Tuesday, March 30, 2010

tuesday tuesday

Last night, I started to feel a sore throat again. I marched right over to urgent care this morning to see what that was all about. I saw the nurse, then she asked if I wanted to see a doctor. Or did I want to wait until maybe later this afternoon to see how I was feeling. Frankly, I was stumped. I sat for a long time thinking about this. Why did I go to urgent care? To wait longer? I finally decided that since I was there, sitting in the exam room, I would see the doctor. The doctor said I should finish the course of antibiotics and that maybe I had a viral infection on top of the strep. Lovely. I seem to be better tonight.

This made me ponder the differences between the urgent care experiences of the last week. One was clearly urgent care hell and it lasted four hours. The other was much better...actually like I was the only patient and I was escorted in and out of pristine rooms like a queen... and lasted 40 minutes. Regis said this is the way the universe seeks balance.

Daffodils and tulips, both with buds, are up in my garden. They look a little dry which is amazing considering all the snow we've had. I saw the neighbors had crocus blooming around the corner yesterday. Spring might be here, after all.

We have a short week of school and that seems fair considering the smack down put on teachers by almost everybody lately. There was some abomination of an article in the paper this morning about why Minnesota didn't get the Race to the Top grant from the feds. Really. Are they serious? You have to read it to believe it. It makes a guy want to just write a letter of resignation from the whole profession.

I made fajitas for dinner last night and orange chicken tonight. Both are labor intensive meals that take until almost 7:30 to cook, serve, and clean up. I'm about done with that crap for the week. The fajitas were made with free-range organic cows and the chickens came from an Amish style farm. I wonder what that means and probably, I don't want to know. I just know I'm not eating any more of that meat that comes from ulcerated poodles.

It's windy and I know I'll have trouble sleeping so I'm going to bed. I'm not exercising in the morning. I asked Regis to drag out a couple of patio chairs so the minute I get home from work, I can drop my butt into one for the rest of the daylight hours.

Enjoy the rest of your week!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

sunday night in march

We had a hoot of a time tonight. I told Tiffany I would watch Elliot so she could go see her friend Teresa. I picked up Ella about 1:30 and we headed to Eagle Lake. Conversation with a four-year old is so surreal. She's riding happily along with me and then asks, "Nana, where are we going?" So trusting.

We picked up Elliot and rode back to St. Peter without incident. Let the games begin. If you want to know why young people are genetically programmed to have babies, spend an afternoon with a couple of them. The babies not the young people. Regis says it's either why young people have babies or why old people drink. We had a wonderful time but it seems like a whirlwind.

Nobody misbehaved. They were all (three of them) engaging and interesting and funny and sweet. But man, they are a busy bunch. If you look at the pictures, Ella's hair is flying in every one. The boys are letting loose with these amazing shouts of joy. Then they all just crash.

Our house is tiny and it would help if they could take more than three steps before a U-turn. We'll have a bunch here next Sunday for Easter. I started cleaning out the porch today (lots of stuff collects there over the winter) and we hope to have the patio open. An extra room and some outside space really helps. If anybody else has a baby before these three grow up some, we'll have to have family dinners at the Holiday Inn.

I'm going to pack up the baby bed, put my clean clothes away, and settle in with a book. I have an appointment to work out with Rachel in the morning at 5 a.m. After my week with strep throat and no exercise, I better put 911 on speed dial.

Friday, March 26, 2010

friday on the couch

I'm just sitting at home letting the antibiotics do their job. Imagining the little streptococcus microbes getting slam dunked by the amoxicillin street fighters. I feel so much better this morning....like I came out of a cave after four days. A bit worrisome as I drove to Mankato twice and attended a conference for two days of the four. Today I feel like I might stand a chance of being vertical most of the day.

Stupid blogger wants to write in italics today and I'm tired of trying to correct it. If italics appear, they don't mean anything.

I have some vague notions of what went on in the world in the past few days. Something with the pope. Something with the health care bill. Tea party rallies. Are those people insane? Has the whole world gone crazy? Deb said she heard a table of people in a restaurant say that Obama was only elected because college kids thought it would be funny to elect a black person as president. How ignorant do you have to be to believe that malarky? Too much Fox News, I'd say. That shit will cause brain cancer.

