Saturday, December 29, 2007

Danger! Danger!

We went to see Sweeney Todd this afternoon. I read a review in Rolling Stone that made it sound so good even though it's violent. I knew it had been a Broadway play so how bad could it be, right? Let me tell you how bad and violent it could be. I spent the last hour with my head completely under my coat and even at that, thought I would have to walk out. The reviews said the violence was "stylistic". My ass. It was graphic and gratuitous and way more than a person needs to see. There was not one redeeming thing about this movie....not Johnny Depp, not the music, not the sets, nothing. Call me unsophisticated but it was horrible.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

She stumbles out the door

Today, the third day after Christmas, I finally pulled myself together and stumbled out the door. I had my little canvas bag of store for eggs and milk, hardware store for a power strip, post office to mail a pair of mittens back to L.L. Bean and a letter to Peter, city finance office for a rebate on Christmas tree lights, school for a basket of CDs, Bob and Emily's house to drop off the things they left here on Christmas Eve. I had to come home and take a nap after all of that. I tell you, the holidays are murder on a guy.

I have completed the journey from Mac to PC. All the files are transferred and the old computer has been scrubbed clean and registered to Lazlo Purdue. Tiffany might want it and if it gets ripped off in the big city, I don't want some ne'er-do-well getting my recipe for krumkakke. I threw away a few things that I wanted but that's life. I guess I'll learn to live without them.

We watched the movie Hairspray last night. At the end, Regis popped it back into its little envelope and said to mail it immediately in order to get it as far away from the house as possible. I don't think he's a fan. It was weird but I was too tired to have much of an opinion. There were a few funny parts, John Travolta was in drag, and I'll leave it at that.

Regis stopped to see Ella tonight. When he left, she blew him a kiss and said, "Bye bye, sweetie!"

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The day after

I woke up at 3 to sit on the love seat and watch the snow. We had about five inches of fluffy snow that fell straight down so every branch and chair and bird feeder has a thick layer of snow icing.

Kramer kept an eye on me from the front window. He had an attack of pancreatitis during the night. Regis thinks he knows it's Christmas and that he wants to enjoy Chex Mix and cookies and ham like we do. He doesn't know and he doesn't care but he will eat it if you give it to him. Yesterday he barfed Chex Mix in the living room. It was a hint.

It looks like a Christmas card outside. There's a wind chime hanging to the left of the flag. Can you see the snow piles on each bell?

The view down 4th Street. There's light fluffy snow on everything. No wind even yet and still the snow is falling.

In the garden, every cone flower and milkweed has a snow hat. We rarely get this much snow without wind to whip it around.

This is Peter with my niece's daughter, Evynne. She took quite a shine to him and called him "the helper". He was very helpful when we were there, too...jumping up to grab dirty dishes and fill coffee cups.

I was a complete load yesterday. I walked past boxes of wrapping paper that should have gone to the trash, I walked past pop cans and gift bags and plates of cookies, and I took two naps. The only constructive thing I did all day was to fry a pan of krubs and ham. It was a very relaxing day but today I better get back to the land of the living.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Eve 2007

We had a good time and here are the pictures to prove it. Jill, the chairs might look familiar. After spending a few months on the porch, they came into the living room for Christmas Eve. Tiffany, it was nice to have you and Eric here with us. Peter, we missed you! Reggie says a new flashlight photo will be coming today as he added four new flashlights to his collection. My favorite is the red headlamp that actually looks like tail lights on a car. Amber suggested putting the clear ones on the front of his head and the red ones on the back. Ella and I passed out presents and that worked fine except that after you opened one, she might take it back and give it to someone else.

Click here to see the pictures in a larger size.

