Wednesday, June 29, 2011

tomorrow comes at long last

Well, the old ticker is going to turn over to zero tomorrow. It's finally....drum last day. My family and friends and regular readers are probably breathing a huge sigh of relief. Oh, thank God. Rolling their eyes. Finally this period of dramatic and emotional self-flagellation can end. That's flagellation, not flatulence. Now, that's funny.

I tell you, retiring is hard on a guy. Hard on the liver and the head and the heart. Lots of parties. Lots of hugs and cards and congratulations. It's like I graduated from something.

Huge sigh of relief. My desk is clean. The list is there with everything crossed off. My office is empty save for a couple coffee cups and a plant.

Friday, I drag my office chair and a small box of stuff into my River Rock office. I won't take as much because I don't plan to be there for 36 years, but then again, you never know. I have longevity in my genes.

So, see you on the other side. Hope I have shared enough but not too much.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

strange dreams

Regis has a reputation for dreaming interesting stories. My dreams are amorphous blobs and his are complete plots containing characters with names.

Last night, he dreamed that he came home to find spots of blood on the floor. Even though they couldn't find my body, they convicted him of murder. He was sentenced to hard labor on a wagon train, the captain of which was Chuck Norris.

These were not your ordinary Conestoga wagons but they had bright advertising on the sides for things like Hormel meats, Delta Airways, Kelloggs, Quaker Oats, and Swiss Army. Try to google an image like that.

All along the trail he found things that I had left, like a back deposit slip or a note but he never did find me.

Analyze that.

I keep telling him if he would just write this weird stuff down, some day it could morph into a book or a movie.

three days left on the retirement ticker

When I started the ticker on my iGoogle homepage, it was in the triple digits. Now, it's down to two days and nine hours.

It's been a busy week. Yesterday, Ella and I took the afternoon and went shopping at the consignment shop. Regis and I had been by there Saturday and I decided I loved a dress in the window. It looks kind of like this:

I called it a rumba dress but I found the picture on google when  I used flamenco dress to search. It's quite the number. Of course, I will have to dowdy it up a little with some kind of jacket because I don't do bare arms. The dress only cost me twenty bucks and I figure you can indulge yourself when you're spending that kind of dough. Ella says it needs red high heels.

We had lunch at a special place and then came back here to play. Ella got a dress at the shop, too, so we trimmed the hem, fitted it with paper clips, and she looked lovely. I wish we had taken some pictures but we didn't. Next time.

Today will be busy. There is a reception for me at school, then a lunch, then another party at 6:00. It has been a month of celebrations. I bet my friends are getting weary of it. Not me. I love a good party.

I wonder if some day I'll look back and think I went crazy for a while. Ha! What a good time we've had and it's been worth every bit of it.

I have my office mostly cleaned out. I came home with boxes that should not have come home because I don't need any more crap. Some things are being distributed to grandchildren, some to neighborhood kids, some to the thrift store. I have a small box to take to my new job: a poster, my coffee cup collection and little shelf, and my corduroy aardvark. That's enough.

I've used google calendar for the last year, with different calendars for personal things and for the different jobs. Yesterday, I deleted all the job-related calendars because I figure what I have to do in the next two days, I can hold in my head. Yeah, maybe.

I talked to my brother, Pat, and SIL Helen last night on the phone. Pat's in a band called Not Exactly so it's always fun to hear what they're up to...and we have similar musical tastes. Pat is far more talented musically than I am, though. He plays harmonica and I have a two-song piano repertoire.

On to work and the day. I have two big projects to finish up in the next few days so must preserve some brain cells for that.

Monday, June 27, 2011

random photos from the weekend

Packing up my office at school. Peter and I went out Sunday and loaded them up...not very many! That's my dad's jelly bean machine.

A few more things to go...

Cousin Deb sent a beautiful 4th of July card that she made. It has a picture of her dad and three of his brothers in their military uniforms. I found a great frame for it.

The 4th of July table. Ah, I love holidays.

