Friday, July 31, 2009

reality

Someone wrote a comment a couple posts ago about that finally being a realistic entry. I've pondered that comment for days. Really. It's kept me from writing. Out of almost 900 posts, this one is finally realistic? Here's my conclusion and I say this only with a sigh. I don't have any obligation to be realistic or really, even honest. It's my perceptions and my writing all filtered through my rosy little glasses and oddball sense of quirk and humor. Read at your own risk but don't write your middle school science paper based on things you read here because I may not be accurate and don't base your life's philosophy on my observations because reality is for novels and television shows and I don't have a very good sense of it. I prefer unreality.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

surprise guests for dinner!

We had guests for dinner! Emily, Ella, and Alex joined us on the patio for brats and marshmallows. We had a few healthy things, too, but mostly we had fun. I painted Ella's nails bright red, we read a Clifford book, and Popop showed her how to toast giant pink marshmallows.


Monday, July 27, 2009

don't feel like writing

When I was a writing teacher, I always had my students write in a notebook at the start of class. Some days they didn't feel like it and said they didn't have anything to say. I always told them that it was most important to write on the days when they felt like that because that's when they might start to explore the thoughts that were on the dusty shelves. I don't feel like I have much to say tonight but I'm going to take my own advice.

I slept in this morning because I was awake a lot in the night. I sat around in my pajamas for most of the morning and took a long soaky bath while I made some phone calls. One to my cousin who is in danger of losing her job. Ah, life is hard sometimes and sometimes the hard parts make good opportunities. I hope this is an opportunity for you, Deb.

I talked to Tiffany several times today. She's trying to wrap up things for school in the fall. Things like financial aid and registration. They're hoops and you have to be persistent and just get through them. She's done a great job and is being thoughtful about her choices. I'm proud of her.

I didn't feel very good until mid-afternoon when I went to get a haircut. I stopped at one store to hunt up a good deal on a purse and found this great Sak bag:
Then I wandered down to the huge Barnes and Noble to buy a few books: The Women by T.C. Boyle and:
I don't know what made me buy American Lion, maybe the 40% off coupon I got in the mail. I'm not a big fan of non-fiction but we'll see. I was also in a vulnerable state due to my wakefulness and feeling poorly.

I just finished:
I liked this book but I didn't love it. I didn't love it like I loved So Brave, Young, and Handsome but I can't say why. Maybe that's what people talk about at book clubs to which I have never been a member. The writing was lovely which will almost always save a book for me and I liked the characters and the plot. It was absent some emotion, I think.

So, the day has felt flat. I don't know why. And I don't think I unearthed anything very interesting in my writing experiment.

Friday, July 24, 2009

regis and teresa go to the big city


We bought tickets to see Lyle Lovett a few months ago and decided since the show was downtown Minneapolis, we would spend the night rather than try to find our small town way out of the big city in the dark of night. I made a reservation at what turned out to be very swanky Hotel Minneapolis. We're such rubes. Here is the evidence:
  • We had to pay 27 dollars for valet parking. 27 dollars? Gulp.
  • We went into the elevator and pushed the floor for our room. Nothing happened. We pushed it again. Nothing happened. Then Regis remembered something from a Stephen King novel he just read...that you have to put your key card into the slot to make the elevator go. Ah ha. Thank God we didn't go to the desk and tell them the elevator was broken.
  • We unpacked and left right away to see the sights. We got as far as Kieran's Irish Pub across the street where we enjoyed the company of the bartender named Morgan. He and a couple other patrons gave us some advice about getting to the theater and such.
  • We walked down the Nicollet Mall where there was a farmer's market happening. Something we know about! Vegetables!
  • We were taken to a booth in the Rockbottom Brewery and there at the next table was Billy Steiner of City Mouse. We chatted with him for a minute and met his wife, Patty. Small world even in the big city.
  • Tiffany and Eric met us for dinner so I got to hold Elliot who was a good boy during dinner. It was nice to see them.
  • Regis and I sat on a bench along Hennepin Avenue after dinner and watched the goings on of which there were many but we went in to the State Theater promptly at 7:30 for the 8:00 show. Our promptness was not rewarded: Many people were seated after 8:00 and people continued to come and go during the first hour. Too many beers with dinner or is this just bad manners?
  • We walked home down Hennepin Avenue. I was nervous but we made it safely back to Kieran's where the wait person recognized us!
  • We slept on a ritzy and very comfortable bed with a cotton duvet instead of a polyester bed spread. Nice.
  • You could have a square dance in the shower stall.
  • We were too cheap to pay for breakfast in the swanky hotel so we stopped at what we thought was Mystic Lake but turned out to be a much smaller minor casino. That's like a small city up there! We had a nice breakfast and went in to play some slot machines. Very unlike me to want to do that. Regis played a poker machine and I sat down at a slot machine and promptly won 90 bucks. We decided to hold on to our winnings and get the hell out of there.
  • We're home again and Kramer is happy. We've had a busy couple weeks with lots of travel.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