You realize that a lot of stuff I write here is not because I think it's particularly blog worthy but because I like to write and this is a good venue. I could post on Facebook ten times a day but then I'd get labeled as a nutcase.

Most people who are on Facebook don't post at all which is sort of like being an electronic voyeur. I guess they like those games like mafia wars and farmville which I hide. I can't stand those big pictures of cows, for one thing. So, I just hide every game that comes along. I also ignore all the heart requests and requests for support of this or that. I am a fan of Patrick's because I like to know every week, what they have on tap. A guy has to have priorities.

I have also hidden a few people on Facebook. It sort of goes along with my aversion to the news. People who only write maudlin, cryptic messages about their despair are blocked. They should find a good  therapist  and not look for salvation or redemption on the internet. I realize that people may not like my weird rants either and I think they should hide my posts if that's true. It might be the internet but it comes to your house and to your  personal computer so you shouldn't have to read anything you don't want to read.

This is a sign that people used to post outside their homes during the Depression. It signified that a kind-hearted woman lived there and a hobo could probably get a meal. My mom should have a sign like this outside her door. Bless her heart. She is so good about inviting people to share her home, no matter what their circumstances. Peter lived with her while he went to school and I know of at least five other people she's invited to live with her for at least short periods of time. I admire that about her. If all those people show up at the same time, there could be a problem, but I don't think it would bother her much. My mom is a kind-hearted woman.

I have two goals for the weekend: take the Christmas tree down and clean out the back porch. I want Regis to have this as a goal for the weekend: get the patio furniture out. But I don't get to prescribe his goals, unfortunately. Ha! We're having the crew for Easter dinner and it would be nice to spread out a little if the weather is nice. The porch is a sure thing; the patio is very tentative. April 4th; hell, we could have snow. Notice the plague of semi-colons in this paragraph? I'm never sure I use them correctly, but what the hey. Most of you reading this aren't sure either!

My neighbor is all done raking his yard. That's because he rakes around the snow drifts and as they shrink, he rakes the edges. This is no joke. I think the snow has to be completely gone before you rake. You rake in a t-shirt, not a snorkel parka. We aren't yard fanatics. We like the grass long because it produces more oxygen. We don't fertilize because then you have to mow more often. We don't water for the same reason. Why water your grass so you have to spend more time cutting it? Doesn't make sense.

I'm worried about what's going to happen when I run out of space on blogspot. About a year ago, I read about transferring this whole mess to my own domain but I can't really get a mental grip on what that means. Do my widgets go, too? Hahaha. Isn't that funny? Yesterday, I opened a wiki account, then realized I had no idea what to do with a wiki and didn't feel like going through the tutorials to learn what it would do so I closed it. My wiki experience was a lot like my experience with twitter. I don't do wiki and I don't tweet.

Moving on. Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 25, 2010


I have had a wicked rough week. I went to a special ed law conference on Tuesday and started to feel rough in the afternoon. I came home about 4:30 and went to bed. Same thing Wednesday. I stayed home today, took two naps, and still felt like hell when I woke up. I had a raging headache and a sore throat that didn't seem to be progressing into a cold. I drove myself to Urgent Care and TA DA...I have strep throat and now, a prescription for an antibiotic. The very kind doctor at the beautiful River's Edge Hospital said it will take one day to not be contagious and a couple days to feel better and I guess it will. Thank you for listening to my medical problems.

It's been a beautiful and sunny week. No complaints there. It would be nice if it were warm enough for lawn chairs but that's coming.

We're going to spend a productive evening watching John Stewart through 30 Rock. I am giving some thought to giving news in all its formats. I love John Stewart's humor but the Glen Beck clips are really hard to watch. How can a person be that damn stupid? And that tea party stuff is just so weird. Wingnuts and pitchfork wavers. Seriously, a  guy is better off not knowing about these folks.

