Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Don't read this if you have to eat a heart-healthy diet...

We have gorged on meat this weekend. We keep thinking that every day is the last day we'll be able to cook comfortably on the grill (without down coats and boots) so in the last three days, we've made chicken wings, babyback ribs, and tonight, big New York strip steaks with Jack Daniels sauce. Regis was in charge of the meal, being the grill guru, and he made those monster baked potatoes with crunchy skins and big hunks of salt. It was all too delicious but not too healthy.

It was a beautiful day...the birch tree dropped splotches of bright yellow on the ground, a few red maple leaves clung to the branches, birds eating like crazy, a tiny bit of warmth from the sun...all the things we love about fall.

Peter and I made a fast trip to Mankato late this afternoon to get him a computer. We've had lots of bad computer karma in our house lately. The one that Peter was going to use but which does not play music (an essential element for school, you know) will become Regis' computer. Peter got a new but fairly inexpensive Gateway. I told him to watch, the salespeople at Best Buy would be all over us like smarm and they were...wanting to shake hands and know our names...until we said no to the extended warranty and the $150 Geek Squad set-up. Then it was, "Don't let our sliding door hit you in the ass on your way out." Putzes. The Geek Squad would remove all the 30-day free trials that, let's see, they let Gateway put on in the first place so Best Buy can charge us to take them off.

On a sweeter note, this is a picture of Charles Schultz from the paper today. Does he look like Charlie Brown or what?

Back to the salt mines tomorrow.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


Made it through the week finally! I got a big project done yesterday about noon and it was like the clock stopped and the rest of the day dragged on forever. Went to Mankato after work and picked Peter up for the weekend. Regis and Amber stopped...cooked a bunch of chicken wings and twice baked potatoes from the deli. Drank a few Hamm's. Perfect Friday night. We bought two big racks of babyback ribs to cook on the grill today. That's our only mission. It's a gorgeous fall Saturday and we're going to enjoy it. We have tickets for The Little Ghost Theater later tonight. Check it out if you're from the area!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Don't say I didn't warn you...

We just got home from the second night of safe driving class. I'd say we enjoyed it, which we did, but here is a list of things that pissed me off on the way home:
  1. The smell of chocolate
  2. The sound of candy wrappers
  3. The radio
  4. The car moving
  5. The dark
  6. The lights
You can see how this goes. It took me thirty seconds flat to get into my nightgown. Kramer jumped on my lap, Regis poured me a glass of wine, and my nerve endings retreated back into my skin where they belong. Tomorrow is another day.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


I've had two 7 o'clock meetings this week, two after school meetings, then we taught our first safe driving class (you know the one I mean) tonight. It was marginally fun but it's been a long week of earlies and lates that I don't cope so well with. By tomorrow, after the second night of safe driving for old people, I should be ragged cranky.

I'm doing my annual "let's see how long we can leave the house plants outside without really killing them" thing. I don't know why I do this. Maybe it's my other risky behavior, not flossing my teeth being the first one. I have an oxalis plant, an amaryllis bulb, and a Christmas cactus on the front step and tonight it's going to be 35 degrees. I think it's the same behavior as driving to Mankato with my gas tank on empty. Some people take hot air balloons across the Atlantic or climb mountains but this is my feeble ass adrenalin rush....almost freezing plants. Last year I froze a tree of some kind and the year before a tropical plant. Oh hell. It's not like their DNA disappears or anything.

I went to a three and a half hour meeting THAT HAD NO AGENDA today. Can you imagine how random that was? I was ready to scream by 10 o'clock but somehow made it to the end. Not sure how...or why. There should be a law against that.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Webcam Photo

I know you can't identify us in the photo...maybe can't even tell these are human beings...but it's Regis and Teresa, Dick and Jane, Betty and Tom. There we are, to the right of the light pole on the northeast corner of the intersection. We stood for five minutes, arm in arm, waiting for the webcam, which is up next to the spire on the Nicollet County Court House, to update itself. Bob called as soon as he had the picture of us. People passing by on the highway thought was were nuts, or drunk, judging by the funny looks they gave us. For some reason, this whole thing amused us. Bob called it "funny old people stuff".

We were on our way to Patrick's for pepperjack cheese omelets and Bloody Mary's with beer chasers. We'd had a wonderful weekend and were winding down and saying good-bye. Good friends and goofy stunts...nothing like 'em!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Holy crap the rain

It has rained hard all day. I heard on the radio that by tomorrow night we'll have 2-4 inches and possibility of flooding. What if it floods then freezes? We'll be traveling around all winter on skates like Hans Brinker. Now, that's funny.

I had a good day. Dug out some crap (favorite word lately) around the house then went to Mankato. Peter continues to amaze. He says he likes to watch CNN and wanted to talk about the super bacteria. He says he thinks he'll be a writer someday and plans to start a book soon but he wants to write longhand like William Kent Kruger. I just shake my head. We had lunch, he filled out some paperwork for school, then we moved the first of his stuff.

