Thursday, February 28, 2013

When Will it Be?

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. -- Anais Nin

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Yeah, Yeah, So I Watched Serenity. Again.

"But it ain't all buttons and charts, little albatross. You know what the first rule of flyin' is? Love. You can know all the math in the 'Verse, but take a boat in the air you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of worlds. Love keeps her in the air when she oughta fall down, tells ya she's hurtin' 'fore she keens. Makes her home."

Artsy Angst

Whatever angst I may be feeling today, it is not captured in an artsy black and white video featuring goth-ish smeary eyeliner and a stark asylum locale. But I do love this song. Come To My Window, as far as I'm concerned, is the original power ballad of anguish and longing. I'm not Melissa Etheridge, even though I sometimes do a pitiful impersonation of her in the shower. So enjoy her thrashing and wailing. I'm going to paint my toenails a bright shade of definitely non-angsty pink, Revlon #271, Extravagant. 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Ring Tone-Undrum

I keep forgetting to change the ring tone on my phone. I forget how obnoxious it sounds until it is actually ringing. Then after I finish the conversation, whether it's under a minute informing the telemarketer that this number is, indeed, on the Do Not Call List and I will be filing a complaint with the FCC or a lengthy chat with a sis or even possibly a friendly wrong number, I space on the fact that I really would like to change the ring tone. Until it rings and we repeat. In fact, if I had picked up my phone to accomplish this task in short order rather than writing a pithy blog post about it, the ring tone change would be a done deal. Excuse me. I have important stuff to attend to.


It has been one of those weeks. As in exhausting. As in roller-coaster. As in, loaded with so very many highs and lows that still require processing. Let's get the lows out of the way first, shall we? Last Sunday was my brother Cullen's birthday. May 14th will mark four years since his death, but it's getting easier. For the first time his birthday felt more like a celebration of his life and who he was than a reminder that he is no longer alive. A second exercise in acceptance and letting go arrived on Monday with my wedding anniversary. While the failure of my marriage remains an enormous source of regret to me, for the most part I have done the work and healed and moved on. Evidence of this was clear when my mother-in-law passed last Fall. At her funeral I was accepted back into the fold of my former extended family. It seems that loss reminds us to make peace with the living while we can. Finding myself happier and more content single than I had been for the last ten years of my marriage is confirmation for me that splitting was the right thing to do. Tuesday brought the inevitable third downer. After months of agonizing I un-friended and blocked a real-world friend on Facebook. Not necessarily forever but for the time being. And not to punish her, but to preserve my own sanity. Further contemplation has me taking a (v)Fa(cebook)cation for an as yet undetermined period of time as of yesterday afternoon. What had been a fun though time devouring activity had taken on an air of trespass and aggravation due to the actions of this friend. I'll be back, likely sooner than later, and until then you know where to find me. That is, if you're truly special you do. On to the good! Thursday brought Science at the Pub, a geeky once per month evening loaded with knowledge accompanied by adult beverages. This time we learned about the use and history of concrete in construction. Always fun! For the people as well as the educational opportunity. Win/win, if you ask me. Followed by two nights of most excellent music! Friday at the Old Market with new friends and old, reconnections and new connections while we were serenaded by Chris Champion. Last night was girls' night out in the company of Liz, Tami and Jill. We piled into the Outback, our destination being a convenience store in Egan, SD. Really. An unlikely venue featuring live music, terrific pizza, Jackrabbit basketball on the bigscreen and booze. Hours in the company of my wonderful, smart, funny and gorgeous girlfriends and the Gary & Larry show. I did learn one very important thing. Maintain a dubious mindset when Jill says trust me. Particularly if these words are followed by her evil yet infectious laugh. Winding up this carnival ride week on a high note was a very, very good thing.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Lend Me a Word

I need a word. I know, I was an English major. Words are my thing. But I am at a loss this morning. Maybe I just need to grab the unabridged dictionary and start reading. Maybe grab is too optimistic a term for groaning while hefting such a ponderous tome. What I need is a word/term to describe the middle ground that would lie somewhere between creeped out and deeply moved. If such a word does not exist in English, a foreign language term conveying this meaning would be acceptable, particularly if its subtlety is lost in translation. If such a word is not currently available, please be clever and coin a new one just for me. Good luck. And thanks. Now impress me. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Cosmic Beer Placement

