Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Miss You, Mom

What is it about her birthday that jogs so many memories? Probably that she loved celebrating it. And enjoyed saying that everyone in the world celebrated on this day, her day. Happy birthday, Mom, you were a character. The 78 years you were here could barely contain your story.

Alamo, North Dakota. My best guess is 1947 or '48. Mom's in the middle in some sort of equestrian get-up, with her sister Mamie to the right and their friend Mona to the left. In front of grandma and grandpa's house. I have to mention the white picket fence, don't I?

With brother Scott, spring or summer 1956, which would place this pic in Denver. Scott is so entranced with that stick of gum he has dropped the toy that had been clutched in his toddler fist.

July 1980. My parents giving marriage, to each other, that is, a second shot. They look so damn happy. In less than three years they would be divorced again.

With her brother Ken in 2002. So many familiar objects in and on top of the cabinet behind them.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Miss Allison Nash

Accompanied by the amazing Holiday Jam band. Enjoy.

The Anthropology of Mom

After spending several days over Christmas with both of my sons, there is a new thing about motherhood that has occurred to me. I look at them and see what wonderful, kind, thoughtful young men they have become. So wholly themselves and comfortable and confident in who they are that I wonder how I had anything at all to do with bringing them into the world. I marvel at this discovery. And feel all the warmer inside when they grin at me and call me mom and hug me. 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Morning of the Solstice Party

Guests are arriving at 3 this afternoon. I have a pot of chili to prepare. There is cat barf on the living room carpet. Three bathrooms must be polished to company standards. I am still in my pajamas. At least I already made my bed. Let the frenzied party prep commence!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Terry Gilliam Wishes

It would be another five or so years after this animated greeting that I first became aware of Monty Python, et al. This man is a twisted genius. Enjoy.

Gone Missing

See Santa in his sleigh? With those adorable flying reindeer? And the crescent moon hanging in the night sky? Use your imagination. Work with me here. The thing is, when I unpacked all the Santas and put them out on display earlier this month, this guy was nowhere to be found. Did I pack it away so thoroughly I can't find it? Or maybe I threw it away in a frenzy of post-holiday cleaning earlier this year. I have given up on locating him, tonight I declared that the decorating was complete and shoved the red and green totes back under the stairs. With any luck he will turn up when it's time to pack things away.

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Wisdom of Edward Hoagland

This certainly was not the driving force behind ending my twenty year marriage. But it most definitely has been the result! 

Many divorces are not really the result of irreparable injury but involve, instead, a desire on the part of the man or woman to shatter the setup, start out from scratch alone, and make life work for them all over again. They want the risk of disaster, want to touch bottom, see where the bottom is, and, coming up, to breathe the air with relief and relish again.

Setup shattered? Check. Start from scratch alone? Check. Made life work all over again, risked disaster, found the bottom? Check, check, and check. It's not all that long since I surfaced after exploring the bottom to all its murky boundaries. I am relishing the sweetness of the air that fills my lungs. Still a ways to shore, but manageable. I have no idea what waits for me there but this transformative journey has been worth the time and effort. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Holiday Jam 6

First and foremost it was a most entertaining and excellent musical extravaganza.

I caught up with Jeremy during intermission. It was time to present him with a fabulous, hand-made, one-of-a-kind gift.

And here we have it in all its freakish splendor! The year old dinner bun of infamy!

Weird gifts are the best, that's what I always say. Jeremy seems to agree.

I'm still not certain as to whether this bauble is beautiful in its hideousness or hideous in a beautiful way. Let's just say that remarkable things can be accomplished with a dremel tool, a hot glue gun, various craft supplies, and a twisted imagination.

