Monday, December 31, 2007

A guid New Year to ane an` a` and mony may ye see!

The two things I can accurately predict for 2008 is that 1) I will be getting a new car, and 2) my family will be heavily involved in raising funds and making preparations for a trip to Scotland. The car part is easy, I just have to bite the bullet and pick one out. The Scotland trip though, that involves lots of other people, and lots of planning, lots of drinking, oh... and lots of money!

If all things Scottish hadn't already taken over much of my brain, I've got a growing list of websites in my favorites that have to do with Scotland and travel and fundraising. In my web surfing and blog reading research, I learned that in Scotland, Hogmanay is the word for the last day of the year and is synonymous with a celebration of the new year. During Hogmanay, it is traditional to go first-footing, which, like a lot of Scottish things, sounds like an excuse to go out visiting friends and, I dare say, an excuse to drink! First footing is literally, the first foot in the house after midnight. According to tradition, in order to ensure good luck for the house, the owner of the first foot should be a tall, dark, handsome male. Apparently this stems from the days when the Vikings invaded Scotland. Of course then, if a blonde stranger came to your door it was probably trouble. Here in Lutheran Scandahooviaville, we are hard pressed to find anything but blondes. So anyway, this antithesis of a Viking, must be a male and must come bearing gifts, and these symbolic gifts are coal, shortbread, salt, black bun and whisky. Symbolising, I guess, warmth, sweets, spice in your life and... uh, an excuse to drink!

Since we'll be spending New Year's Eve tonight with one or more sets of "Scotland Bound" parents like ourselves, I decided to try out this old new tradition - heck, we can all use a little luck right? I did a little more time wasting blog surfing research and I found a recipe for Black Bun, which is pretty much a deep dish raisin and currant and brandy pie. So I made that, and some shortbread, got some sea salt - coz its prettier, and more earthy looking than table salt. I couldn't find any coal, so I got some briquettes, and I found out that real Scottish whisky is spelled without the e in front of the y, and never says Scottish on the label, but rather Scotch.

I doubt that I'll find a non-blonde male to be our first footer among the Larsons, Hansons, and Andersons tonight, but it will be fun to do something new! And as they say in Scotland: A good New Year to one and all, and many may ye see!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Frankly Scarlett, I Don't Have Time to Give a Damn

I'm writing this today, or should I say tomorrow... no, if you're reading this, then it's today - but anyway I'm writing this today, or rather yesterday, and using the "post it later" feature. But it's 11:39 p.m. right now, and if I take much longer writing this it's going to be tomorrow for real!

I'm doing this to make sure it actually works because, blogaholic that I am, I signed up for this crazy challenge! I couldn't resist, I just find so many new blogs to read this way. And there are only so many blogs you can read in a day and then still find time to write something to post - right? So, blogaholic, optimist that I am, I figured that I could pre-write like, oh say, a weeks worth of posts (in my free time....) and then schedule them, like little orderly soldiers, to fall into place daily (....insert crazy maniacal laugh here...) Oh, I can't think about that now, I'll think about it tomorrow.... After all, tomorrow is another day!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

'Snot Fair

It wasn't enough that I turned 50 two weeks ago....

It wasn't enough that we've been cooped up with two dogs and two teenagers in a car for 15 hours....

No, it wasn't even enough when I got hit with the mother of all snot-rendering, throat searing colds within the first of those 15 hours - and was laid a-bed for the next two-days....

Now this has to arrive.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Magical Christmas Memories

Once upon a Christmas season, 20 plus years ago, a radio station in Seattle - KEZX - used to play an ecclectic mix of adult jazz and local artists. One of the songs they played this particular season and then never again, was Stop the Cavalry by the Cory Band. It was one of those songs where you absolutely cannot sit still while it's playing! I recorded it on a cassette tape and every year we take it out and play the heck out of it. Every year, I worry that the very fragile old tape will wear out and I won't be able to find the song again. That same year, Beez was three years old, and after listening to me read him "The Night Before Christmas" umpteen million times, he'd memorized it pretty well - even if he did have a killer lisp, and tended to creatively misquote Clement Moore, such as, instead of "away to the window I flew like a flash, tore open the shutter and threw up the sash" his very funny interpretation was "tore open the shutter and threw out the trash!" This, I also recorded on a fragile cassette tape, which is taken out to be played every year - worrying, each time we push the play button that it will be our last.

This year, Grandpa G, our families' resident technical wizard, took both those fragile treasures and lovingly burned them onto a semi-durable CD. Now, both of those precious sound memories can be confindently played for years and years to come! And today, through the durable magic of the Internet, I share them, as my gift to you, my invisible friends. Merry Christmas!

Gotta Stop The Cavalry

Twatha Night Before Cwiimith

Monday, December 24, 2007

"Tis The Day Before..."

After a 12 hour drive with two teenagers and two dogs in the SUV, Downtown Dad and I made it to his parents' house in Southern Missouri understandably feeling a little bedraggled! Even without snow this year, their house IS Christmas for us - every wall and flat surface cozied up with a familiary reminder of the season. After the hugs and hellos and the butt sniffing (c'mon, the dogs, not us) and the preliminary catching up - we fell into our beds - sans kerchief and cap - and drifted off for a long winter's nap!

It's Christmas Eve morning and I'm trying to get this post written and published before the whole house wakes up. While the old hubub of coordinating Santa's arrival has lessened some as the kids have gotten older, the familiar patterns will soon take over and the comfort foods will be set out and consumed until we are all groaning. Familiar sounds, like our favorite Chistmas music, and "turn down that TV!" and of course we'll have ceremonious dragging out of the cassette of three-year old Beez reciting "Twatha Night Before Cwiimith." I'm going to see if Grandpa G, with all of his technological wizardry, will burn that 20 year old cassette onto something more permanent and then I can post it here! If we can break away from the talking and the eating and the butt-sniffing!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas Newsletter

It has been a while since I posted. I must explain... you see I've been fighting, er writing the annual Christmas Letter.

I see you out there, nodding your heads. You know what its like. You don't want yours to be that two-page yawner about each and every place you've traveled, or the compendium of your family's accomplishments and kids' grades. But this IS your once a year opportunity to let Auntie Edna in Portland know that your kids DID turn out better than your creepy cousin Johnny's... even though you learned through her letter that they've each mastered a foreign language, earned Eagle Scout badges, made mission trips to help rebuild New Orleans, all that AND they volunteer at the soup kitchen every day after school. OK, not bad for 6 and 8 year olds, but really, how are they going to top that next year? I mean really.

You want your letter to be amusing, or at the very least, readable to the end. If, perhaps you've had a messy divorce in the family, or your sister-in-law was sent to prison, or the child you've been raising for your deceased daughter suddenly decided to go live with her estranged father, well lucky you! There are so many things that happen in the space of a year, and so few of them, good, dramatic Christmas letter fodder! Trouble is, the people to whom those things happen, rarely have the literary skills to express the intrinsic drama and humor of those situations.

No, this year, I opted to keep our letter short, and rather traditional. And whether or not some or all of those things actually happened in our family, well, I'm saving THAT for my novel!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Naked In Public

For a long time now I’ve been fighting an internal battle about what I post here. I started posting initially to ‘find my voice’ thinking that by forming the daily habit of writing, I could somehow make writing easier. I have a file folder on my computer full of fits and starts of pieces that fashioned themselves in my head and were able to meander their way out my fingers and onto the keyboard, but then, they failed to thrive past the series of filters I impose on what I actually put out there. This, in itself, is good – we all know there are just some things that don’t make good blog writing or reading. But then, there are some things in that file that probably are worth posting, only, they can’t seem to traverse the mine field of filters I herd them through.

The other day I was having a glass of wine after work with some fellow Realtors. Conversation, as it does, became animated, and I made a comment phrased very similarly to something I must have said that is posted here. One of my friends piped up and said “Oh by the way, I really enjoy reading your blog.” I stopped, my face grew red, and I had that naked-in-public feeling, gripped with the fear of what I may have posted, what I may have said in the pseudo anonymity of the Internet. Conversation stopped dead. “You have a blog?”

It's true, I've only told a select few that I have a blog … that I blog … that I write stuff and I throw it out there for anyone to see. I don’t know why I don’t tell other people I know. Most of them know that I write. Most of them know I’m tactless sometimes, and brutally honest all the time... hence the name Straight Up and Slightly Dirty. Although as Kwach and Ev over at Nowhere IL say, I’m not nearly dirty enough. Touche girls! Touche! The dream interpretation of naked-in-public is representative of vulnerability or shamefulness. Maybe I fear that people will see through to my true self and I will be exposed as a fraud or a phony. Maybe I fear that I'll be ridculed or disgraced, or worse - challenged on something I write! The truth is I’m not trying hard enough. I'm not courageous enough. And so my writing isn't good nor powerful. And that's not me, and it's certainly not why I take the time to write something, hit publish post and hope that some anonymous person will take the time to read it. That naked-in-public moment taught me a lesson.

Oddly enough, in my blog-surfing today I found a site where they encourage and celebrate good, powerful writing on the Internet/blogosphere, in fact, they award prizes! The name says it all - it's called Shameless Lions writing circle. It just made me think about all of the inspiring, good and powerful writers writing posts every day. Every one of them, shameless, truthful, courageous and naked-in-public.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

December 5 Because It's ALL About ME!

