Sunday, March 30, 2008

Live music alert!

Robin and Linda Williams, of Prairie Home Companion fame, are playing at the Bothy this week. It's on Wednesday night but it starts at 7:30 with no front set so all us old folks can get home early. Tickets are only 20 bucks and you can't see music like this for less anywhere else around here. Come early and have a burger in the Eagle's Club. Now there's some atmosphere for you.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Tornado

We had a barbecue at Tom and Betty's tonight to commemorate the tornado. Mostly Tom had a barbecue because the rest of us stayed inside by the fire where it was warm. After dinner we went down to the bar, lit a candle for Dustin, and toasted the tornado. We told some stories, then watched Twister which is a totally unrealistic tornado movie. Don't ever think you can get that close to an F-5 tornado and not get torn apart by the debris, much less out-run one on foot or in a truck. Those people would have been dead ten times by the end of that movie but that's Hollywood.

We had a good time. Betty had some new song books from the 70s so we belted out a few songs by the Beatles one of which was Eleanor Rigby which they had someone sing at their wedding. It never really struck me as a wedding song being kind of a moody and dark song like Miss Havisham from Great Expectations. But what the hell. We laughed and then sang some Rod Stewart. Neither of us will be giving up our day jobs to pursue a musical career anytime soon. At least not me.

Tom bought Regis a cool felt cowboy hat at the guitar auction last weekend and he wore it home which made him stay in this Tennessee southern persona where he talked slow and said y'all and mentioned about Moon Pies a lot. It might have been some of last night's concert hanging over, too. Anyway, it was funny.

Saturday and good news: my head didn't explode

I made it through the interview without embarrassing myself. I'm glad it's over. I brought home fifty pounds of stuff to read and learn before the next round but I'm not going to look at this weekend.

Today is the 10th anniversary of the tornado. There's a good photo spread here, if you're interested. I've looked at so many pictures over the years, I'm sort of weary of them. And they bring back unpleasant memories. We're going to commemorate the occasion by opening Tom's bar. I'm bring a blue tarp, the movie Twister, and walnut bread with feta cheese spread. I was making walnut bread the day of the storm and Bert tried to get in the refrigerator every time I opened it.

We went to hear a good bluegrass band last night: Carrie Hassler and Hard Rain. I remember noting some interesting things to write about while I sat there but today they don't seem very interesting after all. As we walked up the door, a smiley with red hair was eating a Moon Pie by the band's big white van and trailer. I asked where they were from and you can't even begin to write this accent: Tennessee. It was a grand evening and they gave us each a handful of Moon Pies to take home.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Look out my head might explode

My interview is today. This is the last job I will apply for until I am retired and decide a job at McDonald's will get me out of the house.

In the last two months, I've read a bazillion pages of stuff on IEP, LRE, AYP, ER, ATSR, IQ, and DVD. Of course, not much of it has stuck enough so that I could speak articulately about it if I had to. I wrote questions and answers and ended up with ten pages that I knew I would never be able to decipher in time to look like I knew what I was talking about.

So now I'm down to three, highly distilled pages of talking points. No matter what they ask, those are my answers. We'll see how that goes. I'm of the opinion today, that if they don't like what I say, or if they ask obscure questions about statute numbers in federal law that I can't answer, it probably isn't the job for me.

Why do I put myself through this?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Reasons why things are looking up

1. I got my hair snipped a little bit. Patrick is always fun and appreciates that I call him an artiste.

2. I got a new Roy Blount, Jr. book at the library after I unloaded that other ponderous tome. It's called Long Time Leaving: Dispatches from Up South. The review says he tackles a lot of topics including Emmanuel Kant, the mind-boggling "Bushy Juggernaut" and the correct grammatical usage of y'all. Yes.

3. The cheeseburger was good at Grizzlies tonight. So was the pinot grigio even though it was $5.60 a glass. I'm not complaining.

4. I looked for a scarf to wear with my black suit at Penney's. I couldn't find any and asked the sales person if they had scarves. She said, "Do you mean fashion scarves?" I was afraid they had gone out of style five years ago and I didn't know. I found them by the prom dresses. Does that mean they're not scarves but stoles?

5. When we got to the cash register to pay, another sales person asked, "Did you find all this stuff ok?" I wasn't sure how to answer that. What does it mean?

