Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Snow and the small dog redux

For our friends and family in distant parts, here is the latest weather forecast:

Wednesday, February 28, 2007 6:56 pm

Winter storm warning for the metro...blizzard watch southwestern MN....blizzard warnings posted near Duluth. Get ready for a wild 36 hours of snowy, windy fun! It won't be much fun on the highways later tonight and Thursday.

Potential for 8-14" of snow with this next storm....icy mix for a few hours from the metro south and east Thursday may keep amounts down a chance of 12-20" just north/west of the metro, from Willmar to St. Cloud to Brainerd and Mille Lacs area.

Conditions slowly improve on Friday as snow begins to taper, but blowing and drifting problems will remain, especially outside the metro area. Get out and play in all that new snow this weekend...highs may reach the mid 30s next week.

Last night I noticed that Bert seemed to be in some distress when he was on the couch lying on the faux fur. His heart seemed to be pounding and his breathing seemed labored. I didn't want to pay for a chest x-ray the last time he was in for a check-up but I didn't want the pathetic little dog to suffer either. So, Regis took him to the Kind Vet Clinic for the chest x-ray today. A hundred and a half dollars later, Bert has been diagnosed with an enlarged heart and fluid in the lungs. He was prescribed Enalapril and Lasix. Regis takes the same pills so I suggested he just shave a little off his for Bert. No he said, Bert's pills are really cheap. Long pause. Then maybe you should take his pills I suggested. At least we declined the five hundred dollar echocardiogram.

Monday, February 26, 2007

News Items

There may be some less personal details (the signature) on our blog lately. I started a work-related blog and it's hard to have one set of details for one and another for the other. I just hope I hope I don't mix up the other stuff and write about the nude tequilla parties in our hot tub on the special education review site.

Now, what was the other thing? Oh, yeah. I enabled the comment thing. I didn't think anyone read our blog so it didn't matter. Now that I know we are so widely read, we would love to hear what our public thinks.

And don't you love that poem by Robin Sarah over there? Riveted?


Midwest Macho

God help me but I love moving snow. Teresa really didn't do it justice in her post but I enjoy running the snow blower almost as much as I like drinking beer. Why? Well I think it has something (everything) to do with all those years I lived In Philadelphia. We didn't own a snow blower when I was growing up and I learned to resent the snow shovel as a tool of Satan. Worse yet I resent the fact that my father could have made life so much easier. But that is a different subject. When I moved to Minnesota that was one of my first acquisitions. It was a little single stage that never ran right but it got me through winter #1. When that died I went out and bought myself a White 2 stage with all the trimmings down to the halogen headlamp. I cranked that sucker up, hit the snow running and I never looked back. Hell, six forward gears and it will throw snow 35 feet straight up!
That brings me back to the point of this drivel. Moving snow is a religious experience. We don't have a lot of space to pile it up so every new snowfall has to be carefully considered as to where it can be moved. By this point in the winter there is typically a good pile on both sides of the driveway, along the boulevard, and in the front yard. It is at this time of the year that it takes a bit longer as there is more thinking to do. It is also this time of the year that when I finish the work I can stand there and admire my cunning and forethought as the piles all fall into place. That feeling cannot be described. Is it like taking a bear with a bowie knife? Is it like driving a race car at 200 miles an hour? Is it like the feeling one gets when he's just cleaned everyone out at the poker table? Well, no, it doesn't feel like any of those, but it a feeling of accomplishment that is very satisfying. I saw a guy standing in his driveway yesterday. Clad in a flannel shirt and a bomber cap he cut a Randy Quaid Christmas Vacation like figure there in his driveway.With one hand on his hip and the other on his shovel eyes cast outward I knew just how he was feeling. It is an attitude I describe as Midwest Macho.

Hasta La Vista, Baby

I took the job in March 2001. It was a retail job in a furniture store, one of the nicer ones in town. Over the years retail has been good to me. For the longest time I used to joke that it was one way to meet the town one at a time.

