Monday, November 30, 2009

Cartoony Me, Take 2

Isn't this the ultimate in narcissism? Well, what I always say is, if you can spell it, you can be it. If you would like to be a narcissist, too, go here to create a cartoony alter ego of yourself. It's fun, it's free, it's only as accurate as you want it to be...but it may be habit forming! Think maybe I'll create a dozen or so of them! One could do the holiday baking, one could do the holiday decorating, one could go to work for me. But only the real me gets to wear the Born riding boots. You have to draw the line somewhere.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Night at The Opera

Well, okay, technically it was a night at an opera house, not the opera. But a lovely, restored and historic opera house it is! The Grand Opera House in Dell Rapids, SD, to be exact. Seated in the Grand Theatre, second row center, I was treated to the musical talents of the Hegg Brothers as well as Hank Harris. What an amazing room! What a gorgeous chandelier! What remarkable acoustics! When I have the privilege of listening to wonderful original music in a room that was designed for that purpose, I am reminded of why I staunchly refuse to attend stadium shows. In my older, wiser guise I prefer a comfortable seat, less jostling with hordes of people, and the opportunity to mingle with the musicians and the owners of the venue. I was fortunate enough to meet and chat at length with Joan Rasmussen after the concert. The Grand has been lovingly restored and is now open for business because she realized her dream. I encourage every last one of you to attend shows at the Grand! It's dreamy just to sit in the audience. Show up! I go because I love the music. And if we don't show up, it might disappear. If the music disappears, it will indeed be a very sad day.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Shoulda Named Him Ferdinand...

...because he likes to sit (or stand) just quietly and smell the flowers.

Newton doesn't give a flying fig about the pretty flowers, so his name shall remain the same.

There could be yet another alternate name for Einstein, but I can't think of an endearing character from literature, children's or otherwise, that has a shoe fetish.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Twas The Night Before Turkey

And here I am waiting for pies to come out of the oven. Not that they do that on their own. But wouldn't it be handy if they did? That would be pie, singular, as the pecan pie was done to perfection when the timer went off. The pumpkin was still a little sloppy and needed another ten minutes or so. I must say that I'm not a fan of custard pie on the rare side. It's something I prefer completely cooked. Probably the egg factor. And speaking of eggs, this holiday feast day's pies have been concocted with locally grown eggs! Courtesy of Tigh's actual mother. Sometimes I pretend to be his mom, and because he delivered these lovely eggs right to my door, at this moment he is my favorite surrogate son. Dinner preparations, you ask? The turkey is thawed, the bread for the stuffing is cubed, pies are in progress. The wine is chilling in the walk-in fridge, otherwise known as the garage. I'd set the pies out there to cool, but now that you know they're out there, they might be gone by morning! I think I'll keep them inside, if it's all the same to you. The turkey goes in the oven around nine tomorrow AM. Until then I expect I should sleep. I can tell I'm tired because I have lapsed into rambling. Where pie and whipped cream shall dance in my head, I expect. Just so long as they're not tap dancing.

Monday, November 23, 2009

I Want My Mtv!

In a galaxy long ago and far, far away...there was this cable channel that aired nothing but music videos! What a cool idea! I haven't tuned in to Mtv for years, but from what I hear, it has very little to do with music now. Pardon me while I get all nostalgic on you. Just a little over twenty years ago I had a some vacation time built up. And I was in danger of losing several days if I didn't take them within a month. I opted for long weekends, a month's worth of them, by taking a few Mondays off in a row. I was newly married at the time and we had been in our house for less than a year, and the Mondays off seemed like an opportunity to tackle some projects around the house. Oh, I ought to mention that this was also in the primitive days when everything had a cord attaching you to the wall or device and there were no mp3 players. The iPod was just a twinkle in Apple's eye and the home computer and cell phones were huge, clunky things that were neither commonplace nor sleek. Nor attainable at anything approaching a reasonable price. The internet was an experimental stronghold occupied by only the geek elite. Really. Say it ain't so! And, why, you may be asking now, did I choose Mondays? Because in the ancient epoch known as BT (before texting), Mtv did a little programming thing called No Repeat Mondays. Meaning that, during this no repeat day, nearly every music video in existance at that time made a showing. Meaning also that No Repeat Monday was random and eclectic, a little bit of everything. And that was what was what made Monday a wonderful day to be at home and inside. With a musical companion that didn't require tending or flipping. On a channel called Music Television, that sadly, is no more what its name implies.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The View From Here

My relatively uncluttered desk.

