Thursday, July 30, 2009


The elder son's cell phone buzzes. He retreives it from his pocket. The phone exclaims, in Luigi's voice from the animated series, it's a football!. This alerts him to the fact that he has a new text message. I find this amusing. I also find it amusing when the younger son utters this phrase, in his own remarkable voice, in a dead-on impersonation of Luigi. He has observed at various times, that he and his brother are like the Mario Brothers in other ways. Specifically, the bit of information that he enjoys is the fact that Luigi, the younger brother, is taller than Mario, the older brother. One of these days he may get over the fact that he has turned out taller than his older brother. But I doubt it. I'm also certain that neither of my sons was born with a black moustache. Nor did they as infants ride around on the back of a dinosaur named Yoshi. What I'd like to know is where the hell was Mama Mario when Yoshi was cavorting about on his island with baby Mario in tow! I'm guessing she was distracted by the agonizing nausea of morning sickness during the early weeks of her pregnancy with Luigi. It's that second child that really does a number on you.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Crimes of the Heart

Seven is a magic number. So I've been told, anyway. A powerful prime imbued with positive energy. A cyclical number of renewal and beginnings. With this in mind yesterday afternoon, I visited the sacred site of a significant event in my life. Seven years ago on a late July Monday afternoon I made a choice. The repercussions of that choice have rippled as well as roared through my life and the lives of those around me for the last seven years. Small changes and enormous ones. I have gone through nothing short of an absolute metomorphosis. Internal and external. I'm not the same woman I was seven years ago, yet I am. This 2,557 day roller coaster ride was a doozy that shook every aspect of my being. I have been altered physically, spiritually, psychologically and emotionally. I have landed in a place I didn't expect to be at this point in my life, although I like it here. And every day I possess a greater understanding of how and why I am where I am. When I realized what day yesterday was, I felt compelled as any usual suspect will, to return to the scene of my crime. Certainly I've learned the life lessons that ensued, at least I hope so! Otherwise I'm doomed to repeat them! And I sorely lack the time and energy to get back on that roller coaster for one more ride. Today is the point of departure for the next seven years. Having served the sentence for my crime of the heart, I'll celebrate my release from its burden. I let it hold me prisoner for much too long.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Monday, Monday

I'm only thirty-seven pages into Infinite Jest and I am mesmerized. Even though I'm not entirely sure what's going on. The Subaru has a slow leak on the right, rear tire. I must get it fixed today. I would be seriously annoyed to go out to the garage when I have somewhere I need to be and find it flat rather than low. I'll bring the book. I made French toast and bacon for breakfast. So I may be mildy confused and think that it's Sunday the rest of the day. Not that my hair is particularly important, but I'm thinking about just trimming up the front myself and letting the rest of it grow. Since I can't seem to find someone who can cut it properly, I figure I can't do any worse than the professionals. And lately I've either been pulling it back or slapping on a baseball cap. Maybe if I get on the slippery slope of being lax about my appearance, friends will get together, do a style intervention, and finagle a free makeover for me on a national tv show! And finally, I wonder if I'll get quicker service at the tire shop if I wear that cute little denim skirt...

Friday, July 24, 2009

I'm Not Crying!

It works like this. I'm on my bike, riding on the bike trail. This is South Dakota, where the sun shines and the wind blows. The sweat runs off my brow and into my eyes, washing sunscreen into my eyes, and along with it whatever else has ended up on my forehead. Resulting in eye irritation. In response, my eyes water. Profusely. Perhaps leading those I meet up with on the trail to think I might be listening to some particularly moving song on the iPod. I like to think of myself as the sensitive and emotionally available biker. At the very least I appear to be. Beth Nielsen Chapman sometimes brings a tear to me when I hear her sing, but not today. All The Time in The World from Sand and Water came up on the shuffle while I was riding. This song is my anthem for the day!

And did I say I've got the right to want it all
Well if it's true I want it all
How could that do me any harm
I'll take the curves, I'll dodge the cops
I'll jump the ditches
Doing eighty miles an hour
Slammin' back into your arms

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

At Colleen's House


Colleen with Booger

John with llamas

Last night we drove up to Colleen's. She fed us fabulous buffalo burgers. Buffalo burgers with cheese on buttery, toasty buns. Garnished with sauteed mushrooms, bacon, and avocado. I may never eat a burger again. Once you have experienced the best possible ever of anything, it's time to move on to the epitome of something else. Another highlight at Colleen's is the interesting array of animals available for communing with and among. Or something. John can now add Llama Whisperer to his list of accomplishments. Ah. Summer.

Monday, July 20, 2009

JazzFest 2009

The Italian College Professor/Punk Rocker, John


Beautiful weather. Great Music. Pleasant company. Beer. Tolerable porta-potties. Barefoot worthy grass. Sunshine. Life is good.


