Thursday, April 30, 2009
"While Senator Specter's decision was indeed disappointing, it did allow us to realize -- perhaps sooner than we would have liked -- the dangerous ramifications of unbridled, one-party rule in Washington," National Republican Senatorial Committee chair John Cornyn said in a post on the conservative website, Powerline. "But we utterly fail to see that this is a clear rejection of far-right philosophies, or how dangerous WE have been for the last 8 years, so we'll just keep banging our empty neocon heads on the proverbial brick wall. Oh, and, did you know the Democrats or the Pittsburgh Steelers Superbowl wins in 1976 and 2009 are to blame for the swine flu?"
Some of the top-ranking GOP officials in the party have viewed the loss of Specter as the earliest signs of an anti-Democratic backlash. And GOP think tanks have affirmed that bacon is not fattening, the moon is made of green cheese, and Elvis is living in Mason City, Iowa.
"There is no more visible evidence that the American people are already rebelling than Arlen Specter becoming a Democrat," said Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.). while wearing a tin-foil hat and handing out pamphlets about the mind-control dangers of digital broadcast TV.
"Oh, that's quite the opposite," Sen Jim DeMint, said, when asked by CNN's Rick Sanchez if the party was shrinking. "We're seeing across the country right now that the biggest tent of all is the tent of freedom. And what we need to do as Republicans is convince Americans that freedom can work in all areas of their life, for every American, whether it's education, or health care, or creating jobs." Sanchez replied, "What -- what -- what the hell does that mean?" "Is Michelle Bachmann talking into your ear piece? How much crack do you smoke, anyway?"
Later, the South Carolina Republican added that the GOP wasn't growing smaller, it was just moving south, as in to Hell, in a handbasket.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
So I did. Here's the truth.
There are NO PROGRAMS for homeowners in foreclosure.
Anybody who tells you that is just blowing the proverbial smoke up you-know-where. All that exists are refinance opportunities, which you only qualify for if you 1. Aren't currently in foreclosure or bankruptcy, 2. Have proof of steady adequate income and 3. Are current on your mortgage. In other words, you qualify for refinance if you aren't currently in any financial trouble.
Believe me on this one. I've done my homework. I've called them all.
Yes, the Obama plan may help but it's currently in committee and won't become law anytime soon - I know because I have been in constant contact with my Senator's office. The only thing anyone can do right now is to consistently pester their reps into hurrying this plan along. But for us and millions of others who had a mortgage they COULD afford until they lost jobs, it will probably be too late.
How did they answer me? By basically agreeing that yes, I was in foreclosure, and perhaps I should call one of the housing programs (see above). It's a wonder how some yahoos STAY employed.
Monday, April 27, 2009
Ever get so seriously bored with yourself you'd just like to change channels?
I can't think of anything to post, political or otherwise. Nothing happening locally that's sick, depraved, stupid, unusual, funny or interesting. Even things in Wisconsin have quieted down. Perhaps we all have a latent case of senioritis?
The economy is hammering our downtown. Our bookstore has closed, as has a used book place that no one thought would make it anyway. However, everyone's favorite used book store has oddly seen a drastic DECREASE in sales since the other two closings, and the owner says he may not make it until summer. Another downtown icon, Tiny's Hot Dogs, may be closing it's doors. This is just incredibly sad. I've been doing my part, but our discretionary cash amounts to about $1.50 a week right now.
I'm in a mood to dance like no one is watching and howl at the moon, or at least at some Republicans. I have this overwhelming urge to just fall on my back and watch the clouds - in a not-depressed-but-tired-of-fighting way. In the way the Michael Keaton character let's go of the handle bar at the end of the movie My Life. In sort of a "thy will be done" way.
This is all I need for a good life: a safe warm house, a back porch, my husband at my side, my kids, my extended family, my friends (physical and cyber), lots and lots of laughing, good coffee, good books, good wine, good walks. Yep, that's about it. Yep, I'm boring. But if you were at my kitchen table I would serve you warm food, laugh at your stories, and keep your coffee hot or your beer cold. And we could love this boring life together.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Just a little update. I've been searching hard for replacements for our teens' bikes - see below. One friend gave me a BEAUTIFUL Trek bike that's been in their garage, unclaimed, for over 3 years. It needs $85 worth of work - we got an estimate today. My splendid friend MG is also out garage/estate saling today and he's got his eyes out. AND I just got a response from my freecycle.org ad - a local woman has two women's bikes she wants to pass on for free. I've also asked two college students I know to spread the word among their friends - perhaps someone is ready to sell. Next week my ad will be in the college newsletter. So with a little effort, I may resolve this dilemna with a minimum of cash. I like those outcomes.
