Saturday, November 29, 2008

Laughter and Tears

Friday night my niece and I met in Minneapolis and went to see "All I Want For Christmas Is 700 Billion Dollars," Brave New Workshop's latest, and 50th, holiday comedy show. If you're in Minneapolis, you should get tickets now. It was a great performance. This troop of performers never fails to make us laugh hysterically - and rather loudly apparently. It seems one of the performers, Mike Fotis, mentioned to my niece in a Facebook conversation that they noticed the crazy laughter coming from the piano section.

One of my favorite bits was a video they had produced portraying parents learning how to use their webcam. It ended in a rather, well, a situation you wouldn't want to see your parents in - computer screen or not. It brought me to that crazy silent air laugh with tears streaming down my face. You know, when you laugh so hard all that comes out is air and you have to cover your face with hands to hide the weird distorted facial gestures and the only way you can tell you're laughing is by the shaking of your shoulders and the tears ruining your eye makeup? Um, no? Oh. Well then. That's just me I guess. There were a few other skits that did the same. Then there was the one where I did the crazy laugh and no one else did. It involved a dolphin voice imitation and the troop singing a version of the 12 days of Christmas. Laughed 'til I cried.

But those aren't the tears I'm talking about in my title. This was our last get-together before Rose moves to Portland next week. I've convinced her to start a blog to document her new adventures and will link to it when she gets it up and running. I've also decided I need to learn about iChat as there's a built-in camera in my iMac. (I promise to put a post-it over the lens if things get a bit jiggy in the office with your uncle and I.) Oh dear. Too much information yet again.

(Rose - have a great trip to Portland and thanks again for last night.)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Last Minute Thanksgiving

Hope you all had a good Thanksgiving. Hubby and I invited his parents to spend the day with us. They obliged and brought offerings of apple pie, cranberry wine, a cheese ball and the most beautiful home-made dinner rolls I've laid eyes on. We had initially planned on going to our neighbors for the T-day meal. On Wednesday I received a call with the news that my neighbor had come down with the flu and the dinner was off. My neighbor, a perfect southern belle, is a master at entertaining and always cooks enough for a small army. It is a labor of love so was sad to hear she had fallen ill. I'm sure she was disappointed.

I surprisingly didn't go into my usual flurry of worry over the last minute meal I had to prepare. We went to the grocery store on Wednesday night and picked up a thawed turkey, ingredients for dressing and ice cream for the pie. Turkey was in the oven by 9:00am on Thursday. My Mother-in-law taught me how to make the best dressing - bonus! And the timing was right on - everything was done at the same time.

I think these meals are getting easier with age. I can remember stressing and fussing for a week beforehand only to be disappointed when it took a mere 20 minutes to devour the food. So I've decided these family meals are going to be easy like this from now on. No huge planning. No having 4 different vegetables. No more 3 different flavors of pie. Be prepared family because from now on, you gets what you gets. Oh, and from now on, after the dishes are done, I'm disappearing for an hour to take a nap.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Free Holiday Music

aI was watching Oprah today and she had a good freebie I thought I'd share. For the next 48 hours (until Friday afternoon), go to this link and you can download 8 holiday songs courtesy of Oprah.

The songs are:
Faith Hill, "Joy to the World"
Tony Bennett, "I'll be Home for Christmas"
Il Divo, "O Holy Night"
Josh Groban, "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear"
Brian McKnight, "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year"
Amy Grant, "O Come All Ye Faithful"
Harry Connick Jr., "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas"
Aretha Franklin, "Silent Night"

Wordless Wednesday: Enquiring minds want to know

Big Ole is NOT anatomically correct.

(OK, so I suck at Wordless Wednesday. I need words
and now apparently, I need sound effects too.)