Overall the experience has been good and in general people are great. I have found that if I am friendly, fair, and courteous I receive that in kind. On day when I am “up” people seems to want to hand their wallets to me all day long, and on the days when I am “off” or tired I can’t give merchandise away.

I’ve been working in an upscale Sleep Store anow I am leaving. By coincidence it will be March once again though this time it is 2007. I am burned out. I am weary of the travel, 90 miles one way, and of the uneven paychecks. I got over the rejection factor a long time ago (my favorite joke is that I have heard the word NO so many times today that I have to go through the drive thru at McDonald’s and ask the girl working there if she’d like to go out so that I can hear it just one more time) and I try not to take it personally; but after 6 years I do.

So I am getting out of your hair Mrs. and Mr. Shopper. I am saying “bye-bye” for the last time on March 4th. There won’t be any bells or whistles, no brass bands, and no Bon Voyage cake. The truth is that no matter who you are, come tomorrow if you aren’t there, somebody else will be. So, there will be no gifts for me, or praise, or tears. As they say I will leave not with a bang but a whimper.

But I would like to leave you with a gift, dear reader, as you will all be customers of some big ticket item sooner or later. The gift I would like to give you is a simple lesson about how to act towards your salesperson. I know that there will be endless suggestions from others about what I have left out, but these are nearest and dearest to me.

1. Please drop the “Just looking” from your vocabulary. I know why you are here, you know why you are hear. I am only here to help you make an informed decision.
2. Listen carefully to the sales people you meet. After hearing a few talk about the same type product you will become an expert as to figuring out which one of us is full information and which is full of hot air.
3. Don’t get insulted or feel pressured when I try to close the sale. If I have done my job and made a great presentation and have built value into the product I deserve the right to ask for the sale.
4. If you have a problem after the merchandise is delivered please don’t call or stop in screaming at me from the word go. You’ve got a problem and you need a friend to help you out. Treat me like dirt and I can guarantee you won’t be happy with the solution I don’t care how intimidating you try to be.
5. Please keep your kids under control. You wouldn’t let the little darlings jump on your furniture would you? And please write this down, if one of your kids gets hurt you will be at an attorney’s office faster than you can spell N-E-G-L-I-G-E-N-C-E.

So as I ride into the sunset, I say to all of you, “Happy Trails, until me meet again”, or as Arnolds much more succinctly puts it, “Hasta la vista, Baby.”

Some reasons why my dog should die

Warning: People who love dogs and tolerate anything from them will not like this post. People who hate dogs and can't understand why a person would let one into their home won't like this post.

I know he's cute (he's wearing a bow-tie in this picture) and I know this is not going to be very PETA-like, but I think Bert is ready to go to dog heaven. At least I'm ready for him to go there. I came tonight and nothing seemed amiss even though I had a meeting after school and didn't get home until 4:30. Then I noticed Kramer sniffing around at the bottom of a book shelf in the living room. I pull off a couple photo albums and I can see, I am not kidding you, that Bert has taken one of those marking leaks on the shelf. On the shelf. In the living room. In the house. What the hell. So, I clean that up and come into the office to deal with an insurance problem (more on that in the second paragraph) when Bert comes in, sits by my feet, and starts licking his lips. I have lived with that dog long enough to know something's up. I walk into the living room and find that he's found a small baggie full of pretzels and has shredded the bag and the pretzels all over the floor. Why does a person put up with this kind of harassment?

On another equally insanity-provoking note, I got a letter from my home mortgage company today, informing me that they did not have proof of insurance on my house so they had "secured temporary coverage" for me to the tune of 1500 dollars. Now you might remember that back in November, I crowed about meeting with a nice insurance woman who had reviewed our "portfolio" and made recommendations for change and she would kindly take care of all the tranfers in our policies. Not necessarily so. I've been cancelled by almost every insurance company, new and old, in the last three months, some more than once. I won't mention the name of the company, but if an agent tries to give you this same line of BS, don't swallow it.

