Thursday, February 21, 2008

Me, Me, Me, me, me, me

For me, good fortune usually comes tandem and today is no exception. First, after that gorgeous lunar elipse last night, the sun came out and has been shining all day. Secondly I was tagged and I'm it.
I got this meme from Marcy who writes with wit and wisdom at My Quilting & Other Stuff, who was tagged by InlandEmpireGirl from Gathering Around the Table, also wise and wonderful.

This meme asked me to share six non-important things/habits/quirks about myself. Then I'm to tag six random people at the end of my post by linking to their blogs. Then you let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.

No, wait this could be interesting.

1. Whenever I rip out coupons or pictures from magazines, I'm compelled to get scissors to cut off the ragged edges. I can't help myself.

2. I can't decide if I should add this here or at the end. Or maybe I shouldn't at all. I can never make up my mind and it drives me and everyone who knows me c.r.a.z.y. Imagine menus, yarn, colors, dessert trays, coin tosses, etc. Its not so much perfectionism--or is it, I don't know. Actually, there's so much in the world, I just don't wanna miss anything!

3. Everyday I eat cottage cheese mixed with plain Nancy's yogurt. . .just for fun.

4. I want everyone to play nice, get along. I'm pretty sure that it is best if things are done my way, and I can argue the point until the cows come home.

5. I lose sleep at night because of the damage that we've already done to our planet. In the day I hug trees whenever no one is watching and assure them that its going to be o.k. It is, isn't it?

6. Now that I'm a grownup I take full advantage of enjoying offbeat humor by reading some of my favorite comic strips: Rhymes With Orange, Get Fuzzy, Non Sequitur, Mutts, Brevity, Ballard Street and my newest fave Zippy the Pinhead. . .that one took a little getting used to.
My obsession came about in the Nixon years when the Little King in Wizard of Id began to resemble the president.

See, now wasn't that a cheeky cheery meme?

And now I am tagging Julie my Celtic neighbor where I always feel most welcome
my pal, the other Marianne, when she's feeling better
Mrs Nesbitt photographer extraordinnaire
Judy from Spokane
the marathon Running Knitter
and Granny Smith where you'll make a new friend in a virtual minute.

Feel free to play along with this meme. Just follow the rules above and remember to link to the person that tagged you and play nice!

So, on your mark, get set, GO!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

E is for

I found this black and white snapshot in a basket of photos in an antique shop in St. Paul recently. The boy on the far right next to the girl with her little concertina is named 'Chopper.'
The back of the photo reads:
'Chopper & the Jim Swoyer children on
his birthday in Nov. 1951.'
Always the sucker for old photos, the faces on these children made me elated and I couldn't leave the store without it. [Check out the old doll the other little boy is holding. And those braids: that could have been me a few years later.] Priceless expressions all, each in his or her own way. And so I put two and two together and decided that to be invited to Chopper's birthday party must have been enough to make them feel elated!
Learn more about ABC Wednesday here.

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, February 18, 2008

Its a dog's life after all.

Note to self . . .

"Just trust yourself,
then you will know how to live."
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

[a timely reminder from Raven's site.]

What better to do on a blizzardy Monday than borrow this meme from Inland Empire Girl's dog, Shelby. Always wanting to get in on the act, here's

Meme of Five or Pashka Tells All

A) What are your five favorite songs?

1. Wintertime Love Song --I love, love, love the winter. Summer's too hot!

2. Let it Snow--the more the better.

3. Frosty the Snowman--'snowman' snow is the best to snack on.

4. Snowblind Friend--I'd love to run with my pals in the snow but we aren't allowed off our leashes where I live. I have a lot of friends in the apartment; Buddy the beagle is the best.

5. Fifteen Feet of Pure White Snow--that would be heaven to an old Siberian Husky like me! --[because Mom loves Nick Cave]

B) What are your five favorite toys?

1-3. I used to love big, bouncy Kongs and those ropey pull toys and tennis balls. Now my teeth are too old and Mom's afraid I might break them. But I still have dreams where I pull the tops off my Kong.