Of Beer and Men

Last night I was waiting in the beverage line during intermission. This venue is very much hit and miss as far as beer selection goes. Why limit myself to beer, you might ask. Well. When I'm driving I'm much more comfortable having a beer than a mixed drink when I have a fixed time in which to metabolize its alcohol content. Why not wine, you might further inquire. Well. I just can't enjoy wine out of a plastic cup. The plastic-y nature of the container spoils the bouquet for me, it overwhelms the taste of the wine. I do like a little wine buzz, mind you, but the pleasure of sipping the deliciousness is a big part of the experience for me. Lacking that, the buzz becomes pointless. When I got to the front of the line it turned out that the beer situation was a miss. All light beers with the lone exception being Budweiser. No thank you. And how does this correlate to men? It occurs to me that I make similar choices when faced with the current availability options in these particular areas. I am well acquainted with my preferences and dealbreakers. Which means that I would prefer to pass on an opportunity if it doesn't measure up. I'd rather be buzzless and alone than drunk and disappointed. If you aren't familiar with my standards where a man is concerned, you can read them here. As far as beers go, I adore Scottish ales or a nice seasonal brew on the darker side. I have yet to meet an Octoberfest style I didn't take to. Leinenkugal's various shandies appeal to me as does a standard bock style like the one Shiner makes. I just don't have the time or patience for what I already know I don't care for. Men. Beer. I like what I like yet remain open to new possibilities.     

Leave Meme Alone!

So this meme shows up on my Facebook feed. I wasn't familiar with the person who posted it and wondered why it was there. It seems that a mutual friend had liked the post so that was why I had the privilege of reading the following:

Say this slow...GOD I Love YOU and I Need YOU NOW!!! If You Meant It Repost & A Miracle Will Happen Tonight. Ignore and All Will Go Wrong.

It reminded me of a chain letter. Yes, children, before the internets existed and snail mail was the primary form of communication, there was this phenomenon known as the chain letter. There was usually a promise of wonderful, miraculous things coming your way in the body of the letter. Then toward the bottom you were warned that failure to send copies of the letter to a dozen friends would result in personal catastrophe. If you sent the letters, good fortune and riches were yours. Unmitigated bullshit, if you ask me. I typically responded by tossing any that I received in the trash. So. The comment field beckoned. I typed that I seriously disliked the mostly innocuous sentiment followed by a less than veiled threat. She responded in a somewhat disjointed fashion. I replied:

I think it's difficult to separate out your intended positive message from the negative end. The full meaning still comes across.

I felt like we had a civil discussion. I made my point, she made hers. Then an hour or so ago I had a private message from a man whose name was a little familiar. We have four mutual friends. He proceeded to rip me a new one over the way I had abused his friend! Shaming me for mistreating her, who, by the way, has a very sick child and hasn't slept much. Apparently the post was an entreaty for God's intervention to help her sick child. He then went on to say that he gets back here sometimes and then we can have an argument about theology. It was a threatening and angry message. I have some points to make. First, I am a mother and my heart goes out to anyone who has a critically ill child. Second, I believe in the power of collective prayer but I think it's odd, perhaps even counterproductive to ask for positive vibes by tossing out a negative one. Third, if you have a problem with me, air it in a civil public post rather than a threatening private message. And finally, the guy is three states away but I was pretty creeped out. He has been blocked.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Throw Back!

Toddler me aged one and a half years. With big brother Scott. This was taken at Grandma and Grandpa Ruud's house in Williston. The photo doesn't reveal what was probably a lutefisk laden atmosphere. Uff da. I love that you can see my mom's and Aunt Mamie's high school graduation pictures under the tree. I seem to be practicing walking, a relatively recently acquired skill. Scott seems to be engrossed in whatever is on television, the tv is just out of frame to the right. I remember being fascinated with the bubbler lights on the tree. I have no idea what is gripped in my chubby little right hand but I appear rather purposeful about taking it somewhere. Suddenly I'm craving Grandma's date filled cookies. And lefse. 
After conferring with cousin Cory, this is likely the grandparents' house in Alamo. They moved to Williston probably in 1960, a year or two after this picture was taken.

Shades of Calvin & Hobbes

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


Holiday Jam. Brookings edition. Tomorrow at 7pm at the Swiftel Center. Be there! All the cool people will be. Yes, that includes you.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Early Present

Heather was cleaning out some stuff and came across this lone wine glass. She knows how much I love cobalt glass so she rescued it for me! This is now my wine goblet of choice for this holiday season. Thanks, Heather!

Helpful Holiday Visuals

Monday, December 15, 2014

Girls Posing in Decrepit Doorways

Me with my sissies in Kansas City
The similarity between this photo and this one crack me up. All this attitude leads me to believe that we may never be old enough to know better! What fun.

