Saturday, December 31, 2011

early winter morning

It's almost 8 o'clock and barely light outside. I don't like this about winter. I need more light. I wanted to go for a walk this weekend but I don't think I want to battle 60 mph gusts. A guy has to put rocks in his pockets in that kind of weather lest you blow away!

I called River Rock and talked to Katie, the baker, about what she is making today so I can report via Twitter and Facebook. The longer I work there, the more it seems like a miraculous little place, that kitchen. I'm learning how their recipes are born and how they morph to fit a flavor profile. The other day I met the young woman who, with her husband, grows the organic wheat that they mill into our whole wheat flour. It's so nice to know where you food comes from.

Regis and I watched the movie Fresh last week. It's another one of those movies that you don't want to watch if you can't conceive of changing the way you eat. I bought Joel Salatin's book, Folks, This Ain't Normal...same message.

Tomorrow is Ella's 6th birthday so we're taking her out for lunch to Patrick's because it's her favorite place to eat. They have a chicken strip basket called the Cha Cha and it's what she always gets...with pink lemonade. I think I'll stop and get a few flowers from Mary for the table and maybe a balloon.


Here she is six years ago. We were in the hallway at the hospital when she was born and I wept when I heard her first cry. She has been such a miracle in our lives. (Of course, the other two...the little boys are too but I'll get emotional about them on their birthdays.)

It looks like the wind has already started. Just saw a very tall man running down the street...on the ice...looking very precarious.

I have to watch a Youtube video to learn how to operate my Kindle Fire. Ironic. I need one electronic device to learn how to operate another one.

Here's a link to a company that recycles electronic crap.

Gotta go. Happy New Year!

Friday, December 30, 2011

snow, new books, and leopard print chair

Regis and I went to the Pulse this morning. I thought about packing a snack but didn't and should have. I was tired and hungry by the time I got home.

I'm sitting in my new leopard print chair as I write this. The snow is coming gently down. It's beautiful outside.
It was nice to move around on dry ground the last few weeks but really what is winter without snow? Three months of brown cold.

I'm reading three books: Stone Arabia, Folks, This Ain't Normal, and Alice Waters and Chez Panisse. They are all very good but I love Stone Arabia. I could underline something on every page. I feel like, in many cases, she read my mind. I wish I could write like that.

Ok, I am off to work. Hello, Friday! So glad for a weekend!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

where'd this week go?

One thing that has been difficult about retirement is that my routine keeps changing. Not in a bad way but in a way that makes it hard to have habits. I usually write on my blog in the morning but now I get up later, go to the Pulse later, go to work later....and suddenly the morning is gone.

We went to Mankato last night and I bought a bunch of throw rugs because our fifty-pound infant slides around on our new and quite expensive laminate floors. So, the lovely floors are covered up by cheap rugs. Holy crap. This morning I walked in the living room and Gus has managed to pull the threads on one of the rugs. The others of its ilk are going back to the store and we'll opt for something with a closer nap.

Funny, this dog does not chew things but he like loopy rugs. This is the third rug upon which he has pulled threads. What gives? Not a good dog to have if you are into shag carpet.

Reg watched the dog last night so we actually got to go to a restaurant for dinner. We picked a place whose food we like but...and this is a big but...there is a picture of John Belushi over the fireplace and there are a million large screen televisions. Yeah, too loud and too stimulating.

I usually have a rule that I will not eat in a place with more than one television but I can be over-ruled by good chicken wings.

I just heard on the radio that Adele is the hottest singer in the world. I have never heard her sing. I read a while back that Radiohead (also no clue) is the future of the world. Man, if they ever got Adele and Radiohead in the same room it would be cataclysmic.

We made a vigil to Schmidt's Meat Market after work today. I wanted a prime rib roast for New Year's Eve and maybe a lobster tail. I walk out with those plus cheese curds, beef stick ends, rib-eye steaks, and a New York strip steak....oh, and bacon. I need to refinance the house again.

We're doing a Woody Allen marathon this week. Tuesday night we watched Annie Hall and last night Hannah and Her Sisters. I liked Annie Hall but the other one not so much. Tonight we're going to watch The Purple Rose of Cairo. Regis says it's a comedy.

My new chair arrives tomorrow. And my new Kindle Fire. Livin' like a rich person lately.

I've resolved to read more on the Kindle. I need to get into the current century and since I don't know how to watch tv independently anymore, this is how I will accomplish that. I've been reading like crazy lately and I can't afford the money or the space to keep buying books at this rate.

