Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The High School Schedules are Posted!!

If anyone in the Northfield region is experiencing phone outages, you can blame my girls and their newly-freshman friends. The word got out that the High School class schedules were posted today. So of course the absolute MINUTE I walked in the door, they were begging me to logon and print. It's done, and there is now a flurry of texting.

Remember those days? When it mattered so very much WHO was in class with you? And if you had to sit next to Smelly Richard or Best Friend Julie it could make or break your year?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Cheeseheads Strike Again

MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin (AP) -- A 56-year-old Milwaukee man is accused of shooting his lawn mower because it wouldn't start.

Keith Walendowski told police he felt he had a right to shoot his mower.

Keith Walendowski told police he felt he had a right to shoot his mower. According to the criminal complaint, Walendowski says he was angry because his Lawn Boy wouldn't start Wednesday morning. He told police: "I can do that, it's my lawn mower and my yard so I can shoot it if I want." Walendowski could face up to an $11,000 fine and six years and three months in prison if convicted

I'm tellin ya, some seriously strange people live in Wisconsin. But then again, is it so strange to shoot your lawn mower? I know I've wanted to shoot our computer many times, but I'm afraid my BB gun wouldn't give the satisfying damage I'd be seeking. And why fine and imprison him?? Seems like a bit of overreaction to me.

This story comes courtesy of my talented friend Tom. Tom thinks LawnBoy owes this man a brand-spankin-new lawn mower!

Friday, July 25, 2008

A Creep for a Veep?

So John "I don't know how to send email" McCain is considering the Governor of Minnesota, Tim Pawlenty, for his running mate? For those of you who don't live in Minnesota, let me introduce you.

1. He never "won" election, nor did he "win" reelection. The vast majority of Minnesotans voted for the Democratic or the Third Party candidate. Tim Pawlenty won by default. Key Point: the majority of Minnesotans did NOT choose him.

2. While he cries "no new taxes" most Minnesotans are suffering oversized classrooms, collapsing bridges, decreased police force, decreased fire-fighting capabilities, and an increase in state fees across the board. Because his administration refused to up the state's education budget, homeowners like us saw a HUGE increase in our property taxes just to staunch the bleeding in our public schools.

3. He has a problem with his vocabulary. He increases "fees" on many services but claims they aren't a tax. No one is fooled.

4. He absolutely LOVED taxing the residents of Hennepin County (city of Minneapolis) without a referendum for a new Twins Stadium because poor little rich owner Carl Pohlad didn't want his own bucks tied up in his own stadium.

In his own words on his Truth in Taxation plans - "If significant dissatisfaction is registered, a levy referendum on the amount of increase above a certain level will be triggered. We've got to trust the people. So once again I ask the Legislature to pass a carefully drawn and limited form of Initiative and Referendum. We need to allow the people the chance to directly speak on the major issues of the day."

Unless of course those people are actual residents, and you are actually talking about their money.

5. He vetoed a powerful piece of legislation that would have allowed homeowners facing foreclosure some relief, and would have forced Minnesota mortgage companies to work with these folks. He "felt it wasn't Government's job to interfere with private contracts". Minnesota is facing a mortgage/foreclosure crisis of EPIC PROPORTIONS! Entire neighborhoods are going down the tubes. And since when do Republicans not want to interfere in private contracts?? They LIVE for that stuff!

Read this article for a reference to the above picture. Minnesota used to be a glowing example of the good work taxes can achieve, and what a liberal government can provide it's people. Now that's democracy!

More insight ahead as I come across the details.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I'm a Superior 1930's Wife!


As a 1930s wife, I am

Take the test!

Well, whaddya know about that? I thought for sure I failed when I admitted to making breakfast in my pajamas and putting my cold feet on my husband in bed. Thank Kirby for this insightful test.


As a 1930s husband, I am
Very Superior

Take the test!

And Hubby did even better, although I thought they had him at "hangs his clothes on the doorknob".

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Satan's new name is McDonald's

Beelzebub has a new form, and it's iced mocha from McDonald's.

Sometimes I leave work so hungry I could take a bite out of my steering wheel or my own flesh. 90% of the time I can force myself home to make a cheap filling lunch. But today the hungry-shakes took over and I stopped to get the kids and myself some quick lunch at McDonalds.

I ordered one of their new iced coffee drinks because 1. it sounded good and 2. I could then mock their lame attempt to imitate quality coffee. But DAMN that thing was GOOD!!! Lots of strong coffee flavor with just a hint of chocolate and milk, icy cold, all the way I like it. I'm sure there was high fructose corn syrup in there somewhere, it's still a McDonald's product, but it was just really delicious.

