Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Five Things

I've been tagged! I love getting tagged because it means someone is reading my blog, and it gives me something to write about with too much thought. Many thanks to Mama in Wonderland for the tag.

5 things found in your bag:

1. old lady reading glasses
2. old lady fan for hot flashes
3. lipstick
4. Assorted pens
5. Gum

5 favorite things in your room:
1. A trio photo frame with each of my girls pictured as little ones frolicking in a MN lake.
2. A big round paper light fixture from IKEA
3. A great candid photo from our wedding
4. My semi-walk-in closet
5. My LLBean travel alarm clock with the soft and not-so-annoying alarm.

5 things you have always wanted to do:
1. Be a singer, for real, for pay
2. See Europe
3. Be stinking wealthy
4. Be thin
5. See a Broadway show

5 things you are currently into:
1. Blogging
2. Reading
3. Getting my teaching license
4. Pinching pennies
5. All my kids' activities

5 people you'd like to tag:
1. Michael G
2. Cheesecake Maven
3. Dr. Monkey
4. Missy
5. Kim

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Government Incompetence Causes Death Here.

A woman here in Northfield was killed and her husband flown to the Twin Cities with head injuries after they were hit by a pickup while out for their morning walk today.
This intersection, and one just south of it, are the main route for kids traveling to our new Middle School and our High School. During the before and after hours of school, these intersections are a nightmare: traffic backed up for blocks, no stoplights, a 55 mph speed limit in front of the school, many kids on foot or bicycle, tons of buses, teen drivers, etc. It was only a matter of time before someone was killed. Citizens with an ounce of common sense have been begging the school board, the city, and the MN State DOT to do SOMETHING about these intersections. But as usual, we have to sacrifice a human life before any govt entity will recognize a bad plan or design. Someone has to die to get their attention. If I hear ANYONE say "well, who could have predicted this?" like they did for the bridge collapse I'm going to force them to stand, undefended, in the middle of all that traffic on a daily basis. THEN we'll beat them.


I have always loved these posters, brought back to my attention by CT at Blowing and Drifting. I could have used such a laugh while working in a concrete block office for a budget-tight social service agency.
This gem reads "When the winds of change blow hard enough, the most trivial of things can become deadly projectiles".
Have a nice day!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

One Bizarre Spring

It's snowing here. It's snowing on April twenty-stinkin-sixth. The snow is now blowing SIDEWAYS in the cold wind. Snowing all over my tulips. Snow piling up in the screened porch. Snow piling up on the daylilies I uncovered just two days ago. Someone's just MESSIN with us up here.

My husband and I had one of those stupid married-folks fights on the way to a public event last night. We hardly ever fight, but we sure made up for lost time. I hate those fights, when you have to put on a happy face but you're ready to commit cold-blooded murder in front of hundreds of witnesses. But you just KNOW that if you explain yourself all those people will take a swing at him too. But he's thinking the exact same thing.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

PU!!! Spring in the Midwest

Today was drop-dead gorgeous. Temps in the 70's, plenty of sunshine, and a perfect breeze. I did some overdue yard work and ate my lunch on the screened porch.

All was perfect until the farmers to the south started spreading manure in their fields about 4pm. If you've never lived in the Midwest, you've never quite endured such a loathsome aroma. The air outside now smells like a giant dirty litter box. I had to shut every window before we became ill. Thank The Gods of Agriculture this happens only once a year. We WERE going to have burgers on the porch, but now it'll be inside. Ironic - eating burgers while being chased inside by cow dung.

We're supposed to see some severe weather the next few days including cold temps, rain, wind, thunder, lightning, and perhaps *gasp* SNOW!

Monday, April 21, 2008

First Night on the Screened Porch

We got all crazed with Spring Fever tonight and had supper on the screened porch. Ours is rather like the one pictured only older, more worn down, and dirtier. But the siding and sliding glass door are remarkably similar.
It was warm and humid in Minnesota all day due to the oncoming rain, and we soaked up every single minute. First we washed the thick winter dust layer off the table and chairs. Then quickly set the table with pasta, salad, bread, wine, strawberries, and brownies. We wolfed down the last bite just before the cold front blew in in a big way. We were wrapped in sweatshirts and holding down the tablecloth by the brownie course but by golly, WE ATE ON THE SCREENED PORCH!! Sometimes you just have to FORCE Spring to arrive here.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

A Good Saturday Visit from MG

Our good friend MG and his partner attended my 14-year-old's volleyball game and we were so pleased! They arrived just in time on Saturday afternoon. We had a longish break between games so MG, Curt, and I headed to the nearby Asian buffet with the completely forgettable name. They had a large buffet with many traditional Asian choices such as red jello, tarter sauce, tiramisu, soft serve ice cream, and creamed spinach. They also had some lovely breaded shrimp, honey glazed chicken, fried rice, and crab legs. For $10 each we were mighty satisfied.
It was great to see them - they are just the best folks and I wish they lived right next door. Mostly so I could shamelessly steal their perennials when they garden, and have my screaming kids throw balls in their yard while they are enjoying their beautiful terrace.

