Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Real Deal

I have got to stop watching Sex and the City reruns on the CW network. First of all, the reception is crappy. I have been cable-free for nearly six years and plan to stay that way. Well, we'll see how I feel when analog broadcast ends next February. And secondly, and perhaps more importantly, I really don't like watching the watered down, overly edited, commercial interrupted version that the CW offers. Indeed, when I ran across the theme music playing earlier this summer, I got hooked on hanging out with the girls. But now I find I must make a trip to a local video rental establishment and bring home the real deal. I've only seen about half of the episodes overall, and only the first season without cuts and commercials. Ah. It is so very noble to pursue a quest.

Friday, August 29, 2008


When I was growing up, you didn't get the camera out for just anything, you waited for an occasion. Film was expensive! And processing didn't grow on trees! Sort of like long distance phone calls in my formative years. You waited until you had some very big news before you dialed more than seven digits. With the advent of modern technology and taking pictures without the complications of film and cell phone plans with unlimited minutes, well, most of us don't think twice before snapping or speed dialing. Of course the camera appeared for family gatherings, particularly if there were out-of-town relatives in attendance. In my family, taking pictures at Christmas and to capture the blowing out of birthday candles was traditional, as was the first day of school snapshot. I'm not sure why my mother wanted to preserve how the four of us looked at the beginning of the school year, but I remember very clearly posing with my new lunch box and carefully chosen outfit for the first day of school. So it's a tradition I continued with my own children. Even if the start of a new school year is somewhat dreaded, maybe because the start of school means summer is definitely over, and none of us look forward to homework and class projects, my sons have over the years dutifully smiled for me with their new backpacks in tow. And except for the few times the weather didn't cooperate, we took the pictures outside. There's something about the optimism of starting anything anew, even if it's something you have mixed feelings about. I don't know why I adopted this tradition from my family of origin, but I'm so glad that I did. Looking back over fifteen years of this milestone day in the lives of my boys, it is a gift to see how they've changed and grown. Thanks, Mom.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Tent

There it is, the aforementioned tent that I pulled out of the garage and pitched last Saturday. I am contemplating a fall camping trip. What kind of lunatic makes plans to go camping in northern Minnesota the last week in September? Since you asked I would have to answer, this kind. As in, me. Since Minnesota is well known for two things, the enormous size of its mosquitoes and lots of snow and cold, I'm aiming for the sweet spot between the bug season and winter. There is some rhyme to my reason after all! And on my way to the vacation destination is something my Norwegian half is demanding to see. Something of a spiritual quest for this Nordic/Pagan girl is to visit the stave church in Moorhead, MN. At any rate, the stave church is a must-see and if indeed it is too chilly or damp to camp, other accommodations will be found and the tent will just have to wait till next summer. I'm getting excited just thinking about crisp fall air and fat socks and hiking boots. Building a chill-chasing campfire and taking pictures of loons and trees in their fall-colored jackets. And now I have a tent that is tall enough on the inside for me to stand up in! What a treat!

As The Summer Wanes

I am relishing my final mid-week day off of the season. The 16yo just got home from his first partial day at school, the meeting for the junior class. The 20yo will be over soon to drop off his laundry, he starts classes next week. I go back to work full time next week. A moment of silence whilst I whine just a bit. Silent whining...there, I feel so much better. Don't get me wrong, I do like my job, torturing seeds is a noble thing to do in the name of better germination rates and herbicide resistant gmo's. And I do love the lighter summer work schedule. It's just so hard to say goodbye to the long light days and the warmth and smells of summer. But I also love the turn of the seasons, the great wheel of life and death and rebirth that echoes in all things. I don't think I could live happily with perpetual summer. I actually like snow. Except for the shoveling part. And we shouldn't have to deal with that for at least a couple more weeks.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


I have two email accounts. One which I use to correspond with friends and family. The other I use when needing an email address for on-line shopping or a survey or other miscellaneous reply purposes. Guess which one has 11,128 pieces of spam in the bulk mail box? Yup. Offers for quickie sex, a home equity loan that is pre-approved, a larger penis, vacation deals, a personalized horoscope, magazine subscriptions, and sometimes unintelligible gibberish from someone with a very odd, foreign sounding name. I'm sort of intrigued by the larger penis offer. But I wonder if it comes (no pun intended) attached to a man or if I'm going to somehow magically sprout one. But I'm not about to reply to that one just to find out. Some things are better left as the mysteries that they are.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Ink & Intimacy

It has occurred to me that the most intimate contact I have had with a man in months was when I got tattoo number three on my birthday. AND I HAD TO PAY HIM!!! At least the hot, burning sensation that lingered for a few hours didn't require a trip to the clinic and a prescription.

