Friday, February 27, 2009
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Regis has had two sleepless nights so I'm trying to stay awake waiting for the phone to ring one more time.
We had copious amounts of snow today. As I was driving back to school about noon, I could hardly keep the car cleaned off enough to see. I think we had about 8 inches of snow, Miles, and most of it came in a three-hour window. It just dumped snow from the skies. The wind is blowing now; I can hear the chimes in the apple tree clanging madly.
Except for working, I haven't done one productive thing all day. I curled up in bed for a while late this afternoon, read, dozed, listened to the wind blow. Sometimes I feel guilty for being so lazy, other times I don't care.
I'll post a baby update in the morning. I think I have to go to bed.
Tiffany and Eric's baby, Elliot, appears to be ready to make an appearance today. He's in no big hurry, though. They went to the hospital at 1 a.m. this morning and things are progressing very slowly. Stay tuned.
By BOB VON STERNBERG, Star Tribune
Last update: February 26, 2009 - 2:21 PM
Bill Holm, a larger-than-life author from Minneota, Minn., died Wednesday at a hospital in Sioux Falls.
The Rehkamp-Horvath funeral home in Marshall announced his death this morning.
Holm, 65, divided his time between his birthplace of Minneota and Iceland, the country of his forebears, was a longtime English professor at Southwest Minnesota State University and the author of several books of poems and essays.
His works include "The Dead Get By With Everything" (1990), "The Heart Can Be Filled Anywhere on Earth" (1996), "Coming Home Crazy (2000), "Playing the Black Piano" (2004) and "The Windows of Brimnes: An American in Iceland" (2007).
Last May, he was named the 2008 McKnight Distinguished Artist of the Year, an honor that carried a $50,000 stipend.
"My boxelder bugs have odd preferences," he wrote in "Boxelder Bug Variations" (1985), one of his best-known works. "They love radio dials, phonograph speakers, amplifiers, pianos, and harpsichords. Some would argue that this is because of the warmth and vibrations, but I prefer to think it is because of their taste for Bach and Vivaldi."
When he received the McKnight award, Emilie Buchwald, his longtime publisher at Milkweed, called him "an American original, in the tradition of Walt Whitman."
She continued: "He is not just cross or cranky; he is stirred to the bottom of his soul by what he feels is evil ... He celebrates our potential to wake up, to not be torpid."
Funeral arrangements are pending.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
I feel like my nerves are sticking outside of my skin tonight. I don't know why.
I saw a guy with a computer today that was about as big as a file folder. Then on the Daily Show, we saw the kindle2. Amazing. It's like an iPod for books. I love books aesthetically but the idea of having 1500 books on a thing the size of a small magazine is just amazing. I appreciate technology but still don't get twitter.
I have a gift card for Barnes and Noble from my sweet husband. It's quite a routine to decide how to spend it as I have rules: it all must be spent at once, I have to have a list, and I always buy one hardcover book of poetry. Do you know how hard it is to make a living as a poet these days? I might buy Olive Kitteridge even though I've already read it. The writing is so beautiful and I'd like to read it again with post-it tabs. I've started the list but I have about five book sections from the trib to go through first. I wonder if you can put tabs in the kindle. I suppose.
We forgot to take our damn garbage dumpster down to the curb today. Crap. This gets easier once the snow melts, too. You aren't supposed to put it on the street or in the driveway. What the hell. Suspend it from a tree?
Signs of spring:
- It was 46 degrees when I drove home from school today! It's almost sandal weather! My feet are crying out to be liberated from shoes and socks.
- We've started thinking about the patio. I called Karl today to ask about the river birch because I don't want to do anything to harm the tree.
- There is mud everywhere. And dripping water off trees and roofs.
- The car looks like a salt heap.
- It smells outside. When it's way below zero you can't smell anything. Even unpleasant smells are pleasant in the spring.
- The car warms up from the sun. I turned off the heater in the car and almost opened the window this afternoon.
