Monday, April 30, 2012


As today has been proclaimed the inaugural International Jazz Day, it seems not only fitting but downright appropriate that all of us should take in an evening of live jazz. Which is much more appealing than dead jazz. At least I would assume so. But I digress. How fortunate for anyone in the Brookings area that the Pheasant regularly offers jazz and blues on Monday nights. Can it get better than this. Yes, indeedy. Tonight the most excellent Dakota Jazz Collective is playing! Girls night out. Adult beverages. Jazz. Who could ask for anything more? Okay, dessert is available, too. I should know better than to attempt to close with a question.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Are You Curly Tonight?

My hair just doesn't curl the way it used to. The last time this happened was twenty years ago, when I was in the latter stages of pregnancy. After Reid was born, the first time I washed my hair, voila, the curl was back. My completely non-scientific explanation for this is the fact that Reid has curly hair. So clearly, he was sucking all of the curliness factor out of my body during the third trimester. Not sure what is going on now, but I'm almost entirely certain that I'm not pregnant. The loss of curl has been gradual over the last few months, the last time it cooperated and curled nicely was last November. Perhaps the Hair Fairy finally heard my pleas and granted my straight hair wish. Something like 25 years ago when I first discovered anti-frizz gel, I accepted and embraced my curly locks. Mostly because I prefer a low maintenance hairstyle that doesn't require a lot of time every day. I'm trying to do the same with this new hairy development.  It seems I'm not the only one who is baffled by abrupt changes in hair behavior, real scientists are studying this phenomenon. For now, I'm in a somewhat awkward transitional stage that requires a little more time and effort than I'm accustomed to. I'm using a super-moisturizing curl relaxing shampoo and conditioner, also a couple of leave-in products. Totally organic and formaldehyde free. I also flat iron, but only a couple of times a week. We'll see what happens when the inevitable heat and humidity shows up this summer.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Five Year Old Car Blues

Five years ago today I bought the very first, and likely only, brand new car I shall ever own. Still love the Outback in Newport Blue Pearl and hope to put a million miles on her. She needs new tires, or as my Mom used to say, baby needs new shoes. Four of them. I bought something blue today as well, a very pretty bracelet made by a very artsy chick. My friend Linda is creating some appealing bling and selling it here. I recommend checking out her Etsy offerings. Do it! It's much cheaper than a new car and just as joyful.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Cat Trap

Here we see Einstein demonstrating the effectiveness of using a shopping bag as a cat trap. Boxes work well, too. My cats tend to prefer this World Market bag compared to the others. I don't know why. Yes, the obvious thing to remark would be the cat is in the bag. And as much as I seem to be obvious, even when I'm not trying, let's just steer clear of that one. Please. No bovine jokes.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Bonnie & Clyde

My older brother's first girlfriend was named Bonnie. My first boyfriend's middle name was Clyde. Bonnie and Clyde. I don't think either of them has died in a slo-mo rain of bullets. Though I know for certain Clyde committed more than his share of misdemeanors. Despite the fact that he had worked in law enforcement. The primary thing I remember about Bonnie is answering the front door of the pink stucco house on third avenue east to find her standing there. She asked if Scott was home. I said no. She then rooted about in her jacket pocket, located a nondescript silver ring, and handed it to me. Tell him I don't want to be his girlfriend any more, she said, and left. Some time after breaking up with Clyde, I moved to the only apartment complex in town that had a pool. It seems he had a friend who lived there as well, since on a half dozen or so occasions I saw him walking across the parking lot, towel in hand. One time I observed this from behind the wheel of my car and didn't act on the opportunity to run him over. Fortunately I was never using the pool when Clyde was there. Clyde's father, the original Clyde, once observed from behind his newspaper that he had never taught his wife how to shoot a gun. Clyde never took me target shooting again. Perhaps he saw the future and knew he would piss me off. I expect I was his last girlfriend/shooting pupil. I expect I most definitely was not the last woman he pissed off.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Summer of '31

