Friday, July 31, 2009

We lost it

We lost the house - someone bought it THE VERY DAY we were looking at it. They are going to make some good money!! We were going to invest about $125K and sell it in 2-3 years for at least $200K. It was a great opportunity and I hope those buyers have the vision we had. That's not it above, but very similar.

But there have to be other great opportunities like that just waiting for Johnny C's and Mnmom's magic touch, right??

I hate this waiting period - my patience is growing thin.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

And we're back

I'm back home in Minnesota. I knew I was home again when the sky went all gray and cloudy. And nothing quite says "Welcome Home Mom!" like a counter full of dirty pb&j knives, toast crumbs, warm jelly, melted butter, and dirty dishes. And those darlings left all the clean laundry in my room for ME to sort after my 5-day absence. Wasn't that thoughtful?

Actually, little cupcake and I are glad to be back with Johnny C and the teen twin superheros. We had a lovely time in Iowa, and I will post pics later. But I missed the three members of our little unit that had to return to work Monday. Having a job just really gets in the way of a good life, doesn't it?

We MAY have found a really great fixer-upper that an investor will buy and we will put in the sweat equity over the next few years. Keep your fingers crossed really hard! It's got great bones and just needs some TLC. My husband can perform miracles, and I mean miracles, so I just know it'll be great. And the backyard is big and level and backs up to a park. Can you say more vegetable gardens? Plus there's room for an even BIGGER screened porch!!!!

Last night I found the following in my garden: One very large pumpkin and several tiny ones, seven cucumbers, thousands of green tomatoes, 2nd crop of beets peeking out of the dirt, 4 bell peppers, fat carrots, fatter onions, purple basil, sweet basil, bolted lettuce, blooming zinnias, growing cannas, and some gladiolas ready to burst.

I also didn't do well on my iced mocha ban. I want to lose some weight, so I'd decided that iced mochas and some other treats needed to be kicked to the curb. But I had four, FOUR! of them over the last five days. I fell off the wagon so hard I broke my front teeth. Those things are my kryptonite.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Velkommen to the Fest!


This weekend through Wednesday, we will be vacationing in scenic Northeast Iowa, and attending the world famous Nordic Fest! This is the wholesome family celebration in Decorah, Iowa not that frightening white power gathering. Enough said about that! And stop that ironic laughter.

I've attended every single Nordic - or as the locals refer to it "Nordic Mess" - since it's beginning in 1967. Granted, we lived there so it wasn't a huge effort. Our family has not one single drop of Norwegian blood in us, but you just learned to assimilate all that cream, butter, and Lutheran righteousness. We learned to make krumkake, sandbakkels, rommegrot, and kringle, wore bunads, and sang the Norwegian National Anthem (Ja Vi Elsker) just so they wouldn't rat us out to the Norwegian Mafia in town - La Cosa Uff Da.
Then again, the worst that group would do is give us a stern glance and a meaningful "well . . . . . I don't know . . . "

At Nordicle Festicles, you'll find all kinds of treats:

This is lefse - flat potato heaven. It's a potato dough rolled impossibly thin, then rolled up on a special lefse stick and unrolled onto a large flat hot surface. When it's done, you spread it with butter and sugar and stuff your face. OR at Nordic Fest you roll it around specially made Norwegian sausage, call it Varme Polse and repeat the stuffing your face sequence. Don't even walk away from the Varme Polse booth. Just get in the back of the line because you're going to want more.

In our neck of the northwoods, people with fair skin and lots of moles were said to have "Lefse Legs".

This is rommegrot. It has those groovy Scandinavian slashes through the "O's" but I don't know how to do that here. It's basically flour, cream, butter and sugar cooked together like pudding. THEN it's topped with melted butter, cinnamon, and more sugar. Yeah, it's straight up a heart attack but you'll die happy and warm. I'll post the recipe soon.

