Thursday, May 31, 2012

Going Camping!

1. Bikes are ready
2. Sleeping bag aired out
3. Almost packed
4. The black boots or the cognac?
5. Beer purchased
6. Minnesota parks sticker ready
7. Got sunscreen
8. Got bug spray
9. Pink camp chair ready
10. Cats are deeply suspicious

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Mom Stayed Home!

Reid had an appointment with his job counselor this morning. And he needed a haircut. So he drove himself! I was in my jammies when he left and just getting out of a bath when he returned. I am going to get used to this! Operation launch the younger son just got a little closer to t-minus zero. Oh, and his hair looks great. 

Homer Simpson Moment

Doh! I can't find my watering can! The small one I keep under the kitchen sink. You know, the little plastic one that I've had for years. It can usually be found in the cabinet, left hand door, like I said, under the sink, next to the recycling tub. Doh! And damn! I expect it fell into the recycling container and from there went to the larger recycling container in the garage and from there went to the curb last Friday. It probably wasn't recyclable. Oops. Once more. With feeling. Doh! 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Mission Accomplished

Now that the jigsaw puzzle has been assembled I expect I need to get on with the other stuff I ought to have been doing. While I was putting it together. Now that I don't have this puzzle distracting me. Anymore. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

A Very Long Day

Me pregnant, February 1992

Me even more pregnant, May 1992

Baby Reid, 12 hours old

Twenty years ago today I was blessed with my second child. After having birthed his older brother via C-Section, I was foolish enough to demand that my doctor hold my hand through a V-back. Which, for the uninitiated, is a vaginal birth after a caesarian birth. I figured these hips were capable. I come from a long line of women who experienced uncomplicated vaginal births! Why should I be any different? Turns out my uterus had other plans. It was something called irritable. Which may not be a true medical term, just how Ob's refer to a uterus that never gets into a rhythm of productive contractions. Maybe my uterus was created that way, maybe made irritable by scar tissue from the first C-section. At any rate, I went into surgery after 16 hours of water breaking, monitoring, and pitocin had not convinced my uterus to expel its occupant. Just a few minutes before midnight, Reid made his appearance. All 9 pounds 2 ounces of him. One entire pound of his weight was comprised of his quadruple chins. I was delighted.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

GAK & Ak

I have recently become friends on Facebook with an old college buddy. Gary, known as GAK, a nickname resulting from his pronounceable initials, and his commute pal Curt, known as Ak, the first two letters of his last name, my friend Val and I were a foursome. We had classes together, many interests in common  and all four of us were in the musical Brigadoon together freshman year. I remember Gary as being hysterically funny in a wickedly self deprecating way.  He also sang beautifully. We commiserated over the blessing/curse of our naturally curly hair. GAK and Ak were the best guy friends a girl could have. Who else would have drunkenly serenaded me by inserting my name into the Brigadoon main theme. Their voices resounded in the cinder block stairwell of my dormitory. Good times. Gary now does public relations work for a school district. Val he hasn't heard from since the late 80's. He and Ak fell out of touch soon after, but Gary learned via their high school reunion that Curt is now living in Amsterdam teaching people how to be butlers. Which never occurred to me as a career option. But it does make me wonder if he trained Pope Benedict's butler. Who seems to be in a bit of hot water. If he did, there are but two degrees of separation between moi and the Pope. I'm such a shameless name dropper.