side effects of summer

One of the side effects of summer, especially July, and not looking at the calendar and the clock constantly, is that my brain sort of slows down. I can't remember if I have only composed mentally on a topic, or actually written about it. I've considered starting another anonymous blog so I don't bore people with the same crap over and over.

I weighed myself this morning, something I was loathe to do before the incident. This morning, I was officially not in the obese category anymore but merely in the overweight category. My goal has been to reach, at some point, the normal BMI category but both doctors were discouraging of that notion. They said that BMI is figured on bone to muscle to fat ratios and once a person has been overweight, the numbers are off. They doubted that I could reach the normal BMI without looking like a survivor of some disaster. I guess I'll take them at their word and won't worry about that.

I remember the first time I saw obese on a medical chart. Nobody explained that it was a medical data thing and not a value judgement. Whoa. Harsh, I thought. So many head things to work out here in this process of losing weight.

I went back to bed this morning because it's one of the few days this summer I don't have to rush off somewhere. My neighbor is having his house roofed so all my dreams had barking dogs and nail pounding in them. Not very restful sleep and probably a sign.

Regis is smoking a beef roast on the grill today. He worried about disturbing the roofers with the smell and the smoke but decided hell, they're pounding at 7 a.m. so wtf.

On our way to Marshall, we stopped at a Super America to use the facilities. They had a picture on the wall of the restroom of a lovely pastoral scene and it was entitled Friendship. The frame was bolted to the wall with big ass screws. There's some irony for you.

More later, no doubt.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

visiting mom

There is some family resemblance, I'd say. Regis and I went to see Mom in Canby yesterday. We had a nice visit and did a lot of stuff in the time we were there. We went to Buffalo Ridge in Gary, South Dakota...a convention center and resort being developed at the site of the old School for the Blind. It's beautiful. We had visits from old friends and some ladies of the book club. Very nice time.

Deb, I gleaned some clothes from the distribution center and have on one of your sweaters! It's been so cool here that sweaters feel good. I bet that sounds repulsive to you when it's been 114 in Arizona.

It rained here before we got home today and two times since we got home. We barely made it in the house before a torrential downpour. We needed rain.

I have a book that I am so close to finishing, but I saved the ending for tonight. Can't wait.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

displeasure with the weather or Regis enjoys a july afternoon on the patio

Regis is demonstrating his displeasure with the coolish temperatures in Minnesota lately. He claims that the only reason we live here in the winter, contrary to popular thinking which is that we are waiting for the beautiful spring and summer, is that we stay during the extensive winters to protect our state from migrating bands of Canadians who would be glad to leave their cold climes for something more temperate. Summer is our reward for protecting the borders in the winter and this year, we're facing a Canadian offensive. I know...it's obscure.