We found this funky little table at the thrift store on Saturday. We wanted something for a computer so we could listen to Pandora radio outside. Turns out we don't need it for that but Regis can use it by his chair.

I found this great little mug and a long black skirt for three dollars. My kind of shopping.

4th of July in the kitchen.

Stuffed peppers that took your breath away.

Nice to have Peter here for dinner.

Regis...great grill master.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

good friends and music

We started the evening at Tom and Betty's house where we cooked little pieces of steak, chicken, and shrimp on this little unit. What a nice time sitting around the table, everybody cooking and munching and drinking wine. Betty is going to Texas for a month to stay with her sister so this was a party to say travel safely and see you soon. We'll take care of Tom in her absence.
Then we headed off to the Coffee Hag to see the Erickson's music. Bethany is the front manager at River Rock and there were lots of coffee shop folks there. A good time.

No flies on us. We march down the street to the Wine Cafe to hear this band, recommended by Rick at the Halloween joint. I loved them! In my next life, I will play the accordion!

As much as we enjoyed this band, we don't like to be 15 miles from home late on a Saturday night so Regis lured me back to town to hear the Durty Nellys at Patrick's where I danced the night away with a young woman from Brazil named Josie.

It was almost 2:30 before we cashed it in for the night so it's a good thing we had naps in the afternoon. I'm usually waking up about then. Ah, well. Good to shake up the schedule now and then.

We're reconsidering the date of my birthday celebration in 2012 because the venue we had chosen is throwing up all kind of weird requirements. We might just do Halloween in July and let the bar do the details. I was experiencing an aversion to celebrating my birthday in the wrong season but I think I could do Halloween in July because then you get to celebrate twice in one year. Yeah, I like that.

Today it's back to real life. Laundry, dishes, cooking. Peter is coming for dinner tonight and he has requested buffalo chicken wings. If it isn't raining, we'll do them on the grill.

It's going to be a wild week of parties and celebrating. Tuesday there is a retirement thing for me at school, then a lunch at Whiskey River, that night there is a little retirement party for me in Mankato. Thursday is my last day at school and a mandatory but brief celebration at the bar at the end of the day because Friday, I start my new job. Yippee, here we go.

Friday, June 24, 2011

ah, friday

I worked hard this morning, although the tendency is to put things in the mail instead of going to real meetings.

I had lunch with an old friend sitting right on Minnesota Avenue.

I shopped for baby gifts and birthday gifts and thank you gifts and things that I have not been able to get my head around for months. A good sign, I think.

Four days to go.

Regis and I went to put gas in my car. He checked his records and two years ago, on July 2nd, gas was about $2.50 a gallon. Dang. Today it cost 60 dollars to fill it up. Dang.

We stopped to buy beer and a cheap bottle of wine. I like cheap wine, really.

It looks like it's clouding up again. I'm afraid to look. The sunshine today was so nice.

Vickie is coming to sit on the patio and drink wine and eat smoked sausage and peppers on the grill. A grand way to end the week.

The damn state government is talking about shutting down on July 1st which will mess with so many people. I can't believe we pay them to play this silly game. I think when tax time rolls around, we'll say, "Gosh, no. We can't decide." A lot of people will be hurt if this happens. What the hell.

I can't wait to get this temporary crown replaced. I think it's a radio receiver and I'm bringing in Tokyo. If I happen to bang it with a metal fork, it hurts for days.

When I got home from work, Regis looked at me amazed. He thought I was in the bedroom taking a nap so had been quiet for an hour. It was the alien me coming in the door.

On to the weekend, friends.

i did it but my brain hurts

I made it through the afternoon of spreadsheets and it actually made a lot more sense than the tutorial. A person nit-picking their household budget to that degree was more than I could comprehend but using it to enter recipes and figure the cost of goods made sense.

And it's not so much math as it is something else. I almost lost my mind once or twice but I figure this must be good for plumping up the old brain cells and fending off dementia.

