Monday, August 31, 2009

corpuscle theory of a non-scientist

If you're in junior high, don't use this in a research paper. I am not a scientist. I make no claims about the validity or accuracy of this information.

A person has so many corpuscles. If a person focuses their corpuscles on brain activity they get smarter and remember things and speak articulately. If instead, a person focuses their corpuscles on physical activity, their brain stagnates and they become forgetful and woozy in the head. Since I started exercising on a regular basis, I have been the latter. Woozy in the head. Acupuncture has not helped my chi to flow to my brain. I like basking in the afternoon sun with a glass of wine instead of making lists and doing stuff.

I really loathe football on tv. How does this qualify as entertainment?

I almost told someone today to have a nice weekend but stopped just in the nick of time. How could I think it was the weekend when it's only Monday?

That's enough of my weird and cranky thinking for one day.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

hummingbird by regis

Regis took this very lovely picture of our hummingbird in the canna lilies this afternoon.

lazy man's way of posting pictures

We had breakfast at Seven Mile Creek with Betty and Tom this morning. Nothing like the smell of a campfire and bacon on a fall morning!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

question about twitter

To answer Jill's question about twitter. I'm no authority because I don't tweet although I did for a short time. I think twitter is one step down the social ladder from blogs and facebook. Shorter and more public. I think. It can go out over phones. Who would want to read anything that way? Here' an interesting article in Slate about what the author calls orphaned tweets, people who sign up for twitter, post once, and then are never heard from again. It's all very interesting.

Let's see. The ladder would go (top to bottom) epic novels, romance novels, literary journals, newspapers, tabloids, blogs, facebook, twitter. I have probably left out a few.

more pictures

afternoon at nana and popop's house

Friday, August 28, 2009

and don't put the details in the headline

As I was drifting off into my nap this afternoon, I was writing a blog post in my head. Unfortunately, it drifted away as I was sleeping and I could only remember what came after and. It might come back but then again, it might not.

We've had a wildlife haven here at the Ponderosa today. Regis took this picture of a hummingbird in the cannolis but he wasn't prepared with his long lens so he'll be ready tomorrow. I think it's a good shot of a hummingbird. Not like the little bastards sit down and pose for you.

In the other shots, there were rabbits, squirrels,and a plethora of finches. When I came home from the grocery store, there was, no shit, a red-tailed hawk sitting on the back gate. I almost died. Last winter, if you recall, we had a sharp-shinned hawk eating a mouse on the back fence. I'm almost scared to let the dog out.

Here's my main thought for the day. I've been neglectful of my blog this summer, mostly because I have been fascinated with the medium called Facebook. It's so fast and short that I can write a quick thought and move on. Most people must be lurkers, though, because I have to hold back, thinking my posts will be overwhelmiing to people who aren't that interested in my every move. Ha! The last few days, I've been thinking about what I write on The Blog and what I write on Facebook and why Facebook is fun, but gives me the creeps sometimes.

I don't watch the news on television because it's too hard to filter. They have all that murder and mayhem and if you're in listening disance, you get it. At least with a newspaper, you have a chance to filter out what you don't want to know about.

I think that's the difference between blogs and facebook. With a blog, there is more time to wade in and decide if this is something you want to read or know about...and you can stop if it isn't. I try to be a little circumspect (are there degrees of that?) when I'm writing on my blog. I wrote about my surgery in pretty good detail but I figure most folks knew it was coming and they could choose to skip those if they didn't want to know. If I had written those things on Facebook, they would have been right there, in the headlines, and readers would have gotten it before they had a chance to decide.

Facebook is like the headlines. If you write something there, it's too immediate and nobody gets to decide if they don't want to know about intimate details of your personal life. I've blocked a few people who keep doing that because it seems like the wrong venue for those kinds of things. It's too intimate and too painful to read in a place that's so public and it's the kind of information (revelations) that could be hurtful. Maybe I'm thinking like the 60s and anything is fair game for most people. It's just my opinion but I guess I get to make the rules for what I read.

