Sunday, January 25, 2015


Blech is one of those moods that descend on me from time to time. It came out of nowhere and will go back to the same place eventually, but it wreaks havoc while it hangs around. A nap didn't help. I don't feel like doing the dishes or cleaning up the pile of paper in my office. I refuse to go outside. Shut up with your pithy little platitudes about gratitude, I just want to wallow in my misery. Not a Third World problem as my friend Sharon says.

I'm listening to Last Chance for a Thousand Years by Dwight Yoakam, my classic album of despair.

Sometimes writing about it reveals it for the big bag of stupid that it is. Not today. I'm reading this and thinking, boy do I have some shit to complain about. It makes me laugh for a minute, then I go right back to my hangdog look.

Don't call 911 to tell them your friend is an emotional train wreck. By the time they got here, I would probably have on my coin skirt and be belly dancing to Swing Bop. It can happen just that fast.

don't worry

My worry and frustration and wickedness of disposition reached a peak yesterday. You probably would not have know had you been with me all week as most of this goes on in my head. I almost cried once when I was tired and I did cry when I heard some old friends are moving away, but it was just a few tears, not a whole blarney-stone sized crazy wailing and flailing session.

I booked a trip (I think that's what people who travel a lot say...) to Phoenix in February. I am a nervous traveler and this will take some major meditation mojo to manage this anxiety. I have so far, managed everything. Read the schedules, bought the tickets, scheduled the transit. Ta da!

Elliot has been here since Friday when I picked him up at school. His cousins came for dinner and to play until bedtime. We went to the library, to River Rock, and to open swimming in the afternoon. Last night we had a most delicious chicken pot pie and a caramel apple pie from the Cheese and Pie Monger Shop in town. What a feast. Regis went to drive the transit at 8:30 and Elliot and I went to bed.

We're making pancakes this morning. I am sure he will request some unusual shape. Hey, I should put that in google. On second thought, no. Mickey Mouse is plenty good...and easy.

Everything I read this morning says I should stop trying to have control of everything. Stop worrying about every little thing. The best was from The Queen Code:
Queen, you are not stuck. You are not trapped. The emotions of anxiety, fear and hopelessness are making the situation worse than it really is. The real source of your pain is that you may be too focused on trying to make outer changes, when the root to your transformation is within. Heaven knows your predicament. The Universe knows that you have material and physical needs that must be met, but being too focused on outwardly “getting” will rob you of your inner peace. As challenging as it may be, shift your perception today. Do yourself a favor and stop trying to control people, situations and outcomes. If you want real transformation “seek first inner peace, all the other things will then be added to you.
Ok, I'll give that a try.

The week in pictures.

I think she captured my essence.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

stats and so forth

Nov 28, 2010
Mar 2, 2014, 1 comment
Aug 17, 2007, 2 comments
Aug 30, 2013, 1 comment

I love looking at my blog stats. It cracks me up that some of these silly posts get so many views. I wonder how it happens. With one of these, maybe the first one, there is a Gary Larson cartoon involved so when someone does a search for the floating head of death, my blog pops up. But that doesn't explain oh, betty which is a great story and my friend should be tickled that so many people have read it. We're both famous.

I get a charge out of these stats but something in me resists counting and keeping track of other things. Regis bought me an Up24 but it makes me crazy so I don't use it. He likes to know how many hours of deep and light sleep he has a night but I don't care. It frustrates me when the damn thing says I forgot to turn it to sleep mode. If it can keep track of deep and light sleep, it should be able to tell when I go to sleep.

It's probably my math phobia that makes me dislike counting. Or maybe it's my rebellious streak.

Is it ok to eat quesadillas for breakfast?

I read some fashion advice the other day. Fashion advice? What? Anyway, one of the tips was not to treat leggings as pants. What the hell does that mean? And not to wear them every day. Who keeps track of that?

I had a friend in middle school (although we didn't call it that back in 1963) who would say this to me: You wore that last week on Wednesday. Apparently the rule was that you could wear something two weeks in a row but not on the same day.

Holy shit.

