Friday, March 30, 2012


The patio door is open. I hear at least a half dozen birds chirping out to establish their territories. Avian turf wars. Every couple of minutes I hear a car go by. There is a dog barking. Sounds like a large dog. Now another, smaller sounding dog has joined in. The lazy drone of an airplane rumbles in the distance and between the birds and dogs I hear cars on the interstate about a mile east of here. Outside is noisy. I need to remember that sound travels the other way, too, when I crank up the stereo and croon along with Norah Jones. It smells like spring. Damp. Rich. Lively. Green. Not quite a hammock evening, but close. I resolve to get in as much hammock and bike riding time as possible this spring and summer. It's good to have goals. Even better to have achievable ones. Achievable ones that are pleasant are the best.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Green Ketchup!

This is, quite simply, just plain wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Which is probably why it was a monumental failure as a product. Ketchup is supposed to be red. Like the tomatoes from which it is derived. I guess they don't need me to tell them, at least in this case, they should have stuck with the original 57 varieties.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Just the Facts, Ma'am

I love knowledge. I love learning new things. Gaining understanding of concepts and disciplines that are utterly foreign to me. I find it very enjoyable to participate in or eavesdrop on conversations with people who have polar opposite views from me. It's the best way to grasp an idea that you hadn't considered before. I may not be won over but I sometimes gain a newfound respect for another person. Or maybe become convinced that he is, indeed, an idiot. Either way I'm entertained as well as enlightened. Sometimes we wander into an area where fact ends and the universe of pondering the imponderables begins. Philosophy, politics, religion, music, theater, numbers of faeries dancing on the head of a pin. There is wiggle room for discussion and preference and critique under all of these headings. It can be lively. I hope it remains civil and no one storms out in a fit of self-righteous indignation. But that happens, too, sometimes. Either because an individual holds such passion and fervor for the subject at hand. Or because they have made an error in judgement. Gasp. They have confused their opinion for a fact. Facts are easy. Jimmy Carter was president of the United States in 1977. The Toronto Blue Jays won the World Series in 1992. The square root of 16 is 4. The 2002 Fox television series Firefly has fourteen episodes, eleven of which had been broadcast at the time it was cancelled. Facts are facts. No wiggle room. Everything else is opinion or theory or conjecture or under construction. It's open for discussion. We can agree to disagree on any and all of those. A couple of years ago, after being introduced to my friend Colleen, a man who shall remain nameless asked of her if I always had to be right. Colleen replied something like, well, that was just how I am. Obviously I'm paraphrasing, I was out of earshot at the time. The thing is, I don't have to be right. I just expect people to have their facts straight. By the same token, I expect to be gently corrected if I'm wrong. We'll get along fine as long as you agree the number of faeries dancing on the head of a pin totally depends on whether they're doing the foxtrot or the tango. And I'm certain the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow, African or European, is distinctly faster than that of a laden one.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

When Life Gives You...

...perfectly overripe avocados, make guacamole. And how I didn't figure out til a month ago that the perfect kitchen tool for mashing avocados is a pastry blender shall remain a mystery. Hey, sometimes I have bigger things to consider. Like many dishes I regularly prepare, I don't have a true recipe, just a list of ingredients that can be adjusted to taste and size. Avocado, fresh lime juice, salt, garlic, cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper. I like to add some fresh diced tomato but Reid objects. He says I'm tainting perfection. And since I like it without as well, I figure I'm fooling him into eating fresh produce when I disguise it as a snack. Who can argue with that.

That Narrow Ledge

Shake it off. Walk it off. Fend it off. Aversion therapy. Laugh therapy. Logic. Vent about it. Write about it. Cry about it. Check, check, check, and once again, check. Rub salt in it, agonize over it, over analyze it. Yup. Run as far away as you possibly can. Stare it down from whites-in-their-eyes proximity. Accept it without understanding, knowing full well from experience that understanding often follows acceptance. Life is too short to spend one more precious moment feeling like this. Days are excruciatingly long when you feel like this. It's all relative. Focus on things outside yourself. Do for others. Lose yourself in activities that put you in the zone, in the flow, in that place of bliss and fulfillment. Distract yourself. Delude yourself. Deny yourself. Do the work. Give it time. Meditate. Percolate. Rejuvenate. The question remains, how long will I feel like this? And the answer remains the same, foolish girl. Until you don't.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Green Bagging It

It's blue! It's green! It's blue! It's green! It's both! Reusable shopping bags come in all colors. But they're all green in spirit. Pictured here in their natural habitat, the back of my Outback. Remembering to get them back in the car before the next shopping trip was the biggest hurdle but now it's habit. Bring your own bag! It's the green thing to do.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Call Her Esmerelda

Still March. Still green. Still in the final frontier-land of Star Trek. Still the place where Captain Kirk, et al, boldly go where no man has gone before. Though it seems they couldn't find one bold enough to jump in a vat of viridis nitentis spirituosa. Which explains why only the women are green. Do you suppose if she's left out in the sun she can make her own food?

