Tuesday, March 31, 2009


I came down with something today which seemed like allergies because it snuck up on me for about four days but it didn't get better today when I doubled the dose of Zyrtec so now I'm suspecting a cold again. I don't have a fever or anything so maybe it's just a messy head cold that will be gone in a few days. Crap anyway.

We didn't get any snow today until just a few minutes ago. It's more flurries than real snow. We don't need any blizzards on April 1st. Even as it is, it's not appealing this late in the season. How is a guy supposed to dress in this weather? It's April so it looks a little goofy to be wearing sweaters and wool socks.

Oh no. Snowflakes coming faster.

We had turkey brats that I had fantasized about cooking on the grill. They're not very appealing cooked in a pan on the stove but neither us had any interest in dragging the grill out of the garage.

I have to fix the code on my stat counter.

Monday, March 30, 2009

catching up on stuff

My friends had a lovely shower for Tiffany and Elliot on Saturday. It was a feat of organization for which I was not wholly responsible but pulled off my part with aplomb. I'm not sure that's true but I had to end that sentence somehow. It was lovely and makes me feel like I did after I gave birth...like I should send everyone emotion-filled thank you notes. It's touching that my friends just take me and my children in and express such generosity and kindness toward them. I could never repay them.

The pictures are in slideshow format at the bottom. Here they are on Picasa if you want to download or upload.

My mom came, which was very nice. We had a grand time at the shower and later at our house. Her friend Marilyn accompanied her so she didn't have to drive alone. Nothing like a road trip. We took them out for breakfast to the Northwoods Cafe the next morning, then they went on their way to Luverne for Rachel's confirmation.

Alex was baptized on Saturday so that's two in one weekend for God's army. One for the Pope and one for Luther.

Regis and I stopped at Kohls then I came home to nap while he did the dishes. What a good man. I headed to Rochester about 3 where I met up with Steve, Sherry, and Catie for pizza and beer. If you were on the road yesterday you might have noticed that the water (lakes and such) were the brightest blue you could imagine. Gorgeous. Good to visit with S, S, and C and reacquaint with Pepsi, the Dog Cousin. He had his bow-tie on in my honor. I think they were tempted to send him home with me. Oh, no. No more Jack Russell Terrorists in this house!

I spent today at Mayo doing all the pre-op stuff. It was interesting and all. The MRI was creepy and I had to keep my eyes shut to keep from freaking out. I had to refrain from food and drink until that was over at almost 1:00. After being shut up in that little tube for 45 minutes and dehydrated as an old mushroom, I was wobbly. You'd think they could do better than a drinking fountain. I went to the coffee shop and sucked down a carton of skim milk, a protein bar, and a latte so fast it made my head spin even more than the MRI. I hope my liver did itself proud.

The anesthesia doctor who reviewed all my tests said I'm very healthy except for, and get this, being a little on the heavy side. Jeebus. What does he think I'm there for, a hair transplant?

I'm having a bit of an allergy issue lately. Last year about this time was my first attack. I snored so loud I woke myself up. Scary.

Time to go to bed. I have several new books but the one I'm going to re-read first is: The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse.

Friday, March 27, 2009


Regis and I went to the grocery store after work today. Of course, it's a mad house at that time of the week. It went alright until we were checking out. The bag boy in our aisle and the one in the next aisle were making sexual gestures at each other with packages of bratwurst and a box of food storage bags. Honestly. Do they think we're so old and addled that we wouldn't figure that out? I suppose if you're 15 and have to work at the grocery store on Friday night, it's anything for a thrill.

I spent part of my day doing these things at school: isolating a problem with the phone lines, attempting to fix two toilets, and talking to the tech guy about software. I asked him if he had been up all night...what he was saying made no sense to me. Ah, it was a productive day.

One thing I've noticed about searching google for images lately is that a lot of them have copyright stuff on them. I'm scared of the copyright police so I hesitate. I'm such a chicken.

Some friends of mine are having a baby shower for Tiffany tomorrow. I hesitate about that kind of thing, too...worrying that I am commiting social faux pas in triplicate. Do people like to be invited to things like that? I worry too much lately.

