Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Mostly Black Cat

Einstein. From two years ago. In a rare cooperative photo-op mood. This concludes the random black cat photo display for Halloween 2012. And for all us pagan devotees, today is Samhain. Symbolizing the end of summer and harvest and the cycle of life to death to life once more. Have some sugar. Remember that life can be sweet. 

Which Tee, Witch Tea, Witch Tee

Michael brought me this tshirt a few years ago. It's my favorite Halloween tee. Today I shall wear it proudly. Later Reid and I will don our various Viking warrior costumes to go out for dinner. Until then, it's tea time with the witches. Which brings to mind witches playing golf. Their brooms are multi purpose as they swat the balls with them as well as travel from tee to tee on them. Fun with homophones! Safe to engage in at home. Without supervision.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Kiss Me!

While we're on the subject of minty delights, these ought to appear in the candy aisle hot on the tails of the fifty percent off Halloween treats. I'd guess somewhere around Thursday afternoon. Friday at the very latest.

They're Back!

My fave holiday sweet is now available once more. And moi has possession of two bags! I wandered in JCP for over half an hour in a desperate attempt to spend the $10 coupon in my hot little hand. That would expire by week's end. May I state here and now that I am not fond of the new approach to retailing that JCP has embraced, starting with their new logo that seems to have been inspired by primary colored Lego bricks. I could not find one single item that I wanted, even with ten bucks off. Then I stumbled into the Christmas decoration area. Where there was a sizable display of Ghirardelli delectables. I very nearly swooned. Then grabbed two bags of Peppermint Bark and proceeded to the check-out. They presently sit on the kitchen counter within easy reach. Neither of them is open as yet. The question is, how long can I delay gratification?

Saturday, October 27, 2012

I Try To Be Amused

Truth be told, I don't have to try. I genuinely am. Totally, flat out amused. And wonder if this crap works on some women. I have discovered that unbridled laughter is more effective than the kind attempt to let them down easy. When you laugh, they leave. I also enjoy admonishing them to go home and work on a better line that might actually work. As in, hun, do yourself a favor and beef up your pick-up skill set. Maybe I should carry a stash of report card forms, then I could just fill in the blanks and grade them on the spot. That would be fun. Last night I would have given the man in question an F for his attempt at having his way with me. It was around midnight and I was preparing to depart. Putting my coat on must have triggered his sense of desperation that I might be about to slip away. He assured me that his day was pretty full tomorrow but that he really didn't have much going on until eight or so in the morning, and he was willing to devote the ensuing hours entirely to moi! Oh, and he also had a room at the Super 8! Tantalizing as this offer was, I laughed just a little, assured him I hadn't had such a clever proposition in nearly a week, walked to my car and drove home. And it was true. The part about it being less than a week since I'd been so unimaginatively solicited. Last Saturday night Andrea and I were enjoying a girls night out after taking in the play, The Nerd, presented by State University Theatre. Drinking wine and flirting shamelessly is so much fun. I do admit that we stayed out until closing time. Which I normally try to avoid, as the action of turning on the lights in the previously mostly darkened bar completely destroys any vestiges of mystery or romance that might have been lingering about. Just as the lights came up, we were approached by a very drunk and very friendly young man who expressed an interest in taking both of us home. And seemed to actually think we would say yes. Andrea and I turned to each other, then looked directly at him and said no thanks. But he persisted. Really, he was capable of satisfying both of us, he has experience with two women at a time. We laughed and sent him on his way, advising him to come back in ten years and try again when he knew something. I would have given him a D for the actual come-on, but an A for the sheer audacity of thinking he could please two women when he was barely capable of walking. Maybe ten years isn't long enough. I was amused.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Healing What's Broken

Krista Tippett is my hero. She helms the American Public Media radio program, On Being (formerly Speaking of Faith) that airs on NPR. In this current political atmosphere of demonizing and fear-mongering, she has brought together people who represent the opposite sides of four polarizing issues in something she calls the Civil Conversations Project. Tackling the touchy subjects of abortion, marriage, Christians and social good, and building political bridges, Krista brings about a dialog that is meaningful, hopeful, and transformative. Listen to it! Learn from it. Then do what you can in your own life, among your friends and families, to bring about the real change that our country so desperately needs. Reach across the metaphorical aisle. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Visiting Grandad

I've been back from my trip to LaCrosse for two months! Which means I'm overdue in sharing my adventure with Sara on my second day there. We hit the high point in the area, Grandad Bluff. Offering vistas of the Mississippi flatlands only dreamed of at sea level.