It wasn't cold enough for a parka but it was cold. I tried working in the garden but my hands got cold so I would pop into the house periodically to warm up. It warmed up enough so we could cook a beer can chicken on the grill but we scooted back in the house shortly after it was done.

We're having company for dinner tomorrow night (you know who you are) and I am concerned abuot my lack of concern over house cleaning. I am a notorious bad housekeeper and I have written about it here many times. I'm not as bad as some people (garbage houses) and I once read a book about a couple who had gaping holes in their walls and animals went freely in and out. I'm not that bad. I avoid anti-bacterial cleaners, I don't have a need for an immaculate kitchen floor and I don't mind a few piles of stuff around. I've decided when I invite people over, they probably won't mind if the house isn't spotless if we have a little wine and the food is good.

Cooler weather and more time in the house= more time to post on the blog and more time to reflect on house cleaning.

I Was Always Leaving by Jean Nordhaus: American Life in Poetry

I Was Always Leaving by Jean Nordhaus: American Life in Poetry

I Was Always Leaving

I was always leaving, I was
about to get up and go, I was
on my way, not sure where.
Somewhere else. Not here.
Nothing here was good enough.

It would be better there, where I
was going. Not sure how or why.
The dome I cowered under
would be raised, and I would be released
into my true life. I would meet there

the ones I was destined to meet.
They would make an opening for me
among the flutes and boulders,
and I would be taken up. That this
might be a form of death

did not occur to me. I only know
that something held me back,
a doubt, a debt, a face I could not
leave behind. When the door
fell open, I did not go through.


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and this is the last one...

Regis on the patio at Morgan Creek. He thinks a sweatshirt on July 17th is an abomination but honestly, the warm clothes felt good.

It was such a friendly crowd at Morgan Creek. This picture was taken by a woman at the next table. I took several pictures of other tables as I walked through the garden area.

These are the women at the next table. They were very friendly. The woman in the white hat shares a birthday with Tom which tickled us immensely.


This picture was taken by one of the women in the photo above, Terri, I think. She thought it would be clever to tilt the camera and I do like it.

Our final stop of the evening was at the Preri Bach Saloon in Cambria. Preri Bach is a phrase used by the Welsh people when they settled here years ago and it refers to the beautiful prairie. It is indeed. The saloon was a fitting end to our evening of revelry. The bartender and wait person were very friendly and brought the men tap beers and big burgers. A group of people came in while we were waiting and like people in tiny towns, they wanted to talk. The driver had a baby blue cadillac convertible that she wanted us to see and we shared information like birthdays and hometowns. They waved and shouted and wished us safe travels as we left for home.


Here's the famous Cambria burger. Reports are that it was delicious.

I delivered Tom safely at his door about 10:00 and Regis and I arrived home shortly after. We agreed it was a night we'll remember.

this is the second post...

Tom and I enjoy a bottle of St. John Reserve, a nice dry red wine. I was very conservative with the wine consumption since I was the designated driver.

This was one of our favorite wines. Our other favorites were the Gewurztraminer and a red called Red Ridge.
This is the bruschetta with fresh salsa and basil pesto. We didn't get a picture of the Greek pizza but it was wonderful. The cook in a wood-fired brick oven on one side of the patio. The smell of wood fires wafts across the patio. In the dusk of a cool summer night, it was just lovely.

Ben Marti played the music of German composers Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms. The music added to the magic.

german winefest at morgan creek vineyard

Regis, Tom, and I went to the German Wine Tasting Festival at Morgan Creek last night. It was such a lovely, magical night that I'm going to post all the photos with my comments. This is the front door of the tasting room. It opens onto a patio and the garden area. We ordered a bottle of the new Gewurztraminer and a Greek pizza. Oh, my. Both were like heaven.

The garden is beautiful. I walked up the steps and took this picture of the patio and fire ring from the top of the hill.

Here I am on the patio with a glass of the new wine. It got to be a full crowd but not horrible. We were worried about the chilly weather but being in the valley, we were protected from the wind.