Facebook can be like those reality shows that start out to be interesting but then become like voyeurism.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

saturday as it should be

We had a great Saturday. Got some things done around the Ponderosa in the morning and had the afternoon to relax in the sun. Amber's mom and dad, Mike and Peggy, rode their Harley down from Grand Rapids and came to our house for dinner. They're always fun. We had Regis' tremendous ribs on the grill, sweet corn, beer bread, and cheesecake for dessert. It was such a nice evening that we sat on the patio until after 9:00.

Regis and Amber on the patio.

This is one of our canna leaves. They're huge and tropical looking and are starting to bloom now. The hummingbirds love them. I guess I don't know if that's plural hummingbirds since we only see one at a time. The plants give our yard a great jungle feel.

Regis is on laundry detail already this morning. What a guy.

We bought a solar address sign the other day. Ever since the incident where Regis had to be transported to the ER by ambulance in the dark of a winter night, I've worried about people being able to find our house. The first responder sort of chided me for having a wreath hung over the light. He said it was hard to see the house numbers and they don't like to waste time. Especially now in the summer with all the foliage, it's hard to see the house much less the numbers. This sits in front of the birch tree and lights up like the A&W at night. That should do it.

I'm working on my menu for the week. I can see the grilling coming to an end already. Regis will have a night class on Wednesday so that will have to be an easy, quick meal. Ugh. It's been so cool that it makes you think about soup and meatloaf and baked potatoes. We're making stuffed portobellas on the grill tonight with maybe a few shrimp and scallops. I have some mahi mahi (whatever that is) in the freezer, too. That would be an adventure. I've had shark a couple times this summer and liked it but they don't call it shark...and I can't remember the other name.

I finally finished that damn book. I skimmed the last few chapters. Ugh again. I should have quit in the middle of it. No recommendation on that one.

I'm going to sit in my flannel nightgown until about 11 this morning, when I will get dressed and go to Patrick's for breakfast. Then I'm going to come home and take a nap in the reclining lawn chair on the patio. That's Sunday as it should be.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

nerve thing

I'm going to see a chiropractor tomorrow who does accupuncture. I have a funny pain in my upper left leg that feels like a nerve zinger. That's my diagnosis anyway. It hurts like hell when it hits. I don't want to fall down so we'll see what the doc has to say. It's probably all that exercise.

We went to Mankato last night with some crazy friends. We went to Pub 500...the on to Choppers, South Street, and Blue Bricks. Quite the evening. There is a different crowd coming out after dark in that town, let me tell you. One guy coming in the door of Choppers as we were going out, commented that we smell like we take showers. Hmmm.

We're on grill withdrawal today. Yesterday it poured rain all day and today it's been breezy, cold, and rainy so no grilling. We have a turkey breast brining and a hunk of beef waiting for a dry rub so looks like we're on for tomorrow. Big black clouds overhead again so maybe not...

We're watching I Love You, Man. Some good lines but a goofy plot.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

middle of the week

I was sitting in the coffee shop this morning staring at my calendar, working on lists, and holding my head in my hands. A friend of mine walked by and asked what I was doing. Getting my marbles into the right slots so I can go to work, I said. I'm not sure I accomplished it. When a summer is as nice as this one was, it's hard to go back to rushing and list making and action plans.

Ella came for dinner. Regis picked her up and when she got in the car, she let out a big sigh and said, "Finally I get to see Nana!" We just went to the fair together Friday but it must be one of life's great pleasures to have someone miss you like that. We made burgers on the grill, she played with the cream pitchers, and we ate popsicles and toasted pink marshmallows on the patio.

I'm reading a book called The Women that was highly recommended as in "I can't put it down". I can put it down, believe me. I've been trudging through that damn book for two weeks and I'm only halfway done. I think I have to quit. While it's interesting that Frank Lloyd Wright hooked up with a few crazy women, I don't want to read 400 pages of little vinaigrettes about it. (I know...) On to something else. Like bad wine, bad books are just not worth consuming.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sunday morning and making a plan for the week

Suddenly, making plans for the week is more difficult. Hard as we tried, we didn't win a lottery so I have to go to work. It doesn't leave as much time for play. Harrumph.

