Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Miss You, MCC

But I expect she hasn't missed me at all. One year ago this evening I was in the audience experiencing the music of Mary Chapin Carpenter. Live. As in, in the same room and sitting close enough to recognize her! I am listening to Ashes & Roses at the moment. Earlier I had The Essential MCC playing while I cleaned my bathroom. Making that particular task more enjoyable. I really must fit in a listen to time*sex*love before turning in. Tomorrow August arrives. And while I'm turning up the calendar I usually ask where has the summer gone. No answer yet. I'll keep y'all posted.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Mushroom Conundrum

I like mushrooms. I also like recycling. Which brings us to mushroom packaging. In the past when I purchased mushrooms, they were almost always found in the blue foam box like the one on the left. Foam of this type is not recyclable which left me feeling slightly guilty about making trash. Lately I've been finding them in a box like the one on the right, a corrugated recyclable package which makes me happy. But there are some problems. Often the paper package is too wet or dirty to be accepted by recyclers. Only if I can clean it up and dry it out properly do I toss it in the recycling bin. Also, the mushrooms keep better in the foam container! If I leave them even a few days in the paper one, the shrooms turn to a slimy mush! Rendering them inedible and the package definitely trash. So I have developed a compromise that is working out pretty well. I purchase my fungi in a paper container. When I get home I transfer them into the foam box. I then have a clean, dry paper container that can be recycled! And the foam box will last until the next millenium, I expect. Guilt solved, mushrooms stay fresh, everybody's happy. If you're coming over for dinner, you'll just have to pick them out if you're not. 

The Heggs Rock!

The video currently playing on Facebook is of this band covering another Bruce Hornsby tune, but this will most definitely do. They played the main stage at Jazzfest as well as the second stage in another incarnation known as Spooncat!. The Hegg Brothers band is local, mind you, local talent! Many of them live elsewhere now and must be imported back to South Dakota in order to perform together. The thing is, they're so good that I know when I move away I'll come back to see them. Unless I can get them to come out to Colorado for a command performance. Damn. I want to be Queen.

The video on Facebook is of Across the River and is also professional quality thanks to South Dakota Public Broadcasting! But I can't get it to upload here!

Monday, July 29, 2013

I'm Meeeeeeeeeltiiiiiiiiing!

Even though there isn't a great deal of heat in the kitchen it has proven to be too much for Mr. Melonhead. 

Meeting Miss Mira

Introducing my most recent great-niece, Mira. With her most lovely parents, Megan and Justin. 

And because the adorable Mira looks a little worried in the group shot, here is another adorable pic. And, yes, she is that much more adorable in person. I must say she is a most excellent collaborative effort on the part of her parents. As well as adorable.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Eleven Years Ago Today

There are only fourteen possible calendars for the year in the way we measure it. I know, seems like there ought to be more. Given that there are seven days to the week and that any year must begin on one of those days gives us the the first seven possibilities. The other seven arise from the existence of leap years, which also must begin on one of the seven days of the week. The difference comes in with the addition of that extra day at the end of February, rendering the rest of the year numerically different. Which means that eleven years ago today was also a Saturday, the last Saturday of July in 2002. Which in many ways was a day when my life took this fork in the road rather than that one. Which has me thinking that you just don't know what any given day has in store for you when you open your eyes in the morning. One thing I do remember specifically about this Saturday in 2002 is that we had recently taken delivery of a regular queen size box spring topped by a mattress sort of bed. The previous seventeen years we had been slumbering on a waterbed quite happily, thank you. Until my back and sides began to protest on a nightly basis which I attempted to remedy by poking pillows here and there for relief, never thinking it was the bed itself that was the problem. Earlier that summer we had taken a family road trip where I discovered that after a single night sleeping on a regular bed that my pain had disappeared. Prompting the purchase of one that we had been sleeping on for a week or so. The new nightstands had not yet arrived so we had fashioned a couple from cardboard boxes. When you are accustomed to living with pain it seems a miracle when it goes away. That's what I remember upon waking that morning as I noted the time on my clock radio sitting atop my swanky corrugated nightstand. That my back and sides didn't hurt. Saturday, July 27, 2002. Nothing particularly notable about this Saturday, July 27, 2013. But there are nearly five hours left in the day. And if I manage to stay up til after midnight without turning into a pumpkin, Saturday ain't over til I go to bed. 

