Sunday, December 31, 2006

More snow pictures!

This is a view down our street about 3:00 this afternoon. Pretty pathetic when we have to brag about ten inches of snow in Minnesota. Check out my website to see more snow pictures. [] I bet we have 10-12 inches on the ground. It started out as wet and heavy snow and now is lighter and coming faster. Getting our pansy-ass dogs out in it is another story.


Yippee!!! After days of rain, we finally have snow. It's the kind of wet, heavy snow that sticks to tree branches so it's beautiful.

Man and His Dog

This is a picture of my handsome husband and our mostly blind dog, Kramer. Regis performed a wedding last night at the Butler House [] a turn-of-the-century English-style mansion in Mankato. While he did the wedding, I went to Barnes and Noble and looked at sale stuff and calendars, then, all dressed up, we went to Hermie's for a cheeseburger. The elegant and the mundane in one night.

Our plans for New Year's Eve were to watch Ella so Bob and Emily could go out, a rare occurence for young parents, but Ella had to go to Urgent Care and has a double ear infection and possibly strep throat so we will have to amuse ourselves. If the weather continues this way, Regis may be so glad to get home that he doesn't want to leave the house. It's been raining for two days and now has turned to wet, heavy snow.


Saturday, December 30, 2006

Post-Christmas/Pre-New Year

We survived the holiday madness so far, with just a few events to go. Regis is doing a wedding tonight at the Butler House in Mankato, tomorrow night we're watching the New Year arrive with Ella, and Monday we're going to Ella's 1st birthday party. We have to go back to work to get some rest!

The weather here has been abysmal. It's about forty every day, cloudy, and the last few days we've had a relentless rain. On our way back from Canby yesterday we listened to a book called The Worst Hard Time, about the Dust Bowl of the 1930's. By the time we got home, I'd have enough of all that gloom and doom. Peter has been able to work at Mount Kato but he says it hasn't been busy and they send a lot of people home. I suppose nobody thinks of skiing when it looks like April outside.

We had a good time in Canby with Mom, although we narrowly escaped an incident with a bad jar of pickled herring. I know some people think there is no such thing as a good jar of pickled herring, but that's beside the point. The jar wasn't sealed, the herring was soft, and Mom and I each had a bite before we realized it. I worried that I would have to be hospitalized with botulism or worse but there were no ill effects that we could tell. We managed to hit all the stores in Canby that had after-holiday sales and we had a beer at Parrot Bay. Their fryer fan was broken though so we had to sit in a gray haze of smoke that smelled like they'd been cooking weasels.

I'm puttering around the house today, filling big plastic containers with Christmas crap. It seems like that stuff multiplies every year. I didn't intend to put it all away today but once you start, it's hard to know where to stop. I think I'll leave the tree up because God knows we need the light. Every year, I complain a little about the mess and the work and the cooking, but I really enjoy Christmas and I'm sad when it's over.


Wednesday, December 27, 2006

After Christmas

Boy, that blew by like the wind. It seems like one day you're thinking about getting ready for Christmas and the next thing you know, it's over. Finally today, I can sit in my new nightgown and drink a second cup of coffee and maybe even go back to bed. I have nothing to do all day.

One thing to do. Tiffany forgot her glasses. She never forgets things. I don't know where she gets her organizational skills...certainly not from me. When she comes home, she makes a list of what to bring and when she gets here, she lines it all up in order of when she needs it. Regis and I, battling old age and full brains, are constantly searching for things to help us remember the things we forget. I bought him a gizmo for Christmas that looks like a remote control. There are eight little colored tags you attach to things you lose frequently like iPod case, keys, glasses. When one of these items goes missing, you push its button on the remote and the item emits a flashing light and beeping noise. Conceivably, a guy could sit in the living room and locate all his stuff in minutes. At least, we're hoping that's how it works. All you nay-sayers, I know what you're thinking...what happens when you lose the remote? There's a holder that you attach to the refrigerator. If you don't return the remote within six minutes, it emits a beeping noise and flashing light to remind you. We'll keep you updated.

We had a wonderful Christmas Eve with all the kids here: Tiffany, Peter, Bob and Emily, Ella, Regis and Amber. We had lots of good food and a great time. Regis and I spent Christmas Day with Betty and Tom and their new dog, Gonzo. He's a five-month old pug and such a lap dog. The minute you sit down, he drapes himself over your lap like a fuzzy blanket. But no, I am not tempted to get another dog. See previous posts regarding dog pee, poop, and vomit.