I worked in the house yesterday. We're clutter kind of folks so once in a while, you need to rearrange and find the piles and get rid of some crap.

I sold the piano and the very nice people who bought it came to pick it up in the morning. They have three children who want to learn to play, and as much as I loved that piano, nobody here ever played it. I have two songs in repertoire and it didn't make sense for it to live here and never be played, and we needed the space. But when I saw them getting ready to load it in the pickup, I was overcome with sadness. I went into the office to weep because I know crying makes men nervous. I'm better today.

I found another piano book after they left so I think I'll put it in the mail with a note about being glad our piano found a good home.

We went to Dino's for dinner last night for a tomato duet pizza and a Greek salad. That is the nicest place, truly. We love the atmosphere and the serving people are very friendly and the food is always beyond delicious. We're never disappointed.

A rumbling thunder storm woke us up this morning. I swilled a lot of coffee, then made cottage cheese pancakes. They have more protein and no white flour so they're a better option for me than the other kind. Regis is very accommodating and said he liked them.

Peter has to work today, I'm going to clean some more, and Regis is going to cook chicken thighs on the grill for dinner. That's our Sunday.

Friday, August 14, 2009

what we did at the fair

Regis at the end of the evening.

Amber at the beginning of the evening.

Teresa at the end of the evening. (I can't be responsible for the order of pictures.)

Regis, Bob, Ella, and Amber on the lawn tractor.

Amber and Ella in the bobcat...Regis getting in on the photo.

Regis and Teresa winning at bingo.

Bob and Ella on the merry-go-round.

Ella has a hand-squeezed lemonade.

Ella paints a picture.

Bob and Ella, Amber and Reg, and Regis and I went to the Nicollet County Fair. We had a grand time and these are some of the things we did:
  • We won five dollars playing bingo.
  • We ate at various junk food stands. I had a gyro that was only marginally good. Regis had a Chicago style hot dog.
  • We went through the animal barns and saw alpacas, a calf, sheep, and baby pigs.
  • Bob and Ella went on the merry-go-round.
  • We talked to Kathy Sheran about her next campaign.
  • Ella painted a picture at the early childhood booth.
  • Ella sat on lots of lawn tractors and bobcats.
  • Bob gathered food (ribs, cotton candy, lemonade) to take home to Emily who stayed home with baby Alex.
  • We listened to, but did not attend, the demo derby.
  • We had a cold beer at the Jaycees beer stand.
  • Ella chose a duck at the duck pond and won a shiny plastic sword.
These are all part of the county fair summer ritual. Great fun.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

mom has a martini without incident and jered allen cranks it up

On Monday night in Rochester, we were invited to a very nice martini party. My mom was warned by one of her more worrisome children to not drink any martinis. Of course, she decided that a martini was just the ticket so she had one, and told us later if she had know other people were having two, she would have had another. She behaved herself with decorum and the martini party went on without incident. Yay, Mom!

Other events from the day included a visit to Steve and Sherry's house where we were entertained by Pepsi, the ditch dog, a four mile walk around Rochester on Tuesday morning, a trip to TJ Maxx, and a stay at a nice new Hampton Inn where we had big white duvets and feather pillows. It was quite plush. It was great fun to see Deb and Larry again. We hope Larry is having a safe trip on his hundred mile bike trip.

Regis, Young Regis, and Tom went to see the Vikings practice on Wednesday. The picture above is some dude apparently, ummm, rearranging his parts...or making a rude gesture. Good grief. Don't they realize everyone has a camera? Apparently going to training camp is not what it was 30 years ago. I keep trying to come up with something witty and urbane to say about this but I can't. So moving on and scaling up.

As a hedge against going back to work, we bought two lottery tickets. When we didn't win, we bought ten dollars worth of pull-tabs. No luck there either. So I will be in on Monday.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Monday, August 10, 2009


Mom's here so she slept in the king-size bed with me and Regis was reassigned to the couch. He insisted. What a nice guy.

We had a great summer dinner of steak, shrimp and scallop kabobs, sweet corn, and a salad with basil vinaigrette last night. Mom and Regis had some of Bruce's apple pie recipe for dessert. This is the apple pie you make with grain alcohol, not the kind you make with apples. It smells great, though, so I enjoy it from that angle.

