Monday, March 30, 2009


*The age of miracles is upon us...a very deserving coworker won $10,000 on a $1 lottery scratch ticket! Oh, and even bigger! Men, including a manager, scrubbed the floor in the corn lab last Thursday afternoon!

*Another item for the curb list, the mostly non-functional dehumidifier that I've been tripping over in the laundry room for two years. It must go!

*And, of course, the big fat question on everyone's mind is, will we get a ton of snow dumped on us over the next twenty-four hours?!?! Will March exit as the proverbial lion?!?! Does anyone remember how March came in?

*I have known for years that I have a tremendous amount of fun with my girlfriends. I also have a pretty good time doing things on my own. Could someone please explain to me why I want and/or need a man in my life? Why do I crave male companionship? For crying out louder than necessary! For what reasonable, logical, practical purpose could I possibly desire that sort of complication?!?! Oh, yeah. I remember now, it's coming back to me. Never mind.

*Newton and Einstein don't know yet, but in just a little over a week major mayhem will take over the household. Furniture shuffling. Carpet removal. Painting. Including the closets in my bedroom. Scraping that nasty bubble texture off the ceiling and painting it a brilliant white. Carpet installation. More furniture shuffling. Ahhhh. My new and improved bedroom! And I must thank the very friendly and capable young woman at the local Lowe's who beautifully matched the no longer available Martha Stewart color, Beeswax, that is currently on my bedroom walls, in another brand of paint.

*Is it really an entire year since I headed out for Arizona? What a memorable, terrific road trip. I still need to drive around Lake Superior in the Subaru. And I absolutely must go camping this summer!!!

*I'm contemplating buying a new bike this spring. A comfy bike that I can ride in a more upright position. My ten-plus year old mountain bike just isn't going to do the trick anymore. I really do enjoy biking and haven't done nearly enough of it the last couple of years. My knees will thank me. My blood pressure will thank me. And I kinda want a pink one. With a matching pink helmet. Does that surprise anyone?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Vexcessive Ovation

The fellow sitting next to me at the symphony last night seemed to be under the impression that there was a prize for being the first to applaud at the conclusion of each piece. Except he didn't wait for the end, he frequently clapped over the last few notes. And he also would spontaneously burst into manual accolade at various places during a song. I would expect due to veneration that was simply uncontainable. Or maybe the guy just likes to clap. He also discussed at great length with his wife whether or not a fall from where we were seated in the balcony would kill the unfortunate bastard who happened to go over the edge. He had no idea how close he was to finding out.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Usual Suspects

Just down the street from here is the Shamrock. Which features on the last Friday evening of each month a seafood buffet. We had heard about this, and since all four of us like to eat food that we see, there was an overwhelming consensus that we should. See this seafood and eat it, that is. So we did. Last night. We being Colleen, Tammy, Sandy and yours truly. It was yummy. The clam chowder was outstanding. It was the creamy variety with roasted potatoes, not that weird
stuff with the tomatoes. There was also wine. And dessert. And smoked salmon. And cajun mahi-mahi. And these irresistible little biscuits with cheese and herbs baked right into them. And prime rib carved by a chef-looking guy in a white jacket at the end of the buffet. After two hours of forklifting I felt like a whale and wondered if there was a forklift on the premises to relocate me to the car in the parking lot. To the relief of my dinner companions, I did not voice aloud this particular wondering.
Nor did I ponder aloud to our most attentive waiter my thought that the only thing that

could improve the buffet would be to include a young, buff and scantily clad young man perhaps named Raul to peel the shrimp for me. I have difficulty multitasking employing restraint, so I indulged in the food and kept my thoughts to myself.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Curbside Shopping

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it is almost time for the annual ultimate recycling event! Every year in this fine city all its citizens are invited to set any and all of their unwanted stuff out to the curb. Then, after a couple of weeks, if there is anything left, city crews come by with trucks and pick up the rest and whisk it away. Between the setting out and picking up times other citizens, and even out-of-towners, slowly cruise the streets perusing the remarkable array of junk. They are usually driving pick-up trucks, cuz this is cart it home yourself shopping. There is no gift wrap service. No delivery. The best thing I ever found on the curb was a bald mannequin with no hands. I named her Miss Tallulah. She's my life size Barbie doll and is often dressed up for holidays and other festive occasions. A few years ago she accompanied us downtown to a bar for a funeral themed fiftieth birthday party. This year my contribution to the curbside free-for-all is a pretty short list.