This lovely Norwegian woman in a birch coat means nothing, except that she popped up in a image search of "Decorah, Iowa"

After you load up all that fat and butter, you can go street dancing! There's always some great Old Time Music band and you can polka/schottische/waltz your little behind off. Of course it's usually about 85 degrees and 500% humidity during the Fest, so you'll be barfing up all that Nordic food in no time!!

This is Norwegian folk art known as Rosemaling. It's exceedingly intricate hand painting done by all the best white haired ladies in small Central Midwestern towns. You gotta watch those Norwegians though - they'll fricken rosemal anything not nailed down. Actually they rosemal things nailed down too. I'm surprised they haven't opened a rosemaling tatoo shop in Decorah (HEY! Maybe I'm on to something!).
If you get married in Decorah, get ready for lots of rosemaled wedding gifts. And don't go look at the rosemaling exhibits AFTER you've eaten all the treats uptown. You'll become dizzy and disoriented and end up hurling on Inge's or Tova's bunad, and then her husband Torvald or Einar will have to clean it up. They won't be happy about it but they won't say so. They'll just nod and say "Oh, that's OK, I don't mind". But they'll be seething with Scandinavian indignation.

We always liked the actual Scandinavian tourists who come in groups for the Fest. The locals used the more gracious term "Scandihoovians" which we shortened to "Hoovians" for brevity's sake. The Hoovians could be spotted a mile away with their sensible shoes, walking sticks, and socks with sandals. Every white haired Iowa Lutheran lady was shocked at their armpit and leg hair. And don't they use deodorant in Norway? But I'm tellin ya, those folks were a hoot in the beer tent!

So I hope to see you all there! I'll be in line at the Varme Polse booth or singing along with the Luren Singers or taking a break from all the Hoovian madness on my brother or sister's decks.

SKOL !!!!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Here's what I'm sick of:
Folks talking about the expense of universal health care as a reason to dump it. Hey GOP - our current system is vastly more expensive and we all know who's reaping the benefits of that. We aren't as dumb as you'd like to believe. And your stupid war has been vastly more expensive, and for what? Broken bodies, broken homes, dead children.

These blocking conservatives are talking about health care like it's a plan to put every American into a beach home and a Lincoln Continental, regardless of their income. Quality medical care is a RIGHT you people!

And how expensive is it for so many Americans to be missing work and joining the disabled merely because they couldn't get quality care? Imagine the work force we'd have for all kinds of businesses of no one had to worry about health care benefits.

Lately I've been seeing a lot of nonsense in right-wing essays about how anyone in America can get care, even if they don't have insurance. How much crack do these folks smoke anyway? What alternate universe do they live in? Do they even BOTHER to visit the real world now and then? Sure, they'll stabilize the uninsured in an ER, but the patient will still get a bill, still won't be able to pay for any prescription they leave with, and still won't get any kind of constant care to keep them out of the ER in the first place. Do they truly think a diabetic is better off without ongoing care, and only seeing an MD when it's critical in an emergency room?

Frankly, I'm all for a single-payer plan. Government shouldn't be running the docs, just paying for their services.

And don't believe the scare tactics about the Canadian system. We have lots of relatives in Canada, and they just gush about their care. They've experienced colon cancer, Parkinson's, difficult births, etc and they got top-notch care just as quickly as we would here. That argument that Canadians are forced to go to America for surgeries? Yes, some Canadians choose an American hospital for a variety of reasons, but the Canadian system STILL PAYS FOR IT!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Yep, I'm still here

Yes, I'm still here. Busy finding a place to live come late Fall. Busy being stressed and sleep deprived. Busy with kids and laundry, oh you get the picture!

My Theme Song
I'm still here, by John Hartford

Now trains are runnin' towards each other
Shotguns are pointed at my head
Tornado clouds are formin' at the crossroads
H-Bombs are fallin' towards my bed

But I'm still here
I'm still here, and how 'bout that?
My city may be fallen, but I'm still here.

