Tuesday, August 31, 2010

No Sudden Movements

Life has handed us some lemons and I'm eating them raw.  Can't afford the sugar for the lemonade.  I'm one cranky b***h and you just don't want to mess with me with now.

My full time job has started in the public schools.  First off, I love this job, truly I do.  The perfect mix of students, parents, college kids, and the community.  And it's more hours than last year so yay for me!

But since we're so strapped financially I've also taken on two part time jobs.  They are both fun and interesting, but working 50 or more hours per week is crazy!  Especially when I have three busy kids to raise.

Why you ask?  Well one is we really need a 3rd car.  The truck takes Johnny C to work, out of town, 10-12 hours days.  The van is all we have left to get me to work 9-5, 3 kids to school 8-3, two teens to work 4-9, me to part time gigs, and all our other activities.  Did you notice the time overlaps in there?  Yeah bikes work but not past October.  We have a "bus" of sorts but it doesn't run like you'd expect.

And although we need a 3rd car, financially it will about kill us.  Ever tried to get even basic insurance for a junker that will have TWO teen drivers?  And there's something illogical about getting a 3rd job to pay for a car you need to get to your 3rd job.

A clean tidy house is very important for my sanity, but evidently not so much for Johnny C and the kids.  Actually what I should be saying is: it really hasn't dawned on them that I'm not around to pick up after anyone and that clutter won't put itself away.

And while juggling all this, I think about the AIG cretins and others who failed miserably at their jobs but are stuffing multi million dollar taxpayer bonuses into their pockets.  They haven't a financial care in the world.  They can eat in restaurants, they can hire cleaning staff, they have multiple cars and drivers at their disposal.  And I'll bet they don't worry about the oil pump going out or the insurance costs.

My husband and I were doing our jobs with flying colors, putting 150% effort into our end of the social bargain, and were content with our middle class placement.  In return we get slapped around and thrown out with the trash.  On top of that we get GOP politicians telling us we're lazy, spoiled, and otherwise negligent. 

As I write this, a friend that I admire greatly is dying of breast cancer.  She may not even last through the month.  She is leaving three beautiful children including a 7-year-old.  So I feel guilty complaining about my jobs and money when I know her family would all run to Texas and back if it meant she'd live.  I can't stand the thought of her leaving.

Somedays it's really damn hard not to be bitter.  Really damn hard.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Same Crap, Different Decade

I didn't watch any of the coverage of the so-called grass roots convergence on the Mall.  
Nothing sponsored by Fox and other big-money sources is grass roots.
And trying to bring decent health care to all Americans is not Fascism.
And Socialism is not Communism.
And you can't be a Socialist AND a Communist AND a Nazi.
And liberals are not at all interested in taking away anyone's Bible, or guns, or putting anyone in concentration camps.  Loss of civil liberties happens under conservatives. not liberals.
And America's honor was destroyed through torture, extreme rendition, an illegal war, rampant unregulated corporate profits, and 8 years of conservative rule.
America's honor is being very slowly restored by having an intelligent person in the White House.  He's not perfect, but he was legally elected by the majority of Americans.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Win some, lose some


Successes for Today:
1. Got my child to an appointment at Children's Hospital in St. Paul, on time!
2. Got same child's class schedule straightened out, after some major problems.
3. Remembered to pick up my work laptop.
4. Had a nice healthy lunch at Cossetta's Italian market in downtown St. Paul.  Even thought ahead and bought a small lovely mostaccioli/ricotta dish for supper.

Fails for Today
1. Sent child off to her job with the car . . . forgetting that I had a training session later that afternoon.
2. Also forgot about a meeting at 6pm.
3. ALSO forgot the mostaccioli dish in the car.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Kitchen Crazy

I've been one busy crazed woman in the kitchen this weekend.
Key word being crazed.

This Fall is going to be busy.  I'll be working three jobs, plus taking every paying gig I can get through the schools: namely taking tickets or working concessions at sports events.

