Thursday, December 31, 2015


Happy Birthday, Mom

Mom and me. Sometime in 1986 or '87. Today is the 84th anniversary of her birth. She always did enjoy how the whole world celebrated her birthday. Where ever you are now, Mom, I hope there's Jack Daniels black label. And high heels. And a pool table. And some men to flirt with. She was such a great beauty and a force to be reckoned with. There just aren't dames like her anymore.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

They Make Shoes Out of Rubies, Right?

It seems that they have run through the list of metals to classify credit cards. Silver, gold, platinum, titanium. Just not impressive enough anymore.  Yes, they have moved on to precious stones.Today I received an offer for a Sapphire Visa card. I have been preapproved for a ridiculously high credit limit. But they want an annual fee. And my firstborn child. And it turns out that the card itself isn't actually made of sapphire. Nor does it have some tiny cute gemstones embedded in the plastic. Thanks, Visa people, I'll pass on this one. Do let me know when you are offering sapphires suitable for mounting in, say, a silver, gold, platinum, or titanium setting. I might take you up on that.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

When Life Gives You Lemons

I have just made lemon curd. For the very first time. It's delicious. I know because I licked all the utensils. If only I had a lemon to include in the photo so it would look much more art-directed. But I used them all. Making the lemon curd. Tomorrow it will be served with the also pictured pound cake. And raspberries. Maybe whipped cream, too. I can't remember ever feeling this damn fancy.

The Three Guys Who Never Call

1. The cute guy who has your number.

2. Your lawyer.

3. Your contractor.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Good News, Bad News

Happy Solstice! The bad news is, Winter has officially begun. The good news is, there is a tiny bit more light every day from now until just after mid-June. A little more than two minutes to be imprecise. The axial tilt, children, it's the reason for the season.

A Long Time Ago...

L to R, my big brother Scott holding little brother Cullen, me, cousin Cory in Santa's (in actuality, Uncle Carl. Clay, Cory, and Sara's dad) lap, Aunt Mamie with Clay, and in the foreground, three-month-old Sara.

...on a Christmas Eve far, far away. 1964. Williston, North Dakota. Celebrating with Santa and the Skurdal cousins. I have no idea what I am holding so carefully in my little hands. And little sis Martine is nowhere to be seen. At that age she had a major fear-of-SatanSanta thing going. And due to my sloppy typing form, I just wrote Satan instead of Santa. Making Martine's fear much more rational seeming. Suddenly this has become creepier than the Luke, I'm your father moment. 

Going to See This Tonight!!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

What Every Girl Needs

A handsome, smiling man who knew her before this time. Before she was a wife, before she was a mother, before the merciless and relentless indications of aging began to set in. A man who hugs her and calls her by her maiden name. Miss Broome. Because that's how he remembers her. Pulling her back to a time of hope and promise and all things possible. For just a moment, she is that girl. And despite the years, she is reminded that this girl still dwells within her and can be called forth with two magical, manifesting words. Miss Broome. It is, indeed, the season of miracles.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Beer(s) of Seattle

Michael and Liz know I love Octoberfest style beer. So in addition to stocking up on Sam Adams' version, they also picked up a local brew made by Pyramid. It was delicious. I had a couple of other local beers, one at the top of the Space Needle and another in a bar near the Public Market. They were both terrific. But as I am prone to do, I neglect to properly document the experience because I'm so caught up in enjoying the moment. So I didn't snap a photo of the bottle or menu. I apologize, Seattle, you are a city of many tasty opportunities and that certainly includes beer. All I have to say is, if you love beer, go to Seattle and drink their local brews. You won't be disappointed.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Google, Kirkland Campus

Yes, I know it's the old logo. They've been busy with other stuff. Like world domination and treating their employees well. 

Thursday, December 17, 2015

History Lesson

After seeing this photo on Facebook I just could not shut up. Let's be inclusive about this holiday season. I think Jesus would be totally cool about it.

I shared the photo with this added comment:

I must point out that German Christians brought decorated evergreen trees into their homes to celebrate Christmas in the 16th century. However, this practice has its roots in the Pagan custom of bringing evergreen trees and branches into their homes to celebrate the Winter Solstice and the promise of Spring yet to come. They had been doing this for many hundreds of years before the Germans. It's no surprise that so many cultures and religions celebrate this time of year. All of these celebrations are about peace and togetherness and feasting and love and hope and all are equally valid. It's not a competition! The Solstice belongs to us all.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015


I can't believe that I have neglected to gush about Holiday Jam! This is way overdue considering that Holiday Jam 7, Brookings edition, is less than 24 hours from commencing! I command you to attend this truly terrific holiday music concert! That is all. Return to your nap or cookie baking activities.