I can't remember what I wore yesterday much less what I wore last week on Wednesday. I thought that was being more than a little uptight.

I have worn leggings almost exclusively for about five years. I say about five years because I didn't write down the first time I wore them. It just got to be a habit and I like the way they feel. I like the look...long tops and leggings and boots. If Katherine Hepburn can wear white turtlenecks every day of her life, I think I can wear leggings. This is a long rant for something so stupid.

Well, I did buy a pair of jersey baggy pants a couple months ago. I think they might have been born as pajama pants but on nice days in the fall, I wore them as (gasp) pants. I recently bought some "loose pants" and some "harem pants" (More magazine calls them slouchy pants.) but they have not arrived yet. I will certainly keep you all posted because my fashion sense is critical to your well-being. I know, I know. 

So, the fashion divas can relax. I have other pant options. Nobody has to keep track of when and where I treat leggings as pants.

Monday, January 19, 2015

old school dance party

The gym where Regis and I work out recently added a new studio. One of the features is a touch-screen kiosk with a variety of workouts that are shown on a big screen. I am usually the only one in an early morning class which proved to be a very good thing today.

I was tired of yoga and core work and weights so I chose a Vibe session called Old School Dance Party. Yeah, I'm 62 so I'm thinking old school will mean music from the 60's give or take a decade. I was way off.

This very fit and hip dude with bones of rubber led me though a series of what I would call hip urban dancing. Here is what he looked like:

I could do the really simple ones but I was lost plenty and sometimes I would burst into raucous laughter at the thought of what it must look like. Retired school teacher of Norwegian descent tries hip hop dance moves. It was hilarious and so much fun. I'm going to do it again and try to learn some of those cool moves. Haha!

I finished my fox cowl last night. I made the ears according to instructions and attached them firmly to the hood with a series of tight stitches. Those babies were not coming off. Then I put the thing on...and I looked like this. Like the Unabomber with Dumbo ears. In my defense, it is almost midnight, I took the picture with an iPad, and I didn't realize how goofy it looked until it was too late.

So far, this picture has more than 50 likes, several shares, and almost 30 comments. What the...I keep posting the one where the ears are smaller and I am smiling, but the public seems to like the Unabomber one.

I have to wash it and block it, turn back the edge of the hood, and attach the buttons. I'll have Regis take a photo with the real camera but I know what will happen. Ho hum. Big deal. Where's the goofy picture??? (I think the only other picture I had that was this popular was the one in my snorkel parka and mad bomber hat.)

Woody has had his picture taken several times this week. He is one photogenic cat, let me tell you.

I had the nicest morning after I got home from the dance party. Two friends, Kathryn and Keith, came for coffee. We got Keith set up on google docs so he can work on his extensive collection of stories from his 35 years as a hair dresser and from his steel trap memory of his years growing up in Vesta. Kathryn and I are a pretty good audience for his stores...we laugh and laugh. Such a good time sharing oatmeal cookies and coffee and laughter.

Well, I have more work to do on my cowl this evening and I want to get outside to monkey with my new star filters before the sun goes down. More later, blog pals.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

retirement is tough duty

I have six coffee and lunch dates on my calendar this week. Regis doesn't know how I manage and I admit, it is tough. I try to get jobs, really I do. Well, sometimes I do. Mostly I don't.

Woody shares my attitude about work. We would much rather take a leisurely stroll though the day, then snuggle into a big, red comforter late in the afternoon.  We should all be more like cats.

I am making good progress on my fox cowl. I am about halfway done with the hood part and then on to the ears and the crocheting which may be more challenging as the only crochet I have done is to make a mile-long chain. Mom, do you know how to crochet?

I worked at my volunteer job this week which mostly consists of sitting in the sun, visiting, answering the phone a time or two, and posting on social media. You can see I have a life to be envied.

Make a snow angel today!