The Rules

Eat if you're drinking out here on the sidewalk. That's all there is to it. I find it interesting that they don't say what the penalty is for not following this local statute. And whether the punishment is exacted on the drinker or the establishment that is irresponsible enough to allow such behavior. I don't know about you, but I'd prefer those drinkers who might overimbibe without eating stay outdoors. Hosing down the sidewalk is easier than mopping a floor, that's what I always say.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Fifty is the New, Um, Fifty

I tend to ponder over the meaning of chronological calendar age during my birthday month. As if this deliberation will bring new insight. Then I was watching Barefoot in the Park yesterday. Aside from observing that I was ten years old when the movie was released, I also took note of Mildred Natwick's (mother of Jane Fonda's newlywed bride) character, Ethyl. First there was the name. Ethyl. Nothing musical about that aside from perhaps how a catapulted piano might sound upon landing. Then there was her age, 52, a number I left in the dust some time ago. Ethyl sported a frumpy suit dress, matronly pumps and pearls and a sort of stern iron gray hairstyle reminiscent of stodgy British royalty. She suffered from ulcers for which she took little pink pills and slept on a board to remedy her back problems. Yes, I do realize that it's necessary for plot purposes for Ethyl's character to be frumpy and stodgy so she can later shed this demeanor due to the charming and reckless influence of attic resident Victor Velasco. And all the while the free-spirited Corie (Jane Fonda) is doing the same sort of number on her stuffed shirt new husband, Paul (Robert Redford). My point is, because I think I had one when I started typing, is that the 1960's version of 52 is quite different among my generation of women. A couple of years ago when dear sis Martine and I were looking through family photos, there was Grandma Esther and Grandpa Knut's formal portrait taken for their 25th wedding anniversary. Grandma's look is very similar to Ethyl's. Martine mused out loud, wondering how old she was at the time. I ran a quick mathematical routine through my brain and came up with 48. Then realized that my sis, sitting there in her curvy fitted capri pants, layered tank tops, smooth complexion, painted toenails and chin-length sweep of honey brown hair was also 48. Proving, I suppose, that it is less likely that the mature woman of today feels it necessary to conform to a certain look or demeanor. Which brings us to Monday evening when I met Jill for a beer downtown. Enter John and his thirsty, victorious baseball team. Who was attempting to suss out my age from the meager information available to him other than my appearance and attitude. I was amused. Normally I'm open about the number but was so entertained by his quandary I didn't give it up. I just smiled instead, relishing knowing that I am fully old enough to be his mother. I'm not interested in trying to pull off some charade of being younger or dressing in a manner that doesn't suit me. My preference is to embrace aging gracefully, inside who and what I am at this point in my life. Sometimes that means enjoying a beer and not divulging my age.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Nice Bloomers

Since the local arts festival was just a little over a week ago, and because I have attended more plays in the last year than ever, I thought I would post a photo that combined the two themes. This is the cast of a locally written melodrama that was performed at the local arts festival in 1982. And, yes, children, that is moi, third from the right. As soon as I locate my copy of the script I will have more information. Such as, the title of the play and the characters and the names of the actors. I do actually remember five of my castmates names. And that does not include my own. So if you do the math you'll see that only two names elude me at the moment. Oddly, I do remember the character's names that they played, Warren Peace and Sam the Pie Man. I also remember that at the last minute the character name of the preacher had to be changed from Reverend Crabtree to something else that I don't remember, because the minister conducting the nondenominational service on the Sunday morning of the festival actually was Rev. Crabtree. I also remember learning that it is of the utmost importance to exhale with gusto when a pie hits you in the face. All in all, a highly glamorous experience.

July's Siren Call

This has been a most extraordinary July. Enough rain has fallen to keep the grass green. It has been remarkably non-humid, if that is a word. Like the northern plains summer nights of my childhood, it has cooled beautifully at night for excellent windows open sleeping. Then with proper timing of closing windows the air conditioning has run only minimally. Reid and I have had a lovely supper of garlic lime chicken, basmati rice and broccoli. The cicadas are upstaging the crickets for filling the evening with noise. I feel that I am on a precipice, on the edge of things happening, like this is the calm before the storm. It would be a relief in many ways for stalemated things in my life to move forward. I feel as if I have been in limbo for a very long time. Limbo is its own state of being where patience is taught, a harsh lesson though it is. Just around the corner is a voice that beckons, saying it is time to move. My answer to this call is a brash and audacious bring it on. My need to know the answers outweighs whatever fear of knowing that may linger. Bring it on.