- Windows look like hell. The streaks and crap I didn't notice all winter because I left in the dark and came home in the dark all of a sudden looks like the dog's been licking the glass. It might be true in some cases.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
I cooked a lot. Most of it went over to Bob and Em's house to feed the new family. Alex wants to eat every two hours and that takes a lot of nourishment on the part of the mama. I got to hold Alex for a while...he's tiny, his eyes are mostly closed, and he sleeps and frowns when he hears noises. Ella sat by me and said, "What have you and Popop been up to today?" So grown up. When we were going to leave she said, " I don't want you to go; I want to hold you." She's so sweet, she makes your heart ache.
Betty fell down on Friday night as she took Gonzo for a walk in the snow. I've been sort of preoccupied with worry that she'll venture out again, in bad shoes, with no cell phone, and Regis, Tom, and I will be....unreachable to help her home. She had to flag down a passerby to get a ride home. Bless her heart.
Regis has been missing something he calls tomato pie. It's not a pie like a rhubarb pie, but a pizza with only tomato sauce and romano cheese. I found a recipe on the web but as I was making it, I knew he would say, "It's not like this." He said we'll have to go back to Lorenzo's in New Jersey so I can pay attention. They make a thin crust dough with only sauce and cheese and maybe one topping. If you order more toppings than one, they look at you with disdain. That's what Joe Cro says. The pizza I made was delicious but Regis says it was only "sort of like a tomato pie." Amanda, do the damn quotation marks go before or after the period?
We're watching the red carpet for the Academy Awards. We use it as a quiz...see how many movie stars you can name. It isn't many the older we get. Regis just called Seal. I had no clue about him but I got Ben Kingsley. A few people there look like fish out of water. Like Regis and I would look if they dressed us up in a tux and a ball gown and plopped us on the red carpet.
For men, a hairdo that looks like you just got out of bed must be the hip thing. That's my only fashion statement right there.
Elliot is not making any moves yet. Tiffany says she feels just fine with a tone of disgust. Eric was in a car accident the other night when someone blew through a red light. He has a concussion and torn muscles in his back. Not what they needed right now.
I'm reading a book called Olive Kitteridge. It's short stories, all of which contain the character in the title. (A series of little vinaigrettes. Someone said that to me once about another book. LOL, Tom.) The writing is really beautiful and even though I don't usually like books that aren't linear, the stories are haunting.
The fashion commentary is just a gagger. I like Mickey Rourke's suit and chihuahua necklace and it's too bad that Sophia Loren couldn't come in a pair of knit pants and a cardigan. We haven't seen all the Oscar nominees but we saw Doubt (wonderful) and The Wrestler (powerful but dark).
Well, blah blah blah. G'night.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
We had about six inches of lovely, fluffy snow last night but it made for a sleepless night. I woke up at midnight and couldn't fall asleep again. About 2, the snow plows started going by what seemed like every 20 minutes. I suppose I heard them in front and on the side streets. Then some damn fool that my neighbor has hired to do his driveway showed up 3. Bill's driveway is about 18 inches from my pillow so I was awake again. Long night. I took a nap but it's not the same. I don't feel very witty and urbane today. The image above is from the google search for witty and urbane. What a hoot.
We've discovered a new place to eat in Mankato called the Northwoods Cafe and Grill. It's in the building where the Timber Lodge (ick) used to be. This place actually makes real food, not the dumped out of a plastic bag and reheated food. Here's my review:
- Lots of help so you don't have to wait forever.
- Nice mashed potatoes...baby reds with a light gravy.
- Hearty salad with shredded carrots and tomatoes that taste like tomatoes and not styrofoam.
- Large wine glasses although the cabernet I had was a little sweet.
- Wonderful breakfast menu: 15 different kinds of pancakes and waffles.
- They make their own syrup!
- Great toast with raspberry jam in a glass bottle...not plastic tubs.
- Hashbrowns that are like heaven...roasted red potatoes fried with red onions.
- High-backed booths so you don't have to listen to other people's cell phone conversations.
Well, that's about it for today.
Friday, February 20, 2009
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
I was doing dishes on Saturday and spotted a large bird on the fence in the back yard. It was tearing something so it looked like a raptor and it was way bigger than most birds we see that close. Regis took some pictures, we dug out the Minnesota bird book, and identified the sharp-shinned hawk, rarely seen in winter. We usually only spot hawks from the car when we're whizzing past on the highway.