Monday, August 18, 2008

It's August Already?

I have only randomness running around in my head today. There is no central theme, no dominant subject. I smell a list brewing up...

* Finally bought a copy of David Sanborn's Here & Gone. Love it. If I ever have the opportunity to seduce a man again, I will put this CD on. Men of the world, consider yourselves forewarned!

* I have just finished mowing the lawn for the first time in weeks. The recent rains have brought it back to life and green-ness. It's 80-ish out there and as lovely a summer day one could wish for.

* I ran across the new tent out in the garage. The very cool tent I bought on clearance last winter with hopes of camping adventures this summer. Haven't gotten it out of the box yet. Sigh.

* What sort of guy gets your phone #, chivalrously walks you to your car because it's late and dark, kisses your hand goodnight, and NEVER CALLS?!?!?

* While I'm griping, the absolute worst kind of guy is one who professes interest in being friends. When he has no interest in friendship! What he was really saying was "I'm not interested in fucking you but I don't want you to think I'm the self-absorbed jerk that I truly am so I'm making this perfunctory offer of friendship."

* As a footnote to the previous item, I am not a man hating femiNatzi. I love men, some of my longest standing friendships happen to be with men. Some of them I was romantically involved with, most of them not. In fact, I have been screwed over and stabbed in the back by women many more times than by men. And yet I remain an open and trusting soul. Pardon me while I pat myself on the back.

* I have completed about half of my summer home projects. The 16yo's room is clean, the porch closet has been cleaned out and remodeled, the guest bedroom has been cleaned and rearranged and has new light fixtures, the living room redecorating is complete with the exception of hemming the new drapes. You have to let them hang awhile before hemming so they turn out nice and straight. Any bets on how long it will take me to get to it? Sadly, the laundry room and office are still a little frightening, but some headway has been made.

* I recently reconnected with a friend I had fallen out of regular contact with. We had a pleasant evening with dinner out and some live music. But I have a feeling there is something below the surface, something not discussed, a five month silence not explained. If I have learned anything, it is that patience and time answer many questions. Often indirectly.

* CBS has a new show this fall called The Mentalist. I haven't a clue if it will be any good or not, but consider this. In one of the ads there is a phrase that pops on the screen, it says, there is nothing sexier than a man who is paying attention. I couldn't agree more.

* My other summer goals were to read three books. I have read Dan Brown's Angels and Demons and am close to halfway through MZB's The Mists of Avalon. At over eight hundred pages, Mists should count as two, shouldn't it? I also vowed to walk through McCrory Gardens with my camera and take lots of pictures, which I did a week ago.

* I've been feeling the itch to take a road trip! I've stuck around pretty close to home since my vacation in April. Any suggestions?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Bells Are Ringing

Congratulations, Megan and Derrick!!!

My best wishes to my dear niece Megan and her husband Derrick. They were married earlier today at her parents' home in Wisconsin. May peace and light and love be ever present between you. Love you, Megs, and hope to see you soon.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Coffee Quest

Ed! My quest for a coffeemaker is complete! And while the new Mr. Coffee, Model FTX44, has more bells and whistles than I require, it has the two features I truly wanted. Automatic shut-off and takes a basket type filter. Should I forget to shut Mr. C down as I'm getting out the door in the morning, after two hours he will quietly turn himself off. Pause-N-Serve is good, but my old coffee maker had that one, too. What I really like about FTX44 is that the warming plate has a heat adjustment. This way I hope that the coffee won't attain that overcooked taste just a few minutes after brewing. We shall see tomorrow morning when I take him for his inaugural spin.

