Sunday, January 31, 2010

Regrets? I've had a few

Don't you hate those people who say they have no regrets? How can you live beyond the age of 15 and not have any regrets? Do they just stay home locked in the bathroom? And wouldn't that be a regrettable action? Or maybe I'm the only human on Earth who screws up from time to time.

My regrets:

Not finishing my teaching degree
Letting myself get so heavy
Losing my temper with my kids at times
Letting my house be my largest investment
That I didn't write the Harry Potter series
That I ever EVER backed John Edwards
Being such a smart ass to my parents
All the stupid things I've said
Not investing in Apple

Things I DON'T regret
Marrying Johnny C
Having kids
Moving to Minnesota
Learning to drive stick
NEVER getting a tattoo
Starting this blog

Thursday, January 28, 2010

My Weekend Plans

This morning started with some heavy dental work. A cavity had blasted a molar apart and blew out a filling I got in 3rd grade. So most of today I looked like I'd had a stroke, and food wouldn't properly stay in the confines of my numb lips.

Tomorrow morning we are headed to Northern Wisconsin and MG's cabin! We're packing lots of coffee and board games. It's MG and Lovely Partner's birthday - yes, both of them! We're going out for ribs to some little place they discovered. Johnny C will do some measurements for upcoming remodeling work on their cozy northwoods place. Nothing outdoors planned as it will be right around ZERO. Good thing they have a nice view.

The oldest-van-known-to-man is in the shop. During twin #2's driving test, the testing official pointed out my broken brake light. They let her pass anyway. Now it's making a strange noise when accelerating, and it smells a bit too much like gasoline. I'm afraid of the repair bill, I really am.
Sunday I'll be watching Twin #2 play indoor soccer. It's much like arena football - the field is small and they use the walls - there is no out-of-bounds. Very fast and a wee bit scary.
What are your weekend plans?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Vintage sibling photos

More family slides! Above we have my Mom, reading us a story.

My Dad holding me, my brother, and a newborn Cheesecake Maven. Don't you agree my Dad looks like Captain James T. Kirk?

Cheesecake Maven (looking a lot like her son #2), me, and my brother.

Cheesecake Maven, Sister #2, brother, and me

Ninja Siblings! My brother and I had been playing "karate" that night. Check out my black belt!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Beautiful & Fragrant Beef Curry

If you don't fall madly in love with this dish, there is something very seriously wrong with you. You may have an incurable disease or maybe you're a Republican. I clipped it out of the Minneapolis Star Tribune years ago, and it's been a fav ever since.
This can be made in the oven OR the crock pot. Your house is going to smell SO GOOD!!!

2lbs beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch pieces
Veg oil
1 or 2 onions, sliced
6-8 whole cloves
4-6 garlic cloves, chopped
2 cinnamon sticks
1 bay leaf
1/4 t. dried crushed red pepper
1 (15oz) can coconut milk
1 cup strong beef broth - I keep Better Than Bouillon around always!
3 large tomatoes, quartered (or a can of diced tomatoes, drained)
3-4 T. mango chutney (I didn't have any so I used orange marmalade and some Worc. sauce. MG says to add a tsp of vinegar too for the acid)
3 T. lemon juice
2-3 T. fresh ginger, grated
1.5 T. curry powder

Heat oven to 325. Or get out your crock pot.
Sprinkle beef with salt and pepper. In a dutch oven (or a frying pan if you're going to use a crock pot) heat 2T. oil over high heat. Working in batches, add beef to pot and brown on all sides. Transfer to a plate (or into the crock pot).
Heat another T. of oil in the same pot and saute the onions until tender. Return beef to the pot (or put onions on top of beef in the crock pot). Add cloves, garlic, cinnamon, bay leaf, and red pepper and stir one minute (or dump on top of everything in the crock pot).
Stir in coconut milk, stock, tomatoes, chutney, lemon juice, ginger, and curry and bring to a boil (or dump on top of everything in the crock pot and give it a stir).
Cover the pot and transfer it to the oven. Cook for about 3 hours, stirring twice. For crock pot, cook on low about 6-8 hours.
For a thicker sauce, place pot on stove and cook over med high heat until thickened. Or crank crock pot up to high for about an hour.
Serve over rice. Makes GREAT leftovers!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

I'm so flippin depressed

What the HELL just happened?
Weren't we within field goal range with 19 seconds left in the game?
What do you mean we have to start all over again next year?
And I was so excited about actually CARING who won the Super Bowl.