Dear Netflix

Recently while viewing the movie In & Out, your streaming service developed a case of the hiccups at 41 minutes in. Over the course of the last week I have attempted to resume watching this wonderful and hilarious comedy numerous times. Loading ensues in HD quality. Then promptly begins hiccuping once more in a vicious cycle of load/three seconds of movie/hiccup/load over and over again. I might add that I have done all the troubleshooting possible on my end. My Roku is functioning properly as is my wireless internet service. Other programming loads and plays properly so I am left with thinking the problem lies you. While I have seen In & Out before and know how it ends, I feel as if I'm left hanging with no relief in sight. I would appreciate a remedy to this problem soon. Like Debbie Reynold's mother-of-the-groom character says, I need that wedding. I need some beauty and some music and some placecards before I die. It's like heroin. Though I can't say I know what the cure for program loading hiccups might be, I can state with authority and from personal experience that a few drops of bitters on a wedge of lemon works quite well. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Friday Night Battery Killing Lights

Now I understand why the salesman warned me six years ago about this parking light switch thingy. About using it prudently due to the fact that firing up the parking lights can drain the battery of power in less than two hour's time! Also why there are multiple instructions to be found on the internets as to how one may go about disabling its function. This, boys and girls, is the parking light switch. It is conveniently, maybe a bit too conveniently, located top and center just behind the steering wheel. I have thus far never used this feature for its intended purpose, which is to turn on the parking lights while the engine is off. However I did inadvertently manage to flip it to the on position last Friday morning while cleaning out my car. And didn't notice. Until after 11pm Friday night when I discovered the car was totally unresponsive due to the drained and dead condition of the battery due to the fact that my fancy parking lights had been on. Fortunately there was a party in progress next door. I knocked on the gate. Then asked three questions. Did anyone present possess jumper cables? Did they know how to operate them? And finally, were they sober enough to safely jump my car? Two enthusiastic young men and one woman responded in the affirmative. By the light of a smart phone the task was accomplished. Ten minutes later I was taking a leisurely drive around town to charge up the battery. I am now considering disabling this switch but probably won't. Because I am a thrill-seeking person and enjoy living dangerously? Not even close. Because I endeavor in all areas of my life to only do new and different stupid things, not repeat such actions from the past. I'm in it for the learning opportunity.  

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Saturday Night Sky

While I didn't manage to get a single decent shot of any of the bands playing on Saturday, I did get a couple nice captures of the show up in the sky at dusk. As the late afternoon near total overcast was breaking up, the almost full moon was showing her lovely face.

Somewhere in that cloud mass is a partial rainbow. Really. Click on the photo and take a closer look. I don't kid around about serious stuff like clouds and rainbows. Okay, fine, I remember where the rainbow was but didn't snap quickly enough. 

Meanwhile, Three Months Ago I Bought a New Refrigerator

Oh, and this is the new refrigerator that is fortunate enough to contain those two bottles of bubbly.

And, yes, the blue tape was removed long ago. There is still a box of stuff I took down from the old fridge that is now in the basement that I still have not dealt with. I'm enjoying the less cluttered look of fewer magnets and drawings for the time being. But I still need to do something about the contents of that box. Maybe save that task for later. Like when I need a list of indoor projects for the winter. Come to me for all your creative procrastination needs.

JazzFest 2013 Edition


Even if I had something better to do, which is unlikely, I'd head for JazzFest anyway. On a sunny and gorgeous Saturday what could possibly be better than music and an outdoor venue? Okay, there was some shopping and cocktails enhanced by air conditioning in the middle of the afternoon, but from noon to midnight it was music, beverages, good friends and the great outdoors. Kicking off with the Hegg Brothers Band featuring Allison Nash and finishing up with a rocking Miss Sheryl Crow at ten a good time was had in the parrot section of Yankton Trail Park. Probably in the entire park, but I can only speak for my section. Which was decorated by a colorful light-up parrot on a stick. Between the parrot and my pink chair it was easy finding our way back from beverage and food procurement and those blue plastic outhouses. Filling out the schedule in between were Mingo Fishtrap, BeauSoleil and Doyle Bramhall II. I can also say that this is a quite glorious day after with no hangover, no mosquito bites and no sunburn. All in all, this has been a most excellent birthday month. And I still have not just one but two bottles of bubbly in the refrigerator. Life is good.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Too Pretty