I'm not sure if I mentioned in this venue that my surgery is April 6th. I'm planning to go back to work on the 20th. About every other day I get freaky and worried, then the next day I'm fine. Monday I go to Mayo for all the pre-op appointments. I'm looking forward to that actually because I like all those people so much. One of the things I'm doing is having an MR elasto something or other as part of a research study. (It's like an MRI but it measures something else.) The hope is that some day they can do this procedure rather than a liver biopsy which is costly and invasive. Anybody read the book Coma? Just kidding.

Going to bed to read....

Thursday, March 26, 2009

bright thing in the sky

It snowed off and on all day today, never accumulating, but making it look like winter. About an hour ago, we had 30 seconds of sunshine. It's only 30 degrees so not exactly basking weather. I'm not complaining. My brother, Bruce, reports from Fargo:
They just raised the crest to 42 feet with a possibility of 43. The flood
in 97 got to just over 39 feet. We SHOULD be safe, but who knows. Sewage
backup is a distinct possibility. I've been sandbagging every day; they
estimate that 10,000 people a day have been volunteering to sandbag. We've
done just about all that can be done, now we need a bit of luck. It would
make a hell of a documentary...it's like a war zone with all the activity.
People have come from Canada, Florida, Alaska, Minnesota, South Dakota and
Uff da is all I can think of to say. It's touching that people come out to help in disasters like this mess in Fargo and our tornado. I remember groups of men coming down the street with chain saws and lunch buckets. It made me cry. It does bring out the best in people. And it keeps them from watching Fox News which isn't a bad thing either. That's my cynical side.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

clothes that would be hideous on 99.9% of the population

Regis is watching one of those loathsome movies about the end of the world. Some nuclear war thing. I don't like to think about that much less see it represented visually on a big screen. If you can call a 19 inch tv a big screen. It's hideous...perpetual winter and the faces are blue and frost covered and everybody talks in those old soap opera urgent voices. Who needs that kind of nightmare?

We went to the bike shop to pick up my new bike. It was damn cold standing in their parking lot while they attached the rack to the car. They are so careful to give you instructions on every part of the experience but in this cold, who cares. If the thing flies off at the first intersection, oh well.

We cruised around the shop for a while as we waited. Did you know there are bike outfits that are made of very fitted nylon with padded seats and little skinny straps? They're called bib cycling shorts. I told Regis we should buy some but one of the neighbors might (most likely would) call the cops. He said it would be so creepy we would probably call the cops on ourselves.

Time to go and turn the mattress pad up to high and crawl in with a book. Happy spring. What kind of mittens does a guy wear in April?

Monday, March 23, 2009

march in minnesota

Snow occurring on Mar 26 | Mar 27. Total amount 5 Inches.
Heavy rain occurring on Mar 23 | Mar 24 | Mar 26. Total amount 1.08 Inches.
Ice occurring on Mar 27. Total amount 0.2 Inches.
High wind occurring on Mar 23 | Mar 27. Maximum sustained 36 mph (maximum gust 52 mph).
High probability of thunderstorms occurring on Mar 23.

If there is any other damn inclement weather we could have within the next few days, I don't know what it might be. Remember the 29th of March is the anniversary of the tornado so there is nothing that we loathe more than high winds. Unless it's high winds in combination with ice. Lovely.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


We swooped by Herberger's and I bought my socks. Then we went to the grocery store where it smells funny and customers wear mullets. Regis gets so frustrated trying to park there because everybody drives a 1992 Park Avenue and goes 16 miles per hour because their cataracts are so bad they can't see. I said he either has to calm down or we have to start buying coffee somewhere else.

Then we went to the bike shop sale at the old mall. A fast-talking (not in a bad way...he just ought to lay off the caffeine) salesman sold me this little number in the picture above. I took it for a spin in the parking lot and loved it. It has three-speeds which are plenty because I usually forget to shift anyway. We're going to pick it up on Wednesday. We both bought helmets...reference my fear of head injuries.

The weather outside is bad-ass dreadful. I felt like I had dirt in my teeth and my hair was standing on end. Garbage was blowing through the air and the wind was howling nasty ass loud. The thermometer says 55 but I don't think so. Wicked wind chill. There aren't words to describe crappy weather like this obviously since I used ass twice in one paragraph.