Another view of the garden and patio area. The fire was popular last night!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

cold in july

It is unseasonably and unnaturally cold here in southern Minnesota today. We had a brisk wind all day and it was cold enough to wear a sweatshirt although I did see people in sleeveless things. I had a sweater and a jean jacket on when we went out and about. Tomorrow is supposed to be colder yet and we have plans to go to Morgan Creek for the release of their signature German white wine, Gewurztraminer. It's an outdoor event, though, so we'll have to bundle up.

I suggested to Regis that we turn on the furnace but he gave me a look of scorn. It's July, he said. At least we could close the windows, I said. I stopped at the garden center on my way back from the doctor's office today and I swear Fred was as grouchy about the weather as Regis is. He went on a rant about how hot it's supposed to be but isn't. I figure any day without the AC is a good one.

I worked out with Rachel today and I think I'm getting stronger. It doesn't kill me to do 45 minutes with her anymore and I can still do the treadmill when I'm done without curling up in a fetal position. When I started, she had me standing on this half-ball thing below for 60 seconds. I was miserable at it and wobbled like I had been drinking. When I got better, she pushed me to do squats on it. Man. It's not so bad if nobody's looking but it's harder than it appears it should be. This is the balance thing that will keep me from falling down and hitting my head on the toilet when I get old.


i'm an author in the dreams of Regis

Regis dreamed last night that I wrote a book called In Defense of Inarticulate Home Bodies. The premise of the book was that too many people don't venture out of their own spheres to find information and therefore, are inarticulate home bodies. It was a series of little vignettes. Or vinaigrettes, if you prefer. This is my second dream book, the first being The Party What Started Out as Jumping Around. Quite a body of work I am amassing.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

writing

I've been writing some pretty short and fairly lame blog posts lately. I know it. I'm going to blame it on anesthesia as I hear that can mess up your brain cells. Laughing. I'm not really blaming it on a loss of brain cells; more like a lack of persistence. In the winter, I hunker down in my flannels with the laptop and spend the evening writing and watching mindless television or movies. In the summer, we're outside and I just don't spend enough time doing it. The less I do, the less inclined I am to do it. The less I think about what I'm going to write and the less I see things that might be interesting topics. It's a vicious cycle that may not improve until winter, flannels, and wine return.

There are so many very brief ways to communicate now. Twitter, which I don't like, and facebook, which I am getting to like, both require few words. I've noticed that lots of people on facebook don't write anything at all...they just click that they like something you wrote. Hey, the lazy man's way! Could we at least write a comment? Text messaging, which I suck at, takes so long that by the time a guy gets int he capital letters and paragraphs, the time is gone for what he had to say. I guess it's all an improvement over the pony express, but not much. Faster but not nearly as interesting.

For anybody who is interested in my eating habits (lots of people ask me what I can eat now, as if I can't eat anything): I had halibut and tuna on the grill for dinner with a few springs of asparagus and three strawberries. I had cottage cheese for lunch and a bowl of blueberries and All Bran for breakfast. There you have it. Very satisfying. I might have a small glass of white wine for dessert.

Regis and I ventured downtown this afternoon to do a few errands. For those of you who are not from here, our main street is all torn up as it's in the midst of beautification thanks to the Reinvestment Act. We stopped in the Swedish Kontur where the fragile glass was teetering on its little shelves. It looks like a bomb went off in front of the stores...half the sidewalks are gone, all the trees are gone, and the street is full of heavy equipment. Reminds a guy of the tornado after-math. We're pretty loyal in-town shoppers, though, so I'm sure we'll brave it again.

I have gotten into the morning exercise habit. Today I realized that even though I did my 45 minutes of cardio and 30 minutes of weights, by this afternoon I didn't remember doing it. That's what I liked about swimming...it sort of faded into my memory. Nice.

