Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Time for a Tome

I was just thinking that this month marks seventeen years since I printed out the first draft of The Virgins Club. I spent a year submitting and the following year attempting to secure a literary agent. I failed at both endeavors. My novel has lingered at second draft stage for the last fifteen years. At this point, close to forty people have read it and I have received mostly positive feedback. Prepare yourselves, children. I have decided to publish it here. On the first and the fifteenth of each month going forward, I will post two chapters of The Virgins Club. I am aware that there are run-on sentences and I am not a grammarian, although I was an English major. I can't figure out for the life of me how to split up a narrative into paragraphs. Why do you think I publish here in a single block format? As always, I appreciate feedback. Stick with me and tell me what you think about content, story, and characters. Please be kind. At the very least, be constructive. If you're a literary agent, make me an offer I can't refuse.


When the appliance delivery fellows arrived this morning, the first task was to remove the old range. After pulling it away from the wall, guy #1 turned to me and said, I'm afraid you have a very bad mice problem. Totally deadpan. Frightfully serious. I peered over his shoulder steadying myself for the worst. Then we both burst out laughing. The previous owner's cat left a present for me. Over a dozen little mousie toys. Newton has sniffed at them, detected another cat's spit, and refuses to play with them. Cats are generally not interested in free toys. Only the expensive ones.

Monday, May 30, 2016

All About Me

Now that I have been in Colorado for a week, I think it's time to update my bio. You know, that little spiel off to the right with the heading, About Me. To reflect my new circumstance. Hmmm. I'll work on it in my head whilst I continue the unpacking and organizing. Don't worry about missing its debut, naturally I'll make a proper announcement. I just know you'll be among the first to read it.  

Sweets for the Sweet

I didn't read the little sign on the table. Not that one, that one I did read. the one that says Step Down. Because after you sit for a while you might just forget that you stepped up to get into the booth in the first place. Particularly if you have imbibed in an adult beverage. Where was I? The little sign that I didn't read. Because the photo looked sooooo darn good. Tater tot type thingys only made with sweet potatoes! I sprung for the extra buck to have them as my side. To my surprise, and not in a good way, they were weirdly sweet rather than savory. I nibbled another one to be sure. Yes, definitely sweet. Ick! Then I read the sign. Dusted with sugar and cinnamon. Eww! Let's get one thing straight. Sweet is for dessert, not a side with your burger. Well, maybe for that subset of folks who think tossing cut up Snicker bars with pieces of apple and whipped cream can be called a salad. Don't get me started on side dishes that contain miniature marshmallows. Or that rice with fruit and creamy dressing that's served cold. I was raised in the Lutheran church, people, I know firsthand about oddball side dishes. I even own a couple of Lutheran church cookbooks from the fifties and sixties that prove people prepared and ate this stuff. The thing is, I love sweet potato fries. Sweet potatoes on their own live up to their first name, and when you salt them just a bit you have that perfect blend of sweet and savory that is just irresistible. But a resounding no to the added sugar and cinnamon. Old Chicago, I won't be back for a very long while. At least the Dos Equis amber was delish. I do know how to order a tasty beer.

The Case of the Crushed Lampshade

This is what happens when the pro moving guys "pack" a lamp and put it on the truck. I never was fond of that lampshade so no real loss here. I was planning to paint it and put a different shade on it anyway. Jill packed a dozen or so lamps for me, and they all arrived in perfect condition. Not a scratch on any of them. Even a couple of them I was planning to paint a different color showed up just fine. Jill is not a professional mover. Always have Jill pack your lamps.

Boxes and Buckets and Totes, Oh, My!

