Monday, September 29, 2014

One Cute Dress, Two Cutie-Pies

Yes, we were a hand-me-down family. I can't speak for my little sis, but this was totally my favorite dress.

And doesn't she look fabulous in it, too?

Frack From the Past

Remarkably, I remember the first names of all my classmates! Most of the last names as well! L-R front row, Shane, Rodney, Greg, Howard, Raymond, Bruce, Larry, Peter. L-R middle row, Daniel, Carla, Lanae, DeeAnn, Marlys, Sheila, Dona, Lori, me, Elaine. L-R back row, Gordon, Jean, Karen, Robin, James, John, Pam, Sara, Michelle, Mrs. Rambo.

My sixth grade class. Williston, North Dakota, 1968. We are posed in the basement library of Webster Elementary School. The building is no longer there which is really no surprise. It was one of those old, brick, square schools that, including the basement had four floors in use. At the time this picture was taken, the fourth floor was no longer in use due to structural decay. Small groups of students could use the classrooms on the fourth floor for projects, but as I recall, no more than ten at a time and most of the furniture had been removed. Plaster was falling from the ceiling and we were told to not go near the windows. And why did I choose to share this photo with you today? Well. I was just listening to Minnesota Public Radio. Tom Weber was interviewing author Lisa Westburg Peters who has written Fractured Land, The Price of Inheriting Oil, which recounts her ties to the Williston, ND area and deals with the subject of being a North Dakota Oil Heiress. A title that I also hold. And have ambiguous feelings about. I consider myself a treehugging environmental advocate. Yet I derive income from the filthiest oil production methods that technology currently offers. The second part of the interview was with the newly installed mayor of Williston, the honorable Howard Klug. Who was in my sixth grade class! Mr. Klug is in the front row, fourth from the left wearing a yellow button down shirt. I am in the second row, seated second from the right. We moved away from Williston in the spring of 1973 and I have only returned occasionally since. The last time I was there was in July 1999 to visit my grandmother who died the following February. With Esther gone, my ties to the area ended. This is the third oil boom the Williston area has endured. I hope for the sake of the residents who remain after the current exploitation ends will retain some of the benefits of the current uptick in the economy. That hasn't been the case in the past and it sounds as if local government is making some efforts in that direction. Govern well, Mayor Klug. The future of the people of Williston depends on it. Let's hope the third time's the charm.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Bangs Have It

I had settled into a bangs free hairstyle. It was working with my natural curls. I had found anti-frizz products that tamed the wackiness without weighing down the sass. Then this unfortunate event occurred and I went back to bangs to hide first the injury and swelling, and after that the scar. Five years later, the scar isn't so bad but I've kept the bangs. I like them. They suit me. And even though I do my unintentional level best to not be fashionable, it seems that bangs are in again. I won't be growing mine out or pinning them aside simply to rebel. Fashion cycles move on and once again I will be back to my old non-trendy self. It's my comfort zone.

The Rare and Lovely Purple Siphonophore

I have this floater in my right eye. I've had it for years, and I have often meant to grab a pencil and draw a picture of it because it has an interesting shape. Sometimes it's folded over, sometimes all stretched out, always recognizable. As it often works out in life, if you put something off long enough, someone else does it for you. In my experience this MO never works for cleaning the bathroom or filing your taxes.

Though apparently it does work when deep sea explorers happen upon something that is shaped pretty much like my floater. Now I can imagine that a miniature, colorless version of this deep sea critter lives inside my eyeball. Even though I know what's in there is a tiny, harmless protein strand. Oh, the nightmares that shall ensue.

