Monday, June 30, 2008
I'm sitting on the porch and it's hotter than hell so it isn't a lie. Just a stolen subject line.
Ella was over this afternoon. Peter and I took her to lunch and then to Target. I asked her if she had a swimming pool at home and she said no. So we bought a little blow-up one. Peter spent 45 minutes blowing it up and another 15 putting water in it. She played in it for about 5 minutes. And when Emily came to pick her up, she said that was just like their pool at home. Ha! Way to go, Nana. We had a good time. Whenever Peter's phone would ring she asked who was calling. Good girl! No secret girlfriends here!
I picked Ella up at the home of her mama's friend who is about 9.3 month's pregnant. Ella pointed at her when I came in the door and said, "That baby wants to come out." Yes, indeed, I bet it does.
The temperature is going to take a big spike tomorrow and will cause heads to sweat all over town. 88 degrees. We've hardly had any days over 80 this year. Regis hates the cool weather and wants to bask in the hot sun. There's something wrong with his thermostat.
Annie, I haven't seen any abandoned gas stations that have been turned into fireworks stands but if you tell me where they are, I'll take a new route to avoid them. That seems like double trouble, right there. What if there was an explosion of the fireworks and the gas tanks ignited? It would be like a terminator movie. I just voiced this concern to the men here and they scoffed. Peter says the fireworks in Minnesota don't explode they just hiss and smoke and the worst you would have is a giant sparkler.
I went somewhere once...now there's a generality...and they had fireworks stands right off the freeways. You could scoot right off the freeway and stop and buy your M80's and Black Cats. Could that be true? Maybe it was Elvis museums. I bet it was Missouri. Where I went. Missouri.
I saw a program on PBS once about fireworks factories. They had the buildings surrounded by sand bunkers so if they blew up, bystanders wouldn't be killed by shrapnel and all the little buildings were separated so that if one started on fire they all wouldn't ignite in a giant conflagration. How's that for work stress? I guess action plans and non-negotiable diagrams aren't so bad.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
I don't know if they still sell these but when I was a kid, they sold a little firecracker thing with strings on both ends so they could be tied to doors, etc. and when the unsuspecting person opened the door, bang, you get the crap scared out of you. My brothers tied them to the toilet seat (which was forever in the up position) so when I put it down in the middle of the night, bang. They tied my jeans to the foot of the bed. They tied them on doors and cabinet handles and I don't remember ever getting suspicious. I must have been a very easy target.
Peter just walked in and I asked him if he liked fireworks. He got a big grin on his face and said, "Who doesn't? Loud noises? Fire? Shit that blows up?" It must be a male thing.
If you look at my blog last year for around this time of the year, I probably wrote about this same thing. This and my fear of the fireworks tents.
The reason for my slothfulness this afternoon is that I made a pizza and we're waiting for it to get done. Normally I would be up scrubbing a floor or cleaning out a closet.
Regis made this delicious pork loin on the grill yesterday. I tried to copy the recipe into this post but there was an html problem. Whatever that means. Google Herb and Honey Grilled Pork Roast if you want to see it. (We also had Mexican tabouleh, Cuban bread, picnic potato salad, and peach pie.) Tom and Betty came down and we had a great time sitting in the garage out of the rain, smelling the smoke from our grill, and watching the smoke drift up from Paul's BBQ across the street. The rain came down hard for a while and Regis was unhappy that it was such a cold day. I prefer a summer like this when you can have the windows open. There are so many nice summer sounds that you miss when you have the AC on: mourning doves, crickets, cardinals, baseball.
Our garage is an interesting structure. I think it was moved here from a farm. It looks like a shed inside, old oily boards and at the far end there's a nose extension for a long car like a 62 Chrysler. (I got this information from someone else. I wouldn't know a 62 Chrysler from a spaceship. My college roommate knew cars so well she could tell a 67 something from a 68 something and she thought it was hilarious that I categorized cars only by short and long. I didn't even know the kind unless I could read it on the back.) This little extension is only about four feet tall but it has a shingled roof and walls just like the rest of the garage. Our little Toyota fits in their nicely but they must have had to crawl out the trunk of a bigger car.
We watched Juno after dinner. I cried as I laughed out loud. It was a sweet movie with some surprises and some very good acting. I loved the mom and dad. Bless their hearts. The Next movie on our queue is No Country for Old Men. I have a feeling I may not watch it through. It got lots of accolades but every review mentions the violence and I'm a pansy when it comes to that.
I started Pillars of the Earth last night. It's a good story but a big heavy book. When I'm done with it, I'm going to open the window and heave it at that yappy little dog. Big book, small dog. I ought to be able to inflict an injury that will silence him for a few days. Little bastard.
Friday, June 27, 2008
I suppose this sounds unsophisticated but art that looks like something I could do doesn't seem like much to admire.
We were sitting out in the yard last night when our young neighbors stopped by with their baby. We visited for a while over the grill and we told them we had thought about moving our chairs and grill to the backyard this summer because it seems kind of trashy to sit in the front yard and eat right off the grill. No, they protested loudly. They said they love to see us out there every night...it's so old school, like a front porch. Hmmm. Old farts on the porch.
Betty and Tom are coming for pork loin on the grill tomorrow, weather permitting. I'm going to make a Mexican taboulleh salad that I used to make from a Jane Brody cookbook. I don't usually like taboulleh; it tastes like bird seed, but this recipe has enough vegetables in it that it just has a nice nutty texture. Blah blah blah. I sound like some old food critic.
