Wednesday, August 31, 2011

gus and a bench and gus on a bench


I keep having these revelations like I am coming out of a big, gray fog. I hope it's not untoward brain activity and I'm identifying it as something wonderful.

Work is settling down. They have taken duties away as part of the separation of one job into three and it keeps making things easier and simpler. I'm all for that. My work life is good.

We have been enjoying gorgeous days on the patio. Yesterday was drizzly and cold but we sat out there anyway because we had prepped a whole tray of peppers and scallops and had three giant prawns to cook. You can't do that on the stove, my friends. The poblano peppers were stuffed with Andouille sausage from Prairie Pride Farm, a chopped yellow pepper, onion, and some very hot peppers. Then I covered them with a layer of smoked provolone. The scallops were wrapped in prosciutto. We used Emerill's creole seasoning on the prawns. It was a delicious meal and we licked our fingers.

We had a very nice local contractor come over last night to give us an estimate on flooring. It's kind of unlike us to get three estimates for anything. We are usually way more impulsive in our purchasing. Since this will cost as much as a good used car, it's probably a good thing. What I would like, as I have said before, is for someone to choose something I will like, in a price I can afford, and install it while I'm gone. I really don't want to be involved in any of the details.

Steve was a character which almost guarantees him the job. I like characters. He spent a lot of time looking around the house. He was either taking mental pictures of my decorating so he could share them with his wife, or he was sizing up the job, which I admire. I asked him if a job like this in a tiny house full of junk looks like a nightmare and he said, "Yes, it does." I admire that, too. He'll come back Friday with samples and we'll go from there.

His being a character was not his only professional qualification. He had a flooring store in Mankato and he's done floors for 38 years. I don't think he has a PhD in Botony like the guy who did our first paver walkway but I believe he's qualified anyway.

Gus is active in the morning. He goes out a couple times, wolfs his dog food, and likes to play. This morning he has been after the strings on my slippers. When I got down on the floor to get his kong toy out from under the chair, he started licking my ears. How can you be mad at a dog like this? He's finally figured out how to play with the kong toy. I see someone put peanut butter inside it which could increase its appeal.

This dog loves toys. He's like our two-year old grandbabies. The first thing he does in the morning is look for a toy. The first thing Alex and Elliot do when they walk in the house is look for the toys.

Hey, remember this dog? That's Gus on the left and the unknown dog on the right wearing Christmas lights. I think we can accomplish this stunt this year! Gus will make a great Christmas dog!

Unlike his predecessor, Bertrand, who once peed on the Christmas tree skirt which is almost an act of sedition in the world of dog-human interaction. I don't ask my dogs to wear costumes or painted nails but I expect them respect the Christmas tree skirt.

I have been trying to establish a new morning routine. One of the concessions I am making to retirement is that I don't get up at 4 a.m. anymore. I get up when I wake up, usually about 6, and we go from there. I like to go to the Pulse at 8 o'clock. I do some light exercise and then go on my way to work, It goes pretty well.

I can't remember if I said here before that we bought a teak bench at Bill and Jean's garage sale. When I saw it come off the truck, I said, "Ooohhh..." but they said they were going to keep it. But they decided it was too big for their house and there it was on the sale. I love it. It will have to move seasonally to accommodate our fireplace but we can live with that.

Better get moving.

weekend in pictures

I'm reposting this as new because somehow, I got highlighting in the background, and I couldn't fix it. It was driving me insane.

We had Ella come over yesterday so we could celebrate the start of her school life Wednesday. We had lunch at Patrick's then came home to spend time on the patio. We had a little present for her, Vickie stopped for a visit, Ella helped me water plants and do some weeding. Later, Regis made a fire in the chimnea and we cooked wieners, smoked sausages, and marshmallows on long sticks. It was great fun and a fitting start to Ella's school year.

We joked a couple times that she has no idea she's in for a long haul of education. Of course, she was disgusted with that and said yes, she did. Ha! Such innocence.

We were a little worried about Ella and Gus, her being an excitable five-year old and him being a huge puppy. She did a great job, though, and learned to grab his leash, push on his butt, and tell him to sit. We called her the Dog Whisperer.

I went for a nine-mile bike ride yesterday and saw some interesting things. A young fellow was walking toward campus carrying only a backpack, a couple of small duffle bags, and a sleeping bag. I wanted to say, "Dude, good for you! I admire that!" Most kids go off to college with enough shit to furnish a four-bedroom house and require an SUV and trailer to get it there. Pretty resourceful, I'd say.