Sara drove us up in the Land Rover. Do not be fooled by her sweet smile and gentle demeanor. She turns into a macho she-beast behind the wheel of this sporty, rugged vehicle.

I was there, too. We bumped into one of her co-workers who graciously took a few pics of us together. How traditionally touristy we look!

Genuine Wisconsin deer near the parking lot. We finished up the evening with dinner at the Pettibone Boat Club. We sat out on the patio with the Blue Bridge in view. I enjoyed the most delectable fried cheese in the entire state! And Spotted Cow beer, brewed and served only in Wisconsin. We moved indoors to finish our drinks as the sun was setting to escape the chill as well as overly friendly mosquitoes. Only to find an overly friendly geezer inside. Since Sara was driving, I downed the second half of my Spotted Cow expeditiously so that we could escape him. After a driving tour of downtown we headed back to Sara's. For more beer. And internet perusal. You haven't seen LaCrosse properly unless you're riding shotgun in a Land Rover. That's what I always say. Unless you see it from a boat on the Mississippi. Which is on the agenda for next time!

There's No Place Like Home

I'm not Chinese. This should come as no surprise to anyone. Then again, I'm not certain I have any Welsh blood coursing through my veins either. But it does seem more likely as I can verify that I'm approximately 25% Scottish. In the neighborhood, so to speak. Which is why I have decided to abandon feng shui as a method to achieve ch'i in my home and embrace cynefin. I consulted my favorite Welshman, Chris, for the meaning, which has no single counterpart word in English. Chris says that cynefin is a Welsh word that roughly translates to home. Habitat. Environment. Not the house itself, but the space that you personalize. How you use color and objects that truly make it yours. Which makes it feel portable. So I can take my cynefin with me wherever I go. Home. It's where the cynefin is.

    Tuesday, October 23, 2012


    Chicken pot, chicken pot, chicken pot pie! Sorry about the lack of art direction. And for not capturing it before Reid dug into it. Such is life with a hungry 20yo.

    Monday, October 22, 2012

    Home With Mr. Bones

    The teensy Halloween homestead on the dining room table. I may be a lousy housekeeper, but Mr. Bones here is lucky all those cobwebs in the windows fit in with the spooky theme.

    The New Bathroom Look!

    I so adore my bathroom's new color that I want to make love to it. Maybe just have a very serious platonic adoration. Maybe just take a bath with it. That's better.

    Same tile, same shelf, new towels. Basic black. Can you tell I did a serious dusting job? 

    The base coat of paint is the same color as the ceiling, which is also the same color as my adjoining bedroom. Plus a lighter, then darker layer sponged on. I am ever so pleased with the results!

    For a brief moment I considered velvet roping it off and not using it. Just admiring it from the other side. Fortunately I came to my senses. What's the point in admiring something from afar when total immersion is possible? You're right. I have no self control. Pass the chocolate.

    Saturday, October 20, 2012

    Morning After Regrets

    Okay. It would appear that getting a second wind after dinner, two glasses of wine, and an episode of Glee, then deciding to power through the second coat of paint in the bathroom while listening to Radiohead was not the best of ideas. It required half an hour of touching up and cleaning up in the light of this morning. Although it is done. Which is good. Now the fun part! Mixing colors to sponge on over the base color. To achieve some sort of artsy flair. I must say I've woken up to worse.

    Wednesday, October 17, 2012

    Goodbye Feng Shui, Hello Cynefin!

    Wallpaper stripping complete. Often when I'm in that zone of satisfying task accomplishment, my brain drifts to other things. Sometimes I compose lists in my head for other things that need doing. Sometimes I belt along with the music. Sometimes the music is playing for any and all to hear, sometimes it's merely in my head. Either way, the cats are frightened. Sometimes I drift off to the land of memory. So yesterday I was remembering that when I installed this wallpaper that I was bellering along with Sarah McLachlan. Building a Mystery, Angel, Adia, Sweet Surrender, I Will Remember You. While I carefully wet down each section of wallpaper and smoothed it into place. A project such as this was helping me maintain some level of sanity as I worked through the current state of my life. In that zone where familiar work frees your mind. We were in counseling but I was painfully aware that my marriage was over. The relationship that I risked my marriage for had ended abruptly. I was outcast from from my life as I knew it. But my bathroom was going to be lovely. Yesterday as I stripped down each section of paper that had been so lovingly and hopefully installed, I felt like I was physically stripping away the pain and isolation I had been trapped inside seven and a half years ago. Today I'm on to phase two, washing down the walls to remove any last vestiges of adhesive and then repairing a few nail holes in preparation for painting. I'm in a Bonnie Raitt kind of mood so I'll need to grab a cd or two. Seven years ago my hands were strong and capable, up to any task. But my heart and mind were weary and sad. My hands, now weary and sad, work in concert with a heart and mind that are happier by far. Resolute. Resilient. Rejuvenated. If you'll ignore a tired and obvious metaphor about stripping away the layers of an onion to find what lies beneath I would truly appreciate it. Because I'm pretty sure that's what you're thinking about now. All I know is, in a week or so I'll have a lovely bathroom that suits the now of me.