Monday, January 12, 2015

yurt dream

If you see Regis on the street, tell him you'd like to spend the night in our yurt where there is no heat, no running water, no indoor plumbing and the rats and mice are free to come and go. We don't really have one but I woke up dreaming about it and thought it would be a funny prank. Wahaha! I crack myself up sometimes.

not complaining about the weather

I vowed at the beginning of this winter I was not going to complain about the weather and the dark so much. I have been doing fairly well at that...and in trying to embrace the cold and gray. This is not my favorite kind of winter, however. Too much of the same. I want a blizzard, I want some action, I want 4 feet of snow and a bright blue sky.

On Saturday when I was coming home from Mankato at 4:45, I saw the sun! The actual round yellow thing in the sky! And it was bright enough to cast shadows at almost 5 o'clock! Regis and I went to the grocery store and at 5:30 there was still enough light that you could see. It was not pitch dark. Oh, what a relief. The sun will come back some day!

I've been awake since 3:30 am. I was doing pretty well at not napping and sleeping better at night but the influenza kicked the legs out from under that table. (I almost said the d word that means short person.) I slept and slept for two weeks and now I need to get back in the habit of being vertical all day. It's so nice, though, on these cold days, to climb back into the blanket fort for a while in the afternoon.

I moved the furniture around in the house. Men don't seem to understand the need for this but I get so tired of things in the same places. I moved the dining table back into the dining area and the couch back into the living room. The cat was quite amused and leaped onto every piece of furniture I moved, sat up on the bow, and peered over the edge like we were heading into the big waves. I suppose if you never leave the house, anything is cause for excitement.

A couple months ago, my friend Amanda, posted a photo on Facebook of her son with a Hobbes (Calvin and Hobbes) toy that they found at Target. I was so envious and wanted one in the worst way but since I never go to Target, I gave up on the idea. When Elliot and I were there the other day, who pops up in a clearance bin but Hobbes! It was meant to be. Here he is with Kermit. Regis says Hobbes is telling Kermit to stfu.

The other thing I did on Saturday was to stop at Mary Lu's Yarn Shop and buy the materials for this fox cowl. The woman working there assumed I was making it for a child. I said, no, I am making it for myself. Well? What's wrong with that? I started it last night and I got about halfway up the second tier of orange. I love the yarn. Like most textile art enthusiasts, I have a stash of yarn that might embarrass me if someone inspected it. They don't so I'm not worried.

Regis and I are going to pump some iron at 7. We have a busy day: coffee with friends, an AARP tax meeting, transit driving, blanket fort. Wahaha! Make it a good one!

P.S. Tom and Betty, We were at the hacienda yesterday and all is well. Call us one of these days when you are tired of sitting on the warm beach and we'll tell you some stories about the temperatures in Minnesota these days!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

lost and found

This is a great story. All the way home, I thought about how to tell it.

I picked Elliot up at 10 in the morning. We were going to make a day of it. We went to a yarn shop and I told him if he was patient and helpful, we would go to the new bakery down the street. I'm not sure he has ever been in a real bakery (not the grocery store kind) but he was game. He knew they had cookies in the bakery and he is a big fan of cookies.

We bought our yarn (for the fox cowl!) and went to the bakery. I had coffee and he had juice and a cookie. I bought buns for dinner.

We still had plenty of time before we met April and Zoey so we headed to Target. We found some things and went to the check-out. I dug wildly through my purse but could not find my credit card wallet. I apologized, tried a hidden card but it was expired. I left our things and we went back to the car where I was sure it would be. Nope. Back into the store for a frantic search of shelves where we had been. Nope. Back to the car.

Halfway down the hill to the bakery, retracing our steps, I felt it in my pocket. Back to Target to pay for our things. Damn. I never put things in my pocket. In fact, I bought one of those purse organizers and I am usually very careful to put things back in their appointed spots.

Nice pizza lunch with April and Zoey. Then we headed to the YMCA where they were having an Open House. When we got to the locker room, I couldn't find my car keys but I wasn't worried. I drove there, after all. We played for several hours and had a wonderful time. When it was time to go...still no car keys. I walked out to the car and found the ignition...with the doors unlocked. And the battery dead. Damn again.

I went back into the YMCA and found a nice fellow who jumped my battery and we were on our way.