Regis and I are both enjoying Laurie Notaro's books. I gave up on Scary Little Girl but The Idiot Girls' Action-Adventure Club: True Tales from a Magnificent and Clumsy Life is great. Regis is reading It Looked Different on the Model and I hear him chuckling all the time.

We're teaching our dog to ring a bell by the door when he wants to go outside. So far, so good. It's a genius who thought up and marketed this little item. If you don't have a pet or haven't been in a pet store lately, it's an interesting visit. We are amazed and the array of crap that is made for dogs. Next time I go, I'll make a list of the most outrageous.

When I was shopping yesterday at HyVee, a woman stood befuddled before the deli case. She said, and I quote, "Can't I just say turkey?" And the young kid behind the counter laughed and said "No, you have to tell me which turkey." I bet there were twenty kinds of turkey: no-fat, low-fat, pepper turkey, smoked turkey, no-fat smoked turkey, no-fat bbq turkey, regular low-fat pepper turkey with mild bbq. You get the drift. Have you ever heard Dennis Leary's rant about ordering coffee? Worth looking up if you haven't. There's a link. Get a cup of skim mocha latte with a double shot of sugar-free vanilla and no whip before you listen to it.

I have to get ready for work soon. Monday is my busy day and this is the end of the month...lots to do. I have to dress nice so I can deliver a catering order, I have to wear something I can exercise in at the end of the day, and I have to pack a lot of food because I'll be gone 9 hours. This is complicated. Work is complicating my life. Ha!

It was a beautiful day yesterday. As I drove to Mankato at 7 a.m. to buy groceries, I thought how pretty the day was starting out...soft light, a little haze in the air, beans and corn starting to turn yellow. And the evening was just as nice. We had a wonderful fire with some cedar pieces in it and it smelled great. Even some of our walking traffic commented on the smell.

We had BBQ Saturday night that was good but not as good as Regis makes. He has it perfected so the meat falls off the bones and we like it that way. You have to pay a lot for food in a restaurant that is as good as you can make at home.

Gus lays on his back and plays with his toys, then takes a run at the love seat and lands up here like a twenty pound sack of flour thrown from across the room. It reminds me of the stories Regis and Peter tell about turkeys flying through the trees in the woods. They can't fly so they glide and only stop when they collide with a branch. That's what Gus is like. I hope we can teach him to slow down before he gets to 70 pounds or I could get hurt. He loves to play.

One more cup of coffee then off to work.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

thursday is my favorite day of the week

For a lot of reasons, Thursday is my favorite day of the week. It's almost the weekend so we're thinking of things we can do for fun on Saturday and Sunday but the weekend hasn't started yet so there's no pressure. It's usually a busy day at River Rock so I get to put on an apron and hang around the front of the shop gabbing it up with folks. Ah, Thursday.

I had to pick up some stuff from the accountant yesterday so Regis and I motored to Mankato and did that right before 4 o'clock. Then we stopped at Neighbor's and had a happy hour glass of wine and an appetizer. Way good for half price. We had Prosciutto Wrapped Scallops with Garlic Cream and Mushroom Duxelle and Beef Carpaccio with Garlic Dijon Aioli. Nice place and good food.

Tonight we're going to experiment with a little table-top grill Regis found at a garage sale in Iowa for a quarter. We've seen them for $150 dollars so if it works, it's a great deal. We're going to cook little pieces of sirloin and chicken and maybe a few shrimp. It looks kind of like this. You put sterno under it and voila...a tiny grill for indoors. to exercise and work.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

here it is tuesday night already

Regis and I are cooking tonight. The River Rock crowd is coming over to see the movie Black Gold, we're making suffed poblano and jalapeno peppers, and bread cheese. Our house smells like onions and peppers and Andouille sausage.

I came home yesterday after a ten-hour day and went to bed at 7 o'clock. I slept all night and felt great when I got up this morning to work out with Rachel. That TRX is a killer but it was a good killin'. There is almost nothing like a good night's sleep.

I think I got jalapeno on my hands and rubbed my nose. Must have nicked the glove with my knife. Not good.

I came home today to find a new pet fence keeping Gus out of the living room. I had to laugh. I wonder when the bear is arriving that this fence is designed to enclose. It's enormous. I could step over the one we borrowed but this one...a moose couldn't step over it. Regis says I will be glad when he is fully grown and we are able to contain him. Here's a picture but keep in mind this is inside the house. We also got 700 pet waste bags. That should be a lifetime supply but probably is not.

We have tiny green bugs on the patio that Regis (amateur entomologist) has identified as aphids. What the hell are those and why are they crawling on me?

