Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Stressed is DANGEROUS misspelled

This has been a killer summer so far.
I realize it's not attractive to complain but I just gotta do some kvetching!

First off my job is fun, but it's also 6 hours a day of putting out one fire after another.  I'm working in a program with 250 kids between the ages of 5 and 14, and also supervising college and teen workers.  I'm truly grateful for this position and I'm learning TONS but there's just no time to breathe.

Then I come home to become a nagging mother who just wants the dirty dishes and piles of crap picked up already.

Then you factor in this bizarre weather pattern.  The tornado sirens have gone off more in the last month then they did in my first 47 years on Earth.  And usually on the weekends.

And my bike makes so much noise that I actually attract attention.  SQUEAK, SQUEAK, SQUEALLLLL!!!!

Then there's still the extreme financial crisis.  Remember I told you about our evil mortgage company and their even MORE evil Realtors?  Remember how they refused our offer for $250G's to keep our home?  Then refused our $190G's short sale offer cuz the Realtor said it was worth $30 or $40G's more?  Well, they now have it on the market for $159,000.   And we can't make an offer because we now don't qualify for a loan because they refused all our previous offers and ruined our credit.

Yeah, I'm stressed.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday is BEACH DAY

This summer, I have every Friday off.  So I announced that
Each Friday we're going to hit a beach - preferably within a one-hour radius of home.  Since Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes it shouldn't be hard.  Anyone want to join us?

Today I took cupcake and her friend to Lake Byllesby beach just west of Cannon Falls (pronounced BILLS-bee).  This was exactly the medicine I needed.  A bit of rain passed through so the beach was wonderfully empty.  The sun came out and we swam and relaxed for almost 3 hours.  I just calmly stood or water-buffaloed in the warm waves and enjoyed the sun glittering on the water's surface and the occasional Sunny or Crappie jumping.  I even got to finish one great book and start another.  
Anyone else use that verb?  Water Buffalo??

This hidden gem of a park is only about 20 minutes from home.  The beach is HUGE and the swimming area equally impressive.  There are walking, skiing, and sled dog trails too.  There was no fee to get in, so with our homemade snacks, iced tea and water bottles this was a practically free afternoon!  

Other beaches I want to hit include Lake Calhoun, Lake Minnetonka, and Cedar Lake beaches.  Also Shoreview and Bryant Lake.  All suggestions and advice are welcome.

Sadly I didn't get that mojito last night - no limes or soda!.  Think I could make a reasonable facsimile with 7up, lime juice, and rum?  I have the fresh mint and simple syrup!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I've earned it

This week included . . . . 

Holding a puke bucket for a 5-year-old

Riding my bike home during tornado sirens

Picking up a dead mole and throwing it in the bushes

Trying to pin down the location of a trapped distressed bird in the garage.  I could hear it but I couldn't find it.

A killer sinus headache.

A fight with the man I love, my husband of 20 years.

Coming home from a very hard workday, only to hear youngest tell me I have B.O.

I've earned a massage, but I'll settle for a mojito.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Vintage Summer

Above is my brother carting me around, about 1964.
Just above are my sisters and me, about 1967
 First is one of MANY art projects provided by my Mom
Just above is a typical Sunday on a sandbar in the Mississippi.  We would load up the car & small boat, drive to Lansing IA, put in, and boat up the river.  Then pitch the awning and play.

My sisters playing "pool" about 1975.  They got all the neighborhood kids to go home and get their suits, then pretend to swim on our lawn while my sisters blew their whistles and ordered them around.
Born Leaders.

My sister SJV and I, about 1967

Me, about 1964

My Dad, us kids, some neighbor kids, and a fish called "supper".  About 1967.


First day of our summer program, and we successfully managed and fed almost 300 kids grades kg through 8th.  This is going to be an interesting job.  I'm in charge of the Middle School portion.  And we take them to the pool once a week!

When they got off their buses it felt much like the photo. But because of our great training and organization we got them all situated.  Now if we can just keep them safe, occupied, etc for the next 6 weeks . . . . . .

