Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Say Hello to my Senator . . .


Lord it sounds good to say that for real this time. Can't wait to see him take on the GOP lie machine. This is just so completely great that I can't stop grinning.

Norm Coleman can please just disappear now, OK? I have a feeling Minnesota, and the entire US, haven't heard the last from his lying mouth and his giant white teeth.

There's a celebration rally tomorrow at noon on the Capital steps. I might cancel a few things, load up the kids, and GO!!!!

Monday, June 29, 2009


1. Our weather yesterday was drop-dead gorgeous. I mean GORGEOUS! Dry air, sunny, temps in the low 70's. The kind of weather that shows up on Minnesota postcards. We opened every single window.

2. Hubby made the most amazing cucumber trellis from scrap wood, nails, and twine. I mean this thing is a beauty. He and I could go into business building vegetable gardens. Both cameras were out of the house yesterday. I'll get some pictures soon.

3. Due to the heat last week, my spinach has bolted. It was going to happen sooner or later. So I picked it all and made pesto from it. I stirred some with leftover bow-tie pasta, and the rest filled a jelly jar with green gold. Recipe below.
4. My raspberries are coming along beautifully. Six years ago my dear friend Diane literally stuck a twig in the ground behind my shed and now the whole corner is full of raspberry bush.

5. I'm sick of hearing about Michael Jackson. He was great in the 80's but a sad pedophile at the end. He's dead and that's all I need to know. Can we put any further news on the back pages please?

6. My husband is one lovely man, let me tell you!!!

7. We're having our annual potluck on the 4th of July at our house. If you're around it's at 6pm. Bring your own table service, meat to grill, a side dish, and a lawn chair. My backyard has the perfect view of the town fireworks.

About 5-6 cups of spinach
3 cloves of garlic ( or to taste)
1/3 cup Nuts - pine nuts or walnuts, again to taste or you can omit them
1/2 - 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Extra virgin olive oil

In a food processor, put the garlic cloves & nuts and give them a whirl. Stuff in the spinach and cheese. Process a few times. Now with the blade running, pour in the oil in a thin stream until the pesto has the consistency of very wet mud.

This is great of course on pasta, but we also like it on pizza, bruschetta, veggies, etc. It's as versatile as marinara sauce. And it freezes just fine.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Thank You Jenny Sanford

"His career is not a concern of mine," she (Jenny Sanford) told reporters as she departed the family's vacation home in Sullivan's Island, South Carolina. "He's going to have to worry about that. I'm worried about my family and the character of my children."

Thank you Jenny, for NOT being one of those horrid spineless twits that stand behind their lying-ass cheating jerk of a husband at his press conference, while he tells the whole world that he's really a great family man and his loving wife doesn't deserve this and that nothing means more to him than his spouse and children. He had to face the press alone, like he should. I hope she takes all her money back, then cleans him out but good.

I hate those adulterer apologies - how come they aren't that sorry BEFORE the tryst? We all know he's only sorry he got caught.

And Larry Craig is only sorry there was a cop in the next bathroom stall. And Newt Gingrich is only sorry he's not on his 5th wife. And Rush Limbaugh is only sorry that one of his wives wasn't a pharmacist. And Giuliani's only sorry he can't date all the Rockettes. And Ted Haggard is only sorry he ever pretended to be straight in the first place. And John Edwards is only sorry that everyone likes his wife. And Eliot Spitzer is only sorry he paid so much.

I'd say they are just a sorry group of men.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Come again?

Hey, guys, can any of you remind me again why it destroys traditional marriage if John and Steve get married and stay together for 32 years? Explain to me again how gay marriage is the biggest threat ever to traditional family values? Tell me that story again about how you are the champion of fidelity, commitment, and about God's special love for the conservative white man. I love that story.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


It's a scorcher here.

My daughter had a soccer game tonight. I watched with the intense sun pounding on my backside, while seated in a folding chair made of kevlar. By the end of the game my shorts felt like I'd spilled a few beers, but spilled them down the back of my pants.

The only other place on earth with such extremes of temperature is Siberia. Just a few months ago we were whining about 40 below windchills, and now we're sweltering with temps in the 90's and 80% humidity.

Have I really just blogged about the weather? Am I really that dull?

Monday, June 22, 2009

My first ever swag!!!