Thought for the Day

Friday, September 26, 2014

Cereal Rant

As long as we're in the kitchen, I have a question for the people at General Mills. What the bloody freaking hell is up with the cinnamon on the Cinnamon Toast Crunch? Was it formulated to survive a nuclear holocaust? Okay, fine, that's two questions. My point is, I just put away the clean dishes from the recently cycled dishwasher. There were no cereal bowls to be found among those clean dishes. Among the clean dishes were a roasting pan that had bits of crusty, roasted veggies clinging to it before the dishwasher did its magical thing. There was a shiny soup pot that previously had potatoes and cream and smoked sausage simmered in it. And it sat out on the stove overnight before being washed! Everything else was sparkly and clean, just not the bowls that had been used for the Cinnamon Toast Crunch. They retained tiny brown speckles that had to be scrubbed off by hand! This concerns me. And flies in the face of my refusal to rinse the dishes before they are loaded into the dishwasher. Why not use a little soap while you're at it and put the dish in the drainer so it's totally clean and ready to be used again? Why bother with the extra step of running it through the dishwasher if it's already clean? The mysterious part is how the teensy cinnamon flakes remain only on the dishes that were used to eat the cereal. With all that water swishing about you'd think they'd contaminate everything. So I will ask you once again, people at General Mills, just what the bloody freaking hell is up with the cinnamon on the Cinnamon Toast Crunch? You may reply in the comment section. Thank you.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Sharpen Your Knives!

Was there really ever a time when I didn't know my way around a kitchen? I've been interested in cooking pretty much all of my life. Before I grew tall enough to see what was going on up on the counter top, mom would push a chair up to the cabinets so I could watch, holding myself steady by gripping the back of the chair. I remember being fascinated by how she chopped an onion or how she magically transformed a sheet of bread dough into cinnamon rolls. Mostly I remember the smells. By the time I was eleven, I could cook a whole meal on my own. Just for fun, I was watching this series of New York Times short tutorial videos on basic kitchen tasks. And I have to say I was familiar with all of them. I use a slightly different technique for rolling and crimping pastry, but for the most part I think it's a great way to introduce terms and provide a simple how-to. There was this one thing as far as mincing the parsley was concerned that had me wondering. Did he really say discipline? Was this particularly unruly parsley? Or does all parsley need to be sat down and given the what-for? Is the flat leaf better behaved than the curly? Think I'll just have a glass of wine and watch Julie and Julia.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Wedding Saturday in the Month of June

I am about to seriously date myself. When I was in high school the store I worked at did the ordering on this huge, clunky teletype machine. While entering information a paper tape was punched that would later run through a reader that input the ordering information to the warehouse through a modem. High tech-ish for its time! Really! So guess what we're pelting the bride and groom with. That's right! I saved the punches for a year from the teletype machine. That's what I do, save stuff because I just know someday it will come in handy for something. There are those who would call this hoarding. I prefer creative caching.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Note to Self

Dear Carla,

For future reference, the mac & cheese pizza is clearly not brain food. Please remember this if you wish to win prizes at trivia night. I remain certain that beer is, indeed, a thought process enhancing beverage.

Yours truly,


Monday, September 22, 2014

Monday Words

Carla's Wish

I love this man. I want to marry him. And I know very little about him beyond the information on his web site. Apparently he's a brilliant doctor and author. I just want him for his name. Call me superficial but Carla Karlawish has a nice ring to it.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