We watched Fresh this week. Don't watch it if you don't want to change the way you eat.

Monday, December 26, 2011

boxing day on the patio and it's 45 degrees



We had a fire in the chimnea this afternoon then cooked steaks on the grill. What a beautiful day even though it was windy. Very different from last year.Here's what the grill looked like last year...

to do list for today

Sunday, December 25, 2011

list of nice things from christmas eve

  1. We had help in the form of Reg and Amber and Ella who all arrived about noon to put the finishing touches on the day. Ella even filled the bird feeder! Regis brought in the big table, Amber frosted cookies, and everyone pitched in to set up the table.
  2. Regis and Amber had great Christmas sweaters. They were a hoot....complete with ruffly collars, shoulder pads, and glitter.
  3. The two little boys played so nice together and shared their toys.
  4. Nobody had to battle icy roads or snow drifts to get here.
  5. Little boys like to lick things to see if they like the taste (cookies and vegetables) and if they don't...back on the plate it goes. It took a team effort to keep an eye on the table and remove the licked items! Ha!
  6. Ella decorated the rest of the gingerbread cookies with lots of sprinkles. She was content with the Christmas colors I picked even though she saw pink and purple in the drawer.
  7. I set off more than one smoke detector in the making of the meal but we didn't have to evacuate. Nice to wake up this morning to the smell of chicken fat.
  8. The food was delicious but we got a few reviews that the chicken wings were too spicy. This is a mostly Scandinavian crowd with no acquired taste for spice that burns the lips. 
  9. There was a minimum of tears. One adult and one child which isn't bad for an emotion-packed day at the end of a busy season.
  10. When three-year old children open presents, they are just amazed by each one. They tear the paper and stare with big eyes. It makes your heart ache to watch. I'm so glad they were here so I could see it. There were lots of trains and trucks and cars and books.
  11. One nice thing about Google tv (yes, I know....rant rant rant) is that we watched Santa cross the globe in his sleigh with Rudolph in the lead. The little ones were amazed and asked, "Where is Santa now? Where is Santa now?" There were some funny moments like when one of the adults said he's in Africa and Ella announced that Africa is south of Madelia.
  12. Toward the end of the evening, Bob and Reg were wrestling. Our fifty pound furry infant was so dismayed he jumped into my lap. Gus is not exactly a lap-fitting dog. He was so tired when everyone left that we could barely get him up to go outside.
  13. The pictures are a continuing source of amusement. I just looked at them again and noticed Reggie's happy face in this shot. Must be the Christmas sweater or a taste of pickled herring. ( That's our giant tv in the background with a yule log dvd playing. )

Merry Christmas, everyone! Happy last week of 2011!

some favorite pictures from christmas eve


Alex


Amber helps Elliot open a present.


Three boys and Gus (see Elliot's head?)


Alex says cheese


Elliot looks askance


Peter and Elliot


Peter, Elliot, me, and Tiffany


Ella, Emily, and Bob


Regis and Amber in their ugly Christmas sweaters


Bob and Ella


Peter and Tiffany


Almost the whole gang...missing Elliot and Regis, the photographer.


Elliot

We had a wonderful Christmas. Lots of cooking decorating, present wrapping, eating, sipping wine, and laughing. 

As always, the holiday was not without problems. I ran out of butter and blamed it on the shortage in Norway. Thank God, my daughter-in-law who lives three blocks away had butter at her house. As always, someone got sick, someone cried, toy pieces got lost, and the house is a complete disaster. It will take three hours to do the dishes again.

Such fun. Merry Christmas, everyone!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

my nice and nasty list

I like to make a list from time to time of things that have occurred so I can keep a perspective. Otherwise it is too easy to think that everything sucks or everything is wonderful. Basically, life is made up of both and if we just accept that, we are happier.


  • Nice. I've been searching the archives of my blog for a few pictures that seem to have drifted into the ether so I've been reading some of my old posts. There is some seriously funny shit here and someone should hire me to write a book. Hahaha! I crack myself up. Check out some of the Blasts from the Past on the right...or the popular posts.
  • Nice. Regis and I are making a Christmas card for the Legendary Stardust Cowboy. He's a real character we met through our KMSU listening experience. We went to see him in concert because truly I could not imagine his fan base after hearing this. We have since become fans.