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Two Thirds of the Way There

I was listening to this with about 25% of my brain last week when suddenly 100% of my attention was engaged. I'm not sure why, if it was something that happened in the room where I was sitting or a laugh or other sound in the interview setting. Maybe it was one of the cats or something shiny flying by. What I heard was that there are three things necessary in a relationship. Luck, patience and grace. Kevin Kling, you are a very funny and brilliant man. And I agree with your assessment. You can work with diligence and sincerity on attaining the second and third ingredients. Luck is the iffy part. Luck never calls for an appointment. She just shows up when she shows up. With a little patience and grace, you may be ready.

It's Green!

When the deceptively human appearing alien asks Scotty what it is they are about to drink, he famously replies, it's green! Wish I could type that in a highly exaggerated Scottish brogue. Please try to hear it that way. Of course Scotty first attempts to say where the liquor is from, but is too inebriated to pronounce much of anything so instead confidently informs us what color it is. Although as a child watching this episode it was all in shades of gray. We were watching Star Trek on a black and white tv set. But we trusted Scotty not only in his color interpretation, but also in the fact that he would, indeed, soon drink the alien under the table. And all I have to say about today's post is that like Scotty's unpronounceable booze, it is most definitely suited for this month's green theme.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Green Batteries

Yup. Use them in my digital camera. Recycle them when they're all pooped out and won't hold a charge any longer. They cost about four times as much as regular disposable batteries but will recharge hundreds of times. I haven't checked how much faster the electric meter spins when I plug in the charge unit, but the last two months I averaged three dollars per day for electricity. If you can reuse something instead of making garbage, do it! That's my motto. Actually, I don't have a motto. And that wouldn't be a very good one. I'll work on coming up with one. Maybe a personal mission statement. Then I suppose I'll have to form a corporation. Design a logo. For now, I'll just recharge my batteries.

Ockham's Razor Burn

Though the thought was around much earlier, it is attributed to 14th century logician, theologian, and Franciscan friar Father William Ockham. Is it more important that you think the thought first or that you get it named after you? I'm thinking the latter. Simply stated, Ockham's Razor boils complexity down to the essential. All other things being equal, the simplest explanation is probably right. I ran across this theorum twice yesterday. Quoted in the movie Contact and in the afterword of Stephen King's latest novel, 11/22/63. In Contact we are dealing with the argument of Science vs Religion. In 11/22/63, we are pondering the details of the Kennedy assassination, conspiracy theories, and time travel. Disparate sources, to say the least. There is a common plot point to both involving the main character hopping through space and time. One is gone eighteen hours while only a second or so elapses for the observers, the other is gone just over five years while back home at the door to the wormhole only two minutes go by. With all of this drama rattling around in my brain I didn't sleep particularly well. But I did come up with an idea. You know how aggravating it is that your man can get ready to go pretty much anywhere in under fifteen minutes? If I had a wormhole, I could duck through it, deal with wardrobe choice and hair and everything, and be ready in two minutes flat. All I have to say is, if we could get Mr. King and Carl Sagan in the same room, that would be an interesting dinner conversation. I would want to be there. I'd be ready in two minutes flat.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Green, Green Jellybean

So just what flavor are green jellybeans anyway? This is a constant topic of debate between the younger son and me. He waxes on and on about traces of apple followed by a teensy peppery nuance of mint, finally there is a distinct tart pineapple finish. Like he's describing a pinot noir or reisling. Next thing I know he'll be pairing the jellybeans with cheeses! I maintain that green jellybeans smack of generic green lollipop flavor. That is all. Nothing more.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

First Robin!