Speaking of menus and grocery lists, I'm still writing a weekly menu and making a list from it. It's had lots of benefits: less eating out because I can't think of what to make, less food thrown away, more economical list because we look at the ad and the coupons, less time spent going to the store. Now I wonder how I did it all those years just buying random stuff here and there. It's amazing I ever got a meal together.
I made an error last week though and had two burger meals and only bought enough burger for one meal. When I went the Hynes/McGraw Gym and Grocery Emporium, the took pity and gave me a package of burger to save me a trip to the store.
I read in the paper today that one of the hospital cafeterias is taking drastic cost-cutting measure: no lemons in ice water, no tomatoes in the burger line, for example. The loss of tomatoes is not a big loss, I bet. Most tomatoes you get in a restaurant taste like styrofoam.
Another thing I learned today on Talk of the Nation, and I'll try to report this delicately. A scientist said that the gas passed by women is smellier that the gas passed by men. But men win in volume so he said it was a draw. I wonder how they measure both of those: smell and volume. Hey, it was on public radio. I didn't make this up.
There's a small storm cell moving through. There are big fat raindrops bouncing off the roof of the car but it looks like the sun is coming out at the same time.
I abandoned another book in the middle last night: Lady Moses. I had a mild interest in it but not enough to keep going. Not even enough to read random pages to find out how it ends. It's very frustrating.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
I'm sorry I put those random capital P's in my post last night. Jill uses capital letters creatively and they look cool so I thought I could do it, too, but it looks dumb in my post. I'm not going to edit the post and change them, though. It's a reminder.
Regis took the dog in the front yard. We have an anti-social dog who bites other dogs and is half, no mostly, blind. He's accustomed to the fenced back yard but not to the freedom of the front year where people walk by with their dogs. This is another reason I came into the house. Regis will get distracted and forget he has a dog attached to his wrist. It will result in a dog fight or an injury. If you think he's going to read all of this and get annoyed, don't worry. He thinks he can intuit how I feel and doesn't need to see it in writing. Laugh out loud. I'll let you know about the dog fight later.
I went up to Betty's house to pump iron this afternoon. I told her I had a book that I downloaded from the CDC called Strength Training for Older Americans. I'm not sure what they mean by older Americans. The pictures, actually drawings, are of young people but the descriptions sound like older people. It doesn't say anywhere that you should be 60 or 80 to attempt these exercises but they use cans of soups for weights and talk about balance which so far, has not been a problem for me.
My friend, Retired Larry (he's a chemist) had this to say about plastic bottles:
Concerning plastic bottles, it depends on the type of plastic. Polycarbonate bottles (clear and hard) can give off bisphenol A over time and this is implicated as a hormone mimicking compound. Studies are still underway. Vinyl bottles (PVC) and others can have plasticizers (softening agents, so they're not brittle) like dioctylphthalate. Still unsure about the possible toxicity of these materials, also. Mylar ( polyethylene terepthalate, PET)bottles like those 2-liter Coke and those of most bottled water have been studied quite thoroughly. I would not hesitate to use them.
We made it through the evening with no dog fight. The dishes are done. I'm going to bed to read.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
You know how pigeons walk down the roof shingles? I watched one that got going too fast. It reminded me of a person walking downhill and how they go faster and faster. Poor little pigeon. Must not have had a lot of experience with roof walking. When Peter was little he had a book by Louise Erdrich with pigeon in the title. He called them pig-eons.
First of all, if you haven't responded to my plea for book recommendations, please do. I'm really desperate. I've lost my ability to pick something off the shelf and find it satisfying. I've reread more books in the last year than I've read new books.
We've had the movie Pollock for a week now but we still haven't watched it. The weather is so nice we want to take advantage of it. Usually it's hotter than hell and humid this time of year. The movie can wait.
This is a water bottle Regis got from his place of employment. The bottle is upside down because it's crumpled up and won't sit right-side-up anymore. This morning I decided to make iced coffee so I poured some coffee from the thermos into this bottle thinking I would let it cool and then add ice. It melted right before my eyes. God forbid someone should put it into the microwave. It's hard plastic so I didn't expect this level of disintegration from coffee that was not even very hot. I poured the coffee down the drain because you can't trust a bottle that will do this. Imagine the chemicals that were given off. Retired Larry, do plastic bottles really give off toxic substances?
I'm not too much given to drinking from big bottles anyway so it was probably divine intervention that this one melted. I hate that when people walk around or sit in meetings sucking on giant beverage bottles like calves. Hell, even calves get weaned eventually. I remember my grandma used to rant about putting the gallon of milk on the table. She wouldn't be a fan of the water bottle craze.
I made an easy summer pie. Here's how you do it. Buy a graham cracker crust. The biggest one. Buy a big tub of cool-whip, a can of sweetened condensed milk, and 6 ounces of lime juice. Mix it all together. Add some lime zest if you like. Put it into the crust and refrigerate for two hours. Simple.
I looked at a pint of cream at the grocery store today. I don't usually notice the prices of things but this baby was $3.98 for a pint. Is that what I've always paid for cream? That's about as much as a gallon of milk. I opted for the chemical version in the freezer section. A guy has to cut back somewhere.
If you've read anything good lately (or even in the past), please leave a comment and let me know the author and title. A few words about the book would be helpful, too, but don't worry if you can't or don't feel like it...author and title are enough. I'm desperate!
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
I did my favorite google image search for chicken. I think I would prefer to believe that chicken comes in plastic wrapped packages from the grocery store and is not a real live animal at any point. If I think too much about those chicken trucks that I see drive through town, I would convert to vegetarianism pretty fast. Even a chicken deserves better...they deserve to be free-range, for example. They should have a little yard and a place to peck the ground.
