Wednesday, June 30, 2010

mental health

I've had some mental health issues lately. I know usually people don't want to know the details of a guy's mental health problems anymore than they want to know the details of the colonoscopy but I look at this blog as a kind of mental floss, a way to unburden myself of things that get into my head and burrow around like mice.

So I will only say this:

There have been three or four issues that have plagued me for months. I tell myself that I am done with them and will let them go, but then I go back and ruminate on them again and the whole process starts over...trying to figure out what and why and what next. I haven't been able to let it go.

The whole process has gotten so wearisome that I have to do something. Yesterday I made a couple of last ditch efforts. I drank some wine, I cried, I called my mom, I talked to Regis and now I'm really done with it. If peace is what I want, I can have that if I change the way I think about these things. I'm changing the way I think. I won't cry about this anymore.

Life is hard sometimes.

Monday, June 28, 2010

monday and all that malarkey

Monday was about as welcome as usual. I woke up at 4:30 and went to the Pulse. I was able to ambulate in of my own accord so I guess that's a good sign. I did my usual, then started on the summer challenge but decided quickly that I was going to opt to drop out. Fitness challenge drop out, I am. It was starting to feel like a big drag and I would prefer to enjoy my exercise as much as possible. This is better.

I had a lunch meeting with my friend, Gayle. I told her I was afraid she would want to talk about work and frankly, I am out of work marbles. She asked three quick questions and we went on to talk about things more interesting like Patrick's anniversary party Thursday night, the 4th of July, Tucker and Ella, and her new furniture. I learned in the previous meeting that it's important to have some down time from work so this was mine.

We took Ella to the Living Land Farm with us this afternoon. She met Adan and they had a wonderful time. That little guy is three years old and he pointed out all the vegetables as we went through the garden: garlic, onions, fennel, tomatoes, peas. Amazing. He and Ella picked a couple bags of snap peas in short order. They just couldn't stop talking as drove away. The last thing I heard was, "I'm too little to drive, how about you?"

I'm getting a haircut tomorrow. High time. I might cruise the sale racks at TJ Maxx and Kohl's and we'd like to stop at Mazatlan for dinner.

We have a busy weekend coming up and we're looking forward to it. Hey, Mom, are you coming to celebrate your birthday with us?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

4th of July table

Waiting for bad weather.

storms and phones

There were tornadoes and thunderstorms in the area again last night. Regis and I had gone downtown to meet a friend and we had checked the weather radar. It didn't look too bad, at least not ominous. All of a sudden, the televisions started blaring storm warnings, then the television would lose the signal. Anybody who lived in St. Peter in 1998 remembers that we lost contact with KRBI and Bruce Davis right before the tornado hit. The bar was silent as people watched the black screen.

They had a plan to lead everyone to the basement and serve them warm Coors Light but as tempting as that sounded, Regis and I waited until things let up a little then headed home. I'm glad we did because the sirens sounded soon after and we headed to the basement. We were in touch with all kids by text to make sure they were safe. Peter was working at Subway and they had closed so he was hovering close to the walk-in cooler. Tiffany and Elliot were safe in a basement in Eagle Lake. Everyone was safe but I was scared.

As most storms do, this one eventually passed and the sky lightened. It could be a bad summer for storms.

The friend we went to meet had some kind of smart phone which meant she pulled it out of her purse every two minutes to see if something (what? a text message? an email?) had arrived. I've noticed people doing this at meetings, too, now. Phones are always out on the table. They buzz and their owners respond.

This is going to take a whole new set of social norms where it's ok to ignore the person you're with to check your electronic device habitually for an important message about impending heart transplant? It makes me want to throw the things across the room. Really? Can't we just shut them off while we have a glass of wine on Friday afternoon?

I remember when we had one phone in the kitchen with a cord eighteen inches long. You had to stand in front of it to use it. There were ten other people on our line so even if you had time to use the phone, it might not be available. When people called and you weren't home, they didn't get to leave a message and you didn't have caller ID to know they called. If it was important, they called back. It seemed to work.

And don't even get me started on those stupid ear mullet things. Really. We're too lazy to pick up the cell phone?