6. I've sworn completely off the news. For a long time I haven't watched the tv news and only read the online newspapers. But they're getting more and more like the National Enquirer every day. I'm usually able to avoid the really evil news but in the last few days some ugly story got in my head and is boring around like a worm. I'm done. It's all bad.

7. I had a wonderful night's sleep last night. I'm a little worried about what happens when the Nappien goes away but I'll worry about that when it happens.

I'm going to bed to read.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Reasons why things suck sometimes...in no particular order

1. I read on my favorite goat blog, that one of Brandy's twins died during the night of his birth. Today I read that his twin sister, Earlene, died. I could never be a farmer as I'd be crying all the time.

2. Regis has to go to the Mayo Clinic the end of April. I hate that he has to wait so long and I hate that they say it will be 3-5 days.

3. Peter got a speeding ticket on his way back to Canby yesterday. He's beside himself with worry that his insurance will go up and he won't be able to afford to drive. He's mad at himself and disappointed.

4. I made scalloped potatoes tonight and burned them all over the floor of the oven. It stunk up the house and made a gray haze in the living room.

5. I spent three nights reading a book that I finally abandoned: Love in a Time of Cholera. It was getting a little tedious although I liked the detailed descriptions. Last night I read some reviews online and decided it was time to pull the plug.

6. It's cold and windy today and feels like winter so I put on my sandals and went to the liquor store to buy a bottle of pinot grigio, a summer wine. That part didn't suck.

7. I made a nice blueberry cobbler the other night and bought some vanilla ice cream for the top. Regis just made himself a bowl and carried it into the living room. I looked, and in shock and amazement, realized he had sprinkled red M&Ms on top. That's just not right.

8. I have clothes piled all over the bedroom. Huge piles on top of dressers that almost go to the ceiling. Some are clothes that I only wear in the dead of winter, some are things I don't like anymore but don't hate enough to get rid of, some are things I just forgot about and can't find because they're in a pile. I have no plans to do anything about this soon.

9. I spent a couple hours at a meeting today for which I am sure one of the great forests of the Eastern seaboard had to perish. Enormous quantities of paper were doled out. I don't know about the other people there, but I'm not looking at most of that stuff again. That's more jargon than is healthy to have in your presence. It could spontaneously combust right in your face.

10. There is a forecast for significant snow on Thursday...then again on Sunday...then again on Tuesday. I like snow but not in April. What kind of curse is this?

11. I thought 10 was enough but fate dropped another one in my lap. We got a call about teaching a safe driving for the elderly class in May. The person who was supposed to do it died. Uff da.

Let's hope I don't have to add anything else.

Monday, March 24, 2008

New fashion in pants

Here you go, folks. This is a new old fashion, resurrected from back in the day, and invented right here in Minnesota. I'm not even going to name the pants (email me if you want to know how to get yourself a pair), but you can see from the photos below that it's easy to dress these up or down. How versatile. And I see the dude in the mullet is drinking a Milwaukee's Best beer. How many examples of bad taste can you find in one picture?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Observations on the weekend

Holiday weekends can be stressful. At least I got most of my work done in the first day so I could be incredibly lazy ever since.

We had the little dinner party Friday night. That makes it sound like we sat around the dining table in frocks drinking high balls and eating leg of lamb but we didn't. We had hot beef sandwiches and cowboy beans and Tom's cheese potatoes with your choice of beer or wine. Not too fancy but it did involve some cleaning and some time in the kitchen. I would love to cook even more if someone else would clean my house.

Yesterday I made a pork loin, intending to make Greek sandwiches with flat bread but I decided at some point in the afternoon, probably after a nap, that I had enough cooking so talked Regis and Peter into going to Mazatlan for dinner after a trip to TJ Maxx. I poked through the kitchen section looking for a big platter but only bought some stemless wine glasses that I don't like. Dinner was very good and it looked like a mariachi band was going to play later. I surmised this because there was a table of dudes in suits with guitar cases.

We watched Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind which we rated 3 stars. If I hadn't read a detailed review that gave away the plot, I would have been lost. I don't get movies that go back and forth in time and prefer a more chronological plot. I hated Groundhog Day but liked Memento so I guess I'm not a complete loser when it comes to that as a plot device. I just don't like it.

I went to bed at 10 last night and slept until 9:30 and was only awake for one hour. That Ambien is amazing. I guess there's a Simpson episode where Homer can't sleep and takes something called Napien and turns into a zombie-like character but so far that hasn't happened to me. I have about two weeks worth of pills left. I don't know what Dr. Ruth will do then because they say this can be habit forming. Yeah, a good night's sleep is habit forming. The information on Ambien says your body should go back to normal sleeping patterns but mine hasn't. At least not yet.