It was warm today but a beautiful afternoon to sit in the yard. We watched the bunnies across the street chase each other from shrub to shrub. They're so cute but I hope a couple of them pack their suitcases and migrate to another part of town.
I don't know if you read my mom's comment about the varmint under our porch. She said my dad would have had a trap set at one hole and he would have been sitting in a lawn chair with a shotgun across his lap watching the other hole. He might have blown the cement steps into a million pieces but the varmint would have been dead. My dad was a true character.
After work I went up to Betty's and we pumped iron. We have a work-out schedule that we've been doing three times a week for three weeks. Sometimes I walk on the treadmill and Betty does the ab-buster (not the thigh master) so we can visit a little. Then we do the iron pumping thing. I have three pound weights don't laugh. I'm quite sure we won't ever make it to the world's strongest man contest but maybe our wing flab will be a little bit less unsightly.
Dogs at the Dump Night. My brother lives in a small town where they built a new waste treatment facility and bought a new one-man garbage truck. In order to get people out to see it, they offered tours, rides in the garbage truck, and free hot dogs. I'm not making this up.
Monday, June 23, 2008
Yesterday I saw mole tracks in the garden for the first time this year.
Linda's cats used to ravage the bunny nests and I hated it when it happened but it did control the rabbit population.
Tonight I looked out the window and saw three little bunnies about the size of a fist playing on the sidewalk. They don't bother me because they don't eat much.
There is a point here. Hang with me.
Regis took the trash out tonight and yelled at me to come and look at something. Under the front step, right in the corner, is a BIG HOLE going under the step. There are a few very large kernels of corn in the path down to the BIG HOLE. Regis asked if this was my handiwork. LOL. Yes, I've taken to making a hideout under the front step. He makes a motion like he's going to stick his hand down the hole. SCREAM. I picture the TREMORS WORM...or the little bunnies. He wants to flush the hole with water (There is an identical hole on the other side...like a back door.) but no....I don't want him to do that and the best reason I can come up with is that the soil might be unstable and the step will sink. There you go.
I don't think rabbits would burrow into dirt like that to make a home, do you? This hole is big enough to stick your hand into so it's bigger than a mole. More the size of a prairie dog. Uh oh.
I saw an old friend this weekend. She talks a lot and I mean a lot. I decided to try and keep up but it's like a fusillade. I tried to match her story for story but she just kept going, firing volley after volley across my bow. It was a barrage of stories. Once in a while she'd slip two in if I wasn't ready. Bam...bam bam...bam bam bam. After a while, I just gave up and came home.
I went to B&N today to look at Pillars of the Earth. I thought maybe it would be on sale. I never used to think twice about dropping money on books I might not like but lately, maybe too many have piled up in my house, I won't do it. I'll buy copies of favorite authors but I use the library for recreational reading.
The neighborhood dogs are going berserk. I don't mean the dogs across the street or even the dogs right next door. The dogs a street or two away. They sound like the damn Hounds of the Baskervilles. Last night when I was going to sleep they were barking like there was a murder being committed. I tell you things are going to hell. Between dogs and sirens and constant lawn mowing a guy hardly has a nerve left. I'm trying to stay true to my commitment to have a better disposition but it's tough.
I just checked my favorite image cache for berserk and there is a lot of violence pictured...swords and guns and implements of destruction. I try to limit my intake of stuff like that so I don't know what the deal is but maybe it's a punk band or something. I don't see violence when I think of berserk.
On a positive note, I got a haircut today after work. Patrick always ask what I want done and I always say you're the artiste, Patrick. Just no old lady do's. He did me right today...I have spikes and loop de loops. I just looked up the word esthetician on google. Check out this page if you think you know anything. DISAMBIGUATION. What the...???
Well, here I go to make mashed potatoes when it's 85 degrees outside.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
I went out early to use Round-Up on the weeds that had gotten beyond control. To my chagrin, I hadn't emptied the sprayer last fall so of course, something was amiss and nothing would come out. Regis and I decided to go to Men-R-Nerds to get a new contraption for defoliation, one of those fold-up tables, and a couple sections of little fence for my basil garden. Nothing like Menards on Sunday morning. The smell of sawdust and two-cycle engine oil hangs heavy in the air. It's almost an aphrodisiac.
Mission accomplished. I spent the rest of the day on my garden scooter with a pail for weeds and the gallon of Round-Up. What I couldn't pull easily got sprayed. I hope that's not a terrible evil environmentally. I got an early start in the garden (for me) but then the rain started and we had a couple busy weekends and all of a sudden holy crap it's a jungle out there. It looks much better now but I could hardly navigate by the time I was done.
It's like time goes at warp speed in the summer. I buy a couple pots of something at the garden center and all of a sudden two weeks have gone by and the little plants look like something from the desert. It's shameful. My garden looks nice from the street now, and less nice when you walk into it. I like things to overlap, sort of a Monet effect, so my plants are not separated by much space. Sometimes it's hard to identify what's what. I've gotten better about pulling out the things I don't want. Today a whole bunch of daisies went in the bag. A couple of cone flowers. A false sunflower. And forty miles of something with white foliage of which I can't recall the name...
I did a google search (google is a good substitute for a bad memory as well as being a source for good art) for "white foliage". I didn't find the name of the plant but I did find that there is an indie rock band called White Foliage. I shouldn't be surprised. Last night at Betty and Tom's we were laughing about the names of bands from the 60s and 70s. Names like the Dave Clark Five and Herman's Hermits. I always tease my kids that the bands of today should have good names like that instead of Accidental Goat Sodomy, Lawn Smell, and Pancakes for Penguin. Peter says that obviously the good names were taken decades ago leaving bands with only names like this. Yes, um hmmmm.