Our internet was down for the last 5 days - first an ISP problem then my router threw a tantrum.  I wish everything just RAN without twelve men and sixteen machines.  Remember the old days when there was one phone company and they just fixed it??  No tech people overseas who walked you through all kinds of nonsense only to tell you you have to call NETGEAR.

The weather word here is RAIN.  The sun comes out every 4th day just long enough to allow us to mow.  We have mushrooms galore in the yard.  Mother Nature seems to forget that my garden needs some sun now and then.

I think I've just written one of my top 5 most boring posts.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

My Fabulous Bicycle

I've started riding my vintage Schwinn, DOTTIE, to work!
LOVE this bike, with it's groovy beach handle bars and generous baskets.
Either I have good self-esteem or I'm delusional but I think I'm damn cute riding around on that thing.

Today some wicked storms blew in during working hours, complete with tornado warnings.
While riding home, the actual sirens started to blow.  
I pumped those pedals as fast as my stumpy legs could go.
Then it hit me, what I REALLY look like on that bike . . . . . 

Getting Old Sucks.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Great TV shows of childhood #5

We lived for this show, DANIEL BUNN and others like it.  It was quite the genre of the 1960's - manly pioneers being manly men and doing manly things with other manly men.  A few manly natives thrown in for contrast.  And of course loyal loving pioneer women with grit, tiny waists and thick eyeliner.  But I always got angry at their weakness & stupidity, and the creepy portrayal of Native Americans. Even as a young girl I knew the blame lay with the writers.

I was always more attracted to the Native American sidekick in these shows.  The white guys bored me.

The Spanish voice over adds something, no?  What a Boone, what a do-er, what a dream-come-a-truer was he!  And he fought to make all Americans free, unless you were Native American, then he just tolerated you as his hunting pal as long as you bowed down to his manly white superiority.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Oh we're from Io-way

Another weekend in Iowa.
A seriously true conversation that could only originate there.

The set up:  I'm watching my brother's house, pets, and child while he and his wife are in New York City on business, with a little pleasure thrown in.
The scene:  Saturday they are at the top of the Empire State Building when his cell phone rings . . .

Me: "Brother?  I've got a problem."
Brother: "What's up?"
Me: "Your dog has a very dead and rotting large rodent in his mouth and he won't let go of it.  He's muddy and covered in blood.  What should I do?"
Brother: "Try to get it away from him, bury it, and put the dog in the laundry room.  Child can clean him up later."
Me: "I'll do my best . . .  ewww . . . . HE ATE THE HEAD OFF!"

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Constant Cravings

What's gotten in to me?  I am craving cocktails like no one's business. There's just something about summer that makes me want to sit on my deck and drink drunken concoctions.   Normally I'm not a huge fan of alcohol - I drank my lifetime limit during college.  But lately I've been wanting a little hair of the dog.

Saturday night at the Minnesota Blogger Party, I had a strawberry/basil martini that was just incredible.
New pal Cathy, in her boozeday features, has recipes for a Snicker Bar Addict's martini and something really heavenly called a Queen's Park Swizzle that I'm ready to Make.Right.Now.  Except that we have no vodka.  Who unknowingly runs out of vodka?  Boring people like us, that's who.

Or perhaps I'd like a good Mojito?  Lack of backyard mint is a hindrance.  But I was gearing up - I made 2 cups of simple syrup and left it on the stove to cool.  After supper efficient table-clearer Twin #1 dumped the whole pot out, right down the drain.  I almost cried.

Good summer evenings:  sitting on my deck built by Johnny C, with my feet up on the torn folding chairs, surrounded by the old grill and pots of tomatoes and herbs, yard full of bikes, a chain-link deer fence in progress around the garden, and perhaps some blues or Squirrel Nut Zippers or Greg Brown playing in the background, with a tasty drink in my hand, and my hubby by my side.

Yeah, I'm white trash but like my cupcake says "We're educated and INTERESTING white trash!"