So many unpacked, flattened boxes. So many still full boxes. I have yet to locate the silverware tray. And there is one lamp missing. My desk is assembled! Furniture arrangement for most of the upstairs has been thoughtfully considered and taking shape. I am still living out of my suitcase. Three ringy-dingies, three messages, and ten days later, the electrician still has not returned my call. I need to find a local contractor to dig two egress windows. The lawn needs mowed. And the new lawnmower won't arrive until later this week. I really want to abandon working on unpacking and putting away activities and buy flowers and pot them. I only have three beers left in the fridge. My first high altitude baking endeavor turned out well with a pan of brownies for Reid's birthday on Saturday. Even after scrubbing away at the kitchen cabinets, they retain a bit of surface stickiness. Ew. Fortunately, the interior of them is clean so dishes and such can find a place to be. It's days like this I could use Mickey Mouse in a wizard outfit commanding a platoon of brooms to move this process along. Pardon me while I put on the Fantasia soundtrack.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

We Have Arrived

Yes, hello, we are back on the internets! I am happy to say that after just over three weeks I have adjusted to Mountain Daylight Time. Okay, yeah, it's just an hour and mostly a mental thing, but still. The trailer containing most of our stuff has arrived and departed. In between, a three man team from Little Guys Moving showed up and did an outstanding job unloading. I have learned a couple of things. Firstly, that the professionals I hired to load did, at best, a questionable job. A fair amount of shifting occurred during transport resulting in a great deal of furniture surface damage. Not enough to bother to put in a claim on my homeowner's insurance but disappointing all the same. Seven or eight totes and boxes that were loaded on the top broke open and spilled their contents all over the place. My outdoor wood bench was significantly damaged. I'm hoping a couple of blocks of wood and a few screws will render it sittable once more. The leaf for my dining room table was scuffed so severely I fear there is no repairing it. For now, it will take up residence in the basement and if used will require a tablecloth. And a couple of items came out of the trailer that weren't supposed to be loaded in the first place! Meh. And the three rows of boxes that Reid and I loaded didn't budge a bit. Damn, we're good. I have spent part of the morning researching electric lawnmowers online. With my small yard such a mower could be a terrific choice. They come in at about half the weight of a gas powered mower so I may be able to manage mowing once more! Plus no pull start, merely the flick of a switch! No gas, no oil changes, no noise! Please, take my money! I am so in love with this house. I have about half of an organized living room. The kitchen is a total disaster. And to make up for the tacky blinds the former owners left in place, they also left behind eight linen curtain panels that are lovely and will work nicely in my bedroom. Sometimes things just work out.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Sunday Morning

I'm enjoying some lovely French press coffee that Jill left on the counter. Also the view of the yard and creek on our last morning here. In a couple of hours the cars will be packed and we, we being Reid and Newton and me, will be Colorado bound. I expect that we will be off the internets for a few days. But there is a Starbucks nearby....Our moving adventure continues.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Making a Big Stink

A couple of days ago I revisited my college-age self. By leaving the house without showering and disguising that fact with liberal use of body spray and by pulling my hair back into a pony tail. Why? Because the plumber showed up early. What kind of self-respecting plumber shows up early, that's what I want to know. I got up in plenty of time. But then it seems I lingered over my coffee and the fabulous morning view a teensy bit too long. Upon noting the time and that I still had a generous twenty minutes or so to accomplish my morning ablutions, I spied the plumber's van creeping up the drive. Well, crap. At this point, no longer possessing a shred of dignity or even really caring anymore, I went outside in my flannel jammies to move my car so the plumber could get back to the area by the garage. It was supposed to be a quick job, though, so I didn't panic. An hour went by. Then two hours. Damn! If I'm going to meet the girls for coffee, I better get a move on! Body spray, pony tail, and a smidge of makeup later, I was in my car and on my way. Never trust a plumber who arrives early and says it will be a quick job. Or don't get distracted by coffee and a lovely view. Or get up earlier than the plumber. All I know is, I had a lovely time catching up with Carmen and Chelsey.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Syttende Mai

In honor of Norwegian Independence Day, feast your eyes upon the younger son dressed as Baleog the Fierce. Yes, I know the horned hat is completely inappropriate as far as Viking garb goes. But so are his yellow yarn locks. One thing that is totally authentic about my son portraying a Viking character is the fact that he is, indeed, 25% Norwegian-American. He's part Swede from his father, but generally I try to not to talk about that. Nothing against Sweden, but clearly Reid's phenomenal amazingness comes primarily from his mother. Me. And since this is my blog, pardon me, but I'm unabashedly tooting my own horn. Besides, I sewed the costume.