*One circa 1981 plaid couch.

*Three office chairs in various states of disrepair and dishevelment.

*Odd pieces of broken furniture that have taken up residence in the garage over the winter.

Drop by in a couple of weeks! If my trash is your treasure, you are most welcome to it.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Caving to the Cat

I should be shredding. There is a preposterous pile of personal papers a mere five feet away from me. Utility bills, old credit card statements and statements from retirement plans whose funds were long ago rolled over into what is currently shrinking rather than growing. And I would be shredding except for the fact that Newton is comfortably dozing on the ottoman just across the room. And he's so darned cute in all his tigercat snoozing glory that I can't bear to crank up the shredder and disturb him! You evil, evil furry little beast! Distracting me from important tasks while you incipiently practice mind control. You do not need a belly rub! Not, not, not! Damn! Once again, I have been beguiled by feline trickery.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

It's Heeeeeere!!

Spring is here! The windows are open. The outside temperature is a welcoming 64 degrees. The sun is shining and snowbanks are shrinking. And to celebrate the arrival of la prima vera, I have indulged in my own personal spring ritual, the painting of the toenails. Now that sandals and barefoot days are upon us, perish the thought that I might be caught with dreary toenails. Should you care to duplicate this look, my toes are sporting Cover Girl Boundless Color 515, Megawatt Mauve. I feel springy. Although still a little less exotic since the loss of my navel piercing. I miss that cute little ring! I'm considering repiercing but do not look forward to the lengthy healing process. And for the second time in less than a year, my recycling containers were pilfered from the end of my driveway yesterday. A curse upon you, you thieving, mouldering piles of parrot droppings! I shall continue to recycle despite your stealing ways! Then I'll hug a tree, stir my compost, and scrub my kitchen sink with baking soda! And feel festive all the while with my Megawatt Mauve toenails. Happy Spring!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Phacebook Philosophy

I have GOT to stop taking the dopey quizzes on Facebook. According to the Celebrity Twin quiz, Jessica Simpson and I are twins. Have I suddenly gone blonde, buxom and banal? Do I know the difference between chicken and tuna? Oh, and this is even better. The Dr Phil quiz labels (libels?) me as a vain, self-centered leader. I feel a bout of multiple personalities coming on...

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Pi(e) Day

3.14, 2009. Ladies and gentlemen, a moment of reverence for Pi Day. Which I choose to celebrate with pie. Pumpkin and pecan, currently cooling up in the kitchen. Just waiting for a generous dollop of whipped cream and we are transported to pie nirvana. Or Valhalla. Or something. The best part is tomorrow, though, when we celebrate the day after pie day by enjoying pie for breakfast. Pie for breakfast is one of the most wonderful things in life, a ritual to live by, and wholly worth any rationalizing.

Wise Words

A few years ago, probably somewhere in the early years of motherhood, I had a stark realization that I'm not the center of the universe. Imagine that. After the decade of my twenties, which was all about exploration and self-indulgence, I spent my thirties immersed in being a parent. I learned how to not take myself so seriously. I learned to not take every little slight from the chilly world out there, or every dirty diaper, or every little mess that required cleaning up as a personal affront. And I must thank my two sons for teaching me these two things, because it is through the mostly selfless caring for and nurturing of them that I learned that there is something bigger in life than me. I learned kindness and tolerance and caring as a daily practice. And practice it is, for it requires some daily diligence to incorporate kindness in my behavior. I slip out of it at times, due to aggravations or hormones and whether I'm getting what I want at the moment. Often because I'm focusing on tiny annoying things instead of the larger picture that includes more than me. The difference now is that I see myself more clearly and I want to be a decent human being, not just thought of as a decent human being. Then I ran across these very wise words this morning and thought that you would like them, too.

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.

-Sherwin Nuland

Friday, March 13, 2009

My New Favorite Word


Kerfuffle. Say it two or three times. Isn't it fun? And now, in honor of St. Patrick's Day next week and in tribute to all trailer house residents everywhere, I have written a limerick that contains my new favorite word. I meant mobile home. And where else but here could you find combined such diverse and fascinating subjects? Not necessary to answer, that was rhetorical.