On our way home, we slowed way down to let a couple wild turkeys cross the road. I told Regis (again) the story of my victimhood at the hands of a wild turkey. He laughed and expressed skepticism. People always do when I tell this story but it's true.
In April, Will Millington was riding his dirt bike down a narrow trail in Norman, Okla., when he stopped before a flock of wild turkeys. The hens scattered, but two toms flared their feathers and stalked toward him. Then they suddenly leapt in the air, beat Mr. Millington with their wings and tried to scratch him with the sharp spurs on the backs of their legs.

Wild-turkey flocks have a pecking order. If they live around humans, some of the dominant toms may begin to include people in that order — at a level below themselves. Lovett Williams, a Florida biologist, recalls that when he raised wild turkeys, he sometimes had to establish dominance by grabbing an obnoxious bird around the neck and holding it on the ground so it couldn't scratch with its spurs. "I'd slap him like they do on the Three Stooges," he says. "Then they'd wobble around and run off."

There you go.

as done as it's gonna get

It's 12:30 and I'm done. No doubt there are more dust bunnies and dirt clumps hiding behind chairs and in places where I don't see, but I've sucked, wiped, and washed a ton of dirt out of this house in the last two days.

Regis and I are going to Mankato to snoop around. I'm in the market for a new bike, we want to buy a bike rack for the car, and I want some pastel socks. We might have dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant to celebrate the cleaning of the abode.

Oh, I cleaned out the refrigerator today, too. Amazing the stuff that gets pushed to the back of the shelves. I found two cans of Busch beer (Betty?) and one can of Hamm's. Most other things were identifiable but not edible. As hard as we've tried to clean out the freezer this winter, we have made no progress. Things must go in as fast as they come out. Comforting to know in the event of a disaster, we would have a constant food supply.

The wind is picking up. Ugh. My least favorite weather event.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

every day should be saturday

My goal for the weekend was to clean our house. It didn't happen last night because we had a serendipitous meeting of friends and family (including Ella and Alex) at the watering hole. Reg and Amber came to visit later and then we went to bed. So much for that day.

I didn't have any grand plans to get started early so it was about 9:00 when I got started in the bedroom. I set the timer for 55 minutes and then I allowed my galley slave self a break for a cup of coffee and a piece of toast. It went like that through the next three rooms. By 3 o'clock, I was done in and tired of it so I told Regis to set up the lawn chairs under the birch tree.

Several of the neighbors wandered over and we celebrated the start of spring by sharing beers and wine in the warm sun. It was grand. Katherine toddled around and ate some dirt and drank a juice box. She seemed to enjoy her first outdoor happy hour.

I'm trying to get organized before my surgery on April 6th. Of course, there are things I will never get done and should probably just forget about. Cleaning the basement, for example. Ha! I'd like to get the garden cleaned up and might have to hire that done. Digging in the dirt and hauling vegetation might be beyond me for a while.

I have a bookshelf I meant to clean off before the ecology club fund raiser but I think I missed the deadline. That's exactly how I am. I went to Herberger's the other day and forgot about the donation thing where you can get 20% off. WTF. All I had to do was throw my old pajamas in a bag. They just do that to make a person like me flog herself for having a crappy memory. Shit.

I have all kinds of irrational fears about surgery since I haven't had any (surgery) since I was 4 years old. That was more than 50 years ago holy shit. They don't use ether anymore, do they? The nurse when I had my tonsils out was mean and I don't think they're like that anymore. Regis thinks I should take my computer so I can post a blog entry the night after I go under the knife. (What a weird expression...) We'll see how that goes. I'm a nervous patient. Should I tell them that? When I have an endoscopy, I tell EVERYONE in the outpatient area...I'm a nervous patient, don't let me choke, I'm worried about choking, I'm a nervous patient. I'm sure those health care professionals talk about me when they have drinks after work.

I swear the birds were having a major singles club gathering in the trees behind our house today. They were everywhere and they were loud. There's a huge fat robin in the apple tree now. I love spring.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

wicked shopping trip

And I don't mean that in a good way. I hate shopping. I had a list but it didn't work because I had too many places to go and not enough time. I had printed a baby registry for the Potts twins but in my blizzardy mental state, I couldn't find anything. (I finally did so the babies won't be presentless...). I wanted to buy shower presents for Alex and Elliot but had an idea not found at that store...so thinking ahead I bought gift bags and little cards and tissue. Then of course, I couldn't find what I wanted so the bags are kind of big for what I did find. Damn.

