Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Ladies & Gentlemen, Senator Al Franken!

I'm not a Minnesota resident. But I've been paying pretty close attention to the contested US Senate race there. Try to imagine my elation and relief when I started my car to leave work this afternoon and Al Franken's victory was all over Minnesota Public Radio. Yessssss! I remember hearing the very sad news of the death of Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone in much the same way. October 2002, driving east on I90. So this afternoon felt like a full circle kind of thing. It shouldn't have taken this long, but at last, we're here. Go, Al!


Don't tell anyone! It's the last day of June, it's after 3:30 in the afternoon, it's official! I have escaped jury duty! There was one close call. A little over a week ago I received a letter from the clerk of courts office giving me very specific instructions about calling a certain phone number concerning an upcoming trial. I was excited. I wrote the information on the calendar. But before the day in question arrived, the clerk of courts office called to say that the case had been settled, that there would be no need for my services as a juror, and to have a nice day. Tomorrow it shall be July and a new pool of Brookings County citizens will await being tapped as jury members. And one of them will most definitely not be me. Whew.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Top Ten Reasons Why the Top of My Refrigerator is Nasty

1. Duh, it's the kitchen! Cooking is messy.

2. I'm not tall enough to see up there unless I stand on a chair. Out of sight, out of mind.

3. I might clean up there more often if it didn't involve climbing to, first, observe how icky it is, and then actually clean.

4. I labor under the illusion that I have a consistent level of cleanliness throughout the house. If I clean up there, chances are there are other places of filth I'm ignoring, and then I'd have to clean them, too.

5. Are we having company?
*If so, how tall are they?
*And will they be wearing white gloves?

6. It's summer, I'm busy neglecting the yard.

7. I'd rather be on a bike ride.

8. I'd rather be lazing in the hammock.

9. Food preparation doesn't actually take place up there, so why bother.

10. On my deathbed, I doubt I'll really regret not spending more time cleaning the top of the refrigerator.

Doing The Right Thing

Last night I bought a cd. Directly from the artist, cutting out layers of middlemen, thereby increasing the profit to the artist. When I already owned a copy of that very cd! What a fool, you might be thinking! She could have copied it for pennies! Not that I haven't. I have copied Here, by Hank Harris, numerous times. It's a cd I happen to love, so I have an upstairs copy, a downstairs copy, one for in the car, and the music is also on my iPod. I have a tendency to be a little careless with cd's, particularly the one that winds up in the car, so I keep the original archived safely, away from temperature extremes, cats, dust and grit, and possible loss. But the one I bought last night is a gift. And it would have been wrong, wrong, wrong of me to copy it for that purpose. I have the technology! A computer, blank cd's and cases, and a kick-ass printer that would render the cover art beautifully. But Hank is an artist who makes his living off of what he has created. It's called intellectual property. And as someone who hopes to someday reap some profit from what I have created, I feel that I have to honor the work of others. And when you buy direct from the artist, it's that much better for them. As the big, greedy companies have discovered by seeing their profits dry up with the technological advances in recording, distribution and publishing. Live music is an art form for which there is no real replacement. So show up, pay the cover charge without griping, and buy the music directly from the artist. Everybody wins!

Photo used with permission

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Job Offer

Ed, what would it take for you to move out here and be my personal bodyguard and gardener? Or, for short, bodyguardener. How are you at foot massage and bartending? Can you make a mean pot of coffee? Send me your resume. Thanks.

Beer News

In the wide, wide world of possibilities and predicaments, who'd a thunk that Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson, the Charlie's Angel and the King of Pop, would exit this plane of wrath and sorrow on the same day? And on a completely different note, this is the third night in a row (unheard of!) that I have been out drinking. In conjunction with this, Fat Tire beer is now on tap in South Dakota! Blessed be. Also, this has already been one hell of a week. In the workplace arena, my department was asked to volunteer a no pay furlough til September 1 or a reduction of hours until the same date, and two very capable, very hardworking co-workers were fired (or downsized or let go, choose your favorite euphemism) today. My potential love life is in the toilet (I get knocked down, but I get up again!). And yet, in the face of all this despair, I remain optimistic, resolute, and happy. I'm not just waiting for the times to get better, I'm ready to participate fully in making them better. Oh, and I made our server blush last night. I've still got it. Hope you're getting it, too. And even though my actual calendar birthday is two weeks from today, the celebration has begun.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Internet Dating, Volume II

Why didn't I listen to my inner voice?