Sunday, February 25, 2007


Regis is out blowing snow. He never complains about it and I think he appreciates the chance to make that snow fly twenty feet in the air! We're sharing our snow blower with two neighbors; they pay for gas and provide maintenance and we supply the machine. It works for all of us. There isn't much more snow today. Regis thinks we got about 8 inches which is a far cry from the 18 they were predicting.

This doesn't look all that bad but it looks like more snow when it's blowing, if that makes any sense. Regis managed to get in my truck so the doors aren't frozen shut but I don't think I'll be driving it for a few days. (All the pictures I took of the snow were taken from the front step where I stood in my nightgown and slippers. Reminded me of the old Wild Kingdom shows where Marlin Perkins said, "I'll just stand here behind this tree while Jim wrestles the alligator." That still cracks me up.

We watched La Cage Aux Folles this afternoon. A couple reviewers on Netflix said it was better than The Birdcage but we didn't think so even though many of the gags were the same. Nathan Lane was so much funnier than the French guy. We have The Departed, which Regis will watch alone, and Mrs. Henderson Presents coming this week.

More snow...more bread

Here's the weather report:

Conditions go from bad to worse. The heaviest snows come Saturday night when 6-10" may accumulate. Warnings remain in effect through Sunday evening for treacherous travel conditions. Snow totals will probably range from 10-14", with 15-20" for far southeastern MN, where blizzard warnings are posted (worst conditions from Rochester to La Crosse to Madison. Almost a blizzard for western Wisconsin and southeastern MN....near white-out conditions reported. Make sure you have a winter survival kit if you are driving this weekend.

Regis didn't go to work again today. They may close the store because conditions are supposed to be near-blizzard in Rochester. It's nice to have him home. We left the curtains open in the bedroom last night so we could watch the snow. About 3, Regis woke up to see deer running down 4th Street. Snowmobilers spooked them, I suppose. Ironic that he would have his eyes open and be looking out the window just as they ran past. Or was it a dream?

I'm making more bread today, in fact, we may have to go out for more flour.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Finally some snow...and baking bread.

Loaves of bread I made from a French bread sour dough starter that I made Tuesday. Regis thinks it's lame to post pictures of bread on a blog, and I guess it isn't the most sophisticated thing, but what the hell. We're finally getting some snow but it will have to snow hard to come up with 18 inches in the next 24 hours. We just finished watching the movie The Illusionist. It was very good. Just the right amount of everything...romance, lust, suspense, drama. Two thumbs up. The truck is in the driveway all frozen up so we aren't going anywhere today. We might have a little happy hour right at our kitchen table later. Peter called to say he made it safely to Mexico. I think the first thing they did was find the Corona and head to the beach.


After all the predictions for this storm, it's 10 a.m. Saturday morning and there isn't much going on yet. We had a blast of freezing rain early this morning so Regis opted to forego the trip to Rochester. It turned to snow about 9 but now has quit. The weather guys are still saying it could be a big one, but they could be blowing smoke.

We spent the evening with Betty and Tom last night. Tom made French dip sandwiches that were delicious and we had a few beers. Gonzo seems to have mellowed out a little so the dog stimulation was kept to a minimum. Betty told about her dream the night before where Tom was dancing some kind of weird fish dance, gulping for air and flapping his hands around his face. Tom says that he only regrets that all his acid trips were before he met Betty.

I've been up since 6 cooking. I have a beef roast in the crock pot, bread in the bread machine (I've been experimenting with starters...have two in the refrigerator and a sour dough on the cupboard...this morning I had to feed them, like pets.), and a pot of ruben soup on the stove. Regis has requested peanut butter cookies so that will be my next project.

We'll post some pictures if the big snow arrives.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Big One

Peter's on his way to Mexico, the Melia Cabo Real all-inclusive resort in Cabo San Lucas, and we're expecting maybe 18 inches of snow this weekend. That doesn't seem fair, does it? Very nice of Jake's parents to invite him along. He has been so excited he's counting the days.