I know I am being an old crank this morning. Hey, maybe this is one of those generational things. Read this:
Pew also noted 68 percent of Gen X’ers, 50 percent of Boomers and 20 percent of the Silent Generation have slept with their cell phone either on or right next to their bed. Twenty-four percent of Gen X’ers, 13 percent of Boomers and 5 percent of the Silent Generation do not have a landline at home.

On a happier note, something interesting I read this morning: 

Drink, Pray, Sing: My Annual Male Pilgrimage: How bluegrass, bourbon, and deviled eggs keep the men in my family sane, and the women in our lives happy for at least one week a year.

I'm going to exercise and meet a friend for coffee. That ought to improve my outlook!

Friday, June 25, 2010

beer can chicken and cell phone plans

We celebrated Midsummer Day by cooking the best beer can chicken ever. I rubbed him all over with olive oil and a paprika spice mix, stuffed him with fresh herbs from the garden, and set him on a can of Schell's Deer brand beer. We kept the fire hot, about 375, and cooked him for an hour. Oh my. Also cooked a pan of butternut squash cubes. Heaven on the grill.

Peter's phone broke necessitating a new phone. Instead of remaining on our family plan, he moved to his own plan! Hurray and hallelujah! It's our standard for independence...your own cell phone plan. Now 75% of our off-spring are on their own plans and we're happy!

It's Friday, June 25 and I have some major things at work that have to be done by July 1st. I've procrastinated and have a plan to do them all today. Let's see how that goes. I'm not leaving there today until these things are done.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Midsummer Day and the feast day of St. John the Baptist

Now, here is a holiday I didn't know about until right now. I wish I had...I would have planned a party.

All over Europe, from Scandinavia to Spain, and from Ireland to Russia, Saint John's Day festivities are closely associated with the ancient nature lore of the great summer festival of pre-Christian times. Fires are lighted on mountains and hilltops on the eve of his feast. These "Saint John's fires" burn brightly and quietly along the fiords of Norway, on the peaks of the Alps, on the slopes of the Pyrenees, and on the mountains of Spain (where they are called Hogueras). They were an ancient symbol of the warmth and light of the sun which the forefathers greeted at the beginning of summer. In many places, great celebrations are held with dances, games, and outdoor meals. 

In Scandinavia and in the Slavic countries it is an ancient superstition that on Saint John's Day witches and demons are allowed to roam the earth. As at Halloween, children go the rounds and demand "treats," straw figures are thrown into the flames, and much noise is made to drive the demons away.

I'm awake early, since 4 a.m., but don't feel like going to exercise. My muscles are sore and I'm draggy. Guess I can take a day off today. Or maybe I'll take my bike out for a ride before school.

Celebrate Midsummer Day and light a fire on your fjord.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

a flatlander eats crab legs

So, I'm thinking last week that I would like to eat crab legs again. Real ones. In the last 25 years, I've eaten crab legs one other time and it was wholly unsatisfying. They were about as big as a pencil and it took a mighty effort to dig out any meat. What do you expect off the Schwann's truck? Monday morning, Regis bought a pound of crab legs from our favorite market, not wanting to wait until the Crab Deck opened. These crab legs were a tiny bit bigger than a pencil but a pound of crab legs doesn't go too far. If we had a bunch of hungry guys, I figure we'd need abut 18 pounds of crab legs. In my opinion, they were a conveyance for butter and that's about it.

Yesterday was so hot we declined to cook on the grill. Today about noon, a big wind came through and left fall-like weather in its wake. Seriously, it feels like early October. I prefer this to that so I'm not complaining.

We've been drowning slugs in our spare time. We planted canna lilies in front of the window as we did last year, because the hummingbirds are attracted to them. It's been so damp since they came up that they're full of holes from slugs. Regis filled a couple jar lids with beer and voila...many dead slugs.

This probably needs more of an explanation. For some reason, slugs are attracted to beer. If you put little cups of it, even a jar lid filled with beer, in the garden, the slugs will jump in for a swim and drown. Regis feels it is a worthy sacrifice of a beer.

When I left to go to the Pulse this morning, there were two men's Crocs in the street. One in the middle of the street right in front of our house and one in front of the neighbor's house. I stopped the car and tossed the middle of the road Croc to the side. When I came home, they were gone. Makes a guy wonder how they got there and why they disappeared.

I have to do my shoulder exercises. I'm tired and could go to sleep. I'd rather do that.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

wine tour

We had a successful wine tour yesterday. Scheduling was good, we stayed on course, and the weather was gorgeous. Couldn't ask for more.