2. I've been known to play with stuffed animals until they fall apart.

3. Bean's head, but she usually sprays me with cat spit when I try.

C) What are five things you love to eat?

1. I love my dry kibble with a bowl of water.

2. People food, definitely, like baby carrots, turkey, eggs and frozen peas. I like to think I have discriminating taste*--no peanut butter for me!

3. Stuffed recliners. Actually any furniture will do but recliners are the meatiest.

4. Snow, glorious snow!

5. Tasty morsels from the cat box -- the caviar of the dog-world. See 'People Food'* above.

D) What are five of your favorite activities?

1. Running with my [big] ears back, my brown and blue eyes slitty, pretending I'm a sled dog.

2. Sniffing the cat.

3. Eating.

4. Sleeping in the sun.

5. Riding in the back of the van.

E. What are five of your bad habits?

1. Chewing my toenails--bet you can't do that!

2. Barking at all the neighbor dogs especially while Law & Order is on.

3. Sneaking treats from the cat box.

4. Laying on my pee-pad after I've used it. I'm 16, I thought it was a rug?!

5. Still trying to run away, if I get a chance.

Being patted is what it is all about. --Roger Caras.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


Wrinkled flannel under my chin and
My closing eyes a passport to familiar territory
Where skilled archivists have rearranged my life.
Using society rejects to play the parts
That change each night,
Dreaming becomes a mini-death and almost-resurrection.
Feet shuffle to the counterpoint and
The clatter behind my eyes,
Of vague remembrances and dried tears
Wind-up clock, baby cries, worry or pain.
No matter, I’ve come back
None the wiser.

My thoughts on Sleep for Sunday Scribblings. Nudge more sleepyheads here. Painting by Henri Rousseau, The Sleeping Gypsy.

Friday, February 15, 2008

'Peeps : for every season!

We received an inch or so of snow on Wednesday night and yesterday the sun came out making the snow sparkle and shine. Walking in my neighborhood, the ever present white birches took on a life of their own against the blue whiteness of the snow. When the sun comes out even the stoic Minnesotans seem to smile more. As the days get longer I'm hearing the local cardinals earlier in the morning too. This being my second winter in the Twin Cities, I'm noticing that we are having cloudy days 2:1 this winter as opposed to the blindingly bright blue skies of last winter. It probably is better that the buttermilk skies -- or as Garrison Keillor described the sky around Lake Wobegon as 'aluminum' in a recent monologue -- were scarce last year, when I was less rooted. That doesn't mean I'm not complaining because that's what I do best, don't ya know.

When I used to read with the children at a Montessori elementary we learned that cirrus clouds are easiest to remember if you think of them as 'horse tails.' Fast forward to 'now' I'm learning that in addition to being dreamy, they are made up of ice crystals in the air and represent the air pattern in the higher levels of the atmosphere. This sky is definitely full of whispy ones that have just been brushed.

Plunging temps are keeping us inside today recovering from all the Valentine candy and cupcakes. Bean has the best idea while the sun is out:

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

“ Who,
is poor? ”

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

ABC Wednesday arrives!

D is for door -- a bright pink door!

I see this screen-door every Saturday after breakfast when Dave (also a D) and I walk around the burg of White Bear Lake. The house is blue and this door always makes me smile because I love both colors. . .dearly.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Trying not to overthink

“The true harvest of my life is intangible - a little star dust caught, a portion of the rainbow I have clutched.” Henry David Thoreau
Sunday morning last dawned clear and cold at -37 degrees windchill. These were perfect conditions for a sighting of the sundog above. I actually saw two, one on each side of the sun, forming a broken halo. Sundogs happen when the sun shines through ice crystals in a cirrus cloud and even though I'm usually always easily impressed, seeing this for the first time left me speechless.
Now, moving from the sublime to sorta the ridiculous. An article appeared in the St. Paul Sunday newspaper from a Los Angeles column by Larry Smith and Rachel Ferschleiser who have written a book called Not Quite What I Was Planning--Six Word Memoirs by Writers Famous & Obscure. Whew!