Miss You, Mom

There was no love lost between my mother and my father-in-law. My theory is that they were kindred spirits of self loathing in search of any opportunity to dislodge each other's shoulder chips. Pretty much from the moment they laid eyes on each other. When family members gathered at my home it was wise to keep them at opposite ends of the room. Or dinner table. The less interaction between them, the better.  Sometimes they would manage to be civil to one another, but mostly, particularly if an alcoholic beverage or two were involved, a knock-down drag-out would ensue. Though there was never actually a punch thrown or received, the words would fly with vitriol and vehemence. It got to be one of those things that was amusing. I believe it was one of the brothers-in-law who dryly predicted that as my husband and I aged, I would eventually become just like my mother and he would evolve into his father. And we would kill each other. Ensuring our children more estate to inherit as well as relieving them of making any difficult end of life decisions on our behalf. I laughed along louder than anyone because deep down inside I could already feel a little of that nascent contempt. Maybe if I laughed gleefully enough I could make it go away. That feeling of my perfect from the outside marriage crumbling away within. Which brings us to today, the second anniversary of my mother's death. It still doesn't seem quite real. She was so much larger than life in so many ways I thought she would find a way to outrun death. But no. Tomorrow is Reid's twentieth birthday, a day of joy and celebration oddly sandwiched in between the day of his maternal grandmother's death two years ago and the death of his paternal grandfather fifteen years ago. Their respective last days on Earth like bookends around Reid's first. There is a symmetry to this that I can appreciate, that somehow even in death they need someone to keep them apart to avert disaster. And who better than a grandchild who is so unlike them in spirit. He is the joyful, goofy, bright bit of matter that separates his anti-matter grandparents. Proof that love diffuses any difficult situation, if only long enough to blow out the birthday candles.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Before Kodachrome

Considering today's developments, I find it oddly ironic that an email arrived in my inbox from the Washington Pavilion earlier this afternoon informing me that there is but one week remaining for me to enjoy the Ansel Adams exhibit that is currently on display in their Visual Arts Center. Whew. That was one long sentence. But well constructed, I think.

The Immortal HeLa

HeLa Cells Dividing

I'm in the middle of reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. It's enjoyable as well as horrifying on so many levels. Race, ethics, privacy, medical research, patients' rights. I have found myself forgetting that this is a true account of actual events because it is so compelling a story and so very well written. I realize that my life and health have been made better because Henrietta Lacks' cervical cancer cells proved able to not only grow, but thrive in a test tube. The very highly virulent cells that were the cause of death for Henrietta ironically have advanced the health of humanity as a whole. This is a great read, even if you're not a science geek.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


I found a dollar while cleaning out my car today. Also lodged between the driver's seat and the center console were a gum wrapper and a fuzzy almond. I should buy a lottery ticket with the buck. The gum wrapper and almond went in the trash. I was not the least bit tempted to eat the almond. Feeling pretty certain that winter is probably behind us, I removed the heavy duty floor mats. If it snows tomorrow I expect it's my fault. The jigsaw puzzle is progressing nicely, the laundry is caught up and Reid finally removed the empty soda boxes from nearby the fridge in the basement. Okay, two of them were beer boxes. The windows are open. Crickets are chirping. It's been a pretty good Wednesday.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Ring My Bell

Ever have one of those days when myriad tasks are shouting out your name? Projects inside and outside, laundry to do, weeds to pull, plants to water, errands to run. You can't seem to properly prioritize so you do the most reasonable thing that comes to mind. Get out a jigsaw puzzle! Then I had such a revelation! I must have a counter bell! Then, every time I correctly place a piece in the puzzle I ring the bell! How annoying would that be! Lacking a counter bell, I have now been saying ding! at the appropriate time of placement. I make sure and say ding! extra loud when Reid is within earshot. He groans. I cackle. This is much more fun than it ought to be. It's the little things. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Flying the Smug Flag

This is what I do. I make dirt. Bow down before me and tremble. No, no, I was kidding. No need to grovel. And to tell the truth, I don't actually do it. Nope. The right balance of bacteria and what they like to eat, say, kitchen scraps and yard waste, is what's doing the work. Proper mixing and moisture and aeration and time equals dirt. To amend my flower beds and fill holes in the yard. After a hiatus of three seasons while my compost bins were buried under a heap of tree branches, I got it cleared off this spring and going again. So I'm feeling just a bit smug over not sending my compostables to the landfill. Where these items do not, I repeat, do not decompose. Which I know flies in the face of popular belief, but there it is. I heard recently about a twenty year old avocado found in a landfill that, once the grayish outermost layer was scraped off, almost looked good enough for guacamole. Let's make dirt instead. Your veggie scraps, coffee grounds and egg shells want to be dirt. Let's make them happy.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Pity This Man