    Tuesday, October 16, 2012

    I'll Love it When It's Done. Really.

    1. Taking the top off the tank in order to flush the toilet gets old pretty darn quickly.

    2. Once you begin stripping the wallpaper, there really is no other acceptable choice than finishing the job.

    3. I seems there ought to be a couple of bald people around the house when you consider how much hair I just vacuumed up.

    4. It is fortunate that latex paint does not adhere well to glass and ceramic tile. The less masking necessary, the better.

    5. Whose idiot idea was it to do this redecorating thing in the first place? Oh, yeah. Mine.

    Monday, October 15, 2012

    Annoying Songs I Feel Fortunate to Never Have Heard in Their Entirety

    * Call Me Maybe

    * Achy Breaky Heart

    * Who Let the Dogs Out

    * Barbie Girl

    Sunday, October 14, 2012

    Per-Pet-ual Motion

    This particular subject has been discussed around our dinner table for years. I'd say it's at least as likely a proposition as the monkeys and typewriters postulation. While the monkeys don't produce energy, there is something about them that reeks of perpetual motion. I do think that there might be something to the cats producing energy as static electricity generators. 

    Open Question for Extremist Religious Leaders

    What's so effing scary about a girl with a book?

    Lend Me Your Ears

    No doubt this post shall out me as being musically challenged. That perhaps a more refined ear could find something to appreciate in all types of music. On the other hand, I might simply be pointing out that the Emperor is naked. In any case, this blog is my personal forum where I get to flaunt my opinions about anything and everything. So depending on whether you agree with me or not, you are just as free to think me an idiot or genius. I've been pondering on the many genres of music that exist and have made a discovery as to why I don't enjoy some of them. It seems that after listening to one or two songs, all subsequent songs sound the same to me. Eventually morphing into a barrage of unpleasant noise that I would prefer to turn down if not off entirely. Feel free to mock me or add to this list!

    1. rap/hip-hop

    2. Dixieland jazz

    3. Any of the various pop divas in the last 20 or so years.

    4. Any of the various boy bands in the last 20 or so years.

    5. Whatever it is that country music has devolved into, otherwise known as top 40 country radio play. 

    6. Zydeco  

    7. surf music

    Saturday, October 13, 2012

    My Friend Glady

    It's still hard to wrap my brain around the fact that she died over twelve years ago. She still makes me laugh. I still feel a compulsion to pick up the phone and tell her about part of my day or to ask her what she'd do in a given situation. She wasn't enough older than me to be my mother, but she mothered me when I was in need of one. The last time I saw her she was in remission from the leukemia she had battled for over a year. We ate Peanut Butter Fudge Passion ice cream together and looked at the photo proofs of my family that would be tucked into that year's Christmas cards. She looked so well  and happy no one could have predicted she would live only another six months. One thing I remember so clearly about Glady is that she was a Republican. A conservative small business owner who was a regular church-goer who believed that social programs were for the lazy and shifty among us. We engaged in many lively discussions over a beer or two after volleyball. We were friends despite our deep differences of opinion in politics and the role of government. One night after volleyball she announced that she would soon be a grandmother. Her son's girlfriend was pregnant. They were both college students with multiple loans and meager incomes. And no health insurance. Her eventual daughter-in-law had applied for every government funded program available to her to ensure the health and well being of her child. This would amount to thousands of taxpayer dollars going toward medical care and food and daycare for her grandchild over the next couple of years. When her granddaughter was born, Glady stood up and drank a toast to all of us there for providing that safety net. She was still a Republican. But she was much less apt to judge anyone who was temporarily in need of a helping hand. The point is, she understood that from a personal experience. Because of that helping hand, her son had been able to complete his education and join the work force in a high-paying job. Eventually he would more than pay back the system that he had been a beneficiary of. If that's socialism, Glady heartily approved. All politics may be local, but I believe they are also personal. When you see the evidence of a program that works, statistics and graphs become people and stories. And at less than a month away from a national election, my hope is that everyone could make an effort to see what we all have in common rather than what separates us. Vote your conscience instead of the party line. Vote on the side of generosity rather than greed. People instead of corporations.