I finished a book today but not wanting to disparage a Minnesota author, I won't mention the title. I was disappointed because I loved her first two books but this one had too many plot lines and too many characters. Even healthy, I don't think I could have kept track of all of that. I started Andre Agassi's book Open and so far, it's good. I bet I read the best part in the People magazine, though. I was more interested in his drug abuse days than his days as a nine-year old tennis player in LasVegas.

I won't be going to work tomorrow because the rules for strep are 24-48 hours after the start of an antibiotic. I'm getting sick and tired of being sick and tired and I can't wait to feel better.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sunday, March 21, 2010

vernal equinox and of course, a party

Regis and I have a reputation for finding some pretty bizarre reasons to throw a party. We didn't celebrate St. Patrick's Day (other than with corned beef and cabbage and the parade) but we saw that the vernal equinox (first day of spring) was occurring on Saturday so, there you go. This is the crew we assembled to come for lunch: Vicki, Nikki and Scott (he's from Minneota, Mom), Harvey and Kathy, me and Regis. I made the old two-cheese casserole recipe, Irish soda bread, and black and tan brownies. I made Irish coffee and Regis made black and tans with Harp and Guinness.

The party idea was hatched one Saturday afternoon a few weeks ago. The invitations said sky clad was optional which amused us no end but probably scared some of our friends. We saw it on a pagan party site and it means naked. None of us appeared at the party naked which is a darn good thing. Imagining it is bad enough.

I worked with my recipes some more this afternoon and planned the Easter meal. I think I've mentioned before that I have this "meat" thing. We've decided we want to eat less meat and better quality meat. Scott (in the picture) raises cows, pigs, and chickens for the meat. Grass-fed, no nasty stuff like antibiotics, and they get to move around on their legs, unlike the animals raised on factory farms. So, we're going to get our meat from the coop, from Schmidt's, or from Scott.

We also bought a share of the Living Land Farm here in St. Peter. It's an organic farm on the Ottawa Road. Every two weeks we'll pick up a load of vegetables and herbs from them. I have three cookbooks sitting here by my chair so we can get familiar with ways to cook these things. Regis has made a commitment to be more open minded about green things. This is probably a natural progression from my "focus on food" of the last year. I'll be posting some pictures and recipes for our vegetable adventures!

For now, the Easter menu looks like this:

Strawberry Belinni
Deviled Eggs
Glazed Ham
Mashed Baby Red Potatoes
Roasted Asparagus
Seven Layer Salad
Italian Country Bread
Lemon Curd Trifle

I found this website on foodtv that has a lot of good, traditional recipes. I thought we were going to have a small gathering, but the list is growing already. I love holidays.

On to Monday. I'm going to bed early to read.

Friday, March 19, 2010

my favorite: wind

Not only is it going to be in the 30s today but they've added my personal favorite weather event, wind. 48 mph gusts. Lovely.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

the weather is going to suck tomorrow

It was 62 degrees today. Lovely warm sun. Everyone and I mean everyone, was outside walking their dogs and stretching their winter legs. Laying on flat rocks. Soaking up the rays. I saw people in shorts and flip flops.

Tomorrow, the forecast is 32 degrees for a high. What the hell. That's cruel irony.

It was Tiffany's 25th birthday today. I can't believe she can be 25 but I guess it's true. We met her and Elliot at Mazatlan for dinner tonight. Elliot was transfixed (is that a word?) by the lights and bright colors and particularly by the guitar player who came to our table more than once. When the server discovered it was Tiff's birthday, a bunch of them came over, guitar player included, and sang a couple songs. She was mortified but I got tears in my eyes. What better way to celebrate? Happy birthday to my baby.

We're watching carefully, the health care debate, and plan to have a bottle of champagne on ice for the vote on Sunday. This, if done right, has the power to change our lives.

My mental health has been less than optimal lately, mostly due to the weather and the time of year. I made a list and a plan today and will implement tomorrow. Nothing I like better than a plan and a list.

Tomorrow is Friday. Back to sweaters and leggings. Ugh.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

st. patty's day 2010

Elliot made leprechaun ears at daycare today. He sponge-painted the ears himself and don't you think they demonstrate artistic talent?

