Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Trying to stay awake at 7 o'clock

Yesterday was a very long day. Turns out Regis had a bad reaction to the versed so was up disoriented and sick until well past midnight. I watched a movie until 11 when he stumbled out and asked for a summary of the day's events, again. He feels a little better today and has lost that zombie look.

I wonder if anybody else has this hair experience. I have worn my hair pretty short for years now which means it has to be cut often. I try to go four weeks but even that is too long sometimes. I had a haircut on the 27th of March, right before the interview debacle, and made my next appointment for April 30th. A week ago Monday, I started to get the feeling my hair was too long but out of sheer stubbornness, I didn't change the appointment. Then I had a really good hair day on Tuesday so the need vanished and I actually thought hey this looks pretty good. Then from Wednesday on, it's been white knuckles and I have had the urge to offer a drinking friend five bucks to give me a haircut. I'm tempted to buy a curling iron, for God's sake. Why not just get brush rollers and a bouffant hair dryer? The first thing I say to people is: I need a haircut and my appointment is Wednesday. George, the Lebanese guy who used to cut my hair loved it when I said he was an artist. He said, "Well, I don't you to walk down the street and have someone say who's the asshole who cut your hair."

Monday, April 28, 2008

Today

Overheard in the waiting area. Two guys who look like very old Norwegian farmers, talking about whether or not one would accompany the other back to see the doctor.
  • You want me to come back there with you?
  • Yeah, I thought you would.
  • Well, I didn't know if you wanted me to or not.
  • Yeah, that would be fine then.
  • I know Arlene went back with you a few times. I went back with you before, too, so I just thought you might want me to come back with you.
  • Yeah, you can come back with me.
  • I can come back with you if you want me to.
  • Well, I thought you would.

And this later:

Arlene's family didn't drink so when we got married, I had two shivarees...one for the family and one for my friends. I got the beer for next a nothing cuz I knew the guy what run the bar.

I wish I had a notebook with me. It was great stuff.

The things I saw on the drive back:
  1. Roadkill: two cats, three + raccoons, one possum
  2. Redwing blackbirds
  3. A flock of pelicans
  4. Three hawks
  5. A rabbit
  6. Mallards
  7. Canada geese
  8. One guy picking up trash
Regis seems to have survived the ordeal although tomorrow will be a better test than today. He stumbled out of the back room after the procedure like a zombie, pie-eyed and wobbly. He didn't want a wheelchair but I knew we wouldn't make it all the way to the car without one so the nice man got him one. They take good care of you at the Mayo Clinic. ( Yeah, let's wait until I see the bill to pass judgment on that one.) I got the car, pulled up in front of the clinic and pointed at Regis in his chair and one of the...what do you call them?...ran in and brought him out to me. It was a long drive home.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Furniture upset

Reggie came over this afternoon and helped us move our furniture around. I know they were making that circular motion by their ears when I wasn't looking but I don't care. I like to move things around once in a while and it gives me a chance to vacuum behind things that never see the light of day.

I made peanut butter soup for Regis this afternoon. It's one of his favorite foods. Here's the recipe:

Wayside Inn Peanut Butter Soup

3 cups chicken broth

1 cup peanut butter

1/8 teaspoon celery salt

1/8 teaspoon onion salt

1/8 teaspoon sugar

1 and 1/3 cups cream or 1 can evaporated milk

Heat chicken broth to boiling. Add peanut butter, stirring until smooth. Season to taste with celery salt and onion salt. Add sugar. Stir in cream or milk. Heat but do not boil.

This works best with peanut butter like Jiff or Skippy. I tried using Coop peanut butter once and it doesn’t “melt” like the others.

I usually don’t use any sugar as there is enough in the peanut butter.

I’ve used plain milk if I don’t have cream or evaporated milk.

We've had rain off and on all day. A while ago, I was sitting at the table (which is not in front of the living room window) and tiny ice balls were falling from the sky. Snow is predicted again tonight and tomorrow night.

Regis had a minor laundry disaster today. He left an ink pen in the pocket of his shirt which happened to be in a load of my new plaid shirts and colorful socks. Uh oh. I don't complain, though, because I don't want him to get tired of it and quit. I appreciate a man who will do the laundry.

In the midst of my furniture moving today, I have done the following:
  1. Took all the table linens out of the drawer and put them on the bed to sort for the thrift store but didn't finish...they're still there.
  2. Piled the rest of the winter clothes on the sofa which is not in the dining room.
  3. Used the Spot Bot on some areas in the living room.
  4. Posted to my blog more than once.
  5. Looked at catalogs.
I haven't finished any of these projects and I probably won't. I don't know if this is an ADD problem or just, as Regis says, benign disinterest.

Another thing we've noticed is the dizzying array of products. When we were in the store yesterday, we looked at toothpaste. Not only can we not remember from time to time, which kind we buy of all the kinds Crest makes, but they don't make plain toothpaste. Everything has something to brag about: extra whitening, plaque reducer, especially for sensitive teeth. Same with almost everything you buy...too many choices. I called customer service the other day and waited, pushing numbers on their menu, and by the time someone finally came on the line, I could hardly remember who I called or what I wanted. Hey, maybe it's me.