The clothes I had in my head for myself were not to be found on a rack anywhere. I decided I don't have a "look". I need a look. Need help with this. Help.

Right at the end of the work day, a woman from a copier company stopped by to see if she could "assess our copier needs". What the hell. She was a little creepy...a little too perfect like a pod person. (Really shiny choppers.) I was distracted by that and couldn't concentrate on our copier needs. I don't think it matters if we want a copier that staples and emails and scans, really. Our needs will be usurped by the budget. Besides we already have a scanner that we have never bothered to learn to use so this could mean that we don't really need one. She seemed to think this made us part of alien species. I told you she was a pod person.

A person like me should not be in charge of stuff like copiers which is what makes this funny...I'm not. She wanted my card and that makes her the first person in years who has asked for my card. I'm not even sure the phone number is current. Do people really use cards anymore?

I saw Patrick for a haircut this evening. He's my hair artist and I never tell him what to do. I have opinions about a lot of things but not hair. Except for the times he gives me a mirror, I never look at the back of my hair which might be painfully obvious to people who see it from behind. It's like my philosophy of house cleaning...the things you can't see can't hurt you, i.e. dust and cobwebs.

Now that I've revealed a variety of my personal flaws: not good at shopping, not good at clothes, not good at copiers, not good at hair design, not good at house cleaning, I'm going to bed.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

how did it get to be wednesday already

We've had a quiet week. No green beer for us last night, we had corned beef and cabbage for dinner and watched one of Regis' all-time favorite movies, The Quiet Man. I like all of it except the last fight scene. There are some great lines.

We went to Barnes and Noble tonight with my Valentine money and my three-page list. It's hard to shop at B&N with a list because they won't give you access to a computer to find anything and they have their books grouped all weird. Why couldn't they have a computer like the public library so I could find things myself? They're very helpful if you ask, but I'd like to just browse around and find them myself. I bought these things:
  1. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
  2. The Red Convertible by Louise Erdrich
  3. The Best Essays of 2008
  4. Dalva by Jim Harrison
  5. A couple others that I can't see from here...
Numbers one and two are hardcover books and I usually hesitate to buy them because they're expensive. Erdrich and Verghese (The Tennis Partner) are favorite authors, though, so I'm sure I'll like them. Maybe I'll figure out a way to post my long list.

I've noticed a movement toward thermostat diminishment of which I am not fond. I'm just saying, it's cold everywhere I go. Are we going to have to dress like Tibetan yak herders INDOORS from now on? And probably smell like the yaks by the end of the day.

I've had a paranoia this winter about falls and head injuries (in combination) so the tragic news about the actress who fell on the ski slope and died, with no bloody cut or apparent injury, was about enough to send me into a spin. Does a guy have to wear a helmet all the time? Holy shit life is scary.

It's Tiffany's birthday today! Happy birthday to you, Tiff! She's 24 years old.

I took a day off from swimming today but I'm back in the water tomorrow. Next week, I'm going to start alternating swimming and walking. I'm beginning to feel a little water-logged. And the water has been chilly which I hate. Yesterday I snuck into the hot tub (verboten by the motel police) and that didn't even feel very warm.

Regis has the car buying bug. Not many things I hate more than car buying. If you could just walk in and say I'll take that in red and feel like you got a fair price, it would be one thing. But, it's another thing and we all know what it is.

How did it get to be 8:30 already?

Monday, March 16, 2009

pre-st. patty's day

Tom and Betty had us over for corned beef and cabbage pizza. I must say we were skeptical about the concept but it was delicious. A ten on a scale of "I must make this again" and Tom's crust would rival the best pizza parlor. Many signs of spring in Minnesota today. Tom almost whacked me when I said I didn't want it to get too warm too fast. After all my griping about the cold, I guess. We even saw a teenager walking barefoot. I bet his mother whacked him when he got home.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

alex and ella

Regis and I went over to see Ella and Alex today. I asked if I could hold Alex and Ella said, "No, he's too heavy." She helped me hold the baby and shared my lap. She enjoyed the presents from Jill...especially the tiny purse! The two quarters that Popop found in her ears went in the purse. Alex is thriving and I got the whole baby experience in an hour...feeding, changing, burping.

