Monday, December 31, 2007

Blog Plug

If you enjoy cooking and have a fondness for rural life, as I do, you must check out this site that I've been reading- Foodie Farm Girl. Not only does she have some fabulous recipes, she has pictures of her donkeys, dog, sheep and other farm animals.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Only Joke I Know

While at a friend's 50th birthday party today (Hi Denise!), people started telling dumb jokes. When it came to my turn, I told the only joke that I can remember. It has been in my head for about a dozen years. While other jokes have come and gone, this is all I can keep in there:

So, four nuns die in a car accident and immediately are whisked to the gates of heaven where they encounter St. Peter. To gain entrance to the gates of heaven, St. Peter tells the nuns he needs to ensure their chastity and asks them to line up before him.
The first nun approaches. St Peter says, "Dear sister, to ensure your chastity, I must ask you this question- have you ever touched a penis?" The first nun looks ashamed and says, "Yes, St. Peter, I once touched a penis with the tip of this finger." She holds up her finger and St. Peter says "Okay, you can dip your finger in this bowl of holy water to purify yourself, then enter the gates." She dips her finger in the bowl and walks through the gates.
The second nun approaches. St. Peter says "Dear sister, have you ever touched a penis?" The second nun looks ashamed and says "Yes, St. Peter, I once held a penis in my right hand." St. Peter says, "Okay, you may dip your hand in this bowl of holy water to purify yourself, then enter the gates. So, she dips her hand in the bowl and walks through the gates.
The third nun begins to approach St. Peter, but the fourth nun pushes her aside and rushes up to St. Peter. St. Peter says, "Dear sister, why have you pushed aside your fellow nun to reach me?", to which the fourth nun replies, "Hey, I'm sure as hell not gargling that water after she's dipped her ass in it."

Frida Kahlo at the Walker

Yesterday, I finally made it to the Walker Art Center for the traveling Frida Kahlo exhibit celebrating the 100th anniversary of her birth. I was over the moon to see her work in person having admired it for some time. Many of her pieces are so intensely personal that it was hard not to get a bit emotional in response. Also on display were about 80 photographs of Frida, many of which had never been on public display. They were truly remarkable and provided some amazing insight into her life. January is not a great time to come to Minnesota, but if you can make it just to see this exhibit, it is well worth it. I bought the exhibition book and have been gobbling it up. I heart Frida. The exhibit is traveling next to Philadelphia in February, then San Francisco in June. See it.
While at the Walker, I decided to tour a few other galleries. As much as I am loathe to admit it, I am not much of a museum person, particularly when it comes to modern art. I have some shame about this, being reasonably well educated, articulate and appreciative of the arts. Anyway, one of the galleries was carrying an exhibition called Brave New World, which apparently was about globalization. I missed the point completely and gave up trying to understand when I came to a pile of camping equipment, looking suspiciously like the corner of someone's garage.
Another exhibit that had gotten some good media attention was the Tino Sehgal exhibit. Tino Sehgal's work is not art objects, but people behaving in a manner that is scripted by the artist. The gallery that I visited was about 1500 square feet of completely white room. At the far end of the room was a young man lying face down near the far wall. As I approached, he began rolling on to his back in slow motion with his fingers near his eyes. I was the only other person in the room despite the museum's other galleries being quite busy. I'm guessing the other guests had assumed that a homeless dude had wandered in and fallen asleep and decided to leave him alone. Anyway, he rolled back and forth a bit for me, occasionally opening his eyes, and I left the room. I guess I'm not very cool or deep for not getting this- sort of like when I left the movie PI annoyed at having lost two hours of my life, while 20-somethings were all around me proclaiming it a masterwork.

Whew. Almost done.