It's beautiful outside tonight but cool. I had to put a jacket on. I wrote somewhere that we were outside last night and we saw fireflies. I was enchanted with them in Iowa but we're rarely outside after dark when we're home and I had never seen them in the garden. Magical!

Dick had such a pretty garden that I was inspired to plan a new project for my garden. I want to put a small patio in the center where the joe pye weed is and have a table and two chairs there. I found a table and chair set that I like. It has substantial chairs and a stone tile top. I lose plants all the time in the center of the garden because it's a production to get out there when the plants get big.

Regis asked me tonight if I wanted to go to Philadelphia this fall. Then he told me about a plane in which a football-sized hole appeared in flight. Uh huh. Bad timing on that story.

Out to find my dessert.

Monday, July 13, 2009

bottle lanterns and fireflies

The other day when we were snooping around TJ Maxx in Rochester, Regis found these cool bottle lanterns. Tonight we made a deliberate trip outside to see how they looked after dark since we're hardly ever out after dark by accident. The lanterns were lovely and we saw fireflies! We saw lots of them in Iowa and we were enchanted by their tiny lights flitting around Dick's garden. Apparently we have them here, too!

Jill's helping me track down a picture book about fireflies and northern lights. I gave it to her grandbaby, Hannah, a few years ago but can't remember the title now that I want it again.

Speaking of a crappy memory....when I was sitting outside, I had three things I was writing in my head but now I've forgotten the other two.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

headed to iowa tomorrow

This is the Sutliff Store as seen from the Sutliff Bridge which washed away in the flood last year. We're headed to Iowa on a road trip with Tom and Betty, destination Sutliff Store tomorrow in time for happy hour. Stories and pictures will be posted.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

having a chat with the brothers mayo



We had to be at Mayo at 6:40 this morning. We walked out the doors at the end of the day at 5:15. Regis might be complaining about it but I'm not: I got great care there and everyone is so nice. It's the price you pay. I've always admired the statues of the brothers Mayo so had Regis bring the camera and take a picture of me with them this afternoon. This was during the only five minutes of sunshine we had all day. It was like being in a giant cloud...misty, cold rain. We made a few stops...Cabella's, TJ Maxx, Barnes and Noble...all the old favorites.

My doctor (who is quite a character) was pleased with my progress and said I'm doing exactly what I should be doing and that's why I haven't had ill effects. Yay. I forgot to tell him that I have lost the equivalent of a two month old horse. He'd like that. I go back in October for more extensive blood work and to see him again. I might have to leave my driver at home for that trip as he got a tiny bit owly with the long waits.

So, there's the update and the photos to prove it.

on the road

Regis and I are on the road to Mayo today for my 3-month check-up. My first appointment is at 6:40 for blood work then nothing until 2:00. I should have called Sherry to see if we could nap on their couches! We're anxious to take the new ride out and see how it goes. More later.

Monday, July 06, 2009

new car!

Regis and I spent most of today doing the deal on this car. It's a Honda Accord and is quite a change from my rattly old Beetle with the lights flashing and the oil alerts sounding. I feel like a queen in this ride even though there's no moon roof and no ass heater. It was a less stressful day than some car purchasing days in the past because the salesman was quite a character. If you're in the market for a car, let us know and we'll pass on his name.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

birthday event

We had gorgeous weather, the food was delicious, and everyone seemed to have a good time. I was too tired to serve dessert to most people but those who hung around until I had time to recharge got some. Good for them, too bad for the rest. Never leave a party early is the lesson.

We have a busy week. Car shopping tomorrow. Work Tuesday. Mayo Wednesday. Joanne to out-patient surgery on Thursday. Iowa Friday. We'll need a vacation from our vacation.

Here's a slideshow from the party. Regis is opening a present from Betty and Tom in one picture: a lunchbox for his return to school containing a Batman thermos, a PBJ sandwich wrapped in wax paper, an apple, pencils, and a box of Swisher Sweets among many other things. What a hoot.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

more saturday

I'm sure because I write here so often it seems as if I have nothing to do. Ummm, that's not true. It's a nice distraction from more productive endeavors like doing dishes and cleaning.

