Saturday, January 30, 2010

end o' january

Regis popped over one morning to see Ella and Alex. I'm not sure but it looks like she's pulling out his cheeks to make him smile. That's a bossy sister for you!
Alex looks pretty happy with the Saturday morning routine...cartoons, jammies, rough housing with Dad and Ella, smiling for the camera. Oh, to be a baby!

January has been kind of a grit your teeth and get through it month for us. It's been cold, snowy, dark, and gloomy. The kind of month where cave people just huddled over the fire and grunted. We have high hopes for February, starting next Sunday with a Superbowl party. That doesn't mean much to me except for a chance to have the kids over, eat good food, and laugh a little. Who cares about the football game.

We're having man food at the Superbowl party: bratwurst, pretzels, chicken wings, chili cheese dip, M&Ms, and puppy chow.
We'll be partaking of some of the Winterfest events in February, too. I'm sad that there isn't a parade this year as that's my favorite. I love parades, even the ten minute kind. 

Here are some of the highlights:

Chili Feed — 5-8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 5 at the Legion.

Bingo — 4-6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 6 at Red Men Club.

Blastfest — 1 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 7 at Patrick's. Enter your best baked beans and/or deviled eggs in contest.
New Primitives perform — 9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 13 at Patrick's.

Hairy Legs Competition — 10 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 13 at Patrick's.

Polar Bear Plunge — 1 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 14 at Hallett’s Pond in St. Peter. 

You can see why we look forward to this. 

We celebrate the birthdays of Alex and Elliot in February. Regis and I are having a party on the 20th in their honor. I love birthdays and think they should always be celebrated. You can't sit around and wait for other people to recognize the importance of your birthday. Shout it out about a month before...hey, it's my birthday...celebrate! Have a party in your own honor.
Tiffany is helping me with the menu for that party. Since her dad is invited, I can feel his influence in her chiles in the potatoes, no onions in the pork. Groan. That's all I'll say about that.

Regis is turning into a geek man. He has a second monitor set up for his computer. Who needs two monitors? And is this where we're headed? Bob, I've seen your basement room...I know what can happen.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

done being cranky

Well, it's Friday tomorrow. You can't be cranky on a Friday.

Regis said he's tired of winter but I don't think we can complain about winter yet. It could last a good long time so we should conserve our complaining until we're closer to spring. Maybe mid-March.

Tomorrow's Friday. There is reason for optimism.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

what is this black cloud following me around?

I haven't been cranky for a long time but this is the night. I can't even say why exactly but I feel a nasty ass mood hanging over my head like a big black cloud. Regis did his best...poured me a glass of wine, put my slippers by the table, made a nice soup for dinner and I am appreciative of his efforts. I feel like weeping.

Monday, January 25, 2010

ah monday after a football spanking

Don't worry about reading the play by play here. I was only in the same room as the football game. Everyone who expressed enthusiasm and optimism got this message: Knock wood and get used to disappointment, my friend. I went to bed at half time and was better off for it.

It's wretched out there tonight. We had a work day today so there were no kids at school and half of the teachers left early. It's hard to work up any enthusiasm for anything sitting in a cold and quiet building when the snow is swirling outside. You'd think it would be a good environment for mental activity but not so.

I went to work out this morning and it was cold but not so windy. When I came out 90 minutes later, the wind nearly took me across the street. The snow came sideways. Someone told me they saw a pheasant trying to cross the highway and it couldn't fly and it couldn't walk so it sort of sat there and got pushed across the road. Poor thing. Heck, I was at the Pulse and a cat followed someone in. Can't blame the cat.

So, I'm trying out the Kindle. I like it so far but I miss the things about a book that it doesn't have....a cover, an illustration, a smell. And you don't have a visual indication of how far you are in the book. I know there is a little thing on the bottom that tells me I'm 16% finished. Hmmm.

I wish someone would make me some popcorn. I suppose I could get my lazy butt up and do it myself but I don't feel like it.

I made a note on Facebook today about some strange dreams. One was mine from last night. I dreamed that Jane had a baby and at a party, I gave it to someone. The next day, I waited for someone to ask what happened to the baby but nobody did. I couldn't remember who I gave it to and even when the police came, they didn't ask. It was terrifying so at least I had the good conscience to feel bad about giving a baby to a stranger.

The other dream was Betty's and is from a long time ago. It's so surreal that it made an impression on me and I've remembered it. Betty gave birth to an alien baby with a light bulb head and long arms with three skinny fingers. She wrapped it in a dish towel and kept it on top of the television. One interesting thing...this dream was from a time when televisions had tops. Eventually the alien dragged itself to an outlet and plugged itself in.

My only other memorable dream was about the house where I grew up. Pygmies were coming down the hill using Sunbeam mixers as weapons. When they pushed the eject button, the beaters flew through the air and toward the house.

