Monday, September 30, 2013

Not Quite a Sandwich Monday

Okay, technically this isn't a sandwich. But it's amusing so I'll let it slide. But I don't think I'll ever order it up. Too many bone jokes. Just to clarify, that's bone jokes. Thank you.

CatchUp Catch Up

In reference to this, I must say that I have failed miserably. Today is the last day of September and I have only accomplished the posting of one catch-up blog. At the time I must have had high hopes for this idea since I numbered it as CatchUp #1, thinking there would be five or so more to follow. I love how my enthusiasm is initially so enthusiastic. Tomorrow is another month. Which means two things. Halloween month! And Halloween decorating! I may even sneak in some of those catch-up blogs. But I'm not labeling them as such nor am I going to number them. Sometimes it may be better to keep my enthusiasm to myself. Except when it come to Halloween. A holiday that involves candy and dressing up. Two of the best things ever.


When Monday arrives with a text message that inquires, are you up?, and you open the door to find a friend who hands you a lovely box of Belgian chocolates, I would have to say this is one of the best ways ever to start off the week. And when the friend says just a little gift of appreciation for house-sitting while I was gone, I'm thinking I get chocolates for raiding your garden, picking up your newspapers and checking up on things! Somebody pinch me. I must be dreaming. 

Foots in Boots

This was Saturday. Saturday was chilly and I had yard work to get done. So for the first time this fall, I abandoned my sandals for hiking boots. Sunday things warmed up once more, and to avoid further lamentations from my toes, sandals were once again on my feet. As they have been today. Happy feet are good.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Ghost of Fitness Past

It is my observation that tall people put stuff away in virtually unreachable places for us average height people. Case in point, my first husband. Who is nearly a foot taller than me. And his propensity for stashing shit up in the rafters of the garage. So yesterday, when I was searching for a large piece of cardboard, I looked up. And wondered what might possibly be inside of the Nordic Track box. Since its large size made it a good candidate for the project I had in mind. As it turns out, nothing. Except for dust, bird poop, and some mysterious mud structures possibly created by long dead, or at least now homeless, wasps. The truly fascinating fact about me still possessing this Nordic Track box is that the Nordic Track itself has been gone for twenty years! There are more boxes up in the garage rafters. I suppose I'll have to pull them down, too, and see what treasures await. Which makes me consider tv boxes. With the advances in electronics that have pretty much left the cathode ray tube television in the dust of obsolescence, we now have flat screen tv's. Which come in flat boxes. Meaning that the box that the new tv arrives in no longer properly serves as a bachelor pad coffee table. I find this regrettable. Sigh. At least corrugated recycles.

The Paperback Arriveth

Look what showed up in the mail box! With a new bonus chapter! I am ecstatic. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Out Loud

Last week I watched two movies, both of which I had seen before. Say Anything, featuring John Cusack, whom I do adore, that I recently found in the five buck bin. Only the second viewing of this particular nonstandard coming of age film, likely the first was on cable tv a few years after its 1989 release. The second movie, which I have seen multiple times, is a favorite by one of my fave directors. Lawrence Kasdan's Grand Canyon. Each and every time I watch it I catch more little details that I hadn't noticed in previous viewings. And I anticipate moments that I relish, like Kevin Kline singing Lawyers, Guns and Money while driving through a rough LA neighborhood just before his car breaks down. And when Claire (Mary McDonnell) informs her husband Mack (Kevin Kline) that his headache is inappropriate in the presence of a likely miracle. This time I discovered something new, a theme common to both of these films. Why in the world do we confide in each other, tell each other our stories, share our secrets? Because in that telling we make our experiences real. That in keeping things to ourselves we can question whether it really happened. But in the act of relating our personal news to another it becomes part of our life's legend, part of our narrative. Sometimes to illustrate a point to a crowd, sometimes a confession to a loved one. Personally, I can say that the reason I journaled extensively as a teen was to remember and make real the chaos and uncertainty of my young life. The very act of putting my experiences down on paper gave some solidity to the near constant state of upheaval. A device to separate the real from the imagined. Telling our stories. An exclusively human behavior that is so very basic to our nature. It makes us real.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Bruegel & Bornem

Last Tuesday, trivia at Wooden Legs, team of four. We won first place! Which was beer. I got to take these two home. I have not tasted either of them yet so I cannot report as to their deliciousness. But aren't the labels fun?