Tiffany came over late afternoon and we went for a long walk while we waited for the parade to start. We ran into the Queen Mary and Tiffany and Elliot got their picture taken with her. It's in the slide show. We had a great time...what a beautiful day for a parade. The streets were packed, I tell you.

Ella was going to join us for the parade but alas, she got sick some time yesterday and was home sipping 7-Up. Poor baby. Next year, we're all going to be in the parade. It's a plan.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

march the 18th- sleep the 19th

A friend of mine told me today that the tradition in International Falls is to have a minnow swimming in your beer on St. Patrick's Day. The minnow swims around until it dies, you fish it out, you get another minnow. Some people swill them down by the end of the night. He couldn't explain what this had to do with St. Patrick's Day and I didn't google it. I just appreciate the myth.

Ella is going to the parade with us. I know the St. Patrick's Day Queen and hope I can get a picture of Ella with the Queen. She'd loved that big crown and green velvet cape.

I bought a couple shamrock plants today. I tried to carry them over the winter last year but we don't have enough sun to make that a successful project.

I made a Guinness cake on Sunday because Peter has a friend who loves it. I told Peter to take it to Jake. It still sits there so I guess it's fair game. Damn kid.

I found a sauvignon blanc that I loved so much I thought it must be expensive, because I have such good taste, right? I went to the liquor store and it was $6.99 a bottle. I didn't know if I should be disappointed in the wine or in myself. It's Petirrojo Bisquertt. Not only is the wine good, the label is lovely.

Regis and I went to the coop after school. We're revising out diet plan again. We've done that, radically, so many times in the past that it was on my list of "reasons why I'm pissed" today. I think I have my head around it now. Oh, yeah...forgot. We were pricing meat at the coop. After we watched Food, Inc., we resolved to be more careful (WAY more careful about our meat purchase and preparation) so we were checking to see what this would cost. Like, could we afford this resolution AND insurance?)

I'm reading Michael Pollan's books. I started with Food Rules, now I'm reading In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto. I don't want to be a freak about eating habits so that's all I'll say. But they're very good books. If it won't ever rot (McDonald's hamburger) don't eat it.

We're watching The Quiet Man, our favorite St. Patrick's Day movie. I usually hate John Wayne but this is a good movie. They play patty fingers in the holy water. Oh my. Mom, you'd like it. See if they have it at your local video store. This movie and a bottle of that wine would make a good night!

I heard the sun might shine tomorrow for the parade. Oh, that would be a great blessing. We are sun deprived, sun starved. To be on Third Street in the sun for the parade would be wonderful.

I took my friend Mary, the St. Patrick's Day Queen, a shamrock plant today. Happy St. Patrick's Day, Mary!

 I'm going to watch the movie and finish my wine and get ready for the holiday! Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

signs of spring today

a recipe from the past

I'm working on a project to organize my recipes. I decided against using google docs exclusively for several reasons most of which revolve around my love for just browsing through the binders and remembering special meals. Here's the mess today. I have ended up with binders for Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, St. Patrick's Day, Miscellaneous parties, Healthy, and General. One of the pleasant side effects is that I run across recipes I thought were lost. Here's one.

I first had this at Deb's apartment in probably 1976. I copied it and made if for a St. Patrick's Day party in 1978 when I lived in St. Paul. It's been missing for a while but here it is! Resurrected for St. Patrick's Day 2010!

Two Cheese Casserole
10 slices white bread with crust removed
softened butter
3/4 pound shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 pound shredded Monterey Jack
8 eggs, slightly beaten
4 cups half and half
1 t. brown sugar
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. garlic and onion powder
1/8 t. red pepper
1/4 t. pepper
1 t. Worst. sauce
1 t. dry mustard

Butter the bread and cut in cubes. Grease a shallow pan (9X13). Put in half the bread cubes, sprinkle with 1/2 of each cheese to make 2nd and 3rd layers. Repeat. Combine eggs and spices and other ingredients. Pour evenly over the top. Refrigerate at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours. Bake uncovered at 325 degrees for one hour.