Friday, June 18, 2010

interesting sky last night

These are mammatus clouds as seen from our front yard. The top photo has been enhanced by Regis with his newly developed photoshop skills. The link will take you to the wikipedia page for mammatus clouds. They're often seen during times of tornadic activity. Here's one more picture that gives you a good indication of where they get the name mammatus.

I'm giving myself until 8:00 to sit and drink coffee and piddle around with my blog and facebook. Then I have to get up and do something. (I've already been to the Pulse to exercise so I'm not a complete slacker this morning.)

Jane and Dick are arriving later this afternoon. We're going to make crab cakes and stuffed peppers, our new bests, on the grill for dinner. We have a good bottle of wine and some cold beer but it will be a quiet night as we get ready for the big wine trip tomorrow.

Here we go.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

some things that have made this week a bitch and some things that have made it fine in no particular order

  • Tonight we had to turn off the oven where the jerk chicken legs were baking and and hustle to the basement because the tornado sirens were blasting. We're not much for taking chances with that kind of thing.
  • Daughter-in-law, Amber, had some scary health issues yesterday that meant an emergency trip to pick her up at work and a trip to the clinic and then to another specialist today. They think they have it diagnosed and it's not serious or life-threatening so we're very relieved.
  • Iowa friend, Dick had some health problems yesterday. For a while, we thought it was related to his congestive heart failure but it wasn't. We're greatly relieved about that, too. It looks like they'll be able to come for the weekend.
  • The wine I tasted at Olives last week came in Tuesday at MGM and wasn't Emily kind to order it for me? Regis has suggested tapping a bottle to taste it and write a review but so far, I've held him off. It's for special occasions.
  • We had some killer meals this week: stuffed portobello mushrooms, stuffed banana peppers, seared tuna, salmon on the grill, steak, and lots of delicious greens from the farm. It's been a good food week.
  • It looks like we might pull off this wine tour yet. We met with Al and John at Patrick's this afternoon to make the final plans. We have an itinerary ready and the vineyards have been notified. Now we cross our fingers that the bus doesn't tip over in the storm.
  • I started physical therapy for my shoulders. Dang those exercises hurt and the whole thing wakes me up in the night. I have to dig little ice bags out of the freezer and balance them on my shoulders while I sleep.
  • Regis says the clouds are ugly and scary and look like they could produce a tornado a half mile wide. This is not good. I hate tornadoes that lurk around in the night.
  • Kramer killed a baby bunny in the yard and scared the rest of the brood so badly that they moved out of their little burrow. We haven't seen them since. How an old dog can zero in on a bunny nest that fast is beyond me. I know we have plenty of them but they're so cute.
  • We saw a mole in the yard on Monday evening. Now that is a creepy looking little animal and we can see why they hang around below the ground. They do not inspire affection. I won't let Regis use traps to kill them though because they could have tiny violins in their underground tunnels like they do in the picture books.
  • I made kale chips one night. Regis ate them. There you go.
  • I guess all in all, there have been more good things this week than bad things. We're looking forward to a great weekend with friends and maybe an evening or two on the patio. Say yes to summer!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

one of our best meals ever

Seared ahi tuna with lemon oregano marinade
Grilled salmon
Salad with beet greens, lettuce, kale, and baby spinach
Braised radishes
Grilled focaccia bread

Too busy eating to take a picture!

community supported agriculture

This year, we bought a half share of a community supported agriculture project in St. Peter. For 260 dollars, we get a box of vegetables every other week. Yesterday was our first pick-up and here it is!

It was so pretty I cleared off the table in the porch so Regis could take some pictures. There's beet greens, kale, lettuce, spinach, radishes, and garlic scapes. At least one of those, I have never eaten before. We had a wonderful dinner with a variety of new vegetables, one of the best I think we have ever made. The garlic scape pesto was a little strong for our taste. I think next time I would throw in some parsley instead of making it with all garlic.

I have a recipe for kale chips that I tried in the afternoon. You tear the kale into bite size pieces, rub it with olive oil and sprinkle it with salt, and bake it until they're crisp. One of our neighbors stopped for a visit and a beer in the afternoon and I served him kale chips. They're not the kind of thing that will take care of a big hunger but the reviews were good. Tasty, light, healthy. Ha!