    Thursday, October 11, 2012


    We're going to pretend that it's a most auspicious day, even if the date is simply a numerical oddity brought about by how we define and divide up and more or less attempt to exert some puny control over time. That said, a doctor holds my future in his hands with a decision he will render today. What will you be doing at the 13th hour, 14th minute, 15th second this afternoon?  

    Tuesday, October 9, 2012

    A Losing Proposition

    I am not a cynical person, I am not a cynical person, I am not a cynical person...

    Monday, October 8, 2012

    Bud Light, With Lime

    Up here in the near north country, there are tasks that must be accomplished before winter sets in. One of them is to decommission the beer fridge in the garage. Nobody likes a beer slushy. If anyone insists that it's fine, okay, they'll drink it anyway, they are likely of Norwegian descent and don't want the host to feel bad. This person would also feel guilty about wasting a beer. Don't put this kind of pressure on your drinking buddies. Do this now. Go out to the garage, remove all contents from the beer fridge and bring them to the refrigerator inside the house. Turn the garage fridge to its lowest setting. Don't unplug it! You will not, I repeat, will not remember to go out and plug it in again when those first few warm days show up next spring. When you do go out and open it, you will be confronted by a scummy mildew monster of epic proportions. Turning it down to a very low setting and leaving it plugged in will ensure that this does not happen. Trust me, you will spend more on disinfectant and a gas mask for cleaning it up than you will spend on the teensy amount of electricity used. My dilemma at this moment is what to do with this can of Bud Light with Lime. It has sentimental value, sort of a souvenir from the sisters trip to KC. When Pam went back down to the pool to retrieve her sunglasses, the fellows we had been chatting with earlier handed her this beer. Being a well-bred Southern gal, she accepted it graciously. But none of us had the slightest desire to drink it. So I brought it home and deposited it in the garage fridge. Where it has resided for the last three months. If Bud Light with Lime is your favorite brewski, drop on by. I just happen to have one.

    Sunday, October 7, 2012

    The Comfort of Laughter

    Laughter is healing. I am relieved as well as grateful to have arrived at this point. When I think of my brother Cullen it trends toward being a happy thing rather than a sad thing. At nearly three and a half years since his death I know that I'll likely still experience some anger and angst over his much too early demise. But mostly of late I remember how much we laughed together, how goofy he could be, and how many standing jokes we had. Like the classic Kliban comic above, if one of us said aardvark, or heard the word on tv or in a nearby conversation, we would feel compelled to finish out the comic by reciting the rest of the lines. Then laugh hysterically. Especially if there were others around who weren't in on the joke. Little brothers can surely be a pain in the ass, but just as easily they can grow into the very best kind of friend. Everybody now....aardvark! 

    Tis the Season...

    ...for comfort food. Classic tuna casserole. No to the peas. Yes to the toasted bread crumbs and cheddar cheese on the top. Yes to leftovers for lunch all week. Yes to amused by Newton and Einstein as they rush crazily to the kitchen when they hear the electric can opener. 

    Saturday, October 6, 2012

    Brown: The New Black

    At least as far as Kohl's is concerned. Behold the rugs meant for my bathroom. The website said they were black. The picture on the website showed them in black. The label on the rug says that this rug is black! But clearly it is brown! I find it ironic that kohl means black in Arabic. 

    Friday, October 5, 2012

    Dynamic Stability

    Welcome to my oxymoronic world. Where boxes are labeled as small tall. And I just bought a lovely sweater sized petite large. We ought to be eating jumbo shrimp for dinner. While we sip our beverages from plastic glasses. Act naturally while you ponder the same difference between accepting rejection and a perfect mismatch. Brought to us by the ancient Greeks. Who gave us the word oxymoron, meaning sharp dull. Which could also describe a headache.