Regis left for work early today because there was freezing rain on the weather map. I told him to drive slow because I'd be mad if he had an accident or went in the ditch. I think he is genetically incapable of driving less than 85 mph on a highway so I don't hold out much hope. Who buys a bed two days after Christmas anyway? Maybe the relatives complain and people are moved by guilt to buy a new bed.

Bye for now.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve

We think the new dog food...purchased at the vet clinic because we didn't want to brave the grocery store's holiday what is moving the dogs' bowels at such a rapid rate. Apparently they are not accustomed to the high fiber content. This is not a problem we should have this weekend. It also does not explain the peeing thing.

We have a beautiful sunny day for Christmas Eve. I've been in the kitchen for a while already...Regis not far behind, doing dishes, running for things I've forgotten, doing the manly heavy lifting.

Last night we did one of those blended family dinner gigs. Steve and Brenda, Brenda's daughter Jenny and husband Christian, Bill and Diann, and their son Joe who is Tiffany's age, Regis, Tiffany, and me. We went to Dino's in North Mankato where they make wonderful thin crust pizza and serve, as some of our younger friends have noticed, beer in 40 ounce bottles. Bring your own paper bag. It was a nice time but so strange to see Tiffany and Joe all grown up.

Well, I'm off to the kitchen again. This morning I'm making spiced nuts (organic, free-range nuts from the coop which cost a small fortune), potato rolls, and a fruit compote. I love to cook but wish I had a sous chef and a cleaning crew like Emerill does.

If you're waiting for a Christmas card from us; they are coming. Maybe next week.


Saturday, December 23, 2006

Dead Dog

By the time you read this, that dog might be dead. Today, I walked into the living room with the phone in my hand. Bert sauntered up beside me and lifted his leg to pee all over the Christmas tree skirt. I gave him a gentle kick in the ass as I uttered a stream of cuss words worthy of a sailor... and he turned to pee on my leg. I put the phone down and went to the back yard to dig a small dog-shaped hole in the dirt.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Two days and counting...

Tiffany got home last night about 8:30. Bob and Emily and Ella were here tasting cookies. Ella liked the ginger cookies best. We made the ginger cookies, peanut blossoms with chocolate stars, and chex mix.
This morning Regis and I got up early and went to Schmidt's to pick up the prime rib roast. It's too tempting...we came home with pickled herring, summer sausage, and ribs, too. We had breakfast across the street at the diner that's under new ownership. Great breakfast but not fast. Good thing we weren't in a hurry. We mosied down to Mankato to get candy cane ice cream at Cold Stone for my dessert. Then to Kind's for dog food and the bank. Then home for more baking.
Ella came at 12 so Emily could have lunch unaccompanied by baby. We managed to get some baking done...English toffee, peppermint almond bark, and more chex mix. I mixed up some Swedish butter cookies but didn't bake them yet. I'm tired of cooking and doing dishes.
I can't believe the amount of food it takes to do a holiday. Holy crap. I have to make another run to the coop tomorrow for the last minute things...potatoes, beans, and other fresh stuff. Then I better be done.
No big plans for tomorrow. I'll make the dessert but mostly relax and do last minute things.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Winter Solstice

The shortest day of the year. Don't you love it? We have about 8 hours of daylight to start with which is bad enough but now we have clouds all the time. I think that adaptation that bats have...night vision goggles.

I've been slowly doing the Christmas preparations. I went to the grocery store the other night, bought everything on my list for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and realized on my way home that we still didn't have any food to eat between now and then. Good thing the kids are grown up or the county would be knocking at my door. Regis and I are doing some baking tonight. He thinks he wants to make krumkake. Uff da. I told him he had to read up on it and be responsible for the ingredients. He doesn't realize that those damn things take six hours to make and you end up with a little pile of cookies that break when you look at them. He is constantly amazed at the vast array of food Norwegians can make from flour, butter, sugar, and cream.

Tiffany is coming home tonight and she's so much fun to cook for...she's such a good eater! She loves to try things and she's adventurous. She's recovered nicely from her break-up with Connor...doing things she hasn't done before like taking a cab by herself. She'll be here to help with the baking and cooking and maybe even some last minute wrapping and cleaning. All the kids will be here Sunday. Peter has to run the chair lift until 3 but we'll send someone to fetch him after that. He doesn't like to miss a big meal.

One of our classes at school is performing the play Scrooge today. That should entail some real chaos. I was the audience at the dress rehearsal yesterday. It's really quite a thing to get ten mentally impaired kids with every kind of psychiatric diagnosis to wear costumes and read the words of Charles Dickens. I'm not saying they're ready for off-Broadway, but I had a tear in my eye at the end. (And I think I'll get that teacher a big gift certificate for liquor.)