Happy Birthday To ME! What better day than this to take advantage of the fact that Grandy at Functional Schmunctional tagged me with this meme! So here are the rules: "List a word that describes you for every letter of the alphabet. Offer as much or as little explanation as you wish. Please keep the words positive (for example, don’t use “fat” for F or “lame” for L), and feel free to get creative. Tag as many or as few people as you wish. Link back to your tagger and forward to your taggees." So... here we go!

A. Articulate. Oh I do like me some piles o’ words.

B. Biotch! Yes, that is a positive word - ask my friends, we all call each other that! Some of us even have numbers! I'm B3.

C. Chop. That’s my other nickname, but only among my very closest coon-ass friends.

D. Domestic. I totally love ironing and grocery shopping. Really – go figure!

E. Effervescent. Yep, that describes me. And, much to the consternation of my friends, that describes me in the morning.

F. Family. Because that’s what I'm all about lately.

G. Guzzler. I am not a sipper. Give me tea, give me fine wine or liquor, give me water... I will guzzle it.

H. Hot. But intermittently so, in a menopausal way.

I. Imaginative. Like Tequila with a jockstrap in a pie, fixing furnaces for the world with Jello.

J. Joker. I’m a joker, not a smoker, nor a midnight toker.

K. Knock-off. I think that if it looks real, then hell honey, it is real. But nevah evah pay full-price!

L. Liberal. I admit it, I’m a Gawtdam, Leftist, broad minded, humanitarian, libertarian, free thinker.

M. Mother. Probably the finest thing I will ever have had the privilege to have done.

N. Neat. A place for everything and everything in its place – DAMMIT!

O. Old. See the beginning of this post.

P. Persuasive. If you are still reading this far into my list then I am totally persuasive. If not, then I am a prevaricator.

Q. Quarrelsome. Especially if I am Hot (see above).

R. Raucous. Rowdy. Rambunctious. Especially when I’m on my cell phone in a public place.

S. Sagittarius. Adventurous, brave, and wise, extroverted, straightforward, benevolent, ardent, idealistic, sincere, intellectual, knowledgeable, creative, philosophical, broad-minded, sexual, funny and free-spirited.

T. Tactless. Oh, honey no! You’re not gonna wear THAT?!?

U. Utopian: In my world, we all speak Esperanto.

V. Verbal. I can’t think of the exact wordage, but I’m sure I can express the correct essence of my love of lingual verbiage without being palaverous, I mean, don’t take me literally, but in the oral tradition – ok not being too rhetorical here, but really, it must be said that as I stated above, I know I can be somewhat verbose, but it can’t be over stated, I can totally use a lot of words to say very little.

W. Writer. Yes. I AM A WRITER.

X. X-husbandry. I am an expert in choosing them. I have two. One on video.

Y. Yoga. Try it. It will change your life.

Z. Zippy. Because doesn’t everyone want to know someone who is zippy?

Monday, December 3, 2007

A Roomette For Two

Ette is the feminine form of the French suffix –et. Adding ette to the end of a word describes a smaller version of an inanimate object such as cigarette, kitchenette, novelette. It seems to imbue these everyday nouns with a fancy romanticism or modern allure. On the other hand, the same suffix ette has also been used to describe something imitation or inferior such as leatherette. Still adding that Frenchified aire, but really puffing up something that might not be able to live up to it’s name without that precious suffix.

On our recent train trip, Downtown Dad and I opted for an upgrade from our coach seats to a Roomette. With seating for just two, our own private picture window, and meals, plus a wine tasting event included, this Roomette would be the perfect venue for our romantic time alone, a getaway-ette. Having made the trip once before in a coach seat – or the Fart Compartment as I called it, I was all for having our own space where we could shut the door and pull the curtains – if not for privacy reasons, for the aromatic ones.

The westbound Empire Builder train, departs from the Fargo station at 3:25 a.m., so after a full day of fulfilling other obligations, an obligatory appearance at a cocktail party, packing, repacking, last minute lectures and instructions, and an 11th hour call to the doctor for antibiotics for one of the kids’ newly discovered bronchial infection, we settled into what would be our home away from home for the next 31 hours. According to the description on Amtrak’s website, this Roomette is “ideal for one or two passengers, with two comfortable reclining seats on either side of a big picture window. At night, the seats convert to a comfortable bed, and the upper berth folds down from above.”

Technically, yes, the two seats do convert to a comfortable bed…but no matter how romantic you are, it's only wide enough for one! And yes, once your porter has performed the acrobatics necessary to accomplish this mechanical magic, the second occupant of the Roomette, can climb the 6 inch wide stairs that serve double duty as shelves alongside one chair, to the windowless top bunk, a cozy 24 inches from the roof of the car - not so comfortable. So much for the romance.

Once entombed therein, the occupant of the upper berth must ask the occupant of the lower berth (the one that drew the longer straw, or the one that all of a sudden has bad knees and can’t climb up there) to hand up her chapstick, oh, and her book, and her sleeping pills – oh and some water … all of which are efficiently stowed under the lower bunk, and cannot be accessed with the cabin doors shut. After much wriggling and grunting and bumping, and after the lucky occupant of the lower berth has whumpped his pillow-ette for the fifteenth time, it is inevitible that the upper berther must now pee. Of course to do that requires leaving the Roomette, and thus more wriggling and grunting, and bumping - again, not even a little bit the romantic kind, but just maybe it sounds that way to the Roomette next door!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Glad to be off the train

Here it is the last day of NABLOPOMO and I am FINALLY in a non moving room with Internet access! No cell service, but Internet access - go figure!

I would hate to quickly summarize the train trip and ensuing hilarity... it just wouldn't do the trip justice. But I just don't have the time right now. Suffice it to say that we have arrived at our destination. The Izaak Walton Lodge "a place where time stands still" says their brochure. Reasons why that phrase may just be another way to say boredom, to follow!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Uhg! more typing... :o( hee hee

Tessie again.
Even though my mom is not typing, she is still here in spirit (I am her daughter after all)
So, off to do some homework!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Hola! Tessie here!

This Kelsie (aka Tessie) I am posting a blog for my mom tonight because she is off on a train somewhere. Since I have never done this before I am just going to make this short and sweet. Well... I guess that's about it... I'm off to bed so I can be rested up for school tomorrow.


Monday, November 26, 2007

No Time - Gotta Pack!

I only have a couple of minutes to write this. I'm trying to clean house, and get my wardrobe in order to pack for our train trip! I'm really looking forward to this as a source of relaxation and some much needed 'grown up' time. I am worried though about Internet connection for my laptop along the route. I've tried posting from my web enabled phone but so far no luck... well, we shall see.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Show's Over

Well, tonight was the final show of Moorhead High School's "High School Musical." It really was a great show. We had two cameras video taping the last two shows and those tapes will be edited into the master "file" video. That's the one that the kids are supposed to watch and critique then give back to the Director... but if some copies get made, and kept, well none's the wiser! We had a little extra drama today since the boy who played Troy Bolton, the lead, started loosing his voice. It was starting to crack at the end of the matinee, and by the end of tonight's show he sounded like Bobby Brady when he hit puberty! The girl that played the female lead, Gabriella, stepped in and sang with him, covering up the notes he couldn't hit tonight. It seems a little romance has cropped up over the run of the show and by this time they aren't just playing boyfriend and girlfriend - they are living the part - making her heroic vocal rescue tonight all the more poignant.

I'm just amazed at the parents that pitch in to help and actually run everything that goes on besides the show! We do have a pretty sophisticated parent group though, since we are running year long fundraisers to defray the costs for our trip to the Scotland Fringe Festival next summer. Yeah, there are some "theatre moms" in the mix that raise my hackles every now and then, but there are also some very cool parents there too that even things out - rolling their eyes right along with me, or smiling and nodding when I know they'd really like to smack some of these people upside the head, V8 style.

Poor Bear is feeling the let-down that is so common at the end of a show. It's tougher for him this time because some of the parts have to be recast since some of the cast aren't going to Scotland. He loved playing a yell leader, and is feeling a little trepidation at relearning a new part. Ah, but such is life in the theatre!

Well, once again, I'm posting at 11:30, scrambling to write something before the day is over. I love this NABLOPOMO thing for keeping me on task, but man does it kill creativity! I had this great inspiration this morning - once again - in the shower - about the fact that this show is a Disney show and I've always wanted to work for Disney, and the fact that I wear my show-tee-shirt that has the Disney logo on it makes me sort of a Disney representative, right? I had some connection between me being able to tolerate the "theatre-moms" because I was beholden to the Disney creed, and something or other... and thats where it all fell apart. Anyway, that's blog fodder for another day..... Gnite!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Misspent Youth

Inspired by a prompt from Sunday Scribblings

Misspent Youth. It implies a youth wasted, or worthless.

