Friday, July 30, 2010

wedding discovery

Regis is doing a wedding this weekend for some young kids who are friends of Regis and Bob. They live about four blocks away from us down on Broadway. At the rehearsal tonight, we met the mother of the groom who talked about a dog they had named Buddy. Tick tick tick...and suddenly we put it together: Buddy Voss!

When we first moved into this neighborhood, Buddy was infamous. He was a huge yellow lab with a reputation for escaping his yard like Houdini. He would come down to our house on a regular basis, leap over our fence in the back yard, and drive our dogs insane. He was tall enough to look into our windows and leave elephant sized piles of poop on the tops of our shrubs. Buddy was captured so many times by the canine cops that eventually he learned to trot right to the dog pound when he was hungry and tired of running. Kind of like Otis in Mayberry checking himself into the jail.

The wedding is at the Kato Ballroom although I think it calls itself an entertainment center now. This is from the internet:
The Kato Ballroom opened its doors back in the early 1950s around the advent of rock and roll. Before long the Kato established itself as a Mankato hotspot hosting legends like Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis and even Louis Armstrong. Not much has changed at the Kato Ballroom over the past 50 years. The pink neon sign perched on op of the building is the same. So is the stage with its red velvet curtain and the giant wooden dance floor.

Regis and I both experienced this weird metallic taste tonight. After some internet investigation, we've discovered a likely cause is the pine nuts I put in the basil pesto. I've never bought them before and I think next time, I'll use walnuts instead.

Well, that's enough of my soap opera for today.

meat and heat and the end of summer

Meat Mike called a couple days ago and our beef has gone to the butcher. Nice he didn't say that our cow had gone to the butcher. I decided to pick up our vegetables at the farm because I wanted to see the place where they grow, but I'm not sure I feel the same about my beef. I think I still prefer that process to be a little sanitized for me. I know where the beef comes from but I will be just fine seeing it wrapped in plastic in my freezer.

We had some friends over for dinner last night. What a fun evening. Regis made wonderful ribs, all the food was good, we had a lot of laughs, and now there is a mess in the kitchen. Ah, well. The price you pay for having fun.

I should have gone on the group run this morning at 7:15. Five miles. I just couldn't make myself do it and I have blamed the heat, the knees, the distance, and probably a few other random things. The fact is that I didn't go which is not good. I need to get my mojo back.

Regis is performing a wedding this weekend so we're going to a rehearsal and dinner tonight and a wedding tomorrow. He hasn't done one for a while and we always enjoy them. We meet very nice people, usually enjoy some good food and music and lots of visiting.

Tiffany and Elliot are coming over Sunday for a while. I bought a little picnic table for the kids. Isn't it cute? I can't wait to have them all here sitting around the table with their juice boxes and crayons. It's small enough that it can be set up in the living room (without the umbrella, I hope) so they'll have a place to hang around inside.

I am grieving the end of summer. We haven't been outside as much this summer as were last summer because the humidity and the bugs have been horrendous. My garden has been neglected. The bird feeders have been neglected. We haven't visited with our neighbors much. I makes me sad. Soon, the days will be noticeably shorter and we'll be back to our inside working lives.

I am giving serious consideration to retiring from teaching next summer. I'll meet the Rule of 90 on September 22 which means my age and he number of years I have been teaching will add up to 90. Interesting. We met with a TRA counselor this summer and it looks like it's possible. We may have to work part-time to pay for our insurance and we sure won't be taking any European vacations but I'm looking forward to it. There are some more things to consider and we have to look at the numbers one more time before I make a final decision. Interesting to think about retiring when you don't feel old.

On to the messy kitchen.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Regis took this beautiful picture of a dragonfly this morning. It was on what we call the cannolis. Really they are canna lilies.

I've had a busy day not doing too much. We're having some young friends (as opposed to our old friends...hahaha!) over for dinner so we're cooking and cleaning up the patio and hiding stuff in closets. I never get my big clean-up done because I am too easily distracted. I get a few things sorted and packed up, then I find something else to do.

We're making Regis's wonderful ribs on the grill, stuffed peppers which are our current summer favorites, and focaccia bread. Instead of a green salad, I'm going to make a caprese salad with tomatoes from Living Land Farm, fresh mozzarella, and basil from my garden.