He's promiscuous in the numbers sense of the word, but without the lack-of-morals overtone. The thing is, he's so lousy in bed that he needs to find a new partner every time.  Maybe all he needs is that one special one that has really low expectations. Or someone with no experience. And a poor imagination. Let's face it, the best solution with the fewest number of people either victimized or disappointed would be outfitting him with a chastity belt. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Minimal to the Max

Whoever said size isn't important didn't know what they were talking about. And no, this isn't going where you might think it's going. My hair, for instance, gets big without encouragement. I do not require a voluminizing product. Though at least a half dozen beauticians have really wanted to sell me such a thing. I tell them, I don't need a voluminizer, I need a whip and a chair. They use one on me anyway and I can't see where it makes any difference, except to make my hair feel stiff and crunchy near the roots. Then there's the minimizer bra. Reduces your bust by one full cup size! Wouldn't that be a pint? A bra that makes your bust smaller is not something I require, either. I prefer a bra that imparts a certain uplift, one that puts the girls right back where they were when I was nineteen. I do realize that there women out there who are the diametric opposite of me in these two regards. And I feel their pain. Because size does matter. Especially when we are born with traits that we would prefer had manifested themselves a little more in the other direction. So I'll take the anti-frizz, curl relaxing hair products and the push-up bra, thank you. Which leaves more of the voluminizers and minimizers for the rest of you. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Born to Love Shoes


I was also born with funky feet. Flat as can be and bunions developed by the time I went to school. All that running barefoot probably didn't help things. Throw in narrow heels and I am what you would call a difficult fit as far as shoes are concerned. My feet might look a little odd, but they are highly functional and feel great, so I really can't complain. So when I find the perfect flat black sandal, already on sale, that I can apply a 20% off coupon toward the purchase of, I am downright ecstatic! I discovered a few years ago that Born footwear fits me as well as being sturdily constructed. Whenever I can find me some Borns at a reasonable price I snatch them up.


As for that rummage sale profit that was screaming boots at me, who can resist a gorgeous, sexy, comfy pair of Born boots at approximately 60% off! I can't. Of all places, I ran across these at our local fleet farm store. Love the color, they have named it Cognac. Which reminds me of drinking beer from a boot. But that is an entirely different story altogether.

Ya, Sure

It is Norwegian Independence Day today. As my mother used to say, the day we wear yellow. I'm still not sure what that meant. Being half Norwegian myself, I offer this supremely bad joke I heard as a child. Today is the day that Sven and Ole throw firecrackers across the border at the Swedes. Then the Swedes light them and throw them back. Please do not be offended. If you are offended, please attempt to locate your missing sense of humor. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

So Far This Week...

1. After the shot of Patron and an Irish car bomb Monday night, I had the good sense to leave my car in the parking lot and accept a ride home. 

2. Waking up and feeling wonderful at just past 6 am yesterday, I noted what a lovely day was taking shape outside. I pulled on sweats and tennis shoes and bumped into Reid in the kitchen. I asked him if he was up for a walk. We set out on the two mile trek to fetch my car.

3. Approximately halfway to the car, I thought it would be really funny if I hadn't remembered to grab my car key. That's just the sort of dopey thing I do. I had the key. Which was much funnier than not having it.

4. Amelia trimmed up my hair on Monday afternoon. She is magic. 

5. Plans are shaping up for the sister trip to Kansas City. We. Are. Excited!

6. Misplaced my camera for the second time this week. The first time I eventually located it in the pocket of my jean jacket. About an hour ago I remembered that I had left it outside on the table near the hammock. Fortunately it didn't rain. And I had put it in its case. I had to sponge off the pine sticky stuff that had dripped on the case from the tree overhead. Very happy that I put it in its case.

7. Totally negated any healthy effects from the 2 mile walk by going through the McDonald's drive-up for a breakfast sandwich.