Our neighbor, Paul, invited us over for the first barbecue of the season. How could we say no? He made a wonderful loin roast and twice baked potatoes. We got some funny looks from passers-by as there was still snow on the ground in some places but the sun felt good. Hard to believe that it was zero on Tuesday.

We love weekends. This is what we hope being retired is like...always Saturday.

regis and teresa cook

Betty found a comfortable chair by the bookshelf where she could put her foot up. We talked about books and movies mostly...some cooking. And our plans for outdoor improvements this spring. Betty's planing vines and adding trellises to their patio area...we're putting in the Howard Fritsch Memorial Patio under the birch tree.

Tom went from vertical to horizontal several times throughout the afternoon as he was tired. He had to share the love seat with the dog who enjoyed the attention.

Regis made this delicious prime rib roast. I made a dish called colcannon to accompany...mashed potatoes with leeks, shallots, and napa cabbage. I thought it was delicious. Regis would rather keep his cabbage separate apparently as his reviews were not so good.

I tried to get Peter to take the Irish glasses to Mankato with him. I said they'd be chick magnets but he didn't think so.

I made a chocolate stout cake that is delicious but this year, the top of the damn cake stuck in the pan so it didn't look so pretty. The genache covered it up for the most part. No complaints on the final course which was served with Irish coffee.

I spend more time on the tablecloth and the glassware than dusting the furniture and scrubbing the floors.

Peter bought a new video game so he was preoccupied with that but he spent some time visiting with us. And eating. As I was taking this picture, he said, "Don't take my picture and put it on your blog". Ok.

We had some nice Irish cheeses with a baguette and an onion soup made with Guinness. The best cheese was called Prairie Breeze from the coop.

All in all, it was a good meal and the company was great. Beautiful day...we even had the door open for a while until Regis got hot from the sun coming in...how's that for a change?

We love weekends.

Friday, March 13, 2009

What She Taught Me

What She Taught Me

For Mom

She taught me knitting, sewing, Teeny Tiny,

and reading every night before you go

to bed. She taught me how to make things for

people you love. She taught me how to make

stuffing by letting the butter and chopped onions sit

on the stovetop overnight. She taught me how to

make spaghetti from scratch

and that leftovers make a good meal and that pets,

even messy ones who come through the screen door

during thunderstorms, are part of the family.

She taught me that it’s more important to bake

fresh cookies or to read a book that

have a clean house. She taught me that having piles

of books around your house is decorating and that wearing

a flannel nightgown until noon doesn’t mean you’re

lazy. She taught me that you invite people over

if you’re lonely. She taught me how to always

believe you can fix it yourself and to keep on learning

and that when you go on vacation you should

stay with relatives. She taught me that cookbooks make good

reading and if you don’t have what it calls

for, you use something else. She taught me that hunting

down a good deal and taking a long nap in the afternoon is

the only exercise you ever really need in life.

When my dad died, her husband of more than fifty years, she

taught me that you cry but you go on. You go on living. You keep

the ashes in the window sill, you tell stories about the memories

and you laugh and you cry. But you keep on living.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

51 on saturday and we're looking for flat rocks on which to bask

Seriously. 51 degrees on Saturday. We've had 35 days of below zero temperatures since December 1st. That is brutal. Brutal. For those of you who live in warmer climates, a below zero temperature is a negative number way below where water freezes, at 32 degrees. Thirty-two degrees colder than that is ZERO. Ah well, never mind.

Our dog, Kramer, who got a haircut yesterday. We turned down the senior dog wellness plan that allows for a teeth-cleaning at a reduced price. This is a 12 year old dog who has already had a multi-thousand dollar eye surgery. I can't explain why we did this. I didn't even want to buy a 12-month supply of heart worm medication. I thought we could go with the 6-month plan and see how his health is at that point. Regis says I'm heartless. I love my dogs but they're dogs. I remember the days when they lived in dog houses outside. Our sissy dog doesn't like to lay on the bare leather, he likes a blanket.

I took today off from swimming after going to bed at 8:30 last night and sleeping until 7:00 this morning. I took my time leaving the house, drinking coffee, eating a little breakfast while seated unlike the last few days of eating on the run. I feel so much better tonight as I'm not a person who appreciates a fast pace.

Regis is sampling the Mr. Beer tonight. He likes the taste but it generates a lot of, shall we say, methane. I can tell from the belching going on and have warned him that this might not an activity he wants to pursue. Look for the green mushroom cloud over our house.