I'm going to exercise this morning so I'm up at 4 a.m. drinking coffee and waiting for the Pulse to open. I love sleeping with the window open and hearing the birds start up around this time.

Hey, we're expecting a high 70 degree day and sunshine! What is that big yellow ball in the sky?

Make it a story worthy weekend!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

spreadsheets and me or numbers drift around my head like mites

I haven’t written since Monday morning. It’s been a busy week again.

Things are winding down and for that, I am grateful. I have my last training session at River Rock this afternoon and I swear, there are sparks coming off my head from all the new things I have learned.

Yesterday afternoon, I had to do a tutorial on Excel because one of my responsibilities is some tracking of costs and such. If you know me at all, you know that numbers do not lie on the page for me like words and letters do. They drift up off the paper and float around in the air like dust mites.

So, part of what cracked me up about this tutorial is that the spreadsheet example was of someone’s household budget. They added up the cost of every dollar they spent. Ha! Really?

I made it about ¾ of the way through the first one before I had to have a glass of wine. I managed to finish it and it even kind of made sense but when I got in the middle of the second one and they were talking about real or absolute something or other, I had to quit. What the hell. I might be too math dyslexic to do this job. Good thing I have an Excel tutor.

If you are a regular reader, you know that we had a wonderful time at the Bluesfest a couple weeks ago and ended the night at Willy’s dancing to a great blues band out of Milwaukee. Regis, bless his heart, has hired them to play at a party to celebrate my 60th birthday in 2012. I cannot even believe it. It will be a lollapalooza, let me tell you. We have had so much fun talking about it and making plans that the real event will be cataclysmic. No duds allowed so put on your dancing pants, friends!

Yesterday morning, I spent an hour or so packing up my office. I don’t want to leave a lot of BS for Joanne to deal with after I am gone so I did my best to empty drawers and files and shelves. There are a few education-related books on the shelves that I don’t want anymore since I am moving into the coffee and bistro business, but otherwise it looks good.

Joanne came in and asked if it made me sad and it does not. I can’t say there have not been sad moments in the last six months but now, I am not sad. I am excited to move ahead into the next thing. I am not leaving the people I enjoy and like to spend time with…I will still see them.

It’s been a process of leaving the work behind. My supervisor is fond of saying that you can’t work and retire at the same time but I don’t think you can work the same on your last day as you have worked before. It just isn’t possible.

Since I decided to retire and started making plans for the transition, others have started picking up my tasks. I have delivered computer files and lists to the people who will be taking over pieces of my job. I’m fine that now.

So, there you go. I have used the analogy of falling off the perch and that’s how I felt for a long time. Now I feel like instead of falling off the perch like a dead parakeet, someone opened the cage door and I’m ready to fly out to freedom! Ha!

We will have a busy weekend even though we have no real plans. We might get together with friends tomorrow night and we need to pick up some meat at Prairie Pride Farm. Peter is coming for hot wings Sunday night and if it stops raining, we’ll do some yard work. No matter what, though, we’ll find time to have some fun.

Monday, June 20, 2011

short post on monday at 5 a.m.

We had a wonderful Patriarch's Day barbecue. I ran out of time and had to shorten the menu a tad. We had checken legs with a southwest marinade, chicken thighs with a barbecue rub, turkey sliders with chipotle aioli, beef sliders, fruit salad, beans, and smores. The weather was nice and we sat on the patio from beginning to end. Here's a link to the pictures.

Patriarch's Day Photos

And here is my favorite:

We all donned aprons...even the men and children. It was a hoot. Tom and Betty were there for the whole party but left before this opportunity. Bet they're sorry they missed it!

I was tired by the end of it, having made 85 trips in and out of the house for this and that...and then taking this and that back into the house.

A good time was had by all and that's the point of it. A wonderful day.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

keepin' it weird

Ed and Gayle picked us up last night about 5 o'clock. We meant to go out for dinner but we only made it for drinks. I guess we did have an appetizer or two at Patrick's. It was a hoot of an evening that ended in a downpour about 11 o'clock. Ed had to run down the street to get the car to tote us home. We met some neighbors, Renee and Wayne, and of course, invited them for a barbecue.