We went to Bob and Emily's for dinner tonight so I escaped cooking again. We had a good dinner and Ella kept us entertained. For Easter we got her a little purple backpack with Tinkerbelle on it and put the blue egg and a dollar's worth of change inside. She loved it...oh, to be two and so easily tickled.

I haven't done a darn thing since I got home except shop the internet for a platter. I'm looking at an eBay store called Lakeside Ron's in Mexico. The guy sells a ton of pottery and women's underwear. Seems like a strange combination, I know. We've been eating ham sandwiches, Easter eggs, and lefse since we got home. The kitchen is a real mess but I'll deal with that tomorrow.

I did manage to make something called Easy Baklava today. It involves the same ingredients but you make little sachets out of the dough and put the filling inside like a purse. They were a hit but I don't know if they were that much easier than the real thing.

That's it for most of the weekend. Peter decided to stay one more night and leave in the morning. It's been nice to have him here.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Saturday in March



We had a little party last night to celebrate spring, Easter, and Peter being home. Bob and Ella...what a sweet picture.
















Ella watches Scooby Doo on the computer. She doesn't understand why her Nana and Popop don't have a television.













Ella loved this blue Easter egg that was in Peter's basket from his baby days.

















Peter and his mama.













Ella and her mama.
















I'll write more tomorrow when I have some gumption.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Snow is over

We must have been right on the edge of the snow. Peter went out to shovel and he said it looked like about four inches. The plow went by so now the roads are wet, very wet, but clear. Kind of a typical late March snow.

I'm doing some cooking today but not much cleaning. I really hate cleaning and have quite low standards for it, to be honest. I don't see dirt very well and I don't much care if I do. This is not a big surprise to anybody who knows me. I like spiders and their webs and even ants aren't a big cause for concern. I don't like flies. There's my true confessions. Some people live in houses with dirt floors, you know.

Mom came through her surgery just fine. I talked to her this morning and she said it was very nice to walk without pain. They gave her meds for pain and she took one last night but didn't think she would need one today. It's like a miracle. She said the incision didn't even hurt. Must have been like Star Trek surgery.

Regis found a Cheerio this morning that looks like the rings of Saturn. I think we'll put it on eBay.

First Day of Spring

It's the first full day of spring here in Minnesota. Here's what it looks like.

The Easter bunny in the garden has a face full of snow.












Across the street. You can see the ground is warm and the snow is melting fast from underneath but it's still messy.












The branches of this little redbud tree will be covered in pink blossoms before too long.












I saw my first robin today. This is just a prototype...the one I saw wouldn't hold still long enough for his picture to be taken.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Cover Your Noodle Day

The place where Regis works had a morale-booster called Cover Your Noodle Day today. It's a mystery, I know, but it means to wear a funny hat. I guess the mystery is how this could possibly raise morale. Since Regis works at home, he emailed this picture of himself in to the office where they got a huge charge out of it and printed it out and hung it up all over. He looks like a madman who came out of the woods, doesn't he? I said at least he could have shut the closet door behind him but men don't think of that kind of thing.

We're waiting for a spring snow storm that might drop as much as 8 inches of snow on us. Regis and I watched the 1950 movie Harvey tonight (you know...rabbit...Easter) but Peter decided to brave the elements and head to Mankato. I was giving him the usual don't drive on bad roads and stay over night and park your car in a safe place words of wisdom when Regis reminded me that he is almost 21. Alright, alright, alright.

After my very restless full-moon bad night of sleeping last night, I'm ready for bed tonight. I went to work at 6:30 this morning, piled all the stray paper into a pile on my desk (it was about 18 inches high) and started sorting and filing and making notes. I finished about 10 to 3 but I did do a few other things along the way.

We had our 2008 maiden voyage of the grill tonight. Peter was hungry for steak so we cooked a couple rib eyes and a New York strip, some twice-baked potatoes, and had big salads. We had the grill sitting close to the garage and one of the neighbors thought our car was on fire. We could only wish for that. The tornado took down every garage in our neighborhood but ours and we're sure the holes in the roof equalized the pressure. Or something like that. We should have just pushed it over.