Friday, April 24, 2009
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
The first one is a grass green TREK much like this. I had bought it with the little bitty inheritance I received when my folks died. It has a great gel seat and a pop-off bag in the front.
The second is a Schwinn, much like the one pictured, only purple.
As if I have the money to replace these now!!! I've placed an ad at Carleton college looking for students who need to leave their bikes in town for the summer, and would they mind letting my girls use them? I'm just sick about this: those bikes are the only mode of transportation for my kids.
We're feeling more than a little picked-on here at the Mnmom household. What's next? Sewer back up? A plague of locusts? A meteor crashing into the paid-for van? Does anyone know the name of a good shaman who can come over here, burn some sage, and get rid of the evil demons stalking my family?
Seriously, enough already!!!
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Ever wanted to slap someone because they just plain old irritated you? Oh, who am I kidding, I feel like this at least once a week.
We traveled 4 hours from home for Twin #2's soccer tournament. All in all, a good weekend. I enjoy the other parents, and the girls played well.
The standard low-end hotel where we stayed was packed to the ceilings with other soccer teams, baseball teams, and some wrestlers. Every single high school sport in the midwest must have been having tournaments. I was worried how this would play out at the free breakfast area, which was about the size of my laundry room.
First off, I HATE the free breakfasts at hotels. OK, yes they are "free", but not really or they wouldn't charge me $95 per night. Did I mention I'm trailer trash and $95 is a lot of moola to me? Anyway, for trailer trash I've managed to become rather snobbish about food and coffee. And dishes - I just ABHOR styrofoam, coffee mate, gross mini cupcakes, and those infernal malted waffle machines. I found the image above by typing "crappy hotel breakfast" in an image search. And we didn't get fresh fruit.
And as predicted, the room was completely packed with all the other tired athletic parents and their creepy kids. This included several Dad's in barefeet - BARE FEET I tell you! And pjs, and sloppy t-shirts, and bed head. Doesn't the word PUBLIC mean anything anymore? And all the over-pleasing Moms still wearing their mall bangs and perms from the 80's waiting hand and foot on junior Mr. Baseball because he can't possibly get his own milk from a milk machine.
But one kid was ripe for a slapping. He looked to be about 16 and stood up, shirtless, stuffing his mouth with donuts, and going on and on about something boring but every other word from his big mouth was "a$$hole" or "#hit". Shirtless, yelling, and swearing in a small room full of families and little kids. The adults around him were just smiling and tolerating his rude ass.
I was so ready to walk over, shake my old lady finger at him, and tell him his behavior was disgraceful, and that he needs to put on a shirt and watch his language in public. I typed "ugly shirtless teenage boy" in an image search, but nothing conveyed the horror of this overgrown kid.
AND the coffee was horrible.
So tell me, should I have opened a can of old-biddy whoop ass on him??
Friday, April 17, 2009
The aims of this award:
As a dedication for those who love blogging and love to encourage friendships through blogging.
To seek the reasons why we all love blogging.
Put the award in one post as soon as you receive it.
Don't forget to mention the person who gives you the award.
Answer the award's question by writing the reason why you love blogging.
Tag and distribute the award to as many people as you like.
Don't forget to notify the award receivers and put their links in your post.
I'm not going to tag anyone specifically - your are all fabulous, so consider yourself tagged.
The reasons I started blogging? It all started with the positively wonderful Michael. He just suggested I might enjoy it as much as he, so here I am. In August of 2008 I celebrated my one year blogging anniversary.
I blog because I'm a loud mouth and talking people to death just wasn't enough. I have opinions being generated in every one of my brain cells and they DEMANDED to be heard. Also, I've found that I make strange observations which cause my friends and family to giggle, roll their eyes, or shun me. So I was hoping to find some kindred spirits who would find these musings interesting. Or at least to find some folks stranger than me.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Again with those Wisconsin folks!!
RACINE, Wis. -- A Racine man is accused of faking his own kidnapping and trying to get his mother to wire him ransom money. Police say 23-year-old James Williams sent his mother a text message Monday night, saying that he had been kidnapped and that his abductors were demanding $250 or they would kill him. Authorities say Williams' mother received at least nine text messages demanding that $250 be wired by Western Union to a Milwaukee Wal-Mart. She was told her son would be beaten and shot if she did not comply. Williams' mother called police and a trace was put on Williams' phone. Detectives say they found the messages were coming from Williams' phone near Interstate 94 in Kenosha County. Police found Williams alone in his mother's van on Highway 50.
Whenever I have some time alone in my van, I like to have a good book and a nice hot mocha with me. Suppose he did too?
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Some thoughts on tax day.
Taxes are not the enemy. Corrupt politicians who just love their pork are the enemy. Corporate lawyers and tax lawyers who get their obscenely wealthy clients OUT of paying their taxes are the enemy. And those poor schmucks who took part in those ridiculous "tea parties" are just ignorant fools.