Something I have heard repeatedly since adolescence is the importance of goals. Establishing them. Achieving them. Those who fail to plan, plan to fail. Blah, blah, blah, blah. Maybe I've lived a serendipitous life thus far, but almost all of the very wonderful and memorable happenings in my life have come about with little or absolutely no planning. But for those of you who are unrepentantly goal-oriented, I have come up with something that I would very much like to accomplish. With the advent of low volume flush toilets, I hope to someday pee with such volume and gusto that the toilet flushes on its own. I'm almost certain that this will involve beer. Hey, I didn't say it was lofty.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


I'm certain all of you have wondered...just what do princesses do on a Saturday night?

We dance...

...and hang around with cute princes...

...they're everywhere, you know...

Sometimes they drink a little and get blurry.

And, naturally, the common folk show up to worship them.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

My Status

Colleen posted this on Facebook last night:

Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence AS YOUR STATUS. AND POST these instructions in a comment to this status.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST book

This was her status:

It's time to slow down a bit and consider some alternative ways in which to engage our lives. --Sarah Susanka

And this is mine, from Garrison Keillor's novel, Liberty:

"I'm a fly who's been pounding glass for a long time."

Who can argue with that?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Last Firsts

John McCutcheon has a very beautiful song called Last First Kiss on his CD The Greatest Story Never Told. According to information on his website, he wrote it for his wife as an anniversary gift. Only he's not married to that particular woman any more. The song was written a mere eight years ago, not twenty or thirty, so it would seem that this marriage and the love that bound it together was one that had endured much and would likely continue. I must admit that I don't know if he was widowed or if the marriage ended in divorce, all I know is that he's married to someone else now. So I have to give him the benefit of the doubt and linger on the brink of cynisim rather than plunge right in for a good, long soak. Because I realize that what I want is a whole laundry list of last firsts. Including but not limited to a kiss, date, relationship, sex, sex, sex, yes, I know I said that three times, and maybe at some point marriage. I love listening to Last First Kiss, the song is sweet and heart-felt without being sappy or overly sentimental. It seems to have been inspired by a love that has survived the years and implies that perhaps the best is still to come. That love has settled into a place that is comfortable but still passionate, familiar yet new. I want my last, first kiss. And a song such as this makes me feel as though it could happen.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Phacebook Phenom

Could someone out there explain to me just one little thing? Are there any geeks tuned in? Here goes. How the hell does facebook generate friend suggestions? How, how, how? A whole screenful of thumbnail photos pop up and I won't know a single one of them! Usually. I have yet to send a friend request to any one of them. Well, okay, there was that one...which is a case in point as to how facebook thinks I might know someone and want to be their friend. Have patience, allow me to explain. There was that one best former girlfriend whose photo popped up. I frowned and clicked on the x to make her go away. And in that empty spot popped up another photo...of her boyfriend! I frowned and x'd him, too. This is where it gets really weird. In his place up popped my former sweetheart! That's when I put in a snarky friend request! A couple of days later, I withdrew it, but I was left with a deep sense of puzzlement over how facebook happened to choose those three people. All of whom belong to a closed chapter of my life. Unless chapters are never completely closed. And how all three popped up in the same space, one after the other, gave me a little chill. Maybe this is just testament to how interconnected all of us are, six degrees or fewer is all it takes to connect any two people on this planet. One thing I have learned. If you wait around long enough, and you pay attention, are observant and listen more than you talk sometimes, these mysteries are saliently transformed from unknowns into knowns. These acts of unveiling are sparks of learning that become memory. Enlightenment that elates or brings tears. An aha! moment, that for just a moment, makes all things, well, at least one thing, clear.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Obviousman, Jr.

The 17yo has informed me that I would never be mistaken for a man. I find this oddly reassuring. I can't recall for certain the precise conversation that led up to this statement, but it went something like this. We were discussing my recent birthday celebration and my advanced age, and he first made the comment that he thought I appeared to be fortyish. I took this for a compliment and thanked him. Told him that such an observation made me feel girlish, which falls sort of in line with much of my girly behavior that he doesn't understand. Like painting my toenails and wearing pink and wondering how big my butt looks. That, I believe, was when he said that I would never be mistaken for a man. We laughed. I find conversations with my younger son to be peculiar and often perplexing. But I love the fact that he talks to me.

Friday, July 10, 2009


This is Andrew, one of my adorable sons.

Tigh, my third son, Michael, my actual purple-haired son, and Andrew the adorable one.

Tigh's adorable, too.

Somehow it's a little odd when your child is old enough to hang out in a bar with you.

John and KD bearing a 52 themed gift.

The birthday girl between the Nancy Kays. They're ever so adorable.

Later, as the evening digresses into silly human tricks...

