Friday, December 31, 2010

Countdown to Midnight

This is a strange night. Today is my mother's birthday. And the first where I can't call her with birthday wishes. It was always so easy to buy her a present, even though we're just a week past Christmas. A new jigsaw puzzle or a calendar, most likely with a Maxine theme. It's also my friend Deanna's birthday. I hope she is up to all kinds of fun tonight. It's cold here, and snowy. I've already been out to eat with my favorite dinner date, my 18yo son. I can't believe I'm contemplating going out again to have a New Year toast with friends. Michael and Liz have already rung in 2011 in Belgium. So has Lloyd, Australia is probably first with celebrating, Sydney harbor was all lit up with fireworks hours ago. And what about me, you ask? I'm just happy to be here. Welcome, 2011. Let's make this a most remarkable year.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Mixing My Conifors


In honor of the local current outdoor conditions, I prepared a lunch of mostly white food. Milk, 1%. Roasted chicken on white buns, with Swiss cheese and just a schmere of mayo. I do admit that the potato chips are more yellow than white, but I read on the package that they are made from russet potatoes. And as we all know, once that pesky, russety peel is removed, the inner flesh of the potato is essentially white. Unless you leave it sitting exposed to the air too long, it then becomes a very unappetizing grayish brown. And while the snow on the prop tree is fake, a much, much larger live version of the tree just outside my patio door is indeed laden with the real stuff. Ah, winter.

Monday, December 27, 2010

New Year, Anyone?

When I think about it, I don't believe I've ever actually had a date for New Years Eve. Okay, I was married for twenty years and fell asleep on the couch with my husband on numerous December thirtyones only to wake up to the new year. This is not a date, merely another night. We did attend a few parties on this night in question given by friends, and I remember going out to a lovely dinner a time or two, so maybe those count as dates. For me personally, to qualify as a date, there must be a phone call at least a day ahead, where plans are made involving various forms of entertainment, clothing choices are agonized over, and iffy hair choices are destined to be memorialized in photographs. In my dating years prior to marriage, I recall having a steady beau on perhaps two of the ringing in the year eves. One of those perhaps qualifies as a date even though details escape my memory, but the other consisted of attending a party where he overindulged. We were in the midst of a long drawn out breakup process, and I ended up holding the bucket that he was heaving the contents of his entire, I mean entire digestive system into, as the new year arrived. My fondness for him was fading at this time anyway, and I suppose I could have left him passed out in his running vehicle in the sub zero winter night, but I'm just not that kind of girl. Leaving a number of New Years Eve pasts open for possibilities that never materialized. As for the one four days from now, I'll most likely end up taking the younger son out for dinner. Or getting him a pizza and going out alone. It would be fun if I were contemplating the whole package...Plan A would involve a date, a dress, and a dinner destination. Dare I add dancing? But somehow, warm fuzzy jammies, a movie or two, and my own personal bottle of bubbly sound like a good Plan B should Plan A fail to come calling. One thing is certain, 2011 will show up whether I celebrate or not. And this girl is looking forward to a year worth celebrating.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Past


Feeling thoughtful. And a little sad. It's been years since I celebrated Christmas under the same roof as my mother, but this is the first Christmas without her among the living. She loved Christmas. I mean loved Christmas. She agonized over the gifts, the food, the decorating. And loved every minute of it. It was as though a perfect and happy holiday could and should make up for any and every shortcoming and disappointment of the previous year. She believed in the magic. In the days of broadcast television when there was just one opportunity, complete with commercial interruption, to catch Charlie Brown and the Grinch, she sat down and relished every moment of those cartoons along with us kids. She made fudge and caramels and delectible tiny butter spritz cookies. She baked yulekakke, a Norwegian sweet bread with raisins that was heavenly when toasted and spread with butter. When we decorated the tree, the four of us kids took turns placing the ornaments on the branches, saving a tiny plastic Santa for last. After that, only she had the patience to drape each individual strand of tinsel in its own special spot. Tomorrow night I'll attempt to make sweet and sour spareribs just like Mom did for Christmas Eve dinner. It will be just me and my younger son at the table, but the spirit of Christmases past will be there, too. Thanks, Mom, for passing your love of this holiday on to me. For the magic. And the memories.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Box of Chocolates