I spend too much time on Facebook. Occasionally, though, I run across something that is interesting. There is a page devoted to the history of the small town in North Dakota where my mother grew up. Alamo. So I've been digging through photos looking for any that might add to this page. So far there is just this one. This is my maternal grandfather, Knut Oleson Ruud. He was a blacksmith. In other words, the village smithy. I don't know if there was a spreading chestnut tree outside this building, but I do know that my mother was absolutely mortified when she had to recite Longfellow's poem devoted to her father's trade. This was snapped sometime during the summer of 1931. I can't get over how young he looks! 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Not Constant Gardener

South of the backyard fence there lies the remnants of a once fecund asparagus patch. It has been long neglected and become a derelict plot of noxious weeds and crabgrass. To the delight of my neighbors, I am in the process of cleaning up these areas of my yard. Asparagus is hardy even in the harshest of gardens, and miraculously, this one still bears fruit. Look upon my entire crop and tremble. I will steam this and enjoy it with butter and a squirt of lemon. I am, it seems, a true believer in moderation.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Erik and Me

In honor of my buddy Erik's birthday, which was two weeks ago, but, hey, it's still April, please adore this goofy photo of us. This hammock long ago bit the dust which means it has been just too damn long since we have seen each other. Erik and I have been the best of friends since we were teenagers. We're both weird, according to other people. We think we're just fine. And we're of Norwegian extraction, born of gloomy people from North Dakota. Here, I am telling Erik's fortune by feeling the bumps on his head. Maybe I'm just messing with his overly neat hair. I have a long history of hair-mussing. I generally just enjoy feeling the top of a guy's head. Even if I haven't been drinking Jagermeister. Which I no longer do. Don't ask.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Grass Returns

When a flower bed is mostly overgrown weeds and its primary activity is filtering trash out of the wind, something must be done. I wasn't sure and didn't want to do anything rash, so I thought about it for a couple of years. In honor of Earth Day, this afternoon I finished cleaning it up! Then prepped the soil and scattered grass seed. Then watered. I can't take credit for adding the necessary sunshine, that was already happening. If I tend the area properly that ratty corner of the back yard will soon be lawn once more. Reid is delighted. As far as he's concerned, the more lawn to mow, the better. I've just got to be the best Mom on the block.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Guy Walks Into a Bar

Night before last, which would have been Thursday, I headed downtown to Jim's Tap for Science at the Pub. Friends of mine organize this once monthly lecture evening for us quirky intellectual types. Who enjoy having an adult beverage with their science. My friend Colleen's husband, who is a chemistry professor at our local SDSU, was speaking on green chemistry. This relatively recent ideology is taking root in the industrial world. The whole focus being on manufacturing goods and providing services in the most environmentally friendly way possible. I had the good fortune (my tongue is currently planted firmly in my cheek) to sit at what came to be known as the obnoxious table. With me were Colleen, and a couple of chemistry colleagues of the speaker, one of their spouses and another department worker. Colleen and the other women were polite. The colleagues were unabashedly obnoxious, bordering on heckler behavior. I was, in my irrepressibly charming way, somewhere in between. It was a high attendance night, with over seventy people present to improve their minds while drinking. After the presentation and convivial chat the crowd thinned out to the regulars. Then this guy walked in. Not just any guy, mind you, but a guy named Guy. In addition to looking a little lonely on his stool up at the bar, he had twinkly eyes and a really great smile. So I just had to talk to him. About all the forbidden subjects. Well, okay, mostly politics. It was fun and reassuring to have a reasonable and thoughtful discussion about politics with another South Dakotan. Sometimes it feels like there isn't room for a rational discussion in any forum any more! So refreshing to talk to someone who understands the difference between fact and opinion, rhetoric and truth, and how the current policy of entrenchment serves no one. Hi, Guy! I'm writing about you! Hope we can have a beer again really soon, it was very enjoyable.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Today's Bike Ride Playlist

