Saturday, December 31, 2016

last of 2016

 I'm not a fan of rehashing the old year or making promises for the new year but as I stood at the sink yesterday morning doing a few dishes, this spectacular sunrise appeared. There isn't time to dilly dally with the sunrise, so I traipsed into the yard in my robe and slippers to take the picture. By the time I got back in the house, the colors had changed.

Tiptoeing into an icy backyard at dawn is treacherous. It is an act of faith. Had I gone down, flopping like a fish out of water, it might have been a while before someone rescued me. Regis was in the shower and I prayed with every step that he would think to look for me should that be my fate.

I made it safely back to the house. I'm pretty sure there is a metaphor here but I'm not sure yet what it is. This is the third metaphor I have identified in two days so I am either daft or quite perceptive. Ha!

I had lunch with two friends yesterday, women about my age. We all said the holidays exhaust us and we vowed to do it differently in the future. I have said this before but this time my resolve is strong. If I publish a menu here that is longer than the buffet menu at the local restaurant, somebody please send the crisis team. It should not take a week to recover from a holiday.

Regis and I are planning a quiet New Year's Eve. It's been years since we were inclined to go out among the masses. I'm thawing New York strip steaks, I have shrimp with cocktail sauce and a few other treats, I'm going to make a baguette, and we plan to watch When Harry Met Sally. If we are awake at midnight, I'll be surprised.

We took Ella to Number Four for dinner last night to celebrate her 11th birthday. It's quite fancy and expensive. Regis took Alex to the Nicollet Cafe for lunch and Alex had two pancakes for $4.19. He asked if it was ok to spend that much. Haha! We joked that he is a cheaper date than his sister...her dad says champagne taste and a Kool-Aid budget.

We did our semi-annual programmers for the day gig at KMSU this week, too. It always involves breakfast at the end and this time, we went to the Nakato. Ella found the street art fascinating.

I took the other two to lunch one day this week. I had forgotten how much little kids like to talk about poop and puke. It is an endless source of enjoyment for them. Sigh. 

We woke up to wind again today which means I will refuse to leave the house and might spend some of the day in the lower level. Also known as the basement.

Well, see ya. Have a happy eve of the new year. Be safe.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

stats: my gallery

I think I've mentioned that sometimes I like to check out the statistics on my blog. I think they're interesting. A woman in a small town can amass almost a quarter of a million pageviews without much effort. Think about what a guy could do if he tried.
This list shows pageviews: the number of times someone just looked at a page of my blog. Me included.

Pageviews today
Pageviews yesterday
Pageviews last month
Pageviews all time history
This map shows all the places around the world where the pageviews have originated. The list is below the map. Almost 30,000 pageviews from the Ukraine. What? Posts get more readers if I share them on Facebook but I don't do that very often. I'm not sure what moves me to do that...not any sense of "Oh, this is a good one." It's more of an impulse.

United States
United Kingdom

This list is probably most interesting to me, not you. A little more than 2,400 posts over ten years. You can see my creative efforts wax and wane. Sometimes with reason, sometimes just a matter of habit. Need to have the time and place to write regularly.

Blog Archive

Total posts: 2,413

I don't have a theme. I am just as likely to write about our dog as politics (rarely) or recipes (frequently). I was talking to Patty at Stone's Throw one day and she asked if I was an artist. I laughed. No, I am not an artist but I treat my writing here as a creative/artistic effort. Usually not very good for the consumer but always good for the producer. This is my gallery: where my random musings about random crap gets written down for anyone to look at. I have no panning for gold. Sometimes you find gold but most times you get mud.

I've had to work at not caring about who reads here and what they think. A few times when I have gotten caught in that trap, it is stultifying. I go back and forth between allowing and not allowing comments. I enjoy some comments but not the critical ones. What makes people think I want to hear that? Haha. I don't want to hear it.

I usually read a post over and make a few revisions for the sake of word choice or fluency but I don't labor over them too much. I'm sure it shows.

One thing I have loved about my blog is that it shapes the way I see things. In the midst of an experience, I find myself thinking, I could write about it this way and I start composing in my head.

These are the top posts of all-time. I have no idea why they are the most popular. The first one is a Dilbert cartoon and one of the others has a Gary Larson cartoon. Maybe my blog pops up when people search for those. Beats me. 

Nov 28, 2010
Aug 30, 2013, 1 comment
Feb 6, 2011, 3 comments
Jul 6, 2014, 1 comment
Well, there you go. The retrospective at the end of my tenth year. There is an archive of some of my favorite posts on the right. They are some of my funnier posts, I admit. Through the years, I have been funny and I have written in the middle of the night, between sobs. Like life. Light and dark. 

brain muck

So, that photo order I was mucking around with the other day. I want to make a little album for each grandchild so I put together an order for about 100 pictures. I had some in a folder on my laptop and some in a folder on my big computer. Yeah. I thought I was smart because I found a coupon code for 60% off. Yeah, great deal. Then I apparently ordered the same pictures twice. Once to be delivered by mail and once to be picked up at Walgreen's. I didn't discover it until it was too late to cancel because they print those things at the speed of light. Crap.