Re: the weekend lawn warrior in the previous post. It seems like someone in the neighborhood had a gas-powered implement going every second. Here are the ones I remember: several lawn mowers, a sidewalk edger, a power washer, a blower, and a weed whacker. Nobody was wearing the suit of armor and the helmet.
Regis stopped over to see Ella today while I was laboring in the garden. He said she wanted to call her mom but they explained that mama was at work. Then she wanted to call her nana so they called me and left a message. Then she said, "Well, I want to talk to somebody!" Ha!
Monday again tomorrow. Warp speed...
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Friday, June 20, 2008
I was doing dishes about 3:30, staring out the kitchen window and all of a sudden there was a cyclone-like activity in the back yard. I hollered to Regis to check the weather and it was just a front going through. It sure looked wicked there for a minute but it moved on just as suddenly as it came, leaving cooler and breezier weather in its wake.
I'm trying to decide if I should put the book The Pillars of the Earth on hold at the library or stop at Barnes and Noble tomorrow and pick it up. I know it seems like it should be an easy decision but it isn't because there are lots of factors. The book I'm currently reading, and I won't disparage the author by naming it, is getting tiresome. One of the main characters in this book and the last one I read by this author just died and it doesn't matter. I just want to get to the end. If I had something better on hand to read, this book would be a goner.
I have the new Allison Krause and Robert Plant CD. It's a winner. I'll post the youtube video here just because I think it's cool that you can do that. I'm not sure what html is just as I'm not sure how planes lift up and fly into the sky just as I'm always amazed that I can call my cousin in Phoenix when I'm out in the cornfields of southwestern Minnesota. Amazing stuff.
There's a town team baseball game going on over at the park as there is most nights in the summer. It would never interest me to go there and watch it but I love hearing it when we sit on the porch. It's such a summer sound. It makes me think of the summers on the porch when I was a kid. Sometimes we slept there when it was too hot upstairs and Dad listened to ball games on the radio. At least that's how I remember it.
If the wind is right and we can hear the words and not just the sound, we can hear the names. Corky Watson is up to bat. Small town people often keep their nicknames into their adult years. I looked in the local paper to see if I could find more funny names but no luck. I did find an article on a sport with a really bad case of journalistic license. Or lack of license. It's not a direct quote that will impact history, so what the hell. Clean up those run-on sentences, pal. Hahahaha.
We planned to move our grill and chairs to the backyard this summer but we decided we like being in the front so we can visit with neighbors and see what goes on in the hood. Hahahaha.
Well, I've rambled on long enough for tonight. Probably too long.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Speaking of Oscar, work is for the drinking classes according to the title of this post. I didn't make that up. I have some cocktail napkins with the quote...Oscar Wilde's words. We went down to our favorite local establishment today after work; Peter, Regis, and me...and ran into Uncle Tom. We had a pitcher of beer and a couple baskets of heart attack and told stories. Since we were about the only customers in the place, it was far from wild, but it was fun. Not quite a hootenany but fun and relaxing. Tom and Regis are good story tellers and Peter is learning.
I think Retired Larry is trying to engage me in a political argument. I'm not very good at that because I can hardly remember what came out of my own mouth last much less the mouth of someone who pays a bazillion dollars to run off at the mouth so it gets put in the paper. While I know it makes a difference in the end because I think the quality of life is different for lots of folks depending on who's in power, I have a hard time working up the enthusiasm for it on a personal level. I'm glad some people can, but I can't. So, I don't care what any of them said. They have far too much money to be honest about anything. The whole dang bunch.
Regis cut the tops off our oxygen producers today. I think since Neighbor started cutting our lawn, Regis has been more self-conscious about the shaggy condition of our pasture. I'd be in favor of getting goats but I think we'd have a hard time confining them. My garden is an abomination. There are weeds everywhere. I know about the time I usually start contending with weeds, some news announcement came out that Preen was being recalled. Tree-hugger that I am, I probably decided to forego it and this is the ugly result. My garden is full of weeds, insects, and moles. Regis would be sort of in favor of a more direct approach for eradication but I won't allow it. The mole trap is in the garage. That is a violent implement for a garden.
I told Neighbor that we would take care of the lawn maintenance on our side of the driveway. He was surprised but seemed to accept it since I asked for a chemical to kill the milkweed. I have embraced milkweed up until this year. The first year I had one milkweed plant. Then four. Now forty-five. It's apparently exponential. The butterflies like it but they can't have it in this number. Not in my garden anyway.
So, almost on to the weekend.
The weather here has been so beautiful that we spend every afternoon and evening it enjoying it as much as we can. I don’t have much energy for blogging when we finally come back in the house. Blogging and texting. Ha!
I think if someone would invent a soundproof screen room it would be very popular in
I think if our grass gets long, we’re just making oxygen.
I watched, with great interest, the memorial for Tim Russert. I noticed that while most people had notes or written comments, not all of them used them as much as others. I wonder if that indicates a difference between people whose preference for communication is speaking and those whose preference is writing. If I ever have to speak in public, I have to have most of the words written down and I usually have to use my written text. That’s why interviews are so painful. Of course, many of the people who spoke are professional journalists and that would give them an edge.