Remember the solstice tonight at 6:21 p.m.!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Sunday Night Whup-Ass

After a weekend of partying, traveling, and living high on the hog, we're in our jammies at 7:30. We had mostly a wonderful time in Rochester with the main exception being that the hotel was full of ten-year old hockey players and their mostly negligent parents. Are those people comatose when the kids are rampaging up and down the halls all night? And the bed sucked but we expect that after sleeping on fine mattresses for all the years Regis has sold beds. I knew it was bad when I came out of the bathroom and Regis had peeled all the sheets back so he could look at the mattress label.

We got to Rochester about 9:30, I did some shopping at Target, then met Steve and Sherry for lunch. We don't see each other much unless it's at a family melee so it was nice to visit with them for a while. Steve suggested I drive to Mantorville in the afternoon so I could visit the shops so I did that. They have a shop that makes hand-made, double-dipped chocolates! We're going to save them for Christmas Eve. Our dinner later Saturday night was wonderful. The Hubbell House is charming and the food is delicious. We had crab cakes, seafood melt, mushrooms Rockefeller, and scallops. We were soporific by the end of the meal. I did more shopping with Sherry Sunday and spent some time at their house. What a nice weekend. It felt like a little vacation even though Regis had to work.

So, back to work tomorrow. What a cruel world.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

A reason to bemoan the warm weather

Peter called last night to tell me he worked at Mt. Kato Wednesday, he is working there the next four days, then working at Subway on Sunday, then back to Mt. Kato all next week. Yes, I thought...a fully employed child! My dreams have been fulfilled. It rained all night last night and today it was fifty degrees. So much for full employment.

Regis and I are going to Rochester for the weekend. He has to work both days but his Christmas party is Saturday night at the Hubbell House in Mantorville.
Check it out: []
Here's an excerpt from their website:

In 1856, the present three-story structure was built and it immediately became an important stopping place along the trail from the Mississippi to St. Peter. The well-worn stone threshold at the southwest corner of the building displays immutable evidence of the popularity of the original saloon. It was here that mail couriers entertained westbound travelers with blood-curdling tales of their daily encounters with the natives.

Down through the years the guest list grew. As we enjoy this glimpse of history we see a “Who’s Who?” of frontier days. Senator Alexander Ramsey, General U.S. Grant, Brother Bishop Whipple, Horace Greeley, Ole Bull, and W.W. Mayo were but a few of the many guests who took their relaxation in the pleasant facilities provided at the Hubbell House.

Regis may have to work, but I'm going to be on vacation. We have a room at the Americinn in Kasson, I might have lunch with cousin Steve and wife Sherry, and I might go to TJ Maxx and More. I'm taking a book and my Christmas cards and I'm going to relax. Work has been very stressful of my friends said today that we all get to be an asshole for one day before Christmas. What a lovely sentiment. We laughed. Life with EBD kids.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Why young people have babies

We love Ella dearly but we know why people have babies in their twenties and not in their fifties.BECAUSE THEY ARE A LOT OF WORK. I have forgotten so many details like how you go to the bathroom or eat anything when you are alone with a baby. How do you just put them down when they don't stay in one place? How do you carry all the stuff they need? We picked her up after school today and took her to Whiskey River (the restaurant part...not the bar) for dinner. She ate little bits of ham and fruit and cheese toast and made a huge mess. She loved the lights and the other diners. When we were done eating we went to visit Tom and Betty. They love Ella, too, and had her dancing, playing music, feeding Cheerios to the dog, and smearing fruit all over the glass-top tables. Betty was captivated by her and talked to her in what she described as a "cave man" voice. Ella...toy. Ella has forsaken crawling and walks everywhere like a little drunken sailor. She can even turn around mid-stream and go back the other way. She seems to learn a new thing about once an hour...where her nose and eyes are, how to blow kisses, how to cover her mouth when she's really amazing. We had a wonderful time but now it's 8:30 and we're ready for bed.
The sun came out today for a couple hours. We were stunned and had to shield our eyes from the bright light. Not to 3:00 the clouds were back.