Swear this is the Neocon plot to keep the previous middle class crawling in the dirt, so we have no time to fight them.  We used to be comfortable.  Now we're pinching pennies into 8 or 9 parts, working every waking hour, and live in fear that the car will break down.

In an attempt to keep our money for luxuries like gas, electricity and medicine, I'm trying to cut the food budget from frugal down to dismal.

The best thing for my family right now would be once-a-month-cooking.  Ever tried it?  Over two days you shop, chop, prep, and assemble 20-30 main dishes for your freezer.  Some people actually DO this!
Well after today I think it might drive me bat-shit-crazy.  I mean truly right over the deep end into drooling, hallucinating, straight-jacket insanity.

So this weekend, I put the following into the freezer:
Two tuna casseroles
Two baked ziti
One chicken pot pie
Two bags of chicken thighs marinated for the grill
One bag of browned hamburger and onions ready for tacos or whatever
One bag full of chopped garden onions.
A double batch of "breakfast cookies" with oatmeal, choc chips,dried cherries, and pecans

Coming yet this fall:
Roasted homegrown tomato sauce
Onions, onions, onions
Lots more pesto

I'm so sick of my kitchen and dirty dishes.  My chapped hands and sore feet tell me I'd better hurry and come into some money so I can hire a staff.  Then cooking can be fun again!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Summer Kitchens

Remember Summer Kitchens?  Anybody living in very rural farmland knows what I mean.  Farms had a separate structure for the summer cooking, canning, and preserving to keep all that heat and steam out of the house.  And with all the canning and freezing I've been doing lately I'd appreciate a summer kitchen of my own.

My best childhood friend Lisa lived on a massive dairy farm.  Right outside their old frame farmhouse was the perfect summer kitchen.  They had long since quit using it for cooking.  But now I can imagine having a separate space with big stove burners, long worktables, and deep sinks.

In my next house, I'm going to plan a summer kitchen.  With air conditioning and central heat, wireless internet, killer pot racks, a commercial dishwasher, a tile floor with a drain right in the middle, maybe a wood fired oven and giant windows.  In my dreams I make a living canning and cooking all kinds of goodies, right there in my summer kitchen.  And of course there'd be a comfy stool for you and your coffee or iced tea so you can keep me company.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Flotsam from my brain

Going to see WICKED tomorrow night with MG and some of my favorite family members.

Out for a beer tonight with friends - enjoyment was enhanced by watching the owner try to chase a bat out the window.  He was not successful.  It fell behind a couch.

The school year is fast approaching and I'm not ready to give my kids back.

Planning to spend this little hiatus between jobs putting all manner of dinners in the freezer.

I've been wanting an outdoor tub or shower for quite a while now.

Me on the right, Halloween, Freshman Year

This pretty location is my new part time job.  Waiting on word of my "real" job at the schools.

 I chose the espresso maker - it's on its way!!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Let's Talk About Deanna!

Last night we were at some friends, drinking and eating around the campfire.  One friend was bragging up my blog (oh I BLUSH!).  Friend Deanna said "you should just blog about ME!".  So Deanna, this one's for you!

Deanna is a shining light in my life, and the lives of many others.  She's a true Southern Belle planted in the cold prairies of Minnesota.  She was raised in South Carolina and taught to be a real lady, 'cept she can swear like a trucker. Especially when the winter wind whips around her hilltop house.

Deanna plays piano like a pro.  She gives lessons to lots of little knee biters in our little town.  There she is, the picture of the prim piano teacher with her jewelry and her manicure.  Little do her pupils know that after they leave she's on the deck smokin' and nursing a gin & tonic.  Sorry Deanna - I should mention she doesn't smoke anymore!

Deanna has suffered a great deal of hard loss in the last several years.  I mean life has just cold-cocked her upside the head, including an ongoing battle with Lyme's Disease.  Between Deanna and I, Job's got nothing.
But through it all she keeps smiling, laughing, and searching.  Deanna has a wonderful spiritual sense and a deep curiosity.  She shares my new-agey sensibilities but we both still get weepy at a good 4-part rendition of "Whispering Hope".