I was thinking about the menu for tomorrow. Here it is:

Appetizers~
Chili cheese dip
Shrimp

Smoked pork butt sandwiches
Cowboy beans
Cole slaw
Chips
Melon and berries

Peanut buster parfait dessert
Puppy chow


The meat was cooked yesterday so only has to be heated tomorrow. I'm making the beans, the fruit tray, and the dessert. Easy. We're hoping for nice weather. Happy birthday to Regis.

We came inside to a less stimulating environment to watch the Boston Pops and their fireworks which you can do with fewer exploding noises. Much to our chagrin, they are playing country music. Country music. I like most kinds of music except that whiny country crap and of course, rap. Regis says this is what happens when they move the Boston Pops from PBS to ABC. Sure enough, we went back to PBS and there was the 1812 Overture.

On to the next celebration.

highlights of the parade

It's been a peculiar 4th of July. We took jackets and a huge umbrella to the parade and needed all of it. The people who sold cold drinks and freezies didn't do so well but there was a great crowd in spite of the rain.

We saw the usual DFL politicians: Kathy Sheran, Terry Morrow, Tim Walz and lots of people holding signs and passing out stickers. No Al Franken or his kid this year but they're probably busy moving to new digs. The Republicans came a few units later and they had one miserable looking guy in a pickup pulling a float. That's it. What's up with that? The Sarah Palin news probably has them all in a dither.

There was a non-English speaking family in front of us by the end of the parade. The little kids were darling and sure got in the spirit of the candy tossing!

We stopped at Bob's for a while after I had a nap to warm up and re-charge. Nice to visit with people there.

Regis and I came home to sit on the patio. We had to pull our chairs under the tree to keep dry as it keeps sprinkling. (And the neighbor kid is playing loud rap music on some outdoor speakers.) We're getting like my dad: we sit outside every minute we can in any kind of weather. We like to watch people go by and we like to watch the birds.

We're going to cook a steak and a piece of halibut on the grill for dinner. And we're going to attempt to stay awake for the fireworks.

Enjoy the slideshow! Be sure to read the captions.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Happy 4th of July!


Safe and happy 4th of July! We're heading to the parade early and will stop at the park on our way home. I'll post parade and party pictures sometime tomorrow.

Friday evening update

Busy day.

Pork butts on the grill all day. I had to be responsible for the charcoal while Regis went car shopping with Reg and Amber. They bought a pretty silver Honda Accord. I think we're going to make a deal on an Accord Monday. This will be my car to drive but I'm not too interested in most of the details. I don't care about cruise control but I wanted a seat heater. It has the former but not the latter.

Kathy came and helped me clean today. I'm a pretty worthless cleaner because I get distracted. She bossed me around (in a good way) and scrubbed my kitchen floor on her hands and knees. I paid her extra for that, believe me.

We went to Patrick's for dinner. Nice time...bad bench. Made my legs numb.

We sat outside this evening even though it rained ever so lightly from time to time. A few fireworks in the neighborhood that made the dog very nervous. I don't get the attraction to fireworks myself. I like them on television when you don't hear the sound of exploding.

Happy almost 4th of July. Be careful.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

short list of cars

The Honda Fit is off the short list of cars. I think it's too small and the cup holder thing is so weird. One drove past our house last night and it was a really ugly color.

I just found something interesting on the internet. I've lost between the weight of a newborn calf and a two-month old horse. Man. That's funny. And scary.

We invited Bob and Emily for dinner tonight so Regis is cooking ribs and sweet corn. A true summer meal. I hope it's warm enough to be outside.

Regis helped Tom build an arbor on the back side of his garage. They finished yesterday and last night Regis had a dream that is so funny and weird that I won't even write about it here. You'll have to ask sometime when you see us.