Friday, August 31, 2012

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

I just realized that the previous post contains an unintentional Cheers trivia, for lack of a better term, thingy. So, for those of you who feel game, find the mother and daughter!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Welcome to the Hotel SaraFina

This is the view from the dining room table. Sweet. Sitting out on the deck with your coffee is pretty all right as well. I have no clue what direction we are facing. All the views are great, so really, who cares?

Deer wander by down there. Really. By the big tree. I just didn't zoom and snap in time.

Seriously, I felt like I was on a retreat weekend at some fancy lodge out in the woods. I had three rooms all to myself! Three rooms! A room to sleep in, a dressing room, and a bathroom! The Guinea pigs occupied the room across the hall. Very good neighbors, very quiet. Four of them had to share a room. I felt special.

It may feel like out in the middle of nowhere but we're only fifteen minutes from downtown LaCrosse. Which has the Bodega Brew Pub. Lovely casual atmosphere, tasty drinks and fun and friendly fellows to flirt with. Except for the clueless guy who doesn't know the correct protocol for buying drinks for fabulous women. Oh, and food. The Bodega has food. The bruschetta  topped with blue cheese, bacon and carmelized onion was to die for.

And just because she's so adorable, I'm sneaking in another pic of Carla.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Resiliency of Balloons

While finding my way to Sara's on Saturday afternoon, I was driving south on 16. Four lanes, pretty busy traffic-wise. I was in the left lane, I knew I needed to turn left off of it eventually. The posted speed limit was 45 but I was sailing along at 50 to maintain my position. I heard a honk. And then a second honk. I realized the honks were directed at me when I glanced in the rear view mirror to see a quite angry appearing fellow behind the wheel of a red Nissan sedan. The back of his car was filled with colorful, swaying balloons. Not quite sure what he expected me to do, the traffic was pretty thick and I wasn't sure how far off my impending left turn was. I was already speeding and intent on staying put in the left lane. A couple of minutes later he had managed to move over into the right lane. He leaned on the horn as he passed, shaking his fist at me as he shouted epithets I couldn't hear through the closed windows. I flashed my standard, slightly exaggerated beauty-queen-on-a-float smile and blew him a kiss. He continued to weave through traffic, advancing away with all of those bright balloons bobbing and weaving in the back window. Balloons are such happy things. I marveled at how they stayed afloat with so much anger sealed up inside the small interior space of the car along with them. I wondered if he was late delivering them to some celebration and thus was vexed with the traffic in general, South Dakota license plated me in particular. How can anyone be so aggravated when accompanied by such happiness.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Welcoming Committee

At Sara's house, guests are welcomed by a very friendly and boisterous committee of four. Naturally, my namesake Carla is first! Isn't she a cutie. Don't think she doesn't know it.

Carla's bro Cliff is there, too. He has a remarkably long tail. They have three litter mates who were also named after characters in the sitcom Cheers. Sam and Diane, et al, should feel honored.

Look at that sweet face! This is Augie. Note that he is very happy, his wagging tail is blurry.

Last but not least we have Blue. He has a sort of regal look about him. Blue and Augie are turning me into a dog person. And I'm certain they didn't adore me just because I gave them treats. 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Road Trip

I haven't made the easterly trek across southern Minnesota in over eight years. When I was married it was a pretty regular thing, once if not twice a year. Four of my ex's five siblings and their families live in Wisconsin. I expect I90 looks pretty much the same. This time I'm just barely scuttering across the border, the mighty Mississippi, to spend some time with Sara in LaCrosse. I stopped at the tire establishment yesterday to get my lugnuts retorqued. Which sounds very, very naughty. Time to take these new basic blacks for a serious spin.

Friday, August 24, 2012


That's me. Number 155. I'm so tickled! Thanks, Maggie. Now, how much of my fifteen minutes of fame does this use up?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Is this a particularly nasty summer for seasonal allergies? Because after two weeks of thinking I was coming down with a cold but never quite getting there, I realized I was in the grippe of seasonal allergic rhinitis. I just didn't recognize it right away, it's been nearly twenty years since we regularly kept company. I didn't miss it. Not one little bit. The itchy, watery eyes, the tickle in my nose and throat, the sneezing fits that come out of nowhere and provide no relief, the general feel of yukkiness hanging about. Which leads me to think that the recent rains have caused all sorts of plants to grow and bloom and shed their pollens indiscriminately. I have not yet required medication. But on the day that I do, I shall selfishly wish for an early frost. Gesundheit, indeed.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Fraud, Schmaud