Later...
I thought it would be a little weird to post four times in one day so I'm just up-dating! I did finish most of my projects today. Not as finished as some people might like, but the bed is cleared off, the bags for the thrift store are by the door, and you can sit on several chairs in each room. Ta da!

Family news




My brother Steve and his wife Michelle's new baby, Chloe. Sister of Ezra, Ian, Duncan, Caleb, and Nicole.












Nicole and Jason are getting married October 4th.

Early Sunday

A forewarning that Thursday is May Day. If you haven't heard of this holiday, here is the scoop:

Handing out May Day baskets is a charming and gentle activity for children and adults. It's a tradition that Louisa May Alcott wrote of in "Jack and Jill" (Chapter 18):

"The job now in hand was May baskets, for it was the custom of the children to hang them on the doors of their friends the night before May-day; and the girls had agreed to supply baskets if the boys would hunt for flowers, much the harder task of the two. Jill had more leisure as well as taste and skill than the other girls, so she amused herself with making a goodly store of pretty baskets of all shapes, sizes, and colors, quite confident that they would be filled, though not a flower had shown its head except a few hardy dandelions, and here and there a small cluster of saxifrage."

Some years I manage a few gum drops in a paper cup with a pipe cleaner handle. Nothing too fancy. My kids liked making May Day baskets when they were little. One year we took one to an older lady in the neighborhood who cried because she remembered getting May Day baskets when she was a little girl in Iowa. Here's a website (of course) with some ideas and directions for May Day baskets.

By late afternoon yesterday, if you had just looked outside, you would have thought it was spring. It was cold and windy, though...much too cold to stand outside while Harvey cooked burgers on the grill. We all huddled in front of the fireplace while he stood out there in his winter coat. We gave Betty patio dishes (plastic ware in bright colors) and a garden flag for her birthday in the great and probably hopeless hope that someday spring will come to Minnesota.

Here's a very sad and sweet story I just read in the Trib. There's a link to a blog written by Matt Logelin from the article. I recommend reading it but you better be ready to take a few of those gulping sobs and then be haunted by it for a long time.

We went to Shopko yesterday and I bought Ella some new toys: Play Dough, a safety scissors, and something called Gazillions of Bubbles. I thought about sidewalk chalk but maybe she's too little for that yet. She asked about the swing last time she was here but I'm not sure she'll fit in that baby swing this year. We may have to go to a bigger size. Maybe Katherine Nova, across the street, can borrow the baby swing. Or the Potts babies. Jill, do you have a tree for a little plastic swing?

I'm anxious to get my new birdbath out. Remember the one I bought at the Rockbend Folk Festival last summer? The birds would have to bring a little hatchet along to chop a hole in the ice if they tried to take a bath in this weather. It's 28 degrees right now.

I have a new niece, Chloe, sister to Ezra. No pictures yet. She was born on Thursday but I don't have many details. The cell phone connection between a hospital in Fargo and my school in St. Peter was not conducive to detail.

If I can get some strong boys over here one day soon, I'm going to mix my furniture up. They've offered to come but I haven't been quite ready. I want to move the sofa and love seat into the dining room and move the dining table into the living room. I'm also going to rent a storage unit for the summer and get some of this stuff out of here and out of my garage. What I should rent is a dumpster. I don't know where this shit comes from, really I don't.

There's a egg-plump robin sitting on the fence outside my window. I can see her fat stomach poking out the sides from behind. Poor thing having to lay eggs in this wind. It will be like the windy day when I put a check in the little sliding drawer at the drive-up window at the bank. A gust of wind came along and took my check and I never saw it again.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

What the

My mom lives in Canby, in southwestern Minnesota, and this picture was taken out her front door yesterday, April 25th. That's her little frog band covered with snow. They had about five inches on the ground by afternoon with high winds and poor visibility. Good grief is all you can say to that.

I woke up at 4 o'clock and peered out the window to see we have a covering of snow now, too. The Trib says some places up North will get 15 inches.

Regis and I were sloths last night. We had beef commercials for dinner and sat in front of 30 Rock for a couple hours. Nothing like comfort food and television to ease the pain of a winter that won't quit. We want to go to Mankato this morning just to get out, but I'm not putting a winter coat on again so if I can't go in a light jacket, I'm not going.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Thursday

I went to the Mayo Clinic yesterday with Regis. He’s having some testing done to see why he’s lost so much weight in the last year. It’s an interesting place to be: stories hang in the air over the heads of people in waiting rooms, like wisps of smoke. Once I thought I saw a little play being enacted over the heads of an old couple; scenes from their lives and people from their past. Tiny, shadowy figures with soft voices. Maybe I read that somewhere.

The most stressful part of the trip was riding the Fritsch rocket on the way home. We did 80 mph between Rochester and Faribault, passing everyone in a blur of tail lights and dust. I wish I could draw because I see myself plastered to the seat with my hair straight back and my cheeks puffed out like I’m in some wind machine. I like to drive leisurely and look at the ducks and the farmers and other things. I also like to stop occasionally and get a cup of coffee and a cookie. You can't stop when you're trying to break a land speed record because then all those people you worked so hard to pass get ahead of you.