I got up early and went to the Pulse where I watched an episode of Clean Sweep while I walked on the treadmill. The treadmill routine (is that the right word?) that I started a month ago and which nearly killed me is now easy. Funny how that happens. It's dark in the morning when I go and I hate that.

We're heading to Rochester today to see the Norris cousins, their spouses, and kids. We've been invited to a cook-out at the home of a niece on Mr. Butler's side. I guess they like to serve martinis. My brother Pat warned Mom and said she shouldn't have one. What the hell. She isn't 90 years old. I think I'd have one just to see what happened.

Our garage is being painted starting tomorrow. We're so excited as it has looked pretty much like hell for ten years. It was the only garage in the neighborhood that survived the tornado but we think that was because the roof was full of holes. It got a new roof and a coat of paint thanks to volunteers. It wasn't scraped or primed so it never did look very good. It will have a whole new look by Wednesday and a picture may be featured right here.

We might make a stop at the Fleet Farm in Owatonna. Nothing we like better than a good deal.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

a summer night by Kate Barnes

A summer night. The moon's face,
almost full now, comes and goes
through clouds. I can't see
any stars, but a late firefly
still flicks his green lamp on and off
by the fence.
In this light
that is more illusion
than light, I think of things
I can't make out: milkweed opening
its millions of flowerets, their heavy heads
smelling like dark honey in the night's
darkness; day lilies
crowding the ditch, their blossoms
closed tight; birds asleep with their small legs
locked on twigs; deer stealing
into the uncut hay; and the young bay mare
kneeling down in the pasture, composing herself
to rest, as rounded and strong
as a meant prayer.

"A Summer Night" by Kate Barnes, from Kneeling Orion

Saturday, August 08, 2009

saturday observations

I had such good intentions of cleaning my house today. I have so little motivation, though, and finally just succumbed to laziness with a good sit on the patio and an hour long nap. Mom's coming to visit tomorrow but I know she doesn't care about a dust dragon or two.

I did get two things done that have been on my to-do list for several years. I called a cleaning person who will come on Thursday to see if she wants to take us on as an encumbrance in her life. She comes highly recommended and other people who have her say she doesn't need to be told what to do. A cleaning person who wants instructions would be like a hair dresser who needs directions. They're the professionals.

I also called a painter to come and take a look at our garage. He's been painting in town for forty years so when he asked if this part should be white and did this color match the siding of the house, I just shrugged and said, "You're the professional, Don." So by the end of the week, our garage will have a new coat of paint. Our neighbors will be relieved as our garage looks like something from the Dust Bowl.

I told the painter that I had been meaning to call for at least couple years. He laughed and said, "You probably thought you'd do it yourselves in a weekend." No, I said, that's not it. I've eliminated to-do lists from my life (too much pressure to perform) so it just kept getting forgotten.

Regis is pleased with the heat wave. He said, when asked for a quote, "It's almost hot enough." He likes beads of sweat to form immediately upon sitting down in his lawn chair. Me, not so much.
Regis has gotten some satisfaction from the dust-up he started at Podunk U. They agreed, in emails, that they had said it was a one-year course, that 18 months seems a bit longer than a year, that it might be inconvenient for people who are unemployed to lounge around for six months waiting to take six credits, and that yes, the website is inaccurate. It has since disappeared. Small victories. Tiny delights.

I read this somewhere this summer and posted it on facebook, which has been my guilty pleasure for the past few weeks.
Most of us miss out on life's big prizes. The Pulitzer. The Nobel. Oscars. Tonys. Emmys. But we're all eligible for life's small pleasures. A pat on the back. A kiss behind the ear. A four-pound bass. A full moon. An empty parking space. A crackling fire. A great meal. A glorious sunset. Hot soup. Cold beer. Don't fret about copping life's grand awards. Enjoy its tiny delights. There are plenty for all of us.
Here are some tiny delights, right here on the patio on a hot August afternoon:
  • A breeze that keeps the bugs away.
  • The smell of a charcoal fire.
  • An almost fully-grown robin taking a bath.
  • A woodpecker on the suet feeder.
  • A few tomatoes (not many) ripening on the vines.
  • Cumulus clouds rolling by in the sky.
  • Waldo catching a frisbee across the street.
Make your own list. Be sure to write it down and leave a few in the comments section. I took out the moderation feature so it should be easier.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

unintentional break from the blog

Regis reminded me tonight that it's been almost a week since my last post. I've composed a few in my head but nothing I got down on the screen. I'm back.