As far as all this brouhaha goes with the laws pending as well as already enacted, up for a vote or being challenged, that require a photo id in order to vote goes, my preference would be this. I would prefer that a dozen or even a hundred fraudulent votes were cast to even one, single solitary, properly registered American voter turned away for lack of a photo id. And to continue with this whole photo id logic, why isn't it proof enough that I am who I am when I turn in my expiring driver's license to get a new one?  I would be fine if the burden fell to the government rather than the individual to register to vote. In fact, when you register, part of the process ought to be to issue a photo id at no cost! Call me a bleeding heart liberal socialist tree-hugger if you must, but I don't find government backed health care or taxation with representation or caring for our elders the least bit fascist. I do have a problem with any system that smells the least bit like a poll tax.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Baby Gots New Shoes!

That's what my mom used to say when she bought new tires for her car. This afternoon I replaced the original tires on the Outback. I got five years and 52,200 miles out of them. Though I've never spent over $700 on a pair of shoes for a baby, or on shoes for me. When you think about it, it's actually two pairs of shoes. And I'm pretty sure I've never gotten over 50,000 miles out of any of my shoes. So. Baby gots new shoes! Basic black. It goes with everything.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Shame On You, Rep. Akin

In light of this, I have just a few things to say about rape and abortion. Let's start with abortion. I am not comfortable with abortion. Nobody should be. It's a serious matter that should be handled between a woman and her health care providers. With discretion, privacy and zero judgement. Every form of birth control has a failure rate and no woman should ever have to endure a pregnancy that is not of her own choosing. Regardless of the circumstances in which she conceived. Which brings us to rape. Several years ago I held a 19 year old girl's hands while she went through a rape examination to collect evidence. The rape kit contained over a dozen vials, swabs, and little envelopes for the preservation of hairs, semen, DNA and any other bits of information her violator may have left behind. While this exam was performed by specially trained medical personnel who were caring and professional, it was a nearly three hour ordeal for this girl. She was scraped and swabbed under her nails and in every bodily orifice. Her own hairs were pulled out by the root from her head as well as her pubic area. I had bruises on my wrists from how tightly she held on to my hands. If she wished to press charges against her assailant at any time in the future, she had to undergo this exam. In the terrified and vulnerable state of mind following the rape she submitted to this second round of violation. I admired her for her courage. She couldn't fight off this miserable guy who outweighed her by at least fifty pounds but she did convince him to put on a condom first. It's horrifying enough to be sexually assaulted. It was brutal but necessary to gather the evidence. At the very least she was free from worrying over the possibility that she may have been pregnant or had contracted an STD. If only we did have the power to do what Rep. Akin thinks we can do. If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. If only. It would be a very different world.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Still Too Much

I still have this extra couch lingering about in my garage. The fake ficus and the coffee table, however, have found new homes. The six boxes of goodies has been reduced to four, with the fourth overflowing. Okay, more like actually spewing its contents. Which consists of a queen size set of sheets, comforter, bed skirt, 2 pillow shams and three decorative pillows. In a lovely cream and gold color scheme. Any takers? If I truly am making plans to move in the next year or so, one thing is clear. This house has nooks and crannies of stuff that must be dealt with. I must sort the loved from the not so loved, the salable from the giveaway to the must be disposed of. One nook or cranny at a time. I wonder how long I can avoid this task. It sounds well suited for winter. Which isn't here quite yet. I'll think about it tomorrow.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Too Much Stuff

What in the wide, wide world of insanity made me think I could get ready to participate in a rummage sale with just 24 hours notice? Okay. To be fair, I've known about it for a couple of weeks but didn't get fully motivated until last evening. So in my spare time between inspecting Andrew Van de Kamp's tshirts on Desperate Housewives and napping with my cats and rereading The Mists of Avalon I have accomplished just your usual goddess miracle. I have a couch, coffee table, fake ficus plant and six boxes of goodies ready to go tomorrow morning. Let the shedding of excess possessions begin!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Season 1, Episode 11

Well, I must say that Andrew Van de Kamp was wearing a souvenir shirt sporting a slightly more exotic location tonight. Elkhorn Peak! Even more exotic, and I must admit more up my personal alley, this came up first in my Google search. Hiking and other outdoorsy activities certainly can be enjoyable. But there's no reason why you can't follow up with refreshing activities of Bacchanal renewal. I expect the Desperate Housewives would agree.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Season 1, Episode 9