Why did I let a beguiling voice derail my trust in my own judgment?

Why is this learning curve so goddamn steep?

Please, somebody shoot me or lock me in my room or put me in a straight jacket should I contemplate internet dating ever again! First, I am embarrassed and ashamed at my own shallow behavior. I needed to listen to what he was saying and not be distracted by the poor quality rendering of his recorded voice. Because everything else was there. I still hope to meet him face to face, even though at this moment I don't think I deserve to have a chance with him. And as if I couldn't feel any shoddier, I'm owning up to hoping that his current relationship is less than satisfactory because I'd like a shot at redemption. Secondly, I listened raptly to a mellifluous voice rather than my inner voice of caution that was telling me that something about this guy isn't adding up. He was charming. He was funny. He completely disarmed and distracted me. Until I asked what I thought was a perfectly reasonable and innocent question. To which he responded with such anger and umbrage that I was completely stunned. It was the stark contrast of his last communication with me compared to six weeks of bantering and flirting via email and on the phone that I was doing my best to process and make sense of. And finally, I listened to my inner voice of caution that had been telling me from the very beginning that something wasn't quite right. There were clues in his Facebook communications that I ignored until yesterday. And in the wee hours of this morning I finally Googled just the right combination of his name. And came to an understanding of why my glib and innocent question struck such a nerve with him. Somehow I have been rescued from potential disaster by my smart-ass, inquisitive nature. Not one of my better qualities, but one that I'm grateful for on this rainy and chilly morning.

I'm It

Tantra Flower tagged me. I'm going to oblige, mainly because I need a distraction and because I can't seem to sleep. The tag stops here, however. I've never had a good response with passing these on to other bloggers.

What is your current obsession?

I'm not terribly obsessed with anything at the moment, in fact I feel a little unfocused. I have some available time to allow an obsession in, but mostly I'm just trying to get my list of summer projects accomplished.

What are you wearing today?

From head to toe, at this very moment, three earrings, a cotton nightie with little fish on it, complete with fish shaped buttons, my pink bathrobe, a silver bracelet, belly ring and a toe ring. I also am wearing nail polish, nude on my fingers and cherry brandy on my toes.

What’s for dinner?

It's 6:31 am, I haven't considered dinner yet!

What’s the last thing you bought?

A round of drinks at the little bar in Hendricks, MN. A Fat Tire beer for me and a glass of red wine for Colleen.

What are you listening to right now?

The fan on my laptop and the ticking clock hanging on the wall.

If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go?

Wherever I could find warmth and comfort in the arms of someone I love, who loves me.

Which language do you want to learn?

Vulcan. I'm a geek wannabe.

What do you love most about where you currently live?

The memories, good and not so good, that are here in this house where I have lived for twenty-three years.

What is your favorite colour?

I'm fatally attracted to pink, I love pink things! If something comes in pink, I want it! But the colors I love being in and around are greens and blues.

What is your favorite piece of clothing in your own wardrobe?

My Born riding boots. In black, of course.

Describe your personal style?

As far as how I dress, for work I dress like a slob, because ag-industrial isn't pretty. Otherwise, I love jeans and flowy, hippie tops and sundresses. I'm crazy for accessories like scarves and jewelry and make an effort to not go overboard with them. In decorating, I love rich colors and textures and do my best to keep the clutter down. With entertaining, my favorite thing to do with guests is cook for them and make them feel at home. I'm a food pusher just like my Norwegian grandmother, Esther, and feel sometimes as though I'm channeling her!

If you had $300 now, what would you spend it on?

I have $300, and I'm hanging onto it because I'm working only 11 hours a week now, and don't go back full time til September 1.

What are you going to do after this?

Read the paper, take a nap, meditate.

Your favorite smell?

Don't make me choose a favorite! Lilacs in bloom, pheromones, brewing coffee, bread baking. My cat, Einstein, at times gives off a lovely scent that's sort of sweet and cinnamon-y.

Do you collect anything?