This Close to Oops

The attendees had split up into various friendly factions as soirees often do. There was the kitchen party made up of nibblers who remain near the food and drink. Numerous others were gathered in the dining room where they could admire the cakes and the growing pile of cards. More recent arrivals claimed the space around the front door, a bottleneck of smiles and friendly greetings. The progeny of guests and hosts had settled into the sunroom. To their parents' surprise they remained among the adults rather than retreating to the basement room of video games and movies and an enormous flat screen tv. I was a member of the backyard party festivities. A temporary drizzle had cleared to an open night sky with a periphery of clouds lit with showy lightening. Not the kind that pierces the dark with its crooked fingers and then announces itself with a thunderous roar, but the kind that flashes slowly and beautifully illuminates the nooks and crannies of the receding clouds. Barefoot in my tie dye sundress with a glass of pinot grigio in hand I was having a lovely time among people I was meeting for the first time. When cake and candles time approached we were beckoned indoors to sing the birthday song to the feted one. The house had filled to near capacity while I was outdoors and I had to wiggle in and stand on tiptoe to see into the dining room. I looked down and behind to make sure I wasn't blocking anyone's view and spied a teenage boy seated just a couple of feet away. Momentary eye contact was made and I smiled at him. He grinned back revealing a mouthful of braces. That was when I very nearly made a monumental mistake. I knew who this boy was. His sister was standing nearby. I had seen so many photos of them on their father's social media as well as numerous pics stored on his phone. Eating frozen yogurt and playing baseball and performing on stage. Lazing about on school breaks resisting dressing and readying themselves to leave the house. Craftily creating Halloween costumes. I felt a chill inside and stopped just short of greeting them by name. Which would have required explanation. In the dining room the birthday boy's speech was winding down as a multitude of candles were lit. I recognized his former wife across the crowded room. Relieved that I was invisible to them, I eventually retreated outside, cake in hand, where I remained as the party wound down. Returning indoors an hour or so later the last few guests were on their way out. The children had departed with their mother. I breathed a sigh of relief tinged with sadness and regret. Relief that their father had chosen to not attend though he had been invited. Regret over the very real likelihood that I might never see him again. But I was happy to be there. Happy that after wavering back and forth for a week that I had gone. If eighty percent of life is showing up, one hundred percent of it is the joy and gratitude of being precisely where you want to be in any moment. I'm happy to be here. Here is good.

Friday, September 19, 2014

What's In a Name?

It appears that I am out there. The question is where. Another question that comes to mind is, had there not been a Coke with my name on it, would I remain a loyal Coke drinker? Let's file this under nagging questions that I don't need to bother with.

Ooooh! My middle name is out there, too. Suddenly I feel extra special.


My son just called the cats furry bilge rats. Then announced that he was going below deck to commune with scurrilous scoundrels. It's much too early for pirate talk.

Thursday, September 18, 2014


Few fine-motor activities are worth the inevitable pain that follows. Particularly when accompanied by mosquito bites, bee competition, and prickly bushes. I picked this many before resorting to immediately stuffing my cheeks with them. Sometimes my self control astonishes me.

Chilly Toes Morning

I'll have you know that not just anyone around here possesses fuzzy, pink socks embellished with kiwi birds. But I do. As usual, I have no idea what Newton thinks. Except perhaps, get in the kitchen and make coffee! now! because after coffee kitties get treats!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Epochal Moment

Sometimes you're drying your hair and only the primary objective, achieving dry hair, is attained. Sometimes you're drying your hair and have a moment during the process where something else entirely occurs. Since I wield the hair dryer sans optical correction, ie without glasses, I occasionally find it necessary to lean in close to the mirror to see what I'm doing. Today I caught my own reflected eye as I was backing away. And there was something about the warm air blowing my hair every which way and the whirrr of the appliance and the makeup-free state of my face that made me stop. I was suddenly and astonishingly aware of a thought as it took shape in the front of my brain. Clearly a notion that had been lingering in a nebulous state in the back of my brain for some time, biding its time for an opportunity to come forward and announce itself. An enormous and central factor of my attraction to him is that he's the guy version of me. This is either the epitome of narcissism or the healthiest expression of self esteem. Ever. Maybe both. Here I am, once again, embracing the opposite ends of a spectrum with no happy medium in sight.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

I'm a Butterfly Magnet!

Yes, that's my foot. And that's a Giant Owl butterfly roosting on my leg. Even more remarkably, this photo was snapped with my phone. Which is equipped with a very not impressive camera. I can only assume that I smell like a flower.

Clearly Label These Dangerous Things!