On to the weekend.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Black cloud

The black cloud has dissipated a little, if clouds can do that. Mom was cleared for surgery, and as she says, they wouldn't let her have surgery if they thought she was going to croak. My mom has a great sense of humor. The job application process seems less daunting today than it did yesterday. Tiffany got a job. And there is 6 inches of snow forecast for tomorrow. I love spring snow storms!

Yesterday there were three deer outside my office window eating oranges that I tossed out there for them. They were beautiful against the snow.

It was my turn to pick a movie tonight. Even with Netflix, I get overwhelmed. I must have the world's worst taste in movies because I can't find anything that looks good. There are a lot of movies I'd like to see again for the first time, like Waking Ned Devine... and a lot of movies I wish I had never seen, like American Beauty. I'm not in the mood for anything violent or tragic or anything starring Lindsey Lohan or Ben Affleck. The new releases are hideous. I like those quirky British comedies about transvestites with bad teeth who drive old buses across the desert.

I just read in the Trib that some women in Virginia are selling a cornflake shaped like the state of Illinois on eBay. The bidding is up to 250 dollars. Now there are copycat sales: a potato chip shaped like Illinois and a couple other flakes shaped like Hawaii and Florida. What the hell. No question mark. Just what the hell. If you google this, you can get an image of the woman with her Illinois-shaped cornflake. What the hell.

Black cloud of emotion

I was a train wreck of emotion yesterday. I'm going rapidly up and down about the job I applied for and have come close to withdrawing my application. I think it's called emotional lability and you can check it out here on Wikipedia. I like the term emotional incontinence better. I think I can be ok until the interview process and I will be ok after because I like the job I have, but the moment someone comes to kindly tell me that I have not made the second round of interviews, that will be a bad one. Joanne thinks I should have a plan for dealing with it, like maybe I should just get the word by email, or a white flag hung on the door of the district office.

Mom called to tell me she spent the day in the hospital having tests on her heart before she can have her knee fixed on Thursday and that unnerved me. She should get the report from the doctor today.

Tiffany got a job, which should be good news and is good news. It was her 23rd birthday yesterday and we took her out to eat on Sunday night. Peter is here for the week and we made a great looking deep dish pizza for dinner last night. Nice to have kids around.

We finished watching Knocked Up which is a comedy but I cried for the last fifteen minutes. Not just tears running kind of crying but loud and weepy crying, almost sending Regis and Peter over the edge. I wouldn't recommend this movie if you are sensitive to the F word. It's prevalent, but over-all it's a very sweet movie.

Well, here I go out into the world.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Virus and soda bread

This is a costume that was sent from Ireland to Michigan where it was stolen. Be on the lookout if you attend St. Patrick's Day events. It's worth $3,000.

We didn't even go the parade today. I came down with some kind of virus yesterday of which the main symptom seems to be feeling like you have spent too much time on the Tilt-A-Whirl. I stayed home from work today and about every two hours, I gravitated to the bedroom and slept for an hour. I see I mentioned this disease in yesterday's post. Apparently the virus affects your memory, too.

We have the ulgiest of March weather again. A wintery mix, as Paul Douglas would say. We woke up to about an inch of snow, it dribbled snow and rain all day and now has all melted. We're due for 2-4 inches of snow tonight so babies should not put away their Patagonias yet, Miles.

I managed to get off the couch long enough to make another loaf of Irish soda bread today so Regis could have it with the left-over corned beef and cabbage. Here's the recipe:

Real Irish Soda Bread Recipe

1¼ hours | 5 min prep | SERVES 16 , 1 tasty loaf

3


cups flour

1/2 cup oatmeal

2

teaspoons baking soda

1

teaspoon baking powder

3

tablespoons sugar

1

pinch cream of tartar

2

tablespoons butter, melted

2

eggs

1

cup sour cream

1/2

cup buttermilk

1

tablespoon caraway seeds (I don't use these)

1/2-3/4

cup currants or raisins (These either...yuck in this recipe)

1

tablespoon uncooked oatmeal for the pan

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Butter a pie plate or round cake pan.
  3. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon uncooked oats on the bottom of the pan.
  4. Combine dry ingredients and currants.
  5. Mix melted butter, eggs and then buttermilk and sour cream.
  6. Stir in dry ingredients only until incorporated.
  7. Put dough into a prepared pie pan. The dough is very wet...don't worry about that. Use wet hands to pat into a round once you plop it in the pan.
  8. Cut an X in the top of the loaf. (Not easy with dough this wet.)
  9. Bake for 50 minutes.