Twin Rainbows

My photo of the twin rainbows after a quick downpour Thursday evening. The light was changing quickly but there really were two of them! Really.

As you can see, Karen caught both of them. Clever readers will recognize this as the location of the fireworks photos in July. Later this same evening, the full moon was out in all her lunar glory. I'll write about that later. When it makes sense. As if lunacy ever does. 

Mirror, Mirror

Christmas 1994. My ex's sister Karen and me taking pictures of each other taking pictures of each other. 

Four years later here we are doing pretty much the same thing. Only we have swapped positions. These are the holiday traditions that deserve perpetuation as well as archiving. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Beer & Astrophysics

Last week I had the pleasure of drinking a Moo Joos oatmeal stout beer for the very first time. Due to the fact that I quaffed it directly from the bottle I missed out on two important things. Firstly, this stuff is darn near black! Light cannot escape nor pass through its totally opaque deliciousness! And secondly, the aroma. Drinking from a glass allows one to experience the tangy mocha aroma that rises and tickles the olfactory. Normally I prefer brown ales and will choose to not imbibe of these darker appearing beers. But I am no longer afraid of the dark! I will no longer judge a beer by its color! It's sort of a black hole in a bottle. Which leads me to wonder if the great unifying law of physics might be revealed if a keg of this stuff were dumped into the Large Hadron Collider. Of course the attending scientists should be allowed to drink Moo Joos during the experiment, to profoundly unify the observation in a whole new way. We will discuss beer as a religious experience some other time. Except to note that those monks knew what they were doing when they brewed up a vat of dark ale to sustain them during a fast. I like to think of beer as a bread smoothie, and quite apparently, so did the Brothers.

Monday, September 16, 2013


My favorite band graphic for today. Indicating how fickle I am. The for today part. It's so retro and timeless and cool. What do you call a combination of a hipster and a punster? I don't know, but such a person probably has a clock like this in their house.

Workin' It

Yes, children, this is a dung beetle. And this article, with a much funnier and somehow sad cartoon of this beetle's corporate counterpart, is an absolutely brilliant take on the workplace of today. Really, how important is what you do on a daily basis? And think about who you know, that if they didn't show up to do their job today, how that would put a crimp on everyone else's quality of life, or even leave their life dangling on the end of a string over a frightening precipice. I don't know about you, but I feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment when I cook a great meal or arrange a vase of flowers or write a poem or fill the house with delectable baking aromas. And nobody pays me to do these things. It's a visceral human need to have something to do that gives a sense of satisfaction. We have an internal drive to execute and complete tasks. Think how good it feels to check those items off your to-do list. And then consider that on a much deeper level than you realize, your instincts are correct when they scream out at you how psychologically unfulfilling the meeting or seminar you are about to sit through truly is. Since I feel fine about ending a sentence with a preposition, but not necessarily a blog post, I added this totally superfluous sentence to finish things off. Now get off the internet and get back to work, you slacker!

Friday, September 13, 2013

I Am a Town

Okay, sure, Santa Carla is full of vampires. Nothing saintly about that. But at least this was before they sparkled. No self respecting vampire sparkles.

Sporty Light Fixture

I want to see the bat that goes with this wiffle ball!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Why am I Drawn to You? What is it That I Get From You? Why Do I Want It?

Welcome to today's FAITH update. All I have to offer is a list of mostly adjectives but other words, too, and phrases. Meant not to vex or aggravate the reader, but rather to purge them from the brain of the writer.

feeding the beast
devoid of passion
settling for less
you can't miss what you've never experienced
holding back
delaying the inevitable
the simple pleasure of sharing human company
snappy wordplay
laughter is engaging
beer is good
Eleanor Rigby
choices, poor ones and smart ones
level of intimacy
trust and what constitutes the violation thereof
being in the moment

Recycling Rant

The garbage truck never wakes me up. The recycling truck, however, does, and rather rudely and at a much earlier hour than I find acceptable. The recycling truck makes a whole fucking shitload of noise! Not a half or three-quarters or even ninety percent, but an entire fucking shitload of noise*. And it has just occurred to me the why of this. Bags of garbage are large, soft, mostly mooshy things that fall with quiet civility into the back of the truck. Judging by what is in my recycling bin, which is lots of cans and bottles, the dumping of such contents is deafening and brain-jangling, even from blocks away! The intermixed paper and cardboard do little if nothing to muffle the uproarious clanging. Although I do find that this is annoying, please continue to recycle. It's the green thing to do. I'll either wear earplugs on Wednesday night or schedule a nap on Thursdays. It's the least that I can do for the good of Mother Earth.