We are in the process of working with two different flooring companies to replace the flooring in our house, which took a beating with the last dogs. A lesser woman would have given up on this project as it requires too many tools, measuring devices, estimates, and visits to showrooms. I just want someone to pick out something I would like in a price range I can afford, come in and complete the project when I am gone from the house for a few hours, leave no sign that they were there, and send me a bill. Is that too much to ask?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

sunday morning

We had such a nice day yesterday and I think we're going to repeat it today.

I went to exercise early and then had a cup of coffee outside at River Rock with my friend, Kris. Even with the highway noise, it was pleasant.

I did some paperwork at my know...bills and such. Ugh.

Regis and I went to the patio about two o'clock. We had a plate of cheese and olives for lunch and gabbed the afternoon away. Later on, we cooked steaks on the grill and had a big salad. Delicious.

We made a fire in the chimnea and burned up old cards and letters that we've been intending to dispose of for years. It was a beautiful night and the fire made it sweet.

Days like that one are just not as common as they should be.

Today will be full, too. Regis got up early with Gus and I slept until 7. He got the laundry started and I made a big omelet for breakfast. He is going to mow the grass and I am going to buy a few groceries and go for a long bike ride. Tiffany and Peter are coming for ribs and sweet corn. Also have cantaloupe, berries, salad, and some shrimp as an appetizer. A great summer meal.

Tomorrow will be busy as I have to go to work early to do the banking. At 9:00, I am being trained to use Quickbooks. It will be like sending me to a class on brain surgery taught in Swedish. I don't think they realize my disability as it relates to all things involving numbers. Ah, well.

School starts this week and I have no regrets, only relief. I only have to worry about coffee and the lunch specials! Hurray!

Friday, August 19, 2011

customer service

In attempting to arrange another vineyard tour, I call an establishment in the neighboring town. I ask if it might be possible to bring a group of 30-40 people in for lunch and a wine tasting on a Saturday in September. These are people who like wine and like to spend money. Do the math. The woman was so unenthusiastic that I asked to speak to a manager. Turns out, she is the owner and was still really not interested in accommodating us. Well, she was so rude, now I'm not interested in going there. Ever.

Ah, people are funny. Regis and I have learned in our somewhat limited restaurant and bar adventures, that the experience is important. I don't care how good or bad (to a degree) the food is, if you don't have fun, you aren't interested in going back. One of our favorite places has a bar tender who is less than a good time. We almost take a big wide turn to avoid him because part of the fun of going there is the people who know us and are happy to see us.

If people appreciate your business and take the time to know your name, if makes you more comfortable in parting with your money. Fact of life.

I enjoy the people at my new job so much. My co-workers and the customers. I don't know if coffee shop customers are just on a different wave length than some (most)  folks or what it is, but they are the friendliest people. Always happy to let you know where they are from and who recommended us and what they thought of the scone and cucumber lemonade they just had. I am constantly surprised that people are so willing to try new things.

I have a new cookbook called Heartland. Every time I get it out and try to look at it, Gus comes over and lays his head across the page like he wants to read a recipe. What the hell. I think I'm going to teach him to pick up his own toys, something I could not accomplish with my human children. He is a smart dog, for sure.

Our friend, Vickie, is coming over shortly for some patio time. I took some Prairie Pride sausages out of the freezer so we'll cook those on the grill in a while and have some cheese and some big fat stuffed olives.

Make it a good weekend.

now, there's a question

I went to Penney's yesterday because one night when I was in there, the saleswoman told me she was a bra fitter and I thought that was a service of which I could partake. The woman I met was not there but the current woman said "Honey, we're all bra fitters here. Want me to take a look?"

I thought that was a hilarious beginning. The bra fitting did not go quite as I imagined. It involved being measured and then handed bras through the door. If I knew whether they fit or not, I wouldn't need a bra fitter. Oh, hell. What I brought home looks better than what I had.

I also got a hair cut which is always a hoot. Patrick makes getting a hair cut fun and I told him that. It's an idea that works for lots of things.

I saw my recently retired physician's assistant in the coffee shop yesterday. I loved her and always looked forward to seeing her because she seemed to be interested in many things and she liked to talk. She made going to the doctor about as much fun as it could be. Think about it. We're not talking colonoscopy here, just your garden variety bursitis and skin rashes.

I took a basket of clothes over to the consignment shop yesterday. I was a little annoyed because I went in with a big basket and I went out with a big basket. There were quite a few of my things they rejected. Harrumph. I thought my clothes looked better than some of the shit they had hanging in their store. I won't do that again...too much of a hassle for a little bit of money. I drove that crap right up to the thrift store and left it.