Deanna is also HYS-TER-I-CAL!  She can always find the raw humor in every single situation, including her own sorrows.  It was Deanna who got us all to rethink  stocks on the Town Square.  She has just the guy for the first round!

And Deanna is so generous!  If I called her in the middle of the night and said I needed her, and to stop at the grocery store and get a few things first, she'd do it.  She's letting us store some things in her large basement free of charge.  When our housing needs were looking pretty dire, she said we could all just move in with her. And bless her she meant it.

My Friend Deanna - if you can, go out and get one for yourself!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Free Stuff!

Some Shameless Promoting coming up!.  CSN online stores have asked me to do a review.  Their online place carries more than I can possibly describe including dinnerware, cookware, furniture, etc.  And this woman could use a little something free, know what I mean?

Now, what to review?  Should it be this lovely pie plate?  My favorite one broke about 6 months ago.

Or perhaps this espresso maker?  We used one similar while Up North last week, and my kids luuurrrrved it.  Right down to the hot foamy milk.

Or should we go for this nifty bird feeder?  I've been wanting to add another to the fleet for quite some time.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Really? 3 Years?

Can't believe I started blogging over 3 years ago, in late July 2007.
Where does the time go?
Will I ever shut up?
Doubtful, very doubtful

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Target broke my heart

Dear Target,

You have taken the best years and dollars of my life and broken my heart into a million pieces!  I hope you become as lousy as Wal Mart, and can't get any great Mom's to shop you.  Evidently you never DID deserve me you lyin' sack of dog poop.  I thought I was supporting the lesser of the big box evils.  You told me you were supportive of gay families.  You told me you were supportive of my community.  You are headquartered in my state.  But you LIE.

The horrendous new rule that corporations have the same rights as individuals does not give you license to act like an ass.  You think I'm going to buy that line that you only did it for us?  That you only backed Tom Emmer because he was a "business friendly candidate"?  Did you forget that the people who keep you business are in fact, actual people?  And plenty of them are GAY and GAY FRIENDLY like me and my family?

Did you know that lousy MN gubernatorial candidate you favor, Tom Emmer, wants to lower the minimum wage for wait staff because he believes tips make them wealthy?  You must have forgotten all those waiters that shop at your place.  What did you think would happen when their meager wages disappeared?  Oh sure he's backpedaling off that statement now.  He also "pals around" (to use one of right's favorite phrases) with some folks who openly advocate violence toward my LGBT friends and family.

There may be some forgiveness inside me, maybe.  MAYBE.  But here's what has to happen first.  You fire that CEO who swam in the cowpie in the first place.  Then to make up for all the hateful stuff you've supported, you make equal contributions to the other side, including the DFL.  Then you publicly apologize for your behavior and publicly state you will never, ever mess with campaigns again.

All I, and all other consumers like me, can hope is that your cheating lying corporate friends see the humiliation you've suffered, especially the drop in your stock.  Even though the supposed Supreme Court gave them the right, actually tampering with our elections will cost them dearly.

Yes OUR elections
remember us?

Expected More, Got Less
Your ex-favorite customer,

Friday, August 6, 2010

Embracing my Dorkitude

I've finally come out - I'm a TOTAL DORK!

OK, that probably isn't major news to anyone.

I love history, marching bands, bagpipes, reenactments, living history farms, roadside markers, civil war novels, period costumes, trivia, guided walking tours, consignment shops, the 4H entries at the county fair, ghost stories, Stephen Ambrose, David McCullough, museums, etc.  I usually find myself at events frequented by Senior Citizens.

Found my soul mate through my pick for book club: Sarah Vowell.  I chose her book "Assassination Vacation" and loved every single minute of it.  In fact loved it so much I ran down to the library to get her collection of essays "The Partly Cloudy Patriot".

"Assassination Vacation" is a self-deprecating history dork's examination of Lincoln's, Garfield's, and McKinley's Presidential murders.  The author also often finds herself amid the elderly while feeding her lust for the minutiae of history.  Funny and entertaining and like smokehouse almonds for me: just can't get enough.