I'm anxious to try Swiss chard again. Last time, with the chard we bought at the grocery store, it was kind of gnarly and bitter. These leaves are much smaller and more tender.

We've been suffering some nasty weather here. Out of the 15 days so far in June, 11 of them have been rainy. People are starting to get homicidal. We sit on the patio from time to time but it's cold and the bugs are nasty. Last night we sprayed up good with bug juice, lit some citronella candles, and made a go of it. Two neighbors stopped by so you know it's time for the sun to come out. We sit inside all winter...enough of this!

Here's our weather forecast for Tuesday: Mostly cloudy. Scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms in the morning...then scattered thunderstorms and isolated showers in the afternoon. Highs 70 to 75. West winds 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 50 percent. Translation: Fifty percent chance of partly sunny to partly cloudy.

Last night I turned on my kindle to read, started the page, then accidentally went back to the menu. I couldn't remember the title of the book I was reading. This is what I don't like about the kindle. There is no aesthetic connection to the book. No awareness of the size, the cover, the author. I think one of the reasons I haven't been reading much is that it isn't appealing. I'm going back to books for a while to see if it makes a difference.

Our big wine tour is this weekend.  We have about 25 people signed up but not all of them have paid yet which is cause for concern. We might have a bus with 6 people riding to the vineyards. Ah, well.

I'm going to finish this cup of coffee then go to the Pulse. Yes, I am.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

blue weekend

This is the back side of Lamont Cranston. We had a great time at the blues festival. Friday night we had friends for a glass of wine and nachos before heading down to the Redmen to hear Ross William Perry who I had confused with Brandon Scott Sellner. You can see why. Their mothers named them to be blues singers. Regis Howard Fritsch just wouldn't work.

It was a good time but the wine was really bad. There are box wines I like but this wasn't one of them. This would be better used for window cleaning than human consumption.

There was a golf tournament (or whatever you call golf things) yesterday and it must have started in the morning with a beer swill breakfast because some of the participants who came to the bar later were more than comfortably numb. Our table was by the men's john so we started doing a little research: How many men carried their drinks into the bathroom with them? Results: Almost 100%. One guy took us up on our offer to set his drink down on our table but he took that as an invitation and sat down when he came out. He had a serious mumble going on so it was an interesting conversation.

We're amazed at the people we see at these things. Where do these people come from? Regis said a few of them looked like they came right out of the meth lab and he's right. It's fun to see people that you only see at outdoor music festivals.

I had a great post almost written in my head yesterday morning but it's gone now.

I went for a long run/walk this morning. I'm doing the summer challenge at the Pulse so I had to go a mile further than the farthest I've gone this month. That meant I had to go 5.5 miles. I can't say I was looking forward to that so I got up early, had a cup of coffee, and set out. I do the Jeff Galloway walk/run technique so I have permission to walk when I need to. I made it up the Grace Street hill without dying; always a good sign. I would say there was one stretch, about mile #2, where I almost enjoyed it and didn't feel like I wanted to sit down.

I'm moving on with the day. Soaked in the tub with the variety and travel sections of the Trib, going to make my menu and grocery list for the week, got the laundry down the chute, need to fill the bird feeders. Here we go.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

reunion of the class of 1970

I told those people I didn't want to attend my 40th class reunion because it would be a bunch of old people. Haha. No kidding and here's the proof. I get a picture via email today of two of the characters I graduated with and what do you know they're old dudes. I used to ride to junior high football games on a school bus with David, on the right. Heck, that was in the early 1960's which is more than a few years ago. We thought we were pretty funny and we probably were. Holy crap. How does it happen that you get old right before your own eyes?

We made fajitas on the grill tonight and has some pico de gallo with it. Delicious. I made a sugar-free key lime mousse for dessert that tasted like a chemical waste dump. I hate the taste of artificial sweeteners and would rather just do without. I liked the taste of the key lime but the truvia was nasty.

The birds were crazy in the yard tonight and were all over the peanuts and sunflower seeds. We bought a new feeder for peanuts on the recommendation of a guy at the pet store. We weren't getting any action on it and I was ready to do a numchuck on the guy's head. In the last three days, the chickadees have emptied the thing twice. A squirrel managed to get the lid off of one so they can get right into it and eat to their tiny heart's content.

