Monday, August 31, 2009

Maslow can kiss my behind

The very bottom of Maslow's hierarchy is really no place for a woman my age with three kids to support and a houseful of furniture and dishes. I don't know if I'll ever see the top.

We're still searching for new housing. Since we put up our beloved home for a short sale, there has been a flurry of activity, as in showings every day. Last summer, our house was worth $359G's. Now it's listed for $175G's. The fact that the bank will take that kind of money in a short sale, but wouldn't renegotiate to our proposed $225G's is leaving me more than just a little bitter. Yes, bitter and angry.

But I must remain positive and focused. Here are the choices left to us now:

1. A wonderful fixer-upper with great bones and a double lot. An investor friend will buy it and rent to us for a year, then we'll pay off with a loan. We are still searching for an investor to put up the $ needed for renovation. If you know one, send them my way! This place is great and I know I'd love living there.

2. A small, and I mean small, townhome to rent. It needs nothing - move in ready - but small. But our kids can ride the bus to and from school, and everything else is a bike ride away. AND it's just doors down from two of my best blogging and real-life pals.

3. A large townhome to rent that needs work, but the owner wants us to do work in lieu of some rent which is a GREAT deal. But it's quite far away from everything we do. AND the school wouldn't bus my kids from there.

Wonder if Maslow had these kinds of problems?

UPDATE: Option #2 was just rented to someone else

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Good News Story #1

I have a new job! I am now the Site Specialist at the Northfield Middle School!
I will be coordinating all volunteers, mentors, and college student volunteers as well as several events. This is so exciting for me: lots of public interaction and a great position for my education and talents. I'm a rabid supporter of public education, and this truly fits my values. I'll work during the school year, which leaves the summer for some kind of fun job, like barista or umbrella holder for Al Franken.

More good news stories are in the works. Watch this channel for updates!

Story Developing, stay tuned

Hey folks. I have a lot brewing right now, so please be patient with my lack of writing and reading. But stay tuned for further developments!!! Some of it is really good!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Would you buy one?

Remember when I told you Cousin Anne's joke about the Grandma's Kitchen candle?
Well I was telling a friend about it today, and we got to thinking about other "homey scents" you could put in a candle to evoke memories. Place your order! I'm sure we'll be a HUGE success! Give me your ideas . . .

PRETEEN PARTY - a delightful blend of wet sneakers, a hockey locker room, BO, and cheese popcorn.

BAKING LESSONS - the woodsy smell of dough burning off the bottom of the oven.

COLLEGE DAYS - an evocative mix of bong water, beer soaked carpet, and Domino's pizza.

CHILD OF THE 70s - A patented blend of LOVE's Fresh Lemon, LOVE's Baby Soft, and AVON's Sweet Honesty.

TAILGATER - cheer on your team with a blend of brats, beer, and truck exhaust.

OLD MCDONALD's - who doesn't enjoy manure ponds, pesticides, and sour milk?

A TASTE OF GARY, INDIANA - oh, let's just not go there

MINNESOTA SPRING - a northwoods blend of road salt, mud, dirty winter coats.

THE NURSERY - happy memories of spit up, formula, and the diaper pail

FAMILY VACATION - an original combo of old car, french fries, bologna, and Perkins.

LAZY SUMMER DAZE - a sunny array of bug spray, lighter fluid, sunscreen, and Campho Phenique

Friday, August 21, 2009

Documentary Review

One thing I love about Netflix is getting to view great documentaries that they don't carry at the bubble-gum movie rental businesses.

This week I watched The Garden . . . from netflix . . . .
Filmmaker Scott Hamilton Kennedy's politically charged, Oscar-nominated documentary follows a group of low-income families struggling to protect a 14-acre urban farm in the middle of South Central Los Angeles from bureaucratic real estate developers. A lightning rod for controversy in 2004, this cause célèbre drew the attention of numerous notable activists and politicians, including Dennis Kucinich, Joan Baez and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigoisa.

This summer was the first time I planted a vegetable garden, and it wasn't all for fun. It was to stretch our family's food dollar during some incredibly rough times. But I found more than food in my garden, I found soil & heart & hope. This movie really resonated with me and left me in tears.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Randomitis to the tenth power

1. A good quote from an excellent blogging and FB friend: "Just a message to all those opposed to "big government:" feel free to stop using roads, drinking clean water, using police and fire services, courts of law, military protection, and, oh, anything else that the government by the people, for the people, etc. is set up to provide."

2. The search continues for our housing. Rentals are expensive and hard to find. Investors are slow to make decisions about fixer-uppers. Short sales for our house are enigmatic. And all the while my patience is slowing running down the drain.

3. Big garage sale tomorrow. Come over and buy our junk!! Johnny C and I will be up late making the garage presentable, then up at the crack of dawn for the early birds. I've assigned the kids to make AND clean up supper tonight so we can work on the garage sale. Wish them luck!