As much as I think I should enjoy the holiday season, I'm always thrilled when it is over. One more holiday on Tuesday and we're done. Whew.
Curt and I had a nice Christmas Eve. This year was the first that I didn't cook for us. Instead, I suggested we eat out, let someone else do the cooking AND the dishes, then come home and open presents. Because of some previous business dealings at the Marquette Hotel, Curt had a gift certificate for a complete dinner for two at Basil's- the in-house restaurant. Sweet. We asked for a seat on the balcony, which overlooks the IDS Crystal Court. (By the way, Basil's is recently remodeled and looks great.) The lights in the court were dimmed to highlight the 30-foot Christmas tree and the other trimmings. It was lovely. I ordered the flash seared tuna wrapped in nori- remarkably well prepared and presented. Curt had the ribeye with apple smoked bacon- mmmmm, bacon. After dinner, we came home and exchanged presents.
The next day we went to Curt's brother and sister-in-laws home in Champlin for my third Christmas of the weekend. We had dinner, gorged on cookies and settled in to open presents. The gift giving in Curt's family is very organized with the kids going first, then the adults- youngest to oldest- opening gifts. All the aunts and uncles in the family buy for all the nieces and nephews under 18. Everyone over 18 draws names for eachother. This means LOTS of gifts to open. I love Curt's whole family dearly, but damn, the gift opening takes a year. By the time we're done, I am hoping to never hear another child's voice until the following Christmas and ready to crawl in to a cave from over-exposure to people. I think I am the only introvert in the whole clan. By the end of the evening, they're all still smiling, while I find myself completely tuning out conversations and staring blankly in to space. Being an extreme extrovert, Curt has some trouble understanding that being around lots of people completely saps my energy, while his is increased. Oh well.
This year, we have no plans for New Year's Eve. I am secretly celebrating this, hoping for maybe dinner and a movie, while I think it is driving Curt a little crazy. Typically, we go to some friend or the others' home, eat lots, make a little noise at midnight and go home. It is always a nice time, but mostly I just get very, very tired since midnight is two hours past my bed time.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The Twelve Gays of Christmas

This is way too cute. Stick with it. It's pretty good.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Sunday, December 23, 2007

A Magnificent Surprise

After my long journey home, look what was waiting for me- caramels from none other than the glorious Madame Leiderhosen! They are superb! Muchas gracias, ML!

My Travelogue: Decorah to Golden Valley

Today I drove home from Decorah, back to Golden Valley. I thought the worst of the wintry weather had passed, but I was wrong. Sometimes it doesn't need to snow for the weather to suck deeply. Today it was the winds- gusting up to 30 mph and whipping yesterday's snow around into near white-out conditions, as you shall see. Here is the view between Harmony and Preston, MN on Highway 52. Was it smart to take pictures while driving? Probably not, but I'm alive, at least in this version of reality.

Here is the view coming in to Chatfield, MN. Chatfield is a little village nestled in what is called the Chosen Valley. Lots of businesses use the name Chosen in their titles- Chosen Bakery, Chosen Bar and Grille, etc. Surprisingly, with a name like Chosen, there seem to be very few Jews in the area- not a Chosen People Synagogue in sight. I threw a few Yiddish exclamations at the Kwik Trip clerk just to test the waters and got a bland expression. Nope. No Jews in the Chosen Valley.

Here I am grimacing and cursing the heavens for sending such poopy-pants weather for my drive. My stocking hat had mussed my hair and I clearly haven't shaved since Friday. I'm sure if you look closely enough you'll see some graying nose hair and a few things in my teeth. Today's questionable hygiene, combined with the weather made for a rough ride.

Nearing Minneapolis, it started to snow and continued blowing- so much so that the conditions depicted above were quite common for several miles at a stretch. If you look closely, you can see a little gray shadow that represents the car in front of me. You might think it is dusk in this picture, but it is only 1 p.m. (WARNING: Junior drivers, do not attempt to take pictures in a white-out. It is a stupid thing to do and should only be attempted by bored adults who have even less common sense than you.)

A Room With A View

This is the view from my hotel room this morning after the snow storm yesterday. The drift outside the window wasn't there yesterday morning and the parking lot was bare. Waaaaaaa!

I Made It!