How to Tell...

...if the guy slipping down your chimney is Santa. Yes, I've run this before. But only because I am so enamored of the Venn Diagram. A seasonal one is even better. You're welcome.  

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Dinner Conversation

Whilst enjoying steamed broccoli and penne pasta dressed with a sauce of white wine and olive oil and carmelized onion, chicken, bacon, carrot, and garlic, there was holiday music playing.

Reid: What's the music?

Me: Mannheim Steamroller.

Reid: Sounds like a wrestling move.

Me: Extraordinaire.

Reid: Yeah, if you pin the guy.

While Returning a Sweater at Eddie Bauer

Sam: Be with you in a moment.

Me: Smiles.

Sam: All right, what can I help you with?

Me: I have a return. Pulls sweater out of shopping bag.

Sam: Any problem with it?

Me: It was much more flattering in the store than it was at home.

Sam: Oh, yeah. It's that magic sparkly stuff we put on the mirrors.

Me: I've always suspected that.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Bob's Burgers! (& Brew)

There really is a Bob's Burgers.

It's a local chain in Oregon and Washington.

The burgers were delicious. We did not try the squirrel sandwich. Judging by how much Newton enjoys watching the squirrels frolic in the back yard through the patio door, if he had been along I'm guessing he would have ordered it.

At the Corner of Starbucks and Elliot Bay

I'm pretty sure tourists in the city of Seattle are required by law to snap a photo in this location. Reid is taking this obligation very seriously. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Down at the Kirkland Arts Center

Located in the historic Peter Kirk Building.

The turret room from the inside.

An architecturally significant, well-preserved example of Victorian era commercial architecture with Romanesque Revival elements.*

My Darling DiLly, Liz, is on staff at the center.

And my goofy sons are in a stairwell at the center beneath a cloud-like installation composed of paper cylinders.

* The description is straight off their website.

Thermostat Wars

The house was particularly chilly when I woke up this morning. After donning fat socks and a fuzzy robe I ventured out to the hallway to turn up the thermostat. And observed that it was turned all the way down! This reminded me that my son had showered last evening. And when he showers he turns the thermostat all the way down. I didn't notice because I was busy cooking dinner and putting up even more holiday decorations until I went to bed. I turned it up to a reasonable 70 and shuffled to the kitchen to make coffee. I have always been mystified as to why he does this turning off the heat thing. I don't know about you, but when I'm wet and naked I want the room toasty warm. I have surmised that he offsets this frugality by overuse of a space heater in his man cave downstairs. When he could put on slippers and more clothing instead. Pardon my logic, but this makes no sense at all. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

I Dreamed I Was Jane Jetson

Eat here!

We Earthlings recommend the pizza.

Fun With Food

Reid contemplates the mysterious chicken nugget shaped like a jalapeno pepper. 

What does it all mean?

Monday, December 7, 2015

Friday, December 4, 2015


The family that consumes chocolate-covered raisins together, well, is very, very happy together. Announcing a new Thanksgiving tradition! Eating chocolate-covered raisins with your adult children and watching Sharknado. Perhaps the worst movie since Plan 9 From Outer Space. But somehow rendered watchable and hilarious by the consumption of chocolate-covered raisins. Enhanced even further by a smart phone app that syncs the on-screen action with the lights in the room. Cosmic, man.

Holy Macaroni, Batman

For the romantic. Who loves mac & cheese. And puns. You can buy one, or one very similar to this. Seriously.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Snooze News

I snore. This has been verified by two people. Get your brains out of the toilet, I have recently been on road trips with Andrea and the younger son and shared hotel rooms. It only happens when I sleep on my back and have a pillow tucked under my neck just so, allowing for jaw-dropped slumber thunder. This is it, I expect, for any romance in my life. Unless I can always manage to sleep on my side. Pardon me while I go sew tennis balls to the backs of all my jammies.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Live From Rock Springs, Wyoming*

Hello, December, so happy to see you. I have added three states to my official States I've Visited list. Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. Leaving ten states I have thus far not set foot in. Florida, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maine, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Delaware, New Hampshire, and Vermont. Then there's those pesky Alaska and Hawaii outliers. So, okay, twelve. It seems that four separate trips need to be embarked upon to hit them all. But first I would like to get home, hug my Newton tigercat, and stay put for a few weeks. Goodnight.