Polar bears, penguins, snowmen, Santa Claus's, faeries, bunnies, books, books, books.

What makes you follow a blog?

Subject matter, sometimes I just feel a connection to the writer, most of the blogs I follow I know the writer personally. The ones I don't know I would like to meet.

Do you like to comment on blogs or just lurk?

I comment, those who know me would confirm that I have a hard time being quiet.

What’s one thing you dream of doing?

Making my living off of writing. I've written a novel that is languishing in the second-draft stage, have ideas for at least ten more, and have written hundreds of poems.

What is your biggest regret?

The failure of my marriage. I'm happy to be single, didn't expect to be single at this point in my life, and I have no desire to be back together with my ex, but hindsight is so crystal-clear. I regret not recognizing and dealing with our problems when it could have made a difference.

What is your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?

Sleep in, make soup, read. If it's a warm front gentle rain I love being out in it.

Do you have a tattoo?

I have three of them!

Are you left handed, right handed, ambidextrous, or a little of both?

I remember being ambidextrous before I went to school. My first grade teacher made me sit on my left and and write and color with my right hand. I have lingering right/left confusion and golf and go up to bat left handed. I mount a bike, motorcycle and horse backwards, too, which means the kickstand on my bike is forever on the wrong side!

Do you play an instrument?

I don't, yet I wish that I did, yet I put no effort into learning to play anything. I regret this, but perhaps those around me are grateful for it.

Monday, June 22, 2009


Not that I am one for keeping score...but...having just gotten out of the hospital after surviving a bout of acute renal failure beats first date anticipatory jitters. I wonder what Emily Post would have to say about this, or Miss Manners. Although I would venture that I'm the absolute diametric opposite of being excruciatingly correct. Ice cream, anyone?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Friend of the Bride, or the Bride?

For your entertainment, the Poolside Barbie Lesbian Wedding.


I heard another new voice yesterday morning. I liked this one. I liked his laugh. He made me laugh. Try to imagine a voice that is influenced by formative years in (unnamed state) and living in (unnamed state) since then. There's the slightest remainder of a southern twang and rhythm. And, yes, for those of you who are thinking entirely inappropriate thoughts, it was on the phone. We've been in contact for over a month and are planning a face to face meeting this week. In a public, well-lit place during the day. I'm trying to be cool, not get too frenzied, pick the right outfit. I'd forgotten how much fun anticipation can be. Now there's a ketchup commercial song running through my brain...

Friday, June 19, 2009

What's in a Voice?

Indeed. What is in a voice. It's your own personal imprint. As unique as your fingerprints, your smile, the network of bloodvessels on your retina, your DNA. When I called my sister-in-law last night, I whispered a hushed little prayer that she would answer. Mostly because I really wanted to talk to her. I needed to hear her voice and to hear her laugh. But also because my brother's voice still asks you to leave a message if there is no answer. My dear brother who died a mere five weeks ago. Hearing that recording is both comforting and chilling. Because of its familiarity. And because of the stark realization brought forth that I will never hear his voice live again. Only in recordings. Pam picked up and we talked for an hour and a half. We laughed, and there were tears. And I have this growing feeling that he is taking me on a personal journey. Of connection and reconnection and sorting out the where I am from where I want to be. And of voices. I have this remarkable ability to recognize voices and identify them. From documentary narration to commercial voice overs to voice actors, I often nail the correct identity within just a few words. I don't know if this makes me more sensitive to the nuances of the human voice. It certainly influences the music I prefer to listen to. An interesting voice, speaking or singing, gets my attention and engages me. An aggravating voice, either by how it actually sounds or my association of the voice with a person I don't care for, can make me want to run and hide. Which brings me around to considering a new voice that I heard for the first time just an hour or so ago. He's interesting and kind of goofy, pleasant to look upon. He's artistic and intelligent and thoughtful. All very good things. But his voice puts me off. And I can't really figure out precisely why. Except to say that it isn't a voice that I would enjoy hearing in the dark or whispering good morning. It isn't a voice that would translate well over the phone. So I am left wondering if the sound of a voice is a dealbreaker as far as a potential relationship goes. Is this a superficial brush-off on my part? Can something I find initially off-putting grow on me if there are many positives to balance it out? I'm not looking for perfection, but I am much better at knowing myself than I ever have been before. Everyone has their dealbreakers and they are as individual as the individual in question. And it would seem that I have discovered that a voice that falls harshly upon the ears is one of mine.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

