Saturday, July 31, 2010

Day 31

I have accomplished my goal! I have posted here every single day of July! Yesssss! Colleen and I are pondering attending Taste of Brookings this evening. We are also pondering just hanging out here with a pitcher of sangria. Firstly, though, food for the 18yo. Then taste of sangria or something. In the meantime, this has been occupying my brain for the last 24 hours. What's a girl to do? Love is afoot, at least it seems to be all around me. And Leo may at last have arrived, appearing on my doorstep with an orange scone from Panera. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, July 30, 2010

For Sure, Don't Ya Know!

Around here, most of us suffer from a chronic case of Silly Voice Syndrome. I think that includes the cats, but I'm not entirely sure. The hallmark symptom of SVS is bursting into strange accents and dialects completely foreign from our standard midwest, extremely flat drawl. Particularly when quoting movies, video games, and people from somewhere other than here. SVS is not only in the air around here, it would seem to be genetic. Both of my sons suffer from it, as do their parents. I remember one of my proudest moments as a mother was overhearing the boys acting out the bridge scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail when they were just tots. I must admit to being a natural mimic, I have to be careful to not fall into the speech pattern of someone nearby lest they think I am mocking them. There are only two dialects I can claim from my heritage, Norwegian and several versions of the classic American Southern accent. I can do one heckuva Minnesota accent, I think it's a proximity factor as well as having attended college there. And then there are all those years listening to A Prairie Home Companion. I certainly can't claim the ability to speak any foreign languages, but I do have a talent for many schlocky accents. And I use the word talent loosely.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Mmmmm. In a word, that is how I describe Castaneda Sangria. In the heat of the summer, I am much less likely to imbibe in red wine. While nothing beats a nice glass of zin or shiraz in cooler weather, I lean towards beer this time of year. Something cold and crisp and refreshing. Sangria is a nice, fruity alternative! I like to layer thinly sliced oranges, lemons, and nectarines with ice in a large pitcher and pour a bottle of chilled Castaneda over the top. Serve in a pretty glass with a citrus garnish. Irresistible. Thank you, World Market!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


This afternoon I affixed my signature to a legal document called a quit claim. Which means, in essence, that I'm not going to give my ex a hard time about selling his house. A house he owned for four and a half years. A house that I barely set foot in during that time. A house I assisted him in buying furniture and household gadgets for. A house I had to be present at closing when he purchased it. Because we were still legally married when he bought the house, I had to show up and sign my name a few times. And today, although our divorce has been final for over four years, I signed off any claim on the house so he could be free and clear to sell it. Which brings a couple of thoughts to mind. Firstly, that this is one of those odd loopholes through which a disgruntled ex would be in a position to exact some revenge. Having no revenge to exact, the idea that I could have used this as an opportunity to cement my reputation in the Annals of Supreme Bitchiness gave me a little chuckle...momentary pause while I polish my halo...My second thought is a tiny twinge of sadness. Because time marches on just as people move on. To new relationships and new residences. It seems incongruous that I am happy and content to no longer be married to my former husband at the same time that I regret the failure of the marriage. Two disparate enities within the same space. Much like we were.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Old Mouse, New Mouse

These images are not to scale. To each other. Necessarily. Above is my old mouse, which I liked a lot. The transceiver stowed neatly into a slot inside the mouse, and then it fit inside this cute little black drawstring bag for travel. But it started to malfunction. So I fiddled with it. Which means, I pulled the battery, blew on the contacts, turned it on and off several times, unplugged and plugged back in the transceiver several times, cleaned the top of my desk and tried to get the mouse to work properly on other surfaces, and blew the fuzz off of the little light-up thingy on the bottomside. I think it's probably still under warranty, but I can't locate the receipt. A portion of the proceeds from my purchase went to a good cause, womens' heart health through the American Heart Association. Can I still feel good about that even if I bought it at Wal-Mart on clearance?