Wacky Weather

It's December 15th. It's 55 degrees outside and it's raining. Oh, and this is South Dakota. This is weird. Mind you if temps were normal for this time of year soon we would be shoveling this precip off the driveway. I'm all for the festive white Christmas but humbug on the shoveling already!

My obviously malfunctioning thermometer still reads 55 even though the rain has turned to snow. Bleah. Checking the local weather on the internets informs me that the current temperature is 27 degrees. Cue up White Christmas! 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

It's the Bee's Knees

Shane made this drink for me last night. And it looked pretty much like the photo to the left. Excepting that it was served in the classic martini glass and had a slice of lemon floating in the center. It was delicious. A sipping drink like this makes moderation manageable. Enjoying it slowly is sine qua non. All I have to say is, so many martinis, so little time. 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Thursday Night With Jill

Speaking strictly in reference to myself, what kind of reasonable person begins with a Cosmopolitan, follows with a whole bunch of wine, then finishes up with beer, beer, and beer? I'm thinking the answer does not contain the word reasonable. Remarkably, with the exception of being short on sleep, I felt fine. The best thing with Jill is laughing so hard that I'm in danger of coughing up a tonsil. Good thing I haven't had tonsils since I was five. I think this is an excellent example of preventive medicine.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Cruel Fancy Dress

Saw this today and I thought (yes, I think occasionally and it was not painful) this would be an excellent holiday party dress idea for Miss Tallulah! Due to the fact that she does not bend in the middle and is not able to sit she is this household's best candidate for wearing a skirt consisting of pine needles. Okay, and the fact that she isn't actually alive and therefore does not feel pain helps, too. She doesn't suffer for fashion. Wonder where I can get some cruel shoes to go with it. Hmmm.

Belly Laugh for Today

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Anti-Scrooge

So it's Monday, right? And the landline rings. It's a Verizon rep in the customer loyalty department. Yes, Virginia, it seems that they do, indeed, have a department devoted to customer loyalty. He was calling to tell me about a new plan they are offering that cuts my monthly bill to nearly half of what it currently is. Sign me up! One of the things I work at is not being suspicious when something good happens out of the blue. That there has to be a downside, that old catch 22 lurking around the corner. I am choosing to embrace this windfall free from anxiety or doubt. Just don't call me during the day unless you're also on Verizon, I've just gone from unlimited talk to 700 minutes per month. Feel free to text, that's still unlimited. Yes, Virginia, Santa Claus is real!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Gettin' Ready

For some gluten free cooking and baking!

And snacking!

Since I last cooked for my elder son, he has been diagnosed with celiac disease. Which means I need to include gluten free options in my holiday cooking. For the most part Christmas day dinner will fit the bill with little alteration. But I thought it would be fun to rework some favorites like lemon bars and corn muffins so Michael would be included in the gastronomic celebration. After shopping with gluten free on my mind, I have discovered that wheat and wheat byproducts are ubiquitous! You have to become a serious label reader. I am grateful that bacon is gluten free.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Friday the Fifth

1. Dusk at this latitude arrives at precisely 4:48 pm, CST. I know this because that is when my outside lights come on, with the timer set to come on at dusk.

2. Since we are still sixteen days from the Solstice, dusk may arrive earlier tomorrow. 

3. We are a mere twelve days from the Brookings Edition of Holiday Jam 6!

4. Sam Adams Winter Lager is delicious.

5. I had a highly successful shopping expedition to Sioux Falls yesterday! 

6. Referring to Item 5, any shopping trip to SF is made that much better by a downtown lunch break with Jill.

7. I am celebrating the arrival of the first Christmas card! From dear lil' sis Martine. 

8. Referring to Item 1, I accomplished the deployment of the outdoor decorations this afternoon. 

9. Indoor decorations continue to evolve, supplemented by Item 4 and with the background filled in by holiday music and movies.

10. Despite oversleeping this morning, it has been a rather productive day, kickstarted by an early lunch date with the adorable JT Phlaan.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014


Well! It's certainly too late to take this stuff down now. Because then I'd just have to put it back up again. Procrastination is my friend.

Monday, December 1, 2014

White on White

The view from my patio door. What could the cats possibly be getting all worked up over? 

Hello, Monday

It was a mismatched dishes sort of morning.