  • Nice. He has another song called My Underwear Froze to the Clothesline. It's one of my favorites but I'll let you search that out yourself on youtube. I love the internet.
  • Nasty. I love the internet unless some weird idea gets into my consciousness and won't get out. I won't say what it was because the person who said it probably believes that this weird idea is true. When you buy a ticket to the circus, don't be surprised by the clowns. It's my life's philosophy.
  • Nasty. Sometimes I feel like people would rather look at their iPads or their phones than talk to me and that hurts my feelings. Here is a bit of news. No, you can not talk to someone very well while you are sending a text message or reading some piece of crap on the internet. You will not be sucked into an alien universe if you stop looking at your phone for five minutes. The world will go on if you don't respond to a text message immediately. I hate text messages anyway. I can read, or write that small. On second thought, this is a TWICE Nasty.
  • Nice. Today is the Winter Solstice. Actually it's at 11:30 p.m. and I think we should stay awake, have a fire in the chimnea, and toast the return of the sun. I love the solstice.  Regis is not sure about this as a plan as we rarely stay up that late. I would have to take three naps.




  • Nice. City Mouse is playing at Patrick's on Friday night. It's the celebration of their 40th anniversary of the band of my youth. I'm not sure that we'll make this happen either.



  • Nice. I went for a long walk in the sunshine yesterday afternoon. I listened to the Moth podcasts and some of them are so good they make me cry or laugh out loud which probably looks a little strange to people on the street.
  • Nice. We got a lovely Christmas card from the guy who did our floors for us. He and his wife are coming over after Christmas to see the finished product. The fact that he was such a nice (and funny) guy was part of the reason we decided to go with him instead of the cheaper bids. Well, that and the fact that he seemed to know what he was talking about which was not always apparent with the other folks.
  • Nice. Regis and I are enjoying our three times/week workouts at the Pulse. It feels good that we go regularly and it feels good to exercise. We don't talk much while we're there because we are doing our own things, but it's nice. Monday we went out for breakfast after our workout. It's 9 o'clock, we're sitting there watching the birds and drinking coffee, and I said, "What a nice life we have." This is TWICE Nice.
There you go. Out of all those things, only two nasty things and the one barely counts. I would recommend this as a writing or thinking exercise if you think your life sucks. It probably really doesn't....it just seems like it. The nasty things have more power if we dwell on them.

I hope my dreamy little philosophical meandering doesn't end up on your nasty list. That would be ironic. Hahahaha!




Tuesday, December 20, 2011

blues monday

Regis took some more bird photos today. Aren't they beautiful? Amazing and beautiful little creatures.

We got a package in the mail today. Birds on stamps. We didn't know who they were from and the invoice didn't say. Turns out they came from my Cousin Deb. They have the red-bellied woodpecker picture Regis took so we were curious about how someone got it. Ha! Now we know...


I love this cardinal. Look at the detail in his feathers and in his comb. There were five in the apple tree this afternoon and Regis managed to capture three of them in one photo.

We're headed to the grocery store this morning as soon as it's light. I don't like going places in the dark of morning.

Tomorrow is the Winter Solstice. We'll have just a tiny bit over 8 hours of daylight assuming we have any daylight. It's been gloomy lately. If the sun is out today, I'm going for a walk.

Later.

Grocery store not too busy at 7:30 a.m. Just the stock folks running here and there. We're ready for our Christmas cooking now but I might need a nap before I get started.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

sunday mid-december

We had the nicest day yesterday. It started slowly and didn't pick up much speed as it went along.

We had a nice cheese and olive plate for lunch with a glass of wine. Regis put in It's a Wonderful Life and we watched it over the course of the afternoon. I took a short dozy nap. We made luscious steaks and grilled peppers for dinner. It was a great way to spend the day.

In order that I would be in the proper holiday spirit, I put on sparkly leggings and a sparkly dress that I bought at the consignment store. I didn't wear reindeer antlers but in retrospect, I should have.

I did a little internet shopping for the grandchildren. This is my dilemma of the season. Do I want to contribute to the crazy consumerism that Christmas has become or do I want to disappoint the little ones who come here on Christmas Eve? Bad Grandma. They should make a movie.

The good thing is that each of them has a birthday in the next two months so I can buy some things and divvy them up for Christmas and birthdays.

