Sunday, September 28, 2008

Excruciatingly Correct

When I left the artisan bakery this morning, with my handmade goodies wrapped up in their environmentally correct, high percentage post-consumer recycled content containers, and my fair trade coffee, I hopped into the Subaru and started it up and NPR came on the radio. Had I been wearing Birkenstocks I would have been a walking cliche. I felt like hugging a tree, adopting a Sudanese orphan, and making a greater effort to live greener than I currently try.

Cosmo or Mango?

The really great thing about all the bars here is that they are smoke-free. State law, if I am not mistaken. There's something nostalgic to me about a heap of bar-stinky clothes that have been lying on the floor overnight. When you wake up to that distinctive aroma you know you had a good time the night before. I always wondered how anyone, smokers included, could bear working in that atmospheric environment. Which brings us to bartenders. Whenever I walk into a bar alone, something I still am not entirely comfortable with, I normally stake out a spot at the bar rather than at a table. This way I am able to mostly avoid unwanted eye contact, which for me often starts up a bizarre conversation with a complete stranger. I chat up the bartender instead. Which is fun and harmless. When you sit at the bar you have the opportunity to observe the mixology craft up close and personal. I am amazed at how many drinks there are and at the variety of stuff in the array of bottles behind the bar. Last night I was in downtown St. Cloud at the famed Red Carpet. They claim to have nine bars under one roof. When entering the establishment, I asked the nice young man at the door which bar was attended mostly by old people. He replied the martini bar, out the door I had just come in through, take a right and up the stairs. The old people, I observed, all appeared to be in their mid-thirties. I claimed my spot at the bar. Behind the bar a half dozen young women bustled about engaged in the business of making martinis. I was fascinated by the process. Icing the glasses. Shaking up as many as 10 various ingredients. Straining out the contents into the chilled glass. Sometimes pouring in one or two festively colored liquors along the side of the glass so they come to a swirling rest at the bottom, making the martini appear as a microcosm of a brewing storm front. And finally, garnishing with one edible bauble or another. As the waitress lined the martinis up around the perimeter of her tray, a veritable rainbow of potable potions, I felt sorry for the very plain Bud Light in the center of the tray. Like a guy in sweats surrounded by pretty girls in cotillion dresses. On one tray were two nearly identicle pink martinis. The waitress asked which was the cosmo and which was the mango. The bartender matched her eye level with the glasses and scowled slightly. She shrugged, grabbed a straw and dipped it in one of the glasses and transferred a drop of the liquid into her mouth. That's the mango, she declared, and plopped a skewered sliver of pineapple into the glass and the waitress whisked the tray away. I considered ordering my first martini but stuck to the wine instead. This time, just watching the process was entertaining enough.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Mmmm...Ciatti's

If you are ever told there is no such thing as perfection, simply inform them that they have never eaten at Ciatti's. I did not want my fabulous meal to end! Grilled salmon on a bed of spinach, tomatoes and artichoke hearts. Accompanied by an absolutely indescribable sauce. I may as well stop eating because it's all downhill from here, gastronomically speaking. Sigh. From the warm, toothy bread dipped in fragrant, fruity olive oil to the raspberry creme brulee, it was one tasebud tickler followed by another. A familiar glass of pinot grigio and coffee worth lingering over. Michelle, a delighful charmer, waited on me cheerfully and expertly. Her only failure was in not being able to find a cute guy to seat opposite me. She even directed me to a live music spot for later in the evening. Thank you, Michelle! Alimento meraviglioso!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Good Morning, Minnesota



Nothing makes you happier to NOT be camping than to wake up to the sounds of thunder and heavy rain in the warmth and comfort of a bed indoors. That happened yesterday morning. Which means that yesterday was outlet mall day! Today the sun is shining and I have woken up to the sounds of about fifty semis starting up out in the parking lot. I could open the window and enjoy the deisel fumes as well but think I'll pass. I need coffee. And Froot Loops. And they have real butter for your toast here. Wisconsin may be America's dairyland but Minnesota has so many Norwegians I would think oleo is simply against the law. The stave church was cool. A little haunted and quiet and sacred. Cable tv is evil. And despite the fact that I watched part of HBO's vampire series last night, I slept very well with nary a fang-infested dream dancing in my head. Directly after breakfast I am puttin' on my sneakers and grabbing my camera and heading for a local park area with hiking trails.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Gary for President


My computer is better! All the weird stuff is gone! I wonder what this would have cost me if I didn't have a geek in the family. In other news, Ed and I are spearheading a campaign to launch the best bass player in the midwest as a presidential candidate. Click here for campaign updates. Officially, of course, I'll be supporting the Obama/Biden ticket because I believe Gary missed all of the filing deadlines. So I'll be supporting Gary in a more spiritual sense.