You can tell this is a recipe from the days when "light" had no meaning in cooking but we knew the bread didn't need no dang butter! With all the cheese and those whole eggs? You can skip that step. I adapted it a couple times by adding ham or sausage and it's very good that way, too. I think now I might use pepper jack cheese instead of the Monterey Jack. Just for more of a kick.

Back to my project.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

saturday evening

We met Pat and Helen and Amanda at Mazatlan to celebrate Amanda's 23rd birthday. Peter took this picture. He was uncharacteristically social and joined us...saying he wouldn't pass up a free meal but he has passed up lots of them if it meant visiting with people. He stuck around for the whole evening and even visited. It was very nice. The food was delicious, of course. Happy birthday, Amanda!

Regis dropped me at TJ Maxx for a while so I could shop. I love shopping but I hate trying things on. It works out most of the time. Ironically, Peter went shopping today, too. He was quite proud of the sweatshirt he got off the clearance rack for five bucks. Hey, Mom! We trained him well!

I'm almost done with Once a Runner so I have to go to bed soon and finish it. Don't ask me why. I just have to finish it. Erin Hart's new book is next in line. She's going to be in St. Peter on Tuesday but I don't know if I'll go see her. It depends on the weather.

Tomorrow is a day to stay at home. I might take a nap. I plan to pick up the house and do some cooking. I plan to make my grocery list, clean out the refrigerator, get my clothes in the laundry, and get organized. I guess that would be get organized in a general way although being disorganized is sort of a fact of most folks' lives. I would really prefer a kind of gypsy life with no obligations and no responsibilities but maybe I wouldn't like that if I had it.

I say if I won the lottery I would quit working. People tell me I wouldn't be happy doing that. Hmmmm. I'm not so sure.

update on saturday morning

I stuck my head outside into the cold and damp and decided to hell with that. I went to the Pulse where I walked and ran for three miles then pumped some iron for a half hour. Satisfactory workout.

Had to get out the carpet cleaner for a pet mess. Good grief.

Had more coffee and a piece of toast. Into a warm bath to relax with more coffee. I like to make my saturday phone calls from the pool.

Niece Amanda's birthday today and her family might meet up in Mankato giving us a chance to see them. Haven't heard the final plans but we suggested Dino's or Mazatlan. I think we'll make this a relaxing day and tomorrow the day to get organized.

A good day for a nap.

saturday morning

I'm going to write a fast post here while I make my decision about what to do at 7 a.m. I didn't sleep worth a darn, I woke up way too early, and I'm a little grumpy. I can't decide if I should exercise inside this morning or if I should take my iPod and go for a long walk in the rain and muck. I'm leaning toward the outside. I'm not in the mood for a room full of people in a bright room. Yup, that's it. I'll just hit the pavement this morning.

Yesterday, on my way home from work, the sun was actually spotted through the clouds. I saw an actual shadow. I am pretty sure I detected a sliver of blue sky. It was fleeting, as Joanne says, and we were lucky to be outside when it occurred but it was appreciated. Be optimistic, people! The sun is still up there and it will return!

I've had two cups of coffee this morning and ordered some books on Amazon. They make that way too easy. I've gotten interested in Michael Pollan's books. He's been on Oprah lately and while I don't watch Oprah (too much yelling and jumping around), I do pay attention to the news about Oprah. I read his book Food Rules and I think I've written about it here before. One of his rules: If it won't ever rot, don't eat it. Interesting concept, eh?

It's a busy week. St. Patrick's Day Wednesday. Tiffany's birthday Thursday. Vernal equinox on Saturday. Make plans to celebrate one or all of those things. I don't get it when people say they aren't into birthdays. We look for reasons to celebrate so your birthday, my birthday, doesn't matter. Make a cake, pour a glass of wine, wrap up a present.

We went up to Tom and Betty's last night, opened the bar, and had a good time. Betty and I were dancing with Elvis and Gonzo. Good story there, believe me. They seemed to prefer the Jamaican music to the Irish. We're all anxious for patio and pool weather. Ella, Betty says hi... and how's Pitty Pat the Kitty Cat?