Yesterday on my way home, I thought of a topic I wanted to write about and even started composing it in my head. By the time I got to it, it had floated over the horizon like a big balloon and damn it, I can’t recall it. The other night I read a great essay by Ian Frazier called, If Memory Doesn’t Serve. He talks about how it’s cruel that your brain is less fresh as you get older and your life is more complicated. You have the freshest brain in your early years when you don’t have much to remember. When I told Regis about it, he said, “Oh yeah, Ian Frazier the movie star”. Or something like that. Which is exactly the point of the essay.There's a cardinal outside my window that is expressing utter exuberance. You can hear it here if you aren't familiar. Once you know it, you'll never forget it.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Today I learned about T9 text messaging. It's a way that the phone predicts the word you're going to write so you don't have to hit the key three times, for example. It's very weird. If you want to write a word with -ing at the end, you hit the side arrow to the left key and then type -ing. It's a lot of work when you could really just call someone with the phone that you already have in your hand.
Regis and I went to the library because last night I read the last book in the house that I haven't read and I already read the ones I got from Betty. The only thing left I could possibly read tonight besides road maps is the copy of Rolling Stone that came in the mail today and it's the every other week lame issue. I wanted to read Ken Follett's Pillars of Fire. It's a novel about the building of the pyramids and I think it weighs twenty seven pounds because the sequel does. Pillars of Fire wasn't on the shelf but I hoisted the sequel and commented to the librarian who was there shelving books that it was pretty heavy. She said, "Yes, hard to read in bed." My thoughts exactly. So, I picked out a couple of paperbacks and went home.
I love to read but I have a terrible time picking out books. These are just a few of my rules:
- I won't read a book that mentions "sexual politics" anywhere on the cover.
- I won't read a book that has a partially clothed couple embracing on the cover. Fabio books.
- I won't read anything that's described as a spine-tingling thriller. I'm not fond of murder and mayhem most of the time.
- I don't like books that are too heavy. As in poundage.
- I don't like books about catastrophes, natural or otherwise. Regis and Betty like to read about plagues and nuclear disaster and leprosy. Not me.
- The only fantasy books I've ever liked are the ones by the author of Wicked. I resisted that for a long time, but loved it in the end. I didn't like Watership Down or God forbid, the Lord of the Rings. I was interested in the hobbits but right away they get into all that sword fighting and crap. Who needs that?
I just checked. This is my 497th post.
Amazing what a good night's sleep will do for you. Regis took these pictures last night in the back yard. They're wild phlox. We have a row of rangy shrubs and wild flowers that grows between our house and the neighbors. We like it because all kinds of weird stuff grows and lives there. There's a catbird with a nest, hummingbirds,raspberries, jack-in-the-pulpit, and one time we saw a raccoon in a tree. I called the police because it seemed strange to see a raccoon in town during the day since they're mostly nocturnal. He wasn't too concerned, at least not enough to wrestle that raccoon into the squad car.
Monday, June 16, 2008
I learned to text message yesterday. I'm not very good and it takes me a long time to write anything. My theory about that, as I've said here before, is that you can't let technology pass you by or pretty soon you can't set a digital clock or program a VCR. Regis set my phone to do T9 which I don't get at all. I type W and the phone types X. What's up with that? I love that text is a verb now. I texted, he texted, we all text. It's the growing edge of language as Harry Foster used to say.
Regis and I sat in the yard after work but the little seed things from the birch tree drove us nuts. Every time we came back int he house they were all over us and inside our clothes and in our hair. We finally hid out in the porch. It's a beautiful day here and would be perfect for sleeping on the porch if we had a bed there. I think we're too old for couch sleeping much less floor sleeping.
Since I woke up at 3 this morning, I can barely make it to bedtime. If I had any gumption, I'd scan my new license but that would involve learning another new thing this week and I think I've reached my limit. Tomorrow. I took a picture of the weird directional signs in Armstrong Hall but I don't know how to send a picture from my phone to my computer either.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
I wanted to post some pictures of my poppies blooming. I don't take very good pictures so I asked my weary husband to do it and of course, he jumped up and grabbed the camera. Most good photos you see here are his work...or if they're mine, they're an accident. I think these are gorgeous. He gives credit to the evening sun but I think it's a good eye, too. The first one reminds me of an Andy Warhol painting that I saw at the MC last week. I got this plant from my Auntie Vi so it's always been a favorite. Poppies are so fragile, too, like tissue paper...a hard wind or driving rain and they disintegrate.
We had a nice time at Bob and Emily's house at a Father's Day cook-out. It was warm and breezy and the bugs weren't too bothersome. Ella and I played ball. She ran over and rang the wind chime every time I kicked it. Then she would kick it and say, "Go get it, Nana!" By the time we left, she had watermelon and ketchup and Oreo's pretty much everywhere. She wanted to "hug my shoulders" and how can you say no to that. It just makes your heart hurt.
I've been fascinated with the coverage of Tim Russert's death this weekend. I wasn't a regular viewer of Meet The Press but I liked his book Big Russ and Me. The stories about him are very poignant and uplifting. This morning's episode is very much worth watching. It's almost like a president died. It seems like everyone knew him and loved him. It seems like he made people want to be better because he had such a big heart.
All weekend when we sat in the porch we heard this weird sound, like a bear rummaging in a garbage can next door. Since we live in town, that didn't seem likely but every time I stood up, the sound would stop. I finally solved the mystery...kids on the corner with a skate board ramp. Ah, a skate board ramp. Better than a bear.
Tomorrow morning, I do my final presentation of my portfolio. So, say a prayer or lift a glass or do whatever is your act of blessing. I'm going to need it. The next voice you hear....
Friday, June 13, 2008
On my way home from work today I was moved to do some yard chores. By the time I got here, thankfully, the mood had passed. Peter put the furniture back after the carpet cleaning so you can walk through the house now instead of leaping things in a series of single bounds. Is that a ragged segue?