6CJ 709

It exists! I saw it today! Toward the end of my bike ride this morning, a silver Dodge Intrepid passed me and pulled into the parking lot at Curves. A woman got out and went inside. The license plates on her car bore the following, 6CJ 709. That's the plate that I want! The first number, 6, bears no real significance for me, we're stuck with it as 6 is for Brookings county. But then things change. C and J are the initials for my first and middle names, and 709 is my birthday, July 9th! I want to trade with her! Wouldn't it be lovely if 6DG 906 meant something special to her! Does anything ever work out that neatly?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Disco Diana

I am being punished. You know how sometimes when part of a song gets stuck in your head? And it's not even a song that you like, or one with which you have a significant memory association. It's just there. Repeating over and over again. You can block it for a while, but it returns. The psychological term for this fascinating phenom is perseveration. A thought or memory or gesture that is there and recurring with no obvious stimulation to induce it. Diana Ross' unfortunate 1980 foray into disco, Upside Down, is running through my brain. Not the whole thing, just part of the first verse and the chorus. Definitely not supreme. It has been suggested that the perseveration cycle can be broken if the entire song is sung out loud. So, if you happened to drive past my house this evening, the windows are open. If you heard some disco-like caterwauling, it was me. Engaging in therapeutic disco exorcism. I sincerely hope you did not call the authorities. Thank you.

And Now, Back to Domestic Duties

Today is the birthday of John Edgar Wideman. I am not familiar with his work. However, because The Writer's Almanac faithfully appears in my email every morning, I seem emphatically more well read than I actually am. I'm always interested in what writers have to say about the process of doing what they do. I'm often given some insight into why I write, because most of the time writing is this odd compulsive thing that I must do, and not just to avoid housework. Although it is quite effective at that. This is what Mr. Wideman has to say about writing. It gave me a little chill.

Good writing is always about things
that are important to you, things that
are scary to you, things that eat you up.
But the writing is a way of not
allowing those things to destroy you.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Cruel Clarks

Sigh. There they are. Aren't they lovely? Clark's Santiago Cork sandal. In magenta. I have been lusting after these shoes since I spied them in the Herberger's sale flyer earlier this week. Let me say unabashed and upfront that I love Clark's shoes. Especially the clogs. Love how stylish and comfortable they are. Imagine my dismay earlier this evening when I had the opportunity to try on this shoe. As cute as they are, they are agonizingly painful to attempt walking or merely standing while having them on your feet! I know, I know, women wear all manner of footwear that are all about the appearance and nary a teensy thought concerning their comfort. But this girl demands comfort as well as style. What an enormous disappointment! I have found a Clark's shoe that is cruel. Unthinkable that they could create such an adorable sandal that is all but unwearable. The interesting part was, even the saleswoman in the shoe department said that she hasn't sold a pair all week. Many, many try-ons, but the verdict has been pretty much unanimous. Cute but cruel.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Post Procedural Peroration