The thing that pissed me off was that the little truck that picks things up at your curb came to our street yesterday which meant I missed that opportunity. This is a lot of angst over a few pieces of clothing I didn't want anymore. (My Sonny and Cher can see the photos somewhere on this blog if you're interested and I would not blame you one iota if you aren't. It was an impulse purchase off a sale rack to which I am mightily vulnerable.)

Mike and Erin said they took a bunch of stuff to a thrift store a few weeks ago. There was a large sign that said, "NO DEAD ANIMALS". This would lead you to believe that it has happened often enough that they had to make a sign discouraging it. Or someone who works there has a vivid imagination of what people MIGHT leave there. Either way is nasty.

I have been way off schedule for exercise. I thought I had it back in line last week, then this little dog came into our lives. The truth is that I don't like getting up at 4 a.m. anymore. The Pulse is open from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. Then it closes for an hour and re-opens at 8. I just need to figure it out. I signed up for the 10K at the Mankato Marathon (it's only six miles) so I better get moving.

Friday is usually my short day at work but today I have to think about two advertising opportunities. I realized yesterday that the people selling this stuff are a little bit like K-Tel salespeople on tv (do they still have those?). The deal is good for a short amount of time and is really too good to be true. Other people are paying way more for this same opportunity. Call now and get twice the ad for half the money. Really. And crank the handle of this little digger to win that nice diamond ring in the corn, girlie.

Here we are at Friday again. I'm going to make an effort to slow the weekend down a little. It seems like all of a sudden it's Monday and what kind of time warp am I in anyway? Make it a good one.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

barely past 6 a.m.

Gus is taking his first nap of the day under the bench. I'm drinking my second cup of coffee after having done the dishes. Regis is at the grocery store. I told him yesterday if we had small children, someone would call social services because we are out of everything...eggs, bread, peanut butter, and blue cheese. How can we survive? Thank God for kale.

I feel like I am half-way getting my head around my new job. Everything doesn't feel new least I can find my way to the bathroom without a map. Ha!

Someone asked me one day if I would be sad when school started. I laughed. Regis reminded me that for more than fifty years, every fall meant going back to school. Yeah, I know. But I do not feel sad.

I feel delighted to have new things to think about and new things to work at and new where to get farm-fresh eggs instead of how to structure a professional learning community. The last egg guy I talked to was a dang hoot and really liked his chickens. I'd like to buy eggs from him because he's funny.

We have a menu full of grilling in the next few weeks. We love to grill in the summer but don't even attempt it in the winter because we are purists and use charcoal. Gas seems like cheating. You might as well move your oven out to the patio and call that grilling. Charcoal grills are hard to keep hot enough in the winter, too, which is the main reason.

Today I am taking some clothes to the consignment store. I wonder why men don't have consignment stores. Maybe they do in bigger cities or maybe men wear their clothes to tatters. My dad was not big on clothes. Every day of his life when he wasn't wearing a white dress shirt and tie, he was wearing khakis and a white t-shirt. He did not like variety in his wardrobe.

The little truck that takes stuff off your curb is coming today, too, but I'm not ready for that. I have a few things here and there and may be able to pull it together but then again, maybe not.

Well, here we go. Off into the day.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

life is full of changes

Regis officially resigned from his job today. Now, this may seem like bad news to some of you with the economy and all but he did it with not only my blessing but my encouragement. There is only so much of Crazy Town, its Mayor and the various crazy Council people that a person needs to tolerate in one lifetime. When that insanity starts to bleed over into your personal time, i.e. early mornings and weekends, it's time to pull the plug. Good-bye cheap Halloween costumes and hello peace and contentment. Life is just too short for that kind of bullshit.

You wonder where some people get off. It's either they are socially maladjusted or inherently evil. Doesn't matter. Nice to have a choice of whether or not to put up with their crap. He's heard from the nice people who appreciated him and that's a good thing.

Regis went off to the vet clinic with Gus for his first check-up and his third round of shots. Probably will get scheduled for the neutering, too. Ouch.

We've had good days and nights with Gus. He sleeps on a rug by the bed and he whines maybe once...and all I have to do is dangle my arm over the side of the bed and scratch his ears. He goes right back to sleep. He has asked to go outside once each night during the night....not bad for a puppy. He had a period of incessant mischief this morning which was trying. He likes to counter cruise which would be more problematic when he is fully grown but isn't good even now. He grabs dish towels and cords and stray plastic bags when he thinks you aren't looking. Of course, I raised to two-year olds so I am ALWAYS looking. I took him over to the neighbors to play with their three dogs: Chloe, Maggie, and Roscoe. He liked that. We signed him up for obedience classes today.