Delightful, Delicious Detour

It's sunny in the canyon today. Time to put on my hiking boots and go for a walk among the trees. Reid and I had a bit of a dinnertime adventure last night. We turned left from the end of the driveway to check out Cheyenne Crossing only to discover that they are closed Monday and Tuesday nights. Meaning that we then traversed the entire length of Spearfish Canyon back to Spearfish on the other end. Despite my magical ability to get lost, I also have a magical ability to locate locales I have been to only one time. Meaning that we got to enjoy a most delicious local pizza experience at Dough Trader Pizza. The toppings are fresh and delectable and the homemade, hand stretched sourdough crust melts in your mouth. We will have to work in a burger at Cheyenne Crossing before we depart later this week, but sometimes an unexpected detour take you precisely where you ought to be.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

PostNap, PreDinner

Hello, it's Sunday. I have been sufficiently lazy. Tuna casserole is for dinner. Oh, excuse me, (please hear this next italicized section in your best Minnesota accent), didn't mean to be all hifalutin' there, I meant to say tuna hot dish. One week from today Reid and Newton and I will arrive at 2534 and spend our first night there. Until then, I intend to enjoy the heck out of this beautiful, in-between setting. Pardon me, I need to go cook some noodles.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Things I Learned From Cullen

1. Be the driver.

2. Sometimes, but especially on your birthday, eat dessert first.

3. Proper use of the word, cheesedick.

4. Hugs feed your soul.

5. The joy of shedding your shoes and going barefoot.

6. Embrace photographic evidence of your questionable hairstyles.

7. Pretty much everything is better outside.

8. Benjamin Franklin was right about beer.

9. Power tools are cool.

10. Remember to tell people that you love them.

Friday, May 13, 2016

OnLine Dating vs Facebook

Or, an alternate title could be Dating vs Friendship. Or even Cold Calls vs Connections. As has been discussed here before, online dating has turned out to be pretty much a disaster for me. At times hilariously so, other times just disappointing. What has occurred to me of late is that people I have met through established friends on Facebook have turned out to be a delight. Brenda, Lisa, Linda, Deanna, and a certain man whose company I enjoy round out a list of people that I first met online via blogs and Facebook and later in person. The in-the-flesh experience was nothing short of lovely with them. And just yesterday, after ten years of online acquaintance, Sarah Jane and I met in person at the Bernie Sanders rally. Like the others, she proved to be a delight. There seems to be a lesson to take away here, and as I type it seems to be one of those obvious, no-brainer sort of things that should have been clear from the start. With online dating, I was relying on the honesty and integrity of a stranger who had the ability to describe himself in a light he wished to be seen in. I had only my gut instinct and his profile information to work with. Not a great deal to go on! With blogs and Facebook, on the other hand, there was already someone I knew in the real world who made the connection between me and the new person, giving me some extra insight. Also valuable were the months, or even years of being able to observe their interactions with others to get a better idea of their personality and character before meeting in person. Smooths the way, for sure. I still have a handful of Facebook friends and other electronic-only acquaintances in my social circles. Based on what I have experienced so far, I look forward to meeting them in the real world. Don't ask me about giving online dating another shot. I don't need further confirmation of that Einsteinian description of insanity.

Snow in the Canyon This Morning

Down at the Bernie Rally in Rapid City, SD

Crowd to the left of me.

Crowd to the right of me.

Miss Sarah Jane.

Crowd right in front of me.

Bernie walking in!

Bernie with his wife, Jane. greeting the crowd.

Inspiring. Sincere. A better future for all.