Facebook is a strange phenomenon. This morning, I noticed on the recommended pages that Jesus has a Facebook page and quite a few fans. This afternoon, I see Elvis has a Facebook page also, and it looks like he has more fans than Jesus. Of course, maybe the fans of Jesus aren't on Facebook as much as the fans of Elvis.

I have quite a few people that I have hidden from my news feeds on Facebook, too. I figure if people are writing things I don't want to read, it's my right. I hide Farmville and everything remotely related to games or contests or quizzes. That shit is just way too stimulating to even look at as far as I'm concerned. Now if these people want to write something that's really going on that isn't too depressing, hey, I'm happy to read it.

When I retire, I'm going to keep myself busy writing things for people like obituaries, family stories, and whatever.

I was pondering things this morning as I rode my bike. At any given moment, among all the people I know, there are joyous things and very sad things happening: Heroe and Sara waiting for babies in the fall, Annie and  Elisabeth waiting for babies in the fall, Nicole waiting for a baby in January, people hoping in the worst way for a baby, a friend of my mom's waiting for a journey to the other side, Christine waiting for a lung transplant, health problems, mental health issues, employment problems. It's a complicated world. Here's one of my favorite Opus cartoons that expresses it perfectly.

It's a rotten world with great peaches, folks. Opus says so.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

hotter than blue blazes out there

I put on my running shoes and left the house at 6:15 this morning because I knew it was going to be hot. The temperature was already 72 and the dew point was 72 so it was a steamy one. It was a tough run and I might just as well as tied the Honda to my hind end as much mileage as I did. I was pitiful. Tomorrow I think I will hang around indoors to do my exercise.

Then I had to go to work. There's a big meeting tomorrow and I had updates on all my little jobs to prepare. My office was full of crap from other rooms that were being cleaned so it was difficult getting around and finding things especially my marbles. It took me five hours to do 45 minutes worth of work. Seriously. What the hell.

I stopped at the coop to buy some pine nuts. Fifty dollars later, I come out of the coop with three kinds of nuts, two kinds of cheese, and two packages of Andouille sausage. They don't always have it and we like it chopped up in stuffed peppers.

A helicopter just flew over the house. Such a creepy sound.

We watched The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo last night. It was a good story but there was way too much graphic and sexual violence for my taste. Regis said it was almost too much for him. I tried the peeking through the fingers thing but eventually had to just give it up. I have this book on my Kindle but haven't read it yet. Now I want it off of there.

On the other end of the spectrum, we watched Hot Tub Time Machine the other night. Whack-o. Completely whack-o. I thought I was getting a little weary of the pranks when the end came and it was interesting. We laughed a lot. Good lines.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


The fajitas, a recipe I found in the Weber grilling cookbook, were delicious. They were made with a flank steak on the grill. We grilled the peppers and onions and served them with sour cream and pico de gallo. Oh my. So good. So much better than the fajitas I used to make in a pan.

some things I learned today

In the last couple days, I read Marathoning for Mortals. It came to me at just the right time. I was getting terrified, looking into the future and seeing myself all hobbled up and trying to run 13 miles. John Bingham makes it sound like something real people can do and he helped me realize that it's ok if I walk now and then. I feel better just knowing that I can walk if I want to walk. Rachel, God bless her, is a driven runner and I'm not sure she understands the needs of the less driven, former couch potato as myself.

I use a Nike + when I run or walk outside. This morning when I got back and ended the workout, Tiger Woods came on and said, "That was an amazing workout!" I bet they wish they could have a do-over on that one. Then when I plugged it into my computer, some dude came on and said, "Not everybody can run a hundred miles. You are officially a bad-ass." Really. A bad ass.

So, I had a five mile run on the agenda this morning. This is what I learned:

  • I can recover my breathing by slowing my pace. I was running between 9:30 and 10:30 and I figured out how to not croak while running about 13:00. Nice. If I go faster sometimes and slower sometimes and my average is about 13 minute miles, then I should be able to finish a half marathon in under three hours, not accounting for dragging my ass the last couple miles. At least I will make my goal in finishing on the same day it starts.
  • I can appreciate and be grateful for every slow step whether I am walking or running. It's a miracle that I started and it's not important that I am a speed demon. This was a beautiful morning and I was lucky to be out in it.
  • I can't go five miles walking or running without sustenance. Regis and Peter have made merciless fun of my belt with two water bottles. They said I will be the goofiest one in the race but I don't care. I think it will be better than tipping over in the gutter.
Bingham calls himself the Penguin and he has a line of very funny shirts. He has one that says this:
Front: If it weren't for me you'd have nobody to pass.
Back: If you can read this I'm not last.