On tax day, I'd like to give a shout out to the following tax-payer supported items that make life bearable, and sometimes downright pleasant. And thank YOU, the Amercian Taxpayer, for each and every one of them:
Police, firefighters, enhanced 9-1-1, students loans, PELL grants, public schools, Head Start, snow plows, municipal swimming pools, parks, playgrounds, universities, sidewalks, bike trails, the interstate highway system, special education, SSI, unemployment, food stamps, disability, state parks, national parks, campgrounds, jails, public defenders, water right out of my tap, inspected meat, sewer systems, flood control measures, the National Guard, the Postal Service, local/state/federal websites, city administration, rural electrification, the GI Bill, libraries, parking lots, street sweepers, animal control, the Dept of Natural Resources, National Weather Service, invasive species control, driver education in schools, stop signs, traffic control, highway repair, social workers, substance abuse counselors, the Army Corps of Engineers, public transportation, museums, history centers, historic preservation, arts programs, garbage pick up, recycling programs, community gardens, municipal compost sites, city recreation programs, foster care, crisis nurseries, medicaid, medicare, social security, Centers for Disease Control, National Institutes of Mental Health, Americorps, . . . . .
Have I missed any? They aren't perfect but I for one am willing to pay taxes to keep them all.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
PUULLEEZZZ Norm, get out of here and take your weird big white teeth with you!
Monday, April 13, 2009
What the heck is up, who are "they", and why are they trying to kill us?
I heard the last portion of a scary story on NPR today - caveat: I only listened to the end and can't find the story on npr.org so work with me.
Evidently, there is a new standardized math test in the works, either through the Minnesota or the Federal govt, that would require HS Juniors to pass or they won't graduate. Here's the scary part: a current advanced algebra student from Edina MN High School hadn't passed the preliminary test. For those of you outside Minnesota, Edina HS is one of the top schools in the NATION! Their advanced algebra is most likely college level. If those kids can't pass, what's in store for the rest?
Those of us who used to be the bedrock of the middle class can no longer afford our modest homes. Demand for welfare services are through the roof. Financial aid for college is being squeezed out. Community services like fire and police response are being cut. And now our perfectly FINE kids will be kept from High School diplomas!!!
The rich will always have education, security, jobs, homes, etc. But the rest of us are dependent on a functioning society for these items. If our kids can't even graduate freaking high school what will become of us? I'm just seeing this move toward a supreme uber-rich ruling class lording over peasants, with nothing in between. And it frightens me.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
You would have thought I arranged to have the Grim Reaper come in and bludgeon them to death.
OK, maybe it wasn't that bad. But I've decided that no parent can possibly please 15-year-old girls. Unless they exist in a TV sitcom where all problems are solved within 30 minutes and no one wears sweatpants with dress socks nor displays bed head. Like Michael always says, where is that car aerial when I need it?
But they DID enjoy the creme brulee french toast and so did I. It was indeed a hit. That photo is not mine, but it comes pretty close. This is some good stuff; easy and impressive - just like I like my recipes.
CREME BRULEE FRENCH TOAST
1 stick butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 T. corn syrup
1 loaf french bread or Challah
5 large eggs (I suppose you could use egg beaters)
1 1/2 cups half & half (I imagine whole milk might work here)
1t. Grand Marnier
In a small heavy saucepan, melt the butter with the brown sugar and corn syrup over moderate heat, stirring, until smooth. Then pour into a 9x13x2" baking dish. Cut the end from the bread, and cut enough 1" slices to fully fill the pan. Arrange bread slices on the butter layer - it's OK the squeeze them in a little.
In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, half & half, vanilla, Grand Marnier, and salt. Pour evenly over the bread. Cover the pan and chill for at least 8 hours or overnight.
Let the pan come to room temp for about 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 350. Bake uncovered until puffed and edges are pale golden, about 35-40 minutes.
This is so rich, you don't need syrup. Fresh strawberries are nice! Next time, I'm going to use a large platter, loosen the toast in the pan, then invert the whole thing onto the platter. This way I won't lose one drop of the wonderful sauce on the bottom.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Of all the holidays, Easter is at the bottom of the food chain for me. Even when I was a regular church goer, I disliked it. For starters. I don't like candy. Make me eat a jelly bean and I'll be sick for hours. Maybe it's all those pastels that creep me out. Maybe it was trying each year to wear something fluffy and spring-like when there was still snow on the ground. Maybe it was Easter dinner - again with the pastels and a serious lack of anything cheesy, garlicky, or fried. I'm a real trooper for the kids, but meh, I could live without it.