Uri Gellar's Spoons -- Toad The Wet Sprocket
Deacon Blues -- Steely Dan
Beyond the Blue -- Beth Neilsen Chapman
Cherry Blossom Road -- Heart
Early Morning Rain -- Gordon Lightfoot
I'm Wrong About Everything -- John Wesley Harding
Favorite Mistake -- Sheryl Crow
Beautiful Lie -- Red Willow Band
Why Walk When You Can Fly -- Mary Chapin Carpenter
Wake Me When The Sun Goes Down -- Red Willow Band
Sunny Came Home -- Shawn Colvin
Peaceful Easy Feeling -- Eagles
Up on a Watershed -- Indigo Girls

Thursday, April 19, 2012

I Love Hax & Savage

Washington Post advice columnist Carolyn Hax is one of the most intelligent and thoughtful people out there. Her counsel is smart, to the point and holds the advisee accountable for their actions. Imagine my dismay when her column disappeared from my newspaper! How convenient that I can follow her on Facebook. If I had her and Dan Savage on speed dial my life would be so much better! I could avert crises before they happen! I could invite them over for dinner! Definitely would be a prime situation for lively conversation! I'll add them to the guest list right now.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

From Sir Paul, With Love

Okay. Maybe just kisses. On the bottom. Which isn't an invite for us to well, do the obvious. It's a line from the first song on the cd. A song I remember from my childhood about writing ones' self a letter. Which I've done before. It's a useful tool for self discovery. Anyway, I love this crooner side of Sir Paul, my favorite Beatle.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Melancholy Movie

Melancholia is easily the best, most disturbing, most engaging, most visually beautiful film I have ever seen. Even though it is over two hours in length I went back and watched the slow motion opening montage just to let the images and their meaning sink in. The first half hour was more than a little aggravating as I waited for the story to make sense. When it finally clicked with me I was completely riveted and know I will watch it again soon. Wow. The highest praise I can ever have for a movie is when I find myself wishing I could watch it for the first time once more. And I do wish I could experience Melancholia again for the first time. Since I can't, you do it for me, okay?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Name Has It

Oddwaffle Blogfodder would be an excellent name for a character in a short story or novel. I'd need to tinker around with the spelling, add some umlauts or a hyphen somewhere to make it look/sound foreign and ambiguous as to gender. I'm thinking that Oddwaffle designs hats or writes really bad mooshy greeting card poems. Something creative yet obscure. This is just one example of the dangerous ideas that occur to me when I'm sleep deprived and overly caffeinated. I don't always write down these thoughts. They often get away too quickly. Which is probably a good thing.

Ten Things About Last Night

1. When you wear a cotton sweater out in the rain, it ends up feeling like you're wearing a very heavy, damp sponge.

2. It seems I was engaged for approximately 45 minutes but the bottle of congratulatory champagne did not appear so we called it off. Amicably, of course.

3. I love/hate it when a musician buddy says my name on mic for the entire bar to hear.

4. There was a Mr. BBN* sighting. It was his rear view, not his best side, which I am pretty certain he was deliberately presenting to me so as to avoid having to greet me while on his way past our table. I didn't realize it was him until he was out the door. Explaining me to the young woman he was holding hands with might have been awkward for him. Not for me, I was amused that he would go to such lengths to not speak to me. And even though he seems to be putting on a few extra pounds he is still insisting on tucking and belting. Sweetie, cut back on the onion rings or invest in some bigger pants. Pocket popping isn't a good look on anyone.

5. A very handsome man sat down next to me at The Paramount. Turns out we have the same birthday. I invited him to my as yet unplanned birthday party. Which would then become our birthday party. Or something.

6. The man mentioned in item #5 gave me just enough information. I have determined in pretty short order that despite the fact that he does not wear a ring that he is, indeed, married. Quite recently, too. Last August. I love the internet. In light of this discovery, I seriously doubt that he'll show up for the birthday celebration.

7. I'm making Karen a lemon tart for her birthday and she's bringing cupcakes for mine.

8. The first camping/biking trip has been planned for June!!

9. We all have handicaps. Some are just easier to hide than others.

10. The parking ramp began to feel like a Twilight Zone tilt-a-whirl while we were trying to get out of it. And why is it that I feel I must scrunch down while driving through one?