Better get my rain gear on so I can go for a walk.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

the nuclear option

I grabbed that phrase from the Colbert Report but I have no idea what it means. I have a severe aversion to the news (always) and more so than usual so I only half listen. I know why it is: that crap gets in your head and goes around like a bumble bee leaving little tiny footprints of shit everywhere it lands.

I was at the Pulse this morning, walking on the treadmill, minding my own business, and all of a sudden realized everyone was gone. I didn't worry too much but I did wonder where they went. Then I saw shadows in the other room and realized they were all in there doing pilates. (How did I miss the exodus?) But...they went away and left the televisions on the news! I ignore it, but why would someone go away and leave the television blaring news about kidnapping and murder and robbery and war? Another poor soul decided to take charge and shut them both off and what a relief it was. Ah, well.

One week from tonight, there is a parade in town. People who are not fans say it's just a bunch of people walking down the street. Those are clans of people of Irish heritage and they're celebrating. There is a difference between that...and people walking down the street.

It looks like we'll make it through this miserable week after all. Ha!

cloudy with a really good chance of rain

For Saint Peter, MN 56082  |
Today...Periods of rain in the morning...then a chance of rain in the afternoon. Widespread dense fog in the morning...then areas of dense fog in the afternoon. Highs 35 to 40. East winds 5 to 10 mph.

Tonight...Cloudy. A chance of rain and areas of drizzle in the evening...then a chance of rain after midnight. Areas of fog through the night. Lows around 35. East winds 10 mph. Chance of rain 40 percent.

Thursday...Rain likely in the morning...then rain in the afternoon. Highs 35 to 40. Northeast winds 10 to 15 mph.

Thursday Night...Cloudy with rain likely. Lows around 35. North winds 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 70 percent.

Friday...Cloudy with a 50 percent chance of rain. Highs around 40. North winds 15 to 20 mph.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

even the bunnies are sick of the weather

I went to the drug store after work which is a story in itself but when I came home, I walked right past this bunny in the front yard. He's hunkered down by silver garbage can we keep in the front yard for bird seed. He looks disgusted, right? I threw a couple carrots out for him but I think I scared him off rather than providing him a meal. He hasn't been back.

We're in the midst of a hard rain. A hard rain's gonna fall, Dylan fans.

Regis made Guinness stew for dinner. It made the whole house smell good. He said there was vegetable identification going on which means that he could tell the parsnips (he finds them loathsome) from the potatoes. We have a glass of wine now and we're going to watch The Big Lebowski in honor of Jeff Bridges and because we need a laugh here in the land of endless gloom. It's all gutter balls and strikes, dude.

Regis is a really good cook, a skill he hid from me for a few years. It's nice to eat the cooking of someone else.

Back to Stephen Colbert. Presidential puberty. Hahahahaaha

So, I guess it's about what we do to get through the March madness. We cook. We have wine. We watch funny movies. We have parties. We pick fleas off the dog.

Regis thinks the animals in captivity are rising up. As evidence he offers: the bear that bit three fingers off the woman in Wisconsin, the whale who did in the trainer at Sea World, and the otter that mauled the face of the 95 year old man. I could have some of the details wrong as I loathe bad news and do my best to avoid it. He says these stories are true.

John Stewart of the Daily Show, the only source on television for legitimate news, has a story on about bombs. I'm not a fan of bombs or news about bombs.

If you haven't been reading the comments on previous posts, you should. They are a hoot. I think some are from my mom and some are from Jill. Probably some from Deb. They're pretty funny.

Happy birthday to my Aunt Vi today. I tried to post a comment on Deb's blog but it wouldn't work from school. We have a chintzy bandwidth. A can and a string between schools, you know, with budget reductions. If I had a few glasses of wine, a microphone, and a podium, I would be dangerous.