And since we're confessing, I really do love Big Macs. I know they are a heart attack in a little paperboard box but they are just SO GOOD!!!

So get thee behind me Satan, and take McDonalds with you.

Monday, July 21, 2008

A Day of Good Things

First, some great things about going "Up North"
1. Truly Northwoods cabins beside one of the clearest lakes I have ever seen in my life.
2. Watching my New York Italian husband catch fish. Of course, he makes his daughters and me bait his hook and take off the fish he catches, but he sure enjoyed the catching!
3. Watching my 9-year-old take to snorkeling like she's done it all her life.
4. Laying in the sun, listening to the loons, feeling the boat sway in the waves, with my line in the water.
5. A king sized campfire
6. Good times with my husband, my kids, their cousins, and my siblings. THIS is what life is about.

Now, today's good things and to hell with Martha Stewart
1. A large homemade iced mocha! With espresso from my stovetop pot, Hershey's syrup, and 1% milk. My espresso doesn't have that deep dark flavor you'd get from a commercial machine but it's pretty darned close.
2. Cleaned out several cupboards and purged old crap. I feel a garage sale coming on!
3. Time to bake a batch of chocolate chip pecan cookies.
4. We'll soon have a Democratic Administration.
5. My job with benefits, something we haven't had since 1990.
6. I'm trying a new tactic with my raging 14-year-old. I'm ignoring everything. This takes about 300% more energy than calling her on her disrespectful behavior towards me. She still has rules, consequences, etc but I don't answer all her teenage drama. It takes all my strength not to fight back.

Excuse me, the first sheet of cookies just came out of the oven - hmmmmmm, warm chocolate chip cookies - is there anything better?? Anyway . . . .

7. The weather is delightful
8. I've got my comfy shorts on
9. Kids are all at friends' houses until 5pm and I have the radio to myself. Can you say Geezer Rock??
10. Time to do some serious laundry. This is one household chore I actually enjoy. I love the smell of detergent and the feel of warm clothes fresh from the dryer.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Up Nort!

We're going Up North, or as they say in Minnesota Up Nort! Early tomorrow morning we leave for a small hidden lake near Itasca State Park and the headwaters of the Mississippi. We're meeting my sister Cheesecake Maven and her band of criminals.

We've split the meals right down the middle: I'm doing one supper and one lunch. However, as I chop and pack and slice and pack I realize that I have yet again purchased and prepared too much. You'd think I was a war refugee the way I hoard food. I'm famous for this.

I have a gallon of fruit salad, pounds of grapes and cherries, two homemade dips, a dishful of crudites, and entire bundt cake, two batches of brownies, peanut butter, jelly, brie cheese, crackers, antipasti salad, and about 1000lbs of pulled bbq beef. In fact, the last 1/3 of that is still cooking on the porch in the crock pot, mustn't forget that.

We don't own a cooler large enough for this! We're going to have to get a trailer to haul our crap up there.

So you all must come over sometime early next week to help eat all the leftovers.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

More things to ponder

1. What are the callouses on my feet made from?! Titanium?! Next step is the belt sander.

2. How can a man who was tortured as a POW support torturing POW's?

3. What is that old person smell anyway?

4. Why does chocolate give me heartburn? Why can't green beans give me heartburn?

5. Why is it that my most expensive hanging basket of flowers is the first to give up the ghost?

6. Why can't I cook anything without making such a #&#^$ mess?

7. Why, when I say "put it in the refrigerator" does my husband hear "freezer"?

8. Why do I keep waking up at night?

9. What's the point of that one annoying bead of sweat that runs smack down the middle of your back? I'm ready to install a sweat band there.

10. Why can't my kids put their dirty dishes INSIDE the mostly empty dishwasher?

11. Why does my office smell of dog poo?

12. Why do I bother with makeup when it's 95 degrees outside?

13. What did I ever do to warrant such amazing friends?

14. Would my house be cleaner if I stopped blogging?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

New Blogger!

Give a huge round of applause for my husband and his new blog "Construction U".
Here this talented man will be offering free advice on your construction questions. Yes, you read that right, FREE!! Got an issue with your contractor? Can't make sense of a bid? Wondering how much that deck might cost? Looking for green building materials? He's your go-to-man.
We're trying this, and a myspace page for him, in order to generate interest in his resume and exceptional skills. Go visit!!

Monday, July 14, 2008

End our dependence on oil.

