Wednesday, March 25, 2009

An open letter to annoying people

Dear Annoying People,

You certainly were a busy bunch today! Did someone raise your quota? Or did you just see me coming and get your freak RIGHT on?

To the woman who made my iced mocha. I should be able to actually TASTE the coffee and the chocolate in there. It should not taste like sweetened skim milk over ice. And to the woman who rang it up, it's considered unseemly to pick your nose in public.

To the orthopedic patients sitting next to me in the coffee house. I don't often get a chance to sit silently in a coffee shop with my book for an hour of solitary reading with a good cup of joe. As you can see above, the cup of joe part was totally destroyed by one of your cousins. Then you two launched into a detailed discussion of your recent surgeries, complete with scar descriptions and leaving no nauseating detail left to the imagination. But somehow you failed to notice the people around you trying to eat lunch.

To Caribou Coffee, where I moved hoping for a better cup of coffee and some quiet. Would it kill you to have some attractive and tasty baked goods on hand? Every time I'm there it's that same crusty oat bran muffin. And why would you block open the back door on a dreary wet 40 degree day? It felt like a meat locker in there.

And to the young couple at last night's school orchestra concert. Letting your toddlers stamp around and play loudly during the performance was distracting and just plain rude. Get a sitter!

Lucky for you people, some really great folks crossed my path lately too. Otherwise I would have gone all postal and stabbed you with my car keys. But I'm a pacifist and refrained, allowing you to live on and annoy again another day. And I'm sure you won't disappoint.

With much annoyance,

Monday, March 23, 2009

I'm here, I'm fine

A long & happy weekend of rock-n-roll revival, family, staying up late, kids, etc. A boring Monday with rain and a kid with stomach flu. I have absolutely nothing interesting to say. I'll be back the very second I do.

Friday, March 20, 2009

I have issues, no really I do

Please tell me I'm not alone . . . . .

1. I can't get to sleep unless I have socks on.
2. When I eat, I take one normal size bite, then another little bite just to the left. I discovered this about a year ago.
3. My head is big and looks completely stupid in hats.
4. I can't take a bath unless I scrub the tub first.
5. If the only creamer available is powdered or plain milk, I'll pass on my beloved coffee.
6. I love mustard.
7. I love people, unless I hate them, which is during all trips to the mall, at Target, in theaters, while driving, in meetings, calling insurance companies, . . . . .
8. I hate it when the woman on the other end of the phone line makes that silly quiet "du du du du du" sound while looking something up.
9. I have to open and smell all detergents, lotions, soaps, etc. before buying them.
10. I can't walk into the bathroom if I have food in my mouth.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

So sad

I am feeling incredibly sad following Natasha Richardson's death. How completely tragic for her family. We had to take my rather young mother off life support ten years ago. You never forget something like that. But a young woman of only 45, with her kids in their early teens, just out enjoying a ski vacation. It's just too sad. Sure makes one sit up and take notice of this "talk and die" syndrome.

I was first introduced to her in "The Parent Trap" which was one of my twins favorites. I was just smitten with this darling British actress and have loved her work ever since. My heart goes out to her family, and especially her children.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Time for some Mommy Bragging Rights

It's Rock-n-Roll Revival time at Northfield HS. Every other year, the HS puts on this 50's and 60's musical extravaganza. Now let the bragging begin! It's very hard for freshman to get in to the RRR show, it's usually upperclassmen. Not only did my Twin #1 get in as a freshman, but she got a SOLO to boot! That's her in the photo above, in the middle.
You wouldn't believe how good this show is! They have incredible adult professionals give these kids vocal and dance coaching. Several adults work on the numbers and costuming throughout the year. TEN area hairstylists do 5 hours of hairdos prior to each show. I think they buy Aquanet by the case. Twin #1 third from the left, above.
This is Twin #1 doing back up for "Go Jimmy Go". The band is amazing - they are so good it's hard to remember they are just HS kids. I just can't tell you how great this show is!!!!!
Here she is. My baby! Performing her solo song "He Was Really Sayin' Something".

Monday, March 16, 2009

Read between the lines

WASHINGTON – American International Group is giving executives in its most troubled business unit tens of millions of dollars in new bonuses even though it received a taxpayer bailout of more than $170 billion dollars. Which means YOU the TAXPAYER are giving out those bonuses.

AIG has said it must pay out the executive bonuses to meet a contractually obligated Sunday deadline, but the troubled insurance giant has agreed to administration requests to restrain future payments. How very wonderful of them

An official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said that Geithner had called AIG Chairman Edward Liddy on Wednesday to demand that Liddy renegotiate AIG's current bonus structure. But what they really should have done was get some American taxpayers on the phone with Liddy.