We stopped at MGM this afternoon and noticed that the price of craft beers has gone way up, thanks in part to the price of hops which has quadrupled in price in the last year. Barley's gone up, too. Harp is almost ten bucks a six pack. Good thing we like Schell's.
We haven't done our weekly shopping for a while so tonight Regis perused the HyVee ad while I made the menu and the list. We're trying to eat healthier so we have more chicken than pork and beef.
I better post this before I forget what I'm doing. On to the weekend...
Thursday, June 12, 2008
One of their journalists (is that what they're called?) continued all afternoon to say that they had "pitchers" of the devastation in Iowa. That may be a colloquialism but it sounds pretty rube-ish on CNN.
I finally went in the hall and sat there because it was quieter and the people coming off the elevator were entertaining.
I was amazed at how fluent in English the people are who don't speak it as a first language. If I had to go to a foreign country to see a doctor, I'd be drawing pictures to communicate.
Everything went fine for Regis and they used less of the drugs so he was coherent when he came out instead of zombie-like. I gave him a ride to the parking ramp in a wheelchair but after he got his land legs he was fine, awake all the way home, and hungry. Always a good sign.
There is water standing everywhere near Rochester. It looks like rice paddies instead of corn fields. I talked to a farmer in the E room who told me all about how crops survive in wet years or dry years depending on the land's elevation. He was a character.
All in all, not a bad day considering. The MC is really a beautiful place and so accommodating to visitors. I recommend again, Helen Clapesattle's book The Doctors Mayo.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
There is a report on one of the state newspaper's websites of cows flying through the air on 94 by Fergus Falls. That seems a little preposterous but it happened in Twister so how do I know. It could happen. All I do know is that on Sunday, I drove on that road. Uh oh. I think those Dakotans make their vodka out of potatoes and maybe that's the explanation.
Regis and I rarely undertake home improvement projects. They just don't interest us much which is probably why the neighbor (not the neighbor with the red trailer) wants to paint our garage. Today we ordered a new kitchen light fixture. Since we moved in here, we've had the two round fluorescent bulbs that have probably been there since the 50s when the house was built. I wouldn't have had any great desire to change that except they burned out and we can get a 15 dollar energy star rebate from smmpa on a new one. I did a google search and I can't believe there aren't pictures of those fixtures on the web. Those are antiques!
Regis tried driving 65 mph all the way home on Sunday and saved 15% on our gas mileage. I know we sound cheap but that's not it. It just seems to make sense to conserve resources when we can. I talked to Arvin, our trusty mechanic, today and he said 55 is about the optimum speed. He's noticed lots more people driving slower on 169 between St. Peter and Mankato since the price of gas went up. thanks to Jimmy Carter for that.
I read this headline in the paper today:
40 rude traveling salespeople evicted from Moorhead motel
but I read it as:
40 nude traveling salespeople evicted from Moorhead motel
That's enough for today. Tomorrow we motor to Rochester so I'll be OOT for a while.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
I heard someone on the radio the other day talking about how people in the midst of life troubles, air their dirty laundry in their blogs. God forbid. Some things you just don't talk about in public. But how do you talk about anything important in your life without being too personal?
I see that the two women who claim to have had intimate relations with a former president, are making their tawdry tales available on the internet for a buck 99 a pop. I would think the price would tell you something about the quality. Hell, you can't buy a comic book for that price. That is just too tacky. Of course, they claim they want to get the truth out there. Uh huh. I bet.
This is a picture of me on Monday. At 8 a.m., I'll do the presentation for my portfolio. Someone has written competencies that are pretty broad and things I'm sure I can do, but I can't for the life of me, think of "artifacts" to demonstrate it. I feel like I get dumber as this goes on and I'm sure that on Monday it will be like a parakeet trying to get a license to be a director of special education. Tweet tweet. I worked on my portfolio for hours this afternoon and finally, that was it. My brain cells were flogged.
Regis is having a procedure done at the MC on Thursday so he's on a clear liquid diet all week. As if that's not restrictive enough, he can't even eat red or purple clear liquid. No red Jello, no orange Popsicles, no grape Kool-Aid. I think by the end of the day on Thursday, he ought to be ready to send all the green Jello and beef broth on the planet into space. We're going to leave early to make a stop at Cabela's on 35 to pick up a couple of weird folding chairs. After a week of this kind of eating, it would take something more than a lawn chair to get me to stop anywhere.
We had a dry day today which means the lawn mower armies are out. We're going to compensate for that with warnings of torrential rain in the next two days with warnings of flash flooding. Oh great. So we not only have current long-grass mowing but we have preventative mowing. My little battery-powered lawn mower purrs like a kitten. A couple kids walked by the other day and gave it the funniest look. I guess they couldn't figure out why it wasn't belching black smoke.
I was driving to work today on Minnesota Avenue, taking my time and trying to remember to call in the gas prices. More on that below. At the police station corner, a red car came onto the highway with a police car close behind. The red car passed the cars by going into the north bound lane, followed soon by another police car. Lights and sirens. They disappeared down 169. I've seen COPS and I'm sure this was going to be a full felony stop.
Regis checks gas prices daily and enters them into a database on minnesotagasprices.com. They give points for logging in and reporting and so far, he has 502,000 points and is in 51st place. It's like a community...people leave messages, report life events of members, and compete for points. Everybody needs a hobby and when gas costs $4.00 a gallon, this is an interesting one.
We're watching National Treasure (the second one). I gave it 3 stars about half an hour ago and it just keeps going and going. I might lower it to 2 stars if it doesn't get over soon. Endless action, or all hat and no head as they say in Texas.