I managed to order pictures from the wedding without similar calamity.

I am not particularly distressed by all the famous people who have died in 2016. Folks are acting like they should send the remaining famous people who are not dead yet to the cave to protect them from the Grim Reaper for the next three days. That shit doesn't stop, you know. People will continue to die in 2017.

My mom sent us a gift card for Christmas and we have been salivating about what to buy. I like to cook, we like to eat, so a new stockpot (in between the sizes I already have), a fancy soup ladle, two soup cookbooks, and a couple of soup mugs have been purchased. I figure it might motivate some cooking that doesn't involve sugar and butter.

I went through some old cookbooks last night and made a list of other recipes to try. My husband is not a fan of vegetables and I can sneak a parsnip into a soup once in a while but I have to be careful or he doesn't trust me. We talked on Christmas Eve about where people get their food aversions and everybody has them. Some have more than others. We have Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern who will eat a live, beating cobra heart on one end of that spectrum and my former husband who won't eat anything cooked on a grill touched by an onion on the other end. Diversity in the human population.

I went swimming twice this week and it was very nice to move around in a space that wasn't the kitchen. The sun came pouring through the southern facing windows and made me feel like I was in the tropics. Too bad I had to go out to a 30mph wind and subzero temps. Haha.

Most of my week consisted of extreme inertia. There were a couple days I barely moved, slept for hours, and consumed only cookies. It was bad. I think maybe when a holiday whacks you like that, it's time to do something differently. I'm not sure I want to spend a week shopping and cooking and cleaning prior to a holiday only to do it again after the holiday. This is my own doing, I realize. People offer to help and I say no, I'll handle it. ( Danger: control freak alert.)

Monday, December 26, 2016

you have no events scheduled today Mon Dec 26, 2016

Achieved my goal of complete inertia yesterday. I put on my leopard pajamas in the morning and I didn't get dressed all day. I didn't do one dish. I took out zero garbage bags. I did no exercise and I ate not one morsel of healthy food. Utter decadence and debauchery.

I'm doing better today. I have the sink full of dishes, the garbage has gone out, and I have a plan to go to the gym and the pool. When I come home, stoked up on that good exercise, I'll deal with the sweets that are languishing in the porch.

I've started the transition to 2017. I worked on an order for photo prints this morning. It's painstaking and confusing work. And so easy to be distracted. I have, for the most part, abandoned any hope of having pictures organized, like a lot of other things I have abandoned organization of: addresses, music, stuff. You just look for it when you need it. It's easier that way.

One thing that got my attention this morning was pictures of the sky. I have a few favorites for your morning perusal. Here's hoping you are still in your pajamas, drinking coffee, staring out the window. The sky is amazing.

Oh, the title of this post is from the message I got from Google this morning. I love it when that happens. You have no events scheduled for today. Here's to that, my friends.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

dog kerchief

Mom gave me a sewing machine a few years ago. Of course, it languished like a lot of my hobby supplies do. Gus needed a new Christmas bandana so, not being able to find anything already made, I bought fabric. The kiss of death. I get all set up to sew. The squares are cut and ironed. Discover no needle. Friend Marie comes to the rescue and tapes a package of universal machine needles to her office window. I set up again only to find that apparently, in thirty years, I have forgotten the sewing machine basics. So, the evening of December 23rd, I spent several hours hand stitching the hems of Gus's bandanas. Not too many dogs are treated this well. He just had half of my ham sandwich and he's taking a nap on the couch. Merry Christmas, Gus.

brief notes = all I can do today

I'm in my fuzzy leopard pajamas, a gift from my friend Karen in NJ. 😇 My goal is to do as little as possible today. So far, so good.

I have had multiple cups of coffee, many lefses with Hope butter, some Chex mix, and a ham sandwich.

It rained freezing ice pellets for a little bit, then it switched to rain. The wind comes and goes.

We have watched brave souls walking down the street like penguins. Don't go out if you don't have to go. That would be like for a scheduled heart transplant or something. A quart of without it for today.

I spent an hour on Thriftbooks ordering the remaining Ian Rankin books that I don't have and a couple other mysteries by Scottish authors. I have three maps of Scotland coming so I'll know what's going on over there. Have you ever looked at some of their place names?

We had some birds and squirrels in the front yard but they even got smart and retreated to the warm and dry.

I can feel a long read and a nap calling me.

Friday, December 23, 2016

the day before christmas

Ella is sleeping on the couch, I'm writing on my blog, and Regis is perusing the jail roster. Happy holidays.