MG blogs very well about creepy Mom's from the other team at the volleyball game. MG was horrified at the things they were saying "You can do it girls, they aren't very quick!" Some parents have big issues with their kids' sports events. The worst woman looked like a mean gym teacher and was wearing a sweatshirt from my Alma Mater, the University of Iowa! Only nice people are from Iowa, and she didn't deserve to wear those colors. She had practical helmet hair and ugly glasses - so THERE!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A Tag! A Tag!

I've been tagged by our Dr. Monkey to list 5 of my most-oft-visited websites and to briefly describe why I visit them. I've excluded blogs. You are about to see how very boring my life can be.

1. AESOP - our public school's online listing of substitute teaching jobs available. Teachers plug in a day off, and within 1 minute there are thousands of money-grubbing subs climbing all over each other for the spots. It's a vicious dog-eat-dog world.

2. - my town's newsy news website. Lots of information for the dedicated Northfield citizen, including obituaries, the fun never ends.

3. Kare 11 News - I check the weather, who's been shot in Murderapolis, the weather, what the poll is today, the weather, which Vikings player is currently in jail, and the weather.

4. Crooks and Liars - like Dr. Monkey, I visit to keep current on the treasonous shenanigans of the idiot-in-chief and his posse of evildoers.

5. Evolve Fish - they have the BEST buttons, magnets, etc. I'm not quite as strident as the site might suggest, but I do LOVE to rattle the cages of right wingers.

I think I'll tag Laurie, Missy, and Kim

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Getting Old Ain't For Sissies

Have I ever mentioned I get heartburn? Only about five time you say? Well here is #6. Seems the older I get the longer the list of forbidden foods. I sound just like my Dad.

Last night I made a batch of Heavenly Sauce - a decadent chocolate sauce that is KILLER over ice cream. We only make it about once a year - no kidding - because it's that rich. As a kid I'd eat two bowls with minimal ice cream and maximum Heavenly Sauce. Ice cream is merely a vehicle for the toppings in my opinion.

Suffice it to say I was up all night with crazy-bad heartburn and finished off my bottle of nasty chalky Mylanta. So now Heavenly Sauce is banished to the nether regions of gastronomic Hell along with most other things chocolate, red licorice, cucumbers, watermelon, onions, fresh garlic, etc. So I give you the recipe so that the magic of Heavenly Sauce can live on elsewhere.

In a double boiler, melt 2 sticks of butter with 4ozs good quality unsweetened chocolate.
When thoroughly melted, stir in 3 cups of sugar
Slowly add, while stirring, a can of evaporated milk and a pinch of salt
Keep stirring until all the sugar is dissolved.
Keep in a glass container in the frig - we always used a Miracle Whip jar.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

What a Difference a Day Makes

To quote Annie "yesterday was plain awful!" It was cold, snowy, blowy, and gray.

Today is much better with lots of sun. I'm beginning to think I may have S.A.D. My mood just goes through the ceiling on sunny days and takes a serious dive on gray days. Maybe I need one of the pricey little depression lights.

Today is beautiful and I feel like I can handle anything. I'm even enjoying sweeping the kitchen such is my joy. The flowers aren't blooming but they will be soon. We're having steaks on the grill for supper. The weather is going to be astounding for Minnesota later this week, so I have many plans for the grill.

Today we ventured out and visited many Open Houses in the area. Due to this crazy recession and my husband's line of work, we may be downsizing our living arrangements. His career is directly tied to the economy, and it's been rough to say the least. But we had fun looking at smaller places and imagining. Some houses were downright cute with pretty little backyards. It's always hard to come back to the reality of our messy dusty LIVED IN home after seeing all those spiffed-up places. We love our house, and hope things turn around thereby allowing us to stay, but we have to be open to other possibilities.

Addendum at 6:30pm - steaks were superb, made even more wonderful by a bottle of Red Truck. I also made a giant salad just the way I like it: with olives, peppers, red tip lettuce, croutons, and my own dressing. Now if only I had one lovely bite of Dove chocolate. Another plus: twin #2 was in bad form and smarted off, so now SHE'S doing the dishes!!!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Today, I'm glad I don't live in Duluth

Duluth Minnesota is one of my favorite places on earth. In fact the whole North Shore ranks right up there. But today, I'm happy with our cold April rain and high winds. Northern Minnesota/Duluth is having a major blizzard with 50mph winds driving over a foot of snow with more snow on the way. A gale warning is posted for Lake Superior where waves up to 16 feet are expected. Thousands are without power.