This year only the 9-year-old tinky-winky has her head in the game. So I'm trying something new. I'm sending her on a hunt through the house, complete with decorated clues, to find their Easter baskets. Which in reality are brown paper lunch bags with curly ribbon stapled to them. And rather nontraditional Easter gifts inside: mascara for the teens, cheap DVD's, lip smackers for the Tinkster, and the required amount of chocolate and gum.
I've replaced Easter dinner with brunch, including a made-ahead pan of creme brulee french toast. If it's a hit I'll post the recipe.
Where is Jesus in all this? He isn't frankly. I think he'd be appalled to see us getting all dressed up and cutting into the coca-cola marinated ham while the kids slipped into diabetic comas. I think he's got better taste, and certainly a bit more decorum.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
One of our absolute dearest friends has bought a little slice of heaven on a lake and invited us up for Memorial Day!! That's not it pictured, but it's nearly as cute. We're going to help with some chores, like painting, in exchange for the fun. Hmmmmmm how much food should I bring? I tend to bring about 8 coolers along for vacations because you can't have too much bacon or half-n-half in my opinion. Can I have volume knobs installed on the children before then?
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Another great article. Minnesotans are fed up. We're normally a pretty patient lot, we suffer well through dangerous -40 temps and endless cloudy days with no sun. But this has just gone on long enough, and the natives are calling for his head on a platter. He's planning to appeal AGAIN the latest results, which put Al Franken even further ahead than yesterday.
Best quote from the article:
Give it up, former Sen. Coleman. You're like one of those Japanese soldiers hiding in the caves in the 1970s; like one of those doctors who keeps shocking the dead patient 30 minutes after he flat-lines; like a pathetic, creepy stalker.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Norm Coleman is doing the "Minnesota Goodbye." That's when your last party guest is about to leave and finally go home but instead they linger by your half-opened front door to chat. "Well, it's getting late, Norm. ... Thanks for coming. ... Yup, talk to you later, Norm. ... I need to close the door now, Norm, because the cat might get out and there's a cold draft coming in. ... OK, goodbye ... I've got a really early morning tomorrow, Norm. ... Yes, bye-bye now ... Drive home safely, Norm." Now your guest is in your driveway continuing to talk so loudly you're afraid he'll wake the neighbors. Tired and shivering by your open door, you wonder if this guy is ever going to leave and go home.
STEVE MARK, MINNETONKA
ADDENDUM at 2:45 p.m.:
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Al Franken's lead in the U.S. Senate race has increased by 87 votes as a result of the counting of absentee ballots in a St. Paul courtroom today. Franken led Norm Coleman by 225 votes going into Tuesday's count. Franken gained 198 votes from the hundreds of absentees that the judges allowed to be counted for the first time. Coleman gained 111 votes and 42 votes were for other candidates. This extends Franken's lead to 312 votes.
Monday, April 6, 2009
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Just dropped off my brother and his family at the airport. They are headed to Myrtle Beach for the week, in an oceanfront beach house no less. (insert heavy sigh). I could just feel their excitement and anticipation of leaving all this browness behind and arriving tonight at the ocean.
At my house, we could ALL use a vacation. Actually what we need is a little warm breeze, some sunshine, and surroundings that aren't gray, brown, white, and muddy. Is that too much to ask? And for added contrast, we're expecting a heavy snow storm tonight. (insert another deep sigh).
But everyday brings a new chance, and new opportunities.
Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming . . . .
Friday, April 3, 2009
Ever do something that really upset someone you love? Ever do something that at the time seemed fine, but in retrospect you were out of line and deserve every single ounce of the their anger and disappointment? Ever feel like such a heel that you wonder if they'll ever love you again? No? Well, you're lucky. Don't. That's all I have to say about that.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
But the story doesn't end there! Oh no, my stupidity lived on. I checked the label and it said machine wash was OK - so in it went, then into the dryer to air fluff. But upon opening the door HORRORS the inside of the dryer drum and my beautiful red coat are massively smeared with "Different Plum" Clinique lipstick! All over, dark purple, even the lining. I had left the #&^%$#^ thing in the pocket!
But DuFours Cleaners to the rescue! For a mere $16 they made my treasured coat lovely again. This may not sound like much to others, but I was so happy I almost leapt across the counter and kissed them! It was a good day.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
I'm back. Weather here and there exactly the same. Being away from our phone was nice. Being with family was VERY nice.
On the drive home, I got to thinking about things I've never done but really, REALLY want to do someday. What does YOUR list look like?
I have never:
1. Been to Europe
2. Stayed in a 5-star hotel
3. Seen the Pacific Northwest
4. Seen the Grand Canyon
5. Had a Master's degree
6. Had a chocolate martini, or an apple one for that matter
7. Stayed in an English country manor
8. Been thin
9. Hiked the Gunflint Trail
10. Been stinking filthy rich.