I don't feel much of a kinship with any of the Desperate Housewives, who coincidentally are characters on the nighttime soap of the same name. But I am getting a kick out of watching it on Netflix. Tonight I noticed a detail that would have slipped right by most viewers. Unless you happen to have a connection with North Dakota. Which I do, having mostly grown up there. Bad boy Andrew Van de Kamp has just been busted by his mom, Bree, for smoking pot in his bedroom. He is wearing a dark green tshirt with a moose on it. And, wait! Pause. Next to the moose are the words, Cando, North Dakota. Did the well-to-do Van de Kamps vacation there? Do they have relatives there? One doesn't simply happen upon Cando. You pretty much need to be heading there intentionally. It's kind of in the middle of nowhere in the northeastern part of the state. I expect it's some sort of inside joke. I'm not privy to the joke but I thought it was funny anyway. I'm not certain they have moose there, but they are pretty close to Canada. They do, however, have a moose on their promotional tshirts.

Putting the Strange in Estrangement

Sometimes doing the math can be very revealing as to the validity and closeness of a relationship. Or just plain creepy. Or mildly weird. I realized that I haven't seen my father face to face in nineteen years. I haven't seen my father-in-law face to face for fifteen years. My FiL has a lock on a reason, he died fifteen years ago. My father? Just a no show. Ee-ess-tee, are-ay-en-gee, ee-emm-ee-enn-tee. Estrangement to the tune of the Mickey Mouse Club theme song. It's not a competition, I tell myself. But geez, dad, you're getting your butt kicked by a dead guy in the grandpa department.

Sunday, August 12, 2012


You know how it is, sometimes you have to hear a song a number of times before you truly hear it. This morning, as is my Sunday ritual, I made coffee, unearthed the crossword from the depths of the bulky Sunday paper, and put on some music. I chose Mary Chapin Carpenter's most recent cd, Ashes and Roses. And although I have listened to it multiple times as well as hearing her perform most of the songs from it live less than two weeks ago...this morning the third track, The Swords We Carried, it was like I was hearing it for the first time. And not just hearing it, physically feeling it like slamming into a brick wall. Tears. Finally, a sense of catharsis. At last, a musical epitaph befitting the end of my marriage. Sadly, I could not locate a video, so the lyrics will have to do. Thank you, MCC, for speaking the truth of my soul that I couldn't find my own words to express.

Back when I believed in luck and stones & crosses
I'd put a coin found on the street
towards cosmic losses
and passing graveyards in a car
tracing every falling star
luck was never very far from childhood causes

And pennies kissed with wishes arced into the fountains
And time was said to heal all pain
and hope move mountains
and all that could befall a heart
or break this perfect life apart
the swords we carried could not do a thing about them
Away I am going, away I am gone

Ghosts and angels are but memories and visions
and revenants are out there taking up positions
but back when I believed in you
You'd raise the sun and set the moon
how could I help but love you holy as religion
Away you are going, away you are gone

But back when I believed in luck and words as spoken
I found a lie could break and split the world clean open
and grief became my company
pain so deep I could not breathe
all betrayal is like dying in slow motion
Away we are going, away we are gone

Is it luck that makes us shout or makes us whisper
Is it luck that makes us wise or turns us bitter
with our maps that point true north
with our vows we sally forth
the swords we carried can't protect us from each other

Away we are going
Away we are gone
Away we are going
Away we are gone


My Kind of Princess

I want this costume! If it is not available in grown-up sizes, I shall create one! I like to think of her as Leia and Han's evil-spawn daughter. Cue scary quasi-asthmatic breathing sound clip...

Saturday, August 11, 2012


It's drizzly and totally overcast outside. So instead of viewing the Perseid meteor shower, I'm taking pictures of my cats. Here, Einstein seems to be trying to tell me something. Here? Is this where I grab and pull the sheet? Clearly, if this is what you imagine he might be thinking, that he might be interested in helping me make up the bed, you have no experience with cats. He is staking a claim on that corner of my bed for no other reason than to impede my bed making process. I have no idea what he is thinking, as I never intentionally cross over the catbrane.

Newton is lolling about on the floor. And how adorable is it that he has that paw tucked up under his chin? You don't have to cross the catbrane to know he wants his belly rubbed. Yes. I caved and did his bidding. I'm setting the alarm for 5am. Hoping for clear pre-dawn skies. 