This is the weekend of the Ambassador's Bluesfest in St. Peter. We loved it last year and hope for a successful event this year. We're planning to attend Ross William Perry on Friday night at the Redmen and most of the Saturday events in the park. Hoping for nice weather which ain't bloody likely with the 60% chance of inclement weather in the form of thunderstorms and precipitation.

I'm kind of out of brain cells tonight. 

I'm going to see an orthopedic doctor tomorrow to see what the H is up with my shoulder pain. I can't even run a vacuum without suffering for two days and while it's a nice excuse for not vacuuming, it sort of limits the things a guy can do.

I think Ella is coming over for dinner tomorrow night. She told me I should call her in the morning to see how she's feeling and she would like to come for dinner on the grill if she feels good. Ok then. I like a woman who takes charge of her own future. I can guarantee when she comes she will want to do the following: see Paul's fish, say hi to Katherine, and read books in bed. Those are her favorite things to do at our house. She likes to help with the cooking, too, and always gets the step stool so she can be right up in there to help.

Regis and I are tasting pinot noir this week. I had a glass at Olive's yesterday that was so good and I came back to town and inquired abut it at MGM. Now he's got a spreadsheet of wine reviews and I have to say what I like and don't like about each wine. I'm such a rube. I say, "Yeah, it's good. No chemical smell", which in my book is high praise. He turns that into something that should be in Wine Connoisseur. I say, "Better than Ripple," and there you go.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

barking dog

This is a picture of the crab cakes we made on the grill last night. They're topped with mango salsa and served on my new dragon fly appetizer plates. And that's the tiny fork next to it. The crab cakes were delicious.

Maybe you know Billy Collins' poem Another Reason Why I Don't Keep a Gun in the House. It's worth a look if you live next door to a small constantly barking dog. Too bad the snakes didn't get him.

I met some friends for lunch at Olives in Mankato. Karen is moving to Bangladesh to teach at an IB school. IB always makes me think of irritable bowel syndrome but I think that has an extra letter. The food was wonderful. I had the schwarma chicken salad and a glass of the best pinot noir. I'm afraid to look it has to be expensive. Well, here it is and twenty bucks a bottle isn't too bad. Not your every day kind of wine but something for a special occasion.

Here's what the website says: Seductive sun-warmed rose and forest loam nuances mingle with the red fruits, along with roasted coffee bean and vanilla notes from barrel aging. There's a hint of tangerine zest on the long, fruit-imbued finish. This wine's silky flavors, bright acidity and fine tannins make an elegant pairing with grilled salmon, wild mushroom risotto or roasted turkey and lamb. The myriad of dark fruit and floral notes in this Pinot Noir come from the cool, windy Los Carneros American Viticultural Area (AVA) in the southern reaches of Napa Valley. Satsuma plum, blackberry, red rose and violet notes weave through the enticing aromas. Silky, elegant flavors echo the aromas, adding blueberry and plum to the rich fruit complexity.

Oh, man. 

There was a man at the next table absolutely expounding about nearly everything. One thing he said that made me draw my notebook out of my purse and start taking notes on his rants: If food is unarmed, I eat it. He got a little quieter after that so I only got snippets but he went on and on about astrology and astronomy and ecology. I bet it was a tiresome lunch for his pal. Uff da.

Regis and I made a trip to the liquor store late this afternoon to find a few red wines to try. Regis has always been a beer drinker but decided to try wine. I loved the Acacia wine I had today so we asked about that one. The young woman helping us found the wine buyer who called her supplier. Holy crap. We buy wine that costs less than ten dollars a bottle so this was pressure. She was very kind and offered to order up some of the Acacia by next week. We came home with a couple of other cheap bottles to sample. She showed us a bottle of 75 dollar pinot noir but that's a little rich for our taste.

We're sitting here with a bottle of very cheap Lindemann's wine and trying to make notes like we're wine connoisseurs. Damn blogspot. Keeps putting italics where I don't want them. It's my fault. I couldn't spell connoisseurs and had to google it and paste it in to my post. Hell.
So now we have a document with our wine reviews. I'm sure, since we are captivated by our imperfect lives, it will become part of the blog at some point.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

luverne and a happy graduate

Here is a picture of my sister-in-law, Helen, and her daughters Rachel and Amanda. Rachel is the happy high school graduate. They had a nice party at the coffee shop downtown in Luverne. Mom was there and it was fun to see her. Regis and I left St. Peter about noon and got back to St. Peter at 7 so it was a lot of butt time in the car. I love the landscape down by Luverne...that's real prairie. As my grandma always said, "It's a good thing to see from horizon to horizon". I think she meant that nobody can sneak up on you in a place like that.