Long story short, they borrowed an idea from Ernest Hemingway challenging readers of their online magazine SMITH to write their life story in just six words. To get the juices flowing they offered examples like chef Mario Batalli who submitted , "Brought it to a boil, often." or Nora Ephron's "Secret of life: Marry an Italian." and Stephen Colbert's "Well, I thought it was funny."

I was totally taken by this simple idea. They added, "As we type this [column], a quick glance reveals that Emily Hambridge 'wanted to write but feared failure.' With a half a dozen words and few clicks of the keyboard, she's just rewritten the story of her life."

Here's some of my favorites:

My second grade teacher was right.--Janelle Brown

Dad wore leather pants in Reno. --John Falk

Where the hell are my keys?--Brady Udall

Fifteen years since last professional haircut.--Dave Eggers

I think, therefore I am bald.--Dickie Widjaja

Its pretty high. You go first.--Alan Eagle

and my favorite:

Became my mother. Please shoot me.--Cynthia Kaplan

So, I'll share mine with you when I figure it out and maybe you'll do the same?

I hope life isn't a big joke, because I don't get it.

Jack Handey

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Nutella lovers unite!


She's at it again.
Another day to celebrate with food
and I'm not allowed on the counters.

Today being
I had to do something to celebrate this wonderful food from the Italian gods. If you haven't tried this concoction of hazelnuts, milk and chocolate, run out and buy a jar today~and if you already have, and you know who you are, then you know what I'm talkin' about.

Being generally lazy I didn't feel like coming up with something new so perused the main site here. Then I decided to make a version of Nutella Rolls I found here. Watch and learn:

one 8-0z can refrigerated low-fat (kind of silly, I know!) crescent rolls

spread a scant tablespoon on each triangle
top with banana slice
roll each into a bundle with a little swirl on top
bake at 375 for about 15 minutes

best eaten warm but not too hot -- insides are molten right out of the oven

Great recipes can be found at the Nutella Day website and just for fun, check out this video of a crepe being made with Nutella in Paris:

Monday, February 4, 2008

Endorphins ahead!

You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm.
~ Colette ~
On our way to the expressway Saturday morning we saw these turkeys in the drive-thru of Caribou Coffee. It was the usual scenario: two big guys, both named Tom, trying to impress two young females barely out of their teens.

The 'girls' were busy scavengering for food probably because the boys lured them across the busy highway with the promise that the pickings would be good there. Meanwhile the Toms started ruffling their feathers, strutting and talking turkey.

Spurred on by encouragement from Tom, Tom followed one beauty right into the parking lot. Note how impressed the girls are, in spite of Toms' fancy footwork.

Then Tom suggests that Tom try the stare-down move that has always worked for him. Note the other girl's retreat with nary a look back at these sad, sad showoffs.

A close-up of this girl's face should reveal the words on her lips -- do turkeys have lips? Anyway, I don't think I can print what she told the foolishly stoic, broken hearted figures of the two Toms that day. I don't know, I think there's just something not quite right about a guy with a blue face, unless he's with Blue Man Group!

Meanwhile we are stopping traffic behind us because, once again, the Toms decide to try to lure the girls away--this time into the parking lot of Pull Tabs, the sports bar next door [specializing in meat raffles every Sunday]. As they file in front of our car, one of the girls stops to look at our right front tire. I fully expected that she would look up at me and suggest we get some air in that tire. I think it looked a little low to her.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

You asked for it, you got it

Before our town was lassoed by President Eisenhower’s freeway system, Highway 30 ran right through Pocatello and kept on going. Travelers on their way to California or Salt Lake City were forced to slow down to 25 miles per hour, passing in front of the college campus and a row of motels with names like the Lamplighter or the Sunset.

Starting when I was 13, I spent three summers working as a chambermaid at the Sunset. Each June I worked nearly every day cleaning the efficiency apartments that the students rented for the school year. After that I had regular tourist rooms to clean the duration of the summer. In spite of the minimum pay and hard work, I was able to bankroll enough to buy record albums and fabric to sew new clothes. After three months, the drudgery actually made me look forward to fall and school’s start.