Next time we go to Rochester, we're going to the visitor's center where they have a museum about the Mayo brothers. That way when people ask us what we did on our vacation, we'll have an answer. A student in Joanne's class was talking about China the other day and I asked him if he knew that the Great Wall was the only man-made thing you can see from the moon with the naked eye. He asked me, in all seriousness, if I had been to the moon. Joanne said, "She doesn't even go to Mankato without packing a bag." Very funny. I have a reputation for sticking close to home.

In case you live in a more temperate climate and want to shed a tear for us, this is from Paul Douglas’ weather forecast in the Tribune today: Minnesota: Land of 10,000 Weather Extremes. Close to 80 degrees Wednesday with air conditioners blaring, the happy tinkle of the Ice Cream Truck. By Friday evening Minnesotans living up north may be knee-deep in slush. Sandwiched in-between: thunderstorms boiling up Thursday, a raw Friday with a cold rain, maybe 1-2” of precipitation, enough for a Flash Flood Watch to be issued for northeastern Minnesota and northern Wisconsin.

Lovely. I drove home in a downpour with thunder and big cracks of lightning. One thing I’ve noticed lately is that people who are normally mild-mannered and good-natured are getting downright ugly. They are snappish, selfish, mean-spirited, and overly sensitive. The same goes for me. We all need to sit in the sun and cook on the grill and let our toes have air while we sip margaritas.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Philly family




Regis I and II, or II and II, depending on how you figure your Roman numerals.














Fritsch siblings: Larry, Jocelyn, Kurt, Regis.













The flowers were blooming there and we're all jealous!














Old friend, Jack Hansell.

















Regis likes to take pictures out the plane window.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Some things suck huge like tuesday

1. I peeled up the sticker on the corner of my laptop and thought I could stick it back down but I couldn't. Every time I put my wrist there, kind of essential to using the laptop, it cut me. Great. Now I have a sticky spot where I peeled the HP sticker off.

2. I made Portuguese soup for dinner and it was really spicy. We couldn't figure it out because the only seasoning in it is salt, pepper, and a bay leaf. Oh yes. Then I remember the can of tomatoes with green chiles. That would do it.

3. I have about ten pages left of the book I'm reading. I dread the ending because I'll miss those people. Regis asked if I know the difference between fiction and real life. I do.

4. I have these red velvet (actually velour) drapes in my living room. They look kind of whore house-ish but I've liked them. I realized sitting here in the sun that they're faded on the edges. Like Miss Havisham's house: moth eaten, spider webby, faded, ugly. And I have no interest in finding anything else.

5. There's a window in our living room that looks like it popped its seal. It's foggy and even though I've tried cleaning it, it won't un-fog. For months, I had, on my list of things to do, to call Dean Williams. He's the guy who installed them after the tornado. I was sure they had a ten-year warranty so...instead of calling Dean, I waited and waited and procrastinated until the ten years was up. Now I have this constant reminder of my fatal flaw. See #4.

This is one of those posts that I'm writing in the living room while watching tv. 30 Rock is on and that keeps my attention for the most part. Every once in a while I get an inspiration and type a few lines. It's probably obvious. No flow. Not much inspiration.

Monday, April 21, 2008

A perfect non sequitur

I've told this story to a couple people today and nobody laughed like I did. I was at a meeting the other day where a couple people brought small children. Toward the end, I was droning on about something and a little three-year old boy climbed up on a chair to listen and stare at me like I was the most fascinating thing around. We all realized he appeared to be paying attention, and his mom commented to him that he was a good listener. He grinned broadly and said, "Get more puppies." So, he wasn't listening to me after all. Little kids are a good lesson when you think you're saying important things.

It was 77 degrees when I left work today at 4:00, 67 when I left again for a meeting at 5:00, and 45 degrees and raining when I came home at 6:30. Yikes. Do we have to get the mittens out again? I had to change clothes three times.

Regis says that guy who is running for President for the Republicans has a wife who's rich. Man, why is he doing that? I'd be sitting on the deck of her yacht drinking margaritas and bossing the servants around. He's 71 for cripes sake. He doesn't need that kind of BS in his life. Of course, my husband's theory is that the guy isn't wrapped too tight in the head and this proves it. That's all you're going to hear from me about politics.

Good night to go to bed and read. I recommend The Vision of Emma Blau. It's one of those epic kind of books that covers several generations. It's very good except that a lot (and I mean a lot) of people have died. Not usually under violent circumstances which helps a little since I'm not a fan of violence in any form.

I don't have any more interesting observations today. That usually doesn't stop me, I know. I realized the other day I have about 450 posts on this blog. Some people could turn that into something profitable if they had, say, a plot or some imagination. Ah, well. Lame quips, rants about lawn care, and quirky observations...that's about all you're going to get from me. Hey, that could be a book.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Philly food


This is what the soft pretzels look like in Philadelphia. When Regis got to the car rental place, they gave him a soft pretzel. They tell me you can buy them on the streets from homeless people who are hired to hang off the curbs holding pretzels but we usually find a store that sells them. We have about 49 of them in our freezer now. Regis hauled them back in his suitcase.