I'll just say this about the jail roster. Not all, but some of those folks look like they could be identified before they even commit a crime. I suppose that sounds like what they do in third world banana republics but really, a symbol for the white supremacists on your t-shirt in your mug shot?

We had Zuppa Toscana and fresh bread for dinner last night before making fruitcake. We'll put the orange glaze on it this morning. Then we'll make the peanut butter cup dessert that is sure to please some members of the family, but not me. It has several ingredients I cannot abide: Cool Whip, instant pudding, box brownies. It sounds like chemical soup to me.

Our weather forecast for the next five days is ominous. It includes snow today, rain and freezing rain on Sunday, an accumulation of ice, and high winds. I will be in the cave.

I'm looking at the details for the Women's March Minnesota which is the OFFICIAL Women's March Minnesota event. On January 21st 2017 thousands of people will march in solidarity with those marching in Washington D.C. I wish I had the courage to go.

I have a few more holiday things to do today. When Ella wakes up, we'll venture out to do a few errands and maybe stop at the cafe for a pancake and hot chocolate. My friend Marie saved the day with sewing machine needles so we'll stop to pick those up. I bought material to make Gus some holiday bandanas and the time is here. It's now or never.

I am trying to think of a present for Regis that he hasn't bought himself in the last three weeks but I am coming up empty. Is this a man thing?

I think I hear Ella stirring so I better get dressed and get moving. There is much to do and a nap to be taken later.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

lost, then found

Over the years, I have purged my Christmas decorations several times. Usually at the end of the season, I decide I'm done with something and out it goes. Years later, I look at a photograph and wonder what happened to this or that. Sometimes I go hunting and I find it.

Eight years ago, we had a small fire in the living room involving a pregnant daughter-in-law, a votive candle, and tissue paper. It was scary, so for years, I didn't use votive candles. Seemed like a wise thing to do with small children in the house anyway.

Yesterday I decided that the votive candles can come back into the decor. I rounded them up and have a plan to buy some scented candles today. Along the way, I discovered other things that had been stashed away for some reason or other.

Some things I never find.

My other thought is this. For the first 30 some years of my life, my mom kept Christmas for my family. Even after my brothers and I were married and started having families of our own, we traveled to the farm for Christmas. There were so many sweet traditions: cutting a tree in the woods, Belgian cookies, standing over the floor furnace in the morning, Christmas stockings, Grandma Elsie's gingerbread cookies, popcorn balls.

Over the years, as our families grew, we started keeping Christmas in our own homes. I've done that for thirty some years now, making some new traditions, keeping some of the old. Making lefse on a Saturday in November, baking gingerbread cookies and decorating them around the dining room table, Dad's favorite meatball recipe, Aunt Vi's Norwegian flatbread.

A part of me still wants the Christmas of dreams. Everyone in one place, everyone clean and starched and wearing matching pinafores, everyone happy, everything made from scratch, homemade place cards for the table. Most of me knows that isn't possible or likely. As my friend Joanne and I have talked about so much in the past two weeks, life happens and all of a sudden, you have to be satisfied with less than the dream holiday. What matters most are the important parts, and sometimes the important parts aren't the same from year to year.

I'm pretty sure I never properly thanked my mother enough for the way she kept our family Christmas. When you're a kid, and even a young adult, it seems easy. Shopping for all those kids, wrapping and hiding presents, decorating the house, and still doing all the normal things. I know I didn't appreciate it enough. Today I know how much work it is. Thank you, Mom. I appreciate it more than you can ever know.

Today, I'll make a fruitcake with Ella. I'll buy scented candles and I'll get out the Christmas dishes. We'll watch The Nutcracker tonight and maybe if we aren't too tired, the Jim Carrey version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Tomorrow, we'll make the favorite meatball recipe and we'll start organizing for the family gathering on Saturday.

We won't be in matching pinafores but we'll have good food and we'll laugh. Maybe we'll play Yahtzee and go for walks. We'll keep a good Christmas. And I can thank my mom for teaching me how to do that.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

long and winding road

The sky was beautiful yesterday morning as I went to the gym for my weekly workout with Gunnar. 

I took my friend, Joanne, to the Mayo Clinic for a procedure. She was having anesthesia so couldn't drive home although me driving in the blowing snow and dark could not have been much of an improvement. Haha! Regis said it earned me a plenary indulgence and got me a few years out of purgatory. Joanne insists she owes me but I said no, now God can cross off a couple of shitty things I did in 1978. We're good.

We only had a minor bumper bender at an icy intersection. No damage and no whiplash. That's my statistic.

I am on my way to HyVee for the last of the holiday groceries. Sigh. I looked at the ad this morning and realized I could buy all of this prepared: mashed potatoes in a plastic bag, gravy in a jar, frozen rolls, a turkey thing in a little aluminum tin, brownies in a box.

I have people coming over to help with cookies tonight so I better get the table cleaned off. No nap for me today. Boo.