A friend of mine is reading my blog from the first post to the last....through the archives. It's been a hoot to get her comments as she goes. This morning, we've been reading through some of Bert's antics toward the end of his the time he peed on the Christmas tree skirt, the little bastard.

We're making carne asada fajitas for dinner tonight. Here is generally how it's made: To make this cook the Carne Asada on the BBQ grill. After you have the meat started, fry up some onions and peppers in a skillet on high heat. I added lime juice and garlic when it was almost done. Build out the fajita with the grilled meat, peppers and onions. I covered this with homemade salsa, Habanero Cheddar Cheese from Costco and homemade Guacamole, season to taste.

That's all the news for today. Have a sweet Sunday.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Once when I was doing staff development for teachers of writing, I used an overhead slide and I misspelled lightening. I bet they used that to discount what I said. Misspelling a word is worse than death to English teachers.

We've had the nicest lazy day. I'm hoping that when I retire I don't sink completely into lethargy like this. I feel like now I have to conserve my energy and wallow in indolence because soon I'll be going back to work. And she drops her head to the table and weeps.

And the fir tree went unconscious and fell over. This is a line from the Prairie Home Companion show. Last night we watched the end of the PHC movie. I sang right out loud and cried at the end. That is the best movie. Then we went down to the bar and met up with Ben and Dolores for a glass of wine.

We went to Mankato this afternoon as Regis needed a new shirt for a wedding he is performing next weekend. We decided to go to Famous Dave's for ribs for a late lunch/early dinner. It was really bad timing because the tea party was having a gathering in a lot across the street and it practically sent Regis into apoplexy. We managed to get out of town without being arrested.

Regis (the young one) called from Grand Rapids. He and Amber are there for a visit and the whole family had gone to the local farm supply store to look for stuff. He was currently trying on a coonskin cap. Now, how many stores in America still carry those? He sent a cell phone picture so I'll try to capture it in this medium so you can enjoy it, too.

This, remember, is a kid who grew up in the urban jungle of Philadelphia. I'm going to check his cuffs for hayseeds when he comes home.

And now a funny story about the other son and his precocious daughter, Miss Ella. Regis went over for a visit this morning and they all talked about a wedding that we are all attending next Saturday. The men expressed some confusion about the time of the ceremony. Bob found a wedding invitation and he and his dad examined it, looking for the details for a while before they realized this was not the correct invitation. Miss Ella, always on top of things, said, "Here's the right one, Dad," and sure enough, she had the right one. Regis asked if Grandma Kathy was coming to stay with Ella and Alex. Bob wasn't sure. Ella said, "Dad, Melissa and Jeremy are coming to watch us." That kid will be doing their taxes and organizing the bills before you know it. Everyone should have a four-year old around.

Ok, I better get up and do some dishes. Happy Saturday.

that was some great thunder and lightening

We slept with the bedroom curtains open so we could watch the light show last night. Not much rain came out of it but it was a spectacular show for a while. I had a restless night...dreams, worries, those gray-faced guys marching around the bed. You know the ones.

I ran three miles this morning. I can't do it without stopping and Rachel tells me I have to quit doing that...stopping, that is. There isn't a good reason for head just says to stop and I've been lucky enough to always run with people who let me do it. I plugged my iPod thing in and I ran almost a hundred miles since the end of April. I know, not halfway around the globe or anything but still a miracle. As I read yesterday, the miracle is not that I finished but that I started.

My neighbors are out running their machines already this morning. One a lawn mower and the other a power washer. We really need lazier neighbors or at least some with lower standards for lawn care. Our back yard looks like a meadow but you have to make a real effort to see it so we're not bothered. We figure we're making oxygen.

I just looked at my calendar with a sense of dread. I have some work obligations this week and wanted to make sure I didn't forgot to go.

Regis and I just talked ourselves out of Saturday lawn care. We'll do it tomorrow. Really, we will.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

draggin' myself around today

I have a day of rest tomorrow but I should have taken it today. I went to the Pulse but didn't make 3.5 miles. Had to finish on the stairs. My clothes were soaked when I got home.

I made breakfast for Peter...pancakes and bacon. The house smells so good.

I cleaned out a spot for our tiny freezer. They should be bringing it between now and 2:00. Regis thought they would leave it at the curb. Maybe that's how they deliver things in Pennsylvania but not here in Minnesota.