I planned to sleep in this morning since I don't have to go anywhere but I woke up at 4:00 like I always do. Damn. I might try to go back to sleep. Maybe I feel a nap coming on today.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

kramer update

It cost us 150 dollars to find out that the dog has a back problem (nerve and disk) that old dogs get. He is on strict rest for 4 weeks which is ironic since all he does is sleep and bark at an occasional squirrel. He is not supposed to jump on furniture or go down stairs. We only have a couple steps in our whole house so that isn't a problem but keeping him from jumping on the furniture will be impossible. They gave him a RX for some pills that are mostly chondroitin. Chondroitin costs about $1.99 at Walgreen's, but apparently more at the dog pharmacy, so you can see they didn't read his chart where it says "this dog has exceeded his out-of-pocket maximum".

sad saturday and is it summer yet?

I woke up at 4 this morning. I'm sad today. Our little dog is having trouble with his back legs and I have a feeling this won't end well. Regis is very sad and upset. Poor Kramer. We'll take him to the vet this morning to see what they say.

I'm also sad about some of the people in my life.

I cried twice this week. Maybe it's just end of the year fatigue. I don't think I work that hard that I should be fatigued from it but what the hell. Maybe as you get older it takes less to beat your ass.

I vacuumed my office yesterday and got the worst back and shoulder pain from it. The lesson is that I should avoid that kind of cleaning activity.

I haven't seen Elliot since Peter's graduation and I haven't seen Ella and Alex since Mother's Day. You'd think we lived in another state instead of across town.

The gnats have been so bad lately that we don't sit outside so much. I miss it. Maybe I have nature deprivation disorder.

I planted the moon flower yesterday. I bought it because I remember Grandma loving them. I don't recall that she had them vine up anything...they just grew across the ground. This thing was trying to escape the pot when I brought it home. I put it under a thing so it can grow up. We'll see how it goes.

I didn't plant any annual flowers this year except a few in pots, and was mostly attracted to herbs so we have a crop of basil and the usual suspects. I planted lavender in a pot by the door, and another rosemary plant. The one in the Howard pot looks a little rough. I think it was water deprived over the winter. I can't be trusted with houseplants.

I had a piece of peanut butter toast for breakfast. Ultimate comfort food.

I just realized I had forgotten to turn my calendar from May to June. It only took five days. Holy hell.

Yesterday was my dad's birthday. I think he is standing in front of the Stanley Hotel in this picture. In my memory there is a picket fence around a garden on the side. I have lots of pictures taken there but this is the only one where you can see the fence. There are lots of hollyhocks and zinnias.

Here's another one. Looks like a different fence, though. I think this one is taken by the hotel and the other one...not so sure. Boy, I look grumpy. What's up with that?

We're going to Luverne today for Rachel's graduation. On the road.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Teresa’s Big Adventure or Running with the Big Girls

The Pulse sent out an email about this a couple weeks ago saying that June 2nd was National Running Day and they were having three runs: a 5 a.m. 5 mile run, a 6 p.m. 2 mile family run, and a 7 p.m. 7 mile run. I didn't give it much thought because I started thinking about all the things that can go wrong when you run outside...big dogs, potholes, rocks, falling down and hitting your head, and more bad things that I haven’t even thought of yet.

This morning, when I realized today was National Running Day, I thought, "I can do this." Even though the furthest I have ever gone is a little over 3 miles and I walk one minute for every three minutes of running, I thought it’s time to stop being ruled by fear. I can do this.

I went down and talked to Rachel first, apologizing already for being slow. She said they would be happy to take me and would match my pace and stay with me through the walks. She was encouraging and laughed when I said I had a cell phone so if I fell down and needed help, I could call 911.

Pretty soon, I'm out at 5:30 a.m. with two women who have run in the Boston Marathon and one who qualified to run in the Boston Marathon. What have I gotten myself into, I wondered. This is like saying you're going for a leisurely bike ride and Lance Armstrong shows up.