Monday, June 7, 2010

We laughed, we cried

Ok, no one cried, but we sure had a great time! I was so lucky to meet up with some Minnesota bloggers on Saturday night. Twin #2 came along as the designated driver and official photographer. We haven't uploaded the photos yet. What a great bunch of women! When I arrived everyone already had a martini in their hands, so you knew it would be a good night.

In no particular order I'll introduce my new blogging friends. Lesli from Pretty Random Thoughts is the cutest thing in a pair of sandals. She made me think of a mix between Bernadette Peters and Debra Messing. She's got a GIVEAWAY going on HERE!

The rather famous WhiskeyMarie was there too! In real life she made me think of a smarter more sophisticated Liv Tyler. And frankly a prettier one too. WM is a wonderful person - full of great stories and interesting observations. The link to her blog isn't working but most of you know her anyway. She shared a method for making rhubarb sauce, that she swears makes a great martini. She also made me swear to try her "F-ing Good Chocolate Chip Cookie" recipe but I can't find it!!

MommyLisa was one of the organizers. She reminded me of a much younger funner Ellen Barkin. She's got great stories. She's every bit as fun in person as on her blog. Her husband must be laughing on a daily basis.

Cathy from Antsypants was the co-organizer. She is quiet and cute like Maggie Gyllenhaal. Her blog is great fun, especially boozedays, when she shares a good cocktail recipe.

We discussed our favorite blogs - were your ears burning Dr. Monkey? - and I wrote some of them down. Those notes are stuffed somewhere in my purse. And we talked a LOT about food and our favorite food blogs. As soon as I find my list I'll post them. From them I learned about the Twitter Kidney and the Radio Boobs.

A great evening - hope to see more of YOU there next time!

Friday, June 4, 2010


Who: Minnesota Bloggers
When: Saturday June 5th, 6pm
Where: MOA Napa Valley Grille
Why: Why not! We read each others blogs, so it would be fun to meet in person, no?!

Who's IN!
Cathy @ Antsy Pants
Mommy Lisa @ Mommy's Nest
Lesli @ Pretty Random Thoughts
WhiskeyMarie Von PartyPants @WhiskeyMarie
Tarah @Eyeglasses & Endzones
MNMom @Happy To Be From Iowa

Missy?? MG???? Shan??? Sheletta??? You in????

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Counting them one by one

I've had a lot of bad luck in the last several years. Almost sounds like I made it all up: death, cancer, job loss, foreclosure, bankruptcy, etc.

YET . . . . . . .

There are many, many things that are perfectly right and wonderful and of course I'm going to list them one by one:

My kids, my glorious, frustrating, healthy, smart, maddening, lovely, funny, kids.

My husband - I am married to the most unflappable man on earth. He has had more loss in his lifetime than most men. And through it all he's still smiling, and laughing, and tenderly caring for his family. That includes taking some pretty humiliating jobs just to pay the bills through this horrid recession. He's been beaten to a pulp by his job loss and didn't deserve one punch.

My family. I'm so lucky to have a great extended family. My siblings are marvelous and their kids are the best bunch of cousins. Many of my own cousins are as close to me as siblings.

My childhood. Yeah, we had our share of problems - what family doesn't? But for the most part I had a lot of fun and I'm very grateful for everything my parents provided. Just wish they were here so I could thank them.

My friends. They have stuck by me and supported me in so many ways. This includes the fabulous MG who introduced me to blogging and has become one of my dearest friends since our college days. He's truly more like family.

My blogging friends. I have met some of the coolest people EVER through this blog and this includes all of YOU. Blogging has renewed my faith in Americans. With the media dredging up all the crackpots, it's easy to feel alone in your thoughts and opinions. You have all proved this is not the truth, and that most common people are so much smarter and funnier than any media outlet wants to admit.

My rental home. It's not our "home" but it's a darn cute place to rebuild.

My job. I truly enjoy my job at our Middle School.

Gardening. This recession got me started on raised bed gardening. I had no idea I'd love it so much.