Do you know how many opportunities I had to freak out? I almost called Regis when the cc's were lost. I did call him when the battery was dead but he was relieved that he didn't have to drive 15 miles with jumper cables.

When I got home, he drove me to the store for ground beef. I think he was worried he would have to put a GPS on me so I didn't get lost.

Friday, January 09, 2015

it's been a blanket fort week

We had a spectacular winter storm yesterday. I was lucky that it was a day I was at the Nicollet County Historical Museum so I witnessed the storm from the beautiful front windows that face west. It was a fast-moving storm so we went from heavy snow to no snow to 40 mph winds to no wind to no visibility and back and forth most of the afternoon. At one point the sky cleared but there was bank of dark clouds to the south west. It looked like Armageddon. Nature is so powerful and so beautiful and so frightening sometimes.

I worked two days at my volunteer job where it was chilly but fun. I'm finally getting the social media plan in shape, in my head at least. The first time I posted on Facebook, I had the date wrong. I admitted to Alyssa that anything to do with numbers sets off a commotion in my head. I am going to write up the posts prior to posting and have someone double check dates and numbers. Gads.

I have been trying to embrace the beauty in winter and in darkness rather than rage against it as is my usual pattern. In that quest, we bought three new star filters for the camera and have been experimenting with outdoor photography and editing. These were taken (by Regis) on Wednesday, the day we had the extreme cold temperatures. The sun dogs are part of the beauty of extreme cold and blue sky.

We missed a couple of good shots this week...the full moon on Monday, for sure. I have a calendar of all the moon phases now so we won't make that mistake again. The moon was stunning about 7 am when we headed to the gym.

I'm moving furniture around my house today so better get busy with that. Stay safe and warm, my friends. It's a good blanket fort day!

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

winter nights

It's morning but the sun won't be up until almost 8 so it feels like it's still night. 

I left for belly dancing a little after five last night and it had been dark for an hour. That means we had almost 8 hours of sunlight and most of that was gray and hazy. The temperature barely got above zero and it was windy. Now, raise your hand if you want to come and live here!

I read Ian Frazier's book about his trek across Siberia. He wanted to interview the folks who lived up near the Arctic Circle but the further north he went, the drunker they were. They trucked vodka in kegs in on snow mobiles. At the furthest point north, he couldn't meet them in public places because they were too drunk, he had to go to their homes.

I bring this up because I think it's a reasonable and prudent thing to consider how the weather and your surroundings affect your mood. Not saying this is true for everyone.

A few years ago, I realized that winter was becoming difficult for me. I started to get a little manic when the sun went down. I bought and strung many stings of lights, I lit candles, I played loud music. I drank a lot.

None of that helped. Imagine.

Finally, I bought a sun lamp, I saw a therapist, I took an anti-depressant, I tried to change my thinking. This morning, I'm thinking about all of that and wondering how it plays into the big mystery that is my life.

I finished with the therapist. I think she thought she had helped me all she could. Now, it's on me.

I use the sun lamp (day light) religiously. Every day as I write in the morning.

I don't take the anti-depressants any more.

I read two articles recently that made me consider how I perceive winter. I can change how I feel about winter by changing how I think about winter.

The Invitation of December
Autumn Blues: Loss into Life

I just stepped outside in my robe and slippers to take a picture of the moon. Later, Regis and I will go out to throw a cup of water into the air. It vaporizes instantly which is a sight to behold and we never tire of it. I'll fill the bird feeder, feed the squirrels, put suet out for the woodpeckers. I'll put some new books in the little library. Later, I'll make scones, a loaf of bread, and maybe some cookies. Now is not the time to be harsh with carbs.

Winter can be hard. There is hope.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

the lessons I keep learning

There are many lessons I keep learning. Most are more profound than this one but it seems this is a simple thing, something that should be easily remembered. So, why do I keep buying false eyelashes?

I bought the first ones during my cancer treatment when my eyelashes, eyebrows, and hair all fell out. I was comfortable with the bald head but there is something alarming about a totally bald head. I was in Walgreen's one day and boom, there they were. How hard could this be?

