Tuesday, June 30, 2009

garden photos

Here are some garden photos that I took tonight. It was a cool day but Regis and I loyally donned sweatshirts and cooked on the grill. We had two orioles come to the grape jelly so we were rewarded for our efforts.

Hey, we finally have a senator! Looks like the governor signed the certificate and it's over. We're going to look for Franken's kid at the 4th of July parade.

Enjoy the garden. Jill, do you recognize the big metal daisy?

Monday, June 29, 2009

ten cup holders

Regis and I are looking for a new car. We sort of like the VW, but we worry that one day the electronics will just flame out and we'll be left on the side of the road. We're looking at a Honda Fit which ranks really high in all the things that matter to men most of which are in consumer reports and do not include size. It comes in red and that's all I care about. One thing is very curious about this tiny car: it has ten cup holders. Ten cup holders. Ten people wouldn't fit in this car much less ten people with their drinks. I would be surprised if five people would fit in this car. Maybe that's why they call it the Fit...nobody fits. Hahahaha.

I advised Regis to not let me make any decisions about cars as I can't be trusted. As I said, I care about the color...and the radio a little. The other stuff not so much. It's a lot of money for something to just drive around in. Those necessities of life should be free: cars and toilet paper.

Here's an interesting newsflash. I checked our cell phone bill online today since it's due on the 9th and found, much to my chagrin and amazement that it was double and then some what it usually is. More investigation led me to the conclusion that Peter had committed what they call overages in text messages. I called Alltel to see if we could get unlimited text messages going back to the date of this apparent change in his love life. Don't tell him I said that as he would keel over of mortification.

That all makes a good story but the better one is, the customer service person asked me, did the owner of the 4864 number meant to sign up for Premier Text Messaging. I said I didn't know what that was. It's the one you always see on tv, she said. Hmmm. The plot thickens. I ask Regis and he flips a wig and calls Alltel. Here's where you have to pay attention.

Apparently, a THIRD PARTY VENDOR attached itself to his phone and allowed Alltel to charge him ten bucks a month for the last six months for some service he has never used and didn't even know he had. I pay the bill online and as long as it's in the ballpark, I don't examine it too closely. This seems like a real load of BS to me. Alltel has to know this company is doing this because Alltel generates the bill. What the hell. The CS person said yes, many people were upset about it. She refunded our 60 bucks but I'm writing to the Attorney General. I have experience with that sort of thing. Stories for another day.

Calling cell phone companies generally makes me weep and that's why I avoid it. They talk too fast like the old grifters. I don't like going into their stores either. The store gives me the willies.

So, there you have it. The end of another day.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


My friends, Bob Bengtson and Mike Hazard are truly wizards of words and images. This is one of their latest video poems.

sunday in pictures

Johann, former neighbor and son of my former teaching partner, Peter, came by to visit today with his girlfriend Georgia. We miss his family down the street and it was very good to see him.

I have lots of pictures of the garden but we're over at Bob and Em's keeping care of Alex (as Ella said) while the rest of the family attends a Moondogs game. So I'll have to post the garden pictures later. Wait. They're on my facebook page. Ah, it's too much technology to keep track of in my muddled brain. I just added the last three words to that sentence to avoid ending it with a preposition.

Our garden is beautiful this year, in its usual random way. I moved some perennials today...a hosta here, a cone flower there. Some things end up in the back and get no attention. I have an astilbe that rarely gets watered and has only managed to hang on for dear life the past few years. I'm going to move it into a more prominent spot tomorrow.

The cannoli count is now 40! They pop through the ground and grow several inches a day. It looks like our tobacco crop.

I made the menu and grocery list for the week. That's a job with two holidays (4th of July and Regis' birthday) and a dinner for Bob and Em. I've been encouraging Peter to eat at home more as part of an austerity program and we like to fire up the grill in the afternoon so it's more like fun than work.

I'm going to play with Sir Alex His Babiness. Regis brought the camera but forgot the card so we won't have evidence of this part of Sunday.

Hey, that cat video in the Youtube segment below is a hoot.

good, sunny morning!