*Which my brain keeps wanting to call Rock Ridge. That exceedingly happy place where Sheriff Bart rules. Not the same thing at all.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy T-Day

Seattle, Day One

1. Watching the sunset from the top of the Space Needle is pretty cool.

2. In reference to item 1, okay, it was spectacular.

3. Anyone who thinks fondue is dead should go to The Melting Pot and find out how sadly mistaken they are. Fondue is alive and well and melty and delicious. And fun. 

4. Michael and Liz, otherwise known as my Beamish Boy and my Darling Dilly, have a ridiculously fluffly and adorable puppy named Gimli.

5. The Kirkland Arts Center has some terrific art that you can actually buy.

6. In reference to item 5, you can also take classes there and learn how to create art. And it's located in an awesome historical building. Oh, and Liz works there so we got a private tour.

7. Lunch at Google* is delicious and totally freaking free. As is the coffee and snacks. I want to move in there.

8. In reference to item 7, this is only true if you work there or are a guest of someone who works there. Which Michael does.

9. If it hasn't become obvious to you yet, Google has a very friendly vibe and I want to work there despite not possessing skills that would qualify me for employment.

10. Under the right circumstances, the phrase FISH SANDWICH! can be pretty fucking hilarious.

*I tried to post a link to Google but it simply redirects you to the Google search page. Not that anyone needs to have Google explained to them. Well, I sort of do but that's beside the point. And a link to Wikipedia that explains what Google is seemed just plain silly.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Banjo Schematic

What Reid does at the bar when he's bored. Waiting for me to drink my pint of water after I've consumed a pint of beer.

Smartypants Status: Verified

You're unbelievably intelligent! Your friends are impressed with your amazing treasure trove of knowledge. You know the answers to just about any question, and you're always on hand with a helpful remark. Your IQ is just as high as the smartest people who've ever lived! You're a true genius! Share your results on Facebook now, and show your friends how high your IQ is!

I really must stop with the quizzes and vacuum. And pack. And clean out the refrigerator. And continue to apologize to Newton for abandoning him to a pet sitter for the next ten days.

Thoughts This Sunday Morning

I saw and shared this essay by Lorelle Saxena on Facebook this morning. What she expresses is what so many of the privileged need to hear. Are you one of the privileged? I feel that I am, and if you stop to contemplate whether or not you are privileged then you probably are, too. 

I'm done with polite, apolitical vaguebooking right now. There are so many smugly hateful messages on my Facebook feed, and I'm not going to get into it with each and every one of you, but here is the bottom line:
There is no reason, not one single reason, why I deserve shelter, food, stability, safety, health, or your regard any more than any given Syrian refugee. Not one reason. My home, my education, my business; the way I look, the way I talk; the fact that I come home to a safe, whole, healthy family every day--every one of those things is a privilege that I fell into by the random circumstance of being born in this country to parents who valued academic achievement. I, or you, could have just as easily been born in Syria, or Burkina Faso, or Afghanistan. Do you really think that you're a different kind of human being than the refugees? Do you think your privilege is earned?
I know: you've worked hard for what you have. I have, too. But have we worked harder than the refugees worked for the lives that were destroyed? Do we love our children more than they do; would we grieve harder if a civil war took them away from us? And how long do you believe it would take for a bomb to destroy everything safe about your life?
Compared to most people in the world, you and I are rich with privilege, much of it just because we were lucky enough to be born in a country fat with it. I woke up early this morning and made organic, whole-grain muffins for my son, then dressed him in warm clothes, put sunscreen on his little face, strapped and buckled him into his bike seat and rode along peaceful streets to deliver him at his warm, nurturing preschool. There were so many levels on which I was able to protect him. Every breath of this morning was a privilege. Meanwhile millions of children who months ago had bedrooms and dinner tables and doctors and schools are sleeping directly on the ground, their parents unable to secure shelter or food for them, much less healthcare or education.
And no, that is not your fault. But that's not the same as it not being our responsibility. We have everything we need and then so much on top of that, and we can choose to exemplify to our own children one of two courses of action: we can open our clutched fists and share with our fellow humans all the abundance that exists here--or we can hoard it, greedy and bloated and fearful.
These are families like yours. Thinking they might have connections to terrorist factions is as rational as thinking you might be a terrorist because Timothy McVeigh was American. Half of the refugees are children. What is it in you that can close your eyes to other human beings, especially human beings that are small and hungry and cold?
I'm not asking you to give half of everything you have to help them, or to turn your backyard into a tent city, or to donate to causes that support efforts to protect these very vulnerable people. I'm asking you not to hate them because they need something you have. I'm asking you to recognize that the fear being built around the refugees is less about American security and more about American greed. I'm asking you to be a human being that understands every human being has basic needs and that the lucky among us can afford to share our luck to ease suffering. I'm asking you to stop thinking, posting, politicizing around the idea that we just can't help before we've taken care of our own.
Because there is no such thing as "our own." Every human is our own. Every hungry child, grieving mother, frightened husband, weary grandmother is our own. Nobody gets to pretend our world is a different world from the world that creates civil wars and bombs and hunger. We are all toeing this same precarious, shifting tightrope of a life. Anyone can fall at any time. All there is to catch us is each other.