Sometime in the fall, a woman came into River Rock and started asking me questions about the River Rock garden. She wanted to see it. I said we could arrange that. Well, she didn't really want to see it, just wanted to know that we really had one. (We do.) Yesterday, she posted this very nice review. She's only reviewed three restaurants but one of them was Wise Acre in Minneapolis which has a wonderful reputation for serving local and seasonal food. Ta da! Our cooks (I like to call them culinarians.) should be very proud.

I'm going for a walk in the sunshine today, then to lunch and the Muppet Movie with a friend. Regis and I are making chicken with a big green salad for dinner. Maybe it will be a Sunday in pictures post tonight.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

christmas light extravaganza

Regis and I stopped at Patricks to have some wings and a beer with my old school pals, then drove around to look at Christmas lights. We like to pretend we're Christmas Light Display Critics and we give scores based on things like aesthetics, balance, mixing of light colors, theme, and overall appeal.

We didn't see too much that thrilled us although there is a house down by South that did a nice job of blending colors and light types. It got our highest score.

We're not fans of the mixing of rope lighting with big bulbs or the mixing of colored bulbs with plain white. We take a lot of points off for mixing themes...Baby Jesus with Santa, for example. That's just gross.

A cardinal sin in holiday decorating is to throw a net of lights over a bush. You might as well just leave the lights in the bag and toss the bag in the yard. Another faux pas is to hang the lights vertically or to just wrap the trunk. Light critics avert their eyes when they see that coming down the street.

Our neighbors, Mike and Erin, have one of the best trees in town. It's a huge tree and it takes Mike all day to hang those lights but they go horizontally around the tree all the way to the top, the strands of lights are close together, and all the multi-colored light strands are the same. This picture was taken last winter when we had a ton of snow but you can see it's a beautiful tree. Lots of Christmas tree cred there, Michael.



I did a Youtube search for holiday lights and found a lot of stuff like this. Don't play it if you have had any abnormal neurological brain activity because this will certainly trigger an episode. It's a bit much and I hate to think of the time some dude put in planning and executing this thing that must brown-out his entire neighborhood. Be sure to hit the play button because the lights go on and off to the music.



We don't have anything outside and hell I haven't even moved the plants that croaked when they froze. There is still a dead geranium sitting at the edge of my patio so we really aren't qualified to be critics.

It's going to be a quiet weekend at our house.Nothing to do today and I'm going to the Muppet Movie with Joanne tomorrow. A good weekend for bird watching and navel gazing.

Friday, December 16, 2011

ho ho ho


I must say, everyone is willing to appease me at Christmas time by wearing silly hats. Thanks, Bob.


Gus didn't want to actually be in the picture, he just wanted to see what all the fuss was about.


Alex agreed to wear the hat after the group photo was done. Aren't they cute?

Working on the Christmas Eve menu. I don't feel quite the pressure to come up with a menu for this holiday like I do for Thanksgiving. We're making chicken wings and ribs and will supplement with offerings from the kids. Cowboy beans? Wild rice soup? Tiffany has requested Emerill's Twice Baked Potato Casserole so I can do that.

Ella is coming to do some cooking next week. Not sure yet what we'll make but it can't have dairy or eggs. Hmmm...vegan. Here's a recipe for gingerbread cookies. Do I have the gumption for this project?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

party at our house!




Regis and I had a little holiday celebration for our River Rock friends last night. Regis made spicy chicken wings and I put out a spread of cheeses, olive spreads, bread and crackers, and nuts. We had a good time...lots of laughing and story telling. Gus was confined to the kitchen for a while then he settled down and was allowed to join the guests. He's a very sociable dog so he enjoyed all the attention.


Tonight we're having Bob and Emily, Ella and Alex for a spaghetti and meatball dinner. We've only had 50% response rate to our invitation which is disappointing but we're encouraged by our 75% rate on the "your own cell phone plan" which is our new standard of independence. You can't have everything.

There won't be much creativity in the cooking tonight except I might try to make a loaf of bread before I go to work. I don't bake much anymore. They make such great breads at work so if I want bread, I get it there.

I better stop sitting here and get moving.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

if you get a christmas letter from me

You better frame it and hang it in a place of glory.

Remember the other day when I said my printer was acting up and I was just going to take my letter to the local print shop to have it printed?

I did that yesterday. Fifty copies. Two-sided. Color. Didn't bother to ask how much it cost.

So, when I go to pick them up, I get two reams of paper, a bunch of envelopes, and some stickers.

Drum roll.