Sometimes I enjoy watching a favorite movie. Sometimes this experience is enhanced by drinking a beer at the same time. Sometimes while you are sipping your Dos Equis Amber with a lime Burt Lancaster is cooking up some shrimp on the stove and pours in a Dos Equis Amber. Cosmic, man. So. Here I am in my living room, on my couch, watching Rocket Gibraltar, and I am consuming the same brand of beer as a character in the movie I am watching! I'm pretty sure this happens all the time to Bud Light drinkers. Particularly if they are viewing sports or a movie about sports. Please try this at home. Select a movie and a beverage at random and see if anyone on screen is drinking it, too. No fair shaking up a martini while watching a Bond flick. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Meaning of Life

At last, my life has meaning. Complete with little stick people. Fitting, I think, for the 540th birthday of Nicolaus Copernicus. Oh, and the Google Doodle for today is way cool.

Terrorism 101

I received an unexpected civics lesson today. In a highly entertaining package. Season 3, Episode 1 of The West Wing. Watch it! On Netflix. Unless you have it on dvd. Or maybe have some old video around from when you taped the show when it first aired. I often taped the show while I was watching. So much snappy dialog plus children in the house equals it's a good idea to have a tape back-up for the lines you will inevitably miss. But I digress. Watch the third season premiere entitled Isaac and Ishmael, it explains what terrorism is and how it works and why it's a failed system. Still relevant more than eleven years after airing, as so much of The West Wing has turned out to be. We're still fighting so many of the same battles. And in many respects have made some progress. Are politicians afraid if they solve all of the problems they'll be out of a job?

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Too Soon Gone

He was such a cute little goober! Barefoot, overalls and overexposed. This is the hallway in the house where we lived in Aurora, Co. 

Christmas in the duplex on State Avenue in Brookings. He's busting some kind of disco move, always the clown. I think that is a designation automatically assigned to the baby of the family. He did a stellar job. He would have been 49 today. 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Saturday Poem

Mineral Animal Vegetable

You're September
I'm July
Can Virgo ruled by Mercury
Pair successfully
With a Moon influenced Crab?
The Chinese say
You are the Horse
And I the Rooster
Does such a match bode well
This being the Year of the Snake?
To the ancient Celts
We are trees
You the Weeping Willow and I the Fir
In what sort of forest
Would it be likely
We'd be happily rooted
Side by side?
I'm of a mind
To shed these trappings
Imposed on us
By the arbitrary numbers
Describing the timing
Of our births
And focus instead
On the miracle
That any two of us
Meet and bond at all

Friday, February 15, 2013

Lesson #1

In how to make your 20yo son extremely uncomfortable. Bordering on squirming even. Yes. If I were a better person, mayhaps more mature, I would not be taking such immense delight in having accomplished this feat. But I did. It goes something like this. I have a rather remarkable talent in which I can say pretty much anything, no matter how innocuous or benign, and make it sound, well, naughty. Inappropriate. Sexual. Dirty. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge, say no more. This morning I told Reid about a story related last night amongst the girls about a chair tipping over incident. Which evolved into stories about a specific chair of considerable size and how it was apparently actually worn by a well-made young man. Are you still with me? Good. Then, after viewing a photo of said young man, who is most definitely buff as well as gorgeous with just a smattering of brooding thrown in for good measure, I remarked: Oh. Noah. Baby. Wear that chair for me. To make this even more perverse, two of the women at the table were Noah's mother and sister. Who were, by the way, laughing uproariously. Reid was a curious combination of horrified yet amused. He asked, can I go now? In this lies an interesting conundrum. Where most of us are at least mildly uneasy with the notion of our parents as sexual beings. Which, ironically, is how we all got here in the first place. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Baby Love

Valentine's Day seems to focus on romantic love. That's okay. I'm fully in support of that. But these guys are my forever loves. My sons, Michael and Reid. At the ages of four and a half and seven months. Can it get more adorable than this? Well...

Newton and Einstein at approximately two months of age. Kittens cuddled together snoozing. Off the adorable meter, if you ask me. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Baking With Bellona

Last week, after a couple of experimental tries, I baked up what I like to call the ultimate pumpkin bread. Nothing phony here, boys and girls. No high fructose corn syrup, no trans fatty acids. Yes, there is butter and sugar. But in reasonable amounts. I pretty much reworked my banana bread recipe and added spices. So, if you're interested in whipping up a delicious treat that's so healthy you can eat it for breakfast totally guilt free, give this a shot.