Saturday, November 21, 2015


While weeding through Michael's stuff in an effort to determine what should make the trip with us I found this. In 1994, when he was all of six years old, he received a pre-approved application in the mail for a Citibank Visa credit card. I thought it would be fun to send it in. So he filled out the brief application form and signed it in a large, scrawly fashion, rather typical for a first grader. Some weeks later this was the reply he received.

He dealt with the rejection quite well. I think it would have been fun to go shopping. It's never too early to start building a good credit history.

Another Butter Battle

Pink & Her Dad

So touching to see father and famous daughter performing such a personal song together. It also speaks to me as a child of the 60's. I remember so clearly doing fractions homework as the Huntley-Brinkley report blared in the background from our b&w tv. They led each broadcast with the casualty numbers from Vietnam. So impersonal, so cold. It's in the personal stories from those fortunate enough to return that quietly reveal the damage done. How does anyone ever recover. 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Tiara Triplets

This is so long overdue. I meant to post this right after Miss Martine's birthday way back in June. To have posted earlier would have spoiled the birthday surprise. And that just won't do. Behold, the Sparkle Princess counterparts to my sisters and me. Whom I miss terribly. Snow White remains with me while Belle has gone to Arizona to live with Martine and Ariel is with Miss Pam. All I have to say is, the Pez dispensers needed company.

Orchid You Not

I love it when the garnishes are edible. Jill ate hers. I brought mine home. I have no idea if there is a deeper meaning here.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

More to Worry About

It's called blepharospasm if it occurs in both eyes. If it occurs in just one eye it's something to worry about. Great. My twitch switches eyes. They never twitch at the same time. The article doesn't really address this variation. This is why I drink.

Rory Selfie

Sounds Good to Me

If a fortune cookie says so, who am I to argue.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Clears Out the Cobwebs

After going through boxes of the elder son's stuff to determine what makes the cut for the trip to Seattle, I found a summer beer lurking in the back of the basement fridge. Sigh. It tastes like summer. Which, if you were wondering, is only about 31 weeks away. In these parts, warmer weather starts a good ten to twelve weeks prior to the official arrival of summer on the Solstice in June. I don't know about you, but until then I'm indulging in the darker beers and sturdy red wines. Cheers.

Last Wednesday Night

Waiting patiently for our place in line to meet the Bloggess. In the cup is a delightful coffee concoction called a Black Forest latte. It was a good drink. It was a good night.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Favorite Things

This is a thing. Seriously. The scent consists of a combination of sandalwood and vanilla and musk essences. NOT MADE WITH ACTUAL KITTEN WHISKERS! Considering that one of my favorite candles at Bath & Body Works is their sandalwood vanilla flavor, this might be quite tolerable. I'm dreaming of a purple Christmas. Decorating-wise, anyway.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Breakfast Before Bloggess

Coffee. And an enormous muffin that I started to eat but did not finish until I returned to South Dakota. Yes, children, it really was that big. Pumpkin with a dollop of cream cheese icing. The line no longer exists between muffin and cupcake. It was obliterated long ago.

Andrea enjoys her orange juice. No chance of scurvy on this trip.

This wasn't breakfast but a beverage stop the day before. Shocking, isn't it, that Andrea would snap a selfie with this much derided red cup? She is a rebel.

On Victor Street

After breakfast but before the museum, we took a side tour to Aurora and found one of my childhood homes. Andrea was kind enough to snap a photo.

Flash back to nearly fifty years ago and here I am with my sibs in front of that very house! Yes. I really am that fucking old.

At The Denver Museum of Nature & Science

We had some time to kill before the book signing, and what better way to kill something than with poison. At The Denver Museum of Nature & Science, of course.

Posing with my favorite femme fatale in the history of poison, Lucrezia Borgia. She was the daughter of a Pope. Really. Pope Alexander VI. By his mistress of longest association, Vannozza dei Cattanei. If you wish to attain such a distinction, it seems you must begin tending to the Pope's many needs when he is a mere Cardinal. Then prostitute your daughter as a poisonous political pawn. History is a scary thing.

During this demonstration of the evolution of forensic science, children learned not only about poison, but also profanity.

Photo credit -- Andrea