Regis and Betty have rich dream lives. I usually have scary amorphous dreams. No characters, no plots.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

january 24

Three nights this week, mediacom, our illustrious internet provider did not provide internet service. They claim they had major outages over the entire midwest and they used the lame ass excuse of ice. They probably sent the switchboard guy home for a few days because he didn't wear his pocket protector.

If you live here, you know the weather has been wretched. Last week, we had our January thaw which was welcomed. Temperatures in the 20s, warm sunshine, and balmy breezes instead of the weather that can kill you if you fall down taking out the trash. This week, the temperatures have been in the 30s which makes for slop. Slop on the streets, slop falling out of the sky, slop everywhere. The sky has been gray. The precipitation doesn't know what it's supposed to be, rain or ice or anything in between. You're half scared to leave the house because if it gets one degree colder, you'll have to skate home. Ah, well. I wasn't going to complain in 2010 and I'm not. I'm just making an observation.

Regis is letting borrow his kindle for a few days. He downloaded a book for me and I'm going to try it. I don't know why I'm suddenly intrigued by the idea as I haven't been since it came out. Maybe because it's been hard for me to read the last six months or so. I used to be a power reader...I had one book in the living room and another book in the bedroom and I logged a lot of hours reading. Now, I read two pages and fall asleep. I've been blaming it on the books but maybe I need to try another format.

Maybe my increase in activity level in the last year has rerouted the circuits from my brain to my legs. I bet that isn't a very sound scientific theory, but it could explain this. I can read on the Stairmaster because I'm closer to the book rack and I don't move around so much. I can't read when I'm walking or running. I tried listening to books but I get distracted and have to keep rewinding.

I bought the CD Crazy Heart this week. I haven't seen the movie but I'm anxious to see it. Roger Ebert says it's great and he's my favorite movie critic. The CD is of my top three movie CDs: The Departed (hated the movie), Wonder Boys (loved the movie) and now Crazy Heart.

My plan for the day: sort through a small pile of paper, do the dishes, make something for dinner, go to yoga, relax. Happy Sunday.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

what's with all the damn clouds?

I thought January was supposed to be one of our sunnier months. Not so this year. Today was like being in a monster cloud all day long. Cool hoar frost, though.

I was lying on the mat at the Pulse today after my run, stretching and trying to relax. I was listening to Raising Sand on my iPod...Allison Kraus and Robert Plant, singing along to Gone, Gone, Gone...when I realized that the dude on the treadmill was looking at me funny. I remembered that Regis comes running to see what's wrong whenever I sing. Bet I scared that guy! You know how you sing sometimes when you know you can't sing out loud so you sort of sing to yourself and it comes out like this horrific moaning hum? Anybody else do that?

This is the song and believe me, they sound better than I do.

I bought some sugar-free chocolate at Trader Joe's in December and it was delicious. I wish I had some right now. Anybody going up to TJ's, let me know. I'll put in an order.

Monday, January 18, 2010

seven minutes

I want to watch Two and  a Half Men and I can't multi-task so I have to write this in seven minutes.

I had a funny story to tell but it has completely slipped my mind.

Last week, I was chatting on Facebook with a cousin of mine who I have never met. He suggested we start a Facebook site for cousins and relatives of my grandma and grandpa on my mom's side. There are hundreds but so far only about 30 have joined. It's a damn hoot. All the old pictures are really fun to see. There are cousins from all over the country. Amazing thing that Facebook.

I was busy in the kitchen tonight. I made chicken thighs, an egg bake, a batch of muffins, and steak tips with peppered mushroom gravy. The last had lots of mushrooms and was delicious. Tomorrow night I'm making meatballs and split pea with ham soup. I was out of lunch material in the freezer so this will help.

Time to go.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

are you old when you have a kid who's 32?

We took Young Regis out for a birthday burger and a beer tonight as it's his 32nd birthday. That means he's moving in on 40 and you know what that means...we'll be The Old People for real. We gave him a yellow fedora and a Bible that has a place cut out for a flask. Tacky, we know but what the hell. We thought he'd laugh and he did.

While we were at Patrick's, Brian told us about a field trip to something called Beer Dabblers at the Winter Carnival. It includes a bus ride and four hours at the beer tasting which we have decided might be too much for us. It sounds like a lot of fun, but like it might just kill us flat out.

We're watching the Golden Globes. Aside from not knowing many of these people, it's tiresome to hear about all the great, funny, awesome, creative geniuses in Hollywood. Oh my tired ass. Isn't there anyone there who is marginally amusing, lazy, and homely? Also, really do we need to see all their belly buttons and butt cracks?

Tiffany and I went to Canby to visit Mom this weekend. The roads were good all the way there until we got to Marshall. After that, the wind had drifted about 5 inches of snow in spots about every half mile. They were slushy, very slippery, and treacherous. I finally started pulling over and waiting until cars coming from the other direction had gone past. The road home was better. Elliot was a great little traveler, taking long naps both going out there and coming home. We had a good visit with Mom, a few glasses of wine, and a lot of laughs.