Hang on. The sky will clear. The snow will melt. There will be green grass and daffodils and tulips. We'll be able to go outside without mittens and parkas. Be optimistic.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

oh weekend...don't go

We've had a wonderful weekend. I won't do the play-by-play but it's been relaxing and fun. Tonight, I made focaccia bread for dinner and we had Irish cheddar cheese, red and yellow peppers, olives, and shrimp on a nice platter while we watched the Academy Awards. I'd like to stay up until the best actor award is given and I had a nap this morning so it might be possible. Then again, maybe not.

Focaccia bread is very easy to make and very good.

Regis is checking out the weather forecast, and they predict a big thaw this week. Today, even though it didn't look so nice outside, was almost balmy. It smells different when spring weather comes. We continue to look for signs of spring and this week, besides the smell of spring, we've noticed curbs which we haven't seen since November, the sound of birds in the morning, puddles on the streets, and bare legs. A guy has to be optimistic.

I started a project a few weeks ago that involved making sense of all my recipes but I think I'm going to abandon it, or at least I'm going to change it. My idea was to put them all in electronic format, on google docs. I could access them from anywhere and I wouldn't have to dig through piles of paper recipes or binders to find the one I want. But, I've discovered, much like pages of a book on the kindle, there is no context for a recipe in google docs. I don't have the picture, there are no stains on the page, and it doesn't have any recipe friends. Usually, in the binder, recipes are with others from the same meal or the same season or there are some clues about when I made it. I don't like this recipes in isolation thing.

I've noticed that nobody says good-bye in email conversations. At least, most of the time, it's true. I have some friends who write more formal emails and use a greeting and a closing but some friends, who tend to write a line or two every few days...we start a conversation and then one or the other of us just drops it. All those email conversations just floating around there in cyberspace. Unfinished. Very sad.

Well, it's ten o'clock and this show isn't over yet. I'm done. On to Monday.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

saturday in march

Regis and I thought we would be teaching safe driving to old people all day today but thank goodness, nobody signed up for it and we're off the hook. It's a long day when you do an eight hour class.

We thought about going to the cities for a party but decided against that so we've had a quiet day at home.

We have been planning menus for the next couple weeks. It's St. Patrick's Day soon, and one of our favorite holidays but since it falls in the middle of the week, that puts a crimp in a guy's style. We're planning to do some more Irish cooking, though, like Irish stew with parsnips and turnips (and Guinness) and black and tan brownies (with Guinness) and Guinness cake and onion soup (with Guinness). Do you see a pattern here?

We're very seasonal people. We buy different food and drink depending on the season. It's fun to recognize holidays and changes in seasons. Today, we've had a lot of fun reading up on the vernal equinox and checking out recipes for that holiday. We went to the local MGM and checked out beer and wine that are more spring like than the heavy beers of winter. We can't wait to take our culinary act to the patio.

We have the Chieftans on the iPod this afternoon. Last night, we heard a song by Delbert McClinton on the radio at Famous Dave's. We came home and put one of his CDs on the stereo, then realized (via internet) that he is playing at the Medina tonight. We went to one of his shows there...maybe 8 years ago. We had a hard time staying awake for it as he didn't get started until almost 11:00. We thought maybe we'd have a Lone Star and listen to the CDs tonight instead.

In case you want to know the real way to make Irish coffee (as opposed to dumping cheap whiskey in a glass with Cool Whip) here is the link. Bill Murphy is an artist...of apparently more than art. This makes the best Irish coffee ever.

We're making orange chicken for dinner but the more time that passes the less interested I am in cooking tonight. Oh, I am a lazy one.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

oh i just have to share this by verlyn klinkenborg: sometimes the smallest things

Lately I’ve been thinking of the things my parents taught me — all those habits that were handed over to me one by one when I was a child. These are the sorts of thoughts I always have when I’m teaching writing, which is partly the act of revealing bad habits to their surprised owners. What got me thinking this time was the discovery that I’ve been tying my shoes wrong for more than half a century.

I’ve been tying a granny knot in my laces, a lopsided knot that tends to come untied even when doubled. It’s the knot my mother taught me. But thanks to a tip on the Internet, I learned that if I wrap the lace around the first bow the opposite way, I get a reef, or square, knot, which lies evenly across the shoe and doesn’t come untied.

(You can see for yourself at http://bit.ly/92NW56.)