The Vikings are dead. Long Live the Vikings!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Long Rant

I am so sick of the media and all those over-paid talking heads thinking each election victory means the demise of losing party. The election of Barack Obama did not end conservative thought and power any more than the recent Scott Brown victory means the death of progressive thought.

Opposing political persuasions have been winning and losing American elections since 1776, and neither end of the spectrum is ever going to triumph for longer than a decade. Americans are far too fickle to stay with one thing for very long.

The GOP right IS struggling for some form of identity - are they tea-bag nut jobs or reasonable Goldwater Republicans? Pat Robertson crazy or Bob Dole normal? Michelle Bachman looney-tunes or Christine Todd Whitman educated? They've got their hands full, but they aren't going to disappear because the Dems have control of Congress.

And the Democrats must learn to stick to their progressive guns, instead of letting one little GOP victory get their panties in a twist. They need to stop using GOP talking points and focus on what is moral and right about liberal values. But in the meantime, progressives all over America are not giving in because a conservative took Ted Kennedy's seat.

And on a universal healthcare note:
On March 1st, the General Assistance healthcare plan in Minnesota is coming to an end. We will have thousands of low-income folks barred from receiving any subsidized healthcare. Headlines this week said "hospitals and law enforcement are bracing for the impact". This is thanks to conservative Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who is "balancing" the budget on the backs of low and moderate income families. Property taxes are through the roof because he has cut state aid to pretty much everything.

My hours at work were put back to 20, which makes me eligible for benefits again, BUT with the reduction in hours comes, of course, lower pay and a lowered amount the district will put toward my premium. So, get this, it will cost me $200 per month plus my entire paycheck to keep my benefits! Yes, I will OWE my employer $200 a month for my health insurance. Now if that's not crazy, what is? I'd rather pay that in taxes for a single-payer universal plan that covers everyone.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Love Is A Hammer

Love Karen Savoca. I dedicate this song and it's lyrics to Pat Robertson and his ilk.

Monday, January 18, 2010


Back home after another weekend with my siblings. Since our parents died suddenly in 1999, within months of each other, it's like we have this pact to stay together no matter what. We're quite different from each other in many ways, and we all have powerful egos and big ideas. But we've managed to maintain that happy extended family feeling for each other, and our kids.

In this area of my life, I am one lucky woman. Each of my siblings would give me the shirt off their back. Each of them would drive to my side in the dark of night if I asked them.

Like the photo above, we spend a lot of time around someone's kitchen table. But the chocolate milk has been replaced with coffee or wine. Grey hair has replaced dark. And there are a lot more people joining us now. But we have the same joy as those kids.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Screaming into the Wind

Do you ever feel like you're screaming and no one is listening?

This is what I thought all along. Paul Krugman of the NY Times echos my sentiments.

All reasonable people, who can add 2+2 and read a newspaper every now and then can clearly see that major banks, financial institutions, and business "leaders" don't have a flipping clue. They think this recession is just a "natural cycle of the economy". Along with years of stupid short-sighted greedy deregulation, those who run our financial institutions have been fiddling while Rome burned.

So I'm standing here, a piddling nothing in the grand scheme, screaming FOUL and no one hears. I'm pounding on the gates of the castle demanding my taxes back, while the Kings and Princes are anointing themselves with expensive oils and staging drunken orgies on my dime. My children grow hungry while theirs grow fat and lazy.

And who will DO anything about this? The Democrats? The Republicans? They are all chained to the Jabba the Hut of banks and corporate interest. Religious Leaders? They are too busy growing rich and playing politics.

Will the human condition of the haves and have-nots ever change?

What are we to do?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

VINTAGE Birthday photos!

More old slides, and I mean OLD! Today is my birthday, and I turn 48. Hard to believe because I feel basically 27.
Above we have me, on my first birthday.
I'm not sure if the above is my birthday, or my brother's. He's on the far right.

I believe the above is my 4th birthday.

Turning five. Apparently the only guest who showed up is my sister!

Probably my 3rd birthday. The first, last, and only time I was surrounded by attentive men.