*Mr. Beautiful Beautiful Name

It's Too Early

...for such bitter disappointment.

son: oh, I ate those strawberries

me: (pre-coffee, putting waffles in toaster) damn. I was thinking they'd be really good on a waffle

son: they were

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Riding & Crawling

With a season opening ten mile bike ride under my belt, I'm heading for Sioux Falls for something called Jazz Crawl. I hope to get some food and drinks under my belt as well. Even though it is a metaphorical belt. I shall be, literally, sans belt. Okay, I wasn't wearing a belt on the bike ride either. Karen was with me for the inaugural bike ride and will be with me tonight, too. I do hope neither of us has to chaperone the other. It seems nasty weather may be rolling in but with any luck it will remain south of us. I'll batten down the hatches before I leave. Though I'm not entirely sure I have engaged in battening before. At any rate, all the doors and windows will be securely latched. All sorts of potential for a bad hair evening. A cute hat and a pony tail holder, don't leave home without them.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Middle School Mindset

I am absolutely horrified that this thought has just flown through my head.

If a guy likes my comment on a mutual friend's status update, does that mean he likes me? Should I send him a friend request? Or wait and see if he sends me one? I mean, I have actually met him in person several times...

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Ennui Embraced

It is chilly and damp outside today. Making outdoor activities chill, damp and miserable to participate in. Leaving me with indoor activities. Which I am less than enthusiastic about unless they involve chocolate. Tomorrow is the second of three Friday the thirteenths this year. While I am not afflicted with triskaidekaphobia, this also makes me feel inclined toward chocolate consumption. Which makes me feel inspired to declare Thursday the twelfth, particularly if the day is rainy and chilly, as a day devoted to chocolate. Still actively working on embracing the current limbo status of many aspects of my life. Though this process looks suspiciously similar to just sitting on my ass in a comfy chair. I may be going overboard with this frame of reference today as it appears I may possibly be using the weather in combination with chocolate obsession to actively avoid doing much of anything that could be construed as productive. Though I will probably finish loading and run the dishwasher. And I have bathed and dressed myself. And here I am blogging. This might just be one of those minimum requirement sort of days. I am showing up. And that, I have been told, is all you need to do most of the time.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Carpe Diem, 7-9-79

Who is this skinny girl with the very big hair? In the long ago ancient times before there was anti-frizz gel, every day was a bad hair day. And I believe she is sporting something similar to a sun tan, perhaps one of the last times she indulged in sun worship. If you haven't yet guessed, this is moi, on the occasion of my 22nd birthday. This I remember as being a rather carefree summer. Or maybe that's just in contrast with the fall of that year, plagued as it was with this very apartment flooding, me totalling my car, leaving my job for a better one only to get laid off from the newer, briefly better one, and getting involved with a disaster of a boyfriend. There I am, smiling and happy, with no clue that the next year or so would seriously suck. All the more reason to seize that moment or hour or day of happiness. You never know when it will show up again. Seize while the seizing is good!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Cake Ladies

Meet my grandma Esther's sisters, great aunties Hilda and Margaret. They are, respectively, the baby and the eldest of my grandmother's family of origin. In the above photo they are serving cake at grandma and grandpa's 25th wedding anniversary party. I am pretty sure, although I was not in attendance, that the festivities took place in the basement of the Lutheran church in Alamo, North Dakota. I love their hats. And their most stoic Norwegian facial expressions.