This is delicious and so easy to make. It's good with a little butter and jam and a cup of tea...or with corned beef and a dark beer. Depends on the time of day, I guess. It's really good enough to have for a sweet coffee bread when you have company. Or with soup when you have company. Kind of an all-purpose bread.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Sunday night

After spending most of the day in lethargy, I'm completely out of gumption. Tiffany and Eric came down a couple hours ago and we've spent some time visiting, they did some laundry, and we're going out to eat to celebrate Tiff's 23rd birthday. I feel a little bit like I spent too much time on the Tilt-A-Whirl this afternoon and I know it isn't Irish-related because I felt fine until about 3 o'clock. It's gloomy, damp, and cold outside. Perfect March weather and perfect for sleeping or reading on the couch with a blanket.

Peter's coming home tomorrow for a few days. He just wants to eat and sleep, I think. Funny how kids plan their homecomings around food. I offered to take him out to lunch tomorrow but he said he's going to Massad's in Mankato. He likes the chicken shwarma sandwich. I've looked up the recipe but there's about 45 ingredients so I think I'll let the restaurant make it.

I started thinking about my garden this afternoon, after watching Paul trudge back and forth to the garden house with bags of something that look like dirt. His little structure looks precarious so I hope we don't get a big wind this month. (The 29th is the 10th anniversary of our tornado.) I pulled up a lot of bad plants last fall...English daisies that had taken over, false sunflowers, coneflowers that were leggy and ugly. So I have bare spots to fill in. Our yard is getting so shady I think I'll have to move hosta to the front garden. I don't like to grow vegetables, only herbs. Lots of basil and parsley.

Sunday nights. Ugh.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

St. Pat's Dinner 2008
















We had a dinner for Betty and Tom and Kathy tonight. Harvey was home with an illness that will remain nameless. We had the usual: corned beef and cabbage cooked in Guinness, Irish soda bread, Guinness chocolate cake, and Irish coffee. A good time was had by all. After we stretched out in the living room to let the dinner settle, we watch The Quiet Man. Good movie for a St. Patty's celebration.

Note those green pants that Regis has on. These are the ones that are green like the crayon. He and Betty look cool in their hats.

Here's the recipe for Irish coffee. Note that Bill says absolutely no aerosol whipped cream. It's a mortal sin.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Friday at last

I spent the day in St. Paul in the company of a band of bureaucrats at the department of education. I don't want them to google themselves and blackball me from any future jobs or my well-earned retirement earnings so I'm being careful not to name them or their true place of employment. Oh my god. Those people, for the most part, are the most boring pompous-assed stiffs I have ever spent time with. One man was very interesting and somehow managed to make fiscal news almost, well barely, palatable. But the rest of them...one woman said it was the obligation of their organization to promulgate rules. Well, I guess.

Regis and I went to do some errands when I got home and realized that in a half-mile radius from our house, we can go to the bank, the drug store, the bar, the food coop, and the liquor store. Not bad. We didn't go to the bar since we had a beef roast in the crock pot at home, but it's nice to know a guy could if he wanted to.

Last night we went to Irish Stews and Stouts, a real community education class. It was very interesting and educational. For food we had Irish stew with veal (no lamb), Irish soda bread, a cabbage dish with bacon, and Guinness chocolate cake. The beers were many and varied; some we liked and some we didn't. The one in the picture is called Unibroue Ephemere Raspberry beer. It's almost like a liqueur and you can see by the label, it's brewed by angels. Or maybe fairies. Many of the beers came from brew houses, like the Town Hall Brewery in Minneapolis. It was interesting to hear about the beers and then try them in little tiny plastic glasses.

Here's one we weren't so fond of: King Boreas Imperial Wit which the guy said is a strong wit ale. Lots of Curacao bitter orange peel, coriander, and a hint of star anise. Brewed with German pale wheat malt and Golden Promise barley. This is our Winter version of a Belgian white beer. Medium bodied, amber colored, and unfiltered. We also weren't so fond of the Brau Brother's Cream Stout. Some of their beers are good, but not this one. Too bitter.

There you go, all the news that's fit to print on beer. Well, off to the weekend. Leaving the bureaucrats behind...