I am a swag-virgin no longer. Our dear Dr. Monkey has sent me my first-ever piece of swag and it's a doozy! Thank you so very much Dr. Monkey.

He sent me the Jesus Christ Superstar DVD. He and my readers must have picked up on the fact that I just love this movie and it's music.

In the 1970's, my mother brought home the Broadway soundtrack on vinyl. We moaned and groaned about the "church music" she had purchased. But then we listened and we were hooked on the hard driving bass and screeching vocals. Very soon after, my sisters and I had memorized every single note and lyric. Unbeknownst to each other, we were each putting on the entire show in the living room, playing every part, when we had that rare hour alone. Now we sing along together with abandon.

I know Melinda June also shares a love of this movie. The dancing is worth every minute. If you've never seen it, what in the WORLD are you waiting for? You don't have to be a Christian to love this interpretation. I think it's time for a sing-along-JC-Superstar night at my house.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

We've all heard the old metaphor that life follows the year's seasons, and that we reap what we sow. I've been thinking on that analogy for many years now, and have some thoughts on that whole "reap what you sow" bit.

Spring is birth to age 25. Everything is new, and the colors are vibrant. It's also a bit muddy and messy. The fields are ready for planting.

Summer is age 25-50. The serious work begins. The heat and passions are evident. The crops are growing. The violent storms can ruin everything or clean out space for new growth.

Fall is age 50-75. Harvest season. A time to count and inventory. The sun & sky are beautiful but lack the intensity of summer.

Winter is age 75 to death. A time of quiet, and preparing for rebirth in the Spring.

In my first 47 years of life, I've thought of the sowing in purely monetary and achievement frameworks. I only saw the education, the college degrees, the career work, the 401(k), the money market, the stocks, etc. Consequently I only considered the reaping along the same lines: having money in the Fall, having a successful business, having a really nice house, traveling.

However, in the last 10 years I've had a revelation. The sowing was about human connections. It was about seeds of compassion, gratitude, and generosity. The reaping was about my soul, not my bank account. The reaping was about the harvesting of wisdom and grace. I now see that my financial life can be in shambles but the harvest can be rich nonetheless. My body can be spent and broken, but the real achievement is the love I offered, the hope I maintained, and the lessons learned.

Life keeps teaching me everyday.

Summer book reviews

I've been busy reading! Who am I kidding, I make time for reading throughout the year. Reading is my oxygen. Some of you run marathons, some of you go to graduate school. Me? I read.

First, I started with a complete piece of trash and ended after two chapters. Martyr; an Elizabethan Thriller by Rory Clement is the novel in question. Gah, I just hate books that look promising but turn into some misogynist's vehicle to exploit violence against women and the general motif of women as pure sexual playthings. I got through two chapters before dumping it - every female character had either sex to offer the males or had met a grisly end at the hand of them.

Getting much better:
I've also finished The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan. Exquisite piece of research and thought regarding the complete corruption of our food chain by corporate money. As an Iowa girl, I felt such betrayal. I'd been raised to feel proud of our undulating fields of corn. Little did I know we were growing the nation's poison. How was a "corn-fed" Iowa girl to know that we completely chemically alter a cow's digestive system to feed them the corn? This is a must-read for all Americans. Next I'm on to The Compassionate Carnivore by Catherine Friend. The subtitle is How to keep animals happy, save Old MacDonald's farm, reduce your hoofprint, and still eat meat. If you haven't read her previous book Hit By The Farm go get it.

And a thumping good read: Loving Frank by Nancy Moran. Yes, we've all heard of Frank Lloyd Wright but you haven't heard the story. The writing is fine, but it's the story that drew me in, and often kept me up way past my bedtime.

Also finished Coop by Michael Perry. This is one midwestern author you don't want to miss. But first read his others: Population 485, and Truck. He writes from the heart, and you'll recognize yourself, your cousin Steve, your uncle Charlie, and your sister-in-law on every page. And you'll even meet some new characters to boot. All real, no fiction. His writing makes you want to just slow down, breathe some air, make some coffee, and call your folks.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

This parenting thing

I'm just a woefully inadequate mother.

Either that, or parenting teenagers is like trying to do brain surgery while walking through the fun house wearing 3" stilettos and without my glasses.