    Thursday, October 4, 2012


    The thoughts running through my head while I was washing the dinner dishes were lighthearted and irreverent. So I was surprised to see those ideas morph into something much more serious than I intended when I sat down to do the actual writing of it. But that's how it goes. Writing is a fluid task as well as a solitary one and where it begins isn't always where it ends up. So I offer up a list that is more inventory than confessional in nature. And if it isn't lighthearted, I am left with a lighter feeling heart for having written it down. It feels like the final step toward resetting my moral compass. What follows are the lessons I learned from engaging in an extra-marital affair.

    *South Dakota isn't big enough.

    *To my own horror, I became frighteningly good at telling lies.

    *The lies I told took an enormous emotional and spiritual toll on me as well as others.

    *I'm not good at sharing a man with another woman. It seems I am hard-wired for mutual monogamy.

    *It still surprises me that I engaged in this completely self-centered behavior. 

    *I know in my heart that my affair didn't end my marriage, but it certainly accelerated the process toward dissolution. What ended my marriage were the unaddressed problems that led me to stray. To think that seeking comfort from another man was a reasonable thing to do.

    *The downside will likely be much more devastating and painful than any worst case scenario you can imagine.

    *I have apologized and done my level best to make amends to those I hurt. As for the rest of you who have passed judgement and perpetuated lies and gossip and misinformation, this is all I have to say. You never had any business taking my marital problems more personally than I did. If my ex and I can treat each other with civility and courtesy then it's about time the rest of you got over it, too.

    Wednesday, October 3, 2012

    Modern Life

    I just spent more time cleverly fitting three glasses, a mug, two plates and a bowl into the dishwasher than it would have taken to wash them by hand. Which means I should have loaded and run the dishwasher last night. Sooooo not efficient. Yet I have this smug feeling of accomplishment! Like when I think I've outsmarted one of the cats. More like smug with an aura of impending doom.

    Tuesday, October 2, 2012

    Music of My Youth

    Live music in a bar on a Sunday night in Brookings? Since you asked, yes, at Skinner's Pub. The Scott Holt Band transported me back to the 70's with their own twist on every single song. I was truly impressed with their ability to do a flat out 180 from Elton John to T Rex with nary a blink. It was fun. Though now I'm mildly confused. Since Sunday night felt like Saturday night today feels like Monday. 

    And what gets you through Monday, virtual or actual, better than a power ballad from my musical youth. Live, or at least recorded live, the way music is best enjoyed. Skylark. Wildflower. Please swoon.

    Monday, October 1, 2012


    Don't make any attempt to escape your history. Ever. It catches up with you and solidly bites you in the butt. Case in point. I attended a farewell party on Friday night for Kara and Andrew with Miss Aundrea. Kara and Andrew and Kara's kitten, Kava, have now safely arrived in Boulder, CO and are probably trying to figure out which box the toilet paper is in. But I digress. The history part. While I did directly meet Aundrea and Andrew through my son and DIL and their friends, I did not know anyone else at the party with the exception of Kara. Are you still with me? I realize this is a bit over-long and I do apologize. The point is, there was someone at the party, when he was introduced to me, remarked, hey! you're Mike's mom! For my entire existence I have been defined as fill-in-the-blank's sister, daughter, mom, wife, girlfriend, aunt, friend. This sort of thing used to seriously annoy me. Because being identified so somehow robbed me of my own identity. I expect becoming a mother is what altered my point of view. Maybe because I was creating some history with the birth of my sons. I now delight in being referred to with a description of my relationship to another human. I like the inclusive feel of my connectedness to others, it enhances my identity. Aundrea has created a flow chart to explain how she knows a new friend. Which makes me want to set up an enormous white board with me in the center with all my friends and loved ones radiating out in expanding circles. I am Mike's mom! And Reid's mom and Edna's daughter and Martine's sister. This is my history. I couldn't have a destiny without it.

    Hippie Girl Day

    October 1st, as far as moi is concerned, shall henceforth be known as Random Hippie Stuff Appreciation Day. Or, RHSAD. Which I imagine, if you are stoned, is pronounceable. This proclamation was inspired by these two photos posted by friends on Facebook. They don't know each other. They are both too young to actually have been hippies. Yet they both have an appreciation for, like, hippie stuff, man.

    Mirtooli's Magic Garden Skirt

    To add to this amazing coincidence, these photos were posted consecutively. One directly below the other! Interestingly, but perhaps only to me, the lovely crocheted skirt actually encompasses and decorates the hippy area of the model's body. Not that models in general are particularly hippy. Have a safe and pleasant RHSAD. Celebrate responsibly.