*Reid, because he likes to be excruciatingly specific, supplied me with this sentence. Actually, I don't know if he likes to be this way, or simply is. He was laughing, too, and it is with the tempered and abiding love of a mother that I forgive him for enjoying my pain.  

**Upon reading the prior footnote, Reid has informed me that he does, indeed, delight in being excruciatingly specific.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Barbie has a last name! And it's not Doll! Nor is it Mattel! Her full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts. And the only guy at the table tonight knew her middle name! Oy. But none of us knew her last name. Her parents are George and Margaret and she hails from the fictional town of Willows, Wisconsin. If she had ever gotten around to marrying Ken, she would have been Barbara Millicent Roberts Carson. And been known among her friends as BarCar. She really should have seen a podiatrist years ago for her nasty case of Achilles tendinopathy. Or married one. We do know that Ken's father, Carl, was a doctor but I have no idea what variety of doc he might have been. All I know is, Barbie's full name is likely going to be one of the mantras I'll be repeating on my deathbed. More interesting than Rosebud, if you ask me.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Nice Work if You Can Get It

This thought has been rattling about in my head for a couple of days. Despite all this rattling and rumination, I still haven't come up with a coherent way of expressing it. Sometimes there's no getting around the fact that sitting down and typing is probably the only way to find the words. With a little luck maybe even a little eloquence will find its way in, and my thanks for bearing with me if you're still reading. Here goes. A friend's twentysomething son landed in a somewhat unlikely job opportunity a few months back. He auditioned for a well known exotic dance troupe that tours all over the world. This has been an occasional topic of conversation that almost always produces some raised eyebrows as well as good natured elbows to the ribs and a lot of joking remarks. Yes, the young man in question is college educated. And, obviously, yes, he is very handsome and very fit and loves to dance. When I met him, my impression was that he is thoughtful, well grounded and kind and has a great sense of humor. He has that somewhat indefinable solid, decent midwest-raised air of wholesomeness about him. He consulted his parents to get their thoughts on the job before he committed to it. His family is proud of him and clearly entertained by his current occupation. They don't hesitate to talk about it if the subject arises. It's all very open and healthy and almost ordinary that he dances scantily clad in a very erotic manner for the pleasure of his mostly female audience. And it is with the utmost honesty and complete lack of judgement that I relate this story. So this is what I struggle with. I wonder if the situation would be equal in every respect if it were a daughter rather than a son. I'm thinking likely not. The double standard is alive and well in so many aspects of our culture. Which concerns me as a feminist, a woman and a mother. Choosing to place yourself squarely in the light of sexual objectification feels like so what/wink-wink fun if the dancer in question is a man. If it's a woman, it seems like an immediate judgment of character with automatic assumptions about her morality and sexual proclivity. Do I think this because I'm a product of the culture I was raised in? Or is it an unbiased observation of that culture? I suppose this subject falls somewhere on the continuum of gender equality and and how it affects societal and sexual stereotypes. I realize I haven't made a point, just resurrected one of those eternally ponderable questions. Like I said, I'm struggling. Talk amongst yourselves.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

CatchUp #1 - Kitchen Remodel

I've been enjoying fellow blogger LindaCo's documentation of her kitchen remodel and it reminded me of going through that process myself. Coming up on the twelfth anniversary of the completion of my own kitchen remodel, I thought it would be fun to revisit the process in photos. I looked through the photo albums in hopes of finding some good before pics but there really weren't any. The photos were either so packed with people that the kitchen was merely a mostly invisible backdrop or very often closeups of boys blowing out candles on their birthday cakes. The old kitchen wasn't particularly photogenic, your standard L-shape outfitted with inexpensive cabinets and butcher block laminate countertops. We had done some intermediate alterations prior to the full remodel, adding a bank of base cabinets on the north wall and pulling out the print carpeting and replacing it with stick down vinyl tiles. So we begin with demolition!   