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Almost the end of the week and time for an Irish stout

It's been a hell of a week and Regis and I are headed down to Patrick's, not for drinking beer as you cynics probably think, but for a Community Education class called Irish Stews and Stouts. So there. I'm sure it will be very educational. Oh shit, I just realized that's a lamb in the pot. That can't be right.
I've been sleeping great with the aid of Ambien. I go to sleep at 10 and don't wake up for anything all night. The woman in the beauty shop last night told me about a friend of hers who awakened in the kitchen of a neighbor, sans clothing. That would not be good.

The last few days have been very spring-like. Today was 54 degrees when I came home from school. Most of the snow is gone and the flowers are poking up through the dirt. I recited this poem to Regis last night:
Spring has sprung
The grass is riz
I wonder where
The flowers is

He asked if I wrote it and I admitted that I had not. Nothing worse than plagiarism.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Ella: The Daily Cute

Ella spent the day caring for her Nana and Popop Saturday while her Daddy helped her Uncle move to a new apartment. She was quite entertaining:
I showed her a picture from Thanksgiving, everybody in a bunch with big smiles. She said, "Oh look! Everybody's cheesin'!"
Regis made bacon for breakfast and brought it out to us in the living room. She took one bite, looked at me seriously and said, "We need more bacon!" and turned to trot back to the kitchen.
She was good as gold but she wears us out; even a good two-year-old is busy and curious and looking at everything. We had a fun day, though, and both of us got naps. Ahhhhh.

The weekend went too fast. We spent the day Sunday doing things we haven't done in a while and that were overdue: I washed the kitchen floor, Regis gathered and organized all our CDs, I vacuumed and dusted. Not my favorite chores.

We watched On the Beach last night. It's an old sci-fi movie with Gregory Peck and Ava Gardner. Regis remembers seeing it when he was young and being fascinated by it. Since it's about nuclear bombs, it's a good thing I never saw it. I had nightmares about bombs when I was a kid and imagined that innocuous things my parents did, like carrying a box of canned vegetables to the basement or covering the windows with plastic were in preparation for the bomb. At this point in my life it wasn't that frightening but it was too sad and there was no redemption in the end. I need a little sign of life at the end of a movie like that.

On to the week, folks. It will be milder, babies, so maybe you can get out and stick your faces up to the sun one of the nicer days. Spring is coming! Believe it!

Friday, March 07, 2008

People who don't cuss can't live here

It's the 7th of March and this morning when I went to my car, the snow squeaked. For God's sake. The snow squeaked and it's only two weeks away from the start of spring. We expect snow in March especially when tournaments start which they did last weekend. But squeaky snow is for January.

I was glad to see this week end. I sat at my desk for a while this afternoon and tried to get my mind around it. Nothing in particular; just it. Life goes too fast.

We're going to watch Ella tomorrow while the men move Regis and Amber from one apartment to another. We got the best end of that stick. I think after you turn 50, it's a rule that you don't have to move anyone. Not even yourself.

My neighbor Mike says it's not good to repress cuss words; it's what causes cancer. That and probably a few other things. I don't mind cussing myself and my own mother says I talk like a sailor. There are worse things.

On to the weekend...

P.S. I just reread this post and noticed that I ended each paragraph with a snappy little sentence. There must be a literary term for that, don't you think?

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Longish day

It was a very longish day today. We had conferences to which nobody comes so we diddle around and have meetings and watch educational videos and try to think brave thoughts about curriculum and standards and such. About the 12th hour, none of it makes much sense. If we had cable tv, I'd be watching re-runs of Leave it to Beaver right about now.

I got a new old book in the mail today. Shirley Jackson's Life among the Savages. I don't know if I ever read it or if Jane has told the story enough that I think I did. A baby is sitting in one of those 1950's style car seats that just hooked over the back of the front seat. It had a little steering wheel and she describes how he is scanning the road ahead for possible cookies. That's the part that makes me laugh because in safe driving for the elderly we teach the strategy of scanning. Get it? Scanning the road for possible cookies?

We had dinner with Anders last night, our friend whose wife passed away two months ago of that awful breast cancer. Anders asked what I was reading, "for Jan." She would want to know, he said, and we believed she was listening. Jan took Out Stealing Horses with her for the afterlife. A good choice because it's a book you can read twice and not get tired of it.

Regis finally came out of the pod of isolation or whatever they call it and is set up to work at home. That only took about five months. Quite a business plan these people have. I'm shocked and I work for the public schools. We'll see how well he likes this when he realizes he doesn't have ten miles to leave the stress behind. I forgot to ask how they liked the noodle recipe.