Just a quick note to let my gentle readers know that I survived Christmas with my family. It was held at my brother's place in Decorah and was really low key- lots of eating with no gift exchange. At mid-afternoon, I taught my niece and nephew and their mates the card game Nuts- basically group competitive solitaire. My niece is apparently fiercely competitive and has a vocabulary while in competition that is quite, shall we say, stunning? So, the festivity portion of the day went fairly well- that is, until I had to take my dad back home.
The house I grew up in, and where my dad still lives, is on a hill with a very steep driveway. Generally, this isn't a problem. Today, however, we had a big winter storm with lots of snow and ice. My dad has never been one to hold back on his criticism, especially for his children. Here are a few of the comments on my driving that I got, all within 100 yards of our driveway:

"Jesus Christ, aren't you going to slow down to make the turn?"
Followed immediately by:
"You better speed up so you can take a run at it!"

I managed to maintain my composure at this commentary, but it didn't last.
Seeing that the driveway is covered with several inches of snow and ice, I took a run for the hill. Just as I'm just about reach the top, my car stops, starts spinning its wheels and sliding backward toward the ditch. (If you know the driveway, one side is a smallish ditch, the other side a minor ravine. Guess which I was sliding for?) And what do you suppose my dad says? Hey, let me tell you:

"Well, Jesus Christ, don't you know how to drive your own god damned car?"

Snap! Because I was attempting to stay out of the ditch, I couldn't stuff a cork in him. So instead I barked: "You are so not f*cking helping right now! Just sit there, be quiet and LET ME DRIVE!" You would think that having sensed my irritation he would have kept his remaining comments to himself. Oh no. All the while I'm trying to back down the hill, he's commenting on my technique and the direction I'm headed, and on and on. [Please, gentle readers, if in 30 years you see me embodying these characteristics of my father, shoot me. No warning or explanation required. Mind you, I also have great affection for many of my father's less irritating qualities. I just couldn't find them in that moment.]
Anyway, I ended up being able to wrangle the car to a spot beside the bottom of the driveway and regained control of my breathing. My dad, who is 80, whose vision is not what it should be and is very unsteady on his feet, had to be left in the car while I walked to the top of the hill to get his 4 wheel drive truck to retrieve him. Even though a little hypothermia might have quieted him down, I did follow through and get him back up the hill. After setting him in at home, I left to go meet some friends for dinner.
Another joyous family holiday drawn to a close.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Things Other Than Cheese That Get Better With Age

On the way to Decorah yesterday, I was listening to Duncan Sheik's Lighter/Darker CD. Even though I think he only cracked the top 40 with two songs, he has consistently put out some great albums, has a voice and song writing style I can relate to, and, oh, can't forget, is SMOKIN' HOT! He also proves my belief that there are indeed things other than cheese that get way better with age. So, my first ever Finely Aged Cheese Blog Award goes to Duncan Sheik. Here's why:

So, check out this video from 1996. You might remember this tune from the radio back then. Definitely not the best song on the CD, but the video provides a nice way to look at this fine man. Can't you just hear the director in the back ground as he's lip synching saying things like "Smolder!", "Pout!", "Pout more!", "Okay, smolder and pout at the same time!" Nice.

Fast forward to the new millennium, add about 10 years, 15 pounds and a beard and the man just can't help but be even hotter. Sorry for blog drooling here, but damn. In addition to his "nice to look at" credentials, he recently co-composed the Tony winning musical "Spring Awakening" for Broadway.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas at the Curt & Michael Household

This is our Christmas tree. Though my bio family's Christmas traditions died with my mother, Curt and I have established some of our own small traditions over the years.
One of my favorites started on the very first Christmas we were together. Even though we had only been dating for about 7 months, I think we both knew the relationship was going long term. So, I bought him the 1999 Swarovski crystal ornament and said that we should buy one each year until our tree is covered with nothing but crystals. So far, we have nine of them that you might be able to pick out among the other ornaments. And even though Swarovski keeps jacking the price up by $5 every other year- $70 this year!- we'll keep the tradition alive despite my cheap Lutheran-bred tendencies.
Another tradition is Curt setting artificially low spending limits for each other and me whining about it. I love to buy him presents. Despite the fact that we're both well employed and are actively saving for retirement, we must adhere to the guidelines. So this tradition basically amounts to me whining for about a week, and Curt getting a warm but annoyed feeling in his heart knowing that I want to lavish him with gifts.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Home is Good