Friday, June 26, 2009

friday night tuna on the grill

It was a lazy Friday afternoon and evening. I did a little housecleaning (damn little) and a little shopping and a little sitting in a lawn chair. Two boys here for brats on the grill. I had a tuna steak marinated in a thai sauce. Delicious.

I went to Mankato this morning for a meeting. As I was turning onto Adams from Highway 22, there was a clean-cut guy standing there, as if waiting for a bus. He was wearing surgical scrubs and carrying a battered brief case and a big chunk of rusty metal. Now, what's up with that? It's puzzled me all day.

I visited the bargain table at B&N again today. Bought another Jeffrey Archer book.

Regis is watching a boxing match. Eeeeeishhhh. That is a brutal sport. I'm outta here.

The weather forecast is for storms tomorrow. That will keep me out of the garden. Don't know if that's good or bad.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

brief update

A good time was had by all at the Legion.

Regis and I sat on the patio until 9:00 tonight. That's about 5 hours past sunset in the dead of winter. Imagine that.

One of my neighbors is blasting Michael Jackson music out over the area tonight. Oh please.

I feel like my nerves are sticking outside my body today. Two neighbors mowing lawns with big and loud lawn mowers. One shrill barking dog. This is why I don't keep dangerous weapons in the house. Ha! Actually that's the title of a poem by Billy Collins but I think he used the word gun. I should live in the country.

I'm on my way to bed and I don't have a book to read having finished False Impression by Jeffrey Archer. It's a suspense book which is outside my zone of comfort but it was so good I finished it in three days. He's a good writer.

Good night.

dollar burgers and waiting for my mousse to dry

I went to the pulse and worked out with Rachel. That girl can put you through your paces. I sweat more (in a good way) than I have in my life. I always avoided things that produced sweat and now, honestly, I can see it drip from my forehead. She tried to convince me that I won't get big muscles from lifting weights. I laughed and said I haven't spent 10 seconds worrying about that...ever.

We're going to the Legion down town for dollar burgers, which I can't eat, and dollar beers, which I won't drink. It's going to be a happening, though, and that appeals to me on a hot summer afternoon.

More later...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


My friend, Ann, gave me a dog food bag full of canna lily bulbs. Regis was intrigued by them but wasn't familiar with the name so he started calling them cannolis with which he has great familiarity. Cannoli is an Italian pastry rolled around a tube and deep fried before being stuffed with a sweet ricotta cheese mixture. The cannas kind of look like cannoli when they first come out of the ground...rolled up like, you know. We planted about 30 of them in front of the west window and covered them with mulch. About three days later, we noticed a pattern of burrows going from bulb to bulb in a criss-cross fashion. I thought they had been consumed by moles or pocket gophers or chipmunks of which I have seen many darting around the garden. Today we counted eight cannas, or cannolis, maybe four to five inches high. So either the rodents only ate a few or didn't eat enough of any of them to keep them from growing. Pictures of the cannolis in a month.

Monday, June 22, 2009

beef brisket

Regis made the weekly trip to the HyVee this morning, then spent the rest of the day smoking a beef brisket. He made his own dry rub and put that on last night. The meat is wonderful. That red ring you see around the outside is from the smoke.

It's really hot here, like in the 90s, but not so bad that you can't sit on the patio and enjoy the birds and the breeze. The nice thing about slow smoking is that you can sit and do nothing but still feel like you've being productive.

I got a new pair of shoes in the mail today. I like the New Balance 845s and have already trashed one pair. I bought another pair about a month ago but they were a tiny bit tight when I walked on the treadmill. Now I can alternate and only squeeze my feet every other day. Betty, did you know you left your black shoes at The Pulse? Speaking of shoes.

P.S. I can't eat that beef brisket. I had one taste but then moved on to chicken. The beef is in tiny serving size packages, vacuum sealed in the freezer.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

party like a rock star

We had a party for Father's Day yesterday but we called it patriarch's day in honor of the patriarch's in attendance. It turned out to be a beautiful day, one of the few in the last week. A good time was had by all and the food was great. Remember the chicken sauces.

