Saturday, April 30, 2011

time

My time in that race this morning sucked which I knew it would but I guess I report it when it's good so I better report when it's bad: 0:42:46. I can usually do a 5K in about 35 minutes. There was a big bottle-neck right after I crossed the starting line and several further on in the course. I am not competitive. Really, I am not. But if they bother to give you a chip timer, it should go better than this. (Who is this talking?) The course was way too narrow for that many people and it got jammed up a lot. There wasn't a consistent plan for dealing with traffic. Some volunteers made the runners stop and some made the cars stop so you never knew. It was fun to see all the young girls running, though. Girls on the Run, you know.

Regis and I were planning to go to Olives for dinner. About 20 minutes ago, I had the unhappy thought that it is prom night in SP and might be prom night in Mankato. I called Olives and they are booked solid until 7:30 which I don't care about since our plan was to eat at the bar but now it makes even that proposition iffy although kids don't sit at the bar. I went on a mini-rant and told Regis that kids ought to eat in their own restaurants or high school cafeterias (as I did...) and leave the high-end restaurants to adults. He told me his prom was at the Latin Casino and they heard the Four Tops. Seriously. A rant wasted. We're going to go and give it a try. Olives, not the Latin Casino which was not Latin and not a casino.


Regis is finding music for us. We have really enjoyed the old Willie Dixon tunes and last night discovered Howlin' Wolf. We're looking forward to the Ambassador's Bluesfest this summer.

Lovely Saturday.

saturday in pictures


A picture of Regis I forgot on my camera...making ribs for Easter dinner.


We made a trip to Friendly Confines this afternoon and this is the resulting lunch. Delicious. The cheese in the front on the orange plate with the crackers is called Brun-Uusto (Brunkow's Baked Cheese with Jalapenos) and I loved loved loved it. You heat it up a little and it has a bit of carmelizing on the crust.


A picture left on my camera of Elliot's last visit.


Me on the cow at Friendly Confines.


Regis and the Kirby Puckett cow at Friendly Confnes.

saturday on the run

I've been awake since 6, shopping my favorite world-wide marketplace, Etsy. I have been, of course, on a mission for coffee-related things for my new career. This is my latest purchase.


I wonder how this will look with the Spellbound heels.

I registered for a race today but it looks like the weather is a little risky. The forecast is for 80% chance of thunderstorms. I'm not running in Sibley Park under those big trees in pouring rain and lightening.

Regis and I are planning a trip to LeSueur today for a stop at the Cheese Shop (I can never remember its real name.) and the coffee shop over there. Just checkin' it out.


I am resisting the urge to start buying coffee books until after Monday. I'm going down to River Rock at 4 o'clock to meet the staff and so Tamika can give some direction on resources. I have a lot to learn but instead of just going blindly into the vast morass, I'll wait for guidance.


This morning, we're engaging in the devilish game of making fun of the royal wedding hats. The Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie should find the person who made their hats and make him suffer. They look like they walked off the set of a Tim Burton movie.


Last post of April. Tomorrow is May Day and therefore, May Basket Day. I have some candy for May baskets ... jelly mint leaves, gum drops, and circus peanuts. Nothing else will do.

Off to run.

Friday, April 29, 2011

quickly

I have about ten minutes before I go to the Pulse to work out. I have been neglectful of that the last few days. Back to work...

I'm missing the Royal Wedding. I have to admit some interest even though it might be silly. I watched Charles and Diana marry years ago and loved it. It's a fairy tale...or at least they paint it like one. We watched The King's Speech last night. Good movie and a different picture of the royal life. And I've read books, believe me, and I know they do not live perfect lives.

Planning the weekend. There are always so many choices of things to do but our favorite seems to be not much of anything. There is a race I'm registered for tomorrow morning in Mankato and that might be just enough structure to the weekend.

I still have all the crap around from last weekend...Easter basket stuff, fancy dishes, table cloth, big table in the kitchen. I'd like to get that stuff stowed tomorrow. Moving on to the next season...summer!

iGoogle says it's going to be 66 and sunny today. Is that sandal weather? I had lunch with Jill yesterday and she was sockless. She said her feet were cold but she flat-out refuses to go back to socks. I get that, believe me. It's so disheartening to go back to socks and boots after a taste of spring.

An upside to the chilly weather is that the daffodils are still beautiful!

On to Friday, friends! Make it a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

bad guys and coffee shops

When I leave the house in the morning to exercise, I always tell Regis I will lock the door. He has always said it isn’t necessary, but here is proof that there are bad guys out there and they will come into your house if you don’t guard against them.

SPPD is investigating recent residential burglaries that have occurred in the following areas: the Summit Community, the 400 block of Mulberry, the 700 block of Washington Avenue, and the 600 block of N. Minnesota Ave. The suspects primarily target cash, jewelry and electronics.

The burglaries have occurred during the early morning hours, between approximately 4:30 am and 6:30 am. Suspect(s) have gained entry through unlocked doors.

I am vindicated. My concern about bad guys is not unfounded.

I don’t like to travel and get regular grief about it from my loved ones who do. Here is a poem by Billy Collins. He talks about commanding the simple precinct of home.