...and the drinks get bigger, it must be time to go home.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Seeing Purple

I seem to be buying purple things lately. Today, I bought a fabulous pair of Born clogs in purple suede! Definitely not summer shoes, but I am so ready for fall. And, of course, they were on clearance! Just over twenty bucks instead of the original sticker price of $85. Then there was this purple sundress that spoke to me. Very loudly. I had to buy it so it would shush. People were looking...I may have to wear it out tomorrow night, it has birthday girl emblazoned across it. And under no circumstances shall I wear a red hat with it. I have nothing personal against those red hat ladies, I actually get a kick out of seeing them en masse in their colorful headgear, but I don't wish to follow a trend simply because the calendar says that I qualify. Since I shall turn 52 tomorrow, and 52 is the number of playing cards in a standard deck, I have come to the conclusion that the deeper, cosmic meaning of this is that starting tomorrow, I will at last be playing with a full deck! It looks like I will be kicking off my birthday with a luscious orange scone for breakfast. Then, weather permitting, a bike ride. After that it might be fun to put my feet up and drink some iced tea while I watch the 17yo push the lawnmower around. I have already promised to take him out for lunch for his efforts, which I will consider his gift to me. Sometime tomorrow afternoon I need to whip up a batch of brownies. I have promised the, I'm so sure, multitudes of friends who will be meeting me at Cubby's for drinks and food, that there will be brownies & ice cream, with hot fudge sauce if they behave, afterwards. With champagne. Mmmm. I have to say that overall, 51 was kind of a rough year. With a little luck, and that full deck, 52 ought to be measurably better. In any case, walking though 52 wearing purple suede clogs just sounds like a lot of fun.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Crush of the Week

This is John McCutcheon. He is something of a renaissance man. He's a musician, author, social activist, and isn't he just as cute as he can be? He was a musical guest on A Prairie Home Companion on Saturday in Avon, MN. You may be familiar with him due to the GWB send-up he wrote and performed in recent memory. The song consists entirely of Bushisms and is hilariously funny. Check out his website, friend him on Facebook, buy his books and CD's! Or, do what I do. Adore him from afar.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Being There

There they are, the famous red shoes.

Garrison Keillor is a very gracious, highly entertaining, self-effacing man. He has the deepest, old soul eyes. He bounced about in the mid-eighties heat like a man thirty years his junior. He signed my copy of Liberty. And seemed amazed that a woman of Norwegian and Scottish heritage could survive over two hours in the very direct midsummer sun. I adore him.

Some very obliging and generous locals let me squeeze into a space just big enough for me and my pink chair. Center section, tenth row. I can now say that I have been to Lake Wobegon, or at the very least, that I have been to Avon, Minnesota. Indeed, the women are strong, the men are good-looking, and the children are above average.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Ed from South Dakota!

Was that you calling into TotN Science Friday? Advocating the burning of steel wool spinning about on a wire hanger handle? And lighting the thing with a nine volt battery? I'm so shocked. I would have figured you for something that explodes!

Essential Items for PHC's 35th Birthday Party

1. My copy of Liberty, which is featured on my summer reading list, though still unread, for Mr. Keillor himself to autograph.

2. My lawn chair. Pink, of course.

3. Camera. Loaded up with fresh batteries. Dare I mention that this item is also pink?

4. Sunscreen.

5. iPod. Pink, naturally. Even though I likely will listen to MPR while I'm on the road. I love the Saturday roster of programs!

6. Shawl, in case it's cool. Also discourages mosquitoes.

7. Jean jacket, in case it's really cool.

8. Umbrella, in case it rains, although the weather outlook says pleasant and sunny.

9. A spare pair of shoes to accommodate my fussy feet.

10. My pink, fake alligator Bath & Body Works tote bag, to tote around all of the above.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Remembrance, She Wrote

The younger son had a remarkable teacher for English this last school year. One of the things she did to hone her students' writing ability was to assign journal writing. These were inventive journal writing tasks, often at least one of the four per month was an enjoyable experience for the 16yo. Let me say that, for him, writing is normally perceived as the most cruel and unusual of homework assignments. And that for him to dive into and enjoy writing approximately 25% of the time is something of a miracle. One of these writing challenges toward the end of the school year was to write an obituary for a worn out, broken, or lost object. They were instructed to use a standard obituary writing form, that reading obits in our local newspaper could be used as a guide for how to write theirs. Now I'm trying to use that advice myself and can't seem to get down to the task at hand. Normally writing is an entertaining and expressive activity for me that I enjoy. But I've never had to write an obituary before. And being close to the deceased oddly qualifies me for the job yet makes it doubly difficult. How do you pack the life of one human into so few words? A couple of weeks ago I agreed to collaborate with my brother's widow in the writing of his obituary, thinking we could fill in the gaps for each other. Me being something of an expert on his earlier life, she being the expert of his most recent years. I need to just sit down and do this. But I keep getting distracted by the stories and the photos and the memories. I need to think more like a journalist than a novelist. Writing this obituary is part of my process in accepting his death. Realizing that fact is part of my avoidance, and I have decided to have a rough draft to send to Pam by the end of the week. Also realizing that his life cannot be done justice in so brief a format, I have decided that when these memories and stories distract me, that I will write about them, because that's part of my process, too. Remembering Cullen, recognizing his life and accepting his passing, embracing all that he was and then letting it all go, is what I must do. I have a greater understanding now of how hard it is for my son to sit down and write. Just write! I tell him, it's easy. Just make what you want to say come out from your fingers instead of your mouth. It's time to take my own advice.