I came home and tried and tried. Nothing I did kept them from looking like a pair of hairy centipedes resting on my eyeballs. I watched a Youtube video and thought I had it. Nope. I couldn't get those suckers on straight.

I read about how they caused terrible eye infections so I threw those in the trash. Probably ten pair. In the trash.

But then I kept being intrigued by them on other people. I wanted those long fluttery eyelashes instead of the skimpy pale ones I have now but I have lost interest in make-up. I bought more false eyelashes.

On New Year's Day, we were invited to a soiree so I tried them again. Glued them to a finger. Glued them to an eyebrow. Had black glue all over my face. Finally got them stuck down in a reasonable position.

Twenty minutes into the party, I feel the familiar creep across my eyeball. I asked Regis to check it out. He gets that look of horror/amusement and tells me I better fix it. Sure enough, that damn thing is trying to escape again. I'm done. Lesson learned.

Friday, January 02, 2015

some very weird things

Some very weird things have happened to me in the past few days.

First, this morning as I put Christmas junk away...or started to do that by piling things on the table, Woody because curious and started wandering among the ornaments and baskets. He batted my new cardinal to the fool and broke his tail feathers off. I had to get out the super strength glue to repair him and ended up gluing my finger to the bird body but having no impact on the broken piece. I had to rip him off my finger. Ouch.

Then Ella and I went to lunch for her birthday to a restaurant where tator tot hotdish was on the menu. This is a staple in Minnesota but not one likely to be found in a restaurant. So as much out of curiosity as anything, I ordered it. It was so odd looking that we stared. It was a soupy bunch of ground meat on the bottom with barely a green bean to be seen, about a dozen tots on top, and the whole business was covered with cheese. Not good. Not good at all. We did have a good laugh over it, however.

This afternoon, Regis stopped home with the transit for a quick break. He locked the door and when he went back out the door wouldn't open. The key would not turn in the lock. He called another driver who told him to get a towing service to come and tow him to the locksmith. Uh oh.

He came in to get Ella, thinking he could get here to climb over the wheelchair ramp which sits vertically in a door that would open. She didn't want to do it so I went out.

The lift looks like this but when it's in the bus, it's vertical and there is an opening of about 18 inches between the top of the lift and the roof of the bus. I had to get a step ladder to reach the bus floor, then swing my leg over the top of the lift, then swing my other leg up, shinny through that small hole, then try to lower myself without landing on my head. All this done on a public street. I'm sure it was a lovely visual.

I managed it without injury and Regis was on his merry way. I told him that if he shared the story, to make me the hero.

When he came home I asked if this misadventure had been the talk of the transit drivers. He looked a little sheepish and told me he had been using the wrong key. The key to open the door was in his pocket the whole time.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

january one

It's probably a good thing that we don't realize the significance of a new year starting. If, in fact, it is. I read this morning that this construct of January 1st being New Year's Day is not a heavenly creation but a man-made one to fit...probably the calendar industry. Ha!

I haven't been out much in the past week so I have robbed photos from previous years. This hasn't been an especially attractive winter anyway. It's been mostly brown...and some gray. I prefer this kind of winter:

Which, of course, comes with some of it's own problems. I think this was the year we bought a snow rake and raked 20 inches of snow off the roof of the house. If you don't think that's hard while standing in snow up to your butt, I've got a story for you.

This was a much lovelier winter. Lots of snow and bright blue skies. In the picture on the right, I was making a snow angel on the patio to send to our friends at KMSU. It was the winter of snow angels.

When I went to Urgent Care the other night, a very nice doctor looked at my red cowboy boots, then my red glasses and said, "Is red your favorite color?" You could say.

Today is Ella's 9th birthday. I remember being at the hospital when she was born and I burst into tears when I heard her first cry. How can she be nine already? I think we were out making snow angels in the dark in the last two pictures.

I've been sitting here looking at my calendar for an hour. I feel like I lost time over Christmas...maybe that happens every year. It's January already! I changed all my desktop backgrounds, my profiles photos, my blog banner, and the wall calendars. Ready to start the new year!