Bagel Train Incorporated

175 S Main St, Yardley, PA 19067

This is my favorite Philly treat. The Bagel Train makes the best bagels I have ever eaten. The things we buy in groceries stores around here are not even close. We have two dozen of these in the freezer. Lots of cinnamon raisin and marble rye, which are my favorites, but a few sesame and poppy seed, too.
And some with onions, which I think is an affront to a bagel.




This is the favorite sweet treat: The Peanut Butter Kandy Kake. Regis remembers taking these to school when he was a little kid, two of them wrapped up in a dry cleaning shirt bag. They came in packages of three but his dad charged a tax. Ha. Pretty funny.

Sunday evening

I sat in a lawn chair for a while this afternoon, just enjoying the sun. Then I decided to pick up a bagful of leaves and sticks from the edge of the garden so I got my garden hopper out and scooted along the sidewalk. This is the best invention ever. Even better than the thermos. There's a little spot for a cold drink, you can store your gloves and nippers in the cubby underneath, and it scoots along just fine. It doesn't make corners very well so you have to levitate and turn it by hand...but I guess that isn't so bad.

Regis is on his way home from Pennsylvania. He called from Shakopee to say he'll be home about 6:30 and the boys can stop over to pick up their share of the booty: Tasty Cakes, soft pretzels, and bagels, and hard rolls. He mailed most of his clothes back to St. Peter yesterday so he'd have more room in his suit case for food. His family must think we live in the back woods and the general store is too far away to walk to very often. Hee haw.

I watched the movie Away from Her last night. I really liked it but it's a good thing I watched it when Regis was gone. It was a typical movie for me: long dreamy camera shots, soft music, no action, and a tear-jerker. No war scenes, no car chases, no bad guys. Perfect. Today I watched a few episodes of 30 Rock. Great television. I think I've moved into a love story-comedy phase of entertainment; I've lost interest in the Sopranos.

It looks like some rain and thunder this week. That will be ok. I don't like the pressure to start lawn mowing too early.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

It's amazing what you find

Digging around in the front closet that's about big enough to hold two spring jackets, I found four jars of buttons. Remember how I spent of month of January hunting up buttons? Here they are...right under my nose. I also found two bags of grass seed that Regis and I both remember buying...maybe last spring...but couldn't find. One sunny and one shady. We were ready to believe that mice had carried it off seed by seed and that we would have to buy two more bags.

I bought groceries to make nachos, stopped at MGM for supplies, cleaned the clothes off the sofa, and sorted through a week's worth of mail. Tiffany called. She got two tickets for expired tabs within two hours. Apparently the cops in Uptown are winning the war on crime.

Saturday: Paying bills and cleaning. Two things I'm bad at.

It's been a busy end of the week. Regis left for PA early Thursday morning so I got up int he middle of the night to make coffee and see him off. He made it there safely and had only been on the ground three hours and he'd had a soft pretzel and a cheese steak, and bought a six-pack of Yueng Ling. Today he's going to put most of his suitcase contents in a box and mail it home so he can bring back bagels, hard rolls, soft pretzels, and a couple cheese steaks for the boys. Wonder how that will go through airport security.

I don't mind being home alone but I haven't gotten much done. Today I better clean up a little around here. I filled the sofa with clothes last week, intending to sort through them, but there they still are. Not exactly a Martha Stewart look.

Betty and Tom are coming down later for chicken nachos. Ella might come, too, because the boys are geocaching today. Here's the picture of the chicken nachos. Thanks to Emerill. And here's the recipe if you're interested:

Tom made delicious garlic bread last night and some awful concoction that he called fish soup. Betty and I turned up our noses but he said it was good. We said, "We're not eating that!" Maybe a different name, like lobster bisque would help. Fish soup, ugh.

The boys (Bob and Regis are not boys, but you know what I mean) have this strange hobby called geocaching. Here's what it says on The Official Global GPS Cache Hunt Site:
Geocaching is an entertaining adventure game for gps users. Participating in a cache hunt is a good way to take advantage of the wonderful features and capability of a gps unit. The basic idea is to have individuals and organizations set up caches all over the world and share the locations of these caches on the internet. GPS users can then use the location coordinates to find the caches. Once found, a cache may provide the visitor with a wide variety of rewards. All the visitor is asked to do is if they get something they should try to leave something for the cache.

Like my mom says, better than sittin' on a bar stool or chasin' strange women.

Regis says it's 80 and sunny in PA. It's 39 and cloudy here. And wet. I'm afraid he won't come home after all of this: great weather, pretzels, hard rolls, New York pizza, bagels, and Yueng Ling. Hey, coming home to hamburger buns and Old Milwaukee!

I better get something done around here.




Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Goat fame

If you read my blog often, you know one of my favorite blogs is This Goat's Life. About a year ago, I named an orange goat Xanthoria Elegans because they needed a name that started with X that had something to do with orange. Well, if you read today's post, check out the post for today called Update. You'll see that I have been mentioned:

As reported previously, Big Orange popped out a set of twins, a little orange doe who is currently being called Tangerine (but remember, she will need a Y name sooner or later - we are hoping that Teresa Saum will think of one), and a little black buckling, who is currently being called "the little black one."

Regis thinks it's funny the way I link up with these blog folks but he posts on some gas price blog every day. Now that's weird.

I have to go find a name for the Y baby.

Wind

The wind is howling here. Howling, I tell you. Miles, don't go out without putting stones in your little pockets. You could surely blow away.

I left the high school and it was like a wind tunnel. I was afraid I was going to slam my leg in the car door. Dirt is blowing like a big brown cloud. Paper is blowing high in the sky.

I went to a meeting after school and every time I turned my head I heard a crackling noise like cellophane. I finally checked it out and I had about five leaves in my shirt. Old dead and dried up leaves from last year. Anita laughed so hard she almost had to leave the meeting.

Regis is getting ready for his trip to Pennsylvania on Thursday. I can't think about it because it's too many things to be afraid of...driving fast and flying and toll bridges and probably a lot of other things. I'm such a chicken. It's why I stay home but I try to tell people it's because I don't like to travel. The truth is it causes me so much anxiety that it almost ruins the pleasure.

I'm trying to adjust to a change in my sleeping medication. I am out of Ambien and so I'm back to trazadone. It works fine but only for about 8 hours so I can't take it at 8:00 and then read for two hours because I wake up at 4:00. This morning I made scalloped potatoes with ham and an apple dumpling recipe before 6 a.m. I guess I have to lean over and take it right before I drift off. I think I prefer the Ambien CR.

I finished Steve Martin's book last night and moved on to something called The Vision of Emma Blau. It's an epic the reviews say and I like it so far but I checked Amazon and it only had 3 and a half stars so I won't read the rest of the reviews. I hate it when people say things about a book like, "He didn't spend enough time with his kids". What the hell. They want different characters, I guess.

I ordered a couple things to watch while Regis is gone. One is a movie called Away from Her with Julie Christie and Gordon Pinsent. The other is the first season of 30 Rock. Other than reading, watching television, and visiting, I don't plan to do much. I had the horrible realization the other day that I would have to do my own laundry this weekend. Regis won't get home until about 7 Sunday night and he leaves for Rochester early the next morning. I guess it wouldn't be fair to ask him to do my laundry. (I'm kidding...)

Monday, April 14, 2008

Wood chipper

We have another power implement in the neighborhood, a wood chipper that seems to have been running non-stop for several days. We're talking about a city lot here, not the back forty. How much wood could there be to chip up for God's sake? It's a scary sight watching someone chip wood, something too horrible to watch but you can't look away. Hey, I've seen Fargo. I really don't understand this compulsive yard work that some people do. But just in case it's your bag, here are directions for striping your lawn. I googled it just to see if there are patterns and there are. One of my other yard freak neighbors was fertilizing his grass today, pay no attention to the fact that we had ten inches of snow a week ago. Nothing like forcing the poor plants into early emergence. He'll start watering every night next week and then, let the mowing begin. We have to neglect our yard just to make up for the carbon footprint of these other cats. Ok, it's 8 o'clock and half dark and that damn thing is still running. I just want to voice my objections.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Happy 21st Birthday, Peter!

Peter celebrates his 21st birthday today in a very mature way: working and doing homework. When he comes home in May, we'll cook big steaks on the grill and maybe have a margarita to celebrate this milestone. Here's a happy birthday message from the Beatles...just for him.


Miss Ella


Ella spent the afternoon with her Nana and Popop. She was enchanting, as usual.


















I think those are stars in her eyes.







I think she's watching me read in this picture but I cropped my ugly weather-beaten self out of the picture. I can't get this dang thing to format right tonight and I'm tired of it. In the last picture (scroll down), we had finished dinner and she wanted to help me "wash up". She's telling us all about it as she wipes the table. She wanted a couple spoons later (well, actually she wanted a knife but I convinced her a spoon would be better) and she washed those up, too.

During dinner, Regis and I heard this watery noise and we looked over to see her squeezing the juice box so the juice spurted out of the straw all over her pants and the floor. We had to laugh. Sorry, Bob and Emily.



Sunday morning

Regis and I have been up since 6, buying groceries and getting organized for the day. We're looking at our new Spot Bot and getting excited about trying it out. Pathetic.

We went to the Bothy last night and heard one of our favorite bands, Becky Thompson and Old School. They were wonderful. She has a voice like a country singing angel and the two guys with her were great, too. Dan Lund is another Minnesota Music Hall of Fame winner and he has a voice like sex and chocolate. His guitar music got a round of applause on almost every song. When they sang Sweet Dreams, I swear people wept. At the end you could hear a gasp from the crowd and one old guy jumped to his feet and applauded. They played until 11 which is late for this crowd, and we didn't even get restless. They play every Monday night at Lee's Liquor Lounge in Minneapolis. If we were the kind of folks who stayed up late or drove to Minneapolis, we'd go see them more often.