I'm going to have to get back to this later. I have too many things in my head to write.
Sunday, June 08, 2008
I have one week to finish my last and final portfolio for my last and final license. I've been taking classes at MSU for 38 years and frankly, I'm about done in with that BS. I'm ready to abandon that perch and let the horse out of the barn. The true fact is that I've spent a lot of money on education that hasn't really gotten me too far. I've grieved in different ways over the last three years about my inability to get a different job and I'm ready to let that balloon go, too. Harrumph and all of that. I think I'll celebrate on the 16th...finished my new license before I retired.
I'm reading a book by Katherine McMahon that's kind of a 16th century bodice ripper: The Alchemist's Daughter. A great dark and gothic sort of background and the bodice ripping is entertaining, but I wouldn't recommend it too highly. The main character is a bit of a dolt. I've been hard to please lately so I'd appreciate recommendations.
Off to bed.
After all the anxiety about the long trip, all the failed travel plans, and all the angst, Regis and I made it to Otter Tail Lake about 6 on Friday and we had a good time. Here's a list of the attendees and their place of origin:
Bruce (brother) and Jody- Fargo
Cybil (daughter of Bruce) and Shawn- Ohio
two daughters of Shawn and Cybil- Ohio
Evynn and Darby (daughters of Cybil and Shawn)- Ohio
Pat (brother) and Helen- Luverne
Amanda (daughter of Pat)- St. Paul
Teresa and Regis
David (brother) and Joan- St. Paul
Tiernen (son of David)- St. Paul
Jeremy (son of David)- Fargo
Deb (cousin) and Larry- Arizona
Steve (brother)and Michelle- Fargo
Nicole (daughter of Steve) and Jason- Moorhead
Caleb, Duncan, Ian, Ezra, and Chloe (Steve's)- Fargo
That's a total of 28. Pretty good turn-out and the resort, Barky's, was lovely. We managed a few hours in the sun, a potluck, a few fishing outings, a pontoon ride, a trip to the candy store in Battle Lake, and a ride around the lake. We had breakfast at Betty's Pantry (potato pancakes and wild rice omelets) this morning and we all headed our separate ways. A good time was had by all.
I thought I had learned my lesson when it comes to sunburn. Yesterday morning was cool, breezy, and only partly cloudy. I should not have been in the sun that long because today I have a rousing sunburn on the top of my head, my face, and my chest. I feel like I burned my eyeballs. Ouch.
We left home in such a hurry on Friday that we made several mistakes in packing. Regis only brought the pants he was wearing, I didn't have sunglasses or sunscreen (who knew you'd need THAT stuff?), and we forgot the camera. So, no pictures. Mom will send some later, maybe, and I'll post those.
Back to work tomorrow. Ugh.
Friday, June 06, 2008
I'll be out of blog touch for a few days while I travel to Ottertail Lake. Maybe I'll be able to post a few pictures and stories on Monday.
Thursday, June 05, 2008
Here's some terrifying stuff on the Weather Channel. It's on the right side of the page, called Raw Video: Tornado Rips Apart House.
The fat frog and my new rhubarb leaf birdbath.
The rooster guards the walk.
I love the color of the cheddar pinks!
Look at these poppies waiting to burst into bloom.
We're in a tornado watch tonight and the forecasters are bleating ominous reports everywhere you look. Natural disaster predicted. High risk for plains states. Regis wants me to watch a security video film from a bank in Iowa where they had an F5 tornado. Yeah, I want to see that. Check out the blog of Paul Douglas is you want your pants scared off your ass.
FLASH FLOOD WATCH FOR MUCH OF CENTRAL AND SOUTH CENTRAL MINNESOTA
AND MUCH OF WEST CENTRAL WISCONSIN FROM 400 PM THIS AFTERNOON
THROUGH 600 AM FRIDAY MORNING...
A STRONG AREA OF LOW PRESSURE WILL LIFT NORTHEAST OUT OF THE
CENTRAL PLAINS INTO THE UPPER MIDWEST LATER TODAY AND TONIGHT.
THIS SYSTEM COMBINED WITH A VIGOROUS UPPER LEVEL JET WILL PRODUCE
A LARGE SWATH OF THUNDERSTORMS OVER THE UPPER MIDWEST. THESE
STORMS ARE LIKELY TO PRODUCE REPEATED BOUTS OF HEAVY RAINS WITH
RAINFALL RATES EXCEEDING OVER AN INCH PER HOUR.
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN CHANHASSEN MINNESOTA HAS ISSUED A
FLASH FLOOD WATCH FOR MUCH OF CENTRAL AND SOUTH CENTRAL MINNESOTA
AND WEST CENTRAL WISCONSIN WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 400 PM THIS
AFTERNOON UNTIL 600 AM FRIDAY MORNING. THE WATCH WAS MAINLY WEST
OF A LINE FROM LADYSMITH...EAU CLAIRE TO AUSTIN. SOME MAJOR CITIES
INCLUDED IN THE WATCH ARE ALEXANDRIA...SAINT CLOUD...WILLMAR...
PAUL...NEW RICHMOND AND RICE LAKE.
On another note, we have turbulent weather ahead. Here's the forecast from PD at the Trib:
Storms bubbling up across Iowa may spread into the metro area and much of southern MN by Thursday AM, making for a slow and soggy AM rush hour.
Moderate risk of severe storms, hail, violent straight-line winds and isolated tornadoes on Thursday over central and southern Minnesota...I do expect 1-3 tornado touch-downs Thursday statewide.