The picture is not the actual bird we saw as we don't have leaves on our trees, this being the damn arctic tundra.
Regis and I had Betty and Tom's famous salad on Saturday and we're hooked: we've been experimenting with different greens and dressings (not the bottled stuff ack) this week. I cooked a couple chicken breasts on the George Foreman when I got home from school today and made a nice Asian dressing.
We're going to watch Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus tonight. It's a movie and yes, we have weird taste.
I've been reading some interesting things on the web lately...about facebook being unattractive to young people because old people have taken it on, about twitter being stupid, about text messaging, and about something that was going to be the point of this paragraph but I was interrupted so many times I can't remember what it was.
Monday, February 16, 2009
The last few days were so busy and went so fast that all I could do was post the photographic evidence. Be sure to scroll down, though; there's a lot here. A couple random notes...
Tom made popovers on Saturday night. Oh my. Betty called us over to the oven every few minutes to have us watch them rise, bubble with butter, then poof up in golden splendor. I think it added to our appreciation of them in the end.
We had a piece of fish (can't remember what) that Mary Rogotzski, nurse friend from Minneapolis, brought us late this fall. Someone (can't remember who) brought it to her from Alaska. Tom grilled it, then drizzled it with butter and lemon. Oh my. Another feast for the eyes and taste buds.
The meal was memorable; everything cooked to perfection. Several times over the weekend we asked, "What was your favorite part of the meal?" The answer changed all the time...butternut squash and candied pecan salad, popovers, steak, fish... but the consensus was that it was all delicious. Accolades to the chef, Tom!
Jane and Dick brought a carload of baby stuff that their little kids, Riley Jane and Tiernen, have outgrown but there's no news on the baby front here yet. Both babies due on the 26th. Tiffany went to the doctor today...just keep waiting they said. Funny with all our technology, predicting babies is still an inexact science.
This is going to be a much quieter week than last week. Somehow, I'll still find things to blather on about, almost ending a sentence with two prepositions.
Here's the slide show of Sunday's festivities. Jane and Dick had planned to leave on Sunday but how can you pass up the Polar Plunge and a Blastfest?
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
I tried very hard to be nice to all these people only because Regis does customer service and I know it's a miserable, ass-bite of a job. One man saw the irony and said he couldn't believe they would charge me 3 cents a month on a closed account. I said I had no trouble believing it....because...they took a 20 billion dollar bail-out from the government then bought a big jet for their executives. They didn't do this by working in the fields and hauling water, pal. Jeebus. I finally expressed irritation with the 4th person who finally said she would "adjust the charges" and I would not be receiving any further correspondence from them. Hallelujah.
I went to the MC today (google avoidant) and saw my nutrition doctor. He said this insurance snafu is just the way it goes with them. There are no medical guidelines about a six-month supervised diet but that's their black and white mentality. He'll write a letter of appeal and we'll go from there. I lost 11 pounds (ta da) since my appointment in December and he gave me some accolades for that. Then I made him look at my exercise log. Like show and tell.
I had to drive myself to Rochester since it was a work day and my friends and family were occupied. Emily (very sweet) offered to go but Regis expressed, ah let's call it reservations, about a very pregnant woman and a small child traveling anywhere with me. I got home after dark which is a high-risk situation as I don't see so well after dark. He may have had a point.
If I see that commercial one more time about the woman who vows to not ever wear a nightgown again, I'm going to throw my wine glass through the picture window. Obviously, she is not from here. In Minnesota, this is only advisable for the five days on either side of the 4th of July.
I'm working on a set of dishes with the theme of small plates/big tastes. Last week, I called them tapas but I've given that up. Too pretentious maybe. I have quite a few now but I would really like to get some tiny forks so I don't have to use those toothpick things. Mini cocktail forks, I'll call them today. Now, recipes....
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Marie's cat Nick is a hoot. He sits on the back of the love seat and nuzzles my ear until someone else walks in, then Nick better deals me in a heartbeat. The tax news was good so we celebrated with a dark beer at Patrick's. We always go there after getting our taxes done (it's right next door) whether the news is good or not. We love going to Marie's...where else can you go to have your damn taxes done and get nuzzled by a cat whose name you know?