I started a new book last night called The Dead Beat: Lost Souls, Lucky Stiffs, and the Perverse Pleasures of Obituaries. It's fascinating. One 0f those books I think I'll talk about for a long time. I kept telling Regis things I was reading until he asked me to stop. Just read the reviews.

We have a movie to watch tonight called The Straight Story. I think I wrote about it before...if not, look it up. It's about an old guy who travels across Iowa on a riding lawnmower.

Regis is on a gluten-free diet which is a new experience for us, even with all the dietary changes he's been through. That crap is expensive and the bread tastes like shit. No accident that those two words are in that sentence. Bread without flour. Uff da.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Taking pictures with the cell phone

I have a cell phone that takes pictures. I never thought I had a need for that (it also has a tiny drive for a tiny disk for music) but tonight, as I sit in my messy house in the dark, I'd like to take a picture with the phone and send it to the computer because I'm too tired to get my lazy ass up to find a camera.

It's been a rough start to the school year as I figure out this new job, of sorts. More like a redesign of the old job...more to do for the same money. I seem to spend all day reading, staring at papers and the computer screen, and trying to make sense of things so I can explain them to someone else. We have the next two days off for the state teacher's convention, which I have never attended, and it couldn't have come at a better time. It's an institutionalized vacation in the fall...we aren't paid for it and there's no expectation that you do anything work related...but everyone gets two days off. Nice.

Tonight I went to a poetry reading at Gustavus with Jill. It was billed as running from 7-9:30 but only lasted until 8:15. We sat near the door so we could make a break for it if it went on too long but it didn't but you could tell we were ready to split when we didn't even slow down for a cookie at the end. The folks who organized it just published a book about Minnesota's women poets, a sort of historical look. One of the women who read was my student teaching supervisor from 1974. Another woman read poems by a woman from Houston County, Edith Thompson, who was apparently quite a character. It was a lovely way to end the week.

Kathy cleaned our house maybe three weeks ago. Since then we have managed to accumulate a pile of stuff for teaching the "safe driving for the elderly class" as Tiffany calls it, a pile of stuff for the thrift store, a pile of Cds to sort and put away, a pile of stuff from Target to put away, an empty tub that used to hold dog food when we had two dogs, a pile of stuff for Peter's transition, and a table full of assorted papers. I need two days to dig out from this. How does it happen when we're gone for 9 hours a day and sleep for 8. That hardly leaves enough time to trash the place but somehow we manage.

It's wet and warm here tonight. Regis says it's 57 degrees and not expected to drop much tonight, Annie. And the radar looks like rain, rain, and more rain so get out the water wings and caulk the basement windows. Everybody is talking about their piles of wet leaves and summer muck that needs to be cleaned up before winter but there's no way to do it when it rains all the time.

Tomorrow I'm going to Mankato to help Peter with some paperwork for school and a couple other jobs he needs to do in preparation for moving. Friday, I get the scoop shovel out and clean up from the first 8 weeks of the school year.

Monday, October 15, 2007


It was a slow day, but a busy one. It rained off and on all day, Annie. I heard a guy on MPR talking, I suppose about Minneapolis, but he said since August 1st, we've had 17 inches of rain which is 50 some % of our yearly average total. And in the first 15 days of October, we've had trace or measurable rain 13 days. How's them for some weather stats? If the weather models for tonight are accurate, we could get 1-2 more inches of rain.

We went up to let Gonzo and Fletcher out in Tom and Betty's absence so we watched Emerill. We miss the cooking channel, having no cable tv. Most things I don't miss. I get my kitchen fix by reading books like Heat and Kitchen Confidential.

We're watching the last part of Cinderella Man tonight. It's a good movie except for the fight scenes. (I liked Witness except for the murder.) Renee Zellwiger just said, "You're everybody's hope, Jimmy." and of course, I cried. Our next Netflix pick is The Straight Story:

When Iowa farmer Alvin Straight's brother, Lyle, falls ill, Alvin pledges to go to Lyle's side despite being unable to drive and unwilling to accept help. With a tent to sleep under, a riding lawnmower for transportation and unshakable determination, Alvin (Oscar-nominee Richard Farnsworth) sets out to cover the 300 miles to his brother's house in a weeks-long journey of healing and remembrance.

This is my kind of movie. Like my favorite, Tender Mercies.

We enrolled a new student today. He said, "You the principal?" What did he know, so I said, "Sure." Then he said, "Sleepy today," and mimed taking a nap. Yes. He knows me.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Nobody puts Baby in a corner.

Regis and I spent a few days at Cragun's in northern Minnesota. I tried to tell him what it was like...not exactly the lavish resort they try to make it look like in the pictures. More like the resort in Dirty Dancing, if you remember. A little long in the tooth, a little past its prime. And that's exactly how we found it. We got there Wednesday night about 10:00, expecting to have a frozen pizza in the bar for dinner. No such luck. A cranky bar tender who must have thought the season was over, was not helpful. We discovered, on our own, the deli in the lobby with gas station food, so we had a beer and a bag of popcorn for dinner.