Here's the weather report:

Winter Storm Watch posted from Friday evening through Sunday afternoon for most of Minnesota. This could be the Big One, the first 12"+ snowfall since March 8-9, 1999, when 16" fell on the metro. Snow arrives after rush hour Friday evening, heaviest snows Friday night and Saturday, 10-12" possible by Sunday evening, potential for 15-18" in a few areas close to home.

Regis may be having the weekend off whether he wants it or not. As long as everyone is staying put and not driving around on icy roads, I won't mind. We went to the grocery store to stock up on popcorn and Junior Mints and we have two movies to watch so we'll be fine.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


“Howard I can take you now but I don’t have time to do your kid,” said Big Jim. At least that’s what they called him even though he was lucky to top 5 feet. Jim had been the family barber as long as I could remember and now that I was a teenager I hated every visit to his shop. “How about I let my new guy cut him? He’s a dumb Dago but he’ll do a nice job.”

As I plopped in his chair with a Popular Mechanics Magazine, as was the custom at Jim’s, the “Dumb Dago” slipped a copy of Playboy inside its pages. “Now you got something to read” he said, “And let’s see if we can fix this porcupine hand job that the boss did on your hair the last time you were in.” Thus was my formal introduction to Angelo, a 19 year-old who would become my barber, friend, and the guy who helped mentor me into adulthood, not always in the best of ways.

It turns out that there is list of rules out there that I have never seen but I know it must exist. Every time I would sit in his chair Angelo would recite part of it for my benefit. Perhaps it was an earlier version of Man Laws but he didn’t call it that.

“They're all freakin' nuts you know”, he said one day.

“Who I asked?”

“Women” he returned with a snort. “They are all certifiably 100% Looney Tunes. All but my mother of course although I am sure my father would beg to differ. That, my friend is rule #1.”

“What is rule #2?” I asked.

“Easy" he said, "Rule #2 states that when in doubt about the sanity of a woman refer to rule #1."Capiche?”

Over the years I learned a lot about the life of an Italian barber. I found out that somehow a guy can cut hair for a living at a modest price and yet vacation in Mexico every year and trade for a brand new Cadillac every two years. I learned that more often than not the guy sitting in the chair in his shop was carrying one or more guns on his person, big guns. I learned that for all his good points Angelo was pathologically unable to remain faithful to one woman. It just wasn’t part of his nature I decided. It was as if it were the most natural thing in the world to believe that if one woman was good then more would be better.

The downside of this attitude was driven home one evening when I was sitting in his chair. I had been working a lot so I made an evening appointment in order to avoid any conflicts. I noticed that Angelo seemed nervous, distracted. He kept glancing out through the plate glass window in the front end of his shop. Every time a car would pull into the lot of the little strip mall where he was located he would deftly move around the chair so that I was between him and the window.

“What the hell is the matter with you?” I asked.

He avoided that question until he was nearly finished before finally admitting the truth. It seems that he had been fooling around with one too many prezzemoline (Italian meaning garnish girls) and her husband found out. The woman told Angelo that he had a gun and was going to come looking for him.


“Of course. He would never shoot at me with a customer in the way. That’s not the way it’s done,”

Angelo responded with a look of innocence plastered across his face. “We’re not crazy.”

Now that I live in the Midwest I get my hair cut by a woman. In Angelo’s Eyes that is about the equivalent of disconnecting your sac and depositing it in your wife’s purse, but at least her clients don’t have names like Vinnie the Chin or Bobby Bag ‘o Donuts.

Getting a haircut has returned to being one of those boring little tasks that I do once every five weeks. The funny thing is that I often think about Angelo during these times and I finally realize that Rule #1, “They are all freakin' nuts” probably applies to Italian barbers as well as women and this thought gives me great comfort.