Basket Case

I'm not all that into whodunits as a reading genre, but I am hooked on Carl Hiassen. He's funny and quirky and aside from that, an absolutely terrific storyteller. In his novel, Basket Case, we meet our protagonist Jack Tagger. He used to be, as described in the plot synopsis on the book jacket, a hotshot investigative reporter. Due to his own unfortunate doing, he has been busted to writing obituaries for the newspaper. He is not happy about this turn of events. And he has become obsessed with the ages at which people die, constantly comparing their abbreviated longevity to his current age. He constantly calculates his relative age and state of health to that of his obit occupants. It could be an interesting and enlightening task to sum up the lives of those who have passed, but Jack is engaged in the dark side. His own mother won't tell him how old his father was when he died. She fears he will read too much into that information. And she's right. Jack is also a little too attentive to noticing the color and style in which his very attractive and female boss has painted her toenails. Which has nothing to do with what's on my brain this evening. A week or so ago, I felt a rather uncomfortable kinship with Mr. Tagger while anticipating the second anniversary of my brother's death. Scott was ten days shy of two years older than me. Which means that yesterday was the day when I was precisely the same age as my older brother was when he died. Logically I know that there's no cause and effect here, but just the same I heaved a sigh of relief last night when I looked at the clock and it was past midnight. I was still breathing! I still had a pulse! It's a strange feeling to attain a greater age than an older sibling. I remember as a child how delighted I was to inform him during the ten days between my birthday and his that he was a mere single year older than me. So there! Thereby somehow diminishing his superiority of rank as firstborn. Or something. And today I am one day older than he ever was. And I'm happy to be here, even on days like today when I feel myself slipping into a bit of a funk. I fully intend to live to be at least a hundred years old. Like Sandy said today, she does, too. Otherwise she won't have had near enough time to annoy the select people on her list. I concur. And the Subaru doesn't have even close to a million miles on the odometer. Yet.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Not the arguing, swearing, mean-spirited kind. The puzzle kind. My morning newspaper contains two of them. One is called the Commuter, one is titled the Daily. Sometimes I do just one, sometimes I complete them both. One or the other at times seems more difficult, bordering on the exasperating where I run to consult Google or my dictionary. I find doing the crossword a pleasant diversion, particularly the Sunday puzzle. There is only one crossword on Sunday, but it is a larger, themed one that I really enjoy. I work the crosswords with abandon and in ink. Lately, I've been a little obsessed (can one ever be just a little obsessed?) with completing the entire puzzle correctly, no smudges, no errors, no oopsies. Feeling somehow like the the daily crossword is a tiny little metaphor for my life. That if both of them are neatly and correctly completed, that some little part of my life will fall completely and correctly into place. Hah! This afternoon I had a greater revelation as I struggled with one of the puzzles, nearly wearing through the newsprint with blotchy, ink-smeared corrections. I eventually finished both of them and beamed over my hard fought battle with the clues. This, I thought, is much more like my life. Messy. Doing it over til I get it right. A smorgasbord of Duh! and, of course! and, I get it! A path sprinkled with fun, frustration, and often and finally, fulfillment. A more cautious soul would use a pencil.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Up the River

It's official. A guy I used to keep company with is now a convicted felon. I read it in the newspaper so it must be true! True, I haven't laid eyes (or any other body part) on the fellow for over twenty years, and the time of our involvement was 25 years ago. But some names stick in your memory for better or for worse. We had a long distance relationship, he lived in Pierre at the time, so most of the time we spent together was on the phone, often late at night when he got off work. I find it ironic that when we were seeing each other he was a bartender and part of his job was to determine if a bar patron was too intoxicated to be served another drink. He was just convicted of felony (third offense) DUI. What he used to be responsible to decide for others he apparently wasn't so good at on a personal level. At least three times, assuming that on average a person who habitually drives drunk doesn't get caught every single time. Another interesting tidbit from the listing in the paper is that he only lives a few blocks away from me. And the last time I remember bumping into him was at our local K Mart when I was pregnant with my elder son. All I really remember about him is that he was an absolutely fabulous kisser. On a boyfriend scale of one to ten, I would say he rated approximately a two. Hey, great kissing accounts for a lot! Which makes me wonder if I will indeed cross paths with J any time soon. Which makes me wonder if J is a fabulous kisser, and if he will get the opportunity to prove it to me. Unless he recently was sent to the slammer. Which would actually be a pretty good reason for not calling.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Pink Flamingo Tour

Yes, indeed, my love of most all things pink extends to pink flamingos! I saw some real ones in a zoo once but I only have metal ones in my yard. I do not believe flamingos would acclimate to South Dakota winters.