Today, we're back to gloom and humidity. I planted a few hostas and some impatiens in the garden this morning, then Regis took me to Mankato to shop for pants. I bought a pair of pants without an elastic waist. They have a zipper and a button. Ta da!

I gave Regis a Tom Tom gps unit for a combination Father's Day and anniversary present. Tomorrow is our tenth anniversary so I thought it deserved special treatment. We don't go very many places but he set it up and we used it to go to Mankato. Not like we don't know the way. There is a colored drawing of the road, with a little blue VW motoring down the highway and some woman inside narrates the trip. I don't really understand how all this happens, you know. Regis tries to explain to me that it 1. does not interface, so 2. everything is inside the unit. What? All the maps and the woman are inside the machine. The drawings include driveways and side roads...and probably a cat if it would sit still long enough. It's a mystery, like why planes fly and why birds legs don't freeze off in the winter.

Well, sunday night. Time for a little psychosis.

Friday, June 19, 2009

I read...

that Robert Louis Stevenson said: "To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive, and the true success is to labor." Interesting and worth thinking about some more in terms of all the things we work for and think are important in our lives.

Baby Belle, of This Goat's Life, died yesterday afternoon. Not sure what will happen to the blog. I'll miss it if they decide to stop.

Regis has a baseball game on the television. I like the sound of baseball. It sounds like summer and it's a gentle noise unlike football which sounds aggressive. This from a real sports fan.

I'm getting ready to move toward bed and a book. I'm reading one (Digging to America) that isn't as satisfying as the last one (So Brave, Young, and Handsome). Ah, well. They can't all be that good.

a dream...read at your own risk

Regis is famous for his bizarre dreams. He had one a week ago that involved a catastrophe of some kind that meant we would not have access to food and people were encouraged to eat their pets. So, barbecue king that he is, he cooked and carved up Bert, our Jack Russell terrier who has been gone (as in dead) for a couple years. Bert's disposition being what it was, nobody was inclined to eat him. We didn't want to eat our other pet who tends to have a sweeter personality so Kramer was allowed to hang around the yard with his fat lizard friend. See the picture. I told you it was weird.

I cleaned out the back porch today. I'm so glad I have good enough standards for cleaning. I just don't like to spend my life scouring dirt and sweeping cobwebs. Who cares really.

Regis and I went to the cooking store this afternoon and bought a couple little silicone basting brushes and some squirt bottles for our sauces. See? I'd much rather spend time dinging around with basting brushes and sauces than cleaning anything. People in some places live in houses with dirt floors. My doctor doesn't believe in anti-bacterial anything so she supports my slovenly notions.

When our current dog passes, we're going to replace the floors in our house. I'm thinking of something in a nice stainless steel with a big drain in the middle.

treating our kids equally

I just read over the post about asking Peter to pick up a dead mouse. A couple nights before, we asked Regis to pick up dog barf under the table. So, Tiffany and Bob, next time you're over, we might have something disgusting for you to pick up...just in the interest of fairness.

P.S. I did a search for images of dead mouse, but decided I couldn't do it. Here is a live mouse by way of illustration. The one in the garage was deader and not nearly as cute.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Regis and I spent some time in the kitchen this afternoon making sauces for the chicken legs we're cooking Saturday night in celebration of Patriarch's Day. As you can see, we made a thai barbecue, a regular barbecue, and a teriyaki. Aren't they pretty? We also cleaned the house, and I used the word clean loosely. Neither of us have much patience for it but at least we're not as bad as that woman who had squirrels in her living room.

More severe weather tonight but we're ready for it this time. I told Peter to be prepared in case we stumble down there in the dark.

I've been filling the tray feeder up every day. The grackles get in there and root around like pigs. They're all the same sunflower seeds, can't they see that? It's like they're looking for one special seed. They shake their heads from side to side and the seeds go flying. They've also had a loud and screechy baby with them who wants to be fed constantly.

We had tuna steaks and stuffed mushrooms on the grill for dinner. I love sitting out there when the garden is gorgeous. The daylilies are starting to bloom and it's like a jungle with all the birds.