Well, even though I may have spent (or misspent as it were) a part of my youth getting wasted, I wouldn’t say all of those experiences were worthless. I learned from them and I always say (despite the dangling participle) a bad example is the best example to learn from. For example, despite all my best efforts at not going to class, I did actually learn some stuff, stuff I actually remember – like conjugating verbs in Spanish, and the definition of an isosceles triangle, and the capitals of all 50 states. Not stuff you need to know every day, but hey, I do pretty well at Trivial Pursuit.

Misspent. That word sounds to me like if you could go back and do it all again, you’d do it differently. Well I wouldn’t. I took some wrong turns, and I burnt some bridges, and I hardly ever answered the door when Ol’ Mr. Opportunity was knocking. But then some of those wrong turns led to other roads that turned out OK, and when the bridge is out, you go around, and even Ol’ Mr. Opportunity eventually came calling at my door again.

I tell my kids that nothing is a mistake if you learn from it… well, OK, nothing that doesn’t involve spilled blood, or broken bones, or the next door neighbor’s cat… but pretty much anything you live through you can learn from (except dangling participles). I lived through my youth, and I learned some valuable lessons. I hope my kids don’t have to learn the hard way like I did, but part of me knows they will – they’ll have to, if they’re going to be a bad example for my grandkids!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thankful For Friday and Leftovers and MJ!

Of the nearly 50 Thanksgiving turkey's I have had the pleasure of sampling in my life, there are exactly three that I remember....

The first was in the late 1980s when my parents first purchased a Weber Grill. The novelty of barbecuing a turkey was part of it, but it did have a wonderful flavor.

The second was years later when Downtown Dad and I purchased a deep fryer, along with the gallons of peanut oil, a turkey syringe, and the cajun spices required so that we could take our life in our fireproof mitted hands, and hope to God our fire insurance was up to date, in order to deep fry a turkey - in the snow. Quick, and tasty, but IMHO, not worth the trouble.

The third one, was yesterday when we used an old roasting pan, handed down from one of our grandmas, and the syringe from the back of the utensil drawer, and a recipe from our friend MJ. We mixed a cup of boiling water with a cup of lemon juice, 1/4 cup of salt, 2 Tablespoons of liquid garlic, 1 1/2 Tablespoons of liquid smoke, and 2 Tablespoons of Tabasco sauce, injecting that into our humble store brand 12 pounder the night before. Mmmmmmmm Mmmmmmm! That was THE yummiest, most moist - even the white meat - turkey ever! Even today's leftovers are still great!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Omigod You Guys!

While we cooked, we watched Legally Blonde-The Musical, and if you haven't seen it, you really can't know the perky goodness of the really clever songs and the freakishly sweet way they worm thier way into your brain and never leave! Anyway, and so, the fabulous food that took all day to create was devoured as usual, in 17.8 minutes. Then, since we do not have a functioning dishwasher - the automatic kind - we worked off some calories by cleaning up, and then collapsed into a heap on the couch in an L-Tryptophan induced coma... and since everyone was too sleepy to reach the remote, guess what we watched again? Legally Blonde-The Musical for the second time ... Omigod You Guys!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Who's Your Candidate?

Are you as confused as I am about the whole Presidential campaign? Are the issues really blurry, and the candidates' stand on the issues even blurrier? Well, this may help. Here's a link to a survey I found on the Minnesota Public Radio site. By answering a series of questions about major issues, you can quickly learn which candidates are most closely aligned with your views. You'll be able to learn more about each candidate, hear his/her positions on many issues, and find out how your results compare with those of others who take the survey. And heck, if it doesn't help, at least you may learn something!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Collector

This is dedicated to my genealogist husband:

At family gatherings you collect them,
Names, dates, distant memories, pictures of people long passed,
Quickly, carefully - before they scatter with the winds of time.
Dried leaves, rattling across the roads that once were farms.

Collected and catalogued, they accumulate, almost palpable,
Percolating, like coffee on an ancient cookstove.
Just beneath the motes and swirls of day to day dust,
as fertile as compost in a long forgotten cornfield

Finally, the congregation is assembled, drawn together
Once again with the places that gave them life.
To anyone else, just old photos, dates and maps.
To you, the family – gathering.

Inspired by #77 Sunday Scribblings - Collector Personality

Monday, November 19, 2007

Pachelbel - Who Knew?

Because I'm not really smart enough to figure out how to post this video right on my site, I'm going to put in a link because if you haven't seen this guy, you really must! This is such a great example of really intellegent humor! Enjoy Pachelbel's Canon in D - for the first time - all over again!

*EDIT* OK so it turns out that it really is very simple to imbed the video, and I have now done so based on the kindness of Mary Alice of From The Frontlines

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Blue Sunday

It's Sunday evening, I can't think of anything to write about so once again, I dip into my endless stash of pictures from 1967. This was taken I'm quite sure on a Sunday, Easter Sunday quite probably. My sister and I are modeling our matching coats - made, as most of our clothes were at the time, by my mother. I'm quite sure there were very few occasions that occured before I reached the age of 12 that did not include matching outfits for my sister and me. That's me, on the left, holding the lovely aqua purse that matches my lovely aqua coat, which coincidentally matches my sisters lovely aqua coat. I can't imagine what I would have had in the purse - quite possibly white gloves, or maybe two more inches of fabric so the sleeves would reach my wrists.
Notice the lady-like stance my mother, my grandmother and I have assumed - my little sister just has to go to the bathroom - she always had to go to the bathroom.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


One of the most fabulous things about having a teenaged daughter is hearing her laugh.

There is a stage in female adolescent development that causes her mouth muscles to pull downward quite often and her eyes tend to roll at the slightest hint of a parental opinion. Almost all communication on her part whithers to a grunt or, if you're lucky, a tirade in which you, or parents as a species, bear the brunt of anything non-Fall Out Boy that has ever happened in the fullness of civilisation. Her apparal of choice is the absolute opposite of anything you'd choose now, or would have chosen when you were that age, (God forbid you should ever mention the words: "when I was your age"), and food, must be once again in the orange category that was so popular in her toddler years (i.e. macaroni and cheese, carrots, orange juice or Orange Crush). During this time, the female hormones - so prone to coordinate cycles in earlier years, tend to ebb in the opposite direction now, causing even the most transcendental mom to pop off a few well aimed verbal whallops, while the teenaged girl explores her newfound world of expletives.

All of this becomes blissfully insignificant, when quite by chance, you walk by an open door where she is watching an old favorite Disney movie and you are lucky enough to hear a beautifully matured version of that three-year old giggle.

Friday, November 16, 2007

La la la...something And Noodles With String...

Mrs. G, over at Derfwad Manor sent out an invitation for we NABLOPOMO-ites to post our "Favorite Things" today. A welcome inspiration, I must say, for those of us who are 15 days into this daily post challenge with nary a clue as to what we will write the next day!

Today also marks the day that The Sound of Music opened on Broadway 48 years ago. Amazing then, don't you think, that Mrs. G should orchestrate a group post based on the hit song from that musical? ... something tells me this ISN'T a coincidence!

So, now without further ado - well... one ado (what is an ado anyway?) These are My Favorite Things, based on sensory experiences, the things that give me chills, or make me smile at the thought - or some things that are irreplaceable, mine alone. It goes without saying that Downtown Dad and my family are absolutely my favorite things. They already know they are irreplaceable, and just because they are not in the list doesn't mean they don't give me chills or make me smile!

These Are A Few of My Favorite Things

The cherry red hood of my ’67 Firebird at 65 miles an hour
A Summer cloudburst on the tin roof outside my window
The first whiff of the tire department at Sears
Ice cold milk, first thing in the morning
Putting on warm jeans right out of the dryer
The lavender Santa Ynez mountains against blue sky
Cobalt blue and white willow patterned porcelain
Apricot colored Hibiscus blooms
The tang of salt sea spray
Incense burning
Spanish guitar music
Colm Wilkerson as Jean ValJean in Les Miserables
Jim Croce’s Photographs and Memories
Flaky, salty, sweet pie crust
Cool sheets on a hot night
Warm sun on skin
Green tea Frappaccinos
A Taco Bell Enchirito
Freshly shampooed hair
Wind in the trees and waves on the sand
Deep backrubs
20 minute hot showers
Eucalyptus bark
Red canyons and rocky creeks
My first pair of high heels
Jafra’s Almond Oil
Reeses Peanut Butter Cups
My 10-speed Motobecane bicycle
My hammered silver unicorn necklace
My ninth grade journals
My Inheritance poem
My Captain Kitty book
Palm trees
A full moon

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Lost in the past....

Tessie and I got lost in looking at old photo albums tonight and all of a sudden it got to be 11:35! I'm working on the list of My Favorite Things to be posted tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I Am From...

I read this over at Dyane's Words of a Witchy Woman and just had to try it out. There is a form to guide you in creating your own version here. I think this is still a work in progress, but I've run out of time to work on it tonight!