My relatively cluttered bulletin board.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Imagine That!

This morning I was out sweeping the garage. Just the seasonal clean-up where the stuff that shouldn't freeze is gathered and brought in the house. I was plugged into my pink iPod and John Lennon's Imagine shuffled up. Just as a couple of nice, young Mormon fellows approached. I paused in my sweeping, pointed to my earbuds, smiled and shook my head to indicate I was not interested in their message. My head was full of Imagine. Could there be anything deeper, more meaningful, or more spiritual? They returned my smile and departed.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Merely a Flesh Wound

I thought this might be a top ten list, but my brain doesn't feel organized enough to accomplish such a linear task. A disorganized, uninfluenced by alcohol brain even though it is just past eleven on a Friday night. Is there anyone reading who doesn't know that I got seriously whacked in the head twelve days ago? Well, doubt you not that a facial cut bleeds like the proverbial stuck pig. They glued my forehead back together, yes indeed, taped and glued! I know it probably looked strange, but for a few days I held my forehead when I sneezed, fearing a blowout. They said the bandage would sort of wear off, that the glue would break down and I should just let it fall off on its own. I had nightmarish musings about pulling it off too early resulting in me flying about the room like a deflating balloon, only to end up in a far corner of the room, leaving nothing but a damp little rag. After three days of glue boogers in my hair, I couldn't stand it any more! Just moments ago I encouraged the process along and soon a sticky, gooey, tapelike nasty thing fell off into the bathroom sink. Leaving me with a nearly two centimeter red vertical line on the left side of my forehead. The swelling is all gone and the bruising has been reduced to just a couple of bluish spots beneath my eyes. I still am amazed as well as grateful that my injuries were minimal. Equally remarkable are the healing properties of the body. And I'm wondering if getting whacked in the head could possibly explain away any of my random, oddball behaviors. You know, those endearing quirks that are hallmarks of my personality. Having one's monkeys jostled about could have all sorts of interesting results. Leaving me to paraphrase my dear sister Pam when I observe inappropriate behavior in others. Listen, buddy, I got whacked in the head with a 4 x 6 inch steel plate attached to a steel cable and a really big spring! What's your excuse?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Contempt Breeds Familiarity?

Yes, well, maybe it does. Or could, given certain circumstances. Sort of like annoying someone into adoring you. Aggravated to the point of affection. Pestering toward passion. Like Josh said to me this afternoon, if we were still in fourth grade, pushing me into the mud or throwing a snowball at me would be a sign of genuine smitten-ness. Well, I asked him for the male point of view, and he is a guy, and that's how he replied. Hmmm. Are we grown-ups yet? Even if we are in the chronological sense, it doesn't mean we always behave that way. And if you ask me, that's not only okay, sometimes it's compulsory.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

New Moon Madness?

The freaks and whackos were out in abundance last night and there was nary a moon in sight. Colleen and I braved the thick and bluish air at Stogeez to enjoy the music of Hank Harris. How many times is it necessary to wash your hair to remove the smoky stench of cigars? I still catch a whiff of eau de saloon when I turn my head despite two consecutive latherings, conditioner, gel and a splash of body spray. Maybe I'll need to shave my head, drink a quart of Febreeze and wait for unstinky locks to grow in. Freaks and whackos, you say? It seemed that way, there were at least three or four psychodramas playing out among the forty or so patrons over the course of the evening. On the way back from the ladies', whom should I encounter but Mr. Shaken Not Stirred! A very friendly crazy man in a leather hat plopped down in the chair next to me and we bellered along with Hank the last chorus or so of T Rex's Bang a Gong. That was fun. Colleen spotted a fellow artsy/designer person just from the way she was dressed! And proceeded to have a lovely conversation with her. At one point during the evening, I stepped over to the bar to set down my empty glass and save the friendly and capable staff from having to collect it off the table. At the moment I was closer to the bar than the table where we had been seated for most of the evening, and, well, it seemed like the right thing to do. As I was performing this amazing feat of courtesy, I was informed by a woman standing nearby to step away from him and mind my own business. I thought I was minding my own business. I get in trouble even when I'm behaving myself! Colleen and Mr. Hank are now best friends, at the end of the evening, I got a smile and a wave and she got a hug, a very friendly exchange, and a second hug. Could this have something to do with the fact that she is a genuine and sweet and wonderful human being whilst yours truly is an acerbic smartass? The thing is, I am also a genuine and sweet and wonderful human being. Some people just bring out the acerbic smartass in me. That sounds like a lousy excuse. Okay, it is a lousy excuse. Do you ever find yourself in a situation where it feels utterly impossible to say or do anything appropriate? So you just accept spiraling into idiot mode? It takes a little effort to scrape off that blustery exterior to find the genuine me. I think I'm worth the effort. The jaded on the outside is just a defense mechanism I seem to employ to weed out the ones who eventually wouldn't be able to deal with my dark side, which would inevitably make an appearance. It's not a game, at least not a deliberate one, it's more of a reflex that fades to the background when I'm comfortable with me. Finding that place isn't always an easy task. I'm very fortunate that Colleen is such a genuine and sweet and caring person. We all need a friend who sees beyond the crusty outside to the good stuff inside. Particularly amidst the madness that at least as far as last night goes, I'm blaming on the new moon.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My Harlequin Romance