Friday, August 10, 2012


Like the bartender told me last night, as I was ordering a Delirium Tremens golden ale, the signature snifter glass it is served in is the most stolen glass in America. They also produce a delicious nut brown ale to which I am partial. Liking this beer has pretty much nothing to do with the fact that it arrives across the bar in this cute as can be pink elephant decorated goblet. But it does enhance the drinking experience. I want a set to use at home! Shouted the girl who expects absolutely no compensation from the brewery for going on and on over how much she enjoys their triple fermented quaffable. Thanks, Andrea, for introducing me to this wonderful beer!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

KC, Day Four

 No, I have not forgotten that I've neglected to finish documenting the sisters trip to Kansas City. Thursday was devoted to keeping Pam informed as to what Martine and I were up to since she returned home on Wednesday. Which means phone camera pics. We awoke to rain and did the most logical thing we could think of. Put on our Austin, Texas tees that Pam gave us and go for a walk in the rain in search of coffee. When passing a c-store, a man gassing up his car gave me a thumbs-up for the message on my tie-dye shirt.

After the rain cleared, we ventured into Kansas to see what the Legends Outlet Mall was all about. Martine was drooling a bit over the nearby speedway. I was distracted by this sculpture depicting runners. Streakers? I like to call it Buns in the Sun. I'm sure it has an official title, but(t) I like mine better.

The highlight of the afternoon was lunch at Yard House Restaurant. They have an astonishing number of beers on tap. This is the cold room where they keep the kegs, there's an elaborate system of tubes leading over to the bar. John, our most entertaining server, talked us into dessert. He said it was just a spoonful. It was their Mini Trio Sampler. Three little custard dishes, one of each of their peach-apple cobbler, chocolate souffle, and lemon souffle with raspberries. All with real whipped cream. Yum. Though we wondered what size spoon John had in mind. 

Continuing with shopping, Martine demonstrates a common clothing malfunction. Most people remove the hanger first, but I like how this dress gracefully frames her sweet face.

All tarted up for our last evening out. We were too late for dinner at Brio but went upstairs to the lounge for a warm up drink. We wound up at Tomfooleries where we found food and wine and the most excellent live music provided by a band called Government Cheese. We danced til they closed. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

fast easy maybe not so fresh

I love books. I love food. So it seems natural that I ought to love books about food and its preparation. I also love a bargain, and when this particular gastronomic tome showed up priced at $5.99, I couldn't resist. See the special offer sticker? When I checked out the form on the back flap of the dust jacket, I was amused to see that the offer expired December 31, 2009. 

Of course, the challenge now is to make it fit on the cookbook shelf. Some shuffling will be in order. Also dusting, I expect. This may turn into an entire cleaning episode!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

This Just In...

I'm drinking coffee, Reid is crunching on Corn Chex. He asks: If you have an appointment and it's pointless, is it an appointlessment? Grinning, he doesn't really wait for an answer. He pours a second bowl of cereal. That's my boy. I do hope it isn't a prediction for my haircut this afternoon... 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Rainbow Rant

Soooooo, let me get this straight. Simply because I am a heterosexual woman, meaning that prior to birth my proclivity toward being attracted to men was instilled in my brain, I have the privilege of stomping all over the sanctity of marriage? And my LGBT compatriots do not have this right? My point is not to make a mockery of anything. Except the notion that the ability to love a life partner, form a family, commit to staying together through good times as well as difficult, and have all the rights and privileges that a legal marriage provides should be restricted to the union of one man and one woman. When considering the divorce rate, clearly the ability to establish a successful marriage has little or nothing to do with your sexual orientation. It has everything to do with the human desire to pair-bond with someone you love. Let's move beyond this preoccupation with parts and plumbing and use that energy to right some of the real wrongs in this world.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sisters & Suds

Today is International Sister's Day. It is also International Beer Day. The beer day always falls on August fifth, the sister thang is the first Sunday in August. So they usually don't harmonically converge on the same day. But today, two things I love, my sisses and beer, shall be celebrated. August 2012 is turning out to be special! A blue moon month as well, we started off with the moon full and will wind up on the thirty-first with another. And the Perseid meteor shower will peak during the dark of the moon on the eleventh. What more could a girl ask for.

Wouldn't You Like to be a Troper, Too?

As if I need to spend more time on the internet. Reid has introduced me to something called TvTropes. Don't go there. Really. You have been warned! I am not responsible if you end up with a dedicated tab open for this website. It all pretty much started with the seemingly innocent but in reality addictive activity of applying Five Man Band to any group of people you can imagine...

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Arc With Sparks

Last evening a genuine prairie thunderstorm blew through here. The temperature dropped fifteen degrees in just a few minutes and the rain was most welcome. I captured the rainbow and some scraps of lightening afterward.