Now we're going to watch the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. La dee da. My favorite is the, get ready for this...Dogue des Bordeaux. I've been saying it for two days. It sounds like a dog the Pink Panther would have. Here's the youtube clip.
Monday, February 09, 2009
Most of this day sucked.
I went to the chiropractor and he said my neck issues are from locking. Or something like that. He adjusted my mojo and told me to ice my neck a few times today and come back tomorrow. I felt better almost immediately; that mojo is powerful stuff.
This part of the day didn't suck. There's a blog I check regularly called shazam. The woman writes about baking and lately she's been really obsessed with cupcakes. Apparently, it's big on blogs now to have contests and give stuff away. She gave away this cool stuff in the picture and I won! She's going to send me this stuff!
Of course, maybe this is like my old cell phone company that said it had nation wide service but no towers in South Dakota. I asked if they had service on Mars, too.
So if you're looking for a give-away here, hey, I've already offered bottles of wine and a list of ice creams named after the former president. What more do you want?
Speaking of wine, I haven't had any for days. I was afraid it was exacerbating the swirlies and I didn't want that.
It's really wretched looking outside. While we appreciate the warmer temps, and really, we do; the grayness is hard on the soul. It rained off and on today so a lot of the muck went down the street as far as it could go. There are still massive ice floes so it doesn't go down the sewers yet, but that will come.
This is a nice thing that happened today. The other day, I was in the car and I heard part of a radio program about a guy who teaches writing in prisons. It was really interesting and I tried to remember his name later, to no avail. I was listening to KMSU (which I love) so I emailed a guy who works there. I responded right away and said he had forwarded by question to the host of the show. She responded right away. That's such good service that KMSU is now my favorite radio station! Everyone there is great at customer service! I'm sure my endorsement means a lot to them.
I sent an email of complaint to Amazon once. Regis said Steve Jobs was probably crying in his beer. I over-estimate my influence.
The semi-colon is my favorite punctuation mark today. What's yours?
Sunday, February 08, 2009
Roger Ebert's review of the movie Doubt.
Review of the book by Michael Greenberg, Hurry Down Sunshine.
Article about local pigeon show judge who was my geography instructor at MSU in 1970.
Police log from Dutch Harbor, Unalaska.
Latest ultrasound pictures of Alex.
There you have it.
We had the family over Saturday to celebrate the coming of the two boy babies the end of the month. There are pictures of the mamas and the rest of the usual suspects in a slideshow at the bottom of this post. We had a wonderful time. Everyone said the food (standard family dinner fare: sloppy joes, cheese potatoes, and cookies) was good and there was a lot of laughter. You can see in the picture that we're happy.
As the party was winding down, Emily said a couple times to Bob, "We should go." Ella was snuggled with me in a blanket in the rocker and she whispered in my ear, "Tell her we don't want to go yet. Tell her you miss me."
Ella and Betty and Tom played pretend cooking for a long time. They made carrot cake and lizards which is quite the festive combination.
Peter got a tattoo which you can also see in the photos. It says Lovelife which apparently is a title of a rap song but sounds like something sort of sweet and new agey. I don't think that's the effect he was going for so I didn't point that out. When my friends see it, they say, "Ooooh, isn't that nice." As if it said I love Mom or something. Anybody comtemplating a tattoo, be aware that they have lost the ability to shock your parents.
Regis is investigating Facebook today. I've heard that it's gotten so big with old people, that young people think it's lame and are abandoning it like rats off a sinking ship. We don't like to let technology pass us by, you know. The internet must be full of that stuff, like old space ships in the sky; webpages and email accounts floating down the cyberpipe like pieces of debris.
I'm obsessed with tapas. I had heard about it before but this weekend, I've spent a lot of time looking at dishes (tiny plates) and recipes. Tiny plates and tiny forks. Little bits of food. Doesn't that sound like fun?