Here is 13yo Michael ready to take on breaking out the ceramic tile on the wet wall. We were able to repurpose most of the old cabinets out in the garage and in the basement.

My valiant as well as handy ex removing the over the range cabinet. Note the two different wallpaper styles on the north wall!

One problem with the original kitchen was a lack of ambient light. We lost the window when it was decommissioned in an earlier project and the light coming in through the window in the back door was a goner when we added the attached garage. The answer was to build a soffit that the wall cabinets would butt up to and install four light sconces for some indirect lighting.

To accommodate the addition of a dishwasher we had to take out a portion of the wall that separated the kitchen from the hallway. Then swapped the refrigerator and range positions in order to give a clearer line of sight from the dining area. 

Upper cabinets going in on the south wall, soffit finished and uplights installed. 

Laminate flooring going in! We were advised to install the flooring first, then install the base cabinets on top of the flooring. I still think this was the best way to go to avoid troublesome trimming around the cabinets. 


Tada! The finished kitchen! View is from the dining area. I added the cart a little over two years ago. More storage, more work surface, and the fact that it's on wheels makes the space work without crowding.

The north wall with unfitted cabinets. I still really like having used two vastly different finishes and tying them together with matching hardware. I also still love the bar for breakfast and quick meals. Now that there are just two of us most of the time it almost takes a holiday to set the table!

Dining area view from the middle of the kitchen.

I have a few cookbooks and I wanted them within reach. The open shelves above the sink still serve that purpose well.

The dishwasher went into the space where all the pots and pans had been stored in the previous kitchen configuration. The solution was a pot rack! It slipped conveniently into the spot where the original kitchen window had been located. A serendipitous bonus was the sturdy window framing was perfect for the large bolts necessary to anchor the pot rack to the wall! A little over a year ago I added the magnetic knife rack. Twelve years later I still love this kitchen. I ought to, I designed it! I had saved magazine clippings and product information for about five years and brought a big, fat file along to the first meeting with the kitchen people at Home Depot. Since we did all of the work ourselves and used the appliances we had with the exception of purchasing the dishwasher we managed to stay just under the $3,500 budget. Cabinets were the major expense, we chose a solid oak mid-price-range stock cabinet. We had set up a makeshift kitchen in a room in the basement that served us well during the six weeks of work time. It's amazing what you can prepare with a microwave, toaster oven, hot plate and electric griddle. Hauling the dirty dishes to the utility sink in the laundry room for washing got old pretty quickly and may have sped up the process! All in all, a fun and satisfying project that I'm still very happy with.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

How To Tell if You Were Raised Lutheran

If you are sort of absently listening to A Prairie Home Companion while preparing dinner, and it is the repeat broadcast from November 2011 which was recorded at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota and features the St. Olaf Choir and orchestra, and in the third segment of the program the choir sings Beautiful Savior, and you join right in singing, rather remarkably nailing the alto part which you haven't sung for years, maybe decades, this is a pretty strong indication that you were raised Lutheran.

Your Analysis

I had the grilled jumbo shrimp with a salad and a generous portion of asparagus on the side. It was delicious. A couple of hours later after having imbibed approximately a pound of beer and a pound of water, I excused myself and visited the ladies' room. Whereupon I olfactorily observed a horrible smell and wondered if I had contracted some sort of horrid infection and certain death was imminent. If there was anyone else in the bathroom, they didn't join me when I laughed out loud as I recalled having eaten asparagus earlier. As you may or may not know, asparagus contains sulfurous amino acids that are broken down by the digestive system into malodorous chemical compounds that can be detected within fifteen minutes of ingestion. What I didn't know is that this process happens to everyone who eats asparagus! But only about 25% of us have a sensitive enough nose to detect the pungency of our pee. So, if you don't think your pee stinks, rest assured that your digestive tract is functioning properly. Your nose is just a bit out of whack. Which may save you from experiencing other funky smells. Particularly if you are in a public restroom. Which could be considered a blessing.  

Friday, September 6, 2013

Can You Spare a Square?

Yes, I am aware this blog is published in an electronical-type format. But paper most definitely will always have a place. If you don't find this amusing, you are, indeed, grumpy beyond redemption.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Bow to the Salsa Queen

I like to think of Karen as the Salsa Queen. I am not referring to the dance, though for all I know she may be among the hoofing royalty as well. No, I am referring to that most favorite and versatile of condiments made from tomatoes, peppers and onions.

