Friday, June 29, 2012

morning journal

I went to the Pulse this morning, something for which I seem to have trouble finding motivation some mornings. There was nobody else teenagers hitting tractor tires with sledge it was peaceful. I did my strength exercises so when I got to a nursing home when I'm 98, I'll be able to get out of a chair by myself. That's my goal.

I weeded my garden the other day. First time this year and it showed. I'm sure the neighbors drove into their driveway and exclaimed in surprise. I can be such a slacker sometimes. I have the sprinkler on it now as it has been very hot and dry here.

This afternoon, I'm going to clean and cook all of my dark, leafy greens with some sweet onions and red pepper and freeze it in little pucks. Regis is not a fan and I can't eat this much of it but won't it taste good in the winter?

I have had great trouble sleeping lately. I finally went to the doctor the other day and I think she has me squared away...or at least I might be in a month. I'd give anything to sleep like I did when I was fifteen. Too bad that when you get old enough to have the time to sleep, you can't.

Regis took Gus to the dog park. I should have gotten right into the tub when they left but I forgot and now it's too late. Gus will need a bath when he comes home and he'll leave about an inch of Blue Earth County in the bottom. This is how the surface of the earth dog bath at a time.

Happy Friday, my friends. Do something fun this weekend!

Thursday, June 28, 2012


I just looked over my blog stats and posts. Out of the last three posts, two had the word rant in the title and one had the word suck. What the hell. Not a good sign, right?

I'm laughing now.

the roller coaster and a mini-rant

Regis had a great report from the cardiologist on Monday, rescheduled his surgery, made arrangements for all the other malarkey, then got a call yesterday that they want him to do another stress test. It feels like we're making progress, then we get dropped again. We are hoping that in a month it will all be over and he'll be on the path to recovery. Medical crap is very stressful.

I've been thinking about social media since it's a big part of my job now. I feel like I've been pretty successful at helping to build an audience and engage people in conversations about our food. Then one day I get called out, personally, by a woman I know, for writing too much on Facebook. This is our business page we're talking about, not my personal page.

She starts the comment by saying, "How do I be nice?"

When someone starts a conversation like that, it's like saying, "No offense, but..." Guaranteed offense. And you're not nice.

Doesn't that violate a few of the rules of social discourse? Even on Facebook?

I told her, publicly, that she has control over what she looks at on any social media. It's like television. If you don't like something, don't watch it. But don't blame me when you're the one looking.

I have unsubscribed from lots of people on Facebook. I subscribe to some posts or none at all. I hide stuff I don't want to look at. I block apps (Farmville) I don't want to see. My social media, my house, my rules.

I also told her that only 20% of our fans see any one post. Too bad if she is always in the 20%. I didn't go into all the stuff about algorithms and such. Most people don't want to know.

Ah, my rant of the morning. That crap has been in my head long enough.

Monday, June 25, 2012

as weeks go, this past one sucked

Regis was scheduled for knee surgery June 26. We were gearing up for that, making lists and plans. On Wednesday, he went for his pre-op physical and had an EKG. They called him in the afternoon and told him he had atrial fibrillation and the surgery would have to be postponed. We were completely deflated.

I cried into the dishwater for a while, then looked atrial fibrillation up on the internet. It didn't sound as dire in print as it did verbally.

Regis went to the Makato Clinic to have an echocardiogram Friday afternoon and meets with a cardiologist on Monday. We are hoping for the best possible outcome. He said it feels like the beginning of running from one specialist to another.

On the less suckful side it was a fun week at work. I am constantly amazed by the wonderful food those folks can make. I had a quinoa salad this week that was so good I had to buy some to take home. The herbs were perfect. They make my job, promoting their food, very easy.

I picked Elliot up at daycare on Friday. Ella and Alex came about 4. It went surprisingly well. The little boys play so nice together and Ella keeps a supervisory eye on them. They ate their dinner, we grilled marshmallows, and read books. Ella spent the night but the little boys went home.

Regis and I did some badly overdue yard work yesterday. We are the world's best procrastinators when it comes to yard work. Our neighbors are out there making the neighborhood safe from moles and crab grass and dandelions and we just sit and watch it happen. I made a mental list yesterday of things we should do and maybe I will even get to some of them.