Monday, November 24, 2008

The yarn is calling me

It's shivery outside. A speckle of snow falls now and then. The wood stove is filled steadily. I need a coat to walk between the house and my office. It's time. The yarn and crocheting and knitting projects are calling me from their tidy bins up in the sewing room closet. They were packed away last spring when my attentions turned to digging in the dirt. Soon my living room chair will be surrounded by baskets and tubs full of balls of yarn and boxes with hooks and needles and books and magazines filled with ideas and patterns. After our Thanksgiving company leaves, I'll build my nest of yarn-y goodness.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Guerrilla art under foot

Susan Sanford of the blog ArtSpark Theatre inspired me. Susan created some wonderful art sticks with the intention of sending them to other bloggers and documenting their placement for others to find. What a great idea. She calls it "guerrilla art." I've just recently discovered Susan's blog and in a recent post, one of the art stick recipients shared her story of it's placement. Susan is an extremely talented illustrator and sells some of her designs on wearable art through redbubble.

Since I was going up to visit my family this weekend in Alexandria, Minnesota, I thought I'd make my own art stick (no where near the quality of Susan's) and perform a random act of art or guerrilla art. I decided to leave it "under foot" at a fairly well known landmark which is frequented by visitors to the area.

He's their 28 foot tall Nordic superman known as Big Ole.

Note: Birthplace of America you ask? An interesting claim from a town in central Minnesota. The claim is based on a rock discovered near Alexandria with cryptic carvings, the "Kensington Runestone." The 200-pound stone, was supposedly "placed in Douglas County by the Vikings in 1362," according to the Kensington Runestone Museum. It hasn't been proven to be authentic, nor disproven. But it may explain the stories of the blue eyed Mandan Indians living in ancient Norwegian-style structures and having knowledge of Christianity before the settlers arrived. It is thought the ancient Nordic mariners traveled to Minnesota via the Hudson Bay and great lakes. Why they kept hiking from Lake Superior all the way to west central Minnesota with this big rock though... (wink, wink)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sleepus Interruptus

I can't seem to get a good nights sleep lately. I'll lay in bed and if my mind eventually quiets down, I sleep for a couple of hours. Then it's a progression of flip-flopping, sleep a bit, getting up and go downstairs to use the facilities, go down to the basement and put a couple of logs in the woodstove, dog is sitting by door with his longing look so I take him outside to do his duty, go back upstairs to bed, sleep a bit, wake up to rearrange pillows or move to the other bedroom, sleep a bit, etc. Sometimes I'll wake up with my to do list running through my head. I haven't been dreaming much lately. I miss my dreams.

That's why I'm here blogging tonight. I went to bed, got all comfy and started running through things in my head. I remembered I made an error on something for work and I had to go downstairs, outside to my office to fix it. And since I'm here...I might as well blog. At least "what to blog about tomorrow" will be one thing off the list that runs through my head when I go back in the house and upstairs to bed.

Here's what will be running through my head in a few minutes when I lay my head on my pillow: work projects #1-7, things to do before I take off up north this weekend, when am I going to clean house for Thanksgiving guests with this work, remember to pay the bills, I need to get the fixings for pumpkin pies, what's for dinner tomorrow, take the movies back to the library, make phone call to the state about that tax thing, I need to clean my office and find the top of my desk, which holiday song should I learn on the concertina for Neil's Holiday Concert on Citizen of the Month, need to go to the bank, don't forget to keep the Saturday after Thanksgiving open for dinner and comedy club with my niece, need to do laundry, how can I help my friend that's going through a rough patch, and on and on. Ugh! Maybe I should start drinking.

Wordless Wednesday: In Flight

In flight over Pierce County Wisconsin.
Click on photo for a larger view.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Jam packed Saturday

Riley and I had a great time on Saturday and packed a lot into our afternoon. It had been far too long since I had seen my friend of 25 years. We only live 90 miles apart but it worked out that we hadn't gotten together since August. I don't know how she grew her hair so long in those few months. I need to figure out her secret. Maybe it's her "flexitarian" (mostly vegetarian) food choices as of late.

We first had a great lunch at the "Taste of India." I enjoy Indian food and have had a couple of successful attempts making dishes at home. But as usual, it's always better when someone else makes it.