HOWEVER, I'd really, really like to be holed up in a cabin with wood heat and hot coffee, and just sit and watch Mother Nature and powerful Lake Superior in action. That lake just speaks the language of my soul and I can't wait to go back. It must be in top form today.

Addendum at 9:30pm: it's snowing here too. Drat.
Addendum #2: this morning everything was coated with cold snow and the gray wind is harsh. For obvious reasons the pretty spring birds are hiding and the only ones visiting our trees are the scary crows and blackbirds. This Spring is starting to feel like a Steven King novel.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


A warning from all of the women in the world:

When a man says "trust me, I know when to pull out" it's not going to end well for you.

Monday, April 7, 2008

How Come?

Often, I ponder. . . . .

1. How come the ranch dressing in restaurants tastes so much better than anything I can get at the grocery store?

2. Why does red licorice give me heartburn?

3. Why can't my family see the stuff piled up on the stairs?

4. Why does everything at the Minnesota State Fair cost $20?

5. Why am I always at the 4-way stop with the teenager who doesn't understand 4-way stops?

6. Why do I always ruin every nice shirt with one little spot of olive oil?

7. Why doesn't the government provide grants for kids' sports equipment and fees?

8. How come missing just one freakin day of flossing, and my gums go to pot?

9. Why does everyone eat in the living room, when the rule is NO eating in the living room?

10. How come American actors are drop dead beautiful while British actors are just so-so? For the record, I prefer the British ones - they're funnier.

11. I'm 46, and still have acne and oily skin. At what age, exactly, will I "grow out of it"?

12. When will Spring get here?

Saturday, April 5, 2008

My Life as a Sitcom

Ever take a step back and realize your life is like a comedy, but without the laugh track? So I just provide an internal laugh track and chuckle my way through.

1. The CD/Radio in my van is stuck ON. There is no way on God's Green Earth I can turn that sucker off short of ripping it out of the dashboard. And the volume control has gone down too, so it's just loud enough to be annoying but not loud enough to actually HEAR what's being said. And we don't have the money right now to fix or replace it. I've discovered that if I put in a blank CD, at least it's silent.

2. Half of the dashboard lights in the same van have gone down. Think there's a connection? But I can still see most of the speedometer. And we've decided a pen light duct taped to the steering column will do when the whole enchilada breaks. No way will we pay someone to tear out the dashboard for diagnostics on a van with 130,000 miles on it.

3. One of my twins has become like the Tide stain commercial. I'm trying to tell her something and she's interrupting because she's 14 and therefore knows it ALL. Then 3 minutes later she's asking "when are we leaving?", "how do I do this?", and the whirlpool starts again.

4. Today I put in my first contact lens at exactly the same moment an undried soap bubble entered my eye socket. Much cursing ensued.

5. We own three cats, and I'm a dog person. And lately a stray has been hanging around who looks like Mao Tse Tung, so we call him Chairman Mao and the kids hiss at him.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Decisions, Decisions

OK, it's time to confess, I can't decide between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama!
On the Clinton end, I think she is one tough cookie with a mind like a steel trap. She would NEVER back down from a challenge. She knows all the insiders and how Washington and the White House operate. But I'm tired of the same old stories from Washington.

On the Obama end, this man can unite like no one I've ever witnessed. He can look at problems from so many angles and not fall back to knee-jerk responses to please his "base", whatever his base may be. And I'm ready for a new direction.

Let me hear from you - what are your opinions?

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Tempus Fugit

Time certainly flies, doesn't it?

I went to the grocery store today, and as I walked in I saw a Mom with two wee girls in tow. Those little ones were talking a mile a minute and pulling on Mom's coat while she wrestled them into the cart.

And there I was with my lovely long spring coat but no little hands tugging at the seams. My reading glasses were perched on my head so I could read the price labels. I pushed my cart all alone while browsing at my leisure. I held my remarkably small purse that didn't contain one diaper, one sippy cup, nor any pacifiers.

When did I become an old Mom? Yesterday I was taking little ones to preschool, buying wet wipes, and wrestling my own small girls into the grocery cart. Funny thing is I thought those days would never end. I thought I'd never drink an entire cup of hot coffee nor shop leisurely for groceries on my own. But suddenly those days are gone.

Don't get me wrong, there are many aspects of those days that I most certainly will NOT miss. Trying to control a toddler tantrum AND get the fixings for a few meals simultaneously is not something I wish to repeat. And believe me, being able to read the newspaper AND drink an entire cup of coffee is a treat I relish.

I just get wistful for my little girls.