My neighbor's dog is going crazy again today. Why would someone own a dog that yips like that all day long? It's why I don't keep a gun in the house. Hee hee.

I have a heap of crap in the back porch that will get boxed up and taken to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. How does a guy accumulate all that stuff? Three things we've discovered:

  1. Don't look at ads. If you don't look at ads, you don't realize all the junk they advertise that you really don't need but will buy anyway.
  2. Don't shop at discount stores. You cannot get out of there without spending a hundred bucks on stuff you don't need but think you do.
  3. Avoid stores that offer you a cart. If you have a cart, you buy more stuff. If you have to carry it around, it limits the stuff you buy.
I was looking at book reviews this morning. I think it's interesting when someone reads a mystery and then complains in the review that the book wasn't a romance. We went to hear a reading by an author once. A woman in the audience raised her hand and said she didn't like how the father in the story was portrayed; she thought the character should have spent more time with his kids. What the heck didn't she get about fiction?

I have some things to do this morning. I want to pack up those boxes, send a check for my reunion meal to Rolf, and shoot that damn dog. See you later.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tiffany graduates

Tiffany graduated this morning from her employment skills class. I cried and cried. So many stories of hope and optimism. I am so proud of her. Bless her heart, my sweet baby girl. 

that steak...oh my and god bless the cow with the big brown eyes

We grilled two big steaks last night with a Penzey's spice rub called English Prime Rib Rub. OMG. Delicious. I can only eat a small amount of beef so I shared the steak Regis ate, then stowed mine in the refrigerator. He had it tonight. We were moved to call the cow man and report on the quality of the steaks. Prime. Wonderful. Delicious.

Today was day #3 of my half marathon training. Oh my. I dragged my feet. I had to do 5 intervals of 1/4 mile sprints...9 mph and 10:30 mph. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be but I was sweating like crazy when I was done. I didn't want to do it but I can't quit now. I made it. Tomorrow I have to run three miles and Kris is going to meet me at the Pulse at 5:00 to run to the Catholic Church and back. No significance to that. Sunday is my big day... a 5 mile run. Holy crap.

I'm going to have two kids and a husband out in the driveway doing a man project...checking out the interior or a door for a stuck window. Why do men enjoy this so much? I can see already that this will involve a 12 pack, a couple of lawn chairs, and maybe a pizza.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

plan of the day and cows

 I intended to get up at 4 so I could join the 5 a.m. group run. I was there in time but I was intimidated by my own head) so I ran on the treadmill instead. I ran for 3 miles with very briefs stops along the sway to mop sweat and replace fluids. I wasn't really winded at the end which I guess means I can do that much for sure. It's something in my mind that wants me to stop. Probably years of thinking that I would keel over if I exerted myself at all.

I came home to clean up the kitchen and read a little.

Regis and I have been enjoying Radio Heartland although we were disconcerted to find out that they unceremoniously dumped Dale Connelly, the bunch of chumps. Same reason Bruce Davis was dumped by KRBI a few years ago, I suppose. Most radio is canned programming so it's cheap. Some dude sits in a cubicle in Toledo and runs radio stations all over the country. It's disheartening.

I forgot to mention that we bought some organic, farm raised, corn and pasture fed beef from a farmer outside of St. Peter. When I talked to him on the phone, he said he has 12 very happy and contented cows and I could come out to meet them if I wanted to but I declined. I'm afraid once I looked into those big brown eyes, the roasts wouldn't taste quite so good.

Our first plan was to store it across town in Bob's freezer but then we decided to buy a small (5.5 cubic feet) freezer to keep on our porch. We bought such a small one because we're determined to not let it get out of control as freezers are wont to do. This one will hold about a quarter of beef and a few other things.

This farmer also raises happy chickens so we'll try some of those the end of the month. We're trying to avoid factory raised meat.

For dinner tonight, we're going to have T-bone steaks from the happy cows, thanks to the friends who recommended the farmer. Also have lots of greens from the farm, fresh green beans, and a little piece of rosemary and garlic bread from the farmer's market.

My cell phone seems to be on the blink. It refuses to respond to the buttons so I can't see text messages or make calls. Uh oh.

I think I need a nap.

Monday, July 19, 2010

what the...