Peter carried all the winter flotsam and jetsam from the porch to the basement. I don't know why it accumulates so badly over the winter: crock pots, blankets, empty boxes, bags of towels, bags of holiday decorations, boxes of junk I've picked up in previous cleaning missions. Ugh. We need less crap.

I told Regis that one day I'm going to take down every curtain in this house and throw them in the trash. Most of them have been up for ten years, or close to it. I'm tired of the Miss Havisham look.

We're going outside to see how long we can tolerate the humidity. The AC is on in the house so we can always beat a hasty retreat.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

i'm being forced to write about this even though I don't think it's such a big deal

We're under a tornado watch tonight and I happened to ask Regis if the weather radio is at the ready since I have a fear of a tornado bearing down on me in the dark. He got up to check and found the spot where it had been but there it was: gone. Sometime this winter, in a fit of cleaning which happens rarely, I took it from its spot on the counter and poked it into the cupboard beneath. Regis is pitching a fit. He says I am unreasonably fearful to the point of paranoia about storms and it makes no sense that I would disarm the weather radio. I said I'm not really fearful of winter storms sneaking up on me so it makes perfect sense that I would put it away in December. He's storming around here in one of his man-tempers about the whole thing and insists that I write about it. I suppose he thinks I'll make myself look bad rather than sugar coat it like I did.

Peter was going out to celebrate a friend's birthday tonight. I told him if he was in a bar and a tornado appeared, he should go into the beer cooler. He said Chopper's has a basement. A nice one, I bet. That bar has been there since dirt.

Miles, keep a weather eye out tonight, buddy. I hear there are storm warnings for your area. You should hear the robot on the weather radio say Owatonna. It's a hoot.

I went off to the pulse this morning to save myself the work-out this afternoon. Rachel reminded me that she would see Betty and me this afternoon at 3:15 for our training. Uff da. I had forgotten. So I got a double work-out today and I'm beat. I'm taking the day off tomorrow to rest my weary muscles.

That's it for today. I'm going to bed to read.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

hangover review

Very funny movie. We slapped our knees and guffawed until our faces hurt. Here's Reger Ebert's review. Not the kind of movie to take small children or your mother to see, but a good movie if you want to laugh at really ridiculous and dirty stuff.

melting is way too passive

I don't really like to talk numbers but I have lost a lot of weight in the last year. Let's just say a lot. I have a few friends who proclaim that I am melting when they see me about once a week. Today when I was at the pulse, doing my 30-minute treadmill workout #2 with inclines and intervals, I thought melting is way too passive for what I've been doing. Most days don't feel like an entire campaign but some days do feel like a battle. I would say that in general, all the things I've done since last August, including the head parts, are the hardest work I have done in my life.

We took Peter to Patrick's for a hamburger tonight. Before he got there, a young man with a baseball cap walked in with a girl. I swear Regis gasped...he thought Peter was bringing a girl to meet us. Peter really laughed when he heard that. I keep telling him we don't want to read in the Free Press that he bought a marriage license.

Regis made Bruce's recipe for Apple Pie yesterday. This is a recipe made with ever clear, not your grandma's apple pie. We took a bottle to Tom and he proclaimed it a success. I didn't try any...not sure what would kill me faster, the juice or the liquor. Best not to experiment.

I went out to fill the bird feeder and when I approached the bag of sunflower seeds in the garage, I spotted a dead mouse. I backed away and came back into the house. How could a mouse expire within 8 inches of a huge sack of sunflower seeds. Peter came out to fill the feeder and move the mouse. I asked him if he could tell what had killed the mouse but he didn't know. No autopsies were performed.

We're going to see the movie The Hangover. Don't ask me why.

Monday, June 15, 2009

oh, say it isn't so

I just read the newsletter from one of my favorite blogs, This Goat's Life. The main goat, Baby Belle, was diagnosed with cancer. She's been doing pretty well since January but you can guess the outcome. They think it will be impossible to continue the blog when Baby Belle dies. I'm heartbroken.