I had a good day at the coffee shop. We crossed a major barrier in the new's been an impediment to forward movement and we finally realized it. Hurray!

A guy is coming from the floor store to talk about replacing all of our floors. Our carpet in the living room is old, ugly, and smells like dog pee (see the stories about Bert). I think the previous owners did their Harley repairs on the kitchen linoleum. We've been so busy with the dog that it looks like we were ransacked or a bomb went off in here so I hope he isn't a clean house critic.

I got my Ambien prescription refilled today, finally. I felt like a crack addict checking all the time but my doctor retired the middle of July with NO NOTICE so I didn't have time to see her and get it filled. Of course, I was on the last month and when they fax over the request, the response is that Ruth retired. No shit. I have another appointment on the 24th so I told the pharmacist that and she wrote it on the request. I didn't say where the appointment was. Ha!

I see Amanda added me to her google plus circle. I am getting seriously mixed up about all the social media opportunities in my life. There are too many ways information gets input into my head. I can't remember if I learned something through an email, a text, Facebook, Gtalk...and now google plus. Google is insidious. Really. Pretty soon google will be managing my recipes and my bank account and probably my prescriptions. Hey, there's a service I could use.

I got an envelope today from a retired teachers organization in Mankato with an invitation to attend a meeting. I told Regis I would rather be staked naked to an ant hill and covered with honey. Hahaha! Too bad the retired vintners don't have me on their mailing list. Now, that would be an interesting meeting. And one I would attend.

Well, better get ready for the floor guy. Any design ideas would be appreciated. I only know what I don't like once I already own it. In this case, that would be bad.

Monday, August 15, 2011

nights like this

I think I could do a night like this every night of the year. Cooking on the grill, visits from neighbors and kids, puppy playing, wine drinking, good food, beautiful summer evening...and the dishes are done.

Gus is taking a nap because he played so hard in the back yard after dinner. He gets the zoomies and it's a hoot to watch. He also visited Ella and Alex today and the Kwik Trip so Regis could fill up his car. He spoke with Chloe, Maggie, and Roscoe next door and had a visit from Waldo. He is officially welcomed to the dog neighborhood.

I can't believe he is happy to pee on the grass outside. That other dog we had was prone to peeing on Christmas tree skirts and my pant legs. Those were some good stories.

P.S. In case you need a reminder of what a shit Bert really was, check out the Blasts from the Past on the right side of this blog. Six out of eight are about Bert. That tells you something.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

gus on his first visit to the patio

Gus joins our pack

Since October, we have been dogless but Regis has recently started yearning for a dog. We read up on different breeds, explored shelter dogs, and talked to lots of people. The folks across the street have a dog, Zoe, that we love. She sits regally in the yard and never runs away. Zoe is a golden doodle and I want a dog like that.

We looked for a doodle but they were either too far away or too expensive. Then on Friday, Regis found a website for a nearby dog breeder and we went out to look at a puppy. I knew...look at a puppy = buy a puppy.

We went to a farm near LeSueur called Island Farm Goldens. I knew when we drove in that the dogs had good care there. The two puppies were romping in the grass and there were lots of happy dogs in a fenced area.

We bought our dog Friday night, then went to Mankato to stock up on the dog stuff we needed. When Kramer died, Regis was heartbroken and he gave away everything we had. They were very happy to help us spend our money at Pet Expo.

We named our dog Augustus McCrae after the Robert Duvall character in Lonesome Dove and we call him Gus. It fits him just fine.

So far, he has learned quickly to sit when he comes up to us. A fifteen pound puppy jumping on a person is one thing but a seventy pound adult dog is quite another. He is learning to like his crate and he is learning to chew only on toys. He is like any baby, though, and he likes a lot of attention. When he sleeps, he likes someone to be nearby.

The picture is one I took with my phone. He's sort of a constant motion machine so it's hard to get good photos of him but we'll try today with a better camera.

I just had Gus out in the yard for a romp and now he needs a nap. He's going to be fun!

Friday, August 12, 2011

i was almost a hood ornament yesterday

On my way to work on my bicycle. Laptop and a clock in my basket. Stopped at the corner of Minnesota Avenue and Nassau. When the light turned green and the little man said I could walk, I started out. A car came whizzing around the corner and nearly hit me. I dismounted the bicycle in a surprisingly graceful leap considering I was wearing a long skirt, clock and laptop went flying. I remained miraculously upright but the bike went down. Car kept right on going. Bastard.