Curt had just gone to bed when I got home last night, so I stopped in and gave him a quick kiss before unwinding a bit. He had told me over the phone yesterday that Louis, our poodle, was showing some signs of missing me that always appear when I've been gone a few days. So, after Louie got over his shock and disbelief at seeing me again, I spent some time with him on my lap loving him up. Claire, our cocker-king charles mix, was happy to see me too. However, for her, I think she associates me with treats. She's a very food motivated gal. I loved on her a little bit too before heading off to bed.
Our bed is an odd looking thing in the winter. Curt starts off with just a flannel sheet, then adds our thin down blanket during the night, then takes it off later. My half of the bed is a different story- flannel sheet, down blanket, thick comforter and a double fleece throw. After 5 nights in a good bed, but not my own, it was like a dream to crawl into our nest. Louis jumped into bed, crawled under the blankets, plastered himself up next to me and we were off to sleep. Aaaaah, home.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


My hotel room doesn't get the CW! This means I can't watch the finale of America's Next Top Model!!!
Quick call to Curt.
Curt to the rescue. He's taping.
Ahhhhhh. That's better.
I guess I keep reading tonight.

I Like Kentucky Part II

Despite my crass remark about tooth count, which I know was wrong and know is an evil stereotype, Louisville has some charm (and teeth). Here are more things I like:

5. The Highland: Tonight, instead of walking the same 5 blocks of downtown, I took a cab to a part of town called The Highland- a very charming area teaming with restaurants, little shops (all close at 5!) and tattoo parlors (4 of them in a relatively small area). Tattoo shops in The Highland must be the equal of wig shops downtown. The surrounding neighborhood consisted of turn of the century stone and brick homes, many decorated with lovely holiday lights.

6. Cafe Mimosa was recommended to me by the bellman and the front desk gal, both in their twenties, as a good sushi joint. It also was in The Highland. The ambiance was not that of Caviar, but the sushi was really, really good. I ordered the chef's choice Sushi and Sashimi plate for $19.95 and was expecting a small plate of sashimi with a roll. Instead I got a ginormous plate of really amazing red and white tuna, salmon and eel, with a huge roll of unknown name that was de-licious! I heart sushi. I'm frankly a little surprised to have found two really good sushi restaurants here. Who knew?

7. Rachid, my cab driver for the evening, was very friendly and had a good sense of humor, but seemed quite bundled up for the 45 degree weather. We got to talking and I discovered that he had immigrated from Morocco- explains why he was so bundled- only six months ago with his wife and child. He knew no English when he arrived, which to me is amazing. His English was very broken, but so admirable, and he was so friendly that he got a great tip both ways. If I were dropped in a foreign country with a language very different from my own, I just don't think I would be functional enough after six months in the new language to find a toilet let alone drive a cab. Go, Rachid.

8. Hairspray in men's restrooms. Every restroom in our training facility, public restroom in my hotel and every restaurant restroom I've encountered thus far has a spray can or pump bottle of hairspray in it. And yes, I'm in the men's restroom. I love it. Could men's hygiene be more evolved in Kentucky than in Minnesota?

Monday, December 10, 2007

I Like Kentucky

Thus far in my short stay in Kentucky, I have discovered a few things that I like about it:

1. Lots of wigs for sale. (See below). I am not adverse to a good wig. Curt is probably more adverse to me wearing one, so I try not to put on a big beehive around him. Though he would be amused in private, maybe not so much though out in public.

2. Higher tooth count than anticipated. People in Kentucky have teeth! In fact, I think the teeth per head count is nearing that of Minnesota. Remarkable.

3. There are two sushi restaurants within walking distance