Consolation
by Billy Collins

How agreeable it is not to be touring Italy this summer,
wandering her cities and ascending her torrid hilltowns.
How much better to cruise these local, familiar streets,
fully grasping the meaning of every roadsign and billboard
and all the sudden hand gestures of my compatriots.

There are no abbeys here, no crumbling frescoes or famous
domes and there is no need to memorize a succession
of kings or tour the dripping corners of a dungeon.
No need to stand around a sarcophagus, see Napoleon’s
little bed on Elba, or view the bones of a saint under glass.

How much better to command the simple precinct of home
than be dwarfed by pillar, arch, and basilica.
Why hide my head in phrase books and wrinkled maps?
Why feed scenery into a hungry, one-eyed camera
eager to eat the world one monument at a time?

Instead of slouching in a café ignorant of the word for ice,
I will head down to the coffee shop and the waitress
known as Dot. I will slide into the flow of the morning
paper, all language barriers down,
rivers of idiom running freely, eggs over easy on the way.

And after breakfast, I will not have to find someone
willing to photograph me with my arm around the owner.
I will not puzzle over the bill or record in a journal
what I had to eat and how the sun came in the window.
It is enough to climb back into the car

as if it were the great car of English itself
and sounding my loud vernacular horn, speed off
down a road that will never lead to Rome, not even Bologna.

How much better to command the simple precinct of home. I love that line.


When Tamika called me last night to offer me the job, she wondered how I felt about working a shift at each station. I could work with the baker for a shift to learn what that work is like. I could? Imagine. I can’t believe they will pay me to do this.

I am busy making a binder called: Teresa Learns about River Rock Coffee. Those of you who know me will not be surprised by this. 


a job and a medal all in one day

A week ago today, I had a meeting in a local coffee shop/café. A friend of mine was in a meeting in another room with the owner of the shop. They talked about a position she was trying to fill and my friend told her about me and my search for an interesting and challenging post-retirement job. This led to a long phone conversation on Saturday and an interview yesterday.

I had an amazing two hour conversation with the owner of the coffee shop/cafe. She wants me to meet the staff before it becomes official but I am sure this job is mine. It is really too good to be true.

First of all, I like her very much on a personal level. She asked what I like to read and we were off on a twenty minute conversation about books. (We both fill our books with post-it flags and underlining.) She asked about cooking and preserving and we talked about that for twenty minutes. We talked about the power of food for people and how important the dining experience is for good food to be enjoyed.

She says she wants a collaborative relationship with me and says no idea is too crazy to be heard and considered. She wants me to be involved in many levels of the operation: marketing, foraging (finding new sources of locally grown food, cheese, art…), and event planning. During busy times over the noon hour, I may be asked to help with delivering food to customers. She asked what I thought about working with young people...I said, after stodgy old school teachers??? Hahahaa! I know they all aren’t that way…but a lot of them have crossed my path in the last few years.

I used to teach a class called Kitchen Writing, linking books about food and cooking with writing stories about our past kitchens. I brought the binder full of materials and writing. The cover of it, ironically, has a quote about the evocative power of food. It fits perfectly with her philosophy.

I have a binder for each holiday or special event that we celebrate. I brought the binder for the vernal equinox and St. Patrick’s Day. It’s full of recipes and lists and invitations and pictures of costumes and table settings.

It was so much fun to prepare for this interview. Gathering these things helped me think about my knowledge, my experience, and my skills. There were several times as she talked about the business of training staff and teaching hospitality that I was able to make connections to teaching writing.

I told her in the end, I can hardly get my head around how different this experience has been. I felt appreciated, valued for what I know and can do, and as if I might have something to contribute to an organization. I felt like I was being welcomed into a family.

I told her about my surgery because I think it’s an important part of my transformation and therefore an important part of who I am today. It’s an important part of how I feel about food and nutrition...and many things.

It feels like so many things I love and know are coming together in this job: nutrition, locally grown food, entertainment, costumes, event planning, writing, and coffee. It feels like a dream.

 Update: I wrote the previous late yesterday afternoon. As I finished, Tamika called to officially offer me the job. I, of course, officially accepted. She said she spent the evening after our interview and yesterday morning reading through my binders and through my blog to get a sense of who I am. She ran into things frequently that convinced her I would be perfect for the job. I am so excited to be welcomed like this into such a thriving and interesting operation.


Regis picked up my medal for being first in my age group in the Special Olympics Run for Acceptance. It is an impressive medal and I wore it when we went out for dinner to celebrate my new job. It looks a little bit like it was a Special Olympics event, and I usually tell people I was the only woman in my age group so I was first AND last, but that is not necessary information.

It was a grand day!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

early tuesday

So, yesterday, my mom sends me an email containing photos of Queen Elizabeth with every American president going back to Harry Truman. The commentary said something about not believing how old she was. I laughed, too, but then thought hey wait a dang minute. I remember every one of those presidents except for the very last one. Ha! There's some irony for you.

I have an interview this afternoon for what seems like it could be my dream job post-retirement. It's been so much fun gathering letters of recommendation and artifacts to demonstrate my skills for THIS job as compared to the process of trying to get a job in a school which was bloody awful stuffed-shirt torture. Every time, it was. I have some wonderful and creative letters from friends, pictures of our theme parties, pictures of costumes, pictures of holiday table settings, and a recipe binder for St. Patrick's Day and the Vernal Equinox party. What could be more fun than that?