On my way home, I saw a man get out of a vehicle at the PO wearing the absolute worst wig I have ever seen. It looked like someone made a wig out of a shiny brown blanket. It was so bad I thought about riding by and snatching it off his head. (the bad wig bandit) Really, is bald worse than this assault on the eyeballs?

We met friends for dinner at Whiskey River. Delicious meal and good company.

I'm glad it's Friday. We have no plans to do anything except maybe some yard work and a little bookkeeping. and some sleeping late.

On to the weekend.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

it could have been this

Saturday night, Suzie was telling us she'd had a bad year. Her dog, Steve, died. She had surgery on her back. She had a run-away car incident and slammed into the PO doing 50 mph. She had to give away her bird, Herbie, because he got aggressive. And she retired. I said, "Suzie, you are one relationship away from being a bad country song." If you knew Suzie, it would be funny.

We went to a consignment auction last night. Vickie has been telling us what good deals she gets there and how much fun it is. We got there about 4:30 so we could look over the stuff. That took about 30 seconds. Unless you were interested in moldy old bed sheets or railroad memorabilia, there wasn't much to draw to. We stayed for about an hour because Regis had a mild interest in an old camera but then we hightailed it outta there. Some of that old crap went for almost 300 bucks. WTF

We sort of understood what was going on when the woman was "calling" if that's what you call it. But when the dude took over (he looked like he had spent every day of his life under a blazing sun) there was no hope. He started doing the rapid jibber-jabber and she would yelp like a terrier every time someone bid. Wait...wait...what? We were clueless. I was afraid to scratch my ear for fear I would make an unintended bid on a rusty Western Union sign.

There was quite a collect of, let's call them characters, at this auction. One old guy appeared to be sleeping until an old cow bell came up for auction. He jumped right up and won it for 20 bucks. One guy went out of there with such a pile of shit I thought someone should call his wife and warn her.

I don't really get this collectible thing. Some pieces of junk are worth a ton of money just because someone else wants it. Some pieces of junk aren't worth anything because everyone either has one or doesn't care. Crazy world. Between this auction and the garage sales in Iowa, I have seen a ton of crap change hands in the last week.

We went to Pappageorge for dinner. We love that place because the food is very good and it's quiet. Some drunk from a nearby hotel had discovered it, too, and he was holding court at the bar in a very loud voice. He had his food to-go but continued to order beer after beer, order additional onion rings to go, and have intimate conversations with his fiancee on his cell phone. In another cell phone conversation, I heard him arrange to have them driven from the wedding to the reception in a golf cart. That's the kind of decision a guy should only make sober.

All in all, it was an interesting evening.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

squinting off into the distance

I have a clear memory of standing in the bedroom and thinking, "Oh, dang! I wanted to write about ...on the blog!" But do you think I can remember what is was NOW?

At one point over the weekend, Jane and I had a conversation like this:

Me: Did I tell you about our birthday party next summer?

Jane: No, you didn't!

Regis: She told you last night.

Me: I don't remember doing that.

Jane: What did I say?

Is this how conversations go as you get older?

Aw, hell. I thought I would remember by the time I got to the bottom but I didn't.

getting it back together

The last six weeks have been so busy that we are very glad to have a weekend coming up with nothing to do. I spent some time this morning picking up the trail of crap we leave around the house and putting away things like the 4th of July decorations. I know, I know. I packed them up the end of July but there they sat.

So nice to have it cooler this morning. Almost gives a person some energy. I wish I could be home all day. I forgot that we're going to an auction in Mankato tonight. What we want to do that for is a mystery to me. All we need to do is be tempted by cheap junk of which we already have a houseful. Regis has never been to an auction in his life and he wants to have the experience so here we go.

I started reading the most hilarious book: It Looked Different on the Model. I was reading in bed and thought I would wake Regis up. Well, actually I wanted him to wake up so I could tell him about the chocolate stars on the pillow. Hilarious. Got to get more of her books.

Well, I am off to work. Riding my bike, stopping at the bank and the PO. Make it a good day.

Monday, August 08, 2011

weekend in iowa: storytellers and music

Regis, Vickie, and I mounted up the Honda and headed to Iowa for the weekend on Friday. We were going to see old friends from my early days of teaching at the Children's Home, their families, accumulated friends along the way, and some old stompin' ground. It was sweet, bittersweet, and memorable. Here are some pictures. I'll have to ponder it some more to get at the emotion of it all.