I've gotten really finicky about the books I'm reading. I quit a book in the middle last week and started The Book Thief. It's very good (wonderful writing where you need sticky flags to mark sentences...) but damn it, I'm not sure I want to read something that intense. I'm a sissy, I know. Or a dork. I have about five favorite authors and they better keep writing because I don't know what I'll do if they die or retire. Uh oh, Bill.

I have to go pay attention to 30 Rock.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

winter continues to flog us, especially in Fargo

I went to the vet clinic to pick the dog up from his grooming (and well-dog) visit. We picked a bad day to have the dog's hair cut. I think I heard him murmur f*#* you as he lifted his leg on the way back to the car and the stream of pee turned to a yellow icicle. Hey, I was blown down the sidewalk by a gust of wind and had to re-park in order to walk on the snow rather than end up on my hinder on the ice. A guy has to put rocks in his pockets and a pillow on his ass if he's going to travel in this weather.

I'm not complaining, though. My brother Bruce sent a picture (top) of his front door in Fargo after yesterday's blizzard. The snow was up to the middle of the door. Drifting or not, that sucks. And blows. When this snows melts in two days over the weekend, everyone along the Red River will need water wings.

Regis sent an email to the restaurant where we ate Sunday, just tipping them off that they might want to do a thorough cleaning. The response was, get this, a request for the name of our server so they would have some incite into the problem. You can get all the incite you want pal, and it isn't going to make your joint cleaner. Incite. Good grief. And let's blame the guy at the end of the food chain, shall we?

Peter works for a fast-food sandwich shop in Mankato called Subway. He makes a tiny bit over minimum wage and until last week, was able to eat a sandwich for 50% off while he worked. They have eliminated that program for all but the office staff so when he works he pays full price for his food. He and the other sandwich slaves have decided to pool their money and order pizza while they're working which isn't such a good marketing plan for Subway. Way to go, Corporate America. The office staff really need a break on the cost of food.

The new economic stimulus (Bless the President's heart; I know he means well.) amounted to 34 bucks on my check. I don't get it until Friday but I'm going out to spend it tonight. I want to get that money into the economy as quickly as possible.

When we stopped to drop our ES money, we ran into Mike and Erin, neighbors across the street and their sweet baby, Katherine Nova. We don't see our neighbors very often in
in the winter in Minnesota. They don't have an attached garage either so the chances are greater as we make our way from snowy driveway to house. Katherine has changed since we saw her at the county fair: she's eating chicken strips and french fries with ketchup now.

I had an email from Mom today. She had company on Monday, Bob Bengtson and his wife Marilyn. Bob's my friend who is famous for his poems on sticks. His books of poetry are like talismans; I pack them into my bags and carry them with me when I go places. There's something about knowing the poet, or hearing him read his poems out loud, that makes the words more powerful. You hear, forever, their voices in your head. The written words are never just on the page after that.

It seems unnatural for it to be so light out at the same time that it's so cold... and 7 o'clock in the evening. Somehow it's more tolerable when it's dark.

I've used the word dork about four times today. That seems to be indicative of something. Maybe that I'm hanging around a lot of dorks. Now that's funny.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

still winter

I'm not going to complain about the weather, believe it or not. I will tell you that the snow, which is not apparent on any radar I've looked at tonight, due to the wind blowing 40 mph. We're such optimistic sops in Minnesota; everybody says this won't last long and it will melt right away. What difference does that make when it's ten days away from spring and you still have to dress like you're taking a dog sled over the tundra.

I know I've made some mental notes for new posts over the last few days of non-blogging but I've forgotten what they were.

Whoa, the snow blows so hard every few minutes that I can't see across the street. I was ready to call the patio man the other day. Karl's going to give us some tips and maybe do the manual labor of root-chopping and hole-digging. Tom and a few of the other men offered to help but we have an aversion to sweat and more of an attraction to the creative side of patio building.

I dread swimming the next two days. It's been nice to have more moderate temperatures that don't require until noon to defrost after going back out into the cold.