I got a haircut last night and as always, I didn't tell Patrick what to do. A true hair artist, he just starts snipping and I end up with shorter locks. The few times I have gone in with an idea, it has not gone so well; I'm better off just turning him loose. I also bought some mulberry (or malbec?) colored nail polish that I love. I'm thinking about wearing the animal print skirt and boots for the interview.

I'm not going to crab about the weather anymore.

I talked to my mom last night on the phone. She is 81 and had gone to play cards with her 91-year old friend. they each won a couple games and thought that was fine. It's interesting to think that we all have friends, older and younger, and we don't think about it much. I have friends now who were born after I went to college. They don't know that Paul McCartney was in a band before Wings.

I'm registered for another run this weekend but it...whoops...this would be a weather-related comment. Delete. Let's just say this: There is a chance I will decline to participate.

Yesterday I only had to go to one other school and that was right at the end of the day. That's tolerable. I hate the days when I drive up and down Washington Avenue four times in one day like I did last week. By the end of the week, I hardly know where I am. I have found myself at stop signs a little puzzled; am I coming or going? I have a pile of folders on my desk to go through from last week...meeting after meeting after meeting.

These are things I would rather do today:

  1. Go out for breakfast with Regis
  2. Go shopping for bright, spring jewelry...maybe some orange and hot pink
  3. Stay in bed and read a book
  4. Write a letter to someone
  5. Plant pansies in the pots on the patio
  6. Uncover some of the perennials in the garden
  7. Sit in front of the fireplace and drink coffee
  8. Put my Easter stuff away
  9. Plan a tapas party
  10. Listen to Willie Dixon
That's a good list. None of that sounds like work now, does it?


Monday, April 25, 2011

three days blasted past us



Ella and I colored Easter eggs in the sink yesterday. The results were disappointing. Not the intense colors I've gotten in the past with the cheap Paas kit, but washed out pastels that seemed to run off the egg onto the paper towel the minute we set them down to dry.


We had a good time anyway. The weather was beautiful and we got to sit outside most of the afternoon, only coming in to eat. The egg hunt was a success and I wish we had gotten some pictures of it.


This from the blog of Paul Douglas:

From 64 later today to a chance of slush by Wednesday morning. Welcome to "spring" in Minnesota.
1.13" of precipitation expected from Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday afternoon (vast majority should fall as rain).
When they talk slush and "vast majority should fall as rain", this is bad news folks. Spring snow. No disguising it. We're all going to be on Prozac before this spring ends.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

wet and gloom

Another chilly and cloudy day. We keep trying to be optimistic about spring but it's hard. We are hoping to cook ribs on the grill tomorrow afternoon and I'd like to clean up the yard a little but I'm not going to do either of those things if it's 40 degrees.

We went to Olives for dinner last night. We planned to get a table but when Regis saw Adam, our favorite bartender, he steered me right up to the bar. We had a very good time and a wonderful meal. We visited with Nancy, a woman we met last time who was fortifying herself with a drink before she went to the Job's dance. Now there's a woman to admire. She just defended her thesis and said she would invite us to her graduation party. What a hoot. I love those accidental friendships.

I stopped another woman to visit as we were waiting in the lobby of the hotel. turns out they are from St. Peter. She asked if we knew Vickie, the woman whose house we were at Thursday after work. They live right across the street. Small world.

I put the party table up this afternoon and started gathering the holiday dishes. I have a cut glass jar I like to keep filled with jelly beans. This year, I filled plastic eggs for the little kids and we're have an egg hunt, weather permitting. I was very conflicted about the carbohydrates this year. Not because I object if other people eat them, I just kept waffling on what to make since the girls are bringing cheesy potatoes and cowboy beans. In the end, I bought bread sticks and settled for Easter candy instead of the Guinness cake. We'll have lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and a nice dip.

We're going to Tom and Betty's later this afternoon for dinner and a 60th birthday celebration. Tom's making pot roast and he's a good cook so bound to be some hearty eating going on.

I've been playing with Regis' iPad. Whoa...very cool. I can see one of those in my future.

It's a nice Saturday...if you don't look outside.

Friday, April 22, 2011

saturday on friday

Regis and I are not working today so it feels like Saturday even though it's only Friday which will be like having an additional day in the weekend. Too bad the weather is so morbid. We have been able to sit on the patio once time this year and we haven't used the grill in the front at all yet. Good grief. It's almost May.

I'm trying to decide if I should go to the Pulse or walk outside. I'm inclined to walk outside even with the nasty weather conditions just to get some fresh air. It feels like a luxury to get outside. I tend to put that kind of exercise off, though, and eventually the day ends without doing it. This is why I get up at 4 a.m.

I went to the Pulse and it was fun to be there at a different time. I saw friends who are usually late morning exercisers instead of the early birds I usually see. I walked for 45 minutes...a little over three miles. I bragged a little about my medal. I told them I figured out that I don't have to get faster, I just have to get older.