Regis didn't take the road trip with us. He started his second semester at SCC and was nervous about getting his work done. He had a quiz due yesterday and an assignment due today.

Busy week coming up so let's hang it up for the night.

Friday, January 15, 2010

the week's gone in a snap

We had a busy week and I believe I predicted it. Parent/teacher conferences on Monday, safe driving for old people on Tuesday, haircut in Mankato on Wednesday, burgers at the Legion on Thursday. Tonight I came home from school and finally took the decorations off the Christmas tree. Regis cooked a beef roast in the crock pot with carrots, onions, mushrooms, and potatoes. I fiddled around picking things up and sorting and organizing and now I'm watching the comedy channel.

Tiffany and I are headed to Canby (with Elliot) tomorrow to see my mom. Regis has decided (I think) that the burden of school work is too much and he better stay here and get a head start on his homework. Community College is not all silver saddles and Sunday parades. He has tough classes this semester and they've started out like runaway trains.

There is a significant snow event predicted for next weekend. What the hell. I can't believe that they can predict weather that far in advance because pretty much on a day to day basis they suck.

Somebody pulled in our driveway a while ago, hung around for a while, then left. It made Regis nervous but not me so much. It's the eastern thing. Everybody's a bad guy.

I'm going to have a relaxing weekend. No workout in the morning. Just coffee and pajamas and a slow-moving start.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

mixing holidays

We decided to leave the Christmas tree up for a while because we (the royal we, Joanne) like the lights. I was picking up junk today, though, and decided to get out a few Valentine decorations. I hope this isn't a big design faux pas. Mixing holidays. Most of the Valentine type things are dishes and towels so they're all on the dining table...two red-stemmed glasses, four liqueur glasses with red dots, a red tray...hey, wait. I'll take a picture.

Aren't they pretty? Red is my favorite color. Speaking of red, I did a little online shopping today. I love the clearance sales. Nothing like a good deal. I bought a red jacket...hope I don't look the line usher at the mall Santa photo studio. Most of the stuff in wintery because, I suspect, we have quite a bit of winter left.

 This is a picture I took out the front door this afternoon. The sun is shining and it's beautiful out there. I'm staying inside today, though. I thought about going to yoga but decided against it, in favor of couch yoga. Which means I do just what I'm doing including maybe tipping over into a horizontal position and taking a nap. I have a loaf of bread in the bread machine and that's productivity enough for me.

I'm working on the menu for the week and the grocery list. We decided to plunder the freezer before we buy many more groceries. It's getting a little hard to shut the door. So today I took out some fish, a small steak, some pork for lunches, and a couple other things that were a little hard to identify. I think one is ham. I had Christmas Eve meatballs and Thanksgiving squash for lunch today.

There you go. Happy Sunday.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

lazy day

I slept late this morning...well, 7 o'clock...then went to the Pulse for my workout. It was crisply cold. Crunchy cold. I came home and made a quiche, then got in the tub with a cup of coffee. Good way to warm up fast.

I took a nap this afternoon. Read a catalog for a while then took a nap. Great way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

About 3, we went to Tom and Betty's. They went to St. Louis Park to fetch Michelle this morning so we stopped by to see her, gab a little, and order up a pizza. Nice way to spend an evening. (the new domino's pizza is marginally better than the old domino's pizza)

I might do some cooking tomorrow. We have a busy week (I'm storing up energy for the week, you see) so maybe I can brew up some soup or chili or something. Monday night I have conferences and Tuesday night we have to teach safe driving for old people. We're going to retire from that gig. It's a drag. Wednesday I get a haircut and Thursday is burger night at the Legion. Oh man...way more stimulation than I like in a week.

We've gotten the Rolling Stone magazine for years and have enjoyed it even with the transition from the Rolling Stones to Lady Gaga on the cover. The current issue came today and seriously it's about 50 pages long. They went to a smaller format about a year ago and we swore we wouldn't renew. Now this. Hardly worth going to the mailbox for it. You take out the stuff about people we've never heard of and there isn't much left.

Betty had a robotic cat she bought somewhere. The thing was a little creepy...when you pet it, it rolls over, wipes a paw across its face, or purrs. Kind of fascinating in a creepy sort of way.

Time to go to bed. Dark. Cold. Ugh.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

damn good chili

Regis made some delicious chili for dinner last night. I've been using the same chili recipe (in my head) for years and years. He read about chili in a magazine and tried a couple new tricks. I must say it was very good. I'll ask him if we can publish the recipe with his adaptations. His intellectual property, you know.