Off to do the Sunday thing: laundry, coffee with Betty, Tom, and Michelle, and a few hours with Ella. I have a roast in the crock pot so we can have beef commercials for dinner. It's cold here but the sun is shining which is a good thing. We were getting a little cranky from the extended winter weather.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Airport weird shit

Well, I have a couple cleaning tasks to do, otherwise I'm as done as I get. We're going to motor over to Kohl's later to buy a Spot Bot, a little bitty carpet cleaning thing that gets really good reviews from pet owners. There's a Bothy show tonight that's one of our favorite bands, Becky Thompson and Old School. I'm prepared to weep at least once. Becky channels Patsy Cline.

Regis made a reservation for a parking lot in Minneapolis for Thursday when he flies out to PA. He could have gotten insurance for two bucks:

Full benefit is paid to you for accidental loss of life, two limbs, both eyes or one limb and eye; one-half the amount is paid for loss of one limb or one eye. Benefits are payable up to one year from the date of accident.

Dude. I think I have it figured out now. You have to lose two of something to get the full benefit.

Cleaning; my favorite activity

You'll probably see lots of blogging today since I should be cleaning and this is my refuge. I'd much rather manipulate words than a damn dust mop. I cleaned the bathroom and it looks pretty good but I have minimalist standards when it comes to cleaning. As long as you can't see major amounts of dirt with the naked eye, it's fine with me.

Regis had to go to work and that's worse. People bring their small children who wreak havoc on the place while they try to have a business meeting. Now, there's a plan for you. Pay people time and a half, accomplish very little, and pay for damages caused by their restless off-spring.

Back to cleaning. There will be frequent updates...

Friday, April 11, 2008

Crayola birthday and stormy skies

Crayola this week is announcing eight newly named colors this year, which is the 50th anniversary of the crayon maker's iconic 64-count box.

But don't expect the new crayons' names to be much of clue about the hue.

Try these new names on for size:
Super Happy (yellow), Fun in the Sun (orange), Giving Tree (green), Bear Hug (brown), Awesome (dusty pink), Happy Ever After (blue), Famous (hot pink) and Best Friends (purple).

I'm not such a fan of the color names. I like things simple, but what the hell. I don't use crayons all that often anyway.

I took the dog outside on the leash last night. If we put him in the back yard he stands with his head down like we've put him on an ice floe. He tiptoes from stepping stone to stepping stone but he won't get off to pee. His delicate feet might get wet. But when you take him out the front door on the leash, he charges out the door, pees on everything vertical, and would go on for a long time through puddles and icy wind.

Keep your powder dry today! More precipitation coming!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Spices

















For years, I've fought with spices to find a good way to store them so they were easy to find when I needed them. I've tried jars in baskets, rows on a shelf, drawers, nothing worked. A few weeks ago, I stumbled onto a website called Custom Magnetic Spice Racks. I ordered a bunch of clear-topped 8 ounce tins and tonight, Regis and I organized the whole mess. I ordered labels and magnetic strips from the same company so now all my herbs and spices are in labeled containers and stuck to the side of the refrigerator in alphabetical order. No more hunting through baskets to find what I need in the middle of a cooking project. I need to order a few more tins so I can finish this project but I'm really happy with it. Regis thought it might be kind of a girly project for him to be involved in but I assured him that plenty of men would envy our spice storage system.

The weather here is just as bad as we anticipated. No snow yet but the wind has been gusting to 38 mph and the rain is coming sideways. It's starting to freeze now and it's thundering. We went to the PO and the library after school and people on the street were unidentifiable because everyone had a hood up. It's ugly out there.

I made the decision to withdraw my application for the job. I thought about it long and hard but it's the right decision for the right reasons. I'm relieved that it's over. No ships, no regrets.

Stay warm and dry tonight.

Weather Update for Miles

I know it seems like a guy ought to be able to finally put away the Patagonia snowsuit in April, but this is Minnesota, man. You gotta be tough. Here's the forecast for the next three days. Don't get the grill out yet and tell the robins in Owatonna to put an extra blankie on the nest.

Today
Windy. A chance of rain in the morning...then rain... snow and isolated thunderstorms in the afternoon. No snow accumulation. Highs around 35. East winds 15 to 25 mph increasing to 25 to 35 mph in the afternoon.

Tonight
Windy. Rain and snow. Snow accumulation up to 5 inches. Lows 30 to 35. East winds 25 to 35 mph becoming northeast 15 to 25 mph after midnight.

Friday
Snow and rain in the morning...then snow in the afternoon. Snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches. Highs around 35. North winds 10 to 20 mph.

Friday Night
Breezy. Cloudy with snow likely. Snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches. Lows around 30. North winds 20 to 25 mph. Chance of snow 70 percent.

Saturday
Breezy. Mostly cloudy with a 40 percent chance of snow. Highs around 35. North winds 20 to 25 mph.

Does that sound ugly or what?