I am from The Church in Cove, from Crayola Crayons and California.
I am from the identical tract house 6th from the corner with it’s back to the mountains, and my hand print in the patio cement.
I am from the bougainvilla, the hibiscus and the palm tree, the iceplant, the eucalyptus and oak.
I am from devout believers and hard workers and coffee drinkers, from Richards and Roberts and Lania.
I am from the winsome smilers and the long goodbye-ers.
From people who don’t divorce and people who are silent while daddy naps.
I am from my mother who taught me to sew and a father who took us to church on Sunday. White gloves to hide the dirty fingernails – turn the pages, mouth the words.
I'm from Escondido and County Cork – Tuna Casserole and Tacos.
From the child who could recite John 3:16 at two and a half, the girl who hitchhiked to school, and the same one who married the wrong man for the wrong reasons.
I am from the cedar chest Grandma’s brother made, the stories Uncle David told, from the hummingbird’s nest in the kumquat tree outside Mungio’s window and the lessons that hang like choir robes.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

November 13, 1981

Twenty six years ago today, my firstborn came into this world. Without the aid of prenatal classes, Lamaze, or any drugs or sugical aid. I was 23. He changed my life. Happy Birthday Beez.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Driving to See The Snow

Once upon a time, a long long time ago, (1967) in a land far far away (from here), there were two little girls who lived on the beach and had never seen snow. One day, they looked up from their sunny patio toward the Sierra Madres behind their house and saw that the tip tops were white. "Mommy," they said, "why are the mountains all dusty?" Their mother, who had spent most of her life on the west coast also, told them about a magical substance that once in a while came down from the clouds called snow. The girls were very excited and begged their mother to let them go see this wonderous sight. Their mother bundled them up in their warmest plastic rain galoshes, and knee high socks, piled them into the Chevy station wagon, along with the camera and a 1.5 pound bag of rock salt she bought for making ice cream (because she'd heard you needed to salt the roads if they were icy), and drove them 35 minutes up the pass to the frigid snowline, where minutes earlier a torrent of snow had left giant drifts of up to an inch in places. The girls begged to get out of the car to make snowmen and snow angels like they'd seen in foreign travelogs, but their mother kept driving. Past the Jeeps, and Pickup trucks that had brought their own rambunctious children to experience this rare delight. Their mother wanted to find a private patch of pristine snow so she could record this moment for the family album, which was otherwise filled with sandy, splashy, shorts clad people. Finally, as the sun sank low in the sky and the temperature dropped to a frigid 45 degrees, their mother told the girls they could get out of the car and stand under that pine tree - 'be careful not to mess up the snow before I take this snapshot!' Once the picture was taken, the girls piled handfulls of the white stuff together, but dirt and leaves mixed in, and it didn't stick together, and they didn't have mittens, just some old white sunday school gloves that were instantly soaked. They lay down in the snow and waved their arms and legs, but they just ended up sweeping the snow off of the dirt and rocks underneath, giving their snow angels a sadly tarnished look. After 5 long minutes of frolicking, the girls were wet and cold and tired and ready to go home. Once safely back to sea-level, the girls ran shivvering into the house, ready for some hot chocolate! The End.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Introvert Behaving Badly

Two posts ago I said that I felt like an introvert pretenting to be an extrovert. I decided to retake the Myers Briggs Personality test to see if it would reveal, as Urban Pedestrian suggested, that I was perhaps harboring two personalities. She made me think I should create a name for this alter-ego so my posts don't get confusing. I actually gave it some thought, but then decided, no, that would just be enabling the questionably existant other personality, and an enabler I am NOT!

Now, while I don't think Myers Briggs is really meant to uncover dissociative identity disorders, I did find that I am still an ENFJ (see results in the left sidebar). Extrovert. Not Introvert. One Linda. Not Two. Whew.

So why all the retreating to dark corners, and my new preference for the fetal position? According to some of the explanations of the ENFJ Type, under extreme stress, or fatigue - which I totally kind of am right now - the "shadow" or opposite of what I am may appear. Uh, duh, isn't that like Newton's third law or something? But it is interesting to read that, and sort of understand those feelings as a natural reaction of my personality to stress.

So, cool. I want to embrace this newfound *permission* to go to the dark side. I want it to be like a built-in excuse for bad behavior. But, how would an introvert exhibit bad behavior? What would be the Hyde to my Jekyll? Would I think my honest opinion about someone, rather than blurting it out to their face as I normally do? Would I actually consider the consequences of telling someone the truth (for their own good of course) before I actually do it? Will I retreat so far into myself that I resort to self-psychoanalysis, based on free Internet tests and then hypothosize myself into oblivion? .... maybe...

Saturday, November 10, 2007

No Time

Play went til ten. Exhausted parents are going to have a drink!

Friday, November 9, 2007

True Confessions

The last couple of posts have been half-assed, citing my lack of energy. Well honestly, that's what I *thought* was the reason.

Turns out - I can trace it back to the fact that unbeknowst to anyone else, I'm basically a very shy introverted person with a serious lack of self esteem, stemming from my inability to get approval from my father, which manifested itself in thinking I'm not worthy of compliments or of anything good that happens in my life. This, caused me to compensate by putting on the outer facade of confident-woman/super-mom, thus giving others the false impression that I am a talented, outgoing, vivacious person who can accomplish anything, which, of course, manifested itself (a la The Secret) in me having a super fabulous year, accomplishing everything I wanted, since apparently my subconscious believed the impression I was projecting to everyone else.

So, here I am with an embarrassment of accomplishments and opportunities, and with what feels like an endless number of things to blog about - something akin to the old addage "Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it!" At the same time though, the shy introvert in me just wants to crawl under the covers and dissapear into a book because I'm overwhelmed by the endless number of things to blog about!

Thursday, November 8, 2007


Today was friends and family night for High School Musical - or dress rehearsal. WOW! None of us has seen it all the way through before - and it was AMAZING! We are all pretty tired, so this is the extent of my post. I haven't even had the energy to read anyone elses posts either. Tomorrow should be a little less hectic.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Go placidly amid the noise and haste...

It is the middle of *Hell Week* as the High School Musical is set to start it's 11 show run on Friday. We, the parents, serve potluck dinners to our actors during their rehearsals which last till 10:30 or 11, we do their... er, um, help them with their homework into the wee hours, and coax, drag, and cajole them off to school again in the morning.

It is the first really cold day we've had. Probably in the low 30s. We were all happy to have a night off from late rehearsals, and to get home to our cozy house after our busy day... but for some reason, it wasn't so cozy - in fact it was downright cold! Ah yes, it's 8:40 p.m and the furnace is not working!

And all is as it should be.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


I'm out of creativity today and Blogger has a scheduled outage at 11 p.m., so I need to post something quick. Here is a series of pics of my kids that took 13 years to stage....

The first one was really Beez taking his best friend, AG Bear for a ride, on his preferred mode of transportation, wearing his favorite article of clothing, his cowboy boots!

For the next one, I noticed that Tessie's hood fur matched a bear she had, and, remembering the now 10 year old picture of her big brother, I suggested she take the bear for a ride, which she did posing, and flashing her smile, once she noticed I had the camera in my hand.

The last one, took a bit more cajoling, and several shots to find one that did not have Bearly scowling, or throwing the bear... once I convinced him to actually sit on the trike - which he hated.

Beez 3 1/2 years old 1984

Tessie 3 1/2 years old 1994

Bearly 3 1/2 years old 1997

Monday, November 5, 2007

Warrior Woman: Vera Vedrasna

A couple of years ago, several of the women in my office and I put together an after work yoga class once a week. We *tried out* a few teachers before we found our ideal mix of someone who was a certified instructor, who could lead us through our practice with enough authenticity to make it worthwhile, but at the same time, someone who would not have us chanting and ohming or worse, offend the Lutherans! We finally found a fabulous female. (Nice alliteration!) One of those elf-like people who look ageless, even with her naturally gray hair. Just her presence speaks volumes about the benefits of yoga! And the things she can do with her body - all the while, talking us through our *asanas* or poses with the quiet, mindful voice of someone who's words seem to come from another time.

I especially like it when she uses the pose's proper or Sanskrit name, like Tadasana for Mountain Pose, or the lyrical Adho Mukha Svanasana instead of the awkward sounding Downward Facing Dog. For the longest time I thought the Sanskrit word for my favorite pose - Warrior Pose - was the name of a mythological woman warrior - Vera Vedrasna....

Until I looked it up for this post!

Sure it sounds like Vera Vedrasna, toned, tanned, flexible ancient desert warrior, but look how it is spelled: Virabhadrasana. Oy, that looks like something you'd see under a 10th Grade Biology microscope!

Well, no matter - after not going for almost 6 months because of my toe surgery, I've started up again - and its amazing what a little stretching and twisting, will do for you! There's a little Vera Vedrasna in me after all!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Absolutely Nothing

I held two open houses today. One in a freezing house where only three people showed up, the other house had so many people I lost count after 30! If you've never tried to be nice to 30+ strangers for two hours, let me tell you, it takes a lot outta ya! Just as the last open was almost over, and I was looking forward to the relative peace and quiet of home, one of my fellow Realtor girlfriends called to remind me that tonight was a girls only dinner at her house celebrating my 50th birthday.


The 50th birthday is a cover for one of the girls who recently left our brokerage for another one. We haven't gotten together for a while and this was pretty much the only day all 5 of us could get together. She lives in a rural town some miles away and her husband literally screens the events she can go to... no, really, he does.

There's really no point to this post except to say that I'm just tired and I need to get it posted before midnight.


Saturday, November 3, 2007

Hello, My Name Is Linda And...