Monday, February 19, 2007

110 people do the Polar Bear Plunge

I can't believe they found 110 people who were willing to jump into the frigid water yesterday. Regis and I thought maybe 5-10 people would do wonder I was surprised by the crowd. None of them needed paramedics or rescue crews. The big, portable hot tub, though, was the most popular spot on shore. This is an actual picture of Nicollet County Sheriff Dave Lange, who organized the event.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Polar Bear Plunge

I didn't make it to the actual event in St. Peter. Kathy and I drove down there at 1:45 and it was packed. People were parking blocks away and being shuttled to Hallett's Pond in the city bus. Cars trying to get in the parking lot were backed up for blocks. I hate crowds (Saum genes) so we decided to drive right on past. But this is probably what it looked like; with google images, you can find a picture of anything. So just pretend this is a St. Peter resident taking the plunge. What's the guy in the snorkel there for anyway? The whole thing is a little weird.

Naked guy running

I didn't witness this insane act, but Jill did. Yesterday, when the temerature was about ten degrees but the wind was strong enough to make the windchill below zero, this nutcase ran in the Freeze Your Buns Winterfest Race wearing what you see: gloves, hat, shorts, shoes. He probably has frostbite on parts he didn't know existed. Don't be fooled by the wet look to the road. This was not spring-like weather.

We went to the Bothy last night and while it wasn't one of our favorite shows, we had a good time. The show had started when we got there so we couldn't sit in our favorite spot, the popcorn machine was broken, and the bar was packed because it was prime rib night, all of which conspired to make us feel a little out of sorts. Such creatures of habit we are.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

New clinic!

I forgot to post these pictures of my brother David's new acupuncture clinic in South St. Paul. It's called the Southview Acupuncture Clinic. Check out their website. I saw the clinic when it was almost done. It's lovely inside, soft yellow and warm wood, and in a friendly looking neighborhood.


And that's not the rap group to which I am referring. Regis has a new job as a customer service agent for NWA working out of Mankato for a company called ACS. He'll be working from 6 a.m. to 2:30 Sunday through Thursday. He's a little sad to be leaving a job he really loves but I think he's ready to be done driving 180 miles a day. I'm so glad that he'll be home more...every evening and all day Saturday. We won't know how to act.

The last week was busy with Winterfest activities. I heard Wil Weaver on Tuesday night and Thursday night we had our book group at the treaty site center. (Wednesday night we clebrated Valentine's Day with Jan and Anders.) If you haven't read A Gravestone Made of Wheat or seen the movie Sweet Land, I recommend both, even if you have to go to a snotty yuppie theater in Scottsdale. Ha!

Last night we went to see Betty and Tom. Tom's back on his feet after his knee surgery but not ready to carry mail yet. We were home early and watched part of the old movie The Birdcage before calling it a night.

Tomorrow is the Polar Bear Plunge. Pictures will be posted!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Valentine Cookies

These are the Valentine cookies that I baked, frosted, and sprinkled today! I'm not a big fan of sugar cookies but these are very good, if I do say so myself. I ran out of frosting with two cookies left, so that worked out well. I'm almost done with Thirteen Moons, a book I like so much I think I have to buy it just to have it around. Kathy stopped earlier and we had a Sunday afternoon glass of wine. It was her birthday yesterday.

This day is almost done. I'm going to make beef commercials for dinner. Great comfort food.

Brassed Off

I know the picture is dark. Regis tried to lighten it but it didn't work very well in the translation. I tried to take pictures with the flash, but Ella has learned that the light is bright so she would shut her eyes as soon as she saw me with the camera.

She's so funny. I had Prairie Home Companion on the radio and anytime she heard the music, she would stop right in her tracks and dance for a couple seconds. She does this pointing thing, which I suppose works when you don't have language to tell what you want. She points at things, and if you don't get it, she makes a grumpy face and points with more emphasis. Ha! She also loves her books and we read them over and over. She knows a few words from the books: toes, baby, boots, ducks. She especially loves ducks. She has the book The Wheels on the Bus and Emily has taught her some of the motions like swish, up and down, and move on back. As soon as I started to read, she would do swish, swish, swish. So cute. We had a wonderful time.