The next night, tired of resort buffets, we went down the road to Madden's, a much more lavish and friendly atmosphere. We had dinner in the Classic Grill, right on the edge of their golf course where they have a bag piper to start and end the golf season. They must vacuum the leaves because there wasn't a leaf on the ground anywhere, even back in the woods. The building was a beautiful log cabin, there was a fire pit on the patio, and the delicious food was served by a fellow named Chris in a long black apron who doted on us. It was lovely.

We limped home last night, leaving suitcases and bags strewn all over the house. This is a short week for me so it will get picked up eventually.

Today we went up and spent the afternoon with Betty and Tom, enjoying one of the last days of autumn. Betty is getting all geared up for Halloween...she had a witches crystal for me, a black velvet mourning robe, and a great wig. I'm sure there will be pictures.

I went to a very sweet baby shower for Annie Grimmius today. Their baby is due the end of November. I had to bring cards with messages for the new baby and for Annie. Here's a pome I chose for one of my cards. It made me cry the first time I read it and it still makes me cry:

Her Door

Mary Leader

There was a time her door was never closed.
Her music box played "Fur Elise" in plinks.
Her crib new-bought--I drew her sleeping there.

The little drawing sits beside my chair.
These days, she ornaments her hands with rings.
She's seventeen. Her door is one I knock.

There was a time I daily brushed her hair
By window light--I bathed her, in the sink
In sunny water, in the kitchen, there.

I've bought her several thousand things to wear,
And now this boy buys her silver rings.
He goes inside her room and shuts the door.

Those days, to rock her was a form of prayer.
She'd gaze at me, and blink, and I would sing
Of bees and horses, in the pasture, there.

The drawing sits as still as nap-time air-
Her curled up hand--the precious line, her cheek...
Next year her door will stand, again, ajar
But she herself will not be living there.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

End of weekend

I'm not going to mention amoebas again since I read there is a variety that goes up your nose and eats your brain. That's not funny even on Sunday night.

We've had a nice weekend. A great combination of being lazy and getting things done. Besides which we slept until 8:30 yesterday which must have helped us catch up on some sleep deprivation due to the 3 a.m. awakenings of the last month.

Today we're cooking a prime rib roast on the grill. Regis loves that charcoal grill and likes to read Grilling for Dummies and Weber's Real Grilling. I have French bread rolls rising and we might have some garlic mashed potatoes.

I'm reading Heat by Bill Buford. What a damn hoot. It's about a year he spent cooking in Mario Batali's kitchen. I don't know who's funnier... Bill or Mario. I can't help myself...I read things aloud to Regis then laugh and laugh. Makes me wish I had television again so I could watch Molto Mario.

I'm going to sit in the shade this afternoon, or maybe in the garage doorway if it rains, like a small-town midwestern doofus.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Friday night

It must have been a bad week in education judging by the crowd in the parking lot of MGM. I saw two teachers I know there and another one later who was on her way to the liquor store OUT OF TOWN. That's a teacher with some discretion right there. I sent her on her way and said to get home as soon as possible and try beer therapy for that foul mood.

I meant to clean the house tonight but there was little gumption for that. I managed to get to the store to buy a broasted chicken and some cole slaw, and to the liquor store for some Night Harvest cabernet. That was the extent of my ambition. And I'm pretty sure that was a balanced meal with the Reese's granola bars we had for dessert.

P.S. I just read this again (which I like to do...sometimes the next day to see if what I wrote was interesting which it mostly isn't but sometimes is) and remembered that Dad used to talk about when he first started teaching and it was verboten for teachers from the local district to drink or even to buy liquor in that town. So on Friday nights, the teachers would car pool to the next town, passing on the highway the teachers from the next town coming to their town to drink and buy liquor. Thank God we don't have to do that anymore. We can pull right into the MGM on the corner of Broadway and Minnesota Avenue in broad daylight and walk into the liquor store with the business manager of the district and the athletic director's secretary while the school bus trundles past and kids yell out the window and nobody cares.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Waking and sleeping

I wonder if I went to bed when I was tired and got up when I was done sleeping, if eventually I would be going to bed at 4 o'clock in the afternoon and getting up at midnight. I get so drowsy in the evening I can hardly keep my eyes open. It's really a waste of my time.

I read this on a blog: If you want me to stop feeling superior, stop acting like such a dumb ass. That crossed my mind more than once today. It was one of those days.

I see there is a book on Amazon called No One Cares What You Had for Lunch: 100 Ideas for Your Blog. Nobody better give me that for my birthday. I like people to pretend they care about the boring details of my life. Those are probably stupid things anyway. Like the prompts they give you to write about when you're 8 years old. Pretend you're a marshmallow. Crap like that.

I think I'm cranky and should go to bed and read.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Regis as Hippie

As a morale booster at work, they had costume days and yesterday was Hippie Day. Hey, that's our decade. Betty helped with the costume and this was the result: Regis was the monster hit of the day and people from other departments were coming to look at him. His manager came and thanked him for helping with morale so Regis pulled the fake joint out of his headband. They all admired his ability to learn the rolling technique is such a short time.