Alright! I'll admit it! I'm a Cleanaholic!

"Hello Linda."

Mind you that doesn't mean I clean well. After all, an alcoholic doesn't necessarily drink the finest, most expensive wine. But I do THINK about cleaning pretty much all the time! I was thinking about cleaning today as a matter of fact, but I got distracted by this and this. I even found myself a themesong.

It's just that there's always so MUCH to clean and usually so LITTLE time! And even though they offer to help clean, the family doesn't do it the *right* way, the way I want it done, so if I don't do it, it doesn't get done. Thankfully, the household, knowing my addiction, usually can provide enough enablement for me. A typical week looks like this; The dogs track in leaves, and small tumbleweeds and deposit fur on every sitting surface; The birds - on purpose - have a secret birdcathalon where they throw seed hulls and feathers as far as they can from behind their bars; The dirty clothes, thown down the laundry chute, multiply, spilling out into the TV room; The dirty dishes teeter and balance in the sink, overflowing onto every counter and table within view of a TV; Food purchased from the Eyes-Bigger-Than-Your-Stomach-All-Night-Drive-Thru festers and furrs itself in the fridge, aided by the light always on because there is too much stuff in there for the door to close!

Thank goodness there is enough time in my day to post this blog!

Friday, November 2, 2007

A Teacher Appears

As I have mentioned previously, I am very involved in a non profit local youth theatre group.

Recently, the girl who wrote grants for this group decided that now - she wont.

As a result of this, a couple of other board members and I have decided that we will take this on.... 'cause, how hard can it be? Just the filling in of some forms......

ah, no....

Apparently you need training to write grants.

Also, apparently, quite a lot of time is involved in the writing of these grants.

Oh, and somewhere, there are lists of grant giving individuals.

Who knew?

So now three otherwise employed people are currenly searching the Web to find any and everything to do with grant writing and those who give grants ... which by the way if you look, you'll get about 1.5 million hits on Google. Why isn't there someone out there who can help us?!!?

This literally put me over the edge.

I went back to my safe Real Estate world, setting the grant writing notion aside in my mind, and I went on with my day, which involved a YWCA luncheon.

Arriving late, I sat in the only remaining seat at a table of 8. During the meal I chatted with the rest of the people seated there, and over the passing of salad dressing, I heard the girl seated next to me mention what she did for a living.


She was the director of an organization that helped small non-profits learn how to write grants and find grant giving institutions!

I told her my story and we both were speechless for a couple of seconds, realizing the mangnatude of the situation! She gave me her card and I immediately emailed my cohorts.

But how amazing is that!?!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Countdown Begins

In 35 days I turn the big 5 - 0.

Naturally with the impending milestone birthday like this breathing down my neck, my thoughts turn to things like Retirement, Social Security, and AARP. Mine and about 250,000,000 other aging baby boomers. It was ironic then this morning that two out of the three rotating screens on MSN greeted me with headlines of: 8 Money Moves To Make at 50! ... and Grey and Georgous! I can't even get old without falling into a pre-examined demographic!

At least this year I am going to celebrate by doing something I hope is unique. Kimisue, my BFF from a previous post, who also turns 5 - 0, will do so 20 days before me. She and her hubby, who live in Seattle will board the Empire Builder Amtrack train there, while Downtown dad and I, will board the same line here in Fargo, on November 25th - exactly midway between our birthdays. We we will simultaneously ride the train to our weekend destination, Glacier Park, Montana - more or less smack dab between our homes!

Nablopomo starts today! What a good excuse to chronicle the final remaining days of my first 1/2 century!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Don't Piss Off Da Mama

Today Beez got to shadow the photographer for our Brokerage as he took the interior shots of this week's new listings. He really enjoyed himself and learned a lot. I do so hope that he will focus on this as a career rather than being a waiter.

After his shadowing session, I tood him to lunch where some of his friends reinforced our communal thinking about his recent off-again-ness. The formerly-in-our-good-graces-Marci is now holding hostage Beez's framed art photos, the negatives from which they were made, his computer with the artful croppings, and 6 of my families' favorite kiddie videos. This disturbs not only me his mom, but I found out today, several of his friends.

I think that October 31st will hold some interesting developments.....

Monday, October 29, 2007

Amazed and Impressed

When he was 3 years old, I was pushing Beez in the grocery cart at QVC and as we passed the magazine section, he pointed his chubby little fingers at one of the fan mags where five boys in sunglasses with long curly locks, wearing identical sleeveless denim vests, posed under the Hollywood sign. Beez proudly announced, "Dat-th's Twithded Thithter!" I remember being both amazed and impressed that my pristine baby boy could identify a metal hair band on sight.

23 years later, well on his own, with his own well developed eclectic musical tastes that both mesh and collide with mine, he gave me another amazed and impressed moment today.

As a popular waiter at one of the uber-cool hotel-restaurants in town, he got a call to deliver a lunch order of fried tomatoes and scrambled eggs to a Mr. Black in one of the executive suites. The manager told Beez that Mr. Black was the code name for Ozzy Osbourne, who was staying there before his concert tonight at the Fargodome. Beez brought the food to the door and knocked. He waited. And then he knocked some more. Inside the room he heard Ozzy and his manager commenting on some TV show they were watching. He knocked yet again. Finally the manager answered the door and invited Beez in. There was Oz, chillin' on the couch. The manager went for his wallet and Beez took this opportunity to introduce himself to The Prince of Darkness by saying "Hey." The infamous Prince of Darkness responded by saying, "Hey." The manager returned with the money and tip and thanked Beez. Beez left.

Thats it.

Beez called me once his shift was over and told me about it. I have to tell you, I was pretty impressed! My son served lunch to the Prince of Darkness! I asked Beez if I could pose as a housekeeper and pick up Oz's dirty dishes.

"He's pretty much just an old guy mom. Don't get all Fan-stalker on me."

"Yeah, well, I'd have rather met Ozzy's wife Sharon anyway."

"Now SHE's a Twisted Sister!"

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Doggy Sliding Door

We have had an ongoing problem with our two dogs and the doggy door we cut into the wall of our house. The doggy door, badly insulated, and not sturdily manufactured, plus the fact that it is at ground level and tends to let leaves blow in with the dogs, and just all the time lets in cold air, thus we have to close with the bendable tin door that comes with it, because the air lock flap does not seem to work either. The dogs, unable to get out the doggy door to go, end up going on new carpet. Going on = On going.

Yesterday Downtown Dad had a Whack Upside The Head moment while hanging out at the newly opened Menards 3/4 of a mile from our house, that may provide a fix to our Ongoing/going on problem!

He was wandering up and down the aisles, drooling... er, um, perusing all of the cool and groovy home improvement wares, when he came across a window. He stopped. He cocked his head to the side, and then, he saw it! The window was really a miniature sliding glass door for the dogs! He installed it about 3 inches from the ground and put an airlock flap on the outside and voilla! An airtight, doggy door that can stay open and remain relatively air tight, or be closed as easily as a window.

He's a genius!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

In the Basement.... Alone...

I don't generally watch scary movies. Back in the 70's The Exorcist nearly did me in... couldn't sleep with the light off for weeks, and I shared a room with my sister, so it nearly did her in too. Although, truth be told, she was really the one that scared me. When she slept, she cleared her throat by making a gutteral sucking sound with her lips closed... try it... I know you want to.... yeah, that's it, scary huh? The scary thing is that I have a dog that makes that same sound, I guess I've learned to live with it now.

I've made a few attempts in the years since, to watch scary things every now and then, but I tend to stay away, only once in a while attempting a Stephen King event every now and then, but never by myself!

This evening, as I was ironing in the basement, watching... something... Tessie and her girlfriend were getting ready to go to a Halloween party. They were ready early and came downstairs to watch TV while they waited...

"Oh look mom, IT is just starting!"

"No, you guys, I don't like scary movies - go watch it upstairs."

"Aw c'mon mom, it's not scary - it's only Stephen King."

Oh, Stephen King... compared to Saw, and Hellraiser and whatever else is on today - Stephen King is like vanilla pudding!

So, as I'm ironing, and as the characters in the movie keep finding out that it's not so scary when you have other people around....the people in my house keep leaving. Pretty soon, the last one, my rock, my safe haven, Downtown Dad yells down the stairs, "I'm going to take Bear to the party, be back soon...."

I'm alone. And I'm in the basement watching a scary movie. And I can't stop. Every time there's a commercial I take my freshly ironed clothes upstairs and put them all away and then I go back down with every intention of turning off the TV or at least changing the channel, but no... it just sucks me right back in again. Spiders, Evil Clowns, dripping sewer castle buildings....

Well, true to form, Mr. Scary Vanilla Pudding King, really does keep you going right up until the end. The end in this case features John Boy and Olivia Hussey (Oh Olivia, have your Shakespearian talents fallen so far from Juliet to this?) straddling a bicycle in the middle of traffic.

I'm a little creeped out but, the flatness of the ending has eased my fears. I turn off the lights and head upstairs....when, the dog, starts to clear his throat by making that gutteral sucking sound......