Then is was off to the Minneapolis Central Library for the PostSecret traveling display. It is there until November 30th. I was impressed with the artwork and range of emotions; humorous to heart-wrenching. Both Riley and I made the comment that "there are far too many sad people in the world."

Next stop was the Twin Cities Chocolate Extravaganza. The best part was the wine tasting seminar we attended. We discovered that any booth giving out free samples had a good ten minute wait in line. We weren't in the standing in line mood so we visited the booths that weren't busy. Luckily I had received free tickets. We both agreed that if we had purchased our tickets at $25.00 each, we would've been extremely disappointed. We left with the decision that once is enough for that event. I'd advise anyone to go spend $20.00 at your local chocolatier, sit down and enjoy every piece in peace.

Since there was still daylight and we were so close, we made a stop at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. It's been around since the mid 1980's and I had never been there before. I'd like to go back in the summer when it's warmer and greener and sunnier.

On the way back to the restaurant to pick up my car, we detoured around a few of the lakes of Minneapolis and oohed and aahed at the beautiful homes surrounding the lake.

Thanks Riley! Had a super fun day!

That's my story - here's the slideshow...

Natalie Dee: Failed Jelly Belly Flavors

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Do you Haiku?


Friday, November 14, 2008

Little Potato

Great Aunt Balou got a picture in the mail the other day. This is Campbell. Don't you just want to cuddle her and squeeze her and love her and tickle her toes and blow a raspberry on her belly and pinch her cheeks and blow her kisses and play so big?

(Press play below to play a song that goes with this post.)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

PostSecret dipped in Chocolate

While watching a segment on the local morning news program, I discovered there is a PostSecret exhibition on display at the library in downtown Minneapolis. It is a traveling exhibition of 400 postcards illustrating people's innermost secrets. Often, the artwork is just as compelling as the secret.

For those not familiar, PostSecret is a community art project started by Frank Warren. It invites people to anonymously share a secret on a postcard and send it to him. Mr. Warren has published several books of select "secrets." He also posts several of the postcards on his PostSecret blog each Sunday.

I've often heard of people bringing in their own secrets to these displays and even placing their postcard secrets in the PostSecret books in bookstores and libraries. I think I have to get busy and bring a secret along.

I don't get into the big city very often so I'm excited to be adding the PostSecret exhibition to my previously scheduled attendance of the Twin Cities Chocolate Extravaganza. Lucky me, I am receiving two free tickets from a client to the show. I wonder if they are golden. A fellow chocolate lover and I are going to luxuriate in an exhibition hall full of chocolatiers and purveyors of chocolatey goodness. I am imagining the smell I will encounter once walking through the doorway to the chocolate room. I guess it's no secret that I love chocolate.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

You Just Never Know #3

You just never know what you're going to find when searching for a turkey video...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I had to stay up for it...

...just in case something important happened. It was an uneventful minute.

Veterans Day

Unlike todays soldiers abroad with internet hook-ups, video chatting and email, in wars of past, paper, pencil and mailed packages were the links to home. I've found a few blogs that have posted letters from WWI and WWII veterans. They are interesting reading.

WWI: Experiences of an English Soldier is a series of letters from an English Soldier writing home to his brother, wife and other family members. It is an awesome collection of letters and notes regarding WWI. Eventually a book was created from the blog.

Here's one from, the letters of US Private Melvin Johnson.

May 18, 1944


Got a letter from you today; dated May 1st and May 3rd. I expect to hear from you more often now. It certainly revived my spirits to get some mail - especially from you. I'll build my letter around some of the topics mentioned in yours.

About spring fever - it's too cold for that here. The only thing that's warm in this country is the sun and it's Brrrrr. Did I tell you we sleep in tents? But we sleep warm. Of course it's a bit rough getting out of that warm bed in the morning.