I wore these leggings with my denim skirt. They are wild, eh? I have grown to love wild tights and leggings because...well, life is too short to not appreciate the weird stuff. I have a wardrobe of tights and leggings: leopard print, python, sunflowers, fishnets, and lots of colors. What the hell.

I took the meat for tomorrow out of the freezer and that could be the extent of what I do today. I worked hard this week and deserve to have a day of rest.

I'm taking Regis out for a special dinner tonight. We're not sure where we're going because we like the servers better at one place than the other. We might do some checking around to see what's available.

Regis ordered a citronella candle for the party tomorrow. We'll see how that works. The gnats and mosquitoes have been ferocious lately. The other night, even bathed in bug spray, I was miserable outside. Damn bugs.

Regis stumbled onto the funniest youtube video this week. It's this book being read aloud by Samuel L. Jackson. It's also available in a hardcover book which we ordered. You can read about it here and it's available at but the youtube video has disappeared.

It looks like a picture book but it is not for children. It's for any adult who has ever tried to put a recalcitrant child to bed. It is hilarious. If you are sensitive to cussing (I'm not) it might be offensive to you. It might be worth it to get over your sensitivity for just this one time because the book is a damn hoot.

Moving on to do a few things this morning. Make it a good day.

Friday, June 17, 2011

having fun is a goal

We are really good at fun. Really good.

Most weeks, by about Wednesday, we are plotting what we will do on the weekend for fun. We are not planning to clean the garage or take the yard waste to the compost site or to rip the carpet out of the living room although all of those things should be done.

They will have to happen (and this is my new and favorite phrase) organically. And they will not be happening this weekend.

In the summer when many people do these kinds of things, we think instead it is better to take road trips to restaurants and bars in the area we have heard about but never visited. We think instead it is better to sit on the patio and watch the birds. Instead it is better to sit in the porch and listen to music.

In the winter when the above activities are off the list of things we enjoy, we still don't seem to make those chores happen because we are busy sitting in front of our faux fireplace, watching the birds through the living room window, and finding live music venues to frequent. The right time for garage cleaning just never comes.

Ah, well. Like I said, it will happen organically.

I had trouble sleeping again last night. I wake up writing descriptions for bread baking classes and thinking abut the new logo and trying to remember how to do the financial spreadsheets. Can you see how full my head is?

So, this weekend we have a full line-up of fun. Starting at lunch time today, I am meeting a friend at Cedars Grille for a long and relaxing meal and visit. Tonight, Ed and Gayle are picking us up and taking us out to eat. I am sure there will be laughs involved in that evening!

On Saturday, I'm making some special sauces (chipotle aeoli, ancho chili, and lime garlic vinaigrette) for our dinner on Sunday and I'm taking Regis out for dinner to one of our favorite places. Probably Pappageorge or Olives. Both are nice places to linger over a dinner. We can sit there for two hours and visit and watch people and talk to other diners. Such fun.

Sunday, we're having grown-up off-spring and spouses and grandbabies and friends over to celebrate Patriarch's Day. Notice I have renamed Father's Day which seems a little restrictive to me. We have a lovely barbecue menu but who knows how that will go. The weather forecast looks brutal but we have back-up plans.

Here's the menu:

Mar-a-lago Turkey Sliders
Bacon Cheeseburger Sliders
Chipotle Aioli
Ancho Chili Sauce
Grilled Antipasto Vegetables
with Garlic Lime Vinaigrette
Chicken Legs & thighs
Big Green Salad
Bread Sticks
Fruit Bowl

Plan some fun in your weekend. Maybe we'll see you at Olives!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

sleeping...or not

I stayed in bed until 3:30 but I was awake for a while. I sleep well but not for very long. I would give anything some days to sleep late. I remember how good it felt.