Friday, October 26, 2007

Invisible Friends and Secret Boyfriends

The coolest thing about getting a comment on your blog is following the link back to the commenter's blog and getting to know them. Its really interesting how much I actually have in common with all of my new invisible friends! Take Mrs. G for instance. I followed the link from her comment and read her profile and thought, wow, she's someone I could probably get along with in real life. After reading her October 26th post I am convinced that we are sisters separated at birth! She's secretly in love with Jon Stewart too! Go on, follow the link, drool over the black and white high school yearbook photo, watch over the span of the several photos she's posted, as his hair gradually turns to the silver edged yamulke I imagine him to be wearing. Ahhhh.

Short post I know, but it's 9:57 and even though The Daily Show is in reruns this week, I really have to get this done and go watch.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Uppity Bee-otch

I really should apologize for yesterday's uppity-bee-otch post. Not to you, my invisible friends, but to Downtown Dad (because eventually he's gonna read this). Women get it when they hear uppity-bee-otchiness and respond with things like "OMG! I know, right?" 0r, "We had the exact same conversation!" And then women move on. Men don't. Men take things very personally.

This past week Downtown Dad really has been a fabulous example of why my friends call him an "evolved male." Well not only this week, because he truly is probably the most perfect husband ever, but especially so since I've been sick, and grumpy and stressed and lazy.

He got the laundry done, and while it's all still sitting in piles on the basement couch - he did get it all folded too! He vacuumed, he did the dishes, he made a fabulous chicken tortilla soup - from scratch, and he also mowed the lawn, raked the leaves and got the kids where they were supposed to go. He brought me Ny-Quil when I was dying fer God's sake!

He really is like this mostly all the time. I only really get uppity-bee-otchy when I don't hold up what I consider to be my end of the duties, then I feel guilty and get all defensive for really no reason, and the devil on my shoulder slips the angel on my other shoulder a Mickey and while she's passed out, starts whispering all kinds of uppity-bee-otch trash in my ear, which I spew out unfiltered.

But then, that's what Blogs are for... I know, right?!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


BACKSTORY: My BFF and I have our birthdays 20 days apart and religiously try to celebrate them together or at least call each other to commemorate the day. This was all well and good when it started 'back in the day' when we were 15 and counting the years 'til we were 21. 35 years later, lame-os that we are, we still try to do something special as we cross the threshold into each new year sortakinda together.

Downtown Dad calls me at work, asks for my BFF's phone number. I figure… ”oh, how cute, he’s got a secret birthday surprize going on with my BFF...” I gave him aforementioned BFF's number…

Fast forward to home. Downtown Dad’s phone rings – he looks at it, leaves the room and answers it (BTW it’s BFF). I pretend that I didn’t see that it was BFF calling – sensing that there is some secret planning going on, based on the above request for number and the leaving of the room to answer the phone call from BFF.

He comes back in the room and I POINTEDLY ignore him. He makes some overt comments about me being in the room, and I’m totally confused by this point so I make an even greater effort to ignore him, busying myself in … I don’t know, an engrossing email or something. Remember, I’m still assuming that he is secretly planning something with BFF.

He hangs up.

He looks at me strangely – like “why were you so engrossed in that email while I had your best friend on the phone?”

I get out the sock puppets and try to explain to him how I have arrived at this con-fuse-ed state.

He throws up his hands and stomps off.

I shake my head and email my best friend to see wherethehell I went wrong.



Monday, October 22, 2007

Nyquil and Animal Planet Hangover

I woke up on Friday perfectly fine, but by Friday afternoon I was sure that I was about to die. At the height of my infirmity, I remember asking Downtown Dad to run to the store and get me some Nyquil. He did, and I slipped in and out of a Nyquil coma for the next 48 hours, the TV tuned to Animal Planet which was running a Meerkat Manor Marathon. When I finally awoke, I had a splitting headache and the strangest memories of little furry people with names like Zaphod, Kinkajou and Rocket Dog, fighting over scorpions....

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

On Life In General...

So, in the "on-again, off-again" relationship of Beez, they are now off-again. This is the biggest news, since I went and told the whole Internet about my secret desire to be a grandmother and now, here I sit, grandkid-less. Ok, so life is no different now than it was when they were on-again, so really there's nothing to change, except my plan to buy a cast iron skillet. Only grandmas have really good seasoned cast iron skillets. Maybe I didn't want to be a grandmas so much as I wanted that dang skillet...

My professional life in Relocation World is ramping up. I'm really busy, and the day literally flies by. I'm organizing, and categorizing and streamlining - something I absolutely LOVE doing, but I'm also beginning to understand the terms "old dog" and "new tricks." It is as if my broker wanted me to perform brain surgery, or build a rocket from scratch - I would feel just about as clueless. But slowly - (and probably not really because of my advanced age) I'm catching on, and I also get the added benefit of making new friends and new enemies. The friends thing is OK, and as for the enemies, I've heard that if you don't piss someone off, you aren't working hard enough!

As Theatre Mom I'm still struggling with my mistrust of the HS drama director. First for casting one kid from my family and not the other. Secondly because this director, for what she lacks in team building skills, she makes up in dividing-people-into-exclusive-caste-system-levels-skills. No matter how hard we try within our family unit to communicate and treat each other fairly, this production has introduced a stress level that we are having a hard time dealing with. Thirdly, the High School production's fund raising efforts are going to have an effect on my fund raising efforts for Gooseberry Park Players. I'm not sure I am fully behind the production they are taking to Scotland, I know I am not fully behind the casting process, and their production policies (which I hate) are diametrically opposed to Gooseberry's policies (which I love). Stay tuned... for the drama I have alluded to...

My van is a mess. My checkbook is a mess. My laundry and ironing is not done, nor will it be done in the next week or so. These signs, I have come to know, indicate that my psyche is a mess. I need to just concentrate on one area and clean it up, then move on to another... slow and steady. In the past, I have seen that literally if I physically clean up the areas of my life that are are sufferring from deferred maintenance, the other areas that seem to be crowding in, clamboring for attention, seem to magically line themselves up and appear less threatening.

Tomorrow is my company's annual costume party. Three years ago at this party, I tried to move my van from the parking lot that was closing to another parking lot around the block, having to cross an angular railroad track in the process. The wheels of my van got stuck in the tracks. A train was coming. I had been drinking. Long story short, I was arrested for drunk driving along with my broker who tried to help me disengage my van. That year I was a beatnik/hippie, with blue eye shadow and a long brown wig. They made me take off the wig, but the blue eye shadow is still intact in the mug shot.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day

Today is Blog Action Day. On this day, bloggers around the web are supposed to unite to put a single important issue on everyone’s mind - the environment. It says in the organizer's overview of the event that every blogger should post something about the environment relating to their own topic, theoretically getting everyone talking towards a better future.

In thinking about what to post, I looked for something Real Estate related, since thats what I do to earn a living. Its also what I do that sadly causes a larger carbon footprint than I'd like since I have to drive - alot! But I was pleasantly surprised to learn that even with our car driven professions, Downtown Dad and I have actually been professing a "Green" lifestyle all along!

I went to Wikipedia's List of Environmental Issues and scrolled down until I saw a term that has been mouthed with disdain for a long time in our household - Urban Sprawl. In reading this, I was surprised to learn that quite unintentionally, Downtown Dad's soapbox, and my personal Realtor ethics have not only been going along the same paths, but are actually quite environmentally conscious!

For example, what we consider to be adverse developments of urban sprawl, things like housing subdivisions full of McMansions with three and four car garages; strip malls, with their sea of pavement and concrete; and fast food chains with more and more drive thru service, cater almost exclusively to the car centered society. In our house we've come to resist that kind of thinking for several reasons, a few of which include: The lack of diversity this fosters, culturally and economically; the erosion of old fashioned walkable neighborhood quality of life, the increase this causes in infrastructure costs, and the decreases we are starting to see in natural resource quality and quantity.

I'm no public orator and I try not to preach, so if this interests you, click on the Wiki link and read more about it.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Maybe I'm Just Old Fashioned... but

Since Downtown Dad and Tessie went to Iowa on a genealogical road trip for the weekend, Bear and I decided to go Halloween costume shopping.

There are two "Halloween Headquarters" depots, temporarily housed in the cavernous remains of a couple of failed "big box" stores by the mall. Bear and I, both being huge fans of becoming someone we're not at least once a year, scurried around each store, our eyes wide with amazement at the sheer tonnage of costumes and accessories displayed. But after leaving the second shop, having bought nothing at either one, we both had the same reaction: "Now that we are filled with ideas and inspiration, lets hit the thrift stores and Savers to actually BUY the stuff we need to make our costumes!"

It seems dumb to me, to spend upwards of 30 bucks to purchase an ill-fitting rendition of a pop-cultural icon, made up of mostly petroleum based materials, that you'll wear once, when the chances are that at least 3 or 4 other people are going to show up wearing the exact same thing! Sure, it's easy, just pick up the "pirate-in-a-bag" and voila! You ARE Johnny Depp. Yawn.