I sat on the patio in a lawn chair most of yesterday afternoon. It was warm enough to make a guy seek shade but cool enough to not drive you inside. I even took a short nap which is difficult to do sitting up. I finished So Brave, Young, and Handsome by Leif Enger. It's now on my list of all-time favorite books. Ella came over after her nap and helped Regis cook chicken breasts and ground brisket sandwiches on the grill. We walked across the street to pick strawberries and see the fish pond, and then we read books in the lawn chair. What a day.

Today is quite another story. It's back to cool and damp and overcast.

If you ever look at the comments from the other posts, you might have noticed the exchange between Deb and my mom. I realized they were talking to each other but not until I had dug through a garbage bag to find the padded envelope in which my bracelet arrived.

Betty and I did our cardio and strength workout today. This is the start of our 3rd week which is much longer than most people would have guessed we would persevere. I walked most of my treadmill routine today hands-free! Hurray for me! My balance must be improving which I hope will keep me out of a nursing home someday. Much of it is still very difficult...doing the exercise, counting, and breathing takes a lot of coordination. I asked Rachel if we could hire her kids to count for us as that seems to be a downfall. The other things are sort of critical. You probably have noticed the absence of any news about Zumba. By the time I'm done with this other stuff, that is way beyond my capacity.

Off to dig up another book. Light a candle in your garden for Baby Belle tonight.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

deb's beautiful bracelet

Cousin Deb sent me this beautiful bracelet that she made. The two gold beads are from Italy. I can't wait to wear it. Deb, you're an artist!

bluesfest photos

The bluesfest was great fun. The weather was perfect for sitting in the sun, the smell of charcoal grilling wafted across the grounds, and the music was great. Regis took a lot of pictures, mostly of people we don't know. There are always interesting faces at things like this. We hope the Ambassadors do this again next year. It was a hoot!

Saturday, June 13, 2009


More pictures tomorrow...blogger not cooperating tonight.

Friday, June 12, 2009

oh, yeah...I should have said...

That the jacket is a white Eddie Bauer from my cousin Deb and the gloves are fuchsia Italian leather with cashmere lining. I was quite fashionably dressed for a parking lot behind a bar. Even dressed as I was, it was still cold on the those metal picnic table benches and when your butt is that cold, all the songs start to sound the same, so we didn't stay long. The crowd was mostly people our age and they were all starting to drift away about the time we did, being replaced by a much younger but only slightly hipper set. Ah, youth.

raining again

It was a nice morning while I was at work, but it started raining this afternoon and now it's cold again. We're heading downtown to see Everett Smithson's band. This from their website:

The Everett Smithson Band plays an interesting variety of music as well as standards that have a unique spin on them and many delightful originals. They play Zydeco (swamp rock), Rock and Roll, Country, Blues, Rockabilly, Gospel and funk. The song list is unpredictable with songs from Fats Domino, Johnny Cash, Howlin Wolf, Rosie Ledet, Wanda Jackson and Allison Krause -- music from 1900 to the present time.

I took a short nap this afternoon, in bed...in my pajamas...which is the only way to take a real nap. When I got up I talked Regis into going to Gordman's for a little shopping trip. I felt the need for orange sandals. Of course, we bought a lot of other crap, too. When we were in line a guy behind us said, "Hey, I got distracted and forgot to buy the thing I came in here to get!" He sounded dismayed. I said it happens to everyone.

When we go to the show tonight, I'll be wearing a winter jacket and leather gloves. No sandals.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Regis spent part of the morning observing a drama in the garden. There was a grumpy looking baby robin who did not seem happy out of the nest. He was being harassed by his parents and by a couple of grackles. Regis said he marched into the garden once waving his arms and yelling to disperse the grackles but the robins didn't seem tickled with him either. (See the slideshow at the bottom!)

The other pictures in the slide show are the poppies...the annual blooming. The weather has been perfect for them. They bloomed slowly because it's cool and they're in good shape because it hasn't been windy the last few days. They are absolutely captivating. We sat on the patio so I could watch them this afternoon. I publish pictures of them every year because I badger Regis to take more pictures of them.

Young Regis and Peter were around for a meal so we made burgers on the grills with sauteed peppers, onions, and stuffed portobellos. Delicious.