I have to take the dog into the groomer tomorrow and I dread that, too. Ever since he grabbed the cheek of that little white, fluffy dog and made him cry like a baby. I'm hoping that his vision has deteriorated to the point that he won't be so aggressive. He's very sweet with people but he disdains animals with a vengeance. When we used to take him to the eye clinic in Plymouth, they cleared the waiting room for us. He's a twenty-pound furry death machine.

My twenty-one year old son is at work in Mankato. I want to call him and tell him to be careful on his way home but I suppose that's dumb as he's old enough to figure that out for himself. One of the things I'm painfully aware of again with the birth of the babies in our family: it's like letting your heart walk around outside your body.

I think I'm going to turn my mattress pad up to high and go to bed.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Saturday, March 07, 2009


Regis and I went on a mission for Irish whiskey this weekend. We checked at our local joint last night but not so much luck. Today, in the March mist, we took a drive to Mankato and found what we wanted. See the photo.

More tomorrow.

Friday, March 06, 2009

damned internet provider


by Jane Hirshfield

In every instant, two gates.
One opens to fragrant paradise, one to hell.
Mostly we go through neither.

Mostly we nod to our neighbor,
lean down to pick up the paper,
go back into the house.

But the faint cries—ecstasy? horror?
Or did you think it the sound
of distant bees,
making only the thick honey of this good life?

"Bees" by Jane Hirshfield from The Lives of the Heart. © Harper Perennial, 1997.

So many sad things this week: Bill Holm, Charlene Hegland, Phil Keillor. It seems fitting for this time of year when you can't tell where the land ends and the sky begins. I feel like my nerves are sticking outside my skin and everything is irritating. Everything brushes against me like sandpaper. Wine doesn't help for long.

I made a meatloaf for dinner which is an odd thing for an early spring dinner, I know. In the time it was cooking, I lost interest so we had meatloaf and ketchup, or meatloaf and bread and ketchup as you preferred. No sides, as Peter observed. Hey, they sell potatoes at McDonald's and Taco Johns.

Regis took the dog out for a walk which irritates me because it's icy in spots although he won't admit it. He could fall down and crack his head and die. Some days I am more circumspect about this and realize you can't sit around your house avoiding falls and accidents. Today, I think you should sit around your house and avoid accidents and death.

There's a great article in Vanity Fair about Tina Fey. She is a rule follower, a life philosophy I ascribe to. Don't drive along side semi trucks. Don't get on carnival rides. Don't put paper in beer bottles. Don't play with shiny garbage. Follow the rules and bad things won't happen to you.

I'm planning a meal for next week: prime rib roast, Yorkshire pudding, and a Guinness cake. That's all that's on the menu for now. The Irish were not known for their cooking (my theory after viewing hundreds of recipes for cabbage and potatoes) so I might keep it simple. The Yorkshire pudding sort of puts a crimp in my style as I like to make Irish soda bread but you can't have that many breads at a meal and no vegetable. One bread has to be beer.

I worked really hard this week so the tax payers can feel vindicated. Here I am feeding at the public trough. Not that I don't work hard every week but this week, I especially worked my fingers to the bone and I have piles of paperclipped stuff to prove it. You could probably put all that shit in the recycler on Monday and nobody would ever be the wiser. Is this how I spend my life? A friend of mine told me today that work really gets in the way of her life. I feel like that, too, somedays.

If it doesn't snow on Sunday, we're going to meet Tiffany and Eric at Don Pablo's in Bloomington. I'll get to hold Elliot again. I can hear him in the background when Tiffany calls. It makes my heart hurt. She said she can't believe you can fall in love with a baby so fast. I remember clearly that I did the first time I saw her picture.

Peter is off to Mankato tonight, being a little vague about his plans...a bar, a band, a friend. That's as much as we know.

Charlene's funeral is tomorrow. Bill Holm's on Sunday.

Happy birthday, Mark.

Laurel, buy a big red spatula. I heard you mom say she'd get you one so don't let her get a cheap plastic one. Something heavy and colorful will do.

Jane, enjoy the outdoors in St. Louis. We're jealous. Here's the drink list: Harvey Wallbanger, margarita, vodka tonic, martini, and whiskey sour. Hi to Darla and AJ.

Deb and Larry, have a good time in Rome. Rent mopeds and drink limoncello. Not at the same time.

Tom, thanks for the blue cheese dressing recipe. The stuff I buy for five dollars in the styrofoam cup is so good...why do I want to make it myself?