Electronic Exorcism

What was up with my blog postings seems to have been demonic or otherwise possession of my very own computer. I blamed it on Blogger, I blamed it on Open Office, I blamed it on the new version of Firefox (which I still don't like, I'm going back to a previous version), and now my laptop is in the the very capable hands of my 20yo. He loaded all the important stuff onto my cute little pink 2G flash drive and wiped the hard drive clean. I wanted him to don my swami hat with the big red jewel and wave a wand around but he claimed that wasn't necessary. Although I suspect when he packed the laptop up and took it home yesterday afternoon to finish the process that he just might have some wizard garb just for medicinal purposes at his apartment. He's such a secure guy that he didn't mind the hot pink bag the laptop travels in. I hope to have it back some time today, I am currently posting from the 16yo's computer in his dungeon computer lab. I know it's a lab because there is a sign on the door that says so. There is also a quote on a piece of paper taped to the door:

Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first
place. Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible,
you are, by definition, not smart enough to debug it.
-Brian W. Kernighan

I am so accustomed to the laptop keyboard that these sticky-uppy keys are very weird to my fingers. The 20yo has just called with an update on my computer's overhaul. I should have it back tonight. And because I am nearly as good a mother as he is a son, I may have to bake him a little something to take home. Maybe an Irish Soda Bread from Baking With Julia. Until then, on this first day of my week off, I have laundry to catch up and a hair appointment to get to. Happy Mabon to all you pagans out there.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Playing the Race Card

Though I am loathe to admit it, I must say that I am not as colorblind as I had hoped. The race of the presidential candidates is playing a role in how I have decided to vote in November. Yup. I'm sick and tired of old, white guys. Oops. I'm also showing age prejudice. Let's put a young, black guy in the White House!!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Four, That I Know Of...

...things I am blowing off right here in East Coast South Dakota by running off to Minnesota next week.

1. In Sioux Falls, the esteemed Hal Holbrook (particularly special in that he's married to former Designing Woman Dixie Carter) is doing his take on Mark Twain, next Wednesday, September 24th.

2. Also in Sioux Falls, the 6th Annual Festival of Books, September 26-28, at various locations. I love this festival! I enjoy it more when I attend as a reader, I have twice attended as a writer and found it stressful! Many wonderful, informative sessions either way you go.

3. In Vermillion, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure on Sunday, September 28th. A very big thing for a very, very good cause. To assuage my guilt, I did register and donate for a neat thing called "sleep in for the cure". A novel idea. I'm also sending the 16yo with his father. His father is a breast cancer survivor, yes, one percent of breast cancer cases are in men! The 16yo will use this day of volunteering as his Junior Service Project. Through his English class, he, and all other juniors at BHS, must complete 8 hours of community service work, and then document it in pictures and words as an English class project. A good idea for so many reasons.

4. One of my favorite NPR programs is Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me! They are doing the show live Thursday night, September 25th, in Sioux Falls. I heard about this months ago and never did call for tickets. Part of me still really wants to go but I can listen on Sunday afternoon. This time, that will have to suffice.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Copy/Paste Fiasco

I have no idea what could possibly be causing this. La Guera says things look fine from her end of cyberspace. And they look fine from the dungeon on my son's computer. My laptop must be haunted or demonically possessed. At least that seems like the most rational explanation to me. I went through the mess and bother of deleting and reposting an earlier post so it looks right from this end. Sorry, SJ, I lost your lovely comment in the process. Maybe this is just another instance of me seeing something differently due to my skewed point of view. That seems a little more reasonable than demonic possession even to me. I'm going to put a hold on copy/pasting my poetry for the time being. Cross your fingers for me, I have submitted a few of my poems to a very well-regarded poetry magazine. They consider even me posting my poems on this teeny little blog an instance of previous publication, and they are interested in only new material. I'm not quitting my day job, but who knows, getting published in this calendar year may be closer to happening than I think. Not to mention how much fun it would be!

Can I Be You?