I might have complained before about my neighbor with all the gas-powered machines: mower, whacker, blower, washer. Regis and I were getting in the car to do some errands late yesterday afternoon and he drove out of the garage with a monster lawn tractor. He jumped off to tell Regis that the thing is just a little too wide to get through his gate so he'd like to go into his back yard by our garage. We don't care about that but the thing almost didn't fit there. We thought it would have to be airlifted into the back forty but he squeaked in there somehow, probably taking a half-inch of our garage with him.

He told Regis he would mow our front yard in exchange for the favor of driving over our dirt. I didn't think much about that until we got home and he's making fifty-five rounds on the boulevard with that thing to mow the grass that isn't even standing erect yet and to chop up the seed pods from the locust tree. I was just going to wait until the clean-up day and rake them into a pile. John used eight gallons of gas doing it with the tractor. Is this a good use of our petroleum resources???? I told Regis he has to tell him we don't want him mowing our lawn, thank you very much. That's a man's job, right?

Nothing against lawn tractors if a guy has a big lawn. Ours is the size of a small postage stamp and mowing is about the only exercise we get, we don't mind the grass getting long, and we don't like the noise of lawn mowers. We have a tiny battery-powered lawn mower that I swear wouldn't keep you awake if it was in the bedroom. It has a nice little purr. Also not a very wide cutting path and it leaves chunks sticking up but we aren't very particular about that either.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Wednesday and comfortably numb

We made a deep dish pizza for dinner with some dough that I froze from the last escapade. It was delicious, topped with sweet pepper, onions, chopped pepperoni, garlic, and several kinds of cheese. While we were monkeying around with that, chopping and such, Regis got out some martini glasses and made us a Manhattan. Oh my. That is a nice drink. A nice sense of warmth and comfort.



Joanne called me on her way home and said we should go out by Hermie's and check out the pelicans. Sure enough. There were hundreds of them. We parked the car where we thought we could get a good look and I scaled a steep cliff in my panty hose and Dansko clogs, taking my life in my hands, but that wasn't the best shot so we drove on out on 99. They're shy little buggers and must think the camera will steal their souls. Every time we got a good focus, they would move. I think they're migrating through because we don't see them around in the summer.







On the job note, I'm talking really smart tonight. Who knows what strange emotion tomorrow will bring.

When I was driving home, I noticed the little bumps on my steering wheel right by the horn buttons. At first I thought they were Braille for horn but then I thought, boy, a blind person driving a car would have worse problems than the horn would require. Then I decided it really isn't Braille for horn after all. Must be some tactile stimulation thing the Germans thought of on a VW. Very interesting.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Back to my life

I feel like I'm coming out from under a black cloud. I did the dishes tonight, made dinner with the help of my patient husband, and now we're watching a movie. Nothing new to report on the job process and I don't feel like talking about it anyway.

If you don't read Charlie's blog (link of the right) regularly, be sure to check it today. He has a very clever letter to Paul Douglas who was recently given the boot by WCCO. I know he has millions, Paul not Charlie, but I still hate to see him go. He's an institution in Minnesota, Paul not Charlie.

We're watching Lawrence of Arabia. I liked the first part but the second part has a lot of war in it. Regis says that's because it's a WAR movie. I hate all the shooting and beating and sword action; it really doesn't show a nice side of humanity. But I guess if he'll watch Priscilla Queen of the Desert with me, I can watch Lawrence of Arabia with him.

I've been reading books for the second and third time lately. I can recommend Tracks by Louise Erdrich and Four Souls by the same author. She has a new book coming out called The Plague of Doves that looks interesting. I've liked all her books very much and it surprises me when I look at Amazon and some people are so critical. No accounting for taste, I guess.

I read her sister's book based on a very positive review in the Tribune. I won't mention her name in case she googles herself and I hurt her feelings, but I didn't like it. It's a string of odd little vinaigrettes. Laugh out loud. I know that isn't the right word...just repeating what I heard a woman say once.

Ok, there is about enough blood in this movie. I'm closing my eyes during the battles. And besides, it started with the end which I hate in movies and books. I like to follow a real-time chronology. I'm easily confused.

Monday, April 07, 2008

My head has exploded

If I had to pick a ship today (is a barge a ship?) I would pick this one. I've been awake since 3:30 a.m., the interviews were hugely stressful and this whole process is giving me a pain in the nether regions. Apparently we have a tie so the next step is an interview of people I've worked with...principals and teachers. It doesn't have to be stressful for me because I think I work well with people in this district, but you know me, anticipate the worst and avoid it if at all possible. You'd think they were hiring the Queen of the Universe of something.



It's about 35 degrees, gray, and windy out today. At least we didn't get the 32 inches of snow they got in Virginia, Minnesota. That would be a real kick in the pants. Speaking of kicks, I got a symbolic kick out of this piece of news in the Trib:

The storm dropped a foot or more of snow across a wide swath of north central and northeastern Minnesota over the past three days, putting spring on hold. A few cranky people even called the National Weather Service office in Duluth lamenting that the interminable winter just won't end.