Above playing with my new Penny Brite Beauty Salon. Remember I mentioned that in my best gifts of childhood?

"Show me the way to go home. I'm tired and I wanna go to bed. I had a little drink about an hour ago, and it went right to my head"

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Monday, January 11, 2010

Really, 2010??!!!

Seriously 2010??
This is how you're going to play it?

Today I was told my hours would be slashed leaving me NOT eligible for benefits.

As if the last several years of struggle and loss weren't enough, now 2010 has to pour salt in my gaping wounds.

I can't seem to catch a break.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Stomach flu.

Had the stomach bug last Thursday night, and the queasies still won't leave. I hate this getting old thing - I'd much rather bounce back like a superball.

Old Man Winter may be granting us a reprieve today, with temps rising all the way to 30 by midweek. After what seems like eternity of subzero Hell, thirty is going to feel like a week at the spa.

I think my hours are being cut at work, which means I'm basically working for our health insurance.

Nothing happening. Nothing of note. Go back to your homes and places of business.

Ah well, such is life.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Wish I'd said that

Quotes from Author and Humorist Jeph Jacques

There are two ways to pass a hurdle: leaping over or plowing through... There needs to be a monster truck option.
Spontaneous kindness is to hipsters as high beams are to deer.
The quickest way to a man's heart really is through his stomach, because then you don't have to chop through that pesky rib cage.

Bachelor's degrees make pretty good placemats if you get 'em laminated.
That's what college is for - getting as many bad decisions as possible out of the way before you're forced into the real world. I keep a checklist of 'em on the wall in my room.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Vintage Winter photos

Like I said, get ready for a year of old family slides.
Above we have me, age 2, in Marshalltown, Iowa. 1964

My Dad, at my Mom's family farm in extreme northern Iowa. Probably about 1957 or 58. Right about the time he graduated from Iowa State.

My Aunt Mogul - living with my grandparents on the farm while Uncle Sam was stationed overseas. She was about 8 months pregnant when my Mom photographed her walking to the outhouse.

Uncle Relaxed and Aunt Teacher at the farm

Group photo at the farm. My Mom is kneeling in the bright blue sweater. My Uncle Smartass is pretending to hit her. On the far right are my wonderful grandparents Gie and Ginny holding my beloved cousin Sarah.

Grandma Gie holding Sarah, with Uncle Smartass and Aunt Successful. In later years, Uncle Smartass became known as Kojak for his resemblance to the TV detective.

A gravity-defying snowman from the 1970's.

Youngest sister, me, and Cheesecake Maven in Decorah, Iowa. Probably 1967

Monday, January 4, 2010

Sweet Sixteen

Sixteen years ago today I was delivering twins by C-section. The OB pulled out twin #1 and said "It's a girl and she's peeing on everyone!" Three minutes later she pulled out twin #2 and said "Another girl! Your house will be full of Barbies!".

Along with Barbies came a house full of laughs, diapers, tantrums, princess things, sippy cups, sleepless nights, trikes, books, hair pretties, skates, soccer balls, volleyballs, science projects, iPods, algebra books, curfews, choir robes, guy friends, learner's permits, frustration, love, love, and more love.

I can't believe they've been here for 16 years - feels like a month at most.

Happy 16th Birthday to my twins!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Observations from the freezer

New Year's Greetings to all from the frozen wastelands of Minnesota. Our high today is MINUS TWO! I hate this weather. But Minnesotans stay brave - while jumping into freezing water on a zero degree morning. You'll never find me there. I'll be in the coffee shop wearing my long johns and sorrels.

Know what really stinks about this weather? That we still have to go to work, and buy groceries, and put gas in the car even though the very AIR is trying to kill us!! No reprieve. No day off. Just put on your big-girl boots and deal with it.

Some things that have been flying through my mind:

1. How does my husband fall asleep, and snore, while sitting up?

2. Will the Iowa Hawkeyes win Tuesday night, or implode as usual?

3. A small house fosters family togetherness

4. Always keep Rhodes frozen sweet rolls in your freezer, preferably the orange ones.

5. Taking down Christmas decorations makes me sad

6. Do you suppose the "power" that people attribute to a deity is just the collective consciousness of the human race? And that if we all focused hard on peace and happiness, it would happen?

7. This weather sucks - have I mentioned that? I'm ready to move, but where?