I have an interview on Tuesday for a post-retirement job at a local business. They are looking for someone who likes to write, has an interest in food and hospitality, and likes to have fun. I spent an hour on the phone with the person this morning and I said, to quote Steve Martin, "I'd get paid for doin' this?" Sounds like too much fun to be a job. Oh, and they dress up at this place from time to time. Costumes. Imagine.

It's been rainy and cold all day but I've had fun and did a few things that could be considered productive. I'm putting together a portfolio for my interview. It's a whole lot more fun that the last two portfolios I did. Writing samples, pictures of costumes, pictures of food and table settings. Ah, life can be so ironic. Regis has part of my portfolio on the iPad so I can demonstrate my technology skills. I told her I'm not bad for an old gal in the technology department. Ha!

I made buffalo chicken meatballs today. I love them for lunch with a little spicy marinara and some mozzarella cheese.

Finished up the Easter menu and binder for the recipes. I wonder if it will be dry enough for the little kids to look for Easter eggs in the grass.

Regis and I are going out on the town. Dang, we have fun.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

a medal

I was informed today that because I was the top finisher in my age group in the race on Sunday, that I have earned a medal. I have to pick it up next week. Seriously. I feel a little guilty but what the hell. Regis said he will take a picture of it when it comes. I would guess it isn't like the Olympic medals but probably more like a plastic cracker jack medal. But you never know.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

no snow and what a relief

We woke up this morning to no snow on the ground. We were hugely relieved as it meant we would get dressed and go off to work as is our responsibility. We had threatened that we would not be reporting to work in the event of snow. Disaster averted.

I have been trying to think of a creative pursuit for myself after retirement. Besides my mission to be a web content writer, I would like to either learn to play the concertina, learn to draw, or learn photography. I'm not very patient so the hobby that can be developed in the shortest amount of time is the one I will be more likely to pursue. That's a joke.

Regis brought me home a great pair of shoes from the costume company. They're called Spellbound and they are meant to be worn with a vampire costume. Cool. You want to make sure you are stone sober and walking on a smooth surface when you wear these babies.
I am perseverating on the fact that I won in my age group on Sunday. I admit to myself it is only because I was the only one in my age group, but part of my brain keeps thinking hurray for me. What the hell. I'm not very competitive so winning, or even going fast, is never important to me. If I happen to win by accident, now that's nice.

We had a nice dinner at Olive's last night with Bob and Richie. I had missed my favorite bartender but he was working last night. He stopped to visit with our group when I was in the bathroom. Damn. Such a nice place to eat and visit. They bring olives and the best bread in the world, then you have an appetizer, then a nice meal. I had a green salad with scallops from the appetizer menu and it was perfect. I should have taken pictures of the food as it was all gorgeous.

I've had a crazy busy week with lots of meetings. I drive from one end of town to the other. By the end of the week, I will have a bag stuffed with notes and things to do, sense of which I will not be able to make. Hahahaha! Tried to avoid using a preposition at the end of a sentence. Is that still a rule? I should look it up in Ed's book.

I have not been frustrated by all the driving around. I have decided it's just how the job is right now. I feel like I am tying up all kinds of loose ends and that's good.

On to Wednesday. Stay warm and dry today, my friends.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

race results

Here are the results from the race Sunday. I am the only one, and therefore first, in my age group. Yes! Getting older has some rewards!


Female 50-59
Place        Bib #        Name           Age                  Finish                            Elapsed
1              952           Teresa S.      58                   9:37:32                         0:36:33

how did that happen?

This morning as I was taking some stuff out of my back seat, I whacked the outside heel of my right foot somehow. I stepped right out of my shoe into a mud puddle. I had to hop on my left foot to get closer to the car so I could wipe my wet foot on the seat before putting it back in my shoe.

over all that blarney

I feel good today. Like I have passed over the hump and I'm on the downhill side. My wonderful mom called last night with lots of support and encouragement. Bless her heart. We had a glass of wine together...across the miles.

I went out this morning and cut a bouquet of daffodils for a friend of mine who had a wicked bad-ass week. There is always worse shit than the stuff you are wading through yourself.

I went to the Pulse this morning and it was much quieter than it was yesterday. Sometimes I can hardly stand the stimulation. I got on the treadmill with Crazy Heart on my iPod and read The Road Home while I walked a nice pace. Relaxing way to start the day.

It will be about my third time back and forth through The Road Home in the last two months. I started it on my Kindle, realized I had to buy it, read the paperback version at the same time I was continuing to read the Kindle version. Now I'm back to the beginning of the Kindle version. I love Jim Harrison's writing.

I have a meeting this morning but I'm timing my arrival at the school. Funny that I have been a teacher for more than 30...almost 40...years and I still hate busy hallways.

Regis bought himself an iPad. He loves gadgets and thinks this will be all that and more. He said I could play with it and he figures I will want one, but I have more electronic devices right now than I can manage sanely. Last year, I wanted one thing that would do all of this stuff. No such luck then. Now, it looks like an iPad have been it but now I have a Kindle and an Android phone and a laptop. Too much stuff.

The apple tree has tiny leaves on it. It's just waiting for a warm day to spring to life. I saw gold finches at the feeder this morning. Lots of perennials are coming up in the garden. These are hopeful signs.

On to Tuesday.