We watched a movie Friday night called Brassed Off. I saw it recommended in Roger Ebert's review of Waking Ned Devine, one of our favorite movies. Brassed Off is a British comedy, well, at least Netflix calls it a comedy. I'm not sure that you can call a movie about the closing of coal mines in England that includes: an attempted suicide by one of the main characters, his wife taking the kids and leaving, his dad dying of black lung disease, his beating by a loan shark, and repossession of the contents of his house. There are some funny lines and we enjoyed the movie, but it was dark. Brassed off is a British expression that means the same as pissed off, but the movie is also about a community brass band that's the source of a lot of the humor and sweetness.

I'm making Valentine cookies today...rolled sugar cookies with frosting and sprinkles. I have a box ready to send some to Tiffany and I'll take some to Peter. Regis loves them, too, and I'm making two in dog bone shapes for you-know-who. Not my idea.

Saturday, February 10, 2007


This dog does not even seem happy to be watching the Winterfest parade. Most people stayed inside their toasty cars...or if they were walking, they were so bundled up in winter gear that you couldn't see their faces. They had a hard time getting candy out of their plastic bags and their hands were too cold to toss in gently so they flung it in gobs. A guy could have gotten brain-damage from a frozen gumball.

The men with us were pansies and stayed in the bar to keep our table. Joanne, Kathy, and I went outside and stood in the cold to show our Winterfest spirit. I made it almost to the end but had to dash back in before the Govenaires (local drum corps) came by because I just couldn't stand the cold another minute. It was the usual 9-minute parade: a couple small bands, a few boats, a tractor, the firetrucks, the ambulance, and the queen candidates. There were a couple old ladies pushing babies in strollers. The babies were completely covered by blankets so I guess it could have been beer kegs they were pushing.

There are more festivities today: a pub crawl, a beer can invitational, a hairy legs contest, and a rock/paper/scissors contest. Our friend Bob Wright is going to do the polar bear plunge next weekend so we might have to go down to Hallett's Pond and take pictures of that. I suggested a physical exam before he's allowed to participate. Regis suggested a mental exam. I'll be sure to keep you updated on the latest news.

Here's what the Tribune says about the weather:

Tonight: 10th night in a row of subzero lows...coldest since Feb. 2003 when we experienced 9 nights/row of negative numbers. Daytime highs in the single digits.

Windchill advisory posted for northeastern MN where it may feel like -40 later tonight.

Stubborn, stalled pattern, jet stream winds howl from the northwest through much of next week, keeping us 15-20 degrees below average, no thaw possible until third week of February.

It was 13 below on our weather station this morning. Yesterday it was 19 below when I stopped for coffee on my way to work. I'm going to warm up the house today by making some food for Betty and Tom. Tom had his knee surgery on Tuesday so he's incapacitated and Betty doesn't cook. Tonight we're watching Ella while Bob and Em go bowling. That's all the news from Lake Wobegone.

Oh, I have a new job for next year. District Special Education Coordinator. And a raise. Yippee!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Doorbells Redux

The doorbells that I was so proud of last week have come to naught. After they were installed on the board, only about three of them worked reliably. A couple didn't work at all. Apparently this is the difference between a doorbell system purchased for 2000$ and installed by a professional and one purchased at Menards and installed by me. No wonder I'm not principal of the year. The building and grounds guy for the district thought this would look sort of "Jeff Foxworthy" anyway. Does that mean redneck?

I figured out the other day that I can retire in 2011...the year I turn 58. If I did the math right, that is, which is not likely if you know anything about my math skills. (At the Super Bowl, we collected 5 dollars from 10 people and I thought I would win 25 bucks. It was that F in second grade that caused my math phobia.) That's four more years to work, if my math is right. Too bad I took the money out of my retirement when I left Iowa but I was about 23 years old and what did I care about retirement. Little did I know. Here's another piece of good irony. About five years ago, I called TRA to see what it would cost to recapture those three years. Some very earnest woman told me it would cost me the small sum of 30,000 dollars. Ha. If I had that kind of money, would I be so worried about TRA?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Apparently they are doing this polar bear plunge thing as part of the Winterfest. I bet the people who signed up are regretting it now that it's been sub-zero for a week. Remember the shrinkage episode on Seinfeld? I wouldn't think that would be very good for your other parts your heart. Here's the rest of the schedule if you want to check out the other activities.