That's all for today. I'm pooped.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

remainder books

Years ago when I was at a summer writing conference in Iowa City, Jim Heynen said that when he goes in a bookstore and sees his books on the remainder table for some ridiculous price, he has to buy them. He has nightmares about driving around in his old car peddling books from the trunk. I always think of that when I visit the remainder table at the local bookstore. Yesterday I bought So Brave, Young and Handsome by Leif Enger. I've only read a few chapters but I love it. His sentences are like a warm bath. I'll type a few of them here tomorrow night as I'm too soporific to get up off my chair right now.

Regis and I lifted the veil of moroseness by going out into the sunshine this afternoon. There was only about an hour of it, but by God we enjoyed it. Regis had a beer and a cigar and I had a popsicle and we watched the birds and admired our baby robins and our new grass. What a day.

There's a great story in the Trib today about a family from Missouri who sent out a family photo Christmas card last year. They also posted the photo on the family blog. Lo and behold, friends of theirs driving through Prague in the Czech Republic see their family photo on the front of a store, life size, advertising something. Well, hmmmmm. The store owner says he got it off the internet and if the family lived in his country, he would send them a nice bottle of wine as an apology.

So, if any of you are driving through an eastern European country and see a photo from my blog on a storefront, make sure to let the store owner know he owes me a bottle of wine.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

sorry I removed the electric mattress pad

Who knew I would need an electric mattress pad into June? It's about 60 degrees right now, going down to 48 with rain tonight. Good grief, Miles. Get out the Patagonia again. I bought a new white cotton blanket today at Penney's so I hope that will keep me warm tonight. Somebody told me (Joanne?) that people have been wearing winter coats to graduation parties when they have to sit in the garage. It's a midwestern thing.

I remember one year it was cold on the 4th of July. They brought a van full of old people down for the parade and their wheelchairs were lined up along the street. Each of the old folks was wrapped in a white blanket like a cocoon. It looked like a Guindon cartoon, if you remember those.

Regis and I stopped at Mazatlan for lunch today. They have new booths and new chairs and it is so cute! It looks like a real authentic Mexican hacienda (or something). I told Regis I must have a little southern blood because I LOVE those bright colors. The bathroom is a bright periwinkle and the ceilings are orange. The furniture is very colorful. We're going to take a picture next time we go. If you live in the area, this is a MUST FREQUENT restaurant. The food is wonderful, the service is excellent (Jesus waited on us today, for example.), and the prices are great. Highly recommended. The link has the menu but not the new decor. Check it out.

We like go out to eat but it's been a bit of a challenge since my surgery. I have a hard time finding the right thing and I usually end up with about 6 meals out of one entree. Mexican restaurants are the easiest because I can eat refried beans and guacamole and they make their ground beef so fine that it works pretty well.

Hey, this morning I made it 5 minutes on the elliptical without stopping to rest! Way to go!

Our robins seem to have made it through the most dangerous first days out of the nest. At least we haven't found any smashed on the street. The parents still seem to be buzzing around with worms so we suspect the babies have graduated to low-hanging limbs. Life's rough in the bird world.

Cousin Deb is sending me a red bracelet. She makes them and they're so pretty. I have two turquoise ones and I love them.

Tom is home safely from his trip to Idaho. We haven't heard the stories yet but I bet there are some good ones.

I wonder what kind of shoes a guy wears in weather like this. Socks seem a little unfashionable in June but I might have to go with it.

Monday, June 08, 2009

animals galore

Our yard is full of baby birds and animals today. There's been a baby robin (or two or three) perched here and there for the last couple days. We hope they're the babies from our nest. A parent bird is usually nearby, still delivering worms and bugs. There was a baby house finch in the tray feeder with the mama today, and I could hear him squawking from in the house. That must get on her nerves. When she finally left and flew into a tree, he followed and almost landed on top of her. Children are the same in any species, I guess.

The birds have been making good use of the tray feeder full of sunflower seeds and the grape jelly. We put jelly out for the orioles but we never see any of those. The grackles, finches, and robins all eat the jelly like crazy.

I wish Regis could get a picture of the baby robins. They are so darn cute. This isn't ours, but it's what they look like. I love the little pin feathers on his head and the grumpy look.