$175.00

I almost had a heart attack. I shrieked. I asked why so much. Two-sided color copies he said. I said HOLY SHIT.

I wanted to ask if we could soak the ink off the paper and suck it back into the machine.

There is a lesson in this.

I could have bought three new printers for the price of that copy job.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

last year: snow and sunshine


This is what it looked like last year on this date. I want this weather instead of the forty degree gray soup that we have. I walked past a woman yesterday who said brightly, "Isn't it a nice day?" Holy shit. What is she thinking? I said if I wanted weather like this I'd move to Seattle.

rambling and ranting about technology

I can be forgiven for rambling thoughts when it's 4:30 a.m., right?

Here I am. It's dark, it's cold, and the stores don't open for at least 4 more hours. I have things to do!

Yesterday, I did my walking errands. Today, I do the driving errands. My printer always craps out at Christmas time. It's amazing that an inanimate object has such a great sense of timing. This time, it won't recognize the black ink cartridge even though we've cleaned the jets, replaced the cartridge, rebooted the whole printer, and done all the other easy fixes.

And like most things, you can probably buy a 40 dollar part or replace the printer for about 75 dollars. Shit.

I'm going to take my Christmas letter to the print shop down the street. I'm not fighting with the printer anymore.

Tiffany was over the other day and she spent some time reading through the old Christmas letters which live in the back of the Christmas recipe binder. She thought they were hilarious. I said they got less funny as our kids grew up and we didn't have as much to be sarcastic about. Ha! That is absolutely true. Teenagers make great writing material.

I've been thinking about Google tv. If you don't know what it is, I'm not going to be a very good source of information. I put it in google (heh) and found this http://www.google.com/tv/. But of course, it's all in video and such. No printed information. I'd check it out. Apparently, it's the future of the world.

I'm not even crying about the demise of letter writing, although I am, but this seems to be a way to spend your life sitting in front of the television. It's all there...movies, sit coms, Youtube, the web, email, apps, and probably even Angry Birds.

I wish people would stop inventing stuff because I can feel myself getting behind and I can feel myself getting a bad attitude. I used to worry about it and the fear of suddenly refusing to do things like set a digital clock forced me to learn about computers and cell phones and such.

But I've realized, that for me, technology is just a means to an end. I like the way it makes a lot of things easier. I like being able to shop for things world-wide, I like being in touch with people I don't see very often (or never), I like being able to publish my blog and pictures and I like reading newspapers and daily poems and blogs of friends.

I am complaining vociferously about the time and brain energy it seems to suck and about the social dysfunction it seems to create. Seriously, I had a young woman at my Thanksgiving table sending text messages beneath the table cloth.

I can't complain out loud about this at home too much because Regis is a fan of technology for it's own sake. He loves gadgets. Loves, loves, loves gadgets.

In our house (where two people live) we have these things by which one could access the internet: two cell phones, two desk top computers, a laptop computer, an iPad and probably a thing or two I have forgotten. News flash: THERE IS NOT ENOUGH WORTHWHILE SHIT ON THE INTERNET TO MAKE THIS MUCH CRAP NECESSARY.

We were talking about it last night and he said Google tv is kind of like your first Commodore computer. What??? I had to google that to see what it was. Or, he said, it's like when you used to wonder when phones would become cordless. These are thoughts I never had.

My old friend, Steve Schipp, used to say that the world is made up of two kinds of people: Those who know how to drive fork lifts and those who do not. Maybe it's that kind of thing. Maybe the world is made up of two kinds of people: Those who get Google tv and those who do not. Put me in the latter.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Saturday, December 10, 2011

the first dinner

Well, here it is. Evidence of the first family dinner. Tiff and Elliot came over tonight for a spaghetti and meatball feed. Elliot dragged out every toy for forty miles and ransacked the house. He sat on Pop-pop's lap and watched Thomas movies. He ate candy canes and ginger cookies and petted Gus. We had a wonderful time.



We didn't eat all of these tonight but in true Teresa fashion, I had too many meatballs. In the words of my ex mother-in-law Edna, you would hate to run out so you have extra, just in case.


Elliot enjoyed his spaghetti, his green beans, his clementine oranges, and just about everything but the ginger cookies which he proclaimed "too spicy".


Elliot likes to say "bummer" when he senses that things are not right. But he says "bummer-t". Tiffany corrected him and he said yup and the next time he said, "Bummer-t" and we would laugh. He did it to amuse us. Ha! Little kids. It's what they do.