I'm pretty certain that I'm not living in one, and there are clues all around me. It would seem that the thump on my head last Sunday afternoon has not transported me into delirium. For instance, my modest "B" endowment would have ballooned to a "DD", and I'd be showing it off with low cut, filmy tops. There isn't a strapping young fellow named Ethan or Rhys living in the little cabin at the back of my estate. Okay, it's not an estate, it's a ranch-style house with an attached garage. And it's not a cabin, it's a garden shed. But a dandy garden shed, I'll have you know! Anyway, Ethan or Rhys or whatever his name is, I keep him around for chopping firewood and posing half naked and sweaty with various yard implements for my entertainment, hears my scream and runs to my rescue. Ethan or Rhys scoops a limp and injured me up into his powerful arms and carries me all the way to the ER! I feel all safe and reassured as I bury my bleeding face into his burly chest. This is when I get a hearty whiff of his man smell. That mildy ambiguous yet overwhelming combination of sweaty pheromones, a masculine sort of woodsy scent, and I'm sure there must be tobacco in there somewhere. I swoon and swear to myself that I will put aside our class differences, marry him and bear his children. Wait a minute, Ethan or Rhys should have been working on the garage door instead of me!! What a worthless hunk of man flesh! Let's try this, then. Our heroine, Isabella or Layne or Raven, plucky girl that she is, rends her flimsy blouse and binds her massive wound with its rags and drives herself to the ER! When she arrives, she collapses into the gallant arms of the handsome and much younger EMT, who carries her into a trauma area and shouts, bandages! lip gloss! antiseptic! get a tetanus shot ready! STAT! When Isabella or Layne or Raven regains consciousness, her entire head is swaddled in a pressure bandage and she cannot see the gorgeous, single intern who is checking her vitals. Later, she will have to decide between the intern and the EMT. Somehow or other, the smell of lilacs helps her choose which man (how can she choose, they both were instrumental in saving her life!) she truly loves. If this really was a romance novel, I'd have to work in a long, arduous journey, probably on a boat, a mistaken identity of some sort, a cruel stepmother, the return of a priceless family heirloom to its rightful owner, a villainous yet attractive antagonist, a happy ending and a dazzling sunset. Rest assured that you won't confuse a bodice ripper with a bad country song. There might be a faithful hound dog or a train, but there will be a glaring absence of trailer houses, pick-up trucks, banjos and light beer.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sibs, Circa 1965

I'm the big sister, with my 7yo front teeth just growing in. The blond cherub next to me is my sister, Martine. The chunky adorable one in my lap is my baby brother, Cullen. I don't remember this photo being taken, I do remember that the camera didn't come out very often. Mostly for birthdays and holidays and if out-of-town relatives were visiting. Maybe that's what feels special about this snapshot. It was just a regular day. And Mom deemed us worthy of exposing some film, of burning a flashbulb. It may have lingered in the Brownie StarMite for months before it was developed. I love this picture. And I wonder why my sister and I have that odd quirk of doing a hitchhiker thing with our big toes. It's got to be genetic.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


That would be today's date. Eleven/ten/nine. One of those numerical oddities that occurs once every century. Use today wisely. I have come to the realization that I'm something of an impulsive, sometimes mildy irrational human female. I am taking a day to contemplate my sore and swollen face and how narrowly I escaped serious injury, possibly blindness, toothlessness, or even death, on Sunday afternoon. I am grateful to be alive, mostly well and just a little achy and bruised. I shudder to consider that my 17yo son would likely have been the one to discover me, unconscious or worse, in a pool of blood on the cold concrete garage floor. But that didn't happen. I'm still here. And I need to think about what I ought to do with that gift.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Revlon 480

I don't know what you do to celebrate being alive, but this girl paints her toenails. The color I selected is Revlon #480, Autumn Berry. I feel much better already.