Monday, December 24, 2007

December 24th

Busy night. See you tomorrow!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

December 23rd, 2007

We made a harrowing trip to Canby yesterday on icy roads and an equally harrowing trip back today in zero visibility. I was terrified and even covered my face with my hands a couple times. Not when I was driving although I don't think it would have impaired me much. We had a wonderful time with Mom and Peter, and Pat and his family, so we were glad to be able to go but very relieved to be home.
Regis got a very cool barbecue apron from Mom. You can see all the tools and even the S&P shakers are loaded up in the pockets. Reggie came over this afternoon when we got home and he was greatly amused so he modeled it. He said if you bent over to pick something up, you'd poke your eye out with the fork. He said it's not an apron for fat guys and sort of resembles a bullet-proof vest. We decided you could walk around the hood in this apron and nobody would mess with you.

Regis was so intrigued with the last krumkakke we made that he talked about them at work. One of his co-workers shared a recipe she said has been in her family for a hundred years. They were delicious. Here it is:

Beat 1 cup whipping cream and set aside.
Beat 4 eggs
Add 1 and 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup melted butter
1 cup buttermilk
Add whipped cream
Add 2 and 1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Drop by teaspoonful onto to iron. (We tried a measuring teaspoon...way too small. More like a tablespoon worked better.)
Remove, roll, and cool.
Dust with powdered sugar.

I'm going to have to use the scoop shovel cleaning technique tomorrow...throw anything sitting around into laundry baskets and hide the baskets in the shower. Holidays are almost beyond my ability to cope. Regis had been very helpful this year but I still feel like I've been dragged through a knot-hole butt-first. That's a lovely image, eh?

Tomorrow it's off to the races so probably no post. I'll be back Christmas Day with stories and pictures.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Genetic or Gender?

Thursday, on his day off, young Regis assembled his flashlight collection and took a picture of it. I see a few similarities but the headlight is a nice touch. The guy that collected only mag lights seemed to have taken it to an art form but the Fritsch flashlights are functional. I don't know if the need to collect flashlights (or knives) is a man thing or a Fritsch thing.
See the poll on the right. There wasn't a way to add demographic data to this poll but I bet I can guess gender!

Thursday, December 20, 2007


I slept more last night so I only cried once today. There's some improvement for you. We were invited to a soiree tonight but we opted to not attend. I couldn't bear the thought of dressing up and making nice with people from work. We had hot beef sandwiches and a cold beer for dinner and now we're watching Tony Soprano.

There's a house on the corner that I can see from where I sit on the couch. We drove by there the other night and Regis said it made his fillings squeal like he's bringing in Tokyo on a short wave radio. It's hideous. Then you come around the corner and see the tasteful lights on our railings. Yeah, that's a good one.

My brains have left me

I was sitting at my computer checking blogs, saw mine in the list and thought, "I better check to see if there's a new post." Well, if there had been and I didn't know, that would be weird.

I've had some bad insomnia the last few weeks. I fall asleep fine but wake up at 3 which makes for a long day especially if it happens several days in a row. I was at a party last night and all the women of my vintage had the same complaint. I slept until five this morning, so things look better.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Christmas Letter Hit Parade

One more letter from the hit parade. This one from 2004.

December 12, 2004
Merry Christmas,

A week ago, we were ready for forego our annual collaborative effort toward a Christmas letter. Since I’ve been taking two night classes, things have progressed from bad to worse around the homestead. I’m done tomorrow night, though, and all the papers and PowerPoint presentations and other academic debris are in a pile by the door, ready to be turned in. Now, I can start thinking about putting up a real tree since Regis didn’t think the string of lights I threw in the hibiscus tree was very artistic. (Regis notes: Yup, it looked a little like the Queer Eye for the Straight Guy train made a stop in old Petticoat Junction.) Once again, we’re going to let Garrison Keillor help us with the letter. All the stuff in red is his.
I believe in looking reality straight in the eye and denying it.

Regis is still working at Slumberland but he moved from the Clearance Center to the main store. About a week after he moved, the economy went in the toilet so he’s been regretting that decision ever since. (Regis notes: I do get one weekend a month off however, which the owners of Slumberland consider adequate recompense for my lack of income.) He volunteers at the library once a week and enjoys the peace and quiet…and the dumb questions.
Librarians possess a vast store of politeness. These are people who get asked regularly the dumbest questions on God's green earth. These people tolerate every kind of crank and eccentric and mouth-breather there is.