I'm either doing too much and ruining their lives, or not doing enough and ruining their lives. I haven't figured out the exact perfect balance of supervision and neglect. Something tells when that when I finally do, they will be 23 and it won't matter anymore. It's no small wonder that one of the most popular books about raising teens is titled "Get Out of My Life, but First Could You Drive Me and Cheryl to the Mall".

And I remember being the teen, don't you? I remember when my Mom would walk into the room and ask me to do something and all the hair on the back of my neck would jump to attention. I'd be laying on my bed in my groovy lower level basement room that they had lovingly provided with lime green shag carpeting and white/gold paneling. I'd hear her knees cracking all the way down the stairs (like mine do now!) and I'd get ready for the fight. She'd ask me to do something simple, like fold some laundry, and I'd whine like she had invited the firing squad over after lunch.

My parents would do horrifying things in public, like talk to my friends or yell out the car window to hurry up because they'd left supper on the stove at home. And their CLOTHES! Geez, Dad would get off the lawn mower for a quick trip into town to pick up my lazy ass AND my bike while wearing his sweaty shirt, plaid bermudas, and the sweat rag he'd tied around his head.

Parents and teens. It'll never work

Friday, June 12, 2009

Now that's family friendly

From Emily's List:

During U.S. House consideration last week of a bill to grant federal employees four weeks of paid leave after the birth or adoption of a child, Republicans (who hail themselves as "family friendly") had some choice comments. A not-so-compassionate conservative Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) sarcastically suggested, "Maybe we just ought to let federal employees take 16 years off!" Rep. Chris Lee (R-NY) said the bill provided "more generous fringe benefits" for federal employees, and some Republicans even suggested that employees might have or adopt children just to get four weeks of paid leave.

The bill passed the House after a mostly party-line vote.

What a great bunch of family-friendly people!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

My anger overwhelms me

This article helps me put my anger into words.

The right wing has been fostering terrorism & hatred for far too long.
Think someone is destroying "your" America? Just shoot them.
Are they wrong? Kill them.
Are they different? Bomb them.
Are they not white? Call them animals.
Are they not Christian? Call them godless.
Are they liberal? Call them unamerican.
Are they female? Call them a bitch.
Are they gay? Call them fags and remind them God hates them.
Are they speaking their mind? Call them unpatriotic.
Are they speaking to our sworn enemies? Call them traitors.
Are they Jewish? Call them kikes.
Are they Hindu? Call them rag heads.
Are they immigrant workers? Call them wetbacks.
Are they speaking at all? Shout or shoot them down, then laud your empty victory.

My own nephew was in Washington DC on a school trip the day the terrorist opened fire in the Holocaust Museum. My loved one could have been there that day. Someone else's loved one died instead. My anger is so raw it overwhelms me.

These people are terrorists. Terrorists. Through violence enacting their narrow worldview, through threat and intimidation suppressing dissent. Through acts of personal physical violence they are forcing their agenda. Have they no shame, indeed.

Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Bill O'Reilly, Sarah Palin, Pat Robertson, etc and your followers - I lay this right at your feet.

My Lord, what a morning

I'm getting ready to leave for work, and I'm right on time. My lunch is all packed, my breakfast nearly done, and I'm wearing a swell old linen dress with jewelry that matches perfectly. Houston, we are ready for launch.

I go to grab my lunch box. Horrors, I had forgotten to close it! Who knew the distance from my counter to the floor was as damaging as a drop from the Empire State Building. The yogurt top flew right off and splayed dairy product over a 2 sq. ft. area. The crackers went kamikaze and tore through their ziploc bag to crash and crumble. The soft cheese, against all laws of physics, pushed open its plastic container and rolled across the floor.

As I bent down to attend to the carnage RIIIPPPPP goes the back of my dress. I had split an already weak seam right up to my, well, use your imagination.

I'm sure the rest of the day will be fine. Like they say "Eat a bug every morning and everything else will seem easy".

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Where can I sign up?

I want to be in a flash mob. It's my new goal.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Kabetogama Weather

As mentioned in my 1967 Dodge Polara story, my family would travel to Lake Kabetogama in Voyageurs National Park every June for a week of fishing. We would rent a small cabin at Park Point Resort or Deerhorn Resort. Deerhorn as been totally remodeled in the years since - it looks nothing like the place we stayed.