This is my 385th post on this blog. That would probably be a book if you laid them end-to-end. Or if you literally laid them end-to-end and you assumed that each one was about 6 inches long, you'd have 192.5 feet or about a third of a mile. If I did the math right and I'd say there is a slim chance of that. It wouldn't be much of a book because, well, because most of it is like this one, blather. I think of it as a public service...if you're reading this, you aren't watching the news.

I listened to a podcast this morning, the gist of which was that in a contest between Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny always wins. Here' s an excerpt:
Bugs is at ease, laid back, secure, confident. His lidded eyes and sly smile suggest a sense that he knows the way things work. He's onto the cons of his adversaries. Sometimes he is glimpsed with his elbow on the fireplace mantel of his remarkably well-appointed lair, clad in a smoking jacket. (Jones once said Cary Grant was his inspiration for Bugs. Today it would be George Clooney.) Bugs never raises his voice, never flails at his opponents or at the world. He is rarely an aggressor. When he is pushed too far and must respond, he borrows a quip from Groucho Marx: "Of course, you realize this means war." And then, whether his foe is hapless hunter Elmer Fudd, varmint-shooting Yosemite Sam, or a raging bull, Bugs always prevails.

Here's the whole essay if you want to read it. It's about politics but could probably be about other things, like job applications and marriage.

I realized today that I have to change my haircut appointment again. I have a meeting at 3 and I'll be nervous about making it to Mankato by 4 and back again by 6:00. I think haircuts should get a dispensation from the pope, like St. Patrick's Day and capybaras.

I can tell this is going from silly to foolish so I'll stop now and say goodnight.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Low of 6 degrees tonight

That is really a crock of shit. What is with this weather? At dinner tonight, we were speculating that with the moist winter we've had, the mosquitoes ought to be about the size of horse flies. Lovely. Makes you wonder why we live here.

I remembered today about the time (this must have been pre-blog) that I went to the bathroom at Whiskey River and there was an advertisement on the back of the bathroom door for a company that printed wedding stationery. I like things to be spelled right but I'm not a freak about it, but...this place prints stationery and they spelled it stationary. Like the damn bicycle. Oh, for god's sake. I went right home and called the stationery company and gave them a hard time about the ad copy that they apparently didn't bother to read, then I called the ad company that sells space on the backs of bathroom doors and gave them a hard time about not bothering to edit the copy. What is the world coming to? Like I said, I'm not a freak but I draw the line right there. Right there.

I had a meeting today that made me stop in the middle and make that screwing motion into my right temple. You know, the one that says, "You people are making me insane." Enough said about that.

Regis is dragging some dude home with him tomorrow who will hook up his computer so he can work at home. I said thank the dude for the notice. We've been gone for three nights in a row and those trolls have been coming in during the day and messing things up. I'm sure the guy will think we live with shiftless college students or something. Oh, wait. How does this reflect on me? It doesn't. La dee da da. So there. Lots of people in the world live in houses with dirt floors and they survive just fine and my immune system is healthier than that of a person who scrubs all the time.

Regis was asked to bring a recipe for something with noodles in it to work for a cookbook. Here is our contribution:

Pomegranate Martini with Noodles

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

* 1 box noodles, cooked

* 1 1/2 cups pomegranate juice

* 2 oz. Absolute Citron vodka OR white tequila

* 1 oz. Cointreau liqueur

* Cup of ice

* Optional: Splash of sparkling water

* Optional: Squeeze of lemon

Shake martini ingredients in a shaker and put in chilled martini glasses. Put pomegranate fruit into glass as garnish. Throw the noodles in the trash and drink the martini.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Tall ships and snow


I read in the paper today that three tall sailing ships will be in Duluth the first weekend in August. This is the Pride of Baltimore II. I'm not a fan of traveling especially into crowds (I think this is the weekend of the Bayfront Blues Festival) and this is a celebration of the 150th anniversary of Minnesota's statehood so there are bound to be a bazillion people around but I would love to see those ships. Nope just checked...the blues fest is the next weekend.

We finished up our safe driving for old poops class tonight. What a nice group of people. One lady brought cheese and crackers and venison sausage. I think that's a sign of a friendly group when someone brings food.