I am still with the St. Peter Public Schools. This past spring I received an invitation to a reception where I would receive, along with several other teachers, a twenty-five year plague. No mention of whether it was locusts or boils. I did call the person who was coordinating the event and say that twenty-five years of teaching EBD kids was about all the plague I needed, thank you very much.
Age does not always bring wisdom. Sometimes age comes alone.

A quick update on the offspring. Bob and Emily were married in September in a beautiful ceremony in her mom’s Victorian house in Fairmont. I cried through the whole thing. What a surprise. Our new daughter-in-law is a massage therapist and manager at the Liv Aveda Spa in Mankato. Reggie and Bob are working at Ameripride, covering parts of southern Minnesota and northern Iowa. They keep in touch by cell phone when they’re driving the back roads. (Regis notes: I see that Teresa forgot to mention that I performed the marriage ceremony. It was my second of the year.)
English is the perfect language for preachers because it allows you to talk until you think of what to say.

Tiffany is living and working in Uptown (Minneapolis). She works two part-time jobs: one at Kowalski’s and one at Burch Pharmacy. It’s a lot of work for not much money. Her boyfriend, Connor, cooks at Lee Ann Chin’s just down the street from where they live.
Nothing you do for children is ever wasted. They seem not to notice us, hovering, averting our eyes, and they seldom offer thanks, but what we do for them is never wasted.

Peter, our transient student, is back in Mankato, this time at East High School. He continues to cause us a fair amount of anxiety but we are reassured from time-to-time by well-meaning friends, that he will grow up and stop asking for money.
Selective ignorance is a cornerstone of child rearing. You don't put kids under surveillance: it might frighten you. Parents should sit tall in the saddle and look upon their troops with a noble and benevolent and extremely nearsighted gaze.

After a long illness, my dad died in July. We got through it all, illness and death, with the help of good neighbors and family, a bottle of wine now and then, and the wonderful folks of Hospice. (Regis notes: There are some voids that can never be filled. Estle will be missed.)
It's a shallow life that doesn't give a person a few scars.

Like every other year we’ve written a Christmas letter, I’ll email this to Regis, he’ll say it’s too sappy and change a few things. I tend to be nostalgic and sentimental at Christmas time; he tends to be a little cynical and wise-ass, but only on the outside. (Regis notes: Right, I’m just a barrel of freakin’ benevolence and compassion on the inside.)
Humor is not a trick, not jokes. Humor is a presence in the world — like grace — and shines on everybody.

That’s about it for this year. We wish you a happy holiday and some humor and grace in the New Year. (Regis notes: Everybody needs someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for. If you are lacking in any of these three areas get your butt in gear and find it this New Year! Bless you all.)
Thank you, God, for this good life and forgive us if we do not love it enough.

Regis and Teresa

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Flashlights and Wildlife

I encouraged Regis to locate his flashlights and line them up for a blog photo. He took a picture, then remembered another flashlight, then took another picture. It got to be quite a project. I think the only one missing in this photo is the one with the multi-directional head that you can use underwater. The tall one in the back row in a mag light that you can grip near the light then use it to whack a bad guy who might be approaching. A very useful tool in the modern rural home. He realized as he perused his complete collection, that he is woefully short of flashlights. A guy can never have too many. Apparently. (Christmas present hint!)

We had a wildlife bonanza in our front yard today. This is the male cardinal. The picture was taken through the front window which is clean as a whistle and there is no reason for the foggy condition of this print. Must be in the camera.
The squirrel really likes the corn cob although he'll throw it to the ground and eat sunflower seeds, too.

The male cardinal was at the feeder, too, but we didn't get a good picture of him. They're awfully skittish.

This fat guy really likes the feeder.