Wide Awake JumpyBrain Blues

Sudafed plus Advil equals no more congested ears. Also equals inability to sleep that not even the string theory book can conquer. Is it time for coffee yet?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Welcome to My Tuesday

1. Startled from a deep sleep by the landline ringing. The call was to confirm a nonexistent dental appointment.

2. Discovered that the son had devoured the remaining banana pancakes.

3. In reference to Item 2, he also used up the butter on said pancakes without removing more from the refrigerator.

4. In reference to Item 3, this meant that there was no soft butter for my toast.

5. Though I labored over attempting to solve it, I could not correctly answer the movie trivia calendar question for today.

6. It is overcast, gray and chilly outside.

7. After not sleeping well last night, which I am blaming on the full moon, Item 1 occurred so I went back to bed because of Item 6, causing me to oversleep.

8. Item 7 explains why I am still sitting here in my jammies.

9. Despite these unfortunate beginnings to my day, I am confident that what coffee has not solved a good, steamy shower shall.

10. In reference to Item 9, why am I still sitting here?

As far as Item 3 is concerned, the son pleads innocent to hogging the butter. Which means either I hogged it and forgot about it, I hogged it while sleepwalking or the cats are to blame. I mostly just think it's really cool that he read my blog. **The mom does a happy dance on her way off to bed.**

Monday, September 8, 2014

Sunday, September 7, 2014


So I've been considering the wisdom of Dan Savage. And I have to say that on the subject of relationship dealbreakers we are on the same page. You can't have a whole laundry list of these, you seriously can only have what you can count on one hand. Which reminds me of the fact that I have conscientiously listed relationship requirements in this space. It seems to me that musts versus no ways! as far as significant other choosing is concerned are simply the positive and negative points of view. Since I've shared the musts I thought I'd take a stab at listing the no ways! for your entertainment. And I'm pleased that the list is concise.

1. Tobacco use of any kind. It's the ick factor that I just can't get past. You might as well try to kiss me with a mouthful of poop. 

2. Deep and irreconcilable differences in spiritual or political or cultural beliefs.

3. Sexual incompatibility.

Back When I Was a Biker Girl

Friday, September 5, 2014

Positivity Challenge, Day 7

1. I love living where I experience a full change of seasons. Fall is my favorite and it's definitely in the air this morning!

2. Grateful for my spiritual beliefs that keep me centered and give me hope.

3. Happy that I have the gift of being in the moment and appreciate the small pleasures in life.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Positivity Challenge, Day 6

1. Banana pancakes for breakfast.

2. Home grown tomatoes!

3. Going to see AndiBean in Little Shop of Horrors tonight with Andrea!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Positivity Challenge, Day 5

1. I live in a comfortable, lovely home that is my shelter from the weather and a haven from a world that can sometimes be dark and cold.

2. Despite the fact that I'm half Norwegian, it seems that my brain is hard-wired for happiness. I am something of a relentless optimist.

3. I'm grateful for my curiosity and that I ask questions all the time. I love knowledge and learning new things!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Positivity Challenge, Day 4

1. While I don't exactly feel grateful about it, living with my workplace injury has taught me some valuable lessons. Everyday tasks are a challenge that require me to use patience, creativity and grit in order to accomplish them. I've learned to ask for help. 

2. Despite this injury, I'm otherwise in excellent health.

3. Writing has saved my sanity since I started journaling at the age of eleven. While I accept that I may never earn a living as a writer, I still write every day. Having this blog and writing poetry and longer forms has been a great creative outlet. And I'm grateful that so many of you show up here to see what's on my tiny little brain.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Positivity Challenge, Day 3

1. I love a good, window rattling thunderstorm.

2. Prairie sunsets are majestic and beautiful.

3. Some of my favorite movies feature characters, if not entire casts, who speak in their native, or sometimes adopted by skillful actors, dialects and accents. Examples are Local Hero, The Commitments, anything Monty Python, Crimes of the Heart, Waking Ned Divine, The Secret of Roan Inish.

You Tell 'Em, Dan!

I love Dan Savage. I don't always agree with him but, damn, he's smart, he's practical, and he's straight to the point. Here he is exploding the myth of the one with humor and style. And I bet he chews with his mouth shut.