More snow

We had about five inches of the lightest, fluffiest snow you have ever seen today. When I brushed it off Joanne's car at the end of the day (I don't drive on snow) it didn't even look real. It looked like something made out of plastic. It really was a gorgeous day. It cleaned up the back yard, too, which was nice. Not so nice in the spring when it all melts...but nice for now. Joanne said when she drove to work, semis would go by and it was like driving with your eyes closed. It's probably what caused that 100-car pile-up on 35 this morning. Semis driving through fluffy snow. Why can't they slow down when it snows?

I watched Pride and Prejudice last night. I've never read the book (bad English teacher!) and still don't know if I want to, but the movie was good. That Mr. Darcy, what an arrogant weasel at first. Those Brits can be so pompous. I'm reading Thirteen Moons by Charles Frazier and it's so good I can't stand it. Beautiful writing and a compelling story. I started reading Wil Weaver's short story collection Sweet Land tonight, too. It's the St. Peter Reads book for this winter, and also the Thursday book group selection. I love A Gravestone Made of Wheat and cry almost every time I read it. Of course, since I saw the movie I picture Olaf as being hot, hot, hot!

Tomorrow Emily is picking me up after school and taking me out for dinner, then to Aveda for my hot stone birthday massage. What a treat! I still have a massage and pedicure from Deb, too, but I think I'll wait until sandal weather for that.

We have a busy weekend coming up. the St. Peter Winterfest Parade is Friday night. That should take about 8 minutes if it's like most of St. Peter's parades. Saturday night we're celebrating Valentine's Day with Ella. I'll be sure to post a couple pictures. The Winterfest has lots of quirky personal favorite is the Chimchanga Festival at the Jesus Church. My next favorite would have to be the rock, paper, scissors contest on Saturday night. Small town stuff.


Monday, February 05, 2007

Super Bowl

Betty and I were doing last minute things at her house before the party and we asked Tom if he had one of those gambling things. No, he didn't want to do that, he said. Then Mark called and said of course, you have to have a board. He told us how to do it, so we wrote the numbers on little pieces of pink paper and sold them for five dollars each. We had one for the half-time score and one for the final score. I won 50 dollars on the half-time score with zero and Betty won 50 dollars on the final score with six. Ha! The irony is that you would probably have to go to Botswana to find two people who know less about football than the two of us.

We had a good time and the menu was great. Tom served chili dogs, chicken wings, and lots of other munchies. The chili dog recipe came from some dude on Food TV and it isn't actually chili at all but more of a combination of the condiments you might put on a hotdog. Reminded me of sloppy joe stuff. I made brownies, Joanne made Special K bars, Harvey brought his famous shrimp mold...lots of tastey food. A good time was had by all.

It's 12 below here this morning.


Sunday, February 04, 2007


Thse pictures are from today's local paper. The article says that many robins do head south for the winter, but some choose to ride a rough Minnesota winter out. The robins’ range extends well into Canada, so these birds that suddenly showed up in the area may be migrants moving southward only far enough to find a food source. The birds that linger can get along just fine on berries and fruits. Open areas near the Le Sueur River ensure adequate water and the trees, especially the dense boughs of the cedar trees growing in the surrounding ravines, evidently are providing roosting cover. Hard to believe any birds could survive this cold. We had brutal windchills again during the night.

We're going to a Super Bowl party today at Betty and Tom's. I'm not fond of football but Betty says we can stay upstairs and play games and watch Mike's program at 6. I am kind of interested in the two coaches. How I know about Tony Dungy is a mystery...did he live in Minnesota once? Has he written any books? And I like the other guy's name, Lovey Smith. Isn't that sweet? So that is the extent of my football knowledge.