I love the early mornings, though. To be awake before light is a special pleasure. Especially now when it gets light as I sit here with my coffee before going to exercise. So nice to watch the eastern sky turn pink.

My eyes seem back to normal and my jaw feels better. I survived the trauma of the day but it was good to finally sit down with a glass of wine at the end of it and visit with Regis. He had a very funny youtube video to show me. It's an oral reading (by Samuel L. Jackson) of a picture book made for adults about trying to get a little kid to sleep. I laughed out loud because if you have ever done it, you remember clearly how frustrating it is. The language is not kid-friendly and even if you are a grown-up but are sensitive to cussing, it's not for you. I, of course, am not sensitive to cussing, mostly being a fan. I don't cuss all the time and I know about time and place, but a well-placed f-bomb can be satisfying and effective.

So far this week, I have done two things I meant to do: I exercised on Monday and Tuesday and we ate home every night. Gold stars on the chart.

I read an article about zen plans, no goals, no lists of things to do. I was a little puzzled by that. It said to live like a fish in the ocean. I don't think life is like that. If it were, people wouldn't even go to work, they would just sit on the couch until the food in the refrigerator rotted and the house filled up with trash. I can probably be more like that but really, unless you are in one of those convents, I don't think this is realistic.

I have pretty much given up lists of things to do. I used to prepare one every summer and all it accomplished was to make me feel bad in the end for all the things undone. Who needs that shit? We do just fine at relaxing so I don't think we need to abandon what little sense of direction and motivation we have.

We are grasshoppers compared to our neighbor's more ant-like lifestyle. I could go on a big rant here about how irritating it is to try and relax on the patio, or take a nap, when the neighbors are doing their productivity thing and revving up big lawn mowers or dumping huge amounts of what sounds like glass into the dumpster right outside my bedroom window but I have beaten that subject to death so I won't.

Getting ready to exercise this morning. Make it a good day.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Just a note. I changed my mind and decided on the glasses with the blue inside the frame. Regis told me I would look like Harry Carey in the others.


I felt a rough spot on one of my back teeth for a couple weeks and since I am coming to the end of my dental insurance (even though it's crappy insurance) I thought I better get it checked. Sure, I am so naive that I think they can just file the rough spot and I will be good to go. Not so.

An hour later, I have a temporary crown and a numb face. I had the nurse look up when my last dental work was and it was 1996. She said I should be very happy about that and I guess I am but it makes me a nervous patient.

She offered me laughing gas and I had a terrible time deciding. I had to tell her the story of my first endoscopy which involved me almost choking to death because they convinced me to do it without sedation. In the end, I declined the laughing gas even though she said it's like having a few drinks without the hangover. Ha!

I made it through without crying. Regis did not have to take time off from his job to hold my hand. I survived.

My next appointment is June 30th, my last day of work, at 2:20. I should get out of there just in time for Happy Hour. Ha!

Jill's sweet daughter, Anne, is undergoing surgery right now at St. Mary's in Rochester. That is much more serious than my lame story. Wishing her well. If it weren't raining torrentially about once an hour, we would be lighting candles in the garden in her honor.

I am managing to get things finished up at school even though two weeks ago, it seemed impossible. I have slogged through the lists and done one thing at a time. I have cast a lot of paper into the recycler. I have met with many people, handed off ten jump drives with files, and purged my computer of one thing after another. I put one set of keys in the mail today and have a note on two others to deliver them on the 30th. I have piles of folders with notes about who they go to in the end.

I am starting to move into my space at River Rock. I have a pair of shoes and a binder in a drawer. I have a coffee cup and saucer. When I go in tomorrow, I will bring a couple extra aprons and a few other things that I need every day. I think I have met everyone now and tomorrow I will learn how to do invoices and I'll meet the accountant.

I feel less confused today than I did yesterday. I think my calendar for the next two weeks is accurate. At least I know where I am going today and tomorrow.
Yesterday I saw three baby squirrels crossing the road. There must be lots of baby squirrels this time of year but I rarely see them. They must be kept in the nursery until they are of a size where they are mistaken for adults.