What could possibly be a greener sign of spring than the first robin! Unless it's the neighbors across the street who have already accomplished the spring grooming ritual of their lawn. Good thing I'm not competitive about this sort of thing, or I'd be out there, too. I will likely never be first nor greenest nor most neatly trimmed in the lawn department anyway. And I've never used one of those edger thingys. Do I have one of those edger thingys hiding in the dark recesses of the garden shed? I have had more lush growth popping up from the seams in my driveway than I've had in the middle of the yard, though. My thumb might be greener than I think!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

First Day of Spring Green

Around here, Tuesday is garbage day. This is my big, green trash container that I wheel down to the curb so the automated truck can pick it up and dump it out. Technically, it isn't mine. It belongs to the City of Brookings. They just let me borrow it as long as I pay my utilities. The orange sticker on the lid cautions citizens to store this receptacle up near the house. Because leaving it down at the curb is unsightly and makes the neighborhood unattractive. There is a fine involved, so plan your civil disobedience accordingly. If not for the fine, I would leave it down there. Garbage is inherently smelly stuff and the further from the house the better. Don't get me started on the cat poop.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

As Promised...

Sage Sausage Stuffing

6-8 cups cubed bread
1/2 lb Jimmy Dean's sage sausage
1 medium size yellow onion
6 stalks celery
1 Granny Smith apple
4 Tablespoons butter
1 egg
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
olive oil

Start the day before by cutting up the bread. I use primarily white and throw in some rye, whole grain or sourdough for color and texture interest. Leave the bread overnight in a large bowl covered with a towel. Stir it up occasionally to aerate. Brown the sausage just prior to making the stuffing or up to a couple of days ahead of time. Just before baking, chop and saute the onion, celery and apple in olive oil until the onion begins to carmelize. Toss with the bread cubes. Add cooked sausage. Dot ingredients in the bowl with butter. Pour broth over the top. Beat the egg and stir it in. Season to taste with thyme and sage. Try not to stir the stuffing too much, just enough to evenly incorporate all the ingredients, you want it to maintain a chunky texture. I usually use my hands, but be careful, it may be too hot to handle. Place in a shallow baking dish, a glass lasagne pan works well. Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes. I never have cooked this stuffing inside a roasting bird so I can't advise you on how that should be done. I just prefer stuffing that has been baked separately. It can also be baked longer at a lower temp if you have other dishes in the oven.

Greening of the Footwear

It's as if St. Patrick's Day was established just so I would have an opportunity to dance in my green boots. And I know precisely what you're thinking. Let's not go there. Of course I was wearing more. Much, much more than just the boots.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

St. Patrick's Celebratory Trifecta

Top 'o the afternoon! It's a big day today. My fellow blogger Lisa is celebrating her birthday. It doesn't matter which one, she is ageless. My ex is getting married this evening. I have just sent off the younger son with his aunt, uncle and cousin so he may join in on the festivities. And moi? I shall be enjoying a night out with the girls! Dinner, live music, and a casino visit are on the agenda. Certainly an Irish Car Bomb or two. Sounds like I maybe should take a preparatory nap!

Friday, March 16, 2012

At the Old Market for Dinner


Me in the middle with my Darling Dil and my Beamish Boy. Dinner was lovely and the time goes much too quickly. Greening of the hair for St Paddy's Day. Also the Irish car bomb cupcake. Yum.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Ice Queen Thaweth

I am just now admitting this to myself. Shhhhh! Don't tell anyone. I would love to be married again. Committed. Partnered. Living in a state of having been mutually chosen as a significant other. Naturally with the usual disclaimers of right person, right time and this short list of qualifications. I've danced around the "M" word for a long while, euphemising my desire to pairbond by saying I'd like to be in a relationship or have a boyfriend or be with someone. Maybe I've just arrived at a place where I can acknowledge my emergent emotional availability. I think I've been in denial, thinking I was already there when my behavior indicated just the opposite. Despising yet reveling in my smartassicequeen persona. Insistent on the perpetuation of my own isolation like it was thrust upon me rather than a choice I was free to make. Wrongly interpreting vulnerability as a weakness rather than the most sublime of strengths. Hey, Mr. Beautiful, Beautiful Name, you thawed me out. A most welcome spring has finally arrived.

Faith in Faeries

So. The Pi Fairy invaded my kitchen yesterday and made a big fat mess and didn't bother to clean it up. Because I fervently believe in the Dish Fairy, I left the mess overnight, giving her an opportunity to intervene. She was a no-show. I type this post from the periphery of a sticky, crusty disaster zone. I ventured in briefly to make coffee. At least there was pie for breakfast.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Some things are just obvious. Pie to celebrate pi! Pecan and lemon custard to be precise. Though technically they are tarts because they lack a top crust. Why quibble about something when it's delicious either way, that's what I always say.