4. My Twin #2 made the Varsity soccer team! She's only 15 but that girl is a whiz with a soccer ball. And she's darned cute to boot. We're very proud.

5. An extreme right-wing friend complained to me that all her cowardly liberal friends and relatives have unfriended her on facebook because of her views. I told her I wouldn't, but that I also wouldn't stop anyone from taking her on in the comments . . . which happened . . . so she unfriended me. So who's the coward?

6. Feels more like late September here. Although there were tornadoes in Minneapolis yesterday!! They don't usually drop down out of a cool cloudy sky, but drop they did. Lots of windows out and trees down.

7. I need some time with my extended family. I just feel it in my bones. Wish life weren't so freakin busy.

8. Last night I made zucchini bread, because that's almost all I know what to do with all that zucchini this time of year. The recipe must have had a misprint because it sure seemed like a lot of baking soda. The dough rose like crazy, fell in globs to the bottom of the oven, and smoked up like wet branches on bonfire. The house reeks now, and the bread tastes like too much baking soda.

9. Fall is upon us. Summer flew like the clouds.

10. A casual friend died suddenly on Monday. Mother of 3, 45 years old, active in our town and schools. Sad doesn't even begin to cover it.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Things I want to hear

I'm waiting to hear the following . . .

From a GOP member: "Now people, cool it with the death threats and the stupid accusations of death panels and forced euthanasia. You're just proving we're all wingnuts! Some of us have an education, and some brains, and we need to discuss this matter like adults!"

From my kid's friend's parents: "Hey, how 'bout we split the driving? We drive one way and you drive the other?"

From Sarah Palin: "I must admit, I'm just really not qualified."

From our mortgage company: "We finally understand what you've been saying all along! We'll stand to keep thousands by renegotiating your loan!"

From my kids: "Mom, I'm really sorry I've been such a pill. How about I make dinner tonight?"

From my employer: "We've decided you are all valuable, and all this talk about layoffs will end right here, right now."

From my neighbor: "We're going to be keeping our yappy dogs inside more often, and definitely after 10pm. You need your sleep!"

From President Obama: "We freakin won! Enough of trying to appease these yahoos! We're going ahead with what's right and what's decent, and they can just sit on their thumbs and spin."

From Rupert Murdoch: "What have I done?"

From Dick Cheney: "I have a few things to get off my chest. Start the tape recorder."

Kinda says it all

Be sure to read the sign in the middle!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

My garden pictorial

Johnny C just brought home a pink bathtub from a remodel job, so of course the logical place to put it is IN OUR YARD!!! We are such trailer trash.
My basil crop: sweet, Thai, and lettuce leaf basil.
Canna lilies in a pot

My gardening shed - built by Johnny C - which used to be the coolest play house ever! Now it's the perfect place to keep my tools. I'm going to miss this little house.

Today's harvest: some gladiolus, zinnias, 2 cucs, 8-9 plum tomatoes, sweet basil, purple basil, and Thai basil.
The raised beds Johnny C built and I planted - all made with scrap lumber!
My garden under the influence of the sprinkler. The bed that looks empty just finished all the carrots. Onions are still cooking, and the 2nd and 3rd harvest of beets are popping up.
Johnny C's homemade cuc trellis - made with scrap, old nails, and twine.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Real Deal

This is my hero - I know I've said that before. All this hype over the movie makes me feel like the rest of the world is horning in on my childhood icon. I adored her show - she got me hooked on cooking.
Saw the movie last night. Meryl was fabulous, but the "Julie" parts made me want to throw my Milk Duds at the screen - contrived, cliche, sickly. Amy Adams is a doll but I hated her in this role. It summed up everything I resent in Gen Xers.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Gov. Pawlenty, would you like to buy our school supplies?

Dear Governor Pawlenty and your GOP friends,

Please quit stating that you've balanced any kind of Minnesota state budget without raising taxes. This is a complete lie and you know it. All you have done is shifted the cost of education and public services to the small business people and the homeowners. On top of that, you've committed the unthinkable by tossing hundreds of folks off state-funded health care. What you've done is placed any spending "cuts" on the backs of the lower middle class and the poor, whether they be your supporters or not. Our property taxes have steadily climbed just to keep our schools from completely hemorrhaging. We have ratios of 35:1 in some classrooms, even with levy after levy.

Strangely however, you raised taxes with lightning speed on voters in Hennepin County when the Twins franchise wanted a new baseball stadium. So this "no taxes" pledge seems quite flexible and arbitrary.

Here is one shining example of increased cost to the little guy: our school supply lists. Please take this under consideration. And the list below doesn't cover our two High School students!