Saturday, February 07, 2009
Jill sent an email this morning that was hilarious. Ben & Jerry's made an ice cream in honor of the new president called Yes, Pecan! The story is that they asked people to suggest ice cream names in honor of the former president and they're a hoot. I can't print them here, this being a family-oriented blog, but I would drop the list off at your house (with a bottle of wine) if you really want to see it.
We're having the off-spring over for dinner tonight. I managed to get the meal made but I'm not cleaning. We'll have to keep the lights low and spray some Pledge around the doors.
I'll post pictures later.
Friday, February 06, 2009
The food network doesn't have a news show. That's another one.
We had a good time at the parade. It started at 6:00 and I was home in the living room by 6:28. I got a bouncy ball that lights up when you whack it on something. There was a blow-up snowman in the back of a convertible that honestly scared the crap out of me. It looked like something from a Tim Burton movie.
Tomorrow will be a busy day: groceries, massage, liquor store, house cleaning, cooking. Why do I leave everything for the last minute? I have a menu, a grocery list...but that's it. No plan.
Sycophant is one of my new favorite words. Along with ennui. If you can use both in a sentence, leave a comment.
Thursday, February 05, 2009
Besides, I'm not a very good cleaner. Not that I don't have good intentions; I do. But it seems less and less important the more time that goes by and I finally give it the old lick and a promise and forget about it. I read once that if you spray Pledge around the doorways, it will give the illusion that you've dusted. Or if you boil cinnamon sticks on the stove, people will think you bake. I'd be more inclined to bake than clean. Dirt just doesn't bother me very much.
The festival of winter (google avoidant, you know) starts tomorrow. I don't know how I missed it but I did. I love love love the parade. It's as much fun as the St. Patrick's Day parade only it's cold and thank God the temperature might be above zero tomorrow night. Some of the other events include a hairly legs contest, rock/paper/scissors contest, and the North American Canned Beer Invitational. Hey, small towns are great.
Our kids are all coming over Saturday night which leads to my cleaning paranoia. I'm afraid other people have better eyes than I do and they'll think ick in their heads when they go in the bathroom or look on top of the piano. I used to tell my kids they could write their names in the dust but not the year.
Perry (Scrubs) said, "Replace the captain of your brain ship because he's drunk at the wheel."
The last few days have been stressful. I'm working on a project at school that is so hard it reminds me of math camp. Yes, math camp.
Regis sent me two dozen gorgeous white roses today. The minute I opened the box they filled my office with a beautiful rose scent. They make me feel like a movie star.
I'm going to forego swimming tomorrow the reason being that I feel water-logged and I'm tired of getting up at 4:30. I can make another go at it on Monday but for tomorrow, I'm layin' in and going out for coffee with Joanne.
The 1930's called and they want their lingo back. If you don't watch Scrubs, you're missing out. Some of the best lines on television.
Wednesday, February 04, 2009
So, another cold day in Minnesota. It got up to, let's say, a balmy 18 degrees which might be tolerable if it weren't for the wicked assed NW wind. This is a god forsaken state this winter. I see on the television that you can fly to Las Vegas for 55 dollars. That would be good if you could get a job as a poker dealer at a casino and never come back. Who wants to live here? Honestly?
I went to Target after school with my friend Joanne. She's a more efficient and accurate shopper than I am. While I'm squinting at labels and trying to figure out the details, she's honed in on what we want, made a decision, and thrown it in the cart. I'd still be there if I had gone alone.
My brain cells went through intermittent periods of engagement today. I would work really hard for a long time then all of a sudden, pfffftttt....the old synapses collapsed and I could smell something like burned rubber. Does this happen to anyone else?
Tuesday, February 03, 2009
My friend Nancy said today she doesn't think she'll thaw out until June and that's true of a lot of us. The liquor stores in the midwest are doing a crackerjack business this winter is all I have to say about it.
My neighborhood liquor store had a wine of the month pinot noir that I really liked in January. I was there Saturday as they were dismantling the display and I couldn't resist. So, if you live in the area and would like a bottle of wine, leave a comment. I'm not selling it, mind you. That would require a liquor license and I don't have one.
Regis wanted me to mention that his personal Terrible Towel is 2-0 and that he was born in Sixburgh. That's a joke that means the Steelers have won six Superbowls. It had to be spelled out for me. Regis was born in Pittsburgh and so were both of his boys. That's a lotta gargonzola.