And what could possibly be green about any of this, you might be wondering. Well, I was wearing a green dress today as I delivered pies and happiness all over town. I like to think of myself as a pie ambassador. Or is that pi ambassador? Stop quibbling and pass the whipped cream.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Green Illumination

I have failed you. I was not green yesterday. But I was busy with other stuff. Important, enlightening stuff. Really. More on that later. Today's green post honors the CFL. Compact Fluorescent Light. The graphic demonstrates why. While I still have concerns over the fact that cfl's contain trace amounts of mercury, many municipalities have proper disposal programs in place. Look for one where you live! That is an order. My local Lowe's store has a bin for recycling these, along with rechargeable batteries and plastic shopping bags. Do it. Because it's green. And because you'll feel like a better, more conscientious person if you do. Reward yourself with a cupcake. Which makes me wonder what fate awaits the Easy Bake Oven when incandescent bulbs are no longer available. Which makes me think of this charming movie that I absolutely loved. Streaming now on Netflix. Watch it! And enjoy another cupcake while you're watching.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Ah, Memories

Miss Ulschak's second grade class, Wilkinson Elementary, Williston, North Dakota. From the ancient world when there was no color, only shades of gray. Adorable seven year old me is in the middle row, fourth from the right. Sporting a closed lip smile that hid my half grown in front teeth. I was the new kid, having relocated from Ray, ND over Christmas break.

Voila! In color, my confirmation class. Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, again in Williston, ND. Between the previous photo and this one, we had moved away to Aurora, CO for a couple of years, Las Vegas, NV for 13 months, then back to Williston once more. At this point I had been back in town for about four years and was no longer the new kid. Interestingly, at least to me, probably for you too if you're still reading, there are five other girls common to both photos in addition to me. Judy Peterson is anchoring the back row all the way to the left. Same position seven years later! Judy was the first real feminist of my generation that I was aware of. She had the audacity to want to enroll in shop class when we were freshman in high school. Most freshman girls took Home Ec, but she wasn't interested. She wanted to learn to build stuff. Use the power tools. Show people that femininity/masculinity is about who you are, not whether you're in the kitchen or the garage. Went all the way to the school board for a decision, but she got in. Two other girls, whose names escape me at the moment, in the back row and fourth from the left and back row second from the right are also in the second grade photo. Back row sixth from the left and middle row third from the left respectively. I'm in the same position in both photos, and just to the right of me are the same two girls with their positions swapped. Sonja and Sherry, then seven years later, Sherry and Sonja. And on the off chance that any of you reading are in either or both of these pictures, clue me in. Or set me straight if I'm wrong.


Daddy, daddy, daddy! says the 4ish year old to her father who is absorbed in debating over purchasing the bag of oranges or selecting them from the bulk bin.

What, sweetheart, he answers distractedly.

Why is six afraid of seven? She dances around the grocery cart, poking her fingers in and out of the wire grids at her eye level.

I don't know, replies dad as he plops the bag of oranges in the cart.

Because seven ate nine! she squeals as she collapses in a heap of giggles.

Dad picks her up and plops her in the cart as well, giving her a hug in the process. I'll have to remember that one, he says.

If you forget it, I'll tell you again later! she assures him.

I'm sure you will, he sighs as he pushes the cart away.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Big Frog, Little Pond

When will I learn. If we only pay attention, people tell us precisely who they are, how they will treat us, and what we ought to expect from them. In this particular case there was a big fat screaming neon DICK right smack in the middle of his beautiful, beautiful name. He's not nearly as good as he thinks he is at anything he does. But it was amusing. I wish him well. And the best of luck in his future scams. Um, I mean endeavors. Where he's going he's going to need it.

This is my green post for the day. Note the frog reference. When I am in the compose screen, I change the text to a bright green, but for some reason the post does not publish in green. Technical advice, anyone?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Emerald Quest

Back to Oz for another green post! The Emerald City. Where you'll find that horse of a different color. Dorothy, et al, journeyed there in search of things they found they already possessed. I don't know about you, but I'm wondering if those ruby slippers are a two-way street. I wouldn't mind making that trip only to find I already have what I need. Just so long as it doesn't require a prescription. Maybe I just need to look in my own back yard.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Little Green Apples

Behold. The Granny Smith apple. It is tart, crisp and has a creamy, pale green, dense flesh. Granny Smith is my go-to apple for pie baking. She is the secret ingredient in my sage and sausage stuffing. She is Australian, and named after Maria Ann Smith, who is credited with propagating the first seedling. Hey, I'd take credit for that by naming the fruit after me. Thank you, Maria Ann, for your lovely namesake apple.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Greener on the Other Side of the Road

The view off Colleen's front porch two years ago. There is a veritable forest of wind mills planted in this area now. One of the last times I visited, I tried to do a quick count as I turned the corner onto her road. In order to drive in a safe and attentive manner, I only got just a little over sixty. The wind does blow out here on the plains. We might as well use it.