Our book club met last night and I was astounded to learn not everyone shared my quivery tingly feelings about President Garfield's love of books, and my hope we could rename our club the President Garfield Memorial Book Club.

Then today, to seal the dork deal, my folding chair and I went to downtown Northfield and the Vintage Band Festival.  Among what seemed like 349 retirees, I tapped my toe to Newberry's Victorian Coronet Band.  Tonight we went back for Tschecharanka from Austria, followed by Kenny Carr and the Tigers who really got those white Minnesotans revved up.

But what really trips my trigger is the Civil War era music, and of course costuming.  Below is a clip from an earlier Vintage Band Fest.  They are dueling across the Cannon River in lovely downtown Northfield.  Why the Civil War especially? Maybe it's because one of my ancestor's fought for the Union.  More likely it's because Civil War buffs are dorks of the highest caliber.

Mind you you'll NEVER find me at a Renaissance Fest.  Those people bug the living bejeebus out of me.  And I've never knowingly come within 100 yards of a D&D game.  I'm not THAT kind of a dork.

Now that I think of it, scores of volunteers are involved in this Festival, so I must not be alone in my dorkitude.  I'll be volunteering next year - I want to walk around town wearing a beat-up tuba - that is how they are collecting donations.  Folks through their coins and bills in the tuba!  Perhaps I'll get my hands on a 1860's style dress and go in character.  I get giddy thinking about it.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I need educatin'

I consider myself a well-educated person.  Luckily I've been able to do some traveling, and my thirst for books has created a long list of tomes I've read.  But the things I haven't done still astound me.

Some book I haven't read:
Catcher in the Rye
The Autobiography of Malcolm X
The Poisonwood Bible
The Bell Jar
David Copperfield
Great Expectations

Some films I haven't seen:
Citizen Kane
The Rocky Horror Picture Show
The Big Lebowski
My Dinner with Andre
North by Northwest

I haven't traveled to:
Outside the US, except Canada
The Grand Canyon
The Pacific Northwest
New Orleans

Monday, August 2, 2010

Here's How We're Gonna Play It

So here's how the next 12 months are gonna go down:

1. The van will keep running, and running well.
2. Gas prices will go down
3. Johnny C will be offered a wonderful position$
4. Our computer will function fine for another 2 years, or a new one will land in our laps.
5. Twin #2 will outgrow her bursitis, which is keeping her out of her beloved sports - and most other physical activity.
6. We'll all stay marvelously healthy
7. Through our complaint to the State's Attorney Generals office, Homeq and Edina Realty will face heavy consequences involving a fine payable directly to us.
8. We will be generous with our reinstated wealth, having learned so many lessons of hardship.  We were generous before, but we've learned where to REALLY give for maximum impact.
9. The Tea party will implode.
10. Obama and Congress will initiate a sweeping and hugely successful jobs program, similar to the WPA, that puts millions back to work rebuilding our infrastructure and wind turbines.
11. Sheletta will get her own radio or TV show, and we'll all be asking "Oprah who?"
12. My acne will clear up.
13. The Vikings will win the Superbowl.
14. I'll get my job back*
15. MG will start blogging regularly again
16. My sister will be able to buy the land she's currently renting
17. We'll somehow get the teens a used car
18. Glenn Beck will be caught in a giant scandal involving gay prostitutes, money laundering, flag burning, cross-dressing, Bruce Willis, France, dope, and Sarah Palin's stylist.
19. My blog will go viral and I'll start earning millions by allowing very carefully chosen companies to advertise here.  Ben & Jerry's would be a good place to start.

Yep, that's how it's gonna play out.

$ He's working two - three good part time consulting gigs and some hands-on labor but he needs something permanent.

*I may not have mentioned this, but my job at the Middle School was eliminated under it's previous contract and funding source.  A new position, covering the same duties plus a few more, was recreated under a new contract and from a different budget.  Since it's a public school and therefore transparent, it must be advertised and  I have to reapply for this "new" position.  Keep your fingers crossed!