The Black Hills of South Dakota. Some fortunate people live there. The rest of us can visit. I forget in between visits how absolutely lovely it is. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Call Me Mrs. Warburton

Why, you may be asking yourself. It seems that Reid has totally nailed impersonating Patrick Warburton's voice. Truly. And since I'm Reid's mother, well, it just follows. And he uses it frequently in casual conversation. Which kind of wigs me out if he is not in view. Like the Tick or High Five Puddy from Seinfeld is in the room. Physically there is no resemblance except for their height, and as I am aware of this fact, the voice emanating from well above my own head lends a wacky bit of authenticity. Someone, please, hire my son as a voice actor. He can impersonate many famous voices as well as possesses the ability to speak in a number of accents and dialects. From schlocky to authentic, that's my boy. I'm so proud.

Merlin and Arthur and Gwen, Oh My!

I know, for the rest of you who have cable tv you saw the end of the series last Christmas Eve. I had to wait until two weeks ago when the Merlin icon on my Netflix instant queue was emblazoned with the words New Episodes!. Then tore right through them without realizing that this was, indeed, the final season of the series. Sigh. Yes, I am a big fan of the Arthurian legend. I know how it ends. It's not pretty. But I wasn't quite ready for this to be over. Not yet, anyway. Isn't that how any love affair goes? I'll be fine. All 65 episodes are available for me to watch at my leisure. We'll always have Camelot.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Both Sides Now

Speaking as a person who suffers from right/left confusion, I have always wondered if this affliction is a right or left brained phenom. I know, it makes my brain hurt, too. On both sides.

Finding Your Roots

Jill has found a perfectly ingenious way to accomplish a little yard clean-up. Last month straight-line winds took out a swath of trees in Spearfish Canyon. Many of them were old growth pines, including a 110 year old behemoth that stood in her yard. What remains is an upturned stump with a plethora of exposed roots in the middle of a enormous ravaged area. She encourages all visitors to choose and remove the chunk of root mass that suits their fancy! This should only take about forty years or so to clear the entire space. If Jill turns out to be that patient. I'm guessing not, that the rock garden/yard swing knoll will be created sometime yet this summer on the spot where the gigantic pine once was. My chosen chunk of root is in the photo above, lending a rustic air to the south deck. Looks kind of like a gnarly headless Halloween cowboy on a pogo stick. All he needs is a hat. To compensate for his lack of a head. My work here is done.

Bon Voyage!

Way to go, US Gov! Twenty-five days from mailing out the application to receiving my renewed passport! It is my fondest wish to use this document for more than renewing my driver's license and gaining re-entry to the good ole USA from Canada in the upcoming decade. Which obviously is all I used it for in the previous ten years. Baby steps, I tell myself, just dip your toes in and test the water. Screw that. I'm old and impatient. It's time for a full-tilt, pedal to the metal power dive.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

I'm Liking This Number!

I am given to partiality toward numerical trivia and oddities. Which brings us to the fact that I just one week ago attained the age of 56. I must say that I am loving how interesting this number is! 56 is the sum of the first six triangular numbers, 1, 3, 6, 10, 15 and 21. A triangular number, just in case you didn't know, is the number of objects that can form an equilateral triangle. Think that little diagram that indicates how bowling pins are set up. Cool, huh? It is also the sum of six consecutive primes, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13 and 17, which I guess makes me uberprime this year. Also, Stonehenge was theoretically based on a 56 sided polygon. Though such a shape is impossible to configure using simple geometry, it didn't seem to stymie those Druid dudes as early as 3000 BC one little bit. 56 is the atomic number of barium, the number of men who signed The Declaration of Independence and the international dialing code for Chile. 56, that natural number that can be found right smack in between 55 and 57. Fabulous things are afoot!

FYC* 56 Begins

The view from the deck.

Pre-breakfast appetizer.

Steak and eggs at Cheyenne Crossing. Orgasmically delicious.

*Fiscal Year Carla

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Vacation Elation

Well! Hello! Has it really been nearly a week? I brought my computer along. Really. I did. Popped it into its case and remembered the power cord and the mouse. Loaded it up in the car last Monday morning along with everything else for my journey to the other side of the state. And then was just too busy having a lovely, relaxing time to bother with anything more electronic than taking some pictures. Living off the grid for a few days was a more than pleasant experience that involved absolutely no withdrawal pangs. I do admit that it was great fun when we drove out of the canyon and my cell phone bleeped numerous times to indicate I had several text messages arriving and a number of missed calls to deal with. But I was a little surprised while unloading the car upon arriving home to discover my computer under the hanging clothes bag and a pillow. Completely undisturbed six days later. So. I have photos to sort through and blogging to catch up on. See you soon.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Fireworks at the Farm

Because I didn't think I was coordinated or quick enough to catch lightening in a bottle I decided to try to photograph exploding fireworks instead.