Spiced Pumpkin Bread

4 cups unbleached flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
4 tablespoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

These are the dry ingredients, children. Measure into a bowl and stir together until the spices are evenly distributed and set aside. Feel free to adjust the spices to your personal preference.

2 cups sugar
1 cup butter

Cream these together til smooth. I do this in my stand mixer, but you can be a trouper and do it by hand if you wish. Then add:

2 eggs
1 can Libby's pumpkin 

I always use Libby's. She has never failed me. If you use something else, unless of course it's pumpkin from your own garden that you prepared yourself, I cannot take responsibility. Use the 14 oz can, or whatever size it is that makes one pie. If it's your own, I would say 2 cups ought to do it. Can we move on now?

At this point, you should have a smooth and lovely creamed together batter. Now add those sifted together dry ingredients and blend just until you can't see any flour. Then slowly add 1/2 cup buttermilk and stir til smooth. You may bake a nut free version if you like, but I recommend adding 1 1/2 to 2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts. Then divide the batter into 8 small greased or non-stick loaf pans. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes. The house will smell wonderful. Enjoy with coffee or a tall glass of cold milk.

Tighty Non-Whities

Allow me to introduce to you Mr. Pants. Created by Rare, a second-party developer for Nintendo. Star of the Game Boy Advance game, It's Mr. Pants. Reid could tell you so much more about Mr. Pants. I know this because he told me a whole stinking lot more about him last night just before I went to bed. Fortunately, I was not subject to nightmares starring this poorly drawn creation. Mr. Pants looks to me to be the bastard child of Sam the Snowman (voiced by Burl Ives in the 1964 stop-action animated Christmas classic Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer) and one of those rain forest insects that looks like a twig. Now that you have cross-species as well as animated character/creepy crawly sex planted in your mind you may feel as though you need to take a shower. Whatever possessed them to attire him in red underwear is beyond me. But red it is, and on this Valentine Eve I thought it appropriate. If you ask me, his name ought to be Mr. Underpants.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Pretty Boy

Einstein. Ever so elegantly draped over the back of a chair. This concludes the cute cat photo op for the day. Go back to what you were doing. If you can tear yourself away.

By Any Other Name...

The meaning of the name Ingeborgh is much more fun than I imagined. From the Old Norse, Ingibjorg, which was derived from the name of the Germanic god, Ing. Then combined with -bjorg, meaning help or protection. Ing's domain in ancient Germanic mythology was fertility. Which means I am now in the possession of fertility protection boots! The FoL* section of my brain is now formulating the details of a twisted fertility rite involving an elaborate costume. Including boots, naturally. It is with the deepest regret that I inform you that I bought the last pair in the store. Ingeborgh. Goddess of Fertility. A way cooler bargain than I imagined for twenty one dollars and change. 

*Festival of Lechery

I Wanna be a Cowgirl

Karen says I'm all set for Las Vegas with these boots. The only thing I love more than how much I paid for them, just over twenty bucks, is their name. Ingeborgh. My theory is that there are people who are pumped full of really great recreational drugs, generally unavailable to regular folks like you and me, and locked in tiny rooms who come up with names for shoe and boot styles. Either that or the names are randomly generated by a computer. All I know is, I need to write something, anything, with the title, Ingeborgh Goes to Vegas. Perhaps the next not-so-great yet best-selling mildly trashy novel. The perfect light summer read at the beach or poolside. Or Las Vegas. For the best deal, make those reservations now.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

February 10 Good Things

1) Waking up to ten inches of fresh, beautiful snow on the ground.

2) Realizing I don't have to go anywhere today!

3) Except across the street for the Sunday paper. Which Reid did for me.

4) Don't go thinking he's so altruistic. He did it in exchange for the promise of pancakes and bacon. And because he's a wonderful son.

5) I aced the Sunday crossword and cryptoquip. 

6) Yes, silly, I do them in ink without peeking at the answers.

7) Feeling grateful for all of these wonderful and very cool women I have met through my friend Liz. 

8) I love the sound of my neighbor's snowblower while he's so generously clearing out my driveway.

9) Also grateful that he works in exchange for baked goods. Today's pay-off was chocolate chip cookies.