If high winds should cause a roof ruffle,
Old tires the noise they should muffle.
If the din does persist,
Turn up the TV, I insist!
Don't get your panties all in a kerfuffle.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Unintentional Underwire

If I had truly wanted the carpet measuring guy to see one of my unmentionables, I would have hung it from the ceiling fan. It would seem that I dropped a little something when I scooped up the pile of clothing from the bathroom floor. The rest of the pile was hauled without incident to the laundry room. And, naturally, the doorbell rang while I was still downstairs. I did not have the opportunity to do the once-over for missed undies. I suppose it could have been worse. But I ask you, did it have to be so very high contrast? And since the carpet measuring guy got an eyeful, I thought it was only fair that you get one, too. But only one eyeful. Please be courteous and wink. ;)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Courtship Conundrum

I have been to the internet singles bar. Yes, indeed, I have suffered the humiliation and rejection of dating without, for the most part, actually being there. Which saves time and effort and primping up to go out in public. For three months I took part in an on-line dating service. I'd tell you which one, but then I'd have to meet your parents. It was interesting and informative but ultimately unsatisfying. First I would like to gripe about the more than fifty percent of the "matches" who didn't bother to post a photo. Looks are not everything but let's be honest, appearance is a very real and valid piece of the attraction pie. Post a photo, buddy, or you're invisible to me! I also found it annoying when a fellow would post his profile greeting in all caps. I felt as if he was yelling at me over the noise of the virtual band in the internet singles bar just to get my attention. It seemed there was a standard manner in which single men describe themselves, at least one in ten felt he was laid back, liked to hunt and fish and watch sports on tv, and his favorite thing was riding his Harley. No wonder he's single! These are activities he does with the guys! He's looking for a guy with boobs and cooking skills, if you ask me. He might as well have included beer guzzling and lighting farts. Something that I found odd was the number of men who referred to themselves as teddy bears, or more specifically, teddy bears who love to cuddle. There likely are women who appreciate a cuddly, furry sort of guy, but for me the term teddy bear is a turn-off, the mere mention of a stuffed toy completely desexualizes the situation. Next thing you know, he'll be calling you Mama. His funky little mama that he's going to take for a laid back ride on his Harley! There were some men whose profiles genuinely interested me. I emailed them. Most of them didn't bother to even send a courtesy reply, they just ignored me. Probably just as well, if they don't understand that good manners are an assett on-line, they may not know how to employ them in person. I did have two face-to-face meetings, which I will give you all the mostly non-juicy details of in another post. When my three months were up, my profile remained on the service for another week so I was still getting views from potential first dates. When a man calling himself "Rhonda" was interested, I decided it was time to delete my profile and move on. His profile contained absolutely no personal information or a photo. He said he was interested in meeting an open-minded woman who didn't mind that he liked to dress up in feminine clothing. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but you have to draw the line somewhere. So let's get something straight here and now. In a relationship, I'm the one who gets to wear the lacy camisoles and nighties. We can take turns wearing the pants.

Just for fun, this is Miss Manners' take on the subject of internet dating.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

In The Mailbox.....

...the snail mail box, that is. Amongst the usual assortment of catalogs, pizza coupons, bills and cable/dish tv offers this week were two genuine pieces of personal mail! The most exciting was my radioactive tshirt from MPR! There it is! Evidence that I am a true supporter of public broadcasting. I know, I could have opted to receive no thank you gift at all, which would mean that more of my actual dollars would go to support programming, but the way I see it, this is advertising that is worth much more than the fair market declared value of this shirt. Which is fifteen dollars. Am I feeling guilty now? And while we're on the subject of thank you, the other piece of personal mail was a hand-addressed thank-you note! From Dianne the sales lady at the furniture store where I purchased the chair for the 16yo last week. With, of course, her business card enclosed. Sincerely, even. Am I supposed to feel that Dianne and I now have a close personal relationship? What are the social protocals involved? I thought our little fling was over when I signed on the dotted line after my Visa card was approved. I may have to put on the radioactive tshirt, then go sit in my son's new chair and ponder this. Oh, and thank you for reading.