When do we catch a break? More storms Friday, another round late Saturday...Sunday should be drier and sunnier.My neighbor with the riding lawnmower was on my front lawn, right outside my bedroom window, mowing our grass last night at 9:30. With a halogen headlight on his mower. I am going to put a stop to this crazy business. Who needs that coming by the bedroom window when you're trying to sleep?
Off to the races.
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
This is probably one of the most stressful weeks of the school year. We do curriculum writing and people are frazzled and it's enough to give you the screaming fantods. I can't believe it's only Wednesday.
I don't know why the weather men do this, but they have published, in the newspaper to be read tonight, a warning about tornadic activity tomorrow in our area. I believe that could dissipate in the next 12 hours so there isn't a reason to alarm people tonight. Really. Do I need to spend today worrying about that? I have enough weather issues. Miles: Stay home, keep the weather alert radio on, and keep your weather eye peeled, buddy.
Betty and I did our twenty minutes of exercise today. We tried to think of active hobbies we could pursue but we couldn't think of a one besides lawn golf and croquet. Regis wrote up a little weight lifting regime for us to do. He actually asked if we wanted something that required reclining on the floor. I gave him a sideways glare and said no, as I wanted to retain some hope of being vertical at the end.
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
I noticed on my way out of the driveway that we have a burgeoning rabbit population in my garden. I used to cuss the neighborhood cats but now I see they served a purpose when they laid waste to the bunny nests. That's a gruesome thought, eh? Once in a while, a mentally challenged rabbit would make a nest in our backyard which is the size of a large postage stamp. What, she couldn't smell the dog? The nest always came to an abrupt and bad end. The rabbits were sniffing around my lilies today so I'll have to get out the putrid egg spray again to dissuade them.
Regis stumbled onto a website today which I won't print here because I don't want to disparage anyone's religious beliefs. But this site claims that it will send out an email to those you left behind six days after you are wafted up into the great beyond. I say this with all due incredulity. This is not an individual wafting but a group waft, if you get my drift. One would assume that the person sending out this mass email was not worthy of the waft himself, if this is truly the case. Of course, if a person had the time and the inclination, it would probably be very frightening to see just what kind of nonsense is out there as fact.
I'm going to go about my trip planning and hope for the best. Here's a Billy Collins poem for the road:
"Public restrooms give me the willies"
—ad for a disinfectant
There is no known cure for them,
unlike the heeby-jeebies
or the shakes
which Russian vodka and a hot bath
will smooth out.
The drifties can be licked,
though the vapors often spell trouble.
go away in time. So do the fantods.
And good company will put the blues
and do much to relieve the flips,
the quivers and the screamies.
But the willies are another matter.
Anything can give them to you:
electric chairs, raw meat, manta rays,
public restrooms, a footprint,
and every case of the willies
is a bad one.
Some say flow with them, ride them out,
but this is useless advice
once you are in their grip.
There is no way to get on top
of the willies. Valium
is ineffective. Hospitals
are not the answer.
and emitting thin, evenly spaced
waves of irony
but don't expect miracles:
the willies are the willies.
Monday, June 02, 2008
I've embarked on a eating healthier and exercising regime. I call it a regime because I view it sort of like one of those evil dictator regimes. This is not something I enjoy, believe me, and don't try to tell me I will. Betty (another great sitter) and I have decided to exercise for 20 minutes three times a week. I know, I know, it isn't exactly something that would be endorsed by Jack Lalane, but it works for us. We've also decided on weekends when we get together for our grilling escapades, we will play either croquet or goofy golf (left) rather than reclining in a lawn chair in the shade. Well, at our age, did you think it would be handball?
The eating healthier part of it is only in the form of saying no to the really gross things I would usually eat without thinking, like fruit slices (not real fruit...the gummy things that come in garish colors), cookies out of the freezer, and french fries from fast food places. Give me some time.
I realized on my way home that I have little dirty spots in my car from the guts of mosquitoes that have been unlucky enough to follow me into the Beetle. A clean car is also not one of my important life values. I have a neighbor who has a feather duster in his garage and dusts off his car when he drives it in there. I will go through the car wash when the salt starts to get on my clothes in the spring, but mostly I spend little time thinking about car cleaning, inside or out.
Isn't it funny what people spend their time on? I'm not saying my things are the right things because I'm sure the anal retentives of the world think they're right, too. LOL Some people would rather die than have the dust under their beds that I pulled out from under mine yesterday but I don't care. Neither of us have dust allergies and some peopel in the world live in houses with dirt floors.
I learned this week that some people can text message through their pants pockets and the record number of text messages in a month is 15,000. I'm going to do the math now, with a calculator, and the result is 500 a day. I guess if I can write this kind of drivel on a blog, I shouldn't think disparaging thoughts about people who write 4COL and AWLTP all day. Check out this world's largest list of chat acronyms and text message shorthand. Who thinks of this stuff? It's like a new language!
That's enough of all the news that's fit to print today.
We got up early to go buy groceries. We hardly ever go to Mankato anymore so there are a few errands to do when do finally go. I needed a pillow at Target and we wanted to buy a few more grill accessories at Home Depot. The one thing I didn't get that I should have was a grill pan for vegetables. We wanted to cook onions on the grill but discovered they are prone to drop through the grate.
I was tired by the time I took a shower (mosquito spray is necessary now) and got into my clean bed. I had borrowed some books from Betty: she took me into her library and handed me things and gave me a little review as we went. I took home six books. Last night as I looked them over, trying to decide which one would be first, I realized I had to books that were exactly the same. She apparently bought two identical books, then gave them both to me, and neither of of us noticed. I wonder if she read it twice. The ironic thing is the title is: Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman.
Off to work. More later.