Geithner termed the current bonus structure unacceptable in view of the billions of dollars of taxpayer support the company is receiving, this official said. I call it treasonous.

The large bulk of the payments at issue cover AIG Financial Products, the unit of the company that sold credit default swaps, the risky contracts that caused massive losses for the insurer.

The company says in the paper it will work to reduce the amounts paid for 2009 and believes it can trim those payments by at least 30 percent. WOW! A whole 30%??

AIG also pledged to Geithner that it would also restructure $9.6 million in bonuses scheduled to go a group that covers the top 50 executives. Liddy and six other executives have agreed to forgo bonuses. 7 out of 50 see their bonuses as a "problem". The humility is overwhelming.

The group of top executives getting bonuses will receive half of the $9.6 million now, with the average payment around $112,000. This group will get another 25 percent on July 14 and the final 25 percent on September 15. How WILL they get by?

"We cannot attract and retain the best and brightest talent to lead and staff the AIG businesses, which are now being operated principally on behalf of the American taxpayers — if employees believe their compensation is subject to continued and arbitrary adjustment by the U.S. Treasury," Liddy said. If those yahoos are the best and the brightest, I think America is willing to take a chance on 2nd best.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


Every have one of those weeks, or days, where it seems like you get criticism from every possible angle? For me it's been going on since about Tuesday. Just when I'm sailing along, thinking I'm doing a good job with all my duties. Then suddenly, like everyone got the same memo, it's time to point out my mistakes and deficiencies. Things sure do run in cycles, don't they? At least with my kids, the scrutiny is the same old same old. I'm ALWAYS embarrassing, pathetic, and nagging in their eyes, except when they need cash or a ride to the movies. Anyway, I just suck up the information and try to do better. Yeah, some of the criticism was constructive but it just seems like a very long string of it this week.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Subterranean Homesick Blues

I've got this song in my head today. Makes for a fun Friday. Hope yours is just as fun.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


NEW YORK — Saying he was "deeply sorry and ashamed," Bernard Madoff pleaded guilty Thursday to pulling off perhaps the biggest swindle in Wall Street history and was immediately led off to jail in handcuffs to the delight of his seething victims.

Are you Bernie? Are you really deeply sorry and ashamed of what you've done? Or are you just deeply sorry you got caught? Something tells me if you hadn't been fingered, you'd still be running that Ponzi scheme for all it's worth while bathing in champagne and dining on truffles.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Thoughts to Ponder

1. How many times can I pass gas at my desk before coworkers start to really notice?

2. How come I think I'm a complete babe, when photos tell a much different story?

3. How come women's magazine stories on your sex life never picture actual women, but rather svelte 18 year olds with boring hair and skinny arms staring lovingly into the eyes of an equally skinny body-hair-less 20 year old male model? Those people don't exist in my world.

4. Chin hairs, WTF??

5. If I always tend to use the 2nd or 3rd stall into a public restroom, then probably everybody else does too. I should use the first stall. It's probably seen fewer butts.

Monday, March 9, 2009

How to play tricks on kids if you are old

The prior post reminded my sisters, my cousins, and me of our Grandpa Ginny. Ginny was the original character.
For one thing, he never wore anything but overalls.
He tied those overall pant legs shut with baling twine in winter so the wind wouldn't blow up his legs.
He used to approach a meal surrounded by his seven children and wife and say "Well Wife, looks like I screwed myself out of a place at the table!".
Every morning he'd say "By God, it's a beautiful day!"
He told us not to swim in the stock tank because we'd catch cold, get polio, and come out like Humpy Kubichek.
Whenever he'd read his beloved Louis L'Amour books, he'd make a pot of coffee and a pan of beans.
He had arms like lead from milking herds of cows by hand all his life.
He caught his 5th child during a home delivery, while the Doc was hung up in a blizzard, and put the baby in a basket in the open oven door to keep it warm. That baby is my Uncle Sam.

ANYWAY . . . . I have a point. My sister wants me to tell you this story.
Grandpa Ginny and Gramma Gie had a log cabin/playhouse out back. They lived in a large hotel but that's a story for another day. One day prior to Halloween, Grandpa found a large stash of eggs. He knew that town kids were hiding their stash for mischief on Halloween. So Ginny brought them all carefully into the house, and he and Gie hard boiled each and every one of them, put them back in the cartons, and placed them carefully back in the playhouse.

That's my gene pool, and I'm HAPPY TO BE FROM IOWA!!!!