Monday, April 18, 2011

work is what I do, not who I am

I might have mentioned (but I can't remember and can't find it in a previous post) that Regis suggested I write this post with this title. I suggested instead: falling off the perch with wit and grace...which we all know would devolve into sarcasm. He says if I write honestly about my feelings regarding the end of my career, maybe I will find peace with it. I can try.

The only things I seem to be able to focus on are the things I really like or the things I really hate. The other day, I looked at my two portfolios, which cost me a ton of money and a ton of emotional capital. When do I pitch those in the trash, I wondered. It got me worked up into quite a lather by the end of the day. What a waste of a good frenzy.

The truth is that it doesn't matter one iota what I do with them. The time for portfolios has passed and I can either keep them on the shrine or I can toss them into the ash bin. There is no point in being dramatic about it now. What they represent to me is probably the big issue and it's time to put that all to rest, too. Tomorrow, I'll walk them out to the dumpster and will say a little prayer of thanksgiving as I give them the last heave-ho. Good riddance and it is what it is.

One part of my job has given me palpitations for the last two years. I have an appointment on Tuesday morning with a person I trust to ask for advice on dealing with it but I don't have great hope. I can do a few things but the basic nature of it will not change so I need to keep my head down and make it to the finish line with my ass-end in tact. Kind of like the time Bert almost got that bunny at the fence. They might have some of my tail when I finally squeak through but I'll make my escape triumphantly!

I told Regis the other night that it is almost impossible to work until the end. Things get taken away, people try to learn your job, they start functioning without you. This is good and bad. Good that there are competent folks to come behind and carry on, but bad in that it doesn't take long before you are, or at least feel like you are, rendered lame duck. You occupy an office and a desk but your responsibilities are dwindling. Maybe that's ok.

I don't know any more if I want to have a retirement party. At first, I did. Now, it seems like the whole affair will be so drawn out that maybe it would be better to just go out the door at the end. It would be like attending your own funeral. Or maybe I throw on a pair of heels and a feather boa, have a limo pick us up and take us to Olives for martinis and steaks. Ha! There's a continuum of options...

Is work that much of my identity? I never thought it was. I had a good boundary between home life and work life. I rarely took calls on weekends that were work-related. I rarely even looked at school email on weekends. I think most of this is hang-over sadness and resentment. Have I been hauling that around in my head all these years? Time to unload that mental garbage.

Since that all happened, and I don't want to drag it out again too much...just for purposes of processing...I have felt differently about my job. Less trusting, less invested, less interested. It's like Bob Dylan says, I used to care but things have changed.

Here is probably the upshot. Shit happens. It is what it is. Move on.

I am going to try very hard to be positive and productive and happy until the last day of work. When I get in one of those purple funks, I'm going to come back and read this post. Why should I agonize for three months over something that is either in the past or is my choice for the future? Moving on with some dignity and a lot of good humor. Life is too short....

Sunday, April 17, 2011

late sunday


Ella met me toward the end and ran across the finish line with me. She was a trooper. I tried to give her my race shirt for a nightie but she said, "No, thanks. I have enough of those." Yeah, me, too.

That was about as cold as I have ever been. If I had had my phone on Nicollet Avenue when we were going north, I would have called for a ride. I dropped a tissue and it blew into the ditch. I went after it since it was the only one I had and seriously, I thought I was going to tip over and fall down. My legs were numb from being cold. Thinking about this now, it might not have been a bad strategy.

We met Nikki and Scott for breakfast at Patrick's after the run. It was packed in there.

Ella came home with us and helped me do some cooking. We made meatloaf muffins and egg bake and flax meal muffins. That should carry us through lunches for the next few weeks.

I think someone should have a party to celebrate the Royal Wedding. I'm not up to it but I would like to attend one. Too bad the Brits can't hold their weddings at a time more convenient for me. I stayed awake the night Chuck and Di got married but I was much younger then. And a re-play is just not the same. Oh, we don't have tv anyway so I guess it's moot.

We saw a big bunny in the back yard this afternoon. Ella was pretty sure he (she?) was laying eggs. Ha! When Peter was a little boy, we found a rabbit nest in the garden and took a picture of it. Just a little fur-lined hole in the dirt. The next year, he said we should plant bunnies again. Such cute ideas those little ones have.

Whack me on the head, it's Monday tomorrow. I don't know how that happens so fast. Ugh.

it is what it is

Yesterday, I staged a protest against the cold, wet weekend and wore capri leggings and sandals with 4 inch heels. I planned to hang round the house in that get-up but Regis got such a kick out of it that he offered to take me out for a glass of wine. We went to Tony's place and had the cheese and fruit plate and it was wonderful. I may have gotten second degree frost bite on my toes but it was worth it to thumb my nose at Mother Nature.

When we left at 4 o'clock, it was 37 degrees. What the hell. I swear I saw snow flakes again when we came home. It's disgusting.



This morning, it's about 35 but they say it feels like 23. I'm going to run in the Race for Acceptance at GAC and wanted to wear sunflower leggings to celebrate the lovely spring weather. I'm not sure that will happen but I refuse to dig out the long underwear again.