And, ta-da, this is my new mouse. The Microsoft Wireless Mobile 3500. The transceiver is so tiny it barely sticks out of the USB port. I do believe I like it. It's larger size is kinder to my tendonitis-plagued hand. The 3500 is a good fifty percent larger than the Kensington. Like I said, the photos aren't the same scale. You may have noticed that they are both pink. Pink is good. And in closing, I must say that I have not been compensated by Microsoft for my hearty endorsement of their product. It was on sale, and it was pink. If you ask me, two of the most important criteria in making a shopping choice.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Fairy, Fairy Nice!

It seems that my first birthday card fairy has a name! She is the Candytuft Fairy, from a series of illustrations of Flower Fairies from the 1940s. Drawn by artist Cicely Mary Barker. The card came free of the album page with very little effort, and this information was on the back. Who the card came from is still a mystery, and likely will remain so. I like that she's part of my herstory, from a time when black and white photos preserved the events before I formed memories. Thanks, Mom, for preserving this lovely bit of artwork. She is precious to me.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Nice, Fairy Nice!

I have a bit of a preoccupation with fairies. I have drawings and books and figurines. I even have Mariposa Barbie. And numerous incarnations of my favorite, Tinker Bell. I have no idea why my brain latched onto fairies as an interest, but now I have a clue. I have recently come into possession of a photo album and scrapbook that documents my early childhood. And wouldn't you know, there on a page dedicated to my first birthday, is this beautiful card with a fairy depicted on the front! I haven't a clue who the card is from, on the inside there is a handwritten greeting, but it is not signed. The card itself is in excellent condition, surprising considering the number of non-optimal storage situations it has experienced over fifty years. Unfortunately, the card is solidly glued onto the album page, and may be difficult to extricate. I plan to go about freeing this darling little sprite from her current accomodations and placing her in a frame so I can see her every day. It would be interesting to know who gave me this card on the first anniversary of my birth. I would like to thank the giver for infecting my toddler brain with fairy fancy.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Sweet Dreams

Inception. See it. That is all. Go on about your business.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Cobalt Blues

I do love cobalt glass. And this lovely item was my only non-edible purchase at the Arts Festival two weeks ago. I suppose it's a hanging vase or a wall pocket or something. After trying on clothes and agonizing over jewelry and giving up on finding anything I just had to have, this wire-wrapped, bead-embellished beauty spoke to me. The thing is, as much as I like it, I can't figure out where to put it. I've tried it in a dozen spots since I brought it home and none of them seem quite right. Too high, too low, in the way of a door, someone might bump their head on it. I expect I'll keep moving it around until I find that just right spot. Although at this point, I'm thinking I should have bought two so I could wear them as ridiculously large earrings.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Viking Funeral

One of my very favorite movies is Rocket Gibraltar. The story goes something like this. A landmark birthday party is being thrown for Levi Rockwell, played with a twinkle in his eye and genuine warmth by Burt Lancaster, by his children and grandchildren. During a wonderful scene where Levi walks at night on the beach with all eight of his grandchildren (including an adorable 7yo Macaulay Culkin), he regales them with a tale describing a Viking funeral. I'm not telling you any more about the movie. Watch it yourself. It's wonderful. I had the pleasure of watching Rocket Gibraltar with my mother several years ago. She was a full-blooded Norwegian, and at least seemed to enjoy it, if only for the fact that she liked Burt Lancaster. In her generation, he was a hottie. I'm inclined to agree. When Mom died, not quite two months ago, I thought of how my siblings and I had joked with her about giving her a Viking Funeral send-off. She liked the idea, complete with including her yard swing, which had baked in the Arizona sun for over twenty years, as tinder for the fire. Part of me wishes we'd been able to do that for her. But maybe we still can. My sister, Martine, will have to be in agreement on this, and I'm not sure what the appropriate setting would be...but wouldn't it be great to build a miniature Viking boat, sprinkle it with some of Mom's ashes, set it on fire and launch it out onto a lake! It seems like a proper end of life ceremony for her. And I think she would approve.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Expanding the English Language

A recent conversation between me and the younger son when he observed one of the cats, who seemed to momentarily be deep in thought...