10) Very excited for Michael and Liz as they put in an offer on a house!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Doesn't Take Much

Some things make me happy. So I surround myself with goofy stuff that has that effect on me. Like this oversize Google mug on my desk. That just begged to be filled with Sharpies. Another thing I love. Thanks, Michael and Liz. Love you, too! 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Penne Pasta Panache

Sometimes I don't bother with a recipe. I look in the fridge and go, hmmmm, and read the expiration dates. Tonight's pasta experiment is penne accompanied by carmelized onion, smoked salmon and broccoli enveloped in a lemon butter reduction. Just a little shredded parmesan on top. I would pair it with a nice pinot grigio, my personal favorite being Candoni. Maybe a little spinach salad on the side topped with gorgonzola crumbles and beets. I sound like such a food snob. I'll let you in on something. Come closer. I love macaroni and cheese. And hot dogs. And jello. And grilled cheese sandwiches. I like to think I'm an equal opportunity foodie. So there.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Look Into the Light!

Yeah, sure, he looks all contemplative and cute. But lets face it. Cats really aren't all ecstatic and rapturous over candle light and chocolates. Newton is merely waiting for it to move so he can pounce on it. Newt, along with his brother, Einstein, are what you might call pragmatic romantics. They love me because I feed them. It's not always best to have a clear understanding of a love relationship. Go with it if it works pretty much sums it up. Now get down from the table, you miserable yet adorable furball.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

FAITH Update

About a month ago I embarked on a social experiment. The only news I have to report is this. Whenever I have an urge to contact/message/call him or when I have an unanswerable conundrum about him running around in my head, I write a poem about it. This activity provides a somewhat cathartic effect. I am up to sixteen now, with two currently in progress. Which means at sometime tomorrow the count will be eighteen. Whatever works.  

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Mountains vs Hearts

I will own up to being a physics geek. The math makes my brain hurt so I find the drawings helpful. Plus, this is February which contains Valentine's Day and this video has a pink heart representing the unstoppable force. Enjoy.

Monday, February 4, 2013


When Lil Sis Martine sent me these cups for Christmas, I couldn't figure out why. I mean, I don't give a flying fig about football. She said it was because of my fondness for pink and my love for black birds. Like crows. Or ravens. Until last night, I hadn't watched the Super Bowl for over twenty years. It doesn't count when you only tune in to the half time show. I have done that numerous times. But as far as actually watching the game action goes, nope. Around 7pm I plopped down on the couch with a Landshark, a plate of black bean avocado nachos, a blanky, my Chromebook, and a cat. And actually watched the game. The Baltimore Ravens won. So now I'm developing a system by which future Super Bowl winners could, just maybe, be predicted. It works like this. My sister, for whatever oddball (and a football is an odd ball, if you ask me) reason she may choose, sends me a pro football team logo emblazoned item for Christmas. This team shall win the Super Bowl. It's just that simple. 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Yesterday Was a Very Long Day

Yesterday was Groundhog Day. How more than appropriate that we take in our quasi-annual viewing of the film of the same name. For anyone who doesn't appreciate Bill Murray for the remarkably talented actor that he is, consider that  he delivers the following speech with nary a snark. Were I to ever be the recipient of such a heartfelt soliloquy, I would be rendered into a quivering heap of rom-com blubber. 

You like boats, but not the ocean. You go to a lake in the summer with your family up in the mountains. There's a long wooden dock and a boathouse with boards missing from the roof, and a place where you used to crawl underneath to be alone. You're a sucker for French poetry and rhinestones. You're very generous. You're kind to strangers and children and when you stand in the snow you look like an angel.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Making Things

I used to have one of these. My plastigoop creations never looked quite as fab as the ones on the cover of the box. But it was, just like the name says, fun. I think my favorite thing was the steamy hiss that ensued when I removed the mold from the little cooker device and dropped it into the plastic tray full of water. Ssssssss! Then peeling the flower or bug from its cavity and delighting in how it looked and smelled and felt squeaky between my fingers. I don't remember precisely how old I was when I received it either for my birthday or Christmas. Probably ten or so. I do remember having it long enough that I saved up my allowance in order to purchase more plastigoop so I could make more colorful flowery thingys. Nothing remains among the salvaged and saved playthings of my childhood of this particular toy. What reminded me of it is a lovely bracelet in pinks and browns that Linda made. It occurred to me that she is doing a grownup version of the Thingmaker with her polymer clay creations. If she had Fun Flowers as a child, I bet she made the coolest stuff with it.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Monkey Relocation Project

I could not bear to put my sock monkey away with the rest of the Christmas decorations. I moved him into my room. He is hanging out with the stylish handbags and other assorted swank. No, I have not named him. Though this photo in particular inspires more than a few possibilities. For those of you who may not be aware, this is not my first association with monkeys. Don't even begin to start with that typewriters thing.