan. Probably one or two other things I have forgotten, as I'm not good at cancer details. I just show up and they shuffle me around. In September, I have my annual physical. The treatment for breast cancer increases your chances of other cancers...I forget where...so that is worrisome, too. Sigh.

I saw this cool bug one day in Mankato. It was flying around in the sun and looked like a tiny drone. It's called a dogbane beetle. It has some disgusting life habits which I will not share at this time. Pretty though, huh?

We're having our Christmas in July pontoon party this Sunday. We had been remiss in making plans so one day this week, I put out the call on Facebook, looking for a resort or private party who might rent to us. One of my friends, bless her heart, offered the use of their beach and pontoon for the day. So many good people in the world. We like to do this instead of buying lots of stuff at Christmas time. All day party in the sun, big picnic, lots of laughs. It's a hoot.

Yesterday at the Treaty Site, we had some visitors who taught me some things about the Dakota Conflict of 1862. I started thinking about how little I knew about this piece of Minnesota history. I bought a book and started reading it. Then I realized how little I knew about what happened right here in St. Peter. Regis and I drove out to the rock that commemorates the signing of the treaty. The mosquitoes were so bad you could barely stand still to read the signs. I took a few fast photos and we beat cheeks out of there with a plan to go back in the fall. Such a pretty place with such a tragic history.

Well, that's all for now. Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

things that annoy me in no particular order redux

Several years ago, I wrote a post about the things that irritated me at the time. Somehow, writing about them took away some of their power to make my skin crawl. Maybe it will work this time, too.

1. A busy schedule. Regis says this is part of life and I used to do it all the time. Now, if I have to do more than two things in a day, I am annoyed and feel my stress rise. Yesterday, I had nothing to do so I spent the day in a complete state of torpitude. (Torpitude (adj): sluggish; inactive; dull; apathetic) I read, I played Scrabble, I looked at Facebook, mostly in a prone position in a dark room with a white noise machine. Today, I have had to be 5 places and it isn't even one o'clock.

2. People who drive fast. If the speed limit is 65 mph, why am I constantly being passed as if I am standing still? Frankly, if they lowered the speed limit to 45 mph, I would be quite content.

3. People who want to pick fights with me over political opinions. I have started issuing a disclaimer: This is my world view. It does not have to be yours so don't bother stating your opinion if it is different than mine. Just scroll on past and keep your yap shut.

4. Online garage sales. I have spent two days waiting for people to buy things. They don't show up when they say they will. They say they will buy something, then wait....they guess they won't. One guy could not be bothered to come and get the thing he said he would buy but when out of frustration I said I was giving it away instead, he could make it there in ten minutes. And he pulled up in a very expensive pick-up. I had to go in the house and let Regis deal with him. I have since quit all those silly sites. My junk will go to the curb from now on. Who needs aggravation from assholes?

See? I thought I had a long list but I got to #4 and I am out of irritations.

Monday, July 06, 2015

sweet weekend and the season of music on the patio

We had such a nice weekend. Saturday morning, I woke up early and went with Ella to drive a golf cart in the July 4th parade. Our parade in St. Peter draws a crowd of 10,000 people. It is the biggest parade around and I love it because everyone gets in the spirit with red, white, and blue costumes, hats, sunglasses...even the babies and dogs are costumed!

It's followed by a big party in the park with grilled chicken and hot dogs and beer, live music, our friend, Michael Callahan, as the master of ceremonies, and much entertainment. I didn't partake of that this year, having been over-stimulated by the parade. Regis and I went to Betty and Tom's where we enjoyed an afternoon and evening of sipping cold beers and partaking of fine food and the telling of many stories. Much laughter ensued.

Elliot joined us on the patio for the evening and we stayed up long enough to watch the fireworks. You have to see fireworks with small children. They are awed by the spectacle and it's fun to see it through their eyes.

Sunday was the 63rd birthday of the patriarch of our family, Regis. His boys came over to stand around on the driveway while they drank coffee and did some kind of auto project. You know, pawing the ground, snorting , and fixing stuff.

When they left, we drove to Mankato to pick up the birthday gift of a new, red Kamado grill. It's like the green egg grills only cheaper. I'm trying to sell the old one on an online garage sale site which is such a pain in the ass it makes me wish I had just put it on the curb.

We sat on the patio for a while in the afternoon, then joined my friend Kathryn and her daughters at Hobber's for a cold beer and some live music from Turpentine and Wine. Then we drifted over to Patrick's on Third for some Frye. (They used to call themselves Fish Fry but when people came and found out it was a band and not a fish fry, they were angry. Only in Minnesota.) I loved their versions of a few songs more than I liked the originals. Chuck E's in Love, for example, a song I used to loathe. I love their version. Here's a sample of their work, Blister in the Sun. Stop at the end of that tune, though...I still hate Squeeze Box. 

We danced, we laughed, we reveled in the summer sun. Such a beautiful day.

Friday, July 03, 2015

landscapes of the heart

This is what the sun looked like this morning about 7:30. We've had some very hazy sunshine the past week and I hear it's because of the fires in Canada.