I believe that if my mother had known about the reef knot, she would have taught it to me. What mother wants her child’s laces to come undone?

Here’s another example. My dad taught me how to adjust the sideview mirrors on a car. In their reflection, I learned, I should be able to see the edge of the vehicle I’m driving — as though vertigo might set in if I couldn’t locate a mechanical version of myself in the mirror. But this is exactly the setting that creates a blind spot on both sides. There’s a better way (http://bit.ly/cY2dtl). I’ve been using this new setting on the freeways of Los Angeles, and I realize now that I’ve been driving with my mirrors improperly adjusted for more than 40 years.

These are small things. They’re also deeply embedded and as close to unconscious as learned acts can be. To tie a reef knot in my laces, I have to try to tie a reef knot. That means beginning to do what I’ve always done and then undoing it — reefing the granny, in other words. I’m sure my dad didn’t want me to have blind spots. He simply passed along the blind spots he’d inherited. Now I’m having to learn to trust what the mirrors show instead of what they don’t.

One of the beauties of the Internet is its ability to cough up tips like these from the collective experience of humanity. I’ll discover more, I’m sure — slight, but somehow significant adjustments to the things my parents taught me, the deep habits of a lifetime. I don’t imagine that I’m driving without blind spots in reef-knotted shoes on my way to the examined life. But something has changed, and I welcome it.

another sign of spring: curb

We haven't seen the curb around town for months. Today, I saw curb all along the length of Nicollet Avenue. I called Regis and he said I just might be taking the signs of spring campaign a little too far. I don't think so.

Last night we met our good friend, Bob Bergstrom (alter ego of David Bengtson), in Arlington. Arlington is a town not known for it's plethora of restaurants. It's a town of 2000 people. When I called the Arlington Haus to ask if they were open Monday, only to find out they were not, I asked about other possibilities for a place for old friends to meet. The person I talked to was stumped. Well, she said, I never go to the other end of town. We ain't talkin' the main street of Waterloo. So, we drove to Arlington, met up at an intersection, and went to Triple E's Cafe.

It was real home cookin', for real. Regis had a chili burger, I had a Denver sandwich, and Bob had a chicken salad. Chris took care of us in the modern vernacular...in the old days he would have been called a waiter. They didn't serve beer but the coffee was good and I had a lot of it. Chris was attentive.

We told stories, laughed, and I read Bob's poem about his dad and his uncle who have a laugh over not being able to run anymore. At the end of the evening, a whiskery aproned grill cook came out of the kitchen with a guitar and sang happy birthday to a little boy who was celebrating with his family and a screaming baby sister. He grinned like crazy when the guitar playing cook asked if he liked rock and roll. Very sweet. Very small town.

I'm sorry Marilyn Bergstrom had to be busy during out dinner. Maybe next time, she can join us.

I was tired at the end of the day and came home to try and take a nap in the sun. The dang dog must have dropped a ball under the bed because he kept getting down on his tummy and trying to dig around under there. Good grief. I slept for about ten minutes and woke up cussing the dog.

I saw two people riding bikes this afternoon. He was wearing an Elmer Fudd hat buttoned under his chin. Not a pretty sight. Like the confluence of athleticism and dorkism.

I'm reading a book called Once a Runner. It's about some guys who ran in the 70s. Long distance runners. It's on my kindle and one thing I don't like about the kindle is that when you turn it on, there's the page is. No clues, like the cover of the book. It's like waking up on the high diving board.

I'm getting into the spirit of March with black and tan brownies, Guinness stew (with turnips and parsnips that I loved but Regis hated), shamrock lights, and Jameson home decor. St. Patrick's Day is on Wednesday this year which is kind of a buzz kill.

I came home from exercising this morning at 6:15 and the sky was getting light. It's 6:40 in the evening now and the sky is still light. That means, for the math impaired among us, that we have almost 12 hours of daylight. La dee da la dee da happy dance. That is a huge improvement over December when we had about 8 skimpy hours of daylight.

Hurry spring time. We can't wait to move the Howard Fritsch rosemary back to the patio.