I have just received confirmation that I am, indeed, an idiot. Guess I'd never changed out the bearings at the very bottom of the garage door and didn't consider that the metal plate I was removing is attached to a cable and a very big spring. And when that last bolt is removed, or nearly removed, all the tension in said cable is turned loose to wreak havoc. Unfortunately, my head was in the way. I have a one and a half centimeter vertical gash in my forehead! It has been properly cleaned, bandaged, and glued back together. I also have a smaller cut a couple of inches below my right eye. I think I bit my tongue at the moment of the plate impacting my head. This would explain why the tip of it is very red and tender, also the nasty metallic taste in my mouth soon after. And for the first time in my life, I have had a tetanus shot. Which was a painless procedure! I'm an idiot, but a very lucky one, it would seem. The four by six inch metal plate attached to the cable flew up and hit my left forehead and right cheek. Completely missing my teeth, my nose, my eyes and my glasses. All the blood freaked out the 17yo, but he got me a washcloth and hugged me despite his unsettled feeling. I don't know if it was out of habit or because he took care of me for twenty years or because at first I wondered if the accident was electrical in nature, but I called my ex-husband. He took me in to the ER where I was treated and sent home with instructions on how to care for my wounds while they heal. I didn't lose consciousness, have not experienced any visual disturbance and may very well have a rather spectacular black eye in a few hours. I've taken three Advil and my head hurts a little. For the most part I seem to be okay. For the moment, the garage door is propped up with a vice-grips and I'll get back to it later. If you are going to be an idiot, remember that it's a good thing if you are on friendly terms with your ex, that you live very close to a modern ER, and that you have medical insurance. At least for today, good luck took care of the rest.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Holy Guacamole, Batman

Avocados were forty cents each last week. I am living in guacammmmmmole heaven. The photo isn't one I took. Though I could have, I can do a lovely presentation if I put my mind to it. Now I'm going to complain about this pic I swiped off of some foodie website. It appears that there are no tomatoes in this dip! I know, some people make it without tomatoes, but as far as I'm concerned, that's just wrong, wrong, wrong. I would have taken a picture myself except I just dove right in and gobbled the batch I whipped up without thinking. Don't overthink guacamole, just enjoy, that's what I always say. And remember the tomatoes. And since you asked, lime, please, rather than lemon. And beer. Preferably a nice Corona or perhaps a Dos Equis amber. What are you waiting for? Dig in!

Friday, November 6, 2009


Aren't we just adorable? Me, Pamela, and Martine. I'm speechless. Well, we are beautiful, but that is not what has stolen my voice. It is the dreaded annual bout with laryngitis. I have some sort of nasty hoptoad lodged in my throat that prevents me from speaking! I'm trying to drown the little bastard with wine but he's not budging. On the other hand, if you spot a handsome man who could return me to the world of speech, send him my way. I'll know just what to do with him.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

My Kind of Town

Have you ever thought about how many movies are set in Chicago? I hadn't until I embarked upon a Chicagothon of movies sometime last summer, starting with The Blues Brothers. The following is a list of movies that take place in the Windy City, all of which are in my personal film collection. I haven't viewed Adventures in Babysitting for quite a while, but I'm sure I'll dust it off soon. I'm including When Harry Met Sally, even though it takes place primarily in New York. Fans of the movie will know, and I hope indulge my inclusion on the list, because it begins in Chicago. Sadly lacking in my collection are the many John Hughes films that take place in Chicago. I love Sixteen Candles and Pretty in Pink and would love to own copies of them. Unfortunately, they have yet to make an appearance in the five buck bin at Wal-Mart. As you know, I love a bargain, and resist forking over more than five to seven dollars for a DVD. If you have a fave film set in Chicago, leave a comment and recommend it. I seem to have ten I'm rather fond of.

The Blues Brothers
I, Robot
Prelude to a Kiss
When Harry Met Sally
Adventures in Babysitting
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
High Fidelity
Ordinary People
North by Northwest
Grosse Point Blank