I've had a hard time finding a book I want to read this winter. I went on that Henry VIII tear that wasn't very satisfying. I've tried a couple other things that I either plowed through or quit in the middle. I think this started with Edgar Sawtelle. I might go back to rereading some old favorites from Jim Harrison, Kent Haruf, and Louise Erdrich.
I went to a workshop the other day on examining student work but the focus was on math. I was petrified as I had a bad math experience in second grade that traumatized me for life. I'm sure I had 175 very nice days in second grade but this is the one I recall most vividly. Consequently, I carried a multiplication table into college math classes and I panic whenever I have to add publicly. I managed to solve the very complex math problem with only one small calculation error that of course, made my answer wrong but the teacher was very kind and pointed out that my process was just fine. In fact, she called it by a name that I can't remember right now. Some kind of function. It meant I used addition instead of multiplication. Could it have been exponential function? I looked that up in google but....hmmm...beats me.
Monday, February 02, 2009
Betty and I were fascinated by the rump factor; trying to figure out the ratio of thighs and butt to running speed. No real definitive answer but it was a pleasant study.
One of the best jokes of the day was mine (bowing to the right and left)...I said I was going to write a book about ennui(http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ennui)but I was too apathetic. I crack myself up.
The link thing doesn't work so I had to do it the old-fashioned way. What the hell.
After 47 degrees on Saturday, the weather turned and it was about 8 degrees with a stiff and ugly wind today. There was an article in the Trib last week about how people from other parts of the US don't want to move here. No shit. I bet that took a lot of research dollars to determine.
My cousin Deb said it's lemon and grapefruit season in Arizona. People sell them off picnic tables along the road and you leave your money in a box like you do here for sweet corn in the late summer. Imagine. Lemons and grapefruit on trees in February. It brings tears to your eyes.
We're watching Good Eats. Alton Brown just said if you grew up in the latter part of the 20th century, your only experience with orange sherbet might be floating in the center of a rented punch bowl in a church basement. That's funny.
I made something for dinner called Black Bean and Chicken Chilaquiles. A traditional Mexican breakfast favorite, it's a sauté of day-old tortilla strips, fresh tomato sauce, cream, and cheese. The health version is baked. It's a dish I've ordered a couple times at Mazatlan in Mankato and it's delicious. The one I made was the lighter version but still very good.
So much for this day.
Sunday, February 01, 2009
Now that was a tantalizing start. The rest of the day was just busy. We went to Kohl's and bought a rug for our dining area. I don't spend much time in the choosing of things like this. I had found one in the catalog that I liked but when they didn't have that one, I picked another one in five seconds giving little thought to matching. Then I bought towels. Same process. These, these, and these. Not much thought. I came around the corner and there's a woman with a colorful rug and several colors of towels and she wants my advice. Clearly, she had not seen my process.
We went to the grocery store which we never do in the afternoon as we typically go in the morning before the shelves are fully stocked. In the afternoon, it's like a damn social outing for people. You can't get down the aisles because groups of people are standing around talking about their kids and dogs and their garden plans. This is what bars are for, people.
We only spent 65 dollars on groceries because we're in the clean out the freezer mode. Does everybody stick stuff in there with no clear plans to use it and it languishes past the time when you would even consider eating it? We have meat from last summer that will be eaten this week. We could probably do this for a month.
Dean McGraw was amazing last night. He did a version of Amazing Grace that was haunting and beautiful, even with the karaoke from the Eagles's Club as background. We got to sing I'm a Believer and Like a Rolling Stone (Dylan) at the end of his show. He also sang All Along the Watchtower, one of my favorite Dylan songs. Here are a couple youtube video versions, Neil Young and Jimi Hendrix.
On to the Superbowl. I have kielbasi in the crockpot with a couple bottles of dark beer and two thinly sliced onions. Apparently this is a Pittsburgh treat. I asked Regis if I couldn't slice it up and put barbecue sauce on it. He nearly fell over. We bought some pierogies in the freezer section of the grocery store because the last time we made them, I nearly died. Those babies are a ton of work.