To me, the real fun is using your imagination to figure out how to make something work, and then scouting out the odd things you'll need to construct your alter-ego-for-a-day. I can honestly say that I have never purchased a pre-packaged costume - and until about a year or two ago, neither had any of my family. I've made, from scratch, some fabulous creations such as He-Man, a Smurf, a Teenage-Mutant-Ninja-Turtle (Michaelangelo to be specific!), Scarlett O'Hara (picnic dress), Mammy from Gone With The Wind, a ringmaster, a serving wench, a gypsy fortune teller, The Flying Nun, a wizard, several hippies, witches, dead things, and other stuff I can't even remember!

My original motivation was to keep my little ones from wearing vision obstructing masks while trick or treating - but the sheer fun of taking an idea, no matter how absurd, or impossible it sounds, and making it work has become a family tradition for us. Sure, if you add up the yards of material, the fiberfill batting, the velcro, duct tape, dowels, tights, Rit-dye, makeup, foam-core board, papier mache, spray paint and other assorted accessories - I may spend more than 30 some bucks on a costume. But in the end, the coolness factor totally wins out!

Thursday, October 11, 2007


I skipped a day....

Forgive me, Oh Internet Goddess of Nablopomo... it is yet early, and I have not yet perfected the art of saving up posts for those days where there is nary a moment to pee, let alone post something of literary significance on my blog.

I offer up this not yet fully formed snippet as an offering to appease thee:


Beez: "Hi Mom, what are you doing?"

Me: "Hi sweetie, Um... (driving, texting, dropping off a contract, stopping to tell a client something they don't want to hear...) Nothing,..."

Beez: "I need your help to buy Marci a coat."

Me: (A coat? Doesn't she have a coat? What the hell does an independent North Dakota single mom need with a coat?) "OK, where, and when?"

Beez: "Well, not for another 30 minutes."

Me: (Phew, I can handle this...) "Cool, call me when you want to leave... oh, hey? By the way, What does Marci need with a coat?"

Beez: "We'll talk about that later ...K?"

Me: (...Later?!? Whadya mean Later? What can't you tell me now? What does later mean? What do you mean 'we'll talk about THAT later...what is THAT?) "K, Bye."

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Oh dear, I'm already digging for filler and it's not even November yet! Well, my brain is fried from last night's tax exertions, so forgive me but I found this on Coffespaz's site and it looked like fun:

1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME: (first pet & current car) ...Edith Minivan

2. YOUR GANGSTA NAME: (fave ice cream flavor, favorite cookie) ...Mint Chip Peanut Butta

3. YOUR “FLY Guy/Girl” NAME: (first initial of first name, first three letters of last name) ...L-And

4. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color +y, favorite animal) ...Pinky Monkey

5. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you were born) ...Louise Escondido

6. YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first) ...Andli

7. SUPERHERO NAME: (”The” + 2nd favorite color, favorite drink) ...The Purple Martini

8. NASCAR NAME: (the first names of your grandfathers) ...Richard Robert - or Dicky Bobby

9. STRIPPER NAME: (name of your favorite perfume, favorite candy) ...Lutece Chocolate

10.WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother’s & father’s middle names ) ...Louise Louis

11. TV WEATHER ANCHOR NAME: (Your 6th grade teacher’s last name, major city starting with that letter) ...Medley Manchester

12. SPY NAME/BOND GIRL: (your favorite season/holiday, flower) ...Summer Hybiscus

13. CARTOON NAME: (favorite fruit, article of clothing you’re wearing right now + “ie” or “y”) ...Apple Jammies

14. HIPPY NAME: (What you ate for breakfast, your favorite tree) ...Oatmeal Palm

15. YOUR ROCKSTAR TOUR NAME: ("The" + hobby, fave weather element + “Tour”) ...The Crosstitch Rain Tour

Monday, October 8, 2007

At Least Its Not Death that other certain thing... taxes. Ugh. Downtown Dad and I always defer our tax return and file at the last possible moment which is in October. This really only means that I have to reconcile my business expenses at the last possible moment... also meaning I'm down to my last possible nerve and my last possible memory fragment. Why? Because even though I'm a wonderful Realtor, and absolutely organized in all other aspects of my life, when it comes to finances - I suck.

But, the good news is that I'm done in time to post on my blog for today! Yippee!

Happy Columbus Day!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Scotland Bound

I just looked back through my post archives and I can't believe that I've never written a post about Auchtermuchty! What is Auchtermuchty - you ask? Click here for the spark that ignited my interest in this tiny Scottish Burgh.

This past year we were excited to learn that Moorhead High School Theatre has been invited for the second time in five years to perform their fall musical at the Fringe Festival in Scotland. I've only been a "theatre parent" for two years, so I'm not fully indoctrinated into the cool theatre parent lingo yet, therefore, not quite sure what this festival is, and even less sure whether or not I want my high school child to attend. What I do know though, is that the Fringe Festival is held in Edinburgh, and Edinburgh is roughly 30 miles from Auchtermuchty!

I post this now because I sense an ensueing drama, separate from what will be performed onstage that will make for interesting future blog posts. Drama, because we theatre parents are currently embroiled in furious fundraising for the cast and crew that will be travelling to Scotland for an 18 day trip in August of 2008. Drama, because I have one child in the production, and one child who is not. Drama, because I also have philosophical problems with the director who cast one of my kids and not the other, and the juiciest drama of all - I have a growing dislike for a couple of the blatant "theatre moms" with whom I must closely work on this project. Stay tuned for some delicious catty-ass bitchery!

Selfishly, I just want to go to Auchtermuchty and wear the fox hat! Maybe I'll book my flight separately, and take an 18 day job at a local hostelrie like the Cycle Tavern . Parking looks easy and, lets face it, they guys are HOT!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Stuff In My Shower

Three years ago, before my two youngest children turned into Two Teenagers, we bought a house with three bedrooms and FOUR bathrooms. We believed this would be sufficient. We were wrong.

To be fair, the basement bathroom is really just an extension of the laundry room with a toilet, a laundry sink, and what looks like a plastic disposable shower... (if there can be such a thing)... useful only for dog bathing and hosing off sports equipment. The main floor bathroom is just a powder room - so now, we're down to two. There is, on the second floor, a full bath, nestled between two large bedrooms - perfect - we thought, for our two kids. And lastly, there is a large master suite on the main floor with what is MY idea of a perfect master bath - a standup walk in shower with glass doors and a toilet with a separate sink and a large counter. A sliding door separates the naked activities from the mirror and sink related activities. The best part being that it's the "Master Bathroom." It's lone shower rack a study in the minimalistic, carefully chosen (slightly expensive, but I'm worth it) products shared by Downtown Dad and me. One bar of my almond goat's milk soap, one bottle of my Aveda Blue Malva shampoo and conditioner and two shavers - my pink Daisy and his green Bic.

For the first two years Downtown Dad and I with our morning routine, happily coexisted with Bear and Tessie during the morning preparation hour, moving about our separate toilettes in an orderly dance. Tessie taking her showers at night, which included at a bare minimum; exfoliation, deep conditioning, shaving and moisturizing. Bear, rising early to fit in his 35 minute showers followed by what I can only imagine were 15 minute naps in the hot steamy tub.

This all came to a screeching halt when we discovered "The Leak." Which lead us to discover "The Cracks" which ultimately lead to "The Dreaded Mold!"

The tile in the upstairs kids' bathroom, amaturishly installed at best when we moved in, had begun to discolor, and the faucet, caulked and grouted within an inch of it's functionality had begun to droop. These things escaped my notice in the general jumble of towels, body wash, facial scrub, razors, shower puffs, and assorted vials of creams, potions and liquids piled and stacked on every ledge. We suspected the bathroom would eventually need some work, we did not expect to have to rip everything out down to the studs! But we did, and it was really appalling to see what can grow in the dark moist spaces between the walls!

So - now we are down to effectively one bathroom in which to shower. So far, we have done rather well with scheduling our bathing times... there's just one thing that bothers me... It's the Stuff. Pictured here, one representative corner showing: A headband, a used bandaid, three bottles of questionably scented body wash, assorted bottles of acne facial scrub, several conditioners, a piece of chewed chewing gum, and this is the part above and beyond the bandaid and the gum that just makes me shake my head: 7 shavers! Seven. Oh, and the other mystery item barely visible there next to the Irish Spring and the Axe body wash - the hot pink thing to the left... those are my eye protectors from when I used to go tanning. Hell I haven't even been to a tanning booth in four years - much less seen those things! I assumed they were lost.... but what, I wonder, are they doing in my shower? The elastic is missing on them, so they can't stay on unless you are in a laying down position.... Oh well, just like with the bandaid and gum... I'm not even going to ask.

None of this seems to bother Downtown Dad. He takes his glasses off in the shower, so maybe he just doesn't see it. I'll try to be patient and savor my 6 1/2 minutes before the hot water runs out. Actually, once the winter sets in, maybe a full bathroom remodel will be just the thing to keep everyone busy upstairs - while I'm downstairs in the shower!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Grandma Wannabe

During a conversation with friends about my oldest son dating a single mom, one of my wisest friends said "don't fall in love with your son's girlfriend until after the wedding." She failed to mention not falling in love with the son of your son's girlfriend... I laughed, not anticipating the on-again, off-again roller coaster we'd be on, and certainly not taking into consideration the effect that a baby, biologically connected or not, has on a menopausal woman! Oh, do I wanna be a Grandma!