We didn't get a foot of snow but we still feel like the cranky people who call the NWS. Regis is going to take me to Whiskey River for a beef commercial and a Manhattan this evening. Sounds like medicinal food and drink, if you ask me.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

The language of ships

I have my second interview Monday morning at 8:00. Here's how you'll know:





A tall ship in full sail means it went well and things are looking good.














A small sailboat heading into the sunset means there was an unexpected turn of events: a reposting of the position,a third grilling by another group, or some other nonsense that I won't do.










Not much explanation needed for the sinking of a rusty old barge.








I'm not sure how long this will take. At least until Tuesday I would guess. Much past that and I''ll have to post a ship under construction...

A better state of mind

I am in a better state of mind today. The marbles have settled into their slots. Like this little frog, I'm floating on the pond of possibility, envisioning a positive outcome, eyes wide open to my surroundings. Ohhhmmmmm.

I have my questions constructed and my answers written. I'm going into the pool (tub) now to contemplate them. I'm sure changes will be made but I'm not in a frantic panic anymore.

I'm going to have an Aveda massage this afternoon. It's raining and I may have time for a short nap. Life is good.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Scream

I'm finally at my desk to prepare for the next round of interviews with three big binders, notes, my computer jump drives and no motivation.

This is torture. It's beautiful outside, the window is open, birds are singing and I care a fig's worth about this today. Look at Homer. That's how I feel.

I don't know how I fiddled away the morning. I guess I made pancakes, read the paper, paid bills, cleaned off my desk, took a bath...anything to procrastinate.

My stomach feels like I've been on the Tilt-A-Whirl again. That's familiar, eh? Maybe I'm getting up in the middle of the night and going to the carnival except that you couldn't find one around here for hundreds of miles. There used to be one up by the old Menards on 169 but I never saw anybody there. It was creepy. Like the carnival in the movie Big.

Ok...here I go. After I do a couple more things. Maybe I should just wait until tomorrow.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Friday

No other words for it...finally Friday. How can one week be so long? Must be all the stuff going on around here.

An old friend of mine, a health food eater, a doer of yoga, a happy and light-hearted fellow of only 60 years, had a massive heart attack and died this week. Life is fickle, or so it seems.

I left work at 3:30, Regis punched out shortly after, and we went to have a glass of wine with some friends and watch some food tv. Nothing we like better. Great recipes and some planning for cooking on the grill. Speaking of food, I bought Alton Brown's new book called Feasting on Asphalt. I love it. Good pictures and recipes and a great mix of history, food, and travel.

I just read in the Trib that Paul Douglas got the boot from WCCO. I've watched him do the weather for 22 years so it's sad he's leaving. Maybe he'll still do the weather for the Trib. If famous dudes like that can get canned, I guess all of us are vulnerable.

I have to study this weekend for my next round of torture, I mean interviews. If this doesn't end soon, I'm going to decide that it would be better to just stay at my current job and listen to pandora radio and watch youtube all day. Works sucks. Interviews especially suck.

We heard two good bands in the last week: Carrie Hassler and Hard Rain and last night, Robin and Linda Williams. I might have mentioned them in previous posts. I sent an email to R&L, told them sometimes I can judge a band by how many times I get weepy-eyed during their show from the music and the lyrics...twice during theirs. I'd say that is powerful music.

It smells like spring tonight, or maybe that is the smell of worms. Either way it must mean that winter is loosening its grip. Most of the snow is gone. The daffodils are poking through the dirt. Grackels are filling the trees in swarms. Fat buds are on the trees.

I know some other interesting and memorable things happened this week but hell if I can recall them right now. We are captivated by our simples lives. Even when we have no memory of the details.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

More like spring today

The sun came out and melted most of the snow today. It never did stick on the sidewalks and streets which is a good thing. A guy hates to get a snow shovel out on April 1st. Likewise with boots and mittens and winter coats.

Regis made his world-famous Reuben sandwiches for dinner. He claims that the secret is to cook the corned beef and the sour kraut a little before assembling the sandwich. Whatever the secret is, it works.

Regis loves working at home and even agreed to get back on the computer and work an extra hour tonight. It doesn't seem too bad when you wander down the hall and sit with the dog at your feet.

I discovered a website called Pandora that is amazing. You pick out the songs or artists that you like and it builds a radio station for you. No commercials, no talking, and you get to vote on every song...like it or don't like it. Then they either boot the current song or pick similar music for you. It's kind of addicting. It's a good way to listen to new music.

Weather report

Miles wants to know the weather here in St. Peter. It snowed all day yesterday. Mostly big and heavy flakes that turned to wet heavy snow on the ground. It melted off most sidewalks and the streets weren't covered until this morning but it isn't enough to shovel or plow.

At times yesterday afternoon, the flakes were tiny and coming down sideways. It was hard on the little birds who had to huddle in the leafless tress for protection. I filled the feeders and they were a popular spot for dining-out birds. I saw juncos, finches of all colors, a pair of cardinals, a dove, a chickadee, and a woodpecker.

Not exactly a Paul Douglas weather report, but there it is, Baby. Maybe the last storm of the season. It might be 50 degrees on Thursday!