Monday, December 11, 2006

This weather sucks

It's about 40 degrees and rainy today. It looks like the moors and feels like we're in a giant cloud lurking on the ground. I hate it. Weather should be hot in the summer and then proceed gradually and consistently downhill to the cold temps of winter that I remember from my childhood. This abnormal warmth in December is creepy.
I had a lovely surprise when I took my garbage out today. Some creighton has been walking his elephant down my street and apparently lets him crap right along the edge of my yard. I was so disgusted. I picked up about 12 piles in small plastic bags then left the bags right where the piles had been . It looks like I have been carpet bombed with small orange plastic bags. I can see how people get crazy about things like this. I want a webcam! I want to find out who this moron is!
Then a woman named Marvella came to the door to take a picture for our new home owner's insurance policy. I've had the same agent for twenty-five years and it's painful for me to change. I don't like these constant reminders of it. Can't they just do it and be done with it? Do I really need to sign something every day? I sent Marvella into the backyard with her tiny camera and told her to be careful of the dog bombs.
Last night I started reading The Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson. I read about a time when he was kid and his mom talked him into wearing lime green capri pants to school. I laughed so hard I started to wheeze. I had to get off the couch...I was apoplectic. It's a very funny book...the Marley and Me of this season. Of course, anything by Bill Bryson is a hoot.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Old Farts Play with Technology and Christmas at the Treatment Center

We get such a kick out of technology. Regis is more serious about it than I am, maybe because he understands it and I think it's like airplanes flying and thermoses that keep hot things hot and cold things cold. How do it know?
I was sitting in the living room the other night and I heard Bob's voice coming out of Regis' computer. Then there's a little picture that appears of Bob and Ella. It's a program called Skype and a wireless webcam. How strange. Ella can hear me when I talk but she can't figure out where I am so she points into the kitchen. I think it's weird and won't talk anymore to will confuse her! But now I have it on my camera...and Regis and I tried talking to each other across the room and we laughed and laughed. What a hoot. Now he tells me about a Woot-off. My word. It would be so easy to fall behind and never catch up. I have email, a couple websites, a blog, and I know how to download music and transfer files and send digital pictures. I think I do pretty well for someone who remembers crank telephones and typewriters.
It's colder than hell here. It was zero this morning with a wind chill of minus fifteeen. I had a hard day at school which seems to fit. Kids in treatment centers are not generally happy over the holidays and they tend to make life miserable for their care takers. One of our students, a particularly troublesome one, is leaving soon under sad circumstances. I cried on my way home because even though this is a good thing in some ways...he is going to a place where he'll be safe... he's had such a tragic life.
Regis brought Kramer out to see me at school today. He went right in the back room and pooped on the floor. What a dog. Did you hear about the agnostic dyslexic insomniac? He stayed up all night wondering if there was a dog. It's my favorite joke.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Spawn of Satan

Here he is, Bertrand Russel, Spawn of Satan. See those glowing eyes? That's not red-eye from the camera, folks. I got home about four o'clock. This thirteen-year old dog leaps four feet in the air, skates across the kitchen floor, and nearly bowls me over to get at his dog chow. I let him out in the yard and he takes the fastest poop known to man (I swear, he doesn't even slow down) so he can get in and get a treat. Later, I'm sitting in the office when I hear this rustling noise in the kitchen. He has discovered a package of bathroom cleaning wipes which he has torn the corner from so now they're leaking all over the floor. I clean up that mess and go sit down again. I hear him in the living room and when I investigate, he's on the table digging in my cookbooks. IN MY COOKBOOKS! The dog can't read! What is he doing...looking for residual butter? Sunday I was taking a bath and I could hear him in the kitchen digging in something, then he would march past the bathroom door with something in his mouth. We know what he's like so we're careful not to leave food around but he did this about four times and I thought I better get out and investigate. He has discovered, in the broom closet, a bag of treats, way in the back. He's managed to climb over the brooms, mops, buckets, and cleaning supplies to rip a small hole in the bag. He carries the dog treats out, one at a time to the living room to eat. If I hadn't gotten out of the tub, he would have gone through the whole bag. He's a piece of work, this one. When I'm home, he wants to go out about once an hour. Either his kidneys are bad or he thinks there's an outside chance I'll give him a treat when he comes in. I wonder who's trained or Bert.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Cold December Night

Hell. It's colder than hell here. And dark. We're approaching the shortest day of the year which means you can hardly get to work and back in daylight. It's disgusting. And the daylight that we do have has been so cloudy that it's like being in the damn Arctic. Last week, there was an armed robbery at our local liquor store. No wonder.
On a happier note, I'm going to TJ Maxx tomorrow as soon as they open. A co-worker of mine came to school today in a coat that made me green with envy. It was a long faux fur dream with a big faux mink hood. I loved it. To make it even more perfect she paid 60 dollars for it at TJ Maxx, my favorite store. She's a teeny tiny size 6 so there isn't much hope, but I have to check it out.
We went to our favorite watering hole after school. The service was terrible but we did plan our Christmas party. There are so few of us anymore that we camp in the corner of the bar and have them bring us plates of appetizers: mini-corn dogs, mini-tacos, cheese logs, and onion rings. It's culinary hell. Hey, that fits with the season.