I made a delicious and easy tomato soup tonight for dinner. It's called sherried soup but I left that out because I forgot to buy it. Didn't seem to matter. I used dried basil and parsley because where do you find that stuff fresh in March when it doesn't look like limp sun-baked weeds. I used the immersion blender on it, too, because we don't like tomato lumps. It was great with a grilled cheese sandwich.

Sherried Tomato Soup

6 tablespoons melted butter
1 medium onion, diced
1 46-ounce bottle or can tomato juice
2 14 ounce cans diced tomatoes
1 to 3 tablespoons chicken base
3 to 6 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
Black Pepper
1 cup cooking sherry
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
chopped fresh parsley
chopped fresh basil

Saute diced onions until transluscent. Add canned tomatoes, then tomato juice, sugar, pinch of salt, and black pepper. Stir and bring to a near boil then turn heat down. Add sherry and cream, basil and parsley to taste. Serve with croutons or crackers.

I'm listening to some of that music that irritates you when you hear it on an elevator. It's relaxing at night and I like to tun it on if I wake up at some ungodly hour. New age they call it. I'd stick a pin in my eye if I had to listen to this crap when I was fully awake.

My neighbors crocus are poking their heads up through the dirt. Poor little things will have brown tips after the deep freeze the next few days but I guess they must be used to that. Don't put your long underwear and mittens away yet, Minnesota.


A good night sleeping

I know this might be boring to some of you, but what a good night's sleep. I went to sleep about 10:00 and woke up right before the alarm went off at 5:30. I didn't even have to use the music. Like James Brown says: I feel good. ( Can you hear that?)

We have another night of safe driving for the elderly class tonight. We have a nice group of people who happily watch the little videos on how their vision might be declining as they age and how to back up safely in a parking lot. They're good sports. One lady called in sick because she has the chicken pox. You don't hear that very often in an AARP class.

Better get ready for work...

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Sunday

Don't be too impressed because I blog so often because I do it at the expense of other things like cleaning. It's a way to feel sort of productive but really not have to accomplish much. Especially with the sleeping issue, it's about the best I can do.


Regis and I made our early Sunday morning trip to HyVee. We like going at 7 because you don't have to contend with crowds. People picking up 10 dozen rolls for church can be a little annoying but not as annoying as those kiddie carts that look like firetrucks and leave a nasty mark when they clip you in the back of the heels. Who invented those things anyway? Early in the morning, we can mosey around, look at things without being rushed, and backtrack if we forget something.


Tomorrow and Tuesday we teach the safe driving for old people class. I made chicken wings and potato salad this afternoon so we can have lunches and fast dinners for a couple days. I shouldn't have used russet potatoes. They crumble and get kind of dry. Otherwise tasty.


Oh, Jill asked for a sleep update. Thursday night I took a trazodone at 9:00 and slept until 3 but it felt like better sleep. I was out of gas by afternoon but felt good all morning. Friday night I tried Manhattan therapy instead of the medication. I had a brief period of wakefulness but slept until 7. Last night, I stayed up until 10, took a trazodone, and slept until 5 this morning. Overall there is improvement.


I've decided I better give up naps for a while which is very painful because I am a champion napper. It's never disrupted my sleep before but it might be part of the problem now. I'll sit in the chair in the living room and close my eyes for ten minutes or so but I don't go to sleep.


Here's a weird recipe I want to try. I usually avoid foods with soda in them but the picture of this looked so good I have to try it. Notice the ingredient Mountain Dew. There isn't one healthy thing about this recipe, but what the hell. They show it served with ice cream on the side, too. Let's see, fat, sugar, caffeine....oh, and apples!

Apple Dumplings

2 Granny Smith apples
2 cans crescent rolls
2 sticks butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoons vanilla
cinnamon
1 small can Mountain Dew

Peel and core apples. Cut apples into 8 slices each. Roll each apple slice in a crescent roll. Place in a 9 x 13 buttered pan. Melt butter, then add sugar and barely stir. Add vanilla, stir, and pour over apples. Pour Mountain Dew around the edges of the pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Serve with ice cream, and spoon some of the sweet sauces from the pan over the top.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Good dog gone bad

The man of the house had a favorite pair of earbuds for his iPod.
They used to look like this:

They were made by Koss and they weren't cheap, as earbuds go.
This morning when we got up, they looked like this:

Something isn't right as you can see. The little rubber things are gone, baby, gone.
Here is the culprit:


How did he manage to pick those tiny things off without eating the entire earbud? That is some manual dexterity!