At precisely 7:15 this am, Sandy was here to drive me to the hospital. The 17yo was not all that concerned, he didn't come up from the basement to say goodbye. Maybe I made this all sound too routine, like I was going to get my teeth cleaned or something. I was home five hours later, feeling just fine. And ravenous! And I saw four full-color photos of the inside of my colon! They kept them in my file. Because you just know I would have had them with me everywhere, clogging up the grocery store aisles telling my colonoscopy story to contemporaries who also had medical procedure stories to share with me. When exactly is it that we morph into those people, the ones who do that? Around the time that we realize we've become our parents? Anyway, I am just dandy. My GI tract is just dandy. And what pretty much everyone who has a routine, screening colonoscopy says is true. The prep, which consists of approximately 16 hours of laxative induced bowel cleansing that is preceded by a week's worth of diet restrictions, is the worst part. It is very unpleasant and I did not enjoy it one little bit. Especially the last bottle of stuff, which I sucked back whilst sitting on the throne at four-thirty this morning. And without being too graphic, let me just say that I was indeed sitting on the correct seat. PLEASING LEMONY FLAVOR MY ASS!!! Once I was admitted into the hospital, I changed into a lovely matched set of butt-bearing gown and robe complete with fuzzy slipper socks. Did I mention that I left the house without a stitch of jewelry on? That actually made me feel more naked than the hospital gown! You sign some paper work that states that you are aware of what is about to be purpetrated upon you and that you are going along with it! Then they place you in a wheelchair, take you to the OR, pump happy drugs into your IV, and an hour or so later you wake up in your room. Like you just had a pleasant but very expensive nap. Then they brought me food! Toast and juice and coffee. And I had the remote for the TV. I watched an old episode of ER. One with George Clooney. I adore George, and at the end Carol Hathaway shows up and they have a teary and passionate reunion. I always substitute myself for her in a scene with George. Nobody seems to notice, I guess all us curly-headed gals look alike... After successfully navigating to and using the bathroom, they let me get dressed. I'll have you know that I put on my panties standing gracefully on one foot and then the other. Yessss! Then Sandy was there to take me home. And other than all this gas rumbling around in my belly, which sounds a little like a tiny, distant thunderstorm, I feel just fine. I did take a nap and I'm happy to say dinner is throwing together quesadillas from what's in the fridge, my energy level is a down a notch or so. Now I feel it is my duty to tell all of you who are fifty and over to go and get a screening colonoscopy! If you have insurance that pays for it you have no excuse! If only someone could explain this odd craving I'm feeling for Jello...

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Pleasing Lemony Flavor...

Those lying bastards at Swan Pharmaceuticals! They had the audacity to place the words, pleasing lemony flavor, on the label of their magnesium citrate! Prominently even! In bold type! I have consumed two ten ounce bottles of the swill this evening, with one more to go at four-thirty tomorrow morning. There was nothing pleasing about it. Particularly the lemony flavor. It is quite effective at what it is supposed to do, which we shall not discuss at this juncture. Except to say that I don't give a shit. In the most literal of interpretations. I have none left to give. This will change when I resume the normal eating of normal foods. Which should happen sometime tomorrow afternoon. Then it shall become my crusade to teach those lying bastards of marketing people what truth in labeling means! Pleasing lemony flavor, my ass.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Down at Championship Vinyl


If you click over to my profile, you will see that this is one of my favorite movies. And on a cold, rainy Sunday evening, what's better than a favorite movie? I love John Cusack. And perhaps even more, I love his sister, Joan Cusack. She is just so damn good it's magickal. I love this movie because it's a romantic comedy. But yet it isn't. It's messy and complex and so much like real life. It doesn't have a storybook ending but it's hopeful. It's so interesting how John's character, Rob, breaks the fourth wall and speaks directly to us. Kind of refreshing and very engaging how natural it feels for him to let us in on what's going on in his head without a tedious voice over and some hokey montage. And it has a terrific soundtrack. Oh. And there's the brilliant Jack Black. Finally, I get the biggest kick out of the fact that our leading couple are named Rob and Laura.

Straight to The WCS

Let's just get this out of the way, shall we? What if I die on Wednesday?!?!?! Then, I should have a bonfire with my journals. Now. Every surgical procedure, however commonplace or safe, carries risks. Eat whatever I want. Wait, can't do that. Because of the colonoscopy, for which there is the teensiest fraction of a percentage that it could be fatal, I need to, starting today, consume no fiber! That means no veggies, fruits, whole grains, legumes, or nuts. That leaves meat, white bread, eggs, jello. Ewww. Okay, then, I should clean house and catch up the laundry. What if none of my mother's children are destined to live beyond the age of 51? I was pondering a similar quandary last August. Maybe I should just be logical about the whole business. It would be the ultimate irony should I expire during a screening procedure that is proactive for my long-term health! Which in a sick sort of way appeals to me. I am going to be fine!!! And I'm going upstairs now to make French toast and bacon. Which are two things I am allowed to eat today.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Non-Standard Breakfast of Champions

My take on John Belushi's Little Chocolate Donuts breakfast. This is what a rainy Saturday morning inspires in me. Also, the 17yo isn't up yet, so he won't witness my bad example.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Happy Birthday, Newton and Einstein!