We had a wonderful day yesterday. We took our long grocery list to the HyVee and did some serious damage there. I went to Kohl's to use my 30% off coupon.I am a great bargain shopper and found, again, some great deals on the clearance racks. I went to Pier One to complete a birthday gift purchase. I went to TJ Maxx and walked around in a cool pair of shoes but they weren't the right size and they didn't have the right size. Good thing.

I have some cooking to do today: flax meal muffins, oatmeal pancakes, cheesy egg bake, meatballs, and buffalo chicken meatballs. All things we package up and freeze for quick lunches and easy dinners.

We were supposed to have three days off next weekend but we lost two due to snow days. Blechhh.

I had an email from my friend, Jane. Her son and daughter-in-law and new baby live in Japan, just north of Tokyo. Here is the poem she sent and her note:

Oh, honey

Oh, honey,
the heavy lace curtains
fold in such a way
that I can barely see
the cold April rain
run and rivet down the glass.
The wind hollers
in the trees
and sends the water
sideways on the pane.

The gray day
folds me in its charm,
and tries to fool me 
with some autumn lie.
Oh, honey, 
it will not bide.
April, fickle girl,
gone hunting lilacs
and peonies,
will skip back by,
laughing that we dared
to think she'd stay, 
laughing that we ever thought
she'd stay!

Last night Dick was taking Susie and me up town when you called. We played cards and drank and spit on the floor and told lies. Dick came home and watched hockey. When I came home, I had another drink and then had a melt down, wrote a poem in my head cursing Japan and the fact that Devin ever moved there and the fact that I have a child that I might only see once a year for the rest of my life and that I have a grandbaby that really won't ever know me or Nick or.....or.....and is living in the shadow of whatever the future is for Japan and, and, and....Woke up this morning and said, "It is what it is." 
It is what it is. I guess she's right. I had a rough couple days with the retirement blues again. I know it will pass again, and may have already for all I know. Regis says I should write a post called: : My job is what I do; it is not who I am. I suggested this instead: How to fall off the perch with grace and wit. He says if I own up to the serious feelings that maybe the ghosts will retreat. He could be right.


I notice Jane says up town. If I go there, I call it down town. I wonder if it is because she goes up the hill and I go south. Or is it just a regionalism? Here's what wikipedia says:
The term uptown often refers to a specific portion of a city in contrast with the local downtown area. The term is used mainly in the United States and Canada. The uptown neighborhood or neighborhoods, separated from the city's lower or central business district, may often be residential, sometimes with particularly upscale or fashionable connotation. Such uptown areas may not necessarily be located to the north of or at a higher elevation than the downtown, regardless of designation.
That's funny because in our particular cases, we are both talking about the business area of small towns. Not upscale or fashionable either. Laughing.

The sun is coming out! I see blue sky! I may not have to run in mukluks after all!


I looked back at last year's blog post for this date and there are pictures of me working in the garden. The fern leaf peony is about four inches tall and the tulips are blooming. Ha!

Friday, April 15, 2011

on to the weekend...




Our weather has gone south fast. Not south as in warm and sunny, either. South as in to hell. I think this morning it’s about 35 degrees. And windy.

I got up and went to the Pulse, did the dishes, met Joanne for coffee, stopped by my house again to get a warmer sweater, stopped by North to see a couple teachers, and finally got to school. It felt like I did a day’s work before 8 o’clock.

I’m working on the Easter menu. My parts, if all goes according to plan, are to bake bread, make a vegetable, and make a Guinness cake for dessert. Not like we need dessert with candy but what the hey. It’s a holiday.

My friend, Jill, was visiting a school yesterday when the tornado sirens went off so she spent thirty minutes in the boy’s locker room with seventh graders. I told her I would almost rather take my chances with a tornado.

I volunteered to write some articles for our district’s staff newsletter. I am doing the lazy man’s journalism approach…sending out email questions. Actually, the responses were interesting and funny. Not my best work, but it will do.

We’re meeting some friends at Pappageorge for dinner tonight. It’s one of our favorite places to go.

I feel impatient lately. With almost everything. I wonder if it has to do with waiting for retirement. Books I start reading are not quite right and I abandon them. Magazines that I typically enjoy go unread. My routines feel disrupted. Regis has been infinitely patient with me but I bet I’ve been a handful.

My friend, Nikki, and I are doing a race on Sunday. It’s called the Race for Acceptance and I think it’s a fund-raiser. Regis picked up my bag o’ swag in North Mankato today and he said it’s kind of pitiful. It contains the obligatory t-shirt, a number, a race tag, and a coupon for a small drink at McDonald’s. I care so little about going fast that I should just go to these things and join up somewhere along the way. I don’t need to be timed.

I really have enough of those t-shirts anyway. I’m not a t-shirt wearing kind of girl in the first place. Someday I’ll have somebody make a quilt out of them…or something.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

on the patio

I picked Ella up after school yesterday so she could come over and help decorate for Easter. This is not a big decorating holiday so she was a little disappointed but we had fun. We went to Patrick's for a Cha Cha basket with fries and a pink lemonade. After dinner, we came back and had our first patio sit of the season. It was a beautiful evening.

Regis has pictures of us on the patio but for some reason we can't get them off his phone. Sometimes technology sucks.




Today is Peter's 24th birthday. I love this picture of him.