About that book "Nana". The reason I want it is that I've partly read it and want to finish it. It doesn't seem to me to be such an improper book as you intimate. It's more of a social case study than anything else. Whether I will find time to read it or not is an open question. I may or I may not have the time.

Glad Elaine likes to be out of doors. Like to see her tottling about on the lawn. Bet she goes down on her sitter every now and then. Do you suppose Tony is a little on the outs with you and didn't take you to town just to be spiteful? I suppose it's quite a problem to you to know what to do this summer. Also whether to teach next year or not. I'll leave those problems to you. I don't want you to over-tax yourself. And take good care of the baby.

What's the present bond balance? You never said whether you got that bond I sent you or not? It's possible too that I may send a little money home now and then. No promises of course, but if I do, put it in bonds or use as you see fit. Never mind the prescription for glasses. I think the reading may be taken from the broken lens. I nevr thought of that before.

Read a newspaper article the other day describing the tense atmosphere of invasion expectancy that prevails everywhere in America. Of such things I'm not allowed to say a thing.

Thanks a lot for your generous attitude toward me in your plans for the future. I've some ideas regarding a book cabinet and a record album cabinet too. You know, we used to have a lot of fun together. I don't think we sufficiently appreciated those Sundays and Saturday afternoons. Sleeping late, eating a breakfast of what you wanted to eat, reading, and listening to the radio. You know, one thing I miss a lot is, music. There's little opportunity of hearing the music you like here. Even then it wouldn't be like hearing it at home. You know, I'm thinking a lot about that translator position in the Maritime Service. Maybe a job like that would give us a little more free time and a chance to take a vacation once in a while. We can go to California or Colorado or some such thing. Well, some day I believe all our dreams will come true.

Lots of love, Melvin

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Tear Jerker

I have a strange affliction. I can't seem to go to a movie without crying at the cheesiest of sentimental moments. I mean when I finish "Beverly Hills Chihuahua" with a cry tally of three, there is something wrong with me. My friend (whom I might add is the one that wanted to see that movie, not me) just laughed at me and I laughed along wondering why I cry at every B movie cornball moment. Next week "Madagascar 2" is playing at our local theatre so I expect I'll need to buy a new mini pack of tissues for my purse. Aren't hormones fun?

Friday, November 07, 2008

First Snow

I'm glad we have wood stacked and the smell of burning wood
will be wafting through the house.
I'm sad that this means the convertible goes into hibernation.
I'm glad I get to wear my wooly sweaters, stocking caps and scarves.
I'm sad I won't be able to walk barefoot in the grass for months.
I'm glad I still think the snow is beautiful.
I'm glad that there's more glad than sad.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

One Minute Writer: Jeopardy

Trish from Pendill Pages brought to my attention a recent blog of note called One Minute Writer. I love the concept. C. Beth posts daily blogging fodder which come from readers suggestions. You are challenged to write about the subject within one minute. I liked today's subject so thought I'd give it a shot.

If you were on the game show Jeopardy!, what interesting story would you tell to introduce yourself?

I used to tattoo dogs. Before the days of micro chips and identity theft, a friend and I would travel around the area and tattoo identification numbers on dogs inner thighs. The ID numbers were usually the owners social security number which was then registered at a central dog registry. I was only asked to get creative once by the owner of a weimaraner. I tattooed a heart with an arrow going through it under the ID number.

ABC3D - Marion Bataille

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

American History - The Good Kind

President-elect Senator Barack Obama stands with his wife Michelle and their daughters Malia (2nd R) and Sasha as they face supporters at his election night rally after being declared the winner of the 2008 presidential election in Chicago, November 4, 2008. (Jim Bourg/Reuters)

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Sweet Meat Vote Tee

I'm excited to see the results of todays election. I'm going to the polls in a couple of hours to cast my vote. That way I get the right to complain if my guy doesn't win. Either way, the next president has a heaping bin of stinking mess to clean up.

Saw this t-shirt at and thought it was weird enough to share...

Get out and VOTE!

Saturday, November 01, 2008


written by Max Ehrmann, 1927

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.