It's been a busy week, some of which I can't remember. Tiffany's car broke down and we decided to buy her an inexpensive car to help her make it through school. That's stressful stuff for a person who doesn't like to look at, think about, or shop for cars. I finally remembered that my cousin Mike sells cars in Winona. I checked out his website, then called him and bought a car sight unseen. It isn't the first time I've done that, by the way. Mike was a great help and has gone way out of his way to make sure Tiffany has wheels on Monday when she starts school. They're even delivering the car to her in Minneapolis.

Joanne came for coffee early Wednesday morning and we sat on the patio as the sun came up. There was a hummingbird in the garden so that was like a tiny gift. She left for Illinois the next morning to visit her dad so we had to connect before that. Our friends have been coming and going a lot lately (us, too) so it's hard to remember who's where and when they're coming back from wherever they were.

Regis and I are having trouble sleeping lately. Usually one or both of us are awake somewhere between 2 and 4 a.m. It's not such a problem when you don't have to be anywhere at any specific time. It gets more critical on days I work. Like today I wanted to be at the pulse at 5:15 and had to leave for work at 7:30. No time for insomnia.

Regis is a little disgusted with is impending school experience. They (Podunk U) have decided that he can only take 12 credits a semester and that he'll have to take 6 credits next fall. His advisor was unsympathetic and said that's just the way it is. This is a course designed for displaced workers? This might not matter if you're 18 and living in your parent's basement but it matters a lot if you're looking at the end of unemployment and COBRA benefits. I encouraged him to write a few letters and I'm sure he will. Burn.

We have some very bold rabbits in our neighborhood this summer. One fellow walks right up the sidewalk like he's coming to visit. We can come out the door, sit on the lawn chairs, talk in loud voices...nothing matters. He just keeps on coming. Then he takes a sharp left into the garden and commences munching plants. He is not afraid of us in the least.

It looks like we might get some rain tonight. That would be nice. The garden has managed with the sprinkling we give it, but it hasn't thrived. We don't believe too much in watering plants or grass, for that matter. We have a Darwin garden...survival of the fittest.

Oh, I forgot I have some garden pictures to plant. We ordered a sign tht says HOWARD FRITSCH MEMORIAL PATIO and bought a big red ceramic pot that we had planted with a rosemary topiary and some herbs. It's really pretty. Since we used Howard's money to build the patio, we thought it was a fitting tribute. Thanks, Howard. We are enjoying the patio a lot.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Regis and Ella do lunch

I was out of town today and Regis went over to see the little kids. He offered to take Ella out for lunch and let her pick the place. She wanted to go to Patrick's of course, so off they went. They were having a conversation (language dancing) and she wanted to know where Nana was today. Regis explained that I had gone to a friends house in Minneapolis for lunch and that other friends were coming, too. Ella asked a few question, then the pieces fell into place and she said, "Oh! She's playing!"

We sat on the patio tonight for a while. I sat near the grill...the heat felt good. I lit a candle and it seemed right. Honestly, it's like October out there except it stays light longer. I read on some weather blog that temps for August through October are supposed to be more normal. More normal? The Trib says statewide, the average temperature in July of 64.4 degrees was the third lowest on record. I think it's been great but Regis and one other guy in town (that I know of) really crab about it. Such curmudgeons.

The reaction of my old friends to my recent weight loss was interesting but weird. I was kind of the show and tell project for a while and it was fun to experience the surprise and excitement. I was thinking on the way home that these friends of more than 40 years have only known my fat person self. Even if I weighed less at some point, I was never this thin in my head.

On my way to bed. I have a good book...The Women by T.C. Boyle. It's about the women in the life of Frank Lloyd Wright.