For a 4th grade student, the required supplies are:
4 spiral notebooks
1 large eraser
3 pocket folders
1 composition notebook
1 three-ring binder
Clean gym sneakers (nope, the sneakers they wear everyday won't cut it)
Scissors (you read that right - the school no longer supplies scissors)
Calculator (the kids in our school must all have the same multi-function calculator at $15 apiece)
Facial tissues (again, you read correctly!! Schools can no longer afford kleenex! The families must supply the classrooms)
School glue
1 box of colored pencils
8 black felt tip pens (these are for the teachers! The school no longer supplies our teachers with adequate office supplies)
Post-it notes (again, for the teachers)
4 glue sticks (these last about 4 months, then we buy more)
4 Odorless dry erase markers
A large supply box
Antibacterial wipes (nope, the school doesn't supply these)
Hand sanitizer (to share with the classroom)
Ziploc bags

Also, our teachers are buying quite of bit of their supplies from their own pockets!! Our PTO encourages families to review a Teacher Holiday Wish List rather than the usual holiday gifts for instructors. These wishes include reams of construction paper, glue, tape, pens, gifts cards, books, and more kleenex. Why should the taxpaying families have to provide these basics?

So stop working only for the advancement of your party, and start working for the people of Minnesota. The majority of us have no clout and no power, but you have sworn to serve us and need I remind you that we pay your salary and provide you a house? Get some real work done.

ADDENDUM: I've been thinking about this all day. I propose we ask our legislators to provide their own health care coverage, pens, kleenex, copy paper, tape, etc. and that they be fed EXACTLY what most school kids are receiving in their hot lunch program. Also, that their computer equipment only be upgraded as often as the poorest school in their district.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Will my art inspire?

Some Happy Music

Remember these guys?

Formatting Schmormatting

What happens to blogger after you hit PUBLISH POST?
All those photos and commentary line up just beautifully in preview, but go to sh$t when I hit publish. But you're smart folks - I know you can decipher my meaning.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Random summer photos

Tonight's bounty from my garden: two big cucs, five small sweet onions, 4 good sized plum tomatoes, and PILES of beautiful carrots!! The tomatoes are ripening up as we speak, and soon I'll be able to stew up plenty of plum tomatoes for homemade marinara. The cucs are just getting started, and the carrots are done. I planted more beets, and some more lettuce and spinach for fall.

And now some photos from the Nordic Fest. This is a giant ear of corn, because it WAS Iowa after all.

The Winneshiek County Democrats of Decorah Iowa, keeping Democracy strong and halting the spread of neo-facism in the Heartland.

Isn't this the most pathetic queen you've ever seen? Her utter disdain for the whole parade scene is just so evident. They need to give those crowns to middle-aged women like me. I'd have whooped it up and given those folks a SHOW!!!

These are local teens doing live modeling in a downtown clothing store. The handsome chap with the green man-purse is my nephew E. By the time I found him that afternoon, he was done modeling. I stated I was really sad because I wanted a photo, so he excitedly said "I'll go back!" which he promptly did and crawled back in the window for his auntie. Isn't he a good boy?

These are the famous Luren Singers from Decorah. It started as a Norwegian mens singing group, but they've lowered their standards and now they'll take Swedes, Germans, etc. Just as long as you're an old guy and can sing, you're in!

Friday, August 7, 2009

So it's come to this

Many thanks to the fabulous Mme Leiderhosen for this film.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

This girl's got balls!

You will never believe this, but it really happened. Our girl Sheletta (blogger, comedian, and radio personality) found out she's expecting, but she didn't learn the old fashioned way. This woman took a pregnancy test ON AIR on August 3rd and gave the positive results right away!!! This woman has some balls, let me tell you. Actually, I prefer a more female-centered expression of strength so let's say this woman has some OVARIES!!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Harmful and Boring

Geez-a-loo I love Google Image Searches! Just type in some random work like "boring" and see what pops up. It's like a playground, I'm tellin ya!

This one was titled "harmful and boring" - that about sums up my life right now. An extreme state of stress over housing and finances juxtapositioned beside the ever-present laundry, dishes, and family duties.

By day I appear as mild-mannered Mnmom, going about my routine with a smile and a dust rag. Pumping gas in the car, marinating the chicken, running reports at work.

But by night I'm become SUPER-ANXIETY-BROAD! Able to skip entire hours of sleep while staring at the ceiling shouldering wave after wave of panic! Watch her grapple with the dark demons of stress and worry in the cloak of night! See her sidekick JOHNNY C do exactly the same while working endless hours by day! How long can they last before their super powers are eradicated? How will they resist the call of the dark forces??

Stay Tuned!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Answer me this

Here's a question for you. What if we lived in a world where everyone had the exact same access to everything: food, clothing, housing, medical care, goods, transportation, education, you get the picture. No one needs money. The only stipulation is that you had to work 20-40 hours per week somewhere.

Where would you work?