Regis is making a prime rib roast and Yorkshire pudding for dinner. He's a great cook and I don't know why he kept it such a secret for so long. He made me a great omelet for breakfast this morning. I could get used to this pretty quickly.

The holidays are hard on people. I've probably been in tears five times's a combination of no sleep, hormones, over-stimulation, lack of preparation, mess, and nerves. Tiffany told me she isn't coming home for Christmas, but actually she is leaving the night of the 23rd after work so she is deliberately leaving before Christmas. There is a difference between: I can't come home and I won't be home. It's breaking my heart and I'm sorry if you thought my blog was all laughs. Life isn't like that.

Speaking of holidays, I have a CD on with a song by Andy Williams. Remember how he used to have those smarmy Christmas specials in the 60's with the whole family around the fireplace and they all had matching sweaters (there's my Martha Stewart fantasy again...) and then his little French wife Claudine had an affair with the skier Spyder Sabich and Claudine shot Spider with a gun and killed him? That's how life can be. Brutal.

Regis, internet sleuth that he is, snuffed out this story: Olympic skier/playboy Spyder Sabich entered the bathroom of his Aspen home to take a shower after a day of skiing. His live-in girlfriend, French singer/actress Claudine Longet, estranged wife of entertainer Andy Williams, asked Sabich how to use his .22-caliber pistol. Longet claims that Sabich postponed his shower to demonstrate use of the weapon, which accidentally discharged a couple of rounds into him. Throughout the trial and ensuing media circus, Williams stood steadfastly by his lovely wife. It's a shame that the guy who gave us Born Free and Moon River was such a cuckold.

Anyway, the cops bungled the investigation, and lovely Claudine spent 30 days incarcerated in a tastefully appointed apartment set up just for her in the Aspen courthouse. The happy ending to this sordid tale is that Williams eventually came to his senses, divorced Longet, remarried, and has assumed his rightful place as one of the all-time legends of American entertainment. What makes Williams so totally cool is that he was an excellent skier. Longet lives in obscurity. Sabich did not survive the shower.

You would postpone a shower (I wonder what state of undress he was in at the time) to show your wife how to use a pistol and then she accidentally pumps two shots into your naked torso. Uh huh. A likely story. I also wonder why this story continues to have legs almost forty years after it happened. Kooks like me, I suppose.

On a slightly different note, I have a new glass-top stove. I've gotten freaky about how clean it is, which isn't characteristic of me at all. I bought a special cleaner, then I bought a special cleaning kit made my Dow or somebody. I polish it, I make sure all the spills are cleaned up, I use Windex to shine it, I don't keep anything on it when I'm not cooking. When Regis cooks, I peer around his shoulder to see what kind of pan he has and if he's shaking it. I even read on the internet about how to remove stains. It's very weird and scary.

Ok, before someone moves to have me before a commitment judge. My fur is still messed up but I'm not nuts. Adios for the night.

3 a.m.

What does a guy do at this hour? It's too early to turn on the kitchen lights and start baking cookies. Yesterday, Regis and I were both up by 5 so we left by 6:15 to do the last of our shopping in Mankato. It was a trick to find places that were open that early. Herbergers was but they had some door buster event and the place was full of blue hairs trying to get a good deal. After a while, it got crowded and I got crazy and we had to leave. That's how you buy stuff you don't really want...spend an hour in a store where they hand you a coupon every time you turn around.

We went to C&S Supply on our way out of town. It's a farm store, I guess. They have a great selection of stuff: medical uniforms, thermal-lined hooded sweatshirts, boot scrapers, flannel pajama pants, cow feeders, beef jerky, cowboy shirts with pearly buttons, flashlights. It's one of our favorite places to shop.

Speaking of flashlights. I made fun of Regis' flashlights a couple posts ago. Son Regis found a blog called Candlepowerforums, where this guy (I'm assuming) has flashlights in wooden display boxes on the walls. He calls it the Wall O' Maglights. If you check it out, you'll find this is a blog for people who collect mini-mag flashlights. In different colors. And sizes. Now, that is a flashlight collection.