Physical therapy is working! In only six sessions my flexibility and range of motion have improved and the hypersensitivity around the incision is much better. My physical therapist is located in a clinic where a number of doctors practice. On my way back to the PT dept I walk through a couple of other waiting rooms where patients are, well, waiting. How patiently I'm not sure. I also see other patients in the main hallway and waiting to check in or to make future appointments. And it strikes me as somewhat odd when I pass or meet these people who are variously wearing masks, in wheelchairs, or tending to sad or crying tots, that I actually feel pretty darn good! What am I doing here, with a spring in my step and smiling, when all these others are miserable? With the exception of the tedinitis in my hands and wrists that is currently being treated, I am in excellent health. For which I am grateful, particularly when I encounter those who are obviously suffering. My affliction is annoying and limits what I can do, but it isn't life threatening. And with time and effort, I expect to recover completely. I feel a bit like Forrest Gump, who got out of his tour of duty in Viet Nam with a wound to his butt. Certainly not pleasant, but as a ticket out, much less costly than, say, the loss of a limb or an eye. A million dollar wound, I think they called it. It still seems weird to me that I've been off work since the middle of August. Perhaps in the Work Comp world, where I currently reside, tendinitis is the combat equivalent of a bullet wound in the buttocks. Which leaves me to wonder what is in store inside that next chocolate I bite into.

Monday, December 20, 2010

A Trifle of a Flop

Parties are like cakes. Most of the time they are a grand success, but once in a while you have a flop. When a cake is a flop, you make a trifle. When a party is a flop, it really isn't, at least not for the people who show up. And this time of year when most of us are overscheduled on events and underfunded on hours, a low guest turnout is a predictable factor. So. Thanks to the neighbors who trudged over from next door with adorable daughters and still-warm-from-the-oven banana bread in tow. And to Emma who was so enticed by my party food menu on facebook that she dropped by on her dinner break from work. If I'd had door prizes, though, the biggest and best would go to Dan, who showed up with chocolate vodka, enthusiam, and a hearty appetite. For any of you who might be interested, the spinach dip and olive spread are still reasonably fresh, the tiny cupcakes are tasty while they last, and the Christmas colored nachos are festive and tasty as ever. Now, if only the clouds would clear so tonight's lunar eclipse will be visible! I'll be waiting up. And maybe if you come over, you just might catch me licking the bottom of the spinach dip bowl.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Paper Paper

When I opened my Argus Leader this morning, a holiday greeting card tumbled out. It was from my newspaper route carrier. Nice. But in the same manner in which I will sometimes forget an item I need with me when I leave the house, she left out the tab section. On Thursday the tab is called Link, and contains entertainment news in the area for the upcoming weekend. Not to mention the crossword! I hope she didn't think the card was an adequate stand-in for the missing section. I do appreciate the thought, but I'd rather have a complete paper. When I called the customer service number, the very courteous fellow on the other end sent me a link to the full on-line electronic version of today's edition. My account was also credited for one day's delivery. I did enjoy having the electronic substitute, but it paled in comparison to the actual, physical article. As something of a left-wing, liberal, eco-friendly, recycling fanatic tree hugger, wanting a paper paper delivered every day runs counter to my nature. Part of a tree will bite the dust anyway since I printed out the crossword as well as the Jumble puzzle. I reserve the right to cling to this particular indicator of my approaching old fogeyness. For me, it's right up there with holding up the line in a store by producing my coin purse and counting out the correct change. Some of this old(er) lady stuff is fun. And fun is good.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Mary Jane Madness