8. Reid is now a licensed driver. He successfully accomplished taking the test this afternoon.

9. To celebrate item #8, brownies and ice cream seemed in order.

10. I don't know what the rest of you would do with rummage sale proceeds burning a hole in your pocket, but this girl bought boots. If I don't misplace my camera again, pics tomorrow of the new ultimate flat black sandals and new boots.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Girl Trip!

I misses my sisses! It's now just over a year since we were together and that's just too darn long. So when Pam called yesterday and said, let's do this Kansas City thing, I didn't hesitate one second to say YES! Then I emailed Martine and it seems she is quite excited as well. So. June. Kansas City. The three of us will take the town by storm. Don't say I didn't warn you!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Golden Boy

Cullen Carroll Broome
February 17, 1964 - May 14, 2009

It's still so hard to believe that Cully is no longer with us in the flesh. Three years ago today his life was cut short in a car accident. He lives on in so many hearts with so much love. I miss him every day. This photo was snapped when he was in college and worked at the city's wastewater treatment plant. He seems to be pointing out where the sludge gas is located. I always did enjoy calling him a turd herder.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Beamish Boys

Seriously silly

I have enjoyed a most wonderful Mother's Day. Cookies for breakfast followed by a bike ride. Then a quick trip to Sioux Falls to have dinner with Reid at Spezia. Then an hour long video chat with Michael. I do like being a mom. It's the best gig on Earth. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Booted Crow

In celebration of the fact that I am teetering on the brink of old crow-dom, I will soon be in possession of a print of this painting. Painted by the German artist Rudi Hurlzmeier, who is primarily known for his satirical cartoons, this rendering of a crow wearing boots is entitled Krahe. Which is German for, surprise, surprise, crow. When Krahe arrives, she shall hang in my bathroom. I can't wait.

Friday, May 11, 2012

It's Still Friday

This girl is pooped out from rummage sale preparations. Currently enjoying a glass of Ravenswood zin and listening to Radiohead. I am obsessed with Radiohead. Especially Creep and High and Dry. I found my camera in my purse but haven't the energy to contort into a pose featuring my new sandals. There is cajun pork loin and fresh asparagus for supper. I feel a long, hot bubble bath calling my name. The festering piles of dirty laundry are also calling out to me but I'm doing my best to ignore them. Enjoy this Friday evening with moderation.

Hello, Friday

I wasn't here yesterday. Shame on me! Did you miss me? I was busy going out for lunch, shoe shopping, and getting ready for tomorrow's rummage sale with Karen and Colleen. I have found, at long last, the ultimate flat black sandal. The shoe goddess has smiled upon me. As soon as I remember where I left my camera there will be pictures. Excuse me while I put out the recycling.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

How Time Does Fly

May 9, 2011

Happy first wedding anniversary to Michael and Liz! One year ago today we gathered at Falls Park in Sioux Falls for this most auspicious occasion. Congratulations to my Beamish Boy and Darling Dil!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Of Flower Pots and Kings

The top five things I did today were yard work, yard work, yard work, yard work, and watching the third Lord of the Rings movie, The Return of the King. So many valiant, gorgeous, long haired men. So little time. Wait a minute. This extended version clocks in at just under four hours. There was plenty of time. Seeing as I'm already in my jammies, I expect it's time to sleep. I wonder if the credits are still running...  

Monday, May 7, 2012

Another Frostbite Victim

Just look at those geraniums! So bright and pretty and ready to get potted. I am sorry to report that these are not the same geraniums that I successfully kept alive over the winter. They are freshly purchased. I brought last year's out to the south deck about a month ago. They were watered and trimmed back and enjoying the sunshine. Until that fateful night of 31 degrees when I neglected to move them into the garage. Well, it was an experiment. And I did enjoy their green hopefulness and fragrance while it snowed on the other side of the window. Like the lilacs, there is always next year.

Lilac No-Show

How disappointing is this? The unusual progression of spring with its up and down temps took its toll on the lilac blooms. There were maybe half the buds compared to other years, and very few opened at all. 