This kind of sounds like the end of the prairie home companion. It must be time to go to bed.

Monday, March 02, 2009

galactic leadership

I picked up some Morgan Creek Vineyards wine the other day at MGM when they had the tasting. I recommend it. I like the Seyval, a popular French dry white, light fruit barrel aged in French oak. That last part I got from the website as I'm not much of a wine connoisseur. I even had to look connoisseur up on google to see how to spell it. If you can't spell it, you aren't one.

There's a very nice obituary for Bill Holm on his website. If anyone reading this would like to read his books, I think I have them all and would be happy to deliver them, along with a bottle of pinot noir. I have some favorite things: the essay about Darin Gislason's garden in The Music of Failure, an essay called Horizontal Grandeur (which I have mailed to many people and which always comes up when we talk about the prairie), his book Coming Home Crazy, and the book The Heart Can Be Filled Anywhere on Earth.

My friend Coni once worked at a restaurant in the old Carnegie Library in St. Peter. Bill came in one night after a reading, got carried away and entertained the place for hours with song and story. Drawn by his booming voice and hearty laugh, everyone in the place had pulled up a chair in the vicinity of his table by the time it was all over. He left Coni a 20 dollar tip which was a big tip in a small town restaurant in those days.

Our new babies are doing fine. Elliot went on his first outing today and behaved himself quite nicely, according to his mama. We saw Alex yesterday and he's thriving.

Ella the First Baby (this is a title like The President) is coming to see us tomorrow night. We might go to McDonald's for dinner and play with Play Do. She likes to snuggle in bed and read books. Maybe she'll want to play with the tea cups. When she's here, we do whatever she wants because she's the First Baby. I was there the day she was born and heard her first cry. It was quite a moment, let me tell you. Tears were shed. I'm the designated weeper at all births and marriages.

I'm also the weeper at the start of parades (4th of July), at the end of parades (Macy's Thanksgiving Day), during sad commercials(when the people lose their Traveler's Checks), and at the end of books where animals die. Marley and Me and Seabiscuit, for example. Amazing I can remember all of this but can't remember the names of people I've known for five years.

I just started to read a list of over-used buzzwords but I stopped in the middle. That stuff gets in your head and makes your brain cells spin around like a seat on the Tilt-A-Whirl. It's not healthy for your head. Do a google search and you'll see what I mean.

Don't read it too long is all I'm saying. Someone could do a research study on this: what happens with over-exposure to buzzwords? Does the number of words per sentence in your writing drop? Do you start ending sentences with prepositions? Do you drop the g on present participles? Do you start using like and he goes a lot in your speech? Do you forget about capital letters and punctuation? Do you forget what a semi-colon is for, for God's sake?

Sunday, March 01, 2009

beer project

Regis got a Mr. Beer from his younger son for Christmas. Today was the uncapping and you can see the result, a lovely amber beer with a nice head. Hurrah! Thanks, Bob.

Babies are both doing fine. Tiffany reported on Elliot this morning. He is, like most, newborns, determined to eat and sleep whenever he feels like it which means she doesn't sleep much. I tried to assure her that he will settle down in a few days. We stopped this afternoon to see Alex and Ella. Alex is eating and pooping like a champ and therefore growing like a weed. Ella hugged me and kissed me a hundred times and said she missed me. It ain't easy being booted from the throne of 1st Child and I think she recognizes an advocate in her Nana.

I finally did some housework this morning which means I do what I usually do: a half-assed job of most of it and don't finish any of it. It looks better and smells better so we made strides. Regis suggested going over to buy groceries this afternoon so we got that job out of the way, too. We discovered a nice antipasta bar in the HyVee so we brought home a sample of blue cheese stuffed green olives, marinated artichoke hearts, and marinated mushrooms. The things we didn't taste right away are on top of a pizza now.

We had another delicious meal at Tom and Betty's house last night. We ended the evening, as we like to do in the winter, by sitting by the fire. It's a good thing there were no audio taping devices because we got started singing and I'm telling you, there will be no record contracts offered.

I started a facebook page the other day but quickly shut it down. I don't like these things: twitter, facebook, text messaging. I like blogging, I like webpages, I like picasa web albums. I like things that make complete sentences and that have punctuation. I don't care if you just let the cat out or if you had chili for dinner. Unless it makes a good story.

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