This is something I never would have attempted with a film camera. At least with digital all you're wasting is your time when you time snapping with capturing darkness. Reassigning electrons is pretty much a guilt free process. Wasting film is quite another matter.

Eventually I did get a few good shots. I'm thinking lightning in a bottle might be easier. Maybe just lightening bugs.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

On The Verge of Accomplishing Something...

Hello, Saturday. Today I will be preparing guacamole and a lemon tart. And I should be doing laundry. Excuse me while I tend to the next load. Okay, I'm back. I'm sure you're asking yourself, how does she do that so quickly? I have many things to do before leaving for the Black Hills and birthday week on Monday. And I'm not doing any of them! Well, except for the laundry. The lemon tart and guac are for the Fireworks at the Farm party which commences later this afternoon. It is also Karen's non-birthday party but I'm bringing her a present anyway. In any case, birthday week has begun as Liz's birthday is today. I find it cosmic and way cool that this is also the day that John Lennon and Paul McCartney met. Let's all celebrate the birth of the Beatles. I must go now. I have much too much to do to dally about here.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

My BP on Drugs

I was never particularly good at chemistry. So I'm most grateful for those are. This little molecule, should it perform as expected, will likely help me live a longer and healthier life. It is known as hydrochlorothiazide and just this morning I ingested my first 12.5 milligram capsule of the stuff. After donating blood last month and having my blood pressure come in at a frightening 148/98, I made an appointment with my doctor to discuss the possibility of medicating my normal bordering on high blood pressure tendency. Such is the legacy from my mother's side of the family where pretty much every adult was on meds for this malady. So far I don't feel any different, but the fact is I didn't feel any different when my bp was slightly elevated. Hypertension is for the most part a symptom-free condition. Only if you are considered to be in a hypertensive crisis* will symptoms such as headache, anxiety, shortness of breath or nosebleeds appear. Up until now I have been able to manage without medication by keeping my weight in a normal range and staying fairly active. But it seems that age is catching up with me in the sense that my arteries simply are not as pliable as they used to be. And as prescription medications go, this is an affordable one. Three month's worth cost me ten bucks. At approximately a penny a day, not having my head explode is quite a bargain. Not to mention much neater.

*Systolic pressure over 180 or diastolic pressure exceeding 110. Normal bp is at or below 120/80.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

4 NonBlondes Kick-Start

Some mornings all you need is coffee. Other mornings you need a musical kick-start. Today, at least for me, is kick-start necessary. If you're feeling the same you really need to play this video. Dancing optional but also helpful. You're welcome.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

My Candle in the Wind

Loved, loved, loved her. But I was just one of a million fans. Gilda, on the other hand, was one in a million. She would have been 67 today.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Thank You Elvis Costello

Riding my bike. Plugged into my iPod. Wondering why I turned and took the longer leg of the trail today. But consider this. If I hadn't, I would have missed hearing Elvis Costello's country flavored ballad of angst and longing, Allison. And  wouldn't have been inspired to substitute another name in Allison's place while singing along. And it fit perfectly! Fortunately Larson Park was deserted at the time. So I have a recommendation. Next time you hear this song, instead of singing Allison's name in the chorus, replace it with the name of whoever you might be pining away over. I found it amusing. Not guffaw amusing, but more like I felt an affinity with Mr Costello and was angsting away right along with him. I'm sure this works with other songs, so please share your favorite in the comments. Don't make me beg. Or I'll have to come up with a song for that, too.

Moonmaiden Merrymaking!

Take a deep breath, people, and hang on to your socks. For birthday month has arrived! Not just moi celebrates her natal day, but a plethora of pals as well. Fitting in all of this celebrating is going to be a challenge but we are up for it! Liz kicks off the fun on July 6th, followed by Karen on the 8th, me on the 9th and both Andrea and Jill on the 11th. The July 11 birthday girls are both celebrating milestone birthdays, you know, those dreaded decade enumerating epochal episodes that end in oh. But we shall not name those numbers for doing the math is most definitely not how we prep for partying. On your mark, get set, blow out those candles!