Saturday morning, we stopped at Gwen's in Lisbon for breakfast. It's a tippy old building where you feel like you just might be walking crooked. Good food, though.

Vickie and I studying the decor of Gwen's. Interesting place and interesting clientele. It was the weekend of the Lincoln Highway garage sales (all across Iowa, Illinois, and Ohio) so the place was full of characters.

We took the town tour on Saturday morning and Regis thought this was a hoot. On the campus of Cornell College, the Stoner House. You need to have spent some time in the 60s to follow that one.

Vickie and I at a garage sale. We found some good stuff.

After several hours of garage sales, we had to make the obligatory trip to the Sutliff Store. It's really an historic site but we go there for the cold beer and the cheeseburgers.

Three hot broads at the Sutliff Store.

Half of the bridge washed away in the last flood. It's going to be repaired now. There is a new bridge further down the road but this is the one we love. You never could drive across it. The sign said: Loads over 4 tons are prohibited. Loads under 4 tons, cross at your own risk. Ok, then.

People in the Sutliff Store write on bills and pin them to the ceiling. I'm sure, over the years, we put a few of these up there.

Brogan Boots enjoys a chicken wing.

Nicholas Boots, who was not even born when I left Iowa, now has babies of his own. Brogan and Tiernen enjoy chicken wings and orange pop at the Sutliff Store.

Devin Kelso and his baby, Grace, back from Japan for a few weeks this summer. Devin was about ten when Jane and I became friends.

Gracie was a long-awaited baby.

Devin's lovely wife, Hiroe.

Hiroe, Dick, and Baby Grace.

Paul Kelso, Jane's first husband, is back from the Philippines this summer. It's been almost 40 years since I've seen Paul. He was quite a character back in the days of our youth, and pretty much still is. Good storyteller and musician. His old folk songs were one of the highlights of the weekend.

Paul got his start at The Mill in Iowa City. From the website: Keith Dempster opened The Mill Restaurant in 1962 as a coffee house/restaurant/folk music venue. It became the center of an Americana music community in Iowa City that achieved national and international fame. Dempster was also at the party so there were lots of stories told.

Jane, her nephew Glen David, and Dick. I don't remember spending a lot of time with Glen David when I lived in Iowa but what a hoot he was. He had a great line that Regis has since adopted but it's not for a family blog. Remind us...

Devin joined his dad in a lot of the music, bringing tears to a lot of eyes.

American Gothic on the side of a garage. Perfect.

Vickie and I in the world's largest frying pan.

Regis and I in front of the frying pan. It was one of our goals of the weekend to see this goofy landmark. We also stopped at a little roadside stand in Brandon and bought tomatoes and hot peppers.

One the way home, I asked Regis and Vickie to name their favorite part of the weekend and this was what they both identified. Friday night, we had dinner and some drinks at Jane's house, then wandered up the street to the Lincoln Wine Bar, mostly because Devin said their could be a brawl between Paul, Dempster, and Joe Grant, another 60s radical hipster guy. We didn't want to miss it. What Devin forgets is that these guys are all pushing 80 and it would take some extreme circumstances for them to brawl anymore. But here we all were. The band came close to packing up and going home when we showed up. Paul and Devin joined them for a few songs, we drank some expensive wine, sang along, and danced a little. In this picture, Jane and I are watching Paul and Devin sing and more than likely getting weepy and sentimental. It was such a sweet time.

We got home yesterday about 5 o'clock, hauled all our crap into the house, looked at the piles and got back in the car to go to Patrick's for dinner. When we got home, we sat on the patio and planned how we would get unpacked in the morning which we were disinclined to do, as well. Keith Kreft and Corrine came by on their bikes and joined us for a glass of wine and some more storytelling.

It was a grand weekend.

Friday, August 05, 2011

can i write about a weekend away on the blog?

I am very careful about not revealing personal information regarding my whereabouts on most social media but I think my blog readers are of the non-criminal mind and will not be making plans to break into my house and steal my valuables.

Regis and I are packing up the car and taking a road trip to Iowa this afternoon to see old friends in Mt. Vernon where I started my teaching career. Vickie is coming along because she wants to see the world's largest frying pan in Brandon, Iowa. And she loves road trips unlike yours truly who starts to get anxious days before the impending trip. I don't know why.

It's not that I don't enjoy being away from home...I just don't enjoy the getting there. I feel a sense of urgency to get there and then a sense of urgency to get home. No joy in the journey.