The on-again, off-again relationship between Beez and Marci has currently been on-again for two months, during which time I am embarassingly giddy when they bring Aiden over for dinner or any time I get to spend time with them. I have the urge to bake cookies, I want to change diapers, I read the ToysRUs ads with rabid interest.

This past weekend they came over, and even though they resist posing for pictures, some candid shots were captured... how can you not fall in love with this?

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Mexico on a Whim

My son Beez walks into a bar....

...and that's where the cliche ends. He happened to sit down next to guy he didn't know - and in this small town, that is rare. He finds out in the course of the conversation that this guy, Charlie, is preparing to drive with his dog, Beethoven, down to the tip of Mexico for a two week trip during which he will scout out locations for a restaurant. Charlie has done this before, and knows the people and the cultures of the small mexican villages along the way. His only problem, he tells Beez, is that he really needs someone to watch over and take care of his dog so he doesn't have to leave him unattended in the car while he is doing business. This intrigues Bobby, and on a whim, he offers to go along and be the dog nanny, as it were. Charlie not only agrees, but offers to pay him for his services.

A week later, Beez packed a bag, and threw in his camera which he hadn't picked up for three years due to 'photographer's block' along with 17 rolls of film, got into a broken down van with a relative stranger and his slobbering dog, and journeyed to a Mexico that few outsiders get to experience.

What he came back with were 500 pictures out of which 17 became his first photography exhibit at a local art gallery - titled Mexico on a Whim. The exhibit ended yesterday, but it received great reviews and a write up in our local free artsy paper, The High Plains Reader.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Already, with the catching up...

Well, if you know me, and you know that I'm a Realtor (with the Capital R) then you know that I pretty much sleep all day and work for two hours in the evening then go out with friends/clients until the bars close, then start all over again.


Oh, I forgot to say that I also have a family, other interests, and (hello?) a life...

The interesting thing about this blog is when all of the aforementioned things COLLIDE! .... as in this past week. Allow me to elaborate:

A few weeks ago I agreed to take over for the Relocation Director at our brokerage while she was on maternity leave. The due date in mid-October would allow us sufficient training time, and, the agent who had previously held the job was also available to help out and answer questions. Not really a problem... I do have a trip to New York scheduled, and my kids are heavily involved in the high school musical, but I should be able to fit that in... no problem.

** Once again, allow Reality to intervene....**

According to preapproved plan, I go to New York... and then.... The cast list goes up - one of my kids makes it, the other doesn't. The pregnant relocation director, suffering from horribly high blood pressure goes into early labor and delivers a premature baby three weeks early. The previously trained agent decides to leave the brokerage that same week. The biggest national referrer of clients has a web overhaul and the anticipated connection problems do indeed ensue. The wireless Internet connection for our office which has the occasional hiccup, develops a chronic case of hiccups. The most expensive listing in my career gets some actual interest.... I have actual customers who want to write viable offers on houses.

(Heroic laugh) Never Fear! Super Linda Is Here!

I just wanted to make a very dramatic excuse for why I missed that last couple of days posting. The resolution of the above will obviously make for very good blog post fodder! Nya haa haa!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Homecoming and going

So.... back in the 70s, if you were a girl, you didn't go to Homecoming, or any dance for that matter, if a guy didn't ask you. Heck, you didn't even buy a dress unless you had a date. Yeah, it wasn't fair, coz the guys went stag anyway, and who really knew if you had a date or not if you were standing in the wallflower section?

So fast forward to today. I dropped off my 16 year old daughter who CAN date, at a friends house so they could start off with a potluck, then go as a group to the homecoming dance. My 14 year old son, who technically can't date yet, gets picked up by a sophomore girl who has her driver's license, to take him to a group dinner at one of the other kid's houses and then they'll all go together to the dance.

I paid $25 bucks to get three tiny corsage/buttoniers for my two and the girl who was picking up my son... they all turned them down. It's all so casual now. And so now what am I supposed to do with the three roses all trussed up with ribbon and baby's breath that are sitting in my refrigerator next to the leftover chile chicken enchiladas?

It's all so different these days.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Giving It Another Go

So, it's been several months since I've posted. Oddly enough, the last post deals with my recovery from foot surgery. Oddly, because today I just had the two screws that held my bone graft together - removed! So on the good side, I have another supply of pain pills... on the bad side... oh who am I kidding there's no bad side to that!

As a result of a long overdue one-on-one dinner date with Downtown Dad, and as the recipient of his amazing faith in my abilities as a writer, I am renewing my conviction to write. And I'm going to do it here - in front of Howard and everyone-(I'm looking at you Kimmisue) without filtering what I say (I'm looking at you Mom, and Mom) hoping for comments whether you know me or not.

I just signed up for the NABLOPOMO which means that I just committed to writing a post every day for the month of October. I'm starting now though, because I'm an overachiever. You got a link to this either because you know me and I always annoy you with links to my posts, or because you clicked on this site and wondered who the cartoon chick was. OK, enough with the explanatory crap, it's late and I have to save something for future posts. You may leave a comment now... (I'm looking at you Vicki!)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Prudent Choices in Ambulatory Recovery Process

Note To Self... regarding appropriate timing of crawling as a choice in ambulatory process: While 'crutching' has been proven effective yet tiresome, and 'hopping' has been proven to cause leaks, crawling has emerged as the form of transportation of choice. Having said that, there are times and situations where it may be prudent to use one of the remaining other options... such as when the UPS man delivers a package - (one must know at this point that I have a completely clear glass front door.) Never mind the embarassing encounter as the UPS guy tries to open my front door with his muscular forearm as I try to pull myself to a standing position, lose hold of the bannister and basically fall at his feet. Rather, focus solely on the fact that my son arrives home at around the same time and has this day, decided to bring with him, three of his friends, whom, upon seeing said brown shorts clad man apparently molesting his mother at the front door, run screaming adolescent obscenities at aforementioned male, who then, in self defense, turns on my pack of defenders with his apparently patented karate moves.

You can't make this shit up!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Still Recovering

When I told friends that I was having foot surgery, they all had the same reaction: 'Oh the PAIN!' When my husband brought me home and lovingly arranged me and my pillows, he also made sure I took the prescribed pills, because of the PAIN! Well, I'll tell you, the worst thing about this ordeal has NOT been the PAIN - it has been trying to get around! Yeah, I've got crutches - new fangled crutches - the stainless steel kind, with the bands for your arms instead of those armpit centered ones. But my 'good' leg gets really tired, and you can't do anything without leaning the crutches up against something to do it, and they always fall, oh, and try going to the bathroom in a small bathroom accompanied by two crutches - good luck! And you certainly can't carry anything on crutches! The other alternative is hopping. I've gotten pretty good at the hopping thing, heck I can even carry a few things (if they have lids, and if I don't have to go too far). The only drawback with the hopping thing is... well, it's the fact that I'm an almost 50 year old woman with an almost 50 year old bladder, which, when shaken, tends to leak. That's when I discovered - Crawling! It's brilliant actually. I can get anywhere, I mean look at babies! I can carry anything because I don't actually need the front two hands for abulatory purposes. I can even carry things AND push other things along in front of me. The only drawback of this method, so far, seems to be the knees. There's not much padding on the old kneecap. But then who says my soft pink padded piggy scuff slippers need to be used solely for feet?

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Day Two of Recuperation

I can choose to either have my brain and pain in my foot, or take my pills and have no pain and no brain.

I dozed and watched TV all day yesterday until night time. At that point I chose to not take the pain pills and see how much my foot hurt. Surprizingly, it didn't hurt that much so I hobbled around on my crutches for a while. This only serves to make the other leg hurt.

I actually went all night without taking the pain meds and slept better than I did the night before. This morning, I got up and down a couple of times and didn't take any pain pills untill late morning. It was much nicer without the pills, since I was clear headed, but my foot started throbbing so I gave in and took two.

I'm thinking that I'll just take one from now on, because the two seems to make me feel like it's hard to breathe. Plus it takes so long to wear off. And it's not even a fun high. It does sedate me though and keeps me from trying to get up and do something, which I guess is the point.

Downtown Dad and both the kids have been just great! They are doing laundry, and making meals and they even got groceries.

Tessie has an assignment that involves making her own soundtrack for Romeo and Juliet. They just rented the 1968 version which I probably haven't seen since I was Tessie's age. She's asked me to help but, my brain is so mushy, I don't know how much help I'll be!

I'm so glad I had this done! And the timing seems to be just great for the recuperation process.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Day One of Toe Surgery Recuperation

What could be better I ask you, than doing nothing but sitting with my feet up, with my laptop, my cell phone, the TV remote and my family to wait on me?

Well, it would be better if pain wasn't involved, but then there are the drugs! And it would be better if there was a better selection of movies on TV.

Yesterday was the actual surgery. I actually don't remember much of it... again the drugs! We left at 7:30 a.m. and were done and home by 5:30 p.m. My foot was numb until about 2:30 today when I started to feel some real pain.

I can't put any weight on it at all, but so far all I've had to do is make the 5 foot journey to the bathroom.

Well, the oxycodone has taken, along with the pain, any ability to think creatively. Maybe I can think of more to write tomorrow.