I am trying to get better organized in my life. I bought a thing with clear pockets to store shoes. It hangs from a door. I'm going to store tights and leggings in it because with the clear pockets, I can see what's in there instead of rifling through a drawer in the dark. Good idea, no?

I also bought a thing with clear pockets for storing jewelry. Regis gave me a beautiful jewelry storing thing a few years ago and I keep a lot of stuff in there but I am a huge fan of cheap and colorful jewelry and I usually have it strew about the house. This will be my attempt to keep it corralled.

This afternoon, I have an appointment with the eye doctor. I have flex money for glasses so Regis and I went up yesterday to look at them. The doctor will most likely dilate my eyes and I can't see anything closer than about a mile after that. I brought three pair home. Here they are:

I like the first ones in the burgundy color of the second pair. The last pair has a nice blue color inside but they're too dark in the front. I don't know why this has to be such a process. Regis has been patient but he might have been inwardly rolling his eyes.

An aside: I had a previous husband who had me get safety glasses once because they were cheaper. I kid you not. And why did I put up with this, you might ask. I don't know. That's all there is to say. I don't know.

Heck, I have bought cars in less time than I took to decide on these glasses. I had my friend, Joanne, buy a car for me sight-unseen over the phone once. Probably just goes to show how little I care about cars. And I spend more time in glasses than I do in a car. Now, that's funny.

My face is starting to feel less numb so I will move on and try to do something constructive. Not making any promises, but it's a thought.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


Dancing is one of those things I never did until just the last year. I was too self-conscious to get up in front of people and move around. Now, I love dancing even though I don't think I have acquired any sense or rhythm as my affection has grown.

Friday night we had dinner at Cedars Grille then went to the Redmen to listen to the Lost Walleyes which are really three members of City Mouse, a band from my youth. I listened to City Mouse when they played at the Comfy in Mankato. It's a bar that's been gone for so long, most people don't even remember it.

The men wouldn't dance, but Nikki, Vickie, and I danced a lot. Just us three in front of the band. Ah, hell. It was fun. Actually I do better when nobody tries to dance with me. I am not very coordinated and it's hard to move with someone else. I attribute this to the fact that I was tall in high school and when we danced in PE (Honest to God, we did.) and the ratio of boys to girls was uneven, I had to be the boy so I always want to lead. Ha!

Yesterday we went to the Blues Fest in Minnesota Square and heard some great music. Reverend Raven and Al, the sax player, walked out into the crowd at the end and got up on a picnic table to play. One of our more reserved friends (you know who you are) said he had tears in his eyes it was so powerful.

So, that set the stage. We wandered down to the Embassy (after a nap) to hear Everett Smithson. That was such a weird crowd that we moved on to Willy's to hear more of Reverend Raven. Oh, man. I got happy feet and danced and danced. Regis doesn't like to dance so I was solo for most of the night...although a couple guys tried to dance with me. I am sure they walked away wondering why I try to lead. Thank my PE teacher.

It was a wonderful time but I would like to learn to dance.

Ambassador's Blues Fest 2011

What a great time it was!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

selling cookies

Regis is famous for his strange and detailed dreams.

The other night he had a dream about me. I had been behaving in a way that aroused suspicion. He decided to find out what I was up to so he followed me down Third Street but lost me when we got close to downtown. When he saw me again, on Nassau Street, I was riding one of these.

I was embarrassed to tell him that part of my new job included delivering cookies on this cycle so I kept it a secret.

Good grief. I wonder what in the world spawned that dream.

It is a cool bike, though.

We went out for dinner at the Cedars Grille last night with some friends. Scott had prime rib and announced suddenly, "Hey, there's a ghost on my meat!" It's a little blob of sour cream with pepper flake eyes but it sure looks like a ghost. Somebody said it's a Konsbruck Hotel ghost. Ha! We went over to the Redmen after dinner for some dancing to the Lost Walleyes. It was a fun evening.