I don't know if this is a character flaw or just a characteristic. Some of my friends and family poke fun at me about it and encourage (more like berate) me to be different. I'm really not inclined because I don't see why it matters. I have gotten more comfortable with trips that are within, say, a three hour radius of home but they must be planned and not spontaneous. It's my compulsive side coming out, I know.

This is mostly a trip of four-lane highways which is more efficient but less interesting than a trip on the side roads. Apparently there is some huge garage sale this weekend along Highway 30 which interests me not in the least. Unless I can leave a bag of crap at each place. Ha! I am purging, not collecting.

There will be pictures and there will be stories, I am sure.

I am nervous about leaving work at noon today. Regis tells me that is ridiculous so I will let it go. Off to the weekend...

Wednesday, August 03, 2011


I can't believe it's Wednesday.

On Monday, Regis came into River Rock on his way home. It was two o'clock. I looked at him in amazement and asked if he had gotten off work early. I couldn't believe it was two. I couldn't believe it when it was almost six when I got home either. I was tired but at least I wasn't weeping like I was last Monday.

So, my post-retirement job is definitely keeping me busy. There is a lot to learn about the intricacies of a they do this and that and why and where things are and when things have to be done. Like today, payroll has to be done or people don't get paid on Friday which makes them very unhappy.

There is also lots to learn about the dynamics among the people in a new job. I do a lot of observing and asking and not much revealing yet. I like all the people I work with very much...they have all been extremely patient and understanding as I try to get my old head to grapple with all this new information. They have so much enthusiasm and passion (are they the same thing?) for their's admirable, really.

All in all, I am lucky to have this opportunity to do something in my post-retirement years that is challenging and fun and interesting. I just hope I'm not too dumb or physically deteriorated to do it. Ta Da!

I get a real kick out of the customers, too. I love to visit with them, find out where they're from and what they know about River Rock, what they had to eat, and what they thought about it. Bethany, the front manager, tells me that the thing I do she loves the most is when I walk around the front with a coffee cup in my hands and visit with people. Maybe it's like the old waitresses used to walk around with a coffee pot and chat up the customers in the cafe. I can do that! Really? I get paid for doing this? Ha!

So, life is good.

Ella and Alex came over for dinner last night. We had chicken from our friend Mary Rogotzke and vegetables from the garden. After dinner, we went to the patio and started a small fire in the chimnea so they could roast marshmallows. Alex wanted nothing to do with a roasted marshmallow but he liked them raw. Ella loved them roasted.

We have an intersection construction project going on so there are cement culverts and big trucks and loaders everywhere. It's little boy heaven. Alex and Regis walked around the big trucks and then went to visit a neighbor who has a labradoodle.

When they came home, another neighbor had the lawn sprinkler going so the kids got to dance just out of reach of the sprinkler.

We sent them home smelling of a campfire, with a few bug bites and a lot of dirt. Ah, well. Life at Nana's house.

Monday, August 01, 2011

back to reality

I only woke up two times during the night. Thanks to Ambien, went right back to sleep.

I've changed my schedule so I don't work out with Rachel on Monday, but on Tuesday instead. Monday is a killer day at the coffee shop with three days of deposits and all the ordering. Last Monday, I went to work at 7 and didn't get home until almost 5. I was a wreck. Today, I am going in about 9 o'clock and will try to have a more reasonable pace to the day.

I ordered a new cookbook with a gift card I got for retirement. It's called Heartland. More farm to table stuff you know. I roasted beets yesterday and Elliot and I thought they were great.

I also ordered this book: It Looked Different on the Model. The review in Book Pages was hilarious so I'm sure I will enjoy it unless the reviewer is funnier than the author, which sometimes happens.

Regis made two of our farm chickens on the grill last night. We've learned that cutting them up, as opposed to cooking them whole, gives a better result. We also love the recipe for Old Bay Seasoning that we first tried at the Fish Tale Grill in New Prague.

I have to go now. We have to drop the car at Arvin's to get its oil changed and if the weather is inclement, I will need a ride to work with more than two wheels. Later...

I want to ride my bike to work today but we just got severe thunderstorm warning Number 758. Is that for this year? Why do they number storm warnings? Maybe they should give them names like hurricanes.

Here's another weird thing. Every day at work, I walk to the bank and PO. As I cross Minnesota Avenue, the voice in the light says it's ok to cross and it gives you twenty seconds. You get this sense of urgency as you cross and his voice gets more and more strident. I wonder how really old and decrepit folks feel when crossing that street. I'm fairly spry for an old gal and I get the willies.