I expect that since they did such a fabulous job the first time around, here they are at it again twenty-five years later. The occasion being Grandma Esther and Grandpa Knut's 50th wedding anniversary party. Their positions are reversed and Hilda is wielding the cake cutting device this time around. I was at this celebration and can tell you with confidence and authority that it is November of 1979 and the location is the basement of the Sons of Norway lodge in Williston, North Dakota. I didn't know either of my great aunts very well but I do remember my mother telling me that Aunt Margaret did not leave her house when she was pregnant with either of her children. She hid out at home because she was, according to other family members, embarrassed to be seen in public because people would know what she and her husband had been up to. I do remember her sporting earrings in her recently pierced ears at this party! It seems that she had shed her sense of propriety where others' opinions were concerned by the time she was seventy-five. She had been along on a trip to the mall when her granddaughter was getting her ears pierced and said granddaughter had encouraged her to get hers pierced, too. Grandma Esther had called me a gypsy a few years earlier when I had pierced my ears. Aunt Margaret must have wanted to be a gypsy, too. Mom had told me that Aunt Hilda had been a closet smoker most of her adult life. Actually, she was a behind the barn smoker and snitched them from her husband. When the doctor told Uncle Oliver he had to quit, Hilda had to quit as well or be forced out from behind the barn to buy her own. From all accounts, Hilda took quitting harder than Oliver, and more personally. I thought she was cool because she had cowboy boots. I've always wondered if the aunties served cake at grandma and grandpa's wedding. I don't think there is anyone living who could verify one way or the other. I like to think that they did. And hope that someday I'll run across a photo of them doing just that.

Monday, April 9, 2012

A Preposterous Pile

Spring clean-up time is upon us. Also known as the annual curbside shopping opportunity. This is the crap that I have deposited on the boulevard in front of my house. One week from today the city-wide picking up shall commence. Until then, come and pick while the picking is good!

Less than two hours later, five of the broken chairs are gone!

Five hours later two bent tomato cages, the broken and leaky hose reel, one broken office chair that was added after the above photo was taken, three light fixtures (one doesn't work), and 2/3 of an artificial Christmas tree have vanished.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Bunnies, Bunnies Everywhere

Professional decorators warn that one should never, ever even consider the possibility of doing a theme room. What's the fun in that? I used a rabbit theme in my guest bedroom that started off with a few pillows and the plethora of plush bunnies drooled on and subsequently abandoned by my sons. This is a gardening bunny that hangs out on the table with rabbit themed books.

This appears to be a drunken bunny flopped into an egg-shaped candy dish under the bench in front of the window.

Bunny convention in the corner. Once people are aware you have a theme room, be prepared for theme related gifts from garage sales. I like to hit the afterafterafter Easter sales when bunnies can be had for as little as 90% off original price.

My favorites are the Beany Baby bunnies. With adorable names like Carrot and Nibbles and Hoppity, how can you resist?

Among the amenities are a genuine pair of bunny slippers. A brother-in-law once commented that we should rent the room out to couples trying to conceive. Interesting concept.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

I Loves Chocolate!

My favorite Easter bunny funny.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Saying Goodbye

First let's say hello. To Sara and her adorable daughter Maddie. They came to visit last week. Sara and I were catching up, you know, boring adult chit-chat. Maddie was doing her 10yo best to focus on her book, but she was growing just a little bored with it. So we went to look for Newton and Einstein. Who were hiding and not in a playful mood. Next stop was downstairs where art supplies and the dress-up closet were waiting. Who knew that on the way Maddie's eyes would light up when she spied my bubblegum pink Squier strat in the corner of the family room. Turns out she's had a couple of years of lessons and had outgrown the half-size kid guitar she had been playing. Sara said they were in the market for a full size instrument. As I watched Maddie bond with my long neglected pink guitar, I knew I had to let her take it home. Just in case she ever decides to play the blues, I threw in the hat and sunglasses. Saying goodbye is so much easier when it feels right.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Bags Have It

As far as derisive labels go, I've been thinking that enema bag has a much nastier tone and connotation than douche bag. And I like that it's unisex in nature. But it just doesn't roll off the tongue as nicely. That neat, crisp, percussive d at the beginning is so much stronger right out of the gate. Consonants are much more aggressive than vowels. As the Pythons would say, it's a good woody sounding word. And when you're putting someone down, I think we can all agree that woody is preferable to tinny.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

White Furry Feets

It's late. I'm pooped. Time for a cute kitty-cat photo! Look at Einstein, he's pretty. Don't think for a second he doesn't know it. Just between you and me, he does have kind of big feet. Or maybe they just look big because they're white. And since it's almost Easter, get your white shoes out of the closet and polish them up! Then wear them proudly. But only til Labor Day.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