Friday, December 14, 2007

End of the week

Yesterday I was talking to friends at work, I said my life is too complicated. They asked a few questions: Is it kids? Is it home? Is it work? I thought about it on my way home and it's this: My fur isn't all going in the right direction. Nothing is all wrong but everything is a little bit wrong. It's the Martha Stewart fantasy again. Work is very busy and stressful, the house is a mess, lots of things are waiting to be finished for Christmas, I can't sleep at night. Don't worry. It will all get better with time and my fur will smooth out.

It has been very busy. We baked a couple times this week so I could get cookies in the mail to Peter. Last night we delivered cookies to the big boys and their families and I stayed up late (10:00) wrapping presents. the pile of shipping boxes and bags in the living room was getting on my nerves. The rest of my shopping I'm going to do in St. Peter so they'll wrap the stuff. One store even writes tags for you. Another one will mail things. Now that's service.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Cookies and outdoor decorating

We baked a few cookies tonight and made some fudge. It was a busy night and we ran out of time to do much outdoor decorating. What do you think?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Eggnog and Krumkake

The plan for tonight is eggnog and krumkake, if I can last that long. I woke up at 3:30 this morning with the door to the closet of anxieties banging in the wind. What makes that weird shit go through your head in the middle of the night? Brain moles? The burrowing kind, I mean.

I had a busy and productive day for being a few brain cells short. I'll post an update later with a picture of he krumkake and the eggnog. After tonight, I'm done with fussy little cookies. It's on to fudge and giant molasses crinkles.

The krumkake were amazingly easy to make with an electric iron that I borrowed from a friend. She told me not to use the old-fashioned kind on my glass-top stove. Hers has a teflon top and made two at a time. Slick. We had one major egg disaster and a few mishaps. Regis dropped egg shells into the first batter, broke an egg in the carton, and then dropped an egg on the floor on his way to clean that up. I said, "Back away from the eggs!" I fried and he rolled and we ended up with about three dozen.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

A German and a Norwegian cook Italian

I would say the manicotti was a success. The cannoli, not so much. I have discovered a great tool when you're cooking something you haven't ever eaten or seen before. Youtube. I put cannoli in the search tool and here comes this little video of some dude in a chef's coat making cannoli with his Aunt Grace. I should have watched it before making the cannoli because ours turned out like lumberjack cannoli...not crisp and delicate but doughy and thick like pancakes. Not so good. Regis says the filling is's ricotta cheese and powdered sugar.What's not to like?

Last week, I used Emeril's gumbo recipe and made a gumbo that had the consistency of wallpaper paste. Later, I looked for gumbo on Youtube and there was this hilarious guy from the bayou making gumbo in avacodo Tupperware bowls. His was more like soup that slow-curing cement. It didn't appeal to me but Regis liked it. A lot of times, the things I cook don't appeal to me much by the time they're done.

No lottery winnings so I suppose we have to go to work tomorrow.


I can feel a cold coming. I've been around enough people with diseases lately, I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Maybe I'll try to activate my endorphins today and fend it off.

This has been a working weekend not a relaxing weekend. Yesterday, Regis and I went to the grocery store at 7 and bought baking supplies. It wasn't crowded at that giant zamboni floor waxers...just sock boys everywhere you turned. They were all very helpful and friendly. (Regis packed our groceries into our canvas bags. We love them. So much nicer than having a stock pile of plastic under the sink.) I came home to clean the house, make barley mushroom soup and hot beef sandwiches, and mix up a batch of Swedish butter cookies. At 5:00, we took Bob and Ella to the Christmas cantata at Emily's church. Today will be busy, too.