What's he thinking about?

Do we really want to know? Reading a cat's brain would be akin to seeing into the mind of a 2yo human! You'd never be the same, and probably not for the better. You don't want to know the cat brain. brain...catbrain...catbrane!! It's a catbrane!

catbrane (kat'bran) n. 1. A pliable layer of cats covering surfaces or separating or connecting regions or structures. 2. Chemistry. A thin sheet of cats that is permeable to substances in solution.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Formal Balance

Soooo, what's more interesting, me holding the camera...

...or that bunny or bird or bug or shiny thing outside?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Just Past MidSummer

Is this the legendary summertime blues for which there is no cure? Or is it just another Monday? Since childhood, it has seemed to me that summer was on the downhill slide into fall once my birthday had passed. There is really so much summer left to be enjoyed. I just dragged myself in from a lovely hour and a half in the hammock! A still, practically bug-free, upper seventies afternoon lounging with the newpaper, a slice of cold leftover pizza, a beer and a nap. One of those rare days that only reside in June. Even though July is more than half over, the grass is green and lush from the rain that has fallen regularly. Most years it is dry and brown by now as the lawn turns dormant in the heat. Freeing us from the drudgery of mowing for as long as six weeks. The lilacs are long gone, but have been followed by daylilies, purple coneflowers, yarrow, loostrife, hostas, lavender, and Russian sage. Annuals in their potted glory add color in between, reliable petunias, begonias, geraniums, impatiens and my favorite pink gerbera daisy. There are still many, many days of sandal-wearing, bike-riding, and hammock swinging to be relished.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Dreaded CWH

How in the wide, wide world of, well, anything, did I neglect to brew coffee yesterday morning?? Let's see, hunger upon waking, peanut butter toast with orange juice to remedy tanking blood sugar, beautiful morning, six mile bike ride, thirst following but not for a hot drink...realizing at dinner that I had not consumed caffeine in any form and swiping a few sips of Coke from the younger son...waking this morning to a stiff neck and immovable shoulders and a pain directly behind my eyes that rivals the worst hangover I can imagine. Blinking hurts. Yes, indeed, it has arrived, the Dreaded Caffeine Withdrawal Headache. Am I merely dependent or am I an addict? I love coffee. I can quit drinking it any time I want! Well, actually, I forgot to drink coffee yesterday so that is a possibility. Having partaken in two cups of the evil delicious brew within the last hour, I have been miraculously cured. A socially acceptable vicious cycle that I, along with millions of others, choose to participate in. I raise my mug to all of you fellow caffeine addicts! Cheers!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Pink Roses

I have to admit that roses are not my favorite flower. I'm more of a daisy, carnation, lily kind of girl. But when my local grocery store has their rose event, and the price drops to 50 cents a stem, well, I'm converted!

I grabbed a dozen in various shades of pink and spread them out in three vases. Seven here...

...four here...

...and one here. So much joy for such a tiny investment.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Odometer Oddity

On the way home from Colleen's last night, I checked the speedometer as we were approaching White. I don't know about you, but there's a cop around every corner when I neglect to slow down adequately from highway speed. It was then that I noted something interesting on the odometer. Not only was the total mileage a numerical palindrome, the trip odometer also read the same forward and backward! Note also that I pulled over and was at a complete stop for this photographic moment. Cosmic, man.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Big Red House Party

I'm off to just north of White, SD to hang with Colleen. And the llamas. And the cats. And the chickens. Just one dog, though, who pals around with a cat who thinks she's a dog. Just between you and me and the cows, there might be a teensy bit of wine involved. But that's only because it goes so well with the bread Colleen bakes.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Rationalize? Me?