They were very kind, though, and did match my pace, stuck with me through my walks, and even when I said I was headed back, they met up with me after a while and we ran in the last few blocks together. I ran 4.33 miles with a few walking breaks.

I'm not sure what I'm prouder of...the running with those strong women or overcoming my fear of dogs and potholes!

I met up with some teacher friends at the end of the day at one of the local watering holes. We had some appetizers and some wine and a few dark beers. We had to say good-bye to a teacher who is retiring. Oh, my. Change is hard to take sometimes.

Regis and I came in to watch a little mindless television and the screen looks like a Picasso collage. What the hell. As I've said before, if anything happens to Regis (like an alien ship sucks him up), I will have to give the television away because I have not idea how to operate it. No flippin' clue. I push random buttons until something comes on and then I try to make the next thing come on. I've decided that I lived without internet and cable television before and I can do it again.

So, we call the internet provider and they ask about a million questions to make sure we are the people on the account. Like who else will call and ask about  our stupid ass television service? They can't come until Friday so we shut the thing off, turn it back on, and it works. Imagine.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010, tuesday

Forgot what day it was there for a minute. The weekend went fast and it took wild horses to get me out the door this morning.

On Monday, we took our annual road trip with the Hynes-McGraws. Here are Betty and I with a be-shorted and sun-glassed bear at the Bear's Den in Elysian. We look so scared, not because of the bear, but because of the bad food. They should change their grease, man. And maybe buy some fresh lettuce.

Here we are in front of the White Front Saloon in Montgomery which turned out to be the highlight of our trip. What a spanking clean and friendly place. They even had free hot dogs and the bartender made a special trip over to tell us to help ourselves. I'd had enough hog parts and sodium for the day so I passed, but Tom said they were good. Someone in that place is a sports fan because they had more memorabilia than you could shake a stick at. It was such a nice place that we agreed it would be worth a trip back there and not by way of the Bear's Den.

I made a new vegetable today. Swiss chard got rave reviews on the message board but I didn't think it would be something I would make again. It's sort of labor intensive for a leafy green thing. Little stick pieces of ginger, minced garlic, and all those green leafy things. Maybe they should have been smaller because they were bitter and icky tasting. I'll have to do a little culinary research. If you have experience with Swiss chard, leave a comment.

I took my bike out for the maiden voyage of 2010. I didn't ride it much last summer because once they started ripping into our streets right after the 4th of July it was every man for himself on the mean streets of St. Peter. It was frightening enough to be in a vehicle. I wasn't going out there with all my limbs exposed. It was pleasant riding around the neighborhood. Saw a couple people I hadn't seen all winter, saw a couple new dogs, saw a couple old easy chairs that had been left out in the storm today. Those babies are water-logged, let me tell you. That bike is a nice little cruising machine.

We had two inches of pounding rain today. I mean it looked like the inside of a car wash.

I'm trying to revise my exercise regimen so I don't have to get up in the middle of the night and go to bed at dinner time. I think a lot of people have very active lives after I have gone to sleep. I'll see how that goes. Next week, I might go to yoga on Tuesday nights. I think the evenings are more crowded and loud than in the early mornings at the Pulse. And you know how I am about stimulation. I don't like it.

I have a 40th class reunion in August. It's amazing, really, that I graduated from high school 40 years ago. It sure doesn't seem like that long ago in some ways. In other ways it seems like a galaxy far far know how that goes. It's funny that you feel like such a dork when you're 16 and you grow into sort of a decent person and you think everyone will remember the dork you were but they don't. I only know that because I don't really remember the other dorks. Haha!

The other day, Regis and I went to HyVee to buy groceries. In front of the store, they had a rack of planters. The sign on the rack said this:

oval planters
rect planters

For some reason, this tickled me greatly. I suppose I could explain it more here but it would just sound stupid and it probably is. I read the sign out loud...oral planters and rectal planters...and laughed and laughed. Some days a guy has to make his own fun. Like I said, it was stupid.

I've been reading a lot of non-fiction lately. What happens is that it intrigues me for about five chapters, then I get bored and move on to something else. Consequently, I have many unfinished books. That would be ok, but it is getting irksome because I keep trying to go back and finish them. Maybe it isn't worth it. These authors should stick to magazine articles. I can finish those.

There you go. Happy June 1st.