A slightly blurry closeup of the unopened buds taken while the wind blew.
Even more pitiful compared to last year's profuse showing! The lilac's bloom is so fleeting and the first real sign of spring in my yard so it was sorely missed. Sigh. Who knows what will transpire between now and when they next bloom. Other than winter.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Orcing in the Rain

I don't know what y'all do on full moon rainy Saturday nights, but in this house, we watch movies. And since this rain seems to be going on forever, we thought we'd start a trilogy. But not just any film trilogy. Lord of the Rings. The special extended dvd edition. Without the appendices. You can only park your butt in a chair so long, three hours for the first installment, The Fellowship of the Ring. I must say this movie is enhanced by the dark and stormy night outside. Now to lock the doors. If you ask me, orcs are way scarier than zombies.

Friday, May 4, 2012

In Today's Mail

My new bracelet arrived today! Wrapped up so pretty, too.
Here's one side....
And the other! I'm never taking this off. I know you want one, too!  It's so much fun to have talented friends and to have the opportunity to wear their art!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Paint Job

North Dakota was an exceedingly dull place to grow up. Not that there aren't goofy people living there. This story brought to mind a paint job of another sort on the western side of the state. For a little over a year we lived in a pink stucco house on Third Avenue East in Williston, ND. On the corner at the other end of this block was a very lovely Craftsman style home with a deep front porch that was painted with a lovely cream and gold color scheme. In front of this home there was a fire hydrant, located near the street. According to city statute it was normally painted red. But the lady of this house seemed to feel that the red color did not coordinate well with her home. So occasionally, she'd go out to the curb and paint the hydrant gold. It was a constant back and forth battle, and whoever got out there and painted before it froze in the fall won for the duration of the winter. I remember the grown-ups discussing the fire hydrant painting woman. Seems she was assessed a fine by the city every time she painted it, and was sent a bill for the paint and labor to turn it red again. Words like stubborn and crazy were tossed about. At the ripe old age of thirteen, I liked her style and knew this was the sort of crazy and stubborn old lady I wanted to be. I currently don't have a fire hydrant in front of my house. But if I ever do, I think I'll do it up right with a polka dot paint job. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Date Night

I consider myself fortunate among mothers in that my sons actually don't mind too much being seen in public with me. So tonight Reid and I went out for dinner. And what better way to instill some culture into a young man than to take him to a bar so he can hang out with some jazz musicians. Actually, it was much classier than that. The Pheasant Restaurant hosted the Jazz Diversity Project. So we had some great burgers, learned something about music history, and heard some absolutely outstanding jazz performed by five very fine musicians. I was happy to hear that Jeremy is working on the tuba section, maybe even considering throwing it out altogether. I always enjoy the left of left field conversations we engage in. The quiet of home is a blessing to return to after an evening out. It feels like a leave the windows open nearly summer night out there. Crickets and a light breeze. Hammock days will soon be upon us.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

I'm Me. I Think...

You know, I'm all for giving full cooperation in providing proper ID when I go in to renew my driver's license. With the 19yo in tow, we arrived at the DPS office with paperwork clutched in hand. Birth certificates, USPS letters addressed to us, SS cards, current license and permit. But it wasn't enough. I hadn't visited the DPS for nearly a year so I was blissfully unaware that in order to take the driving test, you must call or go online to make an appointment. Okay, we have to come back once an appointment has been scheduled. But because I had a name change when I got married, I have to bring in the marriage license and the divorce decree to show the chain of custody of my own name. This is preposterous bordering on ludicrous! For one thing, they probably have the information right there in their database that establishes that I am who I am. Including the change of custody in my own freaking name. It seems to me that the documents I had along were sufficient to back that up. But since we have to go back anyway, on Friday at 2pm, I have decided to not gripe about it. I don't mind a little inconvenience for the security of all US citizens, but having to establish my marital surname is indeed same person as my maiden surname seems just a little above and beyond. They already have all that in my file in the clouds anyway!