And of course it counts if you make your salsa from store bought or farmer's market ingredients. But this is all from her garden. Pardon me while I go check the supply of tortilla chips.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Gas Me Up!

I do love Hy-Vee's Fuel Saver program! It works like this. I buy stuff I need, then they scan my card at checkout to apply any points I earned. The next time I need to gas up my car, I scan my fuel saver card and I automatically get cents off at the pump! Makes buying gas just a little less painful. If you ask me, less pain is good.

Oh, Yes, The Little Black Dress

If the question is, can a girl own too many black dresses, the answer is an unequivocal no. Or, more emphatically, NO! In the above photo, please admire the mostly black halter dress I found in Spearfish while shopping with Jill.

Note the hem detail in the back. The dress features batik dyed flowers that are outlined with (I think) hand embroidery. I love wearing a fun, swishy, girly dress. And this one is all three!

While power shopping on the recent camping weekend with Karen, I found this beauty on a clearance rack. The asymmetrical ruffles are fun and flattering!

Close up on the fluttery ruffles. At Christopher & Banks, they call this the eyelash dress. Works for me.

Bonus! While shopping with Andrea I found these spangly lovelies to go with the batik dress. I was at JCP trying to spend my $15 birthday reward so they were basically free. As Miss Clairee Belcher said in Steel Magnolias, our ability to accessorize is what separates us from the animals. I wholeheartedly agree.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Tuesday Trivia

I won a beer tonight! It was trivia night down at Wooden Legs and for the second week in a row I have felt honored to be included in the prestigious, three time first place winning team, Brit & The Tits*. We took second place like last week, but we were tied for the silver honors tonight and had to roll dice to determine the winner. The prize was a six pack of Pacific Northwest area brews. Which worked out nicely for a seven member team, one of whom does not imbibe. I have not as yet popped the lid off of my Widmer Brothers Columbia Common spring ale and quaffed its contents. I want to bask in the glory of my win for a few days. Then drink it. Then never, never recycle the bottle. 

*Newlyweds Chris and Stephanie are the titular (pun intended) Brit and Tits, along with regular team members Marian, Emma, Brandi, Laura and newcomer, moi.

Monday, September 2, 2013


Sadly, my most decorative hair wrap came out yesterday morning. What I didn't realize while it was being done seven weeks ago is that the woman applying it cut off approximately eight inches of that lock of hair in the process! Now I have this odd little hair stump behind my left ear that is too short to pull back and not long enough to curl. It sticks straight out! I expect managing it while it is growing out will be easier than waiting for bangs to achieve a more desirable length. The little hair stump can hide under longer hair during that awkward phase. But still. Prior disclosure that she would cut off such a considerable chunk of hair would have been appropriate as it probably would have influenced my decision to acquire the wrap to begin with. Also, I watched her braid in a wrap on two other customers before it was my turn and I did not observe hair lopping on either of them. I'm working on not taking this personally. 

Damage Assessment

You know how sometimes you need a vacation to recover from your vacation? While overall I feel pretty darn good, I'm anticipating how problematic it will likely be to shave my legs around the twenty-odd mosquito bites about my ankles and knees. I'm certain the prickly stubble is going to bother me more than the itchy bumps, which are going to plague me for a few days anyway, so they may as well be not hairy. Still recovering from the most serious case of bike-butt I've ever experienced brought on by the 25 mile Saturday morning bike ride. The same 25 mile bike ride had a seriously rehabilitative effect on my recently sprained (for the 2nd time this summer!) right knee. I also have four bruises that I can't account for as far as remembering an injury to that portion of my body. On the plus side, no sunburn or damage to the manicure. All in all, attending AndiBean's end-of-summer party this afternoon is bound to provide restorative properties to whatever might be ailing me.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Goals are Good

I guess. In theory. But here goes anyway. There are a number of subjects I have sorely neglected here. Things I intended to write about then and there right now! And then I suppose I got distracted by something shiny. So I intend to catch up this month! In the next thirty days I will devote six blog postings, each of them in addition to that day's post, and bring myself more or less up to current. By golly. And I will label them as such so you can keep track. See you at the end of September!