Where do I begin. Last night I had the strangest dream! Let's approach this from a strictly linguistic angle. Since I'm a word fanatic this seems reasonable, if only for the moment. Mary Jane is a slang term for marijuana, it is also the name for a style of shoe. The shoe was originally designed as a flat with a rounded toe and a strap across the instep. Often fashioned in black patent leather, it was intended as a dress shoe for little girls. The Mary Jane shoe has grown into all sorts of stylistic variations for girls of all ages, sometimes retaining only the strap, or two or three, detail from the original. But this isn't about shoes, it's about my dream about shoes. Shoes and marijuana. In my dream I was trying on shoes in a department store. I was admiring a sparkly, crimson pair of high heel clogs that were on display and was waiting for the clerk to bring them out in a 7 1/2. When I put them on, I instantly experienced a sense of euphoria and happiness and was dancing about in front of a mirror. The clerk told me that the Mary Janes were $5000. I didn't quibble about the price, I did tell him that they were not Mary Janes, they were clogs. He grinned and showed me the box, that clearly showed the style as Mary Jane, clog, in the color scarlet. If you are at all familiar with women's shoes, then you know how styles are given names, often feminine. Case in point, the Mary Jane. I was confused. It seems they were a special type of orthopedic shoe, that could only be purchased with a prescription. The shoes were infused with medical marijuana! Shoes as a pharmaceutical delivery device! In retrospect, just over a week ago I was in the shoe department at Nordstrom. Where I was introduced not to Mary Jane, but to Paul Green. In the form of a gorgeous brown suede slouchy boot. In the Cherry Creek Mall in Denver. Colorado. Where medical marijuana is legal. Somehow, then, this information was deconstructed and reassembled in the twisted labyrinth of my synapses, resulting in last night's dream. I must admit to having felt a euphoric rush when trying on the boots, and retain a somewhat giddy feeling over the fact that I own them. They were, after all, one of only two pairs remaining on the clearance racks. When I wear them I do feel elated. If I'm not dancing on the outside, I'm most definitely dancing internally. Which probably translates to the release of pheromones and endorphins. Which are the body's own naturally occurring opiates. When you're this happy in your own shoes, that's got to be a good thing.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Candoni!


Not only should a wine be delicious, I think it ought to have an entertaining as well as memorable label. Recently, I could not for the life of me recall the name Candoni. I could remember that the wine in question was an Italian pinot grigio with some dancing Roman looking guys on the label, but the brand name eluded me. Also that the label wasn't rectangular and glued onto the bottle, but that it was sort of plastic-y and melded with the bottle. Fortunately, I found this wine in my local beverage store just this afternoon. Meaning, at least when it comes to dancing ethnic fellows on wine bottles, I am most certainly not delusional.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Saturday at Zaidy's


Zaidy's is a genuine Jewish deli, located in Denver, CO. They have an absolutely amazing full menu, but we were there for coffee and goodies. I was undecided about what to order until our waitress said there was something special...a cheesecake containing cranberries, walnuts and I don't know what else. What I do know is that the woman who creates these luscious baked goods dreamed about this cheesecake and then whipped it up the next day. Dreamed it! I had to have some!


Kristin and Deanna had goodies as well. Kristen opted for the chocolate layer cake with chocolate frosting. Deanna went for the classic cheesecake. Freshly brewed coffee arrived at the table. Gastronomic nirvana ensued.


Dreamy. Just dreamy.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Twelve/Eleven/Ten


The blue and silver tree in the living room. With the big blue beacon snowflake in the background. Beyond the window is the wintry and frigid outdoors.


A tiny living room with a tiny tree and tiny fireplace. Expecting, I would expect, a tiny Santa Claus.


Cardinals are ceramic. The greenery and snow are fake. The mini pine cones amid the light-up pine cones are, however, genuine. Gathered by moi in the back yard some years ago. Festive!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

This Just In...