I wore a skirt and my cowboy boots to school yesterday and I'm paying the price today for baring my legs. I know there is no basis for this belief in real science but I think the gods of winter are putting the smack down on me. My cold came back with a vengeance and I feel like curling up under an electric blanket. Today, I go back to the base layer, ugly wool, and boots and who cares what you look like. The fashion police have moved to a warmer climate.

It's below zero right now and the forecast is calling for six inches of blowing snow and wind chills in the 30 below range. What the. This defies the common knowledge. What happened to it's too cold to snow? We're getting beat with both ends of the winter stick.

I'm not complaining...just making observations.

Work has been fine since I decided to change my attitude. Hey, a meeting is a chance to get out and see people and maybe scam a donut. Good way to look at it.

I went to visit a daycare with Tiffany and Elliot yesterday. Every time I think my job is hard, I'm going to visit a daycare. OMG. Let's talk about your basic over-stimulation. This was a lovely place and the woman was calm and managing things very well...but there were little bitty kids everywhere, like ants. People who do that work are saints and they should get paid a whole bunch more money they probably do get paid.

Here's what I like about Facebook. One day, in a conversation after a comment...there was a cousin on my dad's side who lives in Florida, a cousin on my mom's side who lives in Arizona, a nephew from Fargo, a brother from Fargo, and a friend in Ohio. I love that. Not deep and important conversation, but human connections between people separated by lots of distance.

Going to take a warm bath to guard against the cold demons today. Stay warm. Dress in layers. I'll keep you posted on the weather.

Monday, January 04, 2010


I'm at the hospital and meals
on silver trays are being served
from little white vans
in the parking lot.

Scott and Marsha
who stole Cindy's May basket
in third grade
slide down the fire escape,
a huge metal tube coming
out of the third floor window of the
dusty school.

My dog Kramer
drives by in a Volkswagen Beetle
waves his red-mittened paw
and honks the horn.

A man with a banjo
gets off the bus and hands me
a white envelope.
As the bus pulls away
I see his face on a poster
on the side of the bus.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Elliot spends the night at nana's house

Elliot came yesterday and spent the night at our house. It isn't an easy accomplishment because we have a non-child friendly pet who needs to be shuffled back and forth from outside to locked bedroom like a common criminal. This means Elliot sleeps in a porta crib in the living room and I sleep on the couch. He wasn't so happy with the arrangement this time and woke many times during the night to be comforted. A little rocking and he went back to sleep. I feel like I was pulled through a knot-hole butt first, though.

He's a character and I enjoy his company. He's decided that he only wants to feed more spoons and such. He's very clever in figuring out ways to get the food off the tray. Slippery little pieces of peach get scooped over to the edge and slid up where he can grab them. Today for lunch he had peaches, carrots, peas, and bananas. He loved the tiny pieces of toast with jelly which makes him a baby after my own heart. Always choose the bread product first, I say.

As much fun as we had, Elliot was very happy to see his mama's face at the door. And I had to have a nap the minute he left.
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Friday, January 01, 2010

Ella's Birthday and Happy New Year!

We took Ella to Patrick's for lunch yesterday as a pre-birthday celebration. We had princess napkins, she ordered a Cha Cha basket and pink lemondade, and she opened her birthday presents. The favorite seemed to be a character doll from High School Musical who came with a microphone. Ella exclaimed, "How did you know I loved this?" Oh, to be four years old.

We went to Tom & Betty's last night for a wonderful dinner of prime rib roast, baked potatoes, popovers, and cheesecake. We watched a few episodes of Twilight Zone and the documentary Two Fat Ladies, One Large Life. It was a lovely way to end the year and the decade. Two Fat Ladies is a cooking series from BBC and it is a real damn hoot. The documentary is about the life of one of Jennifer Paterson and it's hilarious as she was quite a character. If you like cooking shows, it's worth a look.

We don't have much going on today. I'm going to put ribs and kraut in the crock pot and we're going to another birthday party at 3:00 just down the street. I feel like I have the dreaded cold coming on so I'm doing what I can to activate my endorphins.

I hear Regis rummaging around in the other room. He has better sleeping habits than I do on most days although neither of us sleep very well anymore. We both go to sleep quickly most nights but I wake up at ungodly early. Regis can usually sleep until 7 o'clock which we consider sleeping in. I'd love to sleep like I was 16 again.

I still have the detritus of Christmas to deal with in my house. The huge round table that I thought I had to have is propped against the bookshelf. It's 60 inches in diameter which I didn't picture as being five feet. It's my math disability, I guess. It was handy to have on Christmas Eve but what will I do with it the rest of the year?

I'm not making any resolutions this year and I'm not sure I made any last year. I started exercising on December 28th in 2007 and continued through 2008 but I didn't make a resolution...I just did it. Resolutions seem to be too easy to forget. Oh wait...a resolution...I won't complain and I will try to be nicer.

That's enough rambling for today. Looking forward to 2010.