Happy birthday to Liz, my Darling DIL! I love this pic of her, it was snapped at brunch just after she and Michael were married. Those are Pam's glasses, and we were all practicing stern, teacherlike expressions while trying them on. In many cases, immediately after the picture was taken, we burst into laughter. I'm so happy Liz is part of the family!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Green Haired Boy

I must say, the weirdest thing my elder son does is color his hair. Unconventionally. This was his first color, a lovely neon green. Right around Christmas 2008. He sped through the rainbow with his tress tinting choices, eventually settling on a dark blue. That's my boy!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

My Green Thumb

Truth be told, my thumb is still more brown than green. But I've kept these ferns and geraniums alive since October! The large window in the shop, aka the room at the end of the house, faces south and is ideal lightwise for overwintering plants. The geraniums are an experiment. I brought them in after they spent six months in deck pots in the back yard. Yes, Martine, these are the geraniums I purchased at Home Depot last May when you were here! Remember the duck in the parking lot? I've been watering them sparingly and turning the container for equal opportunity sun exposure. A couple of them have bloomed! This week I'll cut them back so they'll have the next eight or so weeks to bush out before they go back outside. The ferns were just for fun. I got them for ten cents each on clearance last September. Ferns are supposed to be good plants for creating healthy indoor air. Since they're in the same room as the litter boxes I thought it couldn't hurt.

Princess in Pink

I love it when someone else does the cooking. That way I get to goof off and play with the baby. That is Miss Abby in pink. She has managed to get her little fingers free from the clever fold-over thingy at the end of the sleeve. Note her sly, knowing expression as her grandmama snaps the photo. We were on our way to the barn on an egg hunting expedition. Ah. Country life.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Breaking up is Hard to Do

If there is a proper etiquette protocol for breaking up with your beautician, I don't know what it involves. But now that Amelia at The Sunflower has expertly cut my hair twice, I feel like we have a good thing going. I imagine Diane, pining away from missing me. She knows I'm more than six months overdue for a trim and probably suspects I've moved on. Without telling her. Leaving her to wonder what went wrong. I feel just a little guilty when I drive past the Ritz salon, like I'm cheating on Diane. I may have slumped down just a teensy bit in the car while waiting at the light at 17th and 6th. Adjusted my sunglasses. Turned up my coat collar. But I love my hair for the first time since Kim retired from the hair biz. That is what I will plead in the court of bad hair days if they ever haul me up in front of Judge Clairol Sassoon. I've been through six years and eight stylists in search of hair happiness. No jury would convict me.

Mar-green-et Hamilton

She's green. She wants those ruby slippers. Her sister just died, so be nice to her. She'll get you, my pretty, and your little dog, too!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Green Eggs and Ham

My favorite Dr. Seuss story. Green Eggs and Ham. I am Sam. Sam I am. One of the aunties gave Michael the book for Christmas. Then on his birthday six months later, sent the tape that came with the book. Thinking is was funny to force us to read the book over and over ad nauseum before providing the audio tape. It turned out to be more annoying with the tape. Somewhere around the would you eat them in a tree line that immediately followed the in the car line, there was a screeching tires and crashing car sound effect. Which Michael's deft little fingers played over and over ad nauseum by dancing around between the rewind and play buttons on the tape player. Suddenly I'm hungry. Think it's time for fresh farm eggs rather than green, and sausage
instead of ham. Nothing annoying about that.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Viva le Brocoli!

Broccoli. It's green. It's healthy. And I love it. Lightly steamed with just a little butter. Broccoli, it's what's for dinner. Along with garlic lime chicken and basmati rice. And that concludes today's green post. Three down, twenty-eight to go.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Not Trash!

Recycling is very green. Sometimes it works along with growing green things. I reduced the clutter in my garden shed last spring by hauling all of this stuff back to my local Lowe's store. Much better than tossing it in the trash.

Just a fraction of the 450 pounds of electronic recyclables from the room at the end of the house. Our local landfill charges $20 per ton for dropping off this sort of thing. Which is a bargain, if you ask me. The plastics and metals reclaimed are highly marketable! If this type of recycling is available to you, support the businesses that keep electronic waste from ending up in the landfill. It's the green thing to do.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Going Green

In honor of spring and St. Patrick's Day and March rolling in, I shall endeavor to post something green every day this month. Today I feature Kermit, the only frog who is worth the effort. Just call moi Miss Piggy.