We have neighbors on the corner across the street who have a giant camper and a boat. They load it all up with their bicycles and drive away every weekend. They spend about three days of the week getting it ready which includes a power washing with the hose. When they come back on Sunday, they spend the afternoon power washing again. They do know this stuff is outdoor gear, right? What is the compulsion to make the outside as clean as the inside?

On to Monday.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

awake and on a minor rant

I've had trouble sleeping lately. I can't take naps anymore because I don't fall asleep and it ends up being frustrating. I have trouble falling asleep at night and I wake up at midnight. Tonight, I went to sleep about 9:30, woke up at 12, went to sleep about 1:30, woke up at 4. Blast it. I don't think that's enough sleep in a row.

I'm reading a good book that I found through the book review page in the Star Tribune. It's called The Financial Lives of Poets by Jess Walter. Here's a YouTube video that tells a little bit about it. Ha! A book review in a YouTube video. What a riot.

I tried to embed the video but it didn't work so here's the link.

 Actually, his other book was reviewed, Beautiful Ruins. The writing is clever and funny and the characters are interesting.

Why I am afraid of book clubs. My friend, Emily, thinks a book club would be a good idea. I have gone along with trepidation but the truth is that book clubs terrify me. I have never belonged to one in my life.

I haven't belonged to a club since Girl Scouts, come to think of it, and maybe that is more the issue. I have a generalized fear of clubs.

Another part of the problem goes back to being an English major. I loved reading prior to that, but holy shit, those people could have beat that out of me in four years if I hadn't been so resilient and rebellious. I couldn't see the point in taking a book with a lovely, moving story and just beating the crap out of it with a five page paper or a three hour dialogue. I talk about books with friends but they are short, short discussions consisting of what I liked and who I liked and how I felt about the ending.

Maybe I should give a book club a chance.

The other part of the problem is that I am not good with details. Hell, I've read the same book twice and been surprised by the ending both times. I'm afraid that it will be like middle school English classes. What color were Martha Washington's shoes when she attended the inaugural ball in Chapter 5? Can't remember? You get an F. Flunk.

Like the softball throw. Every year I got an F in the softball throw in high school. I could throw the softball 50 feet which constituted an F by someone's standards. In between the yearly softball throwing test, nobody ever once showed me how to throw a softball. Every year they tested me and expressed surprise that I hadn't improved. It defies logic.

I have a lingering nightmare about the time I got an F on a math test in second grade because I didn't understand the concept of zero as a placeholder.

I bet these people would be sorry if they knew how deeply they had scarred me.

The other day when our kids were over, I had them fill out a spreadsheet (actually just a table but spreadsheet makes me sound more mathematically inclined) of their current phone number, their email address, and the way in which they prefer to be contacted: text message, cell phone, email, or Facebook. In trying to communicate with them all, inevitably someone says, oh, I don't use that email anymore, oh, I never look at Facebook, or oh, I don't listen to my messages.

Doesn't having the thing obligate you to look at it? It would be like saying, oh, I have a mailbox but I never look in there. Which will probably be the case sooner than we think.

There are so many ways to reach people now that I long for the simple days of one phone in the kitchen on a  five foot cord. There were no questions about how to reach people in those days.

Well, that was a long sleep-deprived rant. I think I'm going back to bed now.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Joint Class

Regis is having his right knee replaced on Tuesday the 26th. In preparation, we attended Joint Class today. Joint Class. They really call it that. We made a bunch of jokes all weekend about it and we were brutal today. Killer humor. Joint class.

The funny thing is we were probably the only ones in class who thought it was funny. The couple next to us have kids older than us. That's kind of encouraging, right? One old dude was having both knees replaced at the same time. He could use a joint class.

We only laugh about this because we have seen it on television and in movies. Not that we have any experience with joints.

We took Gus to the Paw, attended Joint Class, did a few errands, and had a late lunch at Mazatlan. We came home and sat on the patio in the heat and mosquitoes for a while. It was a good day.

River Rock did the photo shoot for the Minnesota Cooks project today. It was a celebratory kind of day for them, too.

Back to the knee. Regis will have surgery on Tuesday morning and will be in the hospital until Friday. They will have him up and moving around by Tuesday evening. The physical therapist who taught part of Joint Class looks and sounds just like Garry Shandling... before he had botox to the lips. (You can look those images up yourself. Why do people do that?) Troy was a very funny guy and almost made Regis look forward to the pain of surgery and the recuperation.