I guess I will have to go to work again today. More later...

Regis beat me into the shower so I have to sit here a while longer. What a hardship.

The daffodils in the garden are starting to bloom. Ah, a hopeful sign of spring. I just read Paul Douglas on weather and he says the chances of big snow in the forecast have come way down. That's a relief.

On to Wednesday.

Monday, April 11, 2011

fuzzy thinking sunday and into monday

I have cleaned up the flotsam and jetsam from the party. I have taken a nap. I have eaten a nice Western omelet. I have played with the pictures from yesterday. And I just hired a young man to rake my lawn. It's been a productive day, so far.

The weather here is peculiar. When we woke up this morning it was muggy and gray. Reminds me of the tornado day. That was early spring, too, and unseasonably warm and humid. Bert was in a state of near panic all day and tried to get into the refrigerator every time I opened it. I don't have a dog to predict the weather today.

Regis and I like to set the party mood so yesterday, I put 400 pictures of our friends and past parties on a jump drive so it would play on the digital frame. I found 50 hits of the 30s on iTunes so we had some music of the era playing for the party.

I have a kid raking the yard for us. He said he wanted ten dollars which of course, I said, was not enough and I would give him 40 if he did a good job. He's not a kid, a young man, really, who works hard. (Regis is having to give him some guidance.)

We started planning the Easter menu today. Regis wants to make ribs on the grill if the weather is conducive, although we may not know until that day. I think I'll make a Guinness cake for dessert. I have sort of forgotten about things that some people eat, like potatoes. Bread is still on my radar and I'll make a nice focaccia. But cheesy potatoes, I'm not sure I can do. I'll have to think about it.

Peter popped in this afternoon. We've seen him so rarely this winter that we almost had to ask for ID. He ate some ribs and went down to ransack his room looking for spring clothes. We're taking him out to eat on his birthday Wednesday. He'll be 24... and how did that happen???

I surprised myself and actually put everything away. I even put all the clean dishes away, folded up the extra table, and put it in the porch. This is not characteristic of me. I am more slothful than this and typically will quit a job in the middle of it. Sometimes I surprise myself.

Ha! Well, I didn't finish this blog post yesterday. I got distracted and went to bed with it half done.

I was trying on my new leggings to see how weird they look. Not too weird, eh?

It was a grand weekend but now it's 4:20 in the morning. It's dark and damp and chilly outside but I'm going to get in the car and go to the Pulse to meet up with Rachel. It's the way I start my week. On to Monday, friends!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

celebrating

We had a little party last night to celebrate the 78th anniversary of the repeal of prohibition. I didn't really get in the swing of it until Friday when I ordered a costume. Yesterday, Regis printed a bunch of posters, we found some slang from the 1930s  (You shred it, wheat!), and I dragged out some doilies and depression glass. Good thing we got in gear because our friends came in great outfits!





Here's a slide show of the whole shebang, if you're interested.



I ordered some prints and it's too much trouble to weed out the photos I didn't want to print so you get it all. We had a great time!

Regis made ribs but didn't make them on the grill. It was just too chilly to stand outside all afternoon watching ribs cook. There were no complaints about the oven version!

I better get to the pile of dirty dishes. Stay warm and dry today, friends. 

Saturday, April 09, 2011

saturday

I woke up at 4 this morning but made myself stay in bed until 5 at which time I got up, made coffee, and did my usual morning stuff...checking email, reading a few blogs, checking Facebook. I have pretty much given up on newspapers as there is nothing there but bad news.

I did read that the state overpaid some folks on unemployment 25 dollars a week during 2010 because of a computer misdirection. Lovely. So, people who are already lacking resources are going to be dunned by the state to repay this money. Why don't they try to get it back from some of the fat cats who cheat on their taxes? Like maybe Denny Hecker has some cash to spare. Or those folks who screwed our city out of all that money. Let them pay it back.

Regis and I had a quiet Friday evening. We stopped at the bar with Joanne for a glass of wine and some wings and came home early to watch a few episodes of Arrested Development.

I had a good meeting yesterday afternoon with some powerful and competent women who will carry on the special ed mission after my departure. Somehow, it makes it easier to go.

We're cooking ribs on the grill this afternoon to celebrate the 78th anniversary of Repeal of Prohibition. Regis got me a costume. There is a great story that goes along with this but I won't tell it here.

Lots to do today. Better get moving. As they say on The Moth, have a story-worthy day.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

patio pictures and the sun


This is the Mayer cat, enjoying the sun. We should all do this on the first, warm days of spring...lie in the sun on the warm concrete with our feet in the air. We'd all be happier for it.


This is me looking over the new patio addition. Karl Struck does nice work and we're going to love it. I walked around it a few times last night but it was a little chilly to sit out there. Maybe Saturday.




A few other random photos of the patio before we start populating it with furniture and stuff.

Thursday...good and bad. I'll be back at the end of it.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

happy anniversary to me

Regis called with a funny story about a new guy at the costume company. He's really tall and this morning, he stood up and whacked his head on a beam that runs over his desk. Regis said any other company he has worked for would have had a four hour safety meeting as a result and probably would have suspended operations until the issue was fixed. At the costume company, they say, "You all right, dude?" hahahaha. I said they could offer him a hat to cover the lump.