This might be an old story, but I don't care. It's a good one.

George Phillips age 82 of Meridian, Mississippi was going up to bed, when his wife told him that he'd left the light on in the garden shed, which she could see from the bedroom window. George opened the back door to go turn off the light, but saw that there were people in the shed stealing things.
He phoned the police, who asked 'Is someone in your house?' He said 'No.' Then they said
'All patrols were busy. You should lock your doors and an officer will be along when one is available.' George said, 'Okay'. He hung up the phone and counted to 30.
Then he phoned the police again.
'Hello, I just called you a few seconds ago because there were people stealing things from my shed. Well, you don't have to worry about them now because I just shot them.' and hung up.
Within five minutes, six Police Cars, a SWAT Team, a Helicopter, two Fire Trucks, a Paramedic, and an Ambulance showed up at the Phillips' residence, and caught the burglars red-handed.
One of the Policemen said to George, 'I thought you said that you shot them!'
George said, 'I thought you said there was nobody available!'

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Let's hear it for the mundane

It's been a weekend of the mundane, and that's OK. Piles of laundry means we have enough clothing. Stacks of dirty dishes means we have food. Dirty floors means we have a house. Beds to make means we have a warm place to sleep. I'm easily grateful and entertained by Life's little pleasures.

As I'm doing all these work-a-day chores I'm ruminating on my favorites and the ones I loathe. Here is my list. I want to hear from you. Where do you fall on this spectrum? Because it's Mundane March, that's why.
Holy Mackeral, could there be a more BORING POST in the history of blogging?

Chores that are like fingernails on a chalkboard to me:

Putting away clean dishes/emptying the dishwasher
Cleaning the frig
Cleaning bathrooms
Putting away groceries

Chores that are just meh, take-em or leave-em

Chores I actually don't mind, and border on liking
Washing dishes
Baking and sometimes cooking
Cleaning the garage

Saturday, March 7, 2009

It's March, what can I say

Nothing to report. Go back to your homes and places of business. Nothing to see here today. Just a broke-ass family running errands, driving the kids around, doing the laundry. Weather is blah too. A pure white sky over melting dirty snow and puddles. March in Minnesota. It's like collective schizoaffective disorder. At least there's some good BBQ chicken for lunch. You gotta take your pleasure where you can in March.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

How to spend a dreary day

First, have lunch with MG in downtown Minneapolis at Hell's Kitchen! Michael introduced us to what is probably now my favorite restaurant. The food was incredible! Evidently they are known for everything, but especially their breakfast food.

They were featured in an article in GOURMET, noting their incredibly good homemade peanut butter. It's amazing how someone can improve on peanut butter! The perfect blend of salt and sweet, and with just a touch of honey. MG told a hilarious story about his friend who took 4 jars to Chicago as friend gifts, but upon her arrival home she ate her way through every single jar - with a spoon!

And now I hate Michael for introducing me to Hell's Kitchen Mahnomin Porridge. As they describe it; "Native-harvested, hand-parched wild rice from the Leech Lake Band of Ojibway. Served warm with roasted hazelnuts, dried blueberries, sweetened cranberries, heavy cream and pure maple syrup." It was heaven in a bowl.

Michael ordered another of their staples: Lemon-Ricotta pancakes, just bursting with fresh lemon flavor mellowed by the creamy ricotta.

My husband and I didn't realize that breakfast food was the way to go at lunch, so he had a Bison burger and I had a crusty ham/roasted pear sandwich. But gracious Michael shared his peanut butter and porridge with us. One thing I love about Michael is he is easily entertained by food. Hubby is too but to a much lesser degree. MG and I were getting all kindergartner about the peanut butter and making obscene noises over the porridge. Hubby just quietly ate his burger and tolerated our childish ways.

Then it was on to the Minneapolis Home & Garden Show. This is an annual pilgrimage for hubby and I. We seem to take perverse pleasure in viewing all the gutter salesmen, the foaming hot tubs, the nifty inventions, etc. We come home with a sack full of pencils, pens, candy, and business cards. This year I put my foot down and wouldn't let hubby pick up any frisbees, magnets, key chains, or letter openers. He passed out lots of his own business cards and reaffirmed connections with Twin Cities contractors. It's all in the networking baby!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

WARNING religious discussion ahead

Let's talk religion, shall we?

Actually we're not going to talk so much as I'm going to blather on about my own beliefs and non-beliefs, and your job is to read or ignore. OK, ground rules set.