Standing for Bernie!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Feeling the Bern

No time for dinking about on the internets this morning. I'm off to the Bernie rally! Pictures later.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Mine, All Mine

As of yesterday. I signed my name, like, three million times. I take possession in eleven days. Til then, Newt and I are chillin' and staring at the rain outside the window. Today is a good day to not have anywhere to go.

Monday, May 9, 2016

It's a Chilly, Gray Day

The sky is chilly.

The creek is chilly. Very chilly. No skinny dipping today.

Sunday, May 8, 2016


Toddler me with my mom a very long time ago in the mythical land called Ray, North Dakota.

And the two reasons I celebrate today. Reid and Michael on Michael and Liz's wedding day five years ago. Being a mom is one of the very, very best things I have ever experienced. Thank you, my beamish boys, for lighting up my life.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Newt Has Settled In

Looooook into my eyes....you are getting sleeeeeeeeepyyyyyy...

I have mastered the chair that moves.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Here's to You, Soulmate!

Thank You, Dr Pepsi

Normally I refuse to support my son's Diet Pepsi habit. But out of the goodness of my heart, and because we're sort of on vacation, I picked up a couple of twelve packs while grocery shopping and didn't ask him to reimburse me. Just today I noticed this graphic on an empty can sitting in the kitchen. Without knowing it I contributed to the research of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome! Which is the source of my chronic pain! Somehow I feel weirdly vindicated by this very public corporate sponsorship of understanding and finding a cure/treatment for CRPS. Mine is of the second type that arises from nerve damage. All I have to say is, thank you, Pepsi! And because I'm kind of a bitch, I'm thumbing my nose at Dr Curd, who insisted that I have carpal tunnel syndrome and I need to face that fact and get surgery. From him. Meh. Also getting the nose thumb is Dr Hoversten who said my pain has no medical basis, is goofy, and is all in my head. His diagnosis? That I'm old and have arthritis and need to face that fact. Assholes. My pain is real and at times debilitating. And Pepsi agrees.

Making a List

I have grownup stuff to do today. Like going to the bank so I can buy 2534 next week. Come to think of it, I did grownup stuff yesterday, too. Laundry and cooking in between watching movies on dish tv. Also baking cookies. But those are grownup things I can do by slouching about the house in sweats. Today requires showering and dressing and driving into town. Note to self, tv is addictive! Don't turn it on, it will suck you into its evil grasp! And speaking of cookies, we can bake cookies pretty much every day for the next week. While emptying out the pantry at 1408 I used up the oatmeal and chocolate chips by stirring up a batch of cookie dough and then froze it in little oven-ready balls! This has made Reid a very happy camper. I have sipped the last of the coffee. It's time to motivate! Though tearing myself away from the view requires all the will I can muster. Everyone needs a little bit of enchanted forest to escape to and I wake up every morning grateful for Jill's generosity in loaning us her cabin for our brief homeless period. Time passes differently here. I suspect that's why it's magically rejuvenating to be in this place. It's a good day to be alive.

Thursday, May 5, 2016


Cinco de Mayo is upon us. Celebrate responsibly however you see fit. A rainbow of margaritas works for me. On the rocks, please, rather than blended. And yes to the salt. ¡Celebrar!

On The Other Side of the Window

My view for the next couple of weeks.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Last Day in Town

I have slept a quite amazing ten hours! Soon I will be off to donate all of the outgrown and cast-off pairs of prescription glasses I found in random places about the house. Then to Oscar Nail Salon for a pampering pedi and an hour in the massage chair. Sadly, the Sunflower is closed on Mondays so I won't be able to get a send-off bangs trim with Amelia. Then a quick round of shopping to pick up a few items and gas up the car before heading out for the Black Hills tomorrow. Tonight at eight I am walking across the parking lot to the local Whiskey Creek for a drink or two with local friends. Hope to see you there. 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Ghost House

The room I brought baby Reid home to a very long time ago.

And four years earlier, the room baby Michael came home to.

'Tis Beltane