Of course, Troy is too young to be a sibling of Garry Shandling but he could be the illegitimate child of Garry. We think it's amazing that in Southern Minnesota, we have two children of celebrities. See the post on the John Denver look-alike. We'll try to get a photo of Troy. He was a hoot.

I took a bunch of pictures this morning of my herbs on the patio. They are thriving this year, for some reason. Usually I forget to water my patio plants and by this time they look forlorn and dead.

Regis thought this was hilarious. We went to Joint Class then to dinner. The receipt was time-stamped 4:20 (some weird pot significance) and our server was Jesus. I'm not making this up.

.That is probably all I need to say today.

Patriarch's Day 2012

Pictures are not in the proper order. I'm not sure how to fix that so we'll just roll with it. It was a good day but we weren't sure what the weather would do. About noon, there were gale force winds and sideways rain. Not good for grilling. Regis was confident that by the time we were ready, the weather would clear. And it did.

Since Regis is having knee surgery on June 26th and the 4th is barely a week later, we decided to celebrate the 4th of July on Father's Day.

It was a good spread. Thanks to everyone who helped in some way...and to those of you who showed up to eat.

Blueberry Corn Salad that I found on Pinterest. Regis proclaimed it the weirdest thing ever but I loved it. It has a lime vinaigrette, a few jalapenos, and cilantro. Nice bite.

Regis did a great job getting food pictures for me! I love to have pictures of the food. Emily said it's kind of like archiving the a scrapbook only digital.

Emily brought this great salad that she invented. Iceberg lettuce, mandarin oranges, almond slivers, candied nuts, and an Asian dressing. I love the combination of lettuce with fruit!

My baked beans. Deb, do you recognize the little bean pot? Maybe not from this angle, but it's one you sent me for my birthday some years ago.

Bob research a low-carb recipe and it was very sweet of him to do it. He made chicken roll-ups with bacon and ham and cheese. They were great!

Fresno potatoes. A riff on the hash brown cheesy potatoes. This one is made from Yukon Gold potatoes, bacon, cheese, and a sour cream white sauce.

A big old arugula salad, thanks to our CSA. I have grown to like arugula but it's spicier than regular salad greens.

I made the 4th of July pretzel rods for the kids. It was a labor intensive project with questionable results and a big mess. I won't be doing that again.

I love berry season. I think the strawberries are from California but I'm going to hit the farmer's market tomorrow and see if I can't score some local ones. The rest of the pictures are the barely controlled chaos of eating and taking a group photo. It was a wonderful time!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

arugula and cooking with veg-e-tables

We got our first share of the Living Land CSA yesterday and I am determined to use the produce wisely. More wisely than in years past. I gathered up all my vegetable cookbooks, reviewed them with the list of what would be harvested when. So, when kohlrabi showed up, I was ready!

I have Kohlrabi Slaw in the refrigerator that Regis pronounced pretty good, I made Marinated Radishes, I have a mixed green saute ready for tomorrow night, and we have greens galore. I've been really disgusted with grocery store greens lately. A day after I buy them, I can find leaves that look like pond scum. Not appealing.

Here's a link to a recipe that I want to try. Coleslaw with Cumin-Lime Vinaigrette

It's a challenge to use all that stuff in a timely manner!

Regis and I are going to pop down to the bar for a drink about 5 o'clock. We think we made a mistake on the bill and want to correct it. Then we're coming home to cook a big steak and some peppers on the grill. Love this weather!

I took the garbage can down to the curb this morning and lingered on the sidewalk for a while because it was so pretty outside. I finally went back in and got my phone to take a picture of the moment. This is it.

Monday, June 11, 2012

the party what started out as jumpin' around

I had a dream that I wrote a book called The Party What Started Out as Jumpin' Around. I wrote about it here. It occurred to me that it would have been a good theme for the birthday party or at least for a blog post. Ah, well.

I had a dream the other night that someone built me a wooden cart with an umbrella. It looked a little bit like this in the dream. Not as fancy.

More like this. With an umbrella. I don't remember being dressed as a rag picker from Charles Dickens' time but that would be appropriate.

I pushed it up and down Minnesota Avenue filled with scones and muffins and a airpot full of coffee. I was wearing an apron. People would pull over in their cars and I would sell them coffee and treats. Yeah, my subconscious has a great imagination.