Now mind you, when we say "resort" we mean an extremely small cabin with the smallest beds imaginable, nails or hooks in the wall for your clothes, about 2 square feet of counter space, an apt sized stove/oven, and just enough room in the living space to change your mind. All had those behemoth gas heaters in the living room and teeny bathrooms that had been added in the late 1960's or early 1970's - in other words don't drop your soap in the shower because you'll have to step out and bend over to reach it.

The first several years our "resort" had only a central bathhouse with toilets, and of course you brought your own bath towels from home. We thought it was adventurous to walk down the dirt road to take a shower. To this day, the smell of Pine Sol brings it all back. I'm sure my mother didn't relish having to escort any of four kids every 30 minutes. In fact, not much about it was a vacation for my Mom - she still cooked, washed dishes, watched kids, etc. She deserved every single stolen second on that lake.

My parents lived to fish. Alternating childcare with my Aunt Mary or Grandma Gie, they would go out on the Lake with their husband and fish for hours at a time, and I mean HOURS. If you went along, they sternly warned you there would be no coming back until they were good and ready. They would leave at dawn, come in for lunch, then go back out until 8pm. We'd have glorious fried walleye for supper at 9:00 at night - that far north the sun was just setting.

How lucky we were to have Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles and cousins to vacation with! Us kids could play for hours in the freezing cold lake. It was too cold in early June to swim (but good for fishing!) so we'd play on the rocks, put salt on leeches, catch minnows, fish from the dock, or feed the chipmunks.

The memories are so thick from those days on the lake. One foggy morning, my Dad took only me, probably about 10 years old, out for a morning of fishing. At one point, the fog grew so thick that we couldn't see further than about 2 feet from the boat. Dad powered down the Evinrude and we washed up against a large rock. You could hear the other fishermen laughing "Where the hell are we?", "I can't see a goddamn thing!". Dad just shrugged and said we might as well start fishing. So this 10-year-old girl had her Daddy all to herself, swaying in the fishing boat, talking about life and laughing about the fog.

In the years since, when I was living in Southern Iowa, a cool cloudy day would come along in June and we'd call it "Kabetogama Weather". When it was summer on the calendar but it felt like late September outside. I'd happily put on a sweatshirt and enjoy a cup of coffee, knowing it would heat up with high humidity the very next day.

But now that I live only 6 hours south of Kabetogama, I don't enjoy that weather so much. Summers in Minnesota are drop-dead beautiful but they ARE fleeting, and I don't want one day from June 1st to August 31st to be wasted. Rain I'll take, but not 50 degrees on top of it. But it does stir up some fine memories.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

School's out: celebrate or commiserate?

As of 1:00 p.m. Friday, school is out here.

Reasons to commiserate:
1. Lunch. I now have to provide the kiddos some lunch. I hate making lunch.
2. Flip flops. They reproduce by the score in my mud room.
3. Wet beach towels.
4. Piles of papers from backpacks, desks, and lockers. I will have to nag and plead incessantly until they are gone.
5. The front door being slammed, slammed, slammed, slammed, slammed.
6. Thousands of extra kids in the house.
7. Kids who's bedtime is now past mine.
8. They now have more time to fight.

Reasons to celebrate:
1. It's freaking summer! NOT WINTER!
2. No more reams of papers to read, sign, fill out, etc.
3. No more dragging reluctant 10-year-olds out of bed in the morning
4. A 3 month reprieve from music concerts
5. Some time to take the family for picnics
6. Soccer games
7. Late night talks on the screened porch
8. The pool
9. Root beer floats
10. Beaches
11. Traveling to Iowa to see family and some COUSIN TIME!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

My nervous breakdown has been scheduled

Loads of work and end-of-school-year crap. A job interview tomorrow for a full-time position even though I DON'T WANT FULL TIME WORK. Teens who feel completely comfortable telling me, to my face, that I'm a horrible mother and "don't do anything around here". Two catering jobs that paid a nice chunk only to have that chunk disappear when I backed into a car - at the catering job no less. Needing groceries when I have no money. Acne flaring up. Air conditioning in the car malfunctioning. Not to mention the imminent foreclosure and bankruptcy.

I've scheduled my nervous breakdown tomorrow between 8:30am and noon. I should be able to scrape myself off the ceiling and clean up in time for the interview, and perhaps still get in a few loads of laundry. I'm nothing if not efficient.