Cleaning the tourist rooms had a mind-dulling routine: strip the beds, empty the trash, remake the beds, gather up the soggy towels, scrub the tub, sink and toilet, hand mop the bathroom floor, dust, vacuum and open the drapes. The only job I’d had prior to this big break was babysitting and it became a rite of passage of sorts. In my naiveté working in a motel where it wasn’t uncommon to find underwear left behind in the sheets, I was at once a little shocked and curious. A cardinal rule for us was to knock first before entering a room even if we were certain the occupants had checked out. So one morning I knocked but apparently didn’t time my wait, walking in on an embarrassed couple.

I could ease the boredom and lack of air conditioning by carrying a transistor radio from room to room. Saying I’d gone to California and learned to surf during that first summer seemed like the best way for those freshman boys to notice me, or at least that’s what I thought the Beach Boys were telling me as I swabbed someone else’s toilet. Summer of 1966 I played the bad boys of the British invasion as loud as I could while I looked down those same toilets. My last summer at the Sunset I spent planning to hitchhike to Haight-Ashbury. I knew just where I was going to get the flowers for my hair.

During the month-long blitz to return the student apartments in the basement to their semi-original state, I felt like a miner or a mole, never seeing the light of day. This was no easy gig and we took bets on who had the worst place to clean that day. Endless bags of trash were filled and lugged up the stairs to the dumpster. The kitchen area took the longest time to clean followed by the bathroom. Luckily I only remember a couple of things that haunt me about those apartments: they were small, painted a fleshy-pink color, and had only one basement size window. One day I won the coin toss and was cleaning cupboards while my friend cleaned out the refrigerator. The shelves were usually empty and just needed to be sponged. They ran to the ceiling and even the top one couldn’t be reached except by standing in the sink. So I’m standing in the sink straining to reach the crumbs and mouse droppings when I feel something hard under my sponge. I pushed it toward me until I could pick it up with my other hand. As I turned it over in my palm I realized that I was holding someone’s toenail. Not just a clipping which would have been bad enough but an entire brittle, yellow nail from a big toe, which had been safely kept on the top shelf next to the corn flakes and maple syrup.

From my chambermaid days, I learned that life demands you work hard for your living, that there will always be dirty toilets, and that music can make anything better.

Like the old Toyota commercial, "Toyota. . .you asked for it, you got it!' this is my take on Sunday Scribblings' promp foul.

Friday, February 1, 2008

'The only lasting beauty is the beauty of the heart.' Rumi

Today is the National Wear Red Day to encourage participation in the American Heart Asssociation's Go Red For Women movement. Heart disease and stroke are the No. 1 killer of women in America. The entire month of February is devoted to awareness, celebration and encouragement for all women who have been or will be touched by this disease.

When I was unloading my groceries today, the woman putting her groceries in the trunk of her car next to me was decked out in red from head to foot. I asked her if she was celebrating the Wear Red Day and she sighed and said she was. "We women have to look out for each other!" She echoed what the American Heart Association is promoting in their movement. Visit their site. It is full of helpful information.

Go Red For Women celebrates the energy, passion and power we have as women to band together to wipe out heart disease and stroke... the color red and the red dress now stand for the ability all women have to improve their heart health and live stronger,longer lives.

In the collage above in the lower left hand corner is a painting Erica did when she was recoveringfrom her valve replacement surgery nearly two years ago. The message here is 'Unbreakable'! Her's was a birth defect but heart disease is present on both sides of the fence in our family. My dad died from congestive heart failure at an advanced age, probably from eating way too much red meat and smoking since he was 9 years old. My mom had heart bypass surgery in her early 60's also from smoking and probably from a poor diet. Then there's me with my high blood pressure and annoying 'tachycardia' or rapid heartbeat. A bunch of fruitcakes all!

Doctor: Have you ever had this before?

Patient: Yes.

Doctor: Well, you've got it again!