I went to the kitchen to make a cup of tea and got distracted by the paper, then a piece of lefse, then a nap. It's two hours later than when I started this post.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Christmas Letter Hit Parade 2002

“A good newsletter is never nearly good enough but a lousy newsletter is a joy forever.” -Garrison Keillor

Don’t write “Christmas letters about your grandkids and your prostate, with snapshots of yourselves at your condo overlooking the golf course at Plaid Pants Village.”
-Garrison Keillor

Merry 2002 Christmas Friends and Family!

Basically, life is good at our house. Regis and I are at the same jobs, the children who are of an age where they can legally be employed, are… and anyone who is legally required to be in school, is. We’re going to take Garrison Keillor’s advice again and spare you the darker details. We will, however let him help us tell about the other stuff. He writes better than both of us do.
“A lovely thing about Christmas is that it's compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together.” -Garrison Keillor

Tiffany is a senior this year. She’s making plans to go to college next fall… at least she’s planning to buy a car for college. A CD player and a sunroof seem to be top priorities. She is thinking about MSU in Mankato and we’re all happy about that. We don’t want her to go too far from home right away. She keeps busy now with work at Econofoods, choir, photography, and Connor (the boyfriend). Whoops. Spoke too soon about MSU. Now she’s added UMD (Duluth) to the equation.
"Beauty isn't worth thinking about; what's important is your mind. You don't want a fifty-dollar haircut on a fifty-cent head."-Garrison Keillor

Peter transferred to Mankato West this fall. I’m not sure the experiment was a success as he wants to come back at the end of the semester. If they would only offer a class on skateboarding! He’ll be 16 in the spring so he’s looking forward to a driver’s license and a job. Well, he isn’t really looking forward to a job but his sister reminds him daily that she was cut off from the allowance gravy train when she turned sixteen and she expects the same to happen to him.
“Some luck lies in not getting what you thought you wanted but getting what you have, which once you have got it you may be smart enough to see is what you would have wanted had you known.” -Garrison Keillor

Our grown children have jobs (Bob at Target and Regis at Ameripride in Mankato) and girlfriends (Emily and Shana) and lives that don’t involve us much. They come around when we need help with heavy lifting, cleaning out the garage, digging raspberry canes, and cutting Bert’s claws. They also come around for family birthday parties and holiday cook-outs…pretty much anything that involves a good meal.
“Nothing you do for children is ever wasted. They seem not to notice us, hovering, averting their eyes, and they seldom offer thanks, but what we do for them is never wasted.”
-Garrison Keillor

I’m still teaching at the Hoffmann Learning Center. Most days are fine…some days I would rather be the Avon lady in New Sweden. The last few summers, I have been doing staff development on writing with my friend, Jill. We have a gig lined up in Thief River Falls in July and I just realized how far that is up north. Regis says it will take three days and two crying jags for me to get there. If you have ever traveled with me, you know it’s true.
“Don't mess with a writer as he can immortalize you in ways you might not find pleasant.” -Garrison Keillor

Regis enjoys his job at Slumberland in Mankato. He sells a lot of beds, gets a kick out of the customers, and brings home a good deal once in a while. We had a near disaster this fall when he almost took a job with Mattress Giant. He spent an hour on the phone with his boss while I nervously bid on cream pitchers on eBay. He stayed with Slumberland but the cream pitchers arrived daily for the next two weeks.
“They say such nice things about people at their funerals that it makes me sad to realize that I'm going to miss mine by just a few days.” - Garrison Keillor

Regis’s choice for the Garrison Keillor conclusion to the Christmas letter…
"Cats are intended to teach us that not everything in nature has a function."

And Teresa’s choice…
“Even in a time of elephantine vanity and greed, one never has to look far to see the campfires of gentle people.”
Merry Christmas all!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The black cloud has lifted

The black cloud of my mood has lifted. I actually did some things at work today rather than staring out the window, head in hands, looking at the snow. I didn't feel sick exactly, just listless, but it lasted for three days. I had that mean streak, too, the one that made me threaten my neighbor with buckshot. It's good to feel human again but he did deserve it. Still does for that matter. Regis said he would warn him that if he blew dirt on our house again, I would kick his ass.