Regis takes at least two walks a day but often doesn't take the camera because he is occupied with Gus. So, if I don't go along, I miss out on some great shots. Yesterday, the mist and fog bubbled over the valley. It's the thick white layer between the tops of the trees and the ridge in the distance.

This is the sunset from last night. Photo taken with the phone but still beautiful.

We had an interesting experience last night. Regis met an old fellow on the bus a few days ago. His name is David and he turned 89 today. Three weeks ago, he had a car accident (when he entered a round-about for the first time) and fractured his arm and totaled his car. He couldn't find a way to get his belongings out of the wrecked car at the body shop so Regis volunteered. When he found out it was David's birthday, he invited him to have dinner with us and what a delightful guest he was. He has an amazing memory and told stories about meeting his wife 50 years ago, enlisting in the army and serving in the Korean War, and learning to drive on the gravel roads of South Dakota. He is quite a character.

This is my 4th of July cooking: homemade potato salad, Challah bread, and apple pie. I let the crust on the right side get a little dark so I hid it with a holiday towel. Ha!

Here's a throw-back photo...Zoey watching the fireworks a couple years ago. Celebrate the 4th by seeing the world through the eyes of a child. And be safe.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

summer morning and musing about the 4th of July

Yesterday morning was so lovely that even though I gathered up my grocery bags, my list, and my intentions to shop...I never made it. I went for a walk on the Gustavus campus instead, then went up by the hospital to look at the wild flowers, and then to Whiskey River for breakfast and bird viewing.

The flower beds at Gustavus are lovely. The cannas there are blooming already and are such vibrant colors. They look like tropical birds.

By following a couple of Facebook photo sharing sites, I have gotten interested in editing. The picture below is the original, probably not set up very well, but the next two are edited versions.

This is my view of the valley as I walked near the hospital. The minute I opened the car door, I could smell the prairie grass, the warm sun, and that earthy smell you get in the heat of summer.

I was awake too early this morning. As we get older, different things disturb our sleep. For Regis, it is light. If I turn on my iPad to read, he wakes up. For me, it's sound. About 3 am, one of his alarms went off...and he has many alarms, some of too high a pitch for him to even hear. If a thing has an alarm on it, he sets it.

I harvested my lettuce crop yesterday. It had a fine crop of tiny birch trees in among the lettuce so it all had to go. Good thing the lettuce grew faster and taller than the trees so I was able to cut the lettuce right at the tree tops. Don't want to be eating birch trees.

Here are some more experiments with photo editing.

Warhol effect

Ella and I are going to drive a golf cart in the 4th of July parade and sell water for the Chamber of Commerce. I think it will be a hoot. We'll get to see the parade but won't have to sit in the hot sun for hours. She is trying to get me to let her drive the cart. I said she needed a license and she wondered if her school ID would work. Nope. I don't think so.

I have some Independence day apparel coming in the mail tomorrow. A flag tunic, a long scarf, a hat, and sunglasses. Of course, I do. Ella will be similarly costumed. We love holidays.

I don't know what it is about parades that I find appealing. I usually hate noise and crowds, but I can't resist a parade. There are elements I don't like...the vans blasting radio music and the fertilizer trucks, but the whole, I love. The bands, the queens, the Shriner cars, the politicians although they have been banned from our parade which I think is disgusting since Independence Day is to honor our independence of which they are a part. Our theory is that the Chamber is a conservative organization, they banned politicians because the DFL is strong in our county and they make a great parade showing. I wish I had a photo of the lone grump guy driving a pick-up for the GOP. So sad.

Some other favorite photos from parades past.

I always get weepy right at this point.

This is a poignant moment in the parade.

Grace Engesser was the Grand Marshall in 2006.

We can have this apparently, but not politicians. Hmmm....

I love this!

The shirtless guy in the background is in almost every picture. Dude, put on a shirt!

Love bagpipes and men in kilts!

The drum line...a proper finish!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

happy saturday

So many things to celebrate this weekend! Elliot spent a few days here this week and we had a lot of fun. He got to play with his cousin, Alex several times, we spent time with my old friends, and on Saturday, we celebrated Patriarch's Day. We call it Patriarch's Day because we have men in our circle who might be the father, but who are important in our lives. We honor them all.

April had to work so Peter and Zoey came to the party. Peter had taken Zoey to Art Splash in Mankato and waited in line for an hour in the hot sun so she could get her face painted like Hello Kitty. Awwww...so sweet.

We had a small problem in the kitchen when the pork juice cooked over and created a large greasy cloud of smoke. Regis took a beer and a cigar and headed for the patio. Smart man. Tom and Betty to the rescue...they got the pork shifted to another pan, and cleaned up most of the mess. 

After dark last night, Regis and I went outside and saw this spectacular sight. We didn't take the photo, NASA did, but it's the brilliant triangle of Venus, Jupiter, and the crescent Moon. Beautiful!

This is my dad, about 60 years ago. Happy Patriarch's Day to all of you dads, grandpas, uncles, and men who make our families strong!