Hotel Observations

1. King size beds are silly. Particularly if you're all by your lonesome. Finding the edge so you can get out of bed feels like immigrating to another country. Especially if it's dark. A king size bed is even more silly if you need a little step-stool to climb into it. Making a ceiling fan just a little too close for comfort.

2. Not having cable tv at home, I can't resist tuning in and flipping channels. And amongst the myriad of programs, two are always on. Some flavor of Star Trek and SpongeBob Squarepants. How is it possible for SpongeBob to have dry lips?

3. My favorite indulgence at the breakfast room is a bowl of Froot Loops. If they are not available, Frosted Flakes will do.

4. Elevator conversation with a man who has black luggage: That sure is some pink luggage! Really? I'm on to you! Makes it easier to find at the airport! Don't you dare run out and buy a pink suitcase and spoil my fiendish plan!

5. I feel so regretful when the room is equipped with a mini fridge and microwave oven and I don't have the opportunity to use them. In an ironically karmic way, just as often I would appreciate and even need these appliances and do not have them available.

Friday, August 3, 2012

My Fargo Adventure

*I sat next to a cool couple from Winnipeg who planned their vacation so they could catch MCC on their way home. Found out that the neighborhood where Colleen and I were hanging out two years ago is known as the murder capital of Manitoba. Oh, my.

*Often MCC participates in a meet and greet session following the show. Rub elbows with her fans, sign autographs. An opportunity to collect new and interesting remarks and questions, fodder for her onstage quips. Like, you sure switch guitars a lot, do you know how to play it? Imagine my disappointment when I was informed by security that she was already on the bus. 

*I did have a pleasant chat with the security fellow who bore the bad news, and he volunteered to take a note to MCC from me. How could I resist? I wrote a note on the back of my card telling her how much I enjoyed the show. I don't know if it got to her, the only way I'll know for sure is if she leaves a comment here...

*Not ready to head back to my hotel for the night, I asked Mr. Security Guy to suggest a bar downtown where a nice girl would feel comfortable alone. He recommended HoDo, just down the street. They had food, too. I enjoyed the hummus plate, the marble rye and tapenade were lovely. I also enjoy it when they serve craft beers in a goblet. It makes me feel all fancy and ladylike when swilling suds.

*There was no shortage of interesting men out and about. I drank tequila with Phil(l)ip, who was wrangling some sort of business deal with people in London on his smartphone. And what is this thing with chilling the tequila shots? You can't taste its deliciousness and the cold temperature nearly induces brain freeze. I must remember to request room temperature next time. For a while there was the new guy in town sitting on my left who was drinking something that had cucumber slices in it. He had to show his ID. Ironically, he is a bartender. Later, seated to my right, were a pair of fellows who work in the energy industry. I told them I'm an oil heiress, which is technically correct. Brandon found my tattoos interesting. He lives in Oklahoma, which was disappointing, as he was great fun to chat with. He chivalrously walked me to my car due to the lateness of the hour when they closed the bar and unceremoniously tossed us out.

*Having been off line internet-wise for 24 hours, I discovered once I got home that a friend had been at the concert, too, their seats were in the balcony. I met Nancy, her sister Irene (a blog follower!) and their brother Robert a year ago at the Red Willow reunion concert. Made me a little sad, it would have been fun to see her again. Next time I head up to Fargo I must let her know, she lives in the area. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

From Fargo, With Love

So, this photo is pretty darn good. The relatively lousy camera in my phone did not completely fail me. It's obvious what it is, I won't try your patience with a long-winded explanation. I don't mind being obvious, it saves time and effort. 

Pretty lights! Phone camera not entirely failing me on this one. But the exit sign isn't very clear. Good thing no one hollered fire, because this certainly was a crowded theater.

This one, admittedly, is not so good. I do apologize. That's Mary Chapin, center stage. With the guitar and blond hair. The music put me in such a state of bliss, I didn't mind all that much about not being able to photograph it properly. Sometimes, being there and enjoying every minute is much more important than recording the experience. And I did. Enjoy every minute.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Four Hundred Miles Later...

The concert was nothing short of amazing. Mary Chapin Carpenter is a soulful and engaging performer. The experience was greatly enhanced by the venue, the 870 seat restored Fargo Theater, an art deco beauty built in 1926. Like an idiot, I forgot my camera in the hotel room! So I was stuck with snapping pics with my cell phone. Which means they are probably tiny, blurry photos. But at the moment, moi is absolutely pooped and must sleep.