I have a cooler packed for the Ambassador's Blues Fest today...nuts and dried fruit, cheese, olives, dark chocolate, a bottle of wine and a few cold beers. Reverend Raven and the Chain Smokin' Altar Boys start the lineup.

My friend, Katy, in Georgia is making me a Day of the Dead apron this weekend. She found a cool pink and black fabric for the ruffle and she's going to make a skeleton button for the flap. It will be so cool I don't think I will wait for the Day of the Dead to wear it.

She's also making an apron for me out of this:

Cool to have my own apron designer!

Friday, June 10, 2011

a most amazing week

I started my training at River Rock this week. It's been a whirlwind of balancing both jobs, wrapping up my district job, getting my head around the new job details, and managing the usual stuff at home.

It's not easy to get an old head to learn all these new things. Monday I learned a lot of stuff about banking. Anybody who knows me, knows that numbers are not my thing. I can easily add three simple numbers twice and get a different answer each time. Numbers are random to me so the calculator, while it is a great tool, doesn't help if the numbers don't make sense to you. La dee da. This is something I will have to grapple with as we go along.

I learned to do dishes the River Rock way. It's a zen like job for me now. Faced with a huge pile of dishes, you just do them methodically one by one until they are done. It's the hospitality support part of my job.

I met some of the regular customers who seem to feel like this place is part of their lives, not just a place to eat or get coffee.

I learned where all the stuff is...the freezers full of preserved produce from last summer, the extra cups, plates, towels, aprons, the cleaning supplies, the cinnamon.

Yesterday I went in at 6 a.m. to work with Katie, one of the bakers, and later with Montana, the Kitchen Manager and chef. I watched Katie make scones and lemon bars and hermit cookies. I tasted Montana's chipotle aeoli and the lemon balsamic vinaigrette. I smelled a puff pastry fresh from the oven...local gouda, local parmesan, local pork, and dijon mustard. Wonderful smells.

There have been some hard parts:

  • Do these shoes qualify as "closed-toe"? I wear sandals in the summer so this has taken some work.
  • No jewelry on my hands so how do I compensate for that? Regis bought me two ankle bracelets. Sweet man.
  • Do I dress like I am going in to wash dishes or do I dress like I am going in to work in the office and greet customers? Regis says this could be my narcissistic side coming out but I think it's just my need to look nice. Oh, that's what narcissism is, I guess. Wry smile.
So, none of those are insurmountable issues and I will figure it out as I go.

For the most part, I love this job. Warm and friendly people, wood floors, soft lighting, great coffee, wonderful made from scratch food, and a philosophy that food is sacred and feeding people is an art.

I have to catch up on some things here at my desk, then get to work.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

trying to find the gumption

I woke up at 4 and shut the alarm off so I could go back to sleep, which of course damn it, I could not do. So here I sit on the couch at 5 a.m. trying to find the gumption, and not being very successful, to go exercise. A morning begun so abruptly is not good.

I think I'll drink coffee for fifteen minutes and then go. Regis found a book for me so I have a new book on my kindle but I wish I had asked him for the moth podcasts instead. They are my absolute favorites. True stories told live online without notes. Yesterday I started one told by a woman who is comparing the Evangelical religion of her youth to Mary Kay sales. It was a riot.

Many times, they are funny. Like the one about the guy who gets his pants stolen by a goanna in Australia. Many times they are poignant and make me gasp like the one about the man who was a successful comedian by night and a dad with a dying daughter by day.

I can't exercise in the morning tomorrow because I am going in to River Rock at 6 to work with the baker and to observe the opening of the shop. I did dishes the last two days for part of my shift so I observed some baking then. All of their baked goods and some of their breads are made right there. I had no idea. Who does that anymore? Fresh and local eggs, local milk and butter, organic flours. Amazing.

Regis and I tried to sit on the patio last night. It wasn't humid and there was some air moving which made it feel less hot (99 degrees) but it was unpleasant. The wind was loud and whipping everything around, our neighbor was out grinding something into dust (serious noise pollution), and somehow tiny gnats that weigh .5 of an ounce were able to find their way into our ear canals. Probably looking for shelter from the storm.