I've written a lot here about my exercise and how weird it feels, at my age, to become interested in being physically active in any way. I was never competitive, never interested in games or sports or anything that caused a remote sweat in myself or anyone else. So, I'm pondering the why and how of it.

I've done three of those fun runs now. The one last Halloween, the Jingle Bell Jam in New Ulm, and the Freedom Run on the 4th of July. Joanne and I ran and walked together on the Halloween Run but the others were solitary affairs for me.

I noticed at the beginning of the 4th of July run, that there was an emotional response to running with all those people. I almost wept running down Third Street, for goodness sake. What? I had a hard time believing it. I have always been a weeper, but a weeper over a sporting event? It was unthinkable.

This summer I've run a couple times with other people. Once with the group of women that we call "the heavy hitters", the big girls. The women who have run the Boston Marathon, for goodness sake. I'm way out of their league but they're kind and encouraging and it was great fun. There it was...the welling of emotion again. I've thought a lot about it and it's energizing and empowering and's a thrill. And apparently it's a little bit addicting, this rush of endorphins.

This past week, I started thinking about the Mankato Half Marathon in a way that made me wonder if that was something I really could do. Rachel thinks I can. She says, of course you can. Really?

This weekend, I printed the training schedule spent a couple days studying it. Yesterday, I registered to run 13 miles in October. Toward the end of September, I should be able to run 10 miles so I registered for Women Run the Cities.

I can't quite decide how I feel about this. Am I crazy? I think I can do it. I think I can prepare and do the best I can do. But it feels funny to say it and to write I am talking, in the most normal way, about becoming a brain surgeon or growing another head or sprouting wings. Yeah, it feels like I am talking about sprouting wings and I don't mean metaphorical wings either.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

doldrums of july

We're in the doldrums of July. It's hot, it's humid, there are storm warnings about every three days, and I take a nap a day. It's not so bad, really.

This afternoon, in the 98 degree heat, we went up to Tom and Betty's house and paddled around their pool in big floating lawn chairs wearing straw hats and sun screen and carrying glasses of chilled wine. It was delightful. Tom made a beef brisket on the grill and we had fresh berries and potato salad. A perfect summer day. Now we're home watching the storm warnings.

Kids from down the street are walking over for apple pie. Not the kind you bake.

We had a nice time. Amber's brother, Mike, from Grand Forks is here visiting so he came along with Reg and Amber. We talked smart and had a few snacks and some drinks.

It's raining a bit now so it feels like a sauna outside.

Happy sleeping. Hope you all have AC!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

random stuff

I've been awake since 3:30. I suppose because I went to sleep so early for which there was no good reason. I feel my summer coming to an end already... and how can that be?

At 3:30, I made coffee and set about paying bills.Good thing we had some money left. Then I took a notion to clean off my desk and get rid of some of the stuff I save but don't use. Two garbage bags later, I moved on to another project. Not yet 5 a.m.

I started a box for the thrift store.

I got a package ready to mail. Or UPS.

I got another package of pictures ready to mail to Iowa.

I did some work (school-related).

I went to the pool to watch Ella's swimming lesson. She went off the diving board!

I went to the funeral for the mom of a friend of mine. She was 95 years old so there were lots of o-l-d people in the audience. Interesting to note how many ladies still wear clip earrings. In their pretty pastel colors and poofy white hair, they looked like cupcakes.

Home again thinking of another project. The problem with my projects is that I am so easily distractable. Maybe I'm done for the day. A nap sounds good.

no such luck

I got a call from the garden ladies last night. I was not a winner in the garden make-over contest. I wasn't too disappointed as the rest of the summer would have been consumed with work and dirt and bugs instead of laziness and we are more than satisfied with our garden the way it is. Que sera sera.

Monday, July 12, 2010

garden ladies

This is my Great Grandma Andrina Matson, Mother of Josie Syverson, in her garden near Ulen, MN in 1930.

Today, two of the master gardeners from St. Peter came to visit my garden for the garden make-over contest. They took pictures and walked around and asked a lot of questions. When they asked me what I liked about my garden, I said it's a combination of a Monet painting and a Superman ring. It changes every year as things move and pop up here and there. That probably sounded strange but I followed up with the wise words of Regis: We want it to be people friendly, animal friendly, and earth friendly. So, we'll see what transpires.

I walked around the garden this morning with my coffee in Aunt Vi's china teacup. Now, there's some good karma for you.