Just to solidify Ed's assessment of me as a passionate woman...this is a sonnet I wrote five years ago.





Can I Be You?

Can I be you, my sweet? Then we could see
With you, as me, our love in the extreme.
To experience me, as you, would be
This; the ultimate narcissistic dream.

The pleasure of our bodies when as one
We join together, heaven within reach
As we climb, rapture building til we're done.
Secrets unfold, you'll learn, I'll learn, we'll teach.

Awakening in me sensual bliss,
Our blending souls alchemy defining.
To feel as the other each lasting kiss
Would be revealing. Naked. Divining.

I long, my love, to know you, how you feel.
The we of us combined, this way, surreal.


Monday, September 15, 2008

Anyone?

What the hell is up with my blog postings? There is some sort of palimpsest phenomenon going on with postings wherein I have used the copy/paste function. How do I fix this? Better question, am I responsible for fixing it? If not, who do I report this annoying malfunction to so they can fix it? I am not a geek, I have merely given birth to a couple of them. And sometimes I pretend to be one at work. Well, at least I toss the jargon about correctly. And finally, is this some sort of cruel hoax to force me to type more? I love the copy/paste function. And even more, I love the keyboard shortcut, control c, control v. Right after I control a. I'm not a control freak! I'm more of a control stylist.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

NPR

I am an unabashed and enthusiastic fan of National Public Radio. And, yes, I am a member, I do send them money. I have the radio in my car tuned in and often am one of those people who look a little silly when I park somewhere and remain in the car to hear the end of a segment. Sometimes I'm in the privacy of my garage when this happens. Other times I'm in public and forget that the windows I see out through work both ways and that passersby can see me listening attentively or laughing like an idiot. I remember listening to Michael Feldman's Whad 'Ya Know Quiz Show while going for a walk, headset on, radio tucked into my pocket. When the host referred to the migrating geese in his neighborhood as flying bags of excrement, I not only laughed out loud at his description that only I could hear, I seem to remember doing that surprised snort-laugh as well. Yes, humiliation and embarrassment can be yours as a proud NPR listener. There are programs I listen to almost without fail, among them A Prairie Home Companion, Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me, This American Life, and Speaking of Faith. This afternoon yoga instructor Seane Corn was interviewed on Speaking of Faith and she spoke on a wide range of life, health and spiritual issues that can be addressed through yoga. I consider myself to be on something of a spiritual journey in this life on Earth. I have a few things figured out but many things remain a mystery. Something I have learned to understand and practice is the concept of forgiveness, but the yoga teacher described it in a way that I had never heard before. Her description was so clear and concise and at the same time conveyed why it is so important to forgive.

Unforgiveness is a poison you take hoping that someone else will die.

Now, who can argue with that.


Friday, September 12, 2008

Moonlight & Alchemy

Why this sudden desire to slather my poetry across the electronic universe? Am I too lazy or uninspired to write something pithy about the day's happenings? I could just take a picture and toss that up here for your entertainment. Maybe it's the nearly full moon outside my open window tonight. I've felt just a little haunted these past few days, by dreams and memories called toward the front of my brain. Brought forward by the shortness of light and the evening chill in the air. I'm trying to purge this ghost of lover's past. Then maybe I can move on to a lover in the present. So I can have hope for one in the future.




Alchemist's Touch


The blinds
Break the moonlight
Into zebra-like stripes.
They fall across my breast and neck,
Decorating the night.
Just enough illumination
Shows your beauty,
Hides the scars.
Blurs the lines that separate us,
Becoming one,
Joined as we are.
Feral. Primal. Savage.
I feel your flesh beneath my teeth.
Very nearly tasting blood,
My lust for flesh is made complete.
Your skin to mine,
Potent anodyne.
Turns my anger into passion,
Fear to desire,
Tears to wine.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Prophecy

When I last saw my friend Gary he said something to me. Something simple yet prophetic. Things change. That's all, two words, things change. And though he's ususally quick to smile, he wasn't smiling when he said it, he seemed very intent and serious. In the nearly five months since then, indeed things have changed. In my world as well as in his. At least, from what I'm able to observe from afar. The thing about change is that you're not always aware of it when it's actually taking place. And even if you are aware, you're often not able to see the far-reaching effects. Like ripples from a stone tossed into a pond. I've heard it said that pain comes not from the changes in our lives but that it comes from our stubborn resistance to the very changes which are unpredictable and inevitable. To resist change for resistance's sake is testament to the fact that we are habit-driven creatures. We bind ourselves to uncomfortable ruts because that which is familiar is preferable to the unknown. The unknown is interpreted as the change that we fear and we remain bound, often in pain, the result of our resistance. Welcome back, Sarah Jane, it sounds as if you've been through some changes lately, too. If you see Gary, give him a hug for me. I have a feeling that he needs one.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sunday Poetry Corner