At last, another practical purpose for shoes! Have I failed to impress upon you my abiding fondness for footwear? Boots in particular, I'm afraid. And if they're beautiful, why coop them up in the closet? Why not have them out in the light so they can be appreciated even when they're not being worn! I can't claim inventing this brilliant flash of decorating. While in Atlanta visiting my sister Pam, I found her use of my brother's shoes and boots as decorative items charming. And just as I was typing this, I remembered when we were invited into Roz's apartment on the NBC sitcom Frasier. Unless I'm experiencing a hallucinatory memory, Roz had several pairs of boots displayed in a large shelf unit recessed into the wall above her bed. Naturally, this induced a festival of lechery* to dance about inside my head. I can't speak as to what the proximity of a multitude of boots to the bedside might conjure up in your brain, I only know what it does to mine! Granted, Roz's boot collection was of the western, or cowboy, variety, not the black leather stiletto style, but one woman's fantasy is another woman's chore. If you know what I mean. Which is why my boots are in the bookcase in my office. Where they might inspire my writing. Don't get me started on the penguins.

* I must credit fellow blogger Lisa for this particular term. I loved festival of lechery so much I really think it ought to be a national holiday.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Birthday Fun in Downtown Sioux Falls

Mingling with the locals.

Kristi has a heart! And an open one at that.

Kristi on alert as she guards our purses and shopping finds.

You mean I was supposed to put money in that meter?!?!?!

Deep sigh of relief as I realize it is not a parking ticket, merely a courtesy warning. They must have known it was my birthday!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Prime Wishes

No, I don't have fifty-three of them. Just three. I only blew out one teensy candle on my birthday since only one was lit. Something about not having the appropriate permits or something. Good things come in threes, so here are my three good things to meditate on. Maybe then they'll move from the realm of wishes to reality. And yes, I am aware of the adage that reminds one to take care in what you wish for. It could come true. Then there's that other one about how when the gods wish to punish you, they answer your prayers. Without further digression, my list:

* Right Work

* True Love

* Artistic Endeavor

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Festivous Food

Funnel cake. How could this not be good for you?

Behold the pita sandwich. All the food groups nestled into one pocket. Well, with the exception of chocolate.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

First Prime Day

Fifty-three good. Campfire, wine, chocolate. Colleen and Tammy and Kristi are the best feminine company I could hope for. Beautiful morning with coffee and sunshine on the deck. Bacon for breakfast. Arts Festival in town meaning that there are lovely artsy booths in the park to peruse and pita sandwiches and funnel cakes waiting to be eaten.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Today's Agenda

Bike ride with younger son
Cupcake for breakfast
Lunch and artsy stuff with the girls
Birthday drinks with friends
Backyard fire with champagne and chocolates

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Fiscal Year End Accounting

As Fiscal Year Carla draws to a close, let us contemplate for a moment. This is my last day to be 52, this last year carried the theme, Carla's Finally Playing With a Full Deck! Can't say for sure that I did. It's possible, though, that I might be above average on the learning curve. Coming up, 53! Considering that 53 is a prime number, tomorrow begins FYC with the theme, Carla's in Her Prime! Tonight, then, would be something akin to New Year's Eve. No sense in waiting to celebrate. Irish Car Bombs at Jim's Tap! I hope to see all of you there.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Alter Ego

Since my first introduction to Maxine sometime in the mid 80's, she reminded of my mother. Cranky, unapologetic, cigarette dangling from her lip, she made me laugh as she spouted epithets and opinions while her faithful dog was never far from her side. Later on, just like Mom, she became a nonsmoker, but she remained just as acerbic, never mincing a single word. Thank you, John Wagner, for creating Maxine. She allows each of us a self-indulgent, laughable look at what we hope we don't, but often inevitably do, become. Our mothers.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Bye-Bye, Pro Pedi

I will miss you. We were together for one entire wonderful month. I can hardly bear to give you up. But it is most definitely time to trim the nails. If only I didn't have to wear closed toe shoes for work, I could get by for perhaps one more week. So I bid you adieu, my very first professional pedi.