I just read the first paragraph again. I suppose some people don't remember Superman rings. They had the plastic scene on the front that moved when you shifted your hand. I saw a huge one once in a Ben Franklin store in Winona. I've regretted not buying it ever since. Now, there is some junk you need to hang onto for forty years.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

celebrating 80 years

 Regis and I went to Canby this weekend to celebrate Mom's 80th birthday. We left about noon on Friday so we had a long and relaxing visit. Friday night we went to the Stateline Bar and Grill. They have your usual cold beer, deep fried bar food, and a cast of characters. Saturday, Mom had a short list of jobs for us. Helen and I pulled a few weeds in the sunshine while Regis and Pat did manly chores. We had a lovely dinner at the Landmark Bistro in Marshall. Nice weekend.

I always have to report the current wildlife sightings. Helen and I were sitting on the deck yesterday afternoon and a small flock of pelicans soared right over our heads. They looked to be enjoying the breeze. We also saw two hawks close up on our drive. One was trying his best to carry a rabbit off the highway...not sure if it was roadkill or his kill but he gave it his best shot.

The garden ladies are coming tomorrow so I had some notion of cleaning up the yard and patio when we got home but I ran out of gumption and we decided that philosophically, they should just see us as we are. So, we just enjoyed the nice weather and got some nice photos of the clouds and butterflies in the garden.

Nice buildup of cumulonimbus clouds. We had a fast and hard rain about an hour later with a beautiful rainbow.

There are four fritillaries on the coneflowers. At least that's my best effort at identification. That's our bird seed garbage can in the background.

Here's a closeup. The little devils move fast so it's hard to capture them. They've been thick on the purple flowers and when you walk past, they all fly up and move around.

This is Mom's 4th of July tree. If you are a regular reader here, you know that I like holiday trees so I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Of any kind. Mom had her table decorated for the 4th of July, too. It was very festive.

Last week we were exploring the option of satellite radio as an alternative to the wasteland of television. One day we had the happy thought that we could hook up an old computer and use internet radio. Now we've discovered Radio Heartland and we love it. Here's what the website says about it: Radio Heartland a new Web-and HD Radio- service that features acoustic and Americana music throughout the rest of the day. Radio Heartland is available in the Twin Cities on HD Radio, and worldwide on the Internet. I have no idea what HD radio is...but it's on the internet at our house.

I had some bananas that were quickly turning to mush so I whipped up a loaf of banana bread tonight. I'm anxious to go to bed so I can read my book. It was recommended to me months ago and I didn't start it until last week and now can hardly put it down. Tomorrow is a busy day, too. I try not to have too many of those in the summer but tomorrow is one.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

the very last thing you would expect Peter to do

Peter told us last night that they were having a special sale at Subway so he might work late today and wear the sandwich costume for some extra money. This is about the last thing we would ever expect him to do. Rolling on the floor laughing our asses off. Sorry, Pete.

regis and teresa in the kitchen

I made these two jars of Lebanese turnip and beet pickles this morning. I had turnips from Living Land Farm and I bought a couple beets. I've never eaten them before so it's an adventure! Aren't they pretty?

update on the garden make-over contest!

I got a call this morning that I am one of the finalists! They have some questions they would like to ask so they're coming Monday morning at 10:15 to look over the garden and to talk to me. Now, what in the world will they ask?

Wednesday, July 07, 2010


I saw in the Herald a week or so ago that they were having a garden make-over contest. I had to write a 500 word essay on why I should qualify for a garden make-over by the master gardeners. This is what I submitted. I was waiting in the car in front of the house yesterday when the master gardeners came by in a car to take a look. They didn't get out of their car, but I could see my essay in the hands of one lady. They sat in front for about five minutes, then pulled into the driveways on either side of our house to take a look at the other perspectives. I haven't heard anything and I'm trying not to be disappointed.