I've written a whole lot of poetry. Some of it is actually pretty good. Some of it is painful and difficult to reread years later. Sometimes due to the subject matter, sometimes due to the fact that it's lousy. The air outside the last few mornings has contained a fallish coolness, a feeling that resurrected from my memory a line from the following poem. One of the highly enjoyable perks of writing a blog is content control. Bwa ha ha!!...I can inflict my poetry on the world from the comfort of home.


Tree Shadow Thoughts


One other Sunday I sat in this spot,
Not so long ago,
Though now it's fall.
If you could listen carefully enough,
Quietly enough,
You'd hear the chlorophyll life-giving green
Leaking slowly away from the leaves
As they die and drop to the still velvety grass.
In June, late spring blossoming lurid fertility,
The cottonwoods bursting seeds to the breeze,
Snowy floaty fuzzlets filled the air.
The sky now just as then,
A perfect azure backdrop.
The air is light, now,
Crisp and clear from colder nights.
Summer gone though it lingers in my heart
As sultry kisses, fervent wishes, fevered dreams.
You may pass through my life like a season.
You may turn out to be evergreen.
When I sit here next, if ever,
Maybe spring again, or winter,
I'm certain I'll still love you.
Ephemeral cycles, eternity.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Not Your Wife!

Honey, I'm home. From the bar. It's three in the morning. And with me are twenty seven of my old army buddies and you're going to cook breakfast for all of us! I brought some eggs. Not quite, but close. One of the annual tasks our HR specialist takes on is the equivalent of tossing all employee names into a hat, dividing by six, and coming up with a list of people who will serve as employee committee members for the coming year. Each group serves for two months, each stint with a different leader. Yours truly popped up as leader for the month of September. Duties of this committee are to plan a lunch at some point during the month, themed pot lucks and ordering in pizza or subs are common fare for this activity. We also provide birthday treats and plan special activities for holidays that fall during the month of our tenure. As leader, it is my duty to call meetings and delegate jobs to other committee members. I even get to set up a calendar assigning the lunch room clean-up which includes taking out the garbage. We met last Wednesday afternoon and planned a lunch near the end of the month and chose dates to bring birthday treats and have bagels and spreads for everyone to enjoy. I felt sooo efficient and on top of things. Thursday morning I arrived at work and saw a sticky note attached to my time card. See Camille, it read. So I clocked in and turned around. There she was, at her desk. She smiled and informed me that our esteemed boss had procured six dozen ears of sweet corn. For me. And that it was now my responsibility to plan a barbecue party sort of lunch for over fifty people. For the next day! Since I've thrown a party or two in my day, I possess expertise in job delegation, the gathering of items necessary for such a meal, preparing the food and pulling it off in just over 24 hours. This included menu determination, shopping, set-up and clean-up, and the husking and cooking of seventy two ears of sweet corn, fifty five burgers and two dozen hot dogs. Amazingly, the lunch came off with nary a hitch and was a hit for all who attended. I had a great bunch of people who helped, even a couple who weren't on the committee for this month, but it came down to me orchestrating the whole thing and I actually had fun. I received many compliments, including one from the boss who laid all that corn at my feet the day before. The thing is, I don't think he's ever had primary responsibility for organizing and preparing such a meal for that many people. Which makes me think I made it look way too easy on such short notice. Which makes me wonder how often, if ever, he's pulled such a ruse on his wife.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Just Wondering...

...what other names could have possibly been on the list from which was gleaned the current teen sensation Hannah Montana?

Rhoda Minnesota?
Iona Arizona?
Alexis Texas?
Ariana Louisiana?
Pippi Mississippi?
Diana Indiana?
Corey Missouri?
Jessie Tennessee?
Octavia Pennsylvania?
Zooey Hawaii?
Amanda Nevada?
Virginia Virginia?
Suzette Massachusetts?
Jane Maine?
Mariska Alaska?
Lorna California?