Assassination squad has got their orders
Repossession man is on his way
Landlady's givin' me her notice
I'll be pitched out with trash now any day

But I'm still here
I'm still here, and how 'bout that?
I may have lost my lunch box, but I'm still here.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

My garden, to date

My friend Dr. Monkey is enjoying the fruits (and vegetables!) of his labor in the garden. He lives in the South where author Bailey White says vegetation "doesn't know it's place". I'm having some pretty good success too here in the frozen tundra of Minnesota. These images are NOT mine - they are shamelessly stolen from the interwebs. I have lost the USB cable to my camera so my own photos will have to wait.

Daily I marvel at the miracle of seeds, stuck into the dirt, that grow into actual edible plants.

We harvested all our beets - my sister made a lovely beet/red potato salad from them and I pickled the rest. YUM! What this beginner gardener didn't know was to plant several rows about 2 weeks apart. But I have more in the ground now.

The spinach and lettuce just grew themselves. Seriously, if I owned a pig to slaughter, we'd be eating BLT's forever. More spinach will go into the ground at the end of July. Johnny C is making cold frames so we can harvest into the late Fall.

Carrots are up as are onions. I've harvested a few onions, little as they are, and used them in a salad. Italian tomatoes are there, but too green - I suspect this is from this summer's lack of hot sunshine. Cucs are growing nicely on Johnny C's homemade trellis. Peppers, both sweet and hot, are coming along. Three varieties of basil are already in use. We have two baby-size green pumpkins and many siblings on the way. Red raspberries get eaten as we pick them - they rarely make it all the way to the house.

From now on, I can't imagine not having a vegetable garden. Now I'd like to add chickens and some fruit trees. I'm riding the Urban Homesteader wave!

Monday, July 13, 2009


Do you really think the ultra-right wing of the GOP is declining in power? I'm not so sure. Seems to me there are a lot of very fearful folks who cling to that model, and with the economy in free-fall I'm afraid we'll see more.

Some people just love to have hard driven leaders who speak only in terms of black vs white, us vs them, right vs wrong. They want absolutes. The idea of issues being vague or complicated or arbitrary or random is just horribly frightening to many of our fellow Americans. They want their principles wrapped up in neat little packages tied with a bow.

It's so much easier to accept Marsha and Stan as the couple next door instead of Steve and Rick, or Janice and Evelyn. Marsha and Stan they've seen before, even if Stan beats Marsha or sleeps with Marjory down the street. The fact that Steve & Rick (or Janice and Evelyn) are just as committed and do quite normal things like mow the lawn, go to work, and tip the mailman at Christmas is just too much for their minds. If they open them to those couples, then what's next? Admitting that being gay is not so bad? Admitting that straight marriage is loaded with problems too? Admitting that that gay marriage isn't the end of western civilization?

Why should they study world history and global politics? It's just quicker to think of the enemy of the day as an animal. If they have to look at them as people just trying to make a living and raise their kids, then they'd have to admit that war is not such a great idea. They'd have to grapple with the killing of mommies and babies. They'd have to recognize the humanity of people with dark skin. They'd have to integrate the sins AND the triumphs of the USA and to have a more balanced view of our role.

If we just cut welfare to everyone, then all Americans will go get jobs and quit feeding off the taxpayer, right? It's so much calmer to think all folks receiving any assistance are just lazy. It's too much to admit that some families have two or three full-time workers who still can't cover all their food and medical expenses. It's too hard to admit that most American families are one medical crisis away from bankruptcy . . . one job loss away from homelessness . . . . one death away from poverty . . . one mental illness away from full-time work.

And those liberals?! Gracious, those folks want to take away our Bibles and our guns, don't they? What an immoral bunch of Unamerican creeps! Let's not for a minute consider all the Christian liberals, or the liberals who love to fish and hunt. Or the liberal women who stay home full time with their kids. Or the liberal families with drug-free straight A kids. Or the liberal houses flying the Stars & Stripes. Or the liberals serving in the armed forces. To consider those folks exist is scary, because it blows their worldview to pieces.