We bought our little house on North 4th Street about six months before the tornado so we didn’t have much time to think about a garden that first fall. The summer after the tornado, though, we started giving serious thought to where to plant a big, wild, flower garden. We decided to dig up half the front yard and we filled the garden spot with a couple small trees and coneflowers, daisies, false sunflowers,  poppies, and other sun loving plants.
Many of the plants in our garden have history. The moonflower on the corner was chosen because my grandma loved them, the poppies came from my Aunt Vi in Houston, the sunflowers and fern-leaf peony from my parent’s farm, the daylilies were chosen by our grand-daughter, Ella. When she was a little girl just learning to talk, Ella loved to name the garden art animals poked in among the plants: frog, rabbit, turtle, chicken. The first year the fern-leaf peony bloomed after many years of waiting, she came to my lawn chair with the one lone bloom clutched in her hand and said, “Nana, isn’t this pretty?” I wasn’t upset at all but caught my breath as I realized she had come to love the flowers as much as I did. So many connections from generation to generation are in my garden.
We’ve never regretted our decision to put the garden in the front yard as it’s become more than our garden, it’s a neighborhood garden. We sit on our patio and visit with the walkers and joggers and bikers who happen by on a regular basis. Many of them we know now by name and many of them comment on the garden, sometimes on specific plants they notice are blooming or just on the complete picture. They have called it serene, peaceful, and a happy place. They tell us they enjoy it as they pass on their walks.
For all its joys, our garden could use improvement. We’ve struggled with the transition from sun to shade plants, there are spots that have gotten overgrown and spots that are too bare. I’d like to have a place to sit in the garden or some paths so people could walk through it as well as past it. There are many things I love about our garden but this last one, the way it brings family and neighbors and friends together, is my favorite. I know the work of the hands of Master Gardeners would be enjoyed by many people.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

birthday of regis 2010

We celebrated the birthday of Regis yesterday with what was intended to be a small barbecue on the patio. The last few years, we've made it more of a bash but for lots of reasons, the crowd was smaller this year. the mosquitoes have been like a plague, too, so that convinced us to send the birthday boy out to do the cooking while the rest of us relaxed in bug-free, air conditioned comfort. This photo is Bob and Emily, Alex and Ella waving good-bye at the end of the evening.

Our friend Vickie came to help celebrate. The three girls sat at the table and Ella did our nails and showed us how she can write her name. Vickie brought the always popular cheese potatoes.

Alex has learned how to wink which amused his Popop greatly. He has also learned to make some great monster noises and I think in general, to get people to laugh. Ah, that is one of the great pleasures of life and he's learned the lesson early. Good for Alex.

Ella was most interested in eating bread and popsicles last night; not so much in eating food with any real nutritional value. Well, you don't come to birthday parties every day so why not eat your favorite things?

I made two desserts: one made of peanut butter chocolate ice cream sandwiches, chocolate fudge, and peanuts and the other made of raspberries and oatmeal crisp with very little sugar. Guess which one all the guests picked? Not even a contest! The raspberry crisp was delicious, by the way.

All in all, we had a good time. We missed Tiffany and Elliot, Regis and Amber, Betty and Tom.

This morning is my first day of real vacation. I don't plan to do much but I do plan that every day this month, I am going to do something fun. I decided what that will be today...but something.

Regis has been working on this picture of me ever since I ran the 5k the other day. Three miles may not be exactly Rocky Balboa material, but it seemed like it to me. Honestly, I got a little choked up as we came down Third Street. That I would ever run down a public street with a bunch of other people that I consider athletic was amazing to me at that moment. For most of my life, except for brief periods of energetic spurts, I avoided walking too far. I was what Bill Bryson calls a waddlesome sloth.

I have a big pile of dirty dishes to do this morning. We don't have a dish washer and I suppose it would be cruel to make the birthday boy get up and do them. Better get at it.

Monday, July 05, 2010

another holiday

 We love holidays. I set the table with the 4th of July dishes (thanks, mom), use appropriately festive paper napkins, light candles, make food that fits the occasion and we celebrate. I especially love holidays that don't involve too many presents but a lot of cooking.

We had a wonderful 4th of July although some parts of it were quieter than usual. The mosquitoes and the humidity were daunting yesterday, even for us. We spent the afternoon indoors with a batch of Emerill's chicken nachos and a nice bottle of pinot noir. Scott and Nikki came by to spend the afternoon and we had a few laughs and ate some good chow. Regis and I finished off the evening watching the fireworks on television because there are no mosquitoes in our living room.

There were some parts of the television fireworks that were bizarre. When did Jimmy Smits start doing the MC thing? Holy crap. Do we need commentary for every flippin' thing? And that Toby Keith dude. Man, that is why I don't like country music.

Today is the 58th birthday of my sweet husband. I bought him a pair of new sneakers a few weeks ago as his present so I don't have to wrap anything up today. We're cooking ribs on the grill for the kids later...Italian country bread is in the oven, making a big tray of fresh fruit and a big green salad, and the ice cream bar dessert is already in the freezer. Happy birthday, Regis!