It's so cold and windy out for those poor little things. They need tiny coats and mittens.

I ordered Regis a present for Father's Day today and had it delivered to the home of a different person. I'm not going to say who because he might be sniffing around there. I also forbid him from using Amazon for the next two weeks so he can't look at where's our stuff. I don't think I've bought him a present in ten years that he hasn't seen before the event for which it was ordered.

I went to the work-out place this afternoon and did the elliptical thing for five minutes without dying but I had to take a couple breaks. Some people actually use that thing and read magazines while they're doing it for heaven's sake. When I walk on the treadmill, I hang on for dear life. She wants me to work on walking hands-free. I said I didn't think that was allowed and really, why would they have a handle on it? I can do it when I walk slower than 3.7 miles per hour but any faster than that and I am afraid I'll shoot off the end like a hocky puck. I don't wave at people or watch television while I'm walking either. I have mastered the iPod. Ta da.

Seriously, this working out thing is full of amazing sights. There was a class going on where people danced back and forth on a step thing while waving their arms. Now that's coordination.

I like to listen to the Dropkick Murphys while I walk. Good thing that the only noise comes out of the tiny headphones.

Sunday, June 07, 2009


I left this picture of mom off the picasa site because I didn't know if she would want her picture in a robe made public but I've had so many inquiries...where's your mom???....that I had to post it. Sorry, Mom.

record low high

We were at Barky's Resort on Ottertail Lake with most of the Saums this weekend. We were prepared for cold weather, even stopped at Fleet Farm and bought two extra sweatshirts, but we were not prepared for the weather we had. Regis said it was a record low high yesterday in Battle Lake. That means, really, a record low. The rain came sideways and was torrential. We weren't on the beach even one time. We had about 2 hours of sunshine Friday when we got there and that was the end of the pleasant weather.

We had a very good time, though. There are pictures here if you want to take the extended look. The babies were a big hit...Tiffany's Elliot and Jeremy's Dakota Star. The three little girls, Evynne, Darby, and Evelyn, had a great time together even though they got a little squirrely. Mom took us all out for breakfast at Betty's Pantry in Ottertail to end the fine weekend.

The pork butts that Regis smoked were a big hit. We served the whole family sandwiches on Friday night. We made a Carolina barbecue finishing sauce that's a vinegar base rather than tomato base. It was perfect.

If you know me at all, you know I am not a fan of long car trips. I was a good sport on both legs of the journey this weekend but about Hutchinson on the way home, I started to get antsy. I had eaten a piece of sugar-free chocolate that did not agree with me. Serves me right.

Our baby robins appear to have left the nest while we were gone. There is one fat one still perched in the nest but the others have flown. Or have been fledged? Is that how you say it? It's a miracle that they grow so fast. We'll miss these babies but there's probably time for another crop.

I was afraid my poppies would bloom while I was gone but they didn't. They were probably afraid it would snow on them.

I have to go and attempt to gather my road trip brains so I can go to work tomorrow. Ugh.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

today in la la land

I went to the fitness center after school where a nice lady tried to murder me with something called an elliptical. That is some torture device. My goal is to make it to five minutes without collapsing. I learned that I have crappy balance. When the nice lady said, now try that standing on one leg, I laughed. When she told me to walk on the tread mill without hanging on, I said I was sure I would fly off the end.

Regis smoked the pork shoulders today and they smell wonderful. He smoked a turkey breast, too, so I have some leaner meat to eat. If we get stranded anywhere along the route tomorrow, we'll eat well.

Reggie was here when I got home and Peter came shortly after. That was the end of my productivity. We sat on the patio until almost dark, watching the baby robins, keeping an eye on the neighborhood, and giving advice to the chef. It was just a beautiful evening.

We're leaving tomorrow about 9 for Ottertail Lake. See you Sunday!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

rode my bike to school

I rode my bike to school today. I had to go to an interview at the high school so I had to ride my bike over there and back. Then home. I figure it's about nine miles total. I have an odometer but I don't know how to read it so I have to guess at the mileage. Wonderful ride but I'm pooped tonight.