This is my newest flamingo, he has begonias sprouting up from his back. He sits on the little deck in front of the garden shed.

I think these are a mom, dad, and child flamingo family. The tags just said small, medium and large.

I expect this grouping shall expand over the years as I find interesting ones just slightly different from these. They are in the front yard year round. It was fun last winter to see them peeking over the snow drifted up in front of them. I suppose I could have had my son snap a photo of me wearing my pink flamingo earrings. But I didn't think they qualified as yard decorations. Maybe I need to create a pink flamingo costume!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

One More Day

I heard a song today that I hadn't heard for a long time. It was funny how I recognized it from the opening chords since it was only my second time hearing it. The first hearing of Diamond Rio's, One More Day, remains so clear in my memory that I got a little chill this afternoon. I refer to this phenomenon as the Musical Emotional Moment, or MEM for short. An emotional reaction to a familiar song, or maybe one that isn't so familiar but speaks so clearly to what you are feeling at the moment, that you form something of a connection to the music. It doesn't even have to be a song that you like, just one that recalls a memory, and sometimes sticks in your head and drives you to distraction. Good or bad, a song becomes cemented into the soundtrack of your life, seemingly without a conscious choice on your part. Three years ago, some time during my summer of heartbreak, I was wandering through the grocery store without a list. I had recently been dumped by the man that I truly loved and was doing my best to begin the process of healing after such a painful event. I was in the bread and soft drink aisle when One More Day played over the PA. I stared blankly at the shelf full of bread and bagels as I listened, gripping the cart and feeling light-headed as the tears burned behind my eyelids. The chorus in particular got to me...

one more day, one more time,
one more sunset, maybe I'd be satisfied,
but then again I know what it would do,
leave me wishing still for one more day with you

When it popped on the radio this afternoon, I was in the midst of doing seed counts for the multi-species lab. Tomatoes, zinnias, marigolds. Part of my brain was engaged in counting out 100 seed reps but the rest of the active gray matter yanked me right back to three years ago. When, against all good reason, all I wanted was one more day with the lover who had abandoned me, knowing that just one more day would never satisfy. While I have accepted that I may never have a full sense of closure over what happened and why to end our relationship, I do realize one thing. That I am mostly healed from that devastating period of my life. And I wonder where I'll be and what I'll be doing next time I hear One More Day.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Be Vewy, Vewy Quiet!!

In the wee hours of last Sunday morning,
I was preoccupied with two things as I entered the house. First, out of courtesy, I thought I should be quiet. Second, I violated my first intention with a resounding exsufflate of disgust at the wall of stink that I encountered once inside. What I had cleaned out of the refrigerator a few hours earlier had ripened into an unmatched nasty aroma of true epic proportions. Treading with trepidation toward the kitchen trash receptacle, I removed the offending bag of filth and stench, tied it off, and was out the door to deposit the vile thing into the trash. As I approached the back door for the second time in as many minutes, I once again considered the lateness of the hour and that I should make a greater effort this time to be quiet. Although, if I had not awakened the 16yo with my earlier garbage bag scuffling, I really didn't have to worry. Somewhere between passing the corner of the dining room table and gaining entry to my boudoir, I was easing the bracelet off of my left wrist. To my surprise, the stretchy suddenly gave way to the racket of beads and charms skittering across the laminate floor. Which caught the attention of Newton and Einstein. Who proceeded to chase the beads around the floor with an apparent degree of interest and delight. Much later that day while I was drifting east, I tracked down as many beads as I could find and considered reconstructing the bracelet. At the same time, I was quite amazed that it had held together for the duration of the street dance. Had the bracelet broken there, I certainly would never have been able to track down all of the parts. I didn't have much better luck in the house, I found all of the charms but was missing several of the jet black faceted beads. Hmm. I really like this bracelet! Then I remembered that I had a plain black beaded bracelet. And what I really liked about the broken one was the cute dangly charms. Armed with jewelry pliers, I attached the charms to the other bracelet. From this little life episode I have learned two things. That the 16yo could sleep through robbers stealing the entire main floor of the house. And that often what you need is close at hand, you just have to pay attention. Oh, and three, when you clean nasty things out of the fridge, they quickly accelerate in a downward spiral into nastier things, and so should be immediately, if not sooner, removed from the house.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Here & Gone

Why do I have to wait until August 12th to buy it!?!?!?

Here & Gone