I might make focaccia bread, too, because I like to bake bread and I can send some of it home with the guests tonight. We've discovered that focaccia bread makes great croutons, too.

I graduated from physical therapy (for my shoulders) today. She pronounced me on the road to recovery and said I should continue what I'm doing at home and at the Pulse.

I added a nice poem to my widgets today...on the right side-bar. I love it. And what the heck are widgets anyway?

We'll try to get some pictures today. Not one photo was taken yesterday and I was a little offended that nobody was there to take a picture of me doing the Rocky thing at the end of the 5K. This will have to do.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Happy 4th of July!

Looks like rain all day which is disheartening. So many outdoor things planned today. I'm ready to go to the Freedom Run but not sure if I can convince Peter to get up and go. He thinks he'll melt.

So, the punk ass kid didn't come but I ran in the rain. My finishing time (not official) was a little less than 39 minutes for the 5k. Go, Teresa. My fastest mile...and I know this because I have a Nike + iPod...was 9 minutes. Too bad I can't sustain that! My goal was to finish and not die and I accomplished that. I could easily have done the 8k. Next time I will.

Here are the weather stats from weather underground:
Humidity: 92%
Dew Point: 73 °F
Wind: 1.0 mph from the North
Pressure: 29.53 in (Falling)
Heat Index: 74 °F                                                                                                    

The humidity and the mosquitoes make us disinclined to go to the parade and the park. We might just be wienies and spend the day in the house.

See you later!

Saturday, July 03, 2010

July 3rd

We really love holiday weekends. This morning, I got up and did a 40 minute run/walk outside (way more fun than inside on the treadmill!) then came home to wake Regis. He wasn't all that happy about being awakened when he had trouble getting to sleep. I offered to make breakfast on the patio so he fired up the grill and I made bacon and eggs and toast in a cast iron pan. It was lovely.

This afternoon, I've done some prep cooking for tomorrow and Monday. I cooked an andouille sausage for the stuffed peppers, made the chicken for Emerill's chicken nacho recipe, started a loaf of Italian country bread for Monday, and made pico de gallo. I love cooking.

Regis went to take a nap and I'm going to take a bath with a glass of wine. Then we're going out in the country to a party where a band, One Fast Move, is playing. That's them in the picture. Sherry, who invited us, is a math teacher who used to work at the school where I have worked for a million years. They live in an earth sheltered home out in the country by the river. Should be a good time.

Peter and I are doing the 5k tomorrow morning. We have to be there at 6 to sign in and get our bag o' stuff. I bet he'll regret telling me he'd do this with me. Ha! I'll report my time but you know how I am with numbers and I really don't care about that anyway. I have done two runs before and my time was somewhere around 40-45 minutes but I don't remember how long they were. I do this for fun, dang it!

I might have done a little bit too much with my shoulders this weekend...lawn mowing, weed pulling, weight lifting. I can feel it already but maybe the wine and some ice (on my shoulders) will help.

Safe and happy 4th of July. Don't sit home and mope. Get out and do something fun!

breakfast on the patio

Friday, July 02, 2010


My mental health has made a full recovery as long as I avoid the news and loud noises.

Regis and I celebrated Patrick's birthday and my mom's birthday last night with a world famous patty melt and a glass of wine (or two) at the bar. It was fun. We got to visit with a lot of friends and we got out of there at a reasonable time.

We got up early and went to buy groceries at HyVee. I went to work out and about the time I was walking in the door of the Pulse, Nikki was walking out to run so I joined her. It's way more fun to run outside with a friend than to run on the treadmill like a gerbil. We ran up the hill to the Catholic church and back down the hill to the Pules. About 3 miles total.

When I got home, I tidied up the house and we did some yard chores. A late afternoon nap since we're on vacation and some cooking on the grill made the day perfect. We made a Cook's Illustrated recipe for stuffed burgers that called for bacon and sharp cheddar. Oh my. Wonderful.

We can hear the music from the Redmen's outdoor dance but we aren't tempted. I don't think I have ever attended that event in all the years I have lived here.

I have cooking to do tomorrow. Sunday is the 4th of July and Monday is the birthday so things have go be sous cheffed. I might have made that phrase up but it works. Chicken nachos, stuffed peppers, babyback ribs, ice cream sandwich dessert...on the menu for the next couple days.

Have a safe and happy 4th of July. More to come!