I was raised in a pretty cool Methodist church in Iowa. Northern USA Methodists are basically a liberal bunch and not much dogma to be found, expect that you're expected to sing in the choir and get on a committee. And their potlucks are scrumptious. My family's church was a great source of comfort when my folks died. The Methodist church I belonged to here in Northfield is not much different, and is the highest-giving congregation, per head, than any other church in town. All that giving is toward hunger relief and disaster relief. They rallied around me when I had breast cancer and are some of the greatest folks in town.

That being said, I find that organized religion has not found firm footing in my value system. In fact just the opposite. I've always been a huge skeptic belief-wise, but just LOVED singing hymns. My final break with the Methodists came when they discussed ONCE AGAIN whether or not the "gay lifestyle" was in keeping with Christian doctrine. When the big church said no, although all the northern members said yes, that was it for me. It was as though we were discussing whether blacks or women should be honored in our midst.

But beyond that, I truly just don't know exactly WHAT I believe. There's a frig magnet out there that says "People who seek the truth inspire me, people who've FOUND the truth frighten me". Kinda sad when your whole belief system can be summed up on a frig magnet.

I was listening to an atheist writer on NPR this morning. We was preaching the No-God doctrine with as much certainty as an Evangelical. I don't believe any human has reached anything NEAR the capacity to state the "truth". We haven't even grasped the concept of multi-dimensions and the time/space continuum, yet some of our fellow men claim to have found the absolute Alpha and Omega.

In my mind, science and a belief in something "bigger" are not mutually exclusive. I am a firm believer in the cosmos, evolution, and all that science uncovers everyday. To deny any of it is to deny the beauty of what your god may have placed in front of you.

I've also seen and experienced too many things to completely rule out that "something bigger". Some could just say I've had a lot of coincidence in my life, but I'm not so sure. And if Jesus said all those things written down, then that's one guy I can get behind. But I cannot EVER say there is one path to truth.

Guess I could have just said I'm agnostic, and saved you a lot of time.

Monday, March 2, 2009

When we reap our millions

When our ship comes in and we're suddenly drowning in cash, here is what we plan to do. How about you?

1. Build a new home completely powered by solar and geo-thermal energy. Perhaps even built with straw bale technology.

2. Give our current home to my friend Lindsay.

3. Hubby as always dreamt of having a consulting business focused on helping others get their ideas off the ground. He wants to start a foundation for small business entrepreneur's to get low-cost loans, grants, and free advice. It would be housed right here in downtown Northfield. In fact, the building I pictured him working from is now available, how cool is that?

4. We have our eye on another currently empty building in downtown. We would open ANGELINA's Italian Ristorante. It would be the most comfortable, easy going family restaurant with a kick-ass menu and wine cellar. It has room for the perfect outdoor seating area. Upstairs are two recently finished condos that we would loan out as crisis housing. We would hire chefs and a manager at wonderfully good wages and let them run the show, because frankly we just want to OWN the place, not run it. We'd screw it up royally. All the wait staff and kitchen staff would make fantastic livable wages. We'd give away meals often to those in need. There would also be a fantastic deli and prepared meals-to-go section.
This is the place. What you can't see is the ample parking and recently installed awnings. You also can't see that this building is HUGE.

5. Build Northfield a community rec center that is affordable for ALL. Complete with 3 sheets of indoor ice, an indoor park for tots, plenty of gym space, a pool, a walking path, etc. We wouldn't want naming rights, just to get the thing built.

6. We would have a philanthropic foundation aimed at helping families in need. I know exactly which banker/businessman in town I would hire to run it, although he has no idea of my plans.

7. I would set up scholarship funds at Carleton College, because they have been instrumental in keeping my little family afloat lately. And because they send the brightest kids into our future equipped to make the world better.

8. I would also set up scholarship funds at The University of Iowa, because it IS my alma mater after all.

9. We would give each of our siblings a giant chunk of money. And my mother-in-law would get the largest chunk.

10. And last, but it should be first, we will give everyone who loaned us cash a TEN-FOLD return on their investment.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

I am humbled by this award

I have received this award twice in the last few weeks. First from themom and second from Liberality. I have so enjoyed the musings of these two strong women, and am humbled they would single me out with an award for friendship

The criteria for receiving this award is...
"These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.” Also, link back to the one who gave you this award just to help with the linky-love I might add.

These are the eight bloggers who I randomly pick to give this friendship badge to. But honestly I'd like to tag my ENTIRE BLOG ROLL & ALL MY FOLLOWERS since they are all so fabulous. I'm just too lazy to link you all up here.
Melinda J
Madame L
Mama in Wonderland