I finished Any Bitter Thing last night which means I am bookless except for The Last Word: The New York Times Book of Obituaries and Farewells : A Celebration of Unusual Lives and Bridge of Sighs by Richard Russo. I like the obit book but I'm ready for a story. I like Richard Russo but this is a new hardcover book and very large and heavy. Since I almost always read in bed, that is a problem. If that book fell on your head, it could cause some serious brain damage. I might have to renew it until Christmas break when I can read in a vertical position.

When I came home from work, I walked into the kitchen and saw this little black thing about the size of a pencil eraser suspended in mid-air about 18 inches from the floor. I looked close and saw it was a spider dangling from a thread that came from the light. I ran to get the camera and tried to take a picture but he was fast and as I tried to focus on him, he scrambled up to the light and disappeared. I watched as I ate my pizza and he walked around the ceiling light, dropped down once or twice, then disappeared again. We have a new pet.

Peter called me today. He had walked up to church to donate blood at the Red Cross bloodmobile where his Grandma was working. He had some funny comments about the cheese sandwiches but other than that, it was a nice thing to do. On the way home, he stopped at the public library and got a library card. It tickles me that he'll be reading from the same library where I learned to love reading beside the fact that these are two things I would not have expected from him in the past. He's quite a boy.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Ho Ho Ho

I've got a pretty good grump going today. I came home at noon and my neighbor had borrowed our snow blower. He ran the damn thing through the dirt the entire length of my house with the auger going and...get this...blew fine black dirt against the house and through the screens of two windows. I know that black dirt on a driveway is a little bit white trash but you can't tell me he didn't hear the dirt pummeling the side of the house. The snow is black, the screens are black, and the sills are full of dirt. If I had a BB gun I'd fill his backside with buckshot. Merry Christmas, Paul.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Ella loves the Christmas tree

Ella came over tonight while Emily went to choir practice. She loved the tree and spent lots of time taking ornaments off and putting them back on. She loved one so much it went home with her. She was so gentle with them and would bat at them with her fingers so they would sway on the branch. What's that? What's that? What's that? It was so sweet.

Tuesday weather

We've had bits of snow all day, Miles. Nice fluffy flakes that require just a gentle sweep off the car. Joanne said it was not fun driving to LeSueur after school though...hard to see and the snow was that greasy kind that makes it slippery. We didn't get any ice or sleet.

I tried to stop at the grocery store after school but couldn't even get a parking place so I just drove on home. It must be senior citizen day or something. Maybe chickens are on sale. There isn't anything that would make me park a half block from the door and wait in a line like that. We have left-over soup in the refrigerator, a loaf of nice Italian bread, sharp cheddar cheese, and a nice box wine. Gourmet cooking, I'd say.

I bought two strings of snowflakes lights at Lowe's a few weeks ago and strung them across the front window. Now I see that five of the damn flakes aren't lit. Not the whole string but about half of one of them. Grrrr. Christmas lights are crap and the landfills must be full of them. I think two weeks is not much of a life expectancy for lights.

It's hard to maintain a pleasant disposition when the days are eight hours long. (Even Kramer is morose. He's hanging his head off the leather sofa like Snoopy off the dog house.) It seems like I go to work in the dark and come home in the dark and it's gray and gloomy in between. Where are those bright December days? Things that help: red wine in crystal glasses, Vince Giraldi, A Christmas Story, dark beer, cheeseburgers with fried onions, Tony Soprano, the smell of bread baking. Jill and I have decided that blog posting is therapeutic, too. We aren't sure why. It's kind of like a writer's notebook we used to teach about...a random collection of thoughts on lots of different subjects. With the added benefit of instant publication!

Isn't food interesting? Regis and I have been talking about Campbell's chicken noodle soup, frozen pizza, and box mac and cheese. You'd never mistake them for real, homemade foods of the same genre, but they're good. Regis opened a can of soup for lunch the other day at work and he said a whole conversation ensued about chicken soup and memories of lunches back in the day, and what you might be served with noodle soup, and if you liked your crackers soggy or crisp. I was hungry for frozen pizza the other night. It's not even the same food but still something comforting about it.