April Third Movie Night

Allow me to apologize for the lame title. I am terribly sorry. But I wanted to keep with the trend of the last two post titles which were mildly clever. In my ongoing efforts to expose my son to iconic comedy films, tonight we viewed the 1984 classic Ghostbusters. I hadn't seen it for years and enjoyed it, also impressed with the special effects. Dana Barrett has more pink in her living room than I do. Reid now understands why I will often say, yes, have some, when offering him food or drink. Ectoplasmic residue. Zuul. The Staypuft marshmallow man. Your girlfriend lives in the corner penthouse of spook central. He's an ugly little spud. Dogs and cats living together. I could go on and on, but won't. You're welcome.

Monday, April 2, 2012

April Second Opinion

Thinking that my life and the safety of others might be in imminent danger, I stopped by my favorite tire shop this afternoon. The very nice young man said that I have a good 5000+ miles left on my tires. He showed me the wear bars still deep in the tread of the tires. He hated to send me away and did give me the bad news that each tire, when I needed them, were going to be around $159. EACH! I guess they're 17" sport alloy rims or something, and in the tire world, they are kinda fancy. As well as practical, I must add. I have driven through some of the worst winter weather I've ever experienced in my Subaru Outback, and that is, I expect the all wheel drive in combination with great handling and where those four tires connect with the road. He said to come back and see him in a couple months. Since the tires are original equipment, they are now five years old and even though I have lots of remaining tread the upcoming summer heat could expand now hidden surface cracks. And that could be a safety issue should the cracks enlarge and separate. The original impression of danger was planted in my head by the dealership where I purchased my car. The service manager is a nice guy, and I'm certain he has corporate factory issued guidelines to follow and he's just doing his job. On the other hand, I listen to Car Talk on NPR and I'm wary of procedures and premature part replacements that do little more than make the dealership owner's boat payment. To be fair, the dealership's tire estimate was pretty close to the one I got today. But I no longer feel like I'm riding on borrowed tread.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

April First Impressions

Long, long ago and actually in a house across the street from where I now live, though this side of the street had no houses yet, I attended a primitive cultural phenomenon known as a Home Interiors party. The lady of the house, I'm thinking her name was Julie, had invited a dozen or so of her very best friends, checkbooks in hand, over for an evening of munchies and beverages and feminine bonding over chotchkies. There was a perky and enthusiastic sales representative who demonstrated amazing ways to group things like framed prints and little shelves and various knickknacky items to place upon said shelves like fake plants and candles on the walls of your home to make it more, well, homey. One of the most important decorating tasks the Home Interiors lady challenged us with, was the festooning of what she called the impression wall. We oooohed. The impression wall, she continued, is that critical first wall that a visitor would see just as they step in your front door. It should represent you, the essence of you, what your family is all about. She further assured us that the very items to create said impression wall were available in the Home Interiors catalog. She then pointed at various women in the group and asked them what was currently on the impression wall in her own home. She made the mistake of asking me. At the time I was living with my boyfriend. He had fabulous taste in women, obviously, but was a little shaky on impression wall, um, impressions. His contribution to our living room decor was a black velvet nude painting of a very lovely woman with seriously asymmetrical boobs. Leaving whoever should cross our front door threshold with the impression that we like bad art as well as naked women. Dubious impression, at best. The perky HI rep was speechless. I have always possessed the ability to stop any sort of social gathering dead in its tracks by opening my mouth. Well, she did ask. At any rate, I didn't buy anything at the party. I just went with my friend Theresa because if Julie had a certain number of guests she got a better hostess gift. And because there would be wine. In the above photo, please enjoy the impression wall of my current home. The kitchen. Heart and soul of any house. I think it looks nice in the long view.

But something sinister emerges when you zoom in. Pots. Knives. A marble rolling pin. Domestic weapons of mass destruction. And, shockingly, they are all naked. The more things change, the more they stay the same.