The brownies that I made yesterday were good. Regis and I had one for dessert with a mudslide martini while we watched Waking Ned Devine. Great movie if you haven't seen it. that reminded me that we have unchecked lottery tickets in my purse. The next time you hear from us, we could be in Jamaica!


Saturday, February 03, 2007

Cobwebs and Dirt

I don't know why I can walk by a cobweb for eighty days and not see it...and all of a sudden it looks like something shed by a wooly mammoth. I'm doing my semi-annual cleaning today. Ha! Not that bad, really...but it's not something I enjoy. If I had money, I'd do what Christina on Grey's Anatomy suggested...hire a wife. Part of my problem is that I'm random. One of my friends told me she cleans all her mopboards one day every month. In the first place, I wasn't even really aware of those or that they had to be cleaned regularly and in the second place, I would never be able to start at one end of even my small house and go to the other end, cleaning every mopboard without getting distracted. This is the same friend who said she cleans her oven every time she has a day off from school and I said I clean my oven every time I give birth. Today I seem to have a kind of zen-like awareness of cobwebs. Tomorrow it might be dust or dirty floors. Who knows.



Our weather station said it was 11 below this morning and we had a wind chill of 35 below during the night. The dogs had to be booted out the door this morning...they aren't so dumb. Regis got in the car to drive to Rochester after listening to me remind him not to leave the car if something happens, to take a warm hat and gloves, and to take well-traveled roads. He has a cell phone so I guess he'll be fine but I don't even like to go downtown when it's this cold.

I have a full plan for today. I need to do some cleaning, then I'm going to cook and bake. I'm going to make a big pot of chili and a batch of brownies for Tom and Betty's party tomorrow. I have a project to finish, too. I bought small metal tins for my spices and I need to get them labeled and put in their baskets. I buy spices at the Coop and always have little plastic bags full of stuff with no label. It makes cooking a little risky.

My friend Mike Hazard's video called Paul Wellstone's Magic Green Schoolbus is on PBS tomorrow night at 6, so if you aren't glued to the football game, check it out. He made it with a group of kids and it's very sweet. Mike's got some other great videos about Minnesota people, Native Americans, and poets on his website:

Anybody reading this who was fascinated by Tom and Betty's new dog Gonzo that I wrote about a month or so ago, don't run out and buy one. He's incorrigible. He walks on the tables, eats anything he can find, edible or not, jumps constantly on your lap leaving huge wads of hair, and seems to be fairly dim-witted. Betty says pugs are not intelligent dogs and that's becoming fairly plain to see although he is curious and friendly. Pugs were bred to be lap- warmers for the kings and queens so I guess they didn't have to survive in the wild. He has a darling face and he's so affectionate but I'm not sure that makes up for the general unruliness. Dog shoppers...beware the pug.

I had a dream last night that I was writing a book called The Party What Started Out as Jumping Around. The image was of cows jumping in the air and clicking their heels together. Now, that has possibility!


Thursday, February 01, 2007

Groundhog Day

Tomorrow is ground hog day. It's been kind of a brutal month, weather-wise, so if there's a groundhog in Minnesota, he probably won't pop out at all. We've had a little bit of snow every day...just enough to clean things up and make it slippery and tonight the windchill is supposed to be 25 below. A real winter at last.

Regis and I went to HyVee to buy groceries tonight then stopped at Famous Dave's for a beer and a bite. There was a rude ass at the next table with a loud cell phone. We seem to run into that a lot lately. It isn't that hard to figure out. It rings loudly turn it down. How hard is that? We tried a beer that they're brewing in Lucan, a tiny town in southwestern Minnesota. The one we tried was good but they make a strawberry beer. Not too appealing.

We have a hefty income tax bill so if you don't see us for a few months, that's why. We'll be hunkered down trying to save our money to pay that bill.