It was three years ago that Colleen found the two of you along with your siblings and mom. In her closet. Among the shoes. I must say that I enjoy having you around. And you're ever so welcome for the tuna this morning. As we all know, dogs have masters, cats have staff. It is so very kind for you two to keep me on in these difficult economic times. If you have any problems with the cleanliness of your litter box, feeding schedule, or the freshness of the water in your dish, please speak to the 17yo.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

ReBoot My Subconscious!

Had a rather disturbing dream last night, bordering on the nightmare variety of nocturnal brain activity. Once again, about the former boyfriend whose spectre I just don't seem to be able to shake. In the dream, which I think took place in one of those cute little camping cabins that can be found in South Dakota state parks. I was there, he was there, and this mysterious Asian-looking woman was there. Still not sure who she was, at one point I thought she was his girlfriend/wife, later on in the dream she seemed to be more of a secretary or assistant, she was taking notes and blinking constantly. And creepily, every time she blinked, her eyelids would sort of turn inside-out momentarily, then go back to normal. I was busy trying to get some answers out of the ex and he was busy not cooperating with me. I've heard it said that dreams can be our brains trying to work out problems we face during the day. I've also heard that dreaming is some sort of mindless test pattern that runs randomly and for no reason. All I know is, I have done my best to work out in a conscious state of mind how things went so wrong between us, when it seemed that things were on the verge of going so very, very right. And what I couldn't work out, I have put tremendous effort into letting go and forgiving. But still these shreds of non-closure regularly work their way into my dreams. I have just now realized what needs to be done. And it goes something like this. You know how when you delete a file from your computer, but it hasn't actually been dispatched to some electronic black hole, it has merely been tagged as information that is available space and can be randomly written over and thus obliterated, at any time. But until that actually happens, that deleted file remains as a ghost in your machine. The old boyfriend is a ghost in my machine! Whatever remains unresolved is lingering about waiting to be written over, I just haven't yet had a significant enough romantic relationship to obliterate the old file! I need to be defragged. In the worst way.

...A Week Earlier

So I get home from my meeting with Dr. Park, take a look at the June calendar, and discover I have scheduled my, ahem, procedure, for the only day in June on which I have a conflict! Was this deliberate? Was I merely going through the motions of taking responsibility for my health? Well, no, at least I don't think so. The, ahem, procedure shall now take place one week earlier! Meaning next Wednesday! Meaning I am already on the regimen of taking no dietary supplements (multivitamin, calcium, baby aspirin, glucosamine), no alcohol, no ibuprofin, nothing containing red dye, and I'm abstaining from red meat. And honestly, I'm not doing any of this to dodge jury duty. I have managed to not get called up for that little party for 2.13 months of my 3 month on-call period. Oh, and I need to call the hospital where my, ahem, procedure will take place and impress upon the billing staff there that my, ahem, procedure must, must, must be coded as a screening procedure rather than a diagnostic procedure. After all, it's bad enough that they're going to stick a lighted viewing tool up my ass, at the very least the billing needs to be coded correctly so that my insurance pays for the, ahem, procedure in full! Don't get me started on deductibles, copays, and 90/10 coverage.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Scope This

Being in that highly exclusive group of people who have attained the age of fifty, I made a monumental move forward in the quest of personal health and responsibility. Or something. Meaning that I met Dr. Park this afternoon. And in two weeks from tonight, I shall be in the middle of that most dreaded pre-procedural procedure of emptying my entire intestinal tract of its contents. So I can have a screening colonoscopy! Giving a whole new meaning to the phrase, no shit! Will I feel crappy afterwards? I have been assured that I will feel nothing during, since I will be out, as in, happy sleepy drugs! I have not undergone anesthesia for seventeen years. And, yes, that was in the same hospital stay as giving birth to the 17yo. I wasn't going to make you do the math. My health insurance claims to cover this screening procedure 100%, but it is recommended that I contact them to make sure. There might be something in that blasted fine print that somehow obliges me to pay for part of it. I hope they take some nice pictures while they're in there. Meanwhile, there's a whole list of stuff that I must do and must not do for a whole week prior. This girl knows how to kick off the summer in a big way. A big ass way!