I have been hunkered down most of the day writing my social media. After about four hours of that, a guy could get a little bit irreverent. I learned at my seminar that Twitter is like a Chamber cocktail party where everyone has had a few glasses of wine. I can relate. There is so much to makes my head swim.

Last week, I met with a young fellow about a new thing called SpotOn. Their website says SpotOn is a simple rewards program and social media platform that lets you connect with customers long after they have left your store. I listened to him for about a half hour, working really hard to hang on to the threads of meaning. I finally said he had to stop so I could let this roll around in my head and get into the right slots. It's not that hard, but you know how it is, right?

I think I will adjourn this party to the patio for now. I have had quite enough of computer screens for the afternoon. Carry on.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

sunday wind down

We've been to church on the patio, we've eaten, we've played with the dog, we've listened to music. We feel like our batteries are drained and we're waiting for them to recharge.

I looked through some old Arts and Entertainment sections of the Trib and added to my book list.

I made a list of party attendees and counted them. Almost 60.

I looked through the birthday cards again.

I read the obituaries in the Tribune. One really nice one. I sent an email compliment. Very nice writing.

I've been watching the Weather Channel. The sky looks dark, it's humid, and it feels unsettled.

It's going to be hard to go back to business-as-usual tomorrow. Can you tell?

Waiting for storms...

Notice the gold fish in the martini.

and a few things I forgot to mention

That's my friend, Monica, in the picture with the John Denver look-alike in the party photos. She was convinced he was a relative of John Denver, but the fellow said he wasn't. He does seem to be cultivating that look and he sure enjoyed that Monica thought he looked like John. Monica, never shy about her thoughts, told him he should get his DNA checked because John's wife was from St. Peter and he would have been hanging out here about 40 years ago.

We love this band. Now I have a signed CD of Shake Your Boogie, another copy of Shake Your Boogie, and Live at Blues on Grand. They're going to play at the Savoy in Mankato on Sunday, July 29th. We have it on the calendar.

Ironically, they're going to play at Checker's Tavern in Cedar Rapids, Iowa next Thursday night. Monica might gather up the Iowa gang and attend. I think she just wants to see if John Denver shows up again.

This is me with Bobby Lee Sellers, Jr., the drummer in the band.

And this is me with Reverend Raven himself.

He always goes out into the crowd and jumps up on a table. He wears red shoes...I love that.

Another party story. My friend, of Mary's Flowers, came in the door of Patrick's about 10 o'clock carrying a five gallon pail full of 60 roses and a You Rock balloon. She told me I had to give the roses away in 60 seconds. I didn't make it in 60 seconds but I did give them all away. Some people were really tickled by it, some refused to take one (men, mostly), and some thought I was selling them. Yeah, right. When I told the stories, they loved it. Mary, what a sweetheart.

My circle skirt was a blast to wear. I bought it on from Amanda in Texas. I'm dancing with our friend, Al. He is a great dancer and it's hard to keep up with him. There was some great blues dancing going on, let me tell you. Amber said, "Who invited these pros? They're making us look bad."

I had these shoes on for the first two hours of the party but when the band started, I had to switch to the flat sandals. These are not dancing shoes.

Well, that's about it for now. Going to the patio to enjoy some heat and wind.

a few tales

This was my list for Friday. I was checking it and crossing things off until 4 o'clock when I was finally done. Done getting dressed. Done paying for things. Done worrying about this or that. Done. I sat down to wait for the fun to start.

By six o'clock, the band was set up, the food was on the table, the cupcakes had been displayed, and the friends & family were beginning to gather.

Oh, my. What fun we had. We danced and sang and hugged everyone and we carried on until 1:30 a.m.

The next day, we drove out to Schmidt's meat market to buy big steaks for the grill. We stopped at the Chankaska Creek Winery for some cold beer and a glass of wine on the deck.

This is Monica and Ronnie, Dick, me, and Jane on the deck at the winery.

We came back to the house and continued the merriment. Great food, wine, stories, and laughing until we cried. 

This morning, more coffee, more stories...and Monica spiked my hair up! What a hoot!

This is my list for Sunday. Regis took Gus and Ella to the dog park. I laid in bed under the ceiling fan and read the paper, I made an egg bake, I did the dishes. Now I'm working on the second item: gather up our brains for the week.

It was so much fun. Regis said it's probably illegal in some southern states and maybe even a few midwestern ones to have as much fun as we had this weekend. What a way to celebrate 60 years.