And welcome in a home nail painting effort. I must say, all that buffing, moisturizing and massage is a pampering I shall never forget. Sigh.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Mutant Life Form

I'd heard about them before, but had never seen one. Supposedly they show up, during certain astrological alignments, at a certain cigar bar in downtown Sioux Falls. Without visual evidence, I had exiled them to the mythological realm occupied by other alleged beasts. Sasquatch. Nessy. The Phoenix, Roc, Jabberwock. But then, Saturday evening, minding my own business and enjoying the music of Hank Harris, he appeared and asked if he could share my table. I said, sure, just don't block my view of Hank. He sat down, placing his drink and cell phone on the table before him. It was. The dreaded. Stogeez-er!! In a Hawaiian print shirt, lavender socks, blue loafers, and enough cologne to alter the taste of my Fat Tire beer even though we were outside and it was breezy and there were people smoking cigars nearby. He stayed for one drink, checking his cell phone at least three times, then disappeared into the night. I didn't take a picture. Though, according to Stogeezer legend, they cannot be photographed. Did other patrons see him, or was it just me?

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Independence Day!!

*Something Red: The cotton nightie I'm still wearing despite that we are well into the afternoon. Hey, it's a holiday! It actually translates very well into daywear when I pull on denim shorts under it!

*Something White: Me. I'm an American of Norwegian and Scottish extraction. Meaning that I fry to a crisp with as little as 20 minutes of sun exposure. Hence my addiction to 40 spf sunscreen. Freckles optional.

*Something Blue: The luscious blueberries tucked into the double batch of muffins I baked this morning. Find the recipe here.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Made in the Shade

This is my little bit of backyard paradise.
Hammock + Beer = Happiness!

Ferns and landscape lighting, accompanied by this year's addition
of fresh cedar chips. Add just enough breeze to keep the mosquitoes away.

Comfortable fireside seating. Stop by!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Lightening Strikes Twice

According to Sex and the City, each of us experiences two great loves. I'm not entirely sure that I agree with this theory of twos, but I like the idea. On a purely selfish level, this would mean there is another one on the way for me! On a more serious note, the two lovely ladies in the photo at left are a shining and positive example of the premise of pairs. They are the two loves of my brother Cullen's life. Pam, of the green eyes and red hair, was married to Cullen for nearly sixteen years. Until the day that he died just over a year ago, she was his love and partner in life. Sara, of the brown eyes and beautiful smile, was the first love of Cullen's life. They dated off and on during high school and college. When Cullen and Sara parted ways, I think I was nearly as heartbroken as they were. And Cullen, until he found Pam, seemed to just be biding his time. He had found his second great love, there could be no doubt to anyone who saw them together. Sara and Pam did not meet until six months after Cullen died. It seemed to me when I snapped this photo of them, that they were kindred spirits right down to their souls. Cullen had an enviable talent for making friends, a way of bringing people together. Even after he was gone this legacy continued. And this gives me hope. Sara is with the second love of her life. His name is Mark, and they have a beautiful daughter together. And even though it is nearly unthinkable to me, and probably even more so for Pam, according to the theory of two great loves, she is due one more. As much as I loved my brother, life is for the living, and he would be the last one to begrudge her that gift. I don't envy the man that might try to win Pam's heart, he has a tough act to follow. But as Pam says, life is long. I can only hope that there will be time for so many more good things.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

July Already

Just for fun, I thought I'd see if I could post something every single day in July! That would mean that I have to start today. Does this count? As well as taking up more space, therefore legitimising this post, this is a photo of my alter-ego, Tinker Bell. The photo is courtesy of son Michael, who snapped this image of Topiary Tink earlier this year at Disney World. One down, thirty to go!