I stopped at home to pick up my lunch yesterday and to check on the status of the patio. Mike and Kathryn were outside so I ran over with a party invitation and with a vintage Cabbage Patch doll.

Kathryn loved the doll and said she had to think about what to name the new baby. As they were leaving, she told me that they were going to put a slack line in their back yard. I laughed. Her daddy is a comedian, magician, and he likes to walk on wires. A slack line is what wire artists use. So cute that she knew that.

Today is the 2nd anniversary of my surgery. I've lost and maintained for two years, a 150+ weight loss. I'm not taking anything for granted, believe me, and will be vigilant and dedicated into the future, but for today, I want to celebrate all the things in my life that have changed with this journey along the WLS path.

I am working on a list of 100 reasons to celebrate.

So many things are different. I am physically stronger and healthier from all the exercise. It was hard to exercise before and I did not enjoy it. Now, it's something I do to be healthier and I can say I really do enjoy it. The half-marathon was joyous and a miracle but not an experience I intend to repeat, but I have registered for 5 shorter races this spring and summer.

I've worked hard on the mental parts of weight loss. I had a great therapist who helped me identify the issues surrounding my obesity and assisted me in crossing over to the thin way of living. I am mentally healthier and feel like the 150 pounds weighed down my spirit as well as my body. I have been liberated from all that weight in so many ways.

I feel like I fit in the world better. When I was morbidly obese, I always felt like I was too big for the space I was in. I felt like I was always bumping into things and I always uncomfortable.
  
Life is so good and I am so grateful that I had this chance to enjoy it this much.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

random notes

I slept in this morning until 5. My muscles are sore from the TRX workout yesterday and I needed a little more sleep. I don't have much interest in working today, what a surprise.

Karl came yesterday to start the patio addition. We'll have a bigger patio by the end of the day today. The guy is a hard worker. I have ideas about populating the patio with chairs and such while Regis has a more open vision.

I flash baked two chickens for dinner last when Bob, Emily, and the little ones came to our house. Flash baking means that you cook them for 45-60 minutes at a high temperature. I woke up in the middle of the night and  realized that our house smells like vaporized chicken fat. I can only imagine what the inside of the oven looks like but it doesn't matter, the chicken was delicious.

I read the note on the city's newsletter about their plan to pick up yard waste. It's so confusing that we might have to take the whole business to the compost site ourselves. They will pick up brush, grass clippings, and garden waste but not leaves. This time of year aren't the leaves mixed in with the other stuff and do I really have to sort the grass clippings from the leaves?

Sunday I hauled all my winter clothes and coats to the basement. Yesterday, it was about 35 degrees when I got up with a driving wind, rain, and a little snow mixed in for good measure. It was hard to put an outfit together for that kind of weather. Ugh. Today looks more hopeful for spring temperatures.

Ok. I guess I have to go to work.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

pictures


Regis made Mexican omelets for breakfast after our grocery shopping trip. He used left-over peppers stuffed with cheese and Andouille sausage. Wonderful flavors.


Tonight we had flank steak fajitas with grilled onions and peppers. Another wonderful meal.

I'm tired. That's the end of it for tonight.

sunday in pictures and a post without the word suck in the title

This has been a lovely weekend. I seem to have recovered from the blues of last week. It may hit me again from time to time but I'm hoping that the peak has passed.

Regis suggested some retail therapy yesterday so he drove me around Mankato and I picked up some great spring clothes in bright orange and bright pink. I've never been much a thrift store shopper but in the last few months, I've gotten some great stuff at consignment and thrift stores. Yesterday, I scored a couple of denim skirts and a bright red, wool jacket.

Ella called when we were on our way home so we stopped and got her on our way into town. She had me model the new clothes for Regis. She insisted on helping with buttons and zippers and accessories and would precede me out of the bedroom, announcing to Regis that he would "love this look". What a hoot.



We had dinner at Olives last night. I love that place. We got there earlier than the friends we were meeting so we sat at the bar for a while and watched the patrons. A couple of guys came in and I tried to guess what they would drink. A glass of chardonnay and a glass of Chianti. Not my first thought. I didn't even think they made Chianti anymore. The bartender said they were out of it but I bet he was thinking that the 70s called and they want their wine back.



We stopped at the Cedars Grille on our way home because Patrick's was hopping with music and we didn't want to muscle a crowd. Not much going on at CG. Hardly anybody in the dining room and three people at the bar, one of them a server. Can you hear that giant sucking sound?

I have quite a list of things to accomplish today.
  • Buy groceries (done)
  • Clean up the house
  • Put the Christmas tree away
  • Put winter clothes in storage (done)
  • Make muffins
  • Make an egg bake
  • Create an invitation for Betty's 60th birthday party
  • Create an invitation for the Repeal of Prohibition party
  • Clean off the garden area where the new patio will be (done)
  • Get stuff out of the porch so Jan can clean out there (done)
I can see now that my list is a bit ...ah, what's the word?...some of this crap won't get done. I'll get started and see how far I get. Ambitious. That's the word.

More later as the day transpires. I went out to put some grape jelly in the feeder for the robins and heard a cardinal. I love spring.