Fear is a strong motivator, and I don't think it's leaving anytime soon.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Grilled Brick Oven Pizza

LOVE THIS GUY! I like homemade jerry-rigged ways of cooking. I once covered some bricks with foil and made my own panini press. Hubby (Johnny C) and I are making grilled pizza tonight, sans bricks. We're going to grill thin crust right on the grates, and top with fresh mozz, my spinach pesto and my own fresh basil. Time to get out the camera!!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The summer of my random thoughts

The summer of my random thoughts. That would make a good novel title, wouldn't it?

1. Michael Jackson was a great humanitarian and the greatest ever entertainer? You'll never get me to agree. Never. Not in a million years. He was greedy and creepy. Nuff said.

2. Sarah Palin is almost as greedy and creepy but I'm fairly sure that's her original nose. But don't quote me.

3. We're having a tapas summer: small plates of sun and warm weather.

4. Kim Jong Il is one seriously sick man.

5. Why can't lunch just make itself?

6. I'm going to get my own radio program even if I have to sleep with someone, but only if that someone is my husband.

7. I hate that the restroom at my office is a full floor away.

8. Hear that gasping, choking noise? That's the GOP.

9. Why didn't I plant more beets?

10. I need to lose 40lbs and I'm not happy about it, not at all. I tend to really like food.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Worth a thousand words

It's a good day for Minnesota, and the nation.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Oh Sarah, we hardly knew ye . .

You know Sarah, God hates a quitter!!!!

From CNN "The one that rings most hollow is she doesn't want to put Alaska through the terror of [her] being a lame-duck governor," Will told the ABC program "This Week." "If she is just weary of it, one can understand that. Still, she made a contract with them [voters] to serve out her term. And she said, in her own words, she now is a quitter."

If Mrs. Palin really wanted to save Alaska from terror, she never should have run for the office in the first place. Plenty of people have endured the lame-duck status and I think she should have stuck it out. But I'm happy to join the MSM and apply the word "quitter" to her already whisper thin resume.

What do you think this is all about? Is she boning-up for a 2012 run? Is she having a breakdown? Does she just want to indeed quit and leave the public eye? Is she running from ethics & corruption charges? I think this woman is going to steal the crown of "political joke of the century" from George W. Bush.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th

Happy 4th of July everyone!

Here are my patriotic thoughts for Independence Day.

I am a strict believer in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence. I think freedom is messy and often offensive, but still the best alternative. I proudly fly the stars & stripes and call myself a liberal.

I believe every American citizen has the right to religious freedom, including the right to be free from religion.

I believe every American has the right to high quality health care, regardless of their income.

I believe the American people should be vastly more important to our lawmakers than any corporate interest. Right down to the food we put in our mouths.

I believe the United States has the power and brains to be a world leader in peace, clean energy, ecological conservation, civil rights, and speedy snow removal (listen, I live in Minnesota, it's quite important up here!). Every day we aren't is a squander of natural resources not to mention a shirking of our duty.

I believe every single American should have to study the events of the Revolution declared in 1776. Everything you need to know about democracy and freedom is right there.

Now I'm going to enjoy the 4th like a good American should: friends and family, iced tea, meat on the grill, noisy fireworks, a cold beer, and brownies. Come on over!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Fill in the blanks

Let's have some fun with "The HAPPY TO BE FROM IOWA FILL-In-The-BLANKS GAME"!

1. Norm Coleman would make a great _________________________

2. When I think of clowns, I ___________________________

3. Mnmom would be rolling in the dough if she'd ____________________________

4. The only thing keeping Sarah Palin from the White House is ______________________

5. Michelle Bachman's greatest strength is ________________________

6. The first joke Al Franken will crack in the Senate is ______________________

7. Iowa is a great state because _________________________________

8. Minnesota is a close second, but what's holding it back is_______________________

9. Today's teens really should ___________________________________

10. Parents need to learn to _____________________________________

Have Fun!