Monday, December 03, 2007


Regis and I are off to a fine Christmas season. Last night we went to the Bothy to see Pop Wagner and Dakota Dave Hull. It was freezing cold and icy on the way over, freezing cold in the Eagle's Club, and the bar person was rude and not interested in helping us thaw out at all. The music was great, though.

Tonight we went over to Bob's extensive video library and checked out A Christmas Story. We're having a hot brandy and watching a goofy Christmas movie in the middle of a mess of boxes of holiday stuff and a few Halloween items. It's never like Martha Stewart makes you feel it should be. No eyelet pinafores or pine cone place cards here. No dog poop under the Christmas tree either, though, and for that we are grateful.

We decided after our ethnic cooking extravaganza this past weekend, to try Italian dishes this coming weekend. We're planning manicotti and cannoli. Cannolis require a tube form to fry them and I wasn't sure you could find such a thing in Minnesota. Joanne called from the mall after school and she found them at the kitchen store. I thought we could just put that filling into a krumkake.

Oh, funny story about the gumbo. My gumbo was pretty pale and not very spicy because I didn't watch the gumbo youtube episode until after I attempted to cook it and I made my own creole spice mix. Kind of what you'd expect Norwegian gumbo to be like. Regis works with a woman who came to Minnesota from New Orleans after Katrina so he took a bowl of gumbo to Jamella today. She looked at it and said, "It could be gumbo." Ha. What the hell. I'd like to see her make lefse.

The Scotch broth was fine but I could barely overcome my gagging aversion to lamb. I smelled it for hours and decided it's like the telltale heart. You eat lamb, you never get the smell to leave your nostrils. Regis said next time he'd make it with beef.

Saturday, December 01, 2007


This is our new Christmas tree. Doesn't it look happy here?

This is another picture with the flash.
Kramer can't wait until we go to work so he can either pee on the tree skirt
or chew up a couple ornaments.

Saturday Weather Updates for Miles

5 a.m.
Nothing coming down yet but it's early. It could start about 7 with snow. Check back often for the latest! On days like this, Miles, we make soup and bake bread and sit around in our pajamas until noon looking out the window. Maybe put up the Christmas tree (it's December today so it's ok to do it) or read a book. Nothing too productive, though. Be a lazy baby today!

7:45 a.m.
We just opened the curtains and snow is coming down in St. Peter! Tiny flakes but lots of 'em. The wind is between 8 and 10 mph. Temperature is 20 degrees. Regis says he'll take pictures throughout the day so keep checking back.
I have the sponge rising for Italian country bread and Regis is soaking barley for Scotch broth. Yuck. Don't look the recipe up. It sounds gross. I'm going to make shrimp and andouille sausage gumbo. Doesn't that sound better?

11:31 a.m.
Snow continues to fall steadily and and blow. I went to the coop (three trips for one pot of soup) and it was treacherous (There's a big word for a baby!) driving, even in town. The snow plow went by and threw up a huge plume of snow so it was hard to see. No ice here, just snow for now. Regis estimates 2-3 inches on the ground. Miles, I hear you were awake in the night. It is permissible, even encouraged, to nap on snowy days.

1:19 p.m.
The snow stopped for a short time, then resumed as pingy little ice balls. That didn't last long, however, and now we're back to big fluffy flakes. Two snow mobiles just roared by our house and the neighbor has been out shoveling already. I'd say it's snowing fairly hard...not a blizzard...more like a snow globe.

5:02 p.m.
The snow has pretty much stopped here. I'd say we got a total of about 5 inches which really isn't even enough to take pictures of. You'd feel like somebody who lived in Alabama...getting overly excited about a few inches of snow. People would make fun.
So, there's your first Minnesota blizzard, Miles. Such as it was.