I just heard about the Pickens Plan.
This is a former oil man who recognizes the energy crisis inherent in oil dependence. He is pushing a plan to replace about 1/3 of our oil usage with natural gas, and pushing to replace 1/3 of our electricity generation with wind. He doesn't go as far as I'd like, but it's a start. Go to The Pickens Plan and tell me what you think.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Things I've discovered since our job loss

As most of you know, my husband and family bread winner lost his previously-lucrative position in a home building business last October. Things have been tough, to say the least. The construction market isn't exactly open to new hires but he's been working all his contacts and looking at alternative careers. We had put away $ for a rainy day, but now it's storming and we're in a very precarious position. The good news is that I've landed a wonderful part-time job at a great employer who offers benefits, but it isn't enough to support our family of five. He's working short-term jobs and starting his own businesses but for about 1/3 of his previous income. Our modest but perfect dream home is on the market. And we just pray to anyone who'll listen that the car, washing machine, etc just keeping running.

I grew up with very little cash - my Dad was a state employee. We didn't have much spending power but Dad always had a secure job. Then I was a Social Worker after college. So I'm no stranger to living on a shoe string, which helps.

Anyway, back to my point. I've learned some great lessons through this and now I'll share:

1. Friends love potlucks! People just enjoy getting together with other friends, and many of them are tightening their belts too. Potlucks are a great way to entertain.

2. People love you all the same even when you're suddenly poor. In fact, they love you even more for holding your head up and plowing ahead.

3. Help comes from sources you never, ever expected

4. Knowing you have several families who would take you in is a blessing that money can't buy.

5. Other things money can't buy: healthy kids, a good marriage, good friends, a big happy extended family, 46 years with my Grandma

6. Things go more smoothly in the long run if you pay as much as you can on every bill you can. Sometimes you can't make all the ends meet in a crisis but each utility etc likes to see something put down.

7. There are lots of fabulous consignment clothing stores in the Twin Cities and Rochester.

8. You CAN be happy without a credit card. I put all mine away and have used one of them once since October.

9. If you're a big reader like me, find a good used book store. Mine buys my books and gives me more $ in store credit if I don't take it in cash. And of course there's always the library.

10. Basic cable's not so bad: our 10 crappy channels actually keep us away from the TV, which is really a good thing. I hated Hannah Montana anyway.

11. Old vans that are paid for and run great are one of life's simple pleasures.

12. Picnics at a free beach are lovely.

13. Hair dye in a box looks just as good as a professional job. And $7 versus $75 is a no-brainer.

14. Purex laundry detergent cleans just fine.

15. My kids have rediscovered their bikes.

16. The really important moments in life have nothing to do with your bank account.

17. Northwest Airlines just announced a lay off of 2600 folks in management, so we certainly aren't alone.

Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer

Our 4th of July potluck was great fun. ALL my siblings and their kids came up, so we had a houseful. Lots of friends came by with all kinds of marvelous food that I didn't photograph because I was too busy stuffing my face: brats, asian noodle salad, tomato salad caprese with fresh basil, homemade creamed corn, chocolate sheet cake, fresh melon, lime beer, iced tea, jalapeno jelly on cream cheese, nacho dip, roasted sweet potatoes, etc. The above photo is twin #1 on the playhouse roof watching the fireworks.
Some of the gang inspiring anyone to perform stupid human tricks. My brother, far left, started things off with his hammer toe. Sister Shirley chipped in with her webbed toes - want to see the photo??
Sister Ruth, doing one of many stupid human tricks.
Friend Tim, the hands-down winner!
Nothing beats a good campfire.
More of the same.
Friend Bill doing the hardest human trick of all: texting when you're over 44.

What I DIDN'T get photos of:
The vintage baseball game in Northfield
The perfect view of local fireworks from my backyard!
All that luscious food.
All the teenagers finding a place to "hang" that wasn't with parents
My 6-year-old nephew falling asleep on the couch
All of us enjoying bacon and coffee the next morning, with the party mess still around our feet.
Good friend MG leaving the party with a nasty case of food poisoning from a breakfast at a Twin Cities diner - he was so green and sweating profusely - poor guy looked miserable.

As friend Shannon says, 3 day weekends should be the law - every single week!!! Just think of all the gas we'd save and all the increased mental health we might enjoy. I know I'd like more time with friends and family. I'd be willing to bet our economy wouldn't see any adverse affect.

How's Everybody Doing?

I just came off a great weekend full of friends, family, and food. I'll post about our party quite soon. How's everybody doing after the long holiday weekend?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Grandma's Kitchen

Blogging funny-woman Sheletta reminded me of a story my cousin told.

She was shopping in one of those upscale candle shops - guess in that case it was "shoppes" - and started sniffing the merchandise. The sales person gushed "Oh, you just HAVE to smell this one, it smells exactly like it's name!! Grandma's Kitchen!!"

To which my cousin replied "How'd they get a candle to smell like cigarettes, bacon grease, and a little bit of Hi Lex bleach?"