Oh. Great. I have Mommy Thumb! I hate being trendy! Though I didn't have this problem when my boys were babies. Mommy Thumb arrived under my cabbage leaf after 4-5 years of repetitive motion lab work. I guess if it's in The Wall Street Journal, it must be so, Virginia.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Home Again, Home Again

The car is unloaded as well as washed! I believe today was the very first time I have washed my car in December. All that road crud deposited on the Subaru by passing semis just had to go. Things from my mother are slowly but surely finding their way into where they ought to reside in my house. It feels a little like having her around. Gently and in the background. A comforting and pleasant feeling. I had my first physical therapy session today! Only a full month after my referral! I am convinced no other entity can piss away time quite like the Work Comp people I'm dealing with. I'll get one more session in before my follow-up visit with the orthopedic Doc on Thursday. My favorite PT, Chuck, thinks we may need twelve weeks to get my right wrist in better shape. I promise I shall faithfully do my range-of-motion exercises, desensitizing massage, and heat treatments. In between I'll be full bore into holiday decorating! I watched Star Trek (2009) again today, eight viewings thus far. Yesterday I watched it with director J.J. Abrams commentary. He alludes to deleted scenes that will be included in the dvd release, but there are no deleted scenes included! There is a gag reel, however, that is pretty darn funny. My favorite is Kirk and Spock doing their scene in the Vulcan ship from the future with questionable Scottish accents. I also find it interesting that actor Chris Pine, who plays Kirk, has a name that is just one letter away from Star Trek character Chris(topher) Pike. The actor who plays James T. Kirk's father, Captain George Kirk, is also named Chris! Another notable name coincidence is that Spock's mother is played by actress Winona Ryder, and Winona is also the name of JTK's mother! If there is a deeper meaning here, or some prophetic lesson to be learned, I have no idea what it could be. Live long and prosper, I'll be engaged in PT and holiday decorating.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

And on the 14th Day...

...I'm back home! 3730.3 miles. Nine states. Minimal swearing at other drivers, even the annoying tailgater in the white Toyota Camry this afternoon. One enormous task accomplished. Six viewings of Star Trek (2009) enjoyed. Much delectable food consumed, let us offer thanks to whoever put the spandex in the jeans. New friends made! I love my Subaru. Many, many photos taken. I spent a sizeable chunk of my inheritance on a luscious pair of Paul Green chocolate brown suede boots. Thanks, Mom. And now, it is time to get reacquainted with my bed. Good night.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Friday Night Women

How is it possible that these three beautiful, smart, talented, strong women are single? In what universe is this acceptable? Where are the worthy men hiding? Deanna, Carla, and Linda discuss these ponderables whilst partaking of wine, smoked salmon, luscious cheeses, and delectable veggies on a Friday night. Yet we are happy, engaged with life, healthy, spiritual, and I daresay, lusty. So I ask you once more, where are the worthy men hiding?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Colorado

Ahhhh. I'm at Deanna's house in Colorado. I want to move here. Michael & Liz, what are the job possibilities here? Wish I could try Deanna's coffee side-by-side with Martine's! I love staying with people who brew kick-ass coffee! I have decided that beer is my favorite beverage after a long day in the car. Wine, then, would be my favorite evening beverage. My favorite beverage at Bravo's is the Patron margarita, shaken with violence and expertise by my favorite bartender, Jesse. Especially on Sunday and Wednesday evenings, when they are half price. I have slept well, had breakfast, and feel human once more after showering and washing my hair. And I'm wearing my new pink fuzzy robe from Target!!! Does life get much better than this? To top it all off, it's December 3rd and the predicted high temp here is near 70 degrees. This, I can live with.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

T or C, NM

I can't believe that Martine and Nick are watching Star Trek without me. I have just eaten breakfast for supper. My car is very full. Among other things, I have a birdcage, a lamp, a large mirror, and a pink foot locker in the car. I was so happy when the nice officer at the border checkpoint just north of Las Cruces waved me through after inquiring if I was an American citizen. I replied an emphatic yes. He either thought that I was a harmless white lady or that attempting to locate any alleged contraband in my ludicrously stuffed to the gills car just wouldn't be worth the effort. I am 600 or so miles from tomorrow's destination. I think I need to sleep. This will be my first night in bed well before midnight in about two weeks. I have a big TV, a comfy bed, and a lovely room. It doesn't seem complete without a cat to cuddle with. Guess I'll have to settle for my cushy hot pink robe. Though I've never seen a pink cat and my robe doesn't purr. I will now flip channels until Star Trek shows up or I fall asleep with the remote in my hand, whichever comes first.