Caved n' Shaved

I have no self control whatsoever. I only made it ten days. I couldn't take the itchy ankles thing anymore! Being a white girl of both Norwegian and Scottish descent, I also have undertones of blue to my skin. I do not venture outdoors without a healthy slathering of spf 45 sunscreen. I am pale and my hair is dark. The result of not shaving for over a week had rendered my legs nearly ape-like. I know, I know, I gave up shaving my legs for Lent. I have had much longer (pun intended) hair growing experiments in the past that I have endured for up to two months. But yesterday I caved and shaved. And I didn't even have a date last night.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Room for Writing

Welcome to my writing space/office/blogging room. This is the ottoman I put my feet up on. Oh, and a look at the pretty rug that keeps my toes away from the cold tile basement floor. I have found that comfortable feet keep me focused on writing.

This is the all business corner of the room. Desk. Bulletin board. Computer. Desk lamp. Shelves filled with reference materials and office supplies. Ignore the tv. It's not even plugged in.

Einstein and Newton, in a completely separate room. As usual, denying knowledge of or responsibility for anything. Begging for tuna, most likely.

This is the crafty corner of the room. Unfinished projects, scrapbook supplies, unfiled papers. Ignore that mess under the table.

How did this get in here? A dopey photo of me expressing some sort of deep emotional contemplation in regard to the fake spilled drink on the bar. Really. It's a red plastic puddle attached to a wine glass. Found in your better novelty stores, or here, on the bar at Latitude 44. I like to think of it as l'attitude 44, where you can cop one. Or 44. Or as many as you think you can handle.

Ooh, back to my office. Large comfy chair in the corner is indispensable for journal writing, poetry construction and the occasional nap. Penguins and polar bears on shelf are for inspiration, amusement, and the collection of dust bunnies. Radio is for casual Saturday NPR listening. This American Life. The Splendid Table. A Prairie Home Companion. I'm a Sustaining Member, now, so I can come out of the shame closet where the rest of you NPR moochers hang out.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Hip to be Square

It only happens nine times a century, people. Happy Square Root Day! I am such a pitiful geeky girl. To celebrate I consumed a root crop. There were carrots in my soup this evening. Alas, they were round slices, not square chunks. The last SRD of the twentieth century sticks in my mind. 9/9/'81. A sun-drenched late summer morning when I dropped by the construction site where my boyfriend was working. I was on my way to work myself and I don't remember why I felt compelled to stop and see him. What I do remember very clearly is that I looked at him that morning and knew I didn't want to be with him any more, that I didn't really like him very much. But it's hard to let go of what is familiar, and I clung to that relationship for several more months, way beyond its expiration date. I'm smarter about letting go, now, and it's easier for me to accept the fluid nature of life. Change is inevitable and predictable and perennial. Count on it like its comrades death and taxes. Another fascinating numerical holiday occurs a week from this Saturday, 3.14, aka Pi Day. Bake a pie, eat some pie, create a pie chart and see how many decimal places you can recite pi to beyond 3.14159. And I'll see you back here on the next SRD, April 4, 2016.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


The 16yo sings. He actually sings very well. On pitch and expressively and often very oddball songs that I've never heard before. Which makes me wonder, how can he remember all the lyrics to a song like The Last Saskatchewan Pirate but can't remember to read any book on the Accelerated Reading list, take a test, and improve his English grade?!?! Which brings us abruptly to an alternative music group known as They Might be Giants. Or to their devoted followers, TMBG. Last week while in the car with the 16yo, he burst into song. He sang of particle man, triangle man, universe man, person man and of their various interactions with each other. It sounded vaguely familiar. I laughed. I think it was last summer, I was in Sioux Falls, sitting outside on a very chilly June evening on Phillips Avenue taking in some live music. Which is ever so much more entertaining than dead music. More lively, if you will. Ahem. The band had been taking a break and were wandering back to their instruments in a random, leisurely fashion. The keyboard player, in an effort to amuse himself until his cohorts retook the stage, began plinking about and playing a song I thought he was making up on the spot. About guys called particle man and triangle man. I thought he was goofing around but it was a real song! The very song my son was singing! Which apparently is a song written and performed by TMBG. Then I remembered another musical moment maybe a year ago, when for some reason I was in the kitchen singing the lines ...Istanbul not Constantinople, Istanbul not Constantinople...and the 16 yo was impressed. Another TMBG song that I was aware of I think because of Bette Midler. They might be giants, but once in a while, when I least suspect it, I might be cool.