I'm sitting in my purple robe, my new exercise shoes, and my new Duluth Trading Post solar weave booney hat. I have the hat buttoned up on the side so I think I look like I'm going on safari. Peter says it's not a look I'm pulling off very well and he hopes none of his friends come to the door.

Regis is gearing up for the pork butt smoking tomorrow. He has to get up early to get it on the grill. He's taking care of the whole works...the dry rub recipe, the mop, and the grill. I just get to come home and smell it while I sit on the patio.

Well, I'm going to bed to read Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese. Check out the reviews.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

the nicest day ever

Today was one of those perfect days. No humidity, a blue sky, perfect temperature. We picked Ella up after school and did a few errands in Mankato. She is so entertaining. Regis got some popcorn at Grizzly's and asked her if she could have some. She has food allergies and she usually knows what she can have and not have. She was chowing on the popcorn and said, "This is fantastic. So much better than the allergy popcorn." Uh oh. Call to mom. No more popcorn. We called her dad on the way home so she could say goodnight. After he hung up, she said, "Bob's nothing but an animal." Where did she get that??? Regis laughed so hard, I thought he was going to have to pull over.

We're watching Ghostbusters on AMC. We both remember it well from when our kids were small and loved it. Guess how many years ago it first came out? 25! How can that be?

We're getting ready for the Saum reunion at Ottertail lake this weekend. I will be out of pocket from Friday to Sunday night. No blog posts and no cell phone. I did see kids sending text messages last year but that takes me so long, I might as well drive into Battle Lake and use the pay phone. I just checked the weather forecast...50's during the day and 40's at night. Better get out the thermals again.

Regis is smoking a couple pork butts (ha ha ha) for pulled pork sandwiches Friday night. Tiffany is bringing hot dogs to cook on the fire Saturday night. Mom is bringing stuff for smores. That's the extent of what I know has been planned. I couldn't get Peter to sign on...he said people would ask him questions. I said it was a good thing he was avoiding that since he works for the secret service and wouldn't want to reveal things like where he works and when he will be done with school. When he was in high school, he thought asking what he had for lunch was a personal question.

Tom is on a road trip to Idaho with his brother. They plan to camp and fish along the way. It sounds like something from a novel and I can see why Betty decided to stay home and enjoy the pleasures of AC and a warm bed.

I talked to Jane today and our trip to Iowa in July is a go. She said that's the weekend of Heritage Days in Mt. Vernon. They'll be selling beer on the street corners, don't you know. I won't be partaking but I'll enjoy the ambience.

When I lived in Iowa, the next tiny town over built a new fire station. The first time they had a fire, all the firemen showed up but nobody had the key to the fire station. How good is that? Unless you were the one waiting for them, I guess.

I loved living in Iowa and have some great stories about my tour of duty there.

Monday, June 01, 2009

well, i'm still alive so they didn't kill me yet

Excuse me, I have to brag. I went to the fitness center this morning, walked on a treadmill for 20 minutes, then participated in a strength training class. I was not the most fit person there and I had to stop a few times before we got to pumping iron for 20 reps but I made it the whole half hour. Ta da! Then tonight, Regis and I rode our bikes down to Bob's and he stayed there while I went to a Zumba class. Now, if I had looked this up in the internet before I went, I never would have gone but I'm trying hard to free myself of the old mental constraints of I can't do this or that.

This was described to me as a "Mexican dance class". You can imagine the image I had. What it is is (I did that on purpose) Latin hip hop aerobic exercise. This was an hour class taught by a willowy but muscular blonde who moved like she was made of rubber. I tried to find a youtube video that was more like my class (not wanting to offend the other people there, I will leave you to your own imagination) but I guess they don't publish those. This will give you an idea.

I have to say that even though I had to stop after 20 minutes, it was really fun and I'll go back. What a hoot! What a hoot! What a damn hoot!

here i go

I'm up early and ready to go to the fitness center. I've never belonged to a fitness anything in my life. I feel like I'm joining a coven of witches or an alien separatist group. I'm nervous. Will they be able to tell I've led a sedentary life, so far?