We retreated to the house. I see the temperature on Friday is forecast to be 59 degrees. Regis has an expression that works for situations such as this but I won't repeat it on this family-friendly blog. You can imagine.

Oh, a busy weekend coming up. Double shifts (both jobs) the next few days, dinner with friends on Friday, Lost Walleyes at Redmen on Friday, Ambassador's Bluesfest on Saturday, Everett Smithson at the Embassy on Saturday night. The chances of us making it through ALL of this are slim to none.

Disclaimer: Everett Smithson is not going to be at the Redmen on Friday night but at the Embassy on Saturday night. Edit note: This is an old poster. For the current information on the schedule, go to this link.

I think I'll stop at River Rock this morning and get an iced Americano with a double shot of espresso. It'm my new favorite drink.

Whoops. See I used a copyrighted photo.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

first day of training at river rock

I did a walk-through with Alli. It was fun to see the whole operation from basement all the way through the kitchen and barista area. So much to learn. I told Alli I had no idea espresso was so complex. When you're on the other side of the counter, all you hear is "whoosh!" and your drink is ready. I knew there were a lot of motions, but I'm anxious to see more of that.

Then we did the deposit. I felt like a complete moron...I had to take notes. I didn't want to tell her that numbers float up off the paper and drift around my head...but they do. I got it all straight for three days so maybe there is hope.

I wore an apron to do dishes but I picked one of theirs so I didn't get my new one dirty. Oh, good grief. I can hear it now. Today, I'll take one of the less-fancy ones.

I learned a lot about how important it is to them to buy eco-friendly products, to use local as much as possible, to use seasonal produce, and to be creative. It's admirable.

This afternoon, I'll learn about hospitality and helping, then office basics. Thursday, I go in early to work with one of the bakers. Yesterday, the baker was turning out loaves of buckwheat bread, brioche, macaroons with ganache, and puff pastry with potatoes, chives, and gouda cheese. Amazing smells in that kitchen.

Regis and I cooked a beautiful Prairie Pride steak on the grill last night along with some Ahi tuna steaks and some Andouille sausage stuffed peppers. There is enough left over to feed us again least. Good thing because I have a busy day with both jobs.

It was hot on the patio but not unbearable, except for the lawn mower noise and the grinder noise. Some people just can't sit still. I'm not sure it's even wise to cut the grass when it's this hot.

I filled up the bird bath and watered all the plants. I found this in the grass by the bird bath.

I think the birds have been drinking Two-Buck Chuck when they sit in the bath at night. I'm glad they're enjoying their leisure time. We support that even if the wine choice is questionable.

Regis just described the weather today as a blow torch. Lovely. Can't we have more than 3 days between furnace and AC? I still have sweaters in the pile of clothing in my bedroom. I haven't removed the electric mattress pad from the bed. I protest.

I'll post, again, for those who may not have seen it on FB, this picture of the latest creation of Regis. He calls it November Sky. I rearranged the lint and called it Two Dead Mice. hey, it ain't the Last Supper but it's art.

Mom thinks we have too much time on our hands but actually this was not a time-consuming activity. Regis carried the lint up from the dryer, plopped it on a towel on the counter, and took a picture. Voila.

I'm going to work out this morning in the air-conditioned comfort of the Pulse. I have some new Moth podcasts to listen to while I walk. See you later.

Monday, June 06, 2011

aprons on a summer evening

Ironic that we modeled all these great cooking aprons, then went to Patrick's for dinner. Ah, well.

I went to work out this morning after almost a week off...slothful, I am. I am drinking a cup of coffee and then have to get to my new job by 7:30! I'm so excited. I haven't had a new job in more than 30 years. Ha! Old dog...

Storms today so I will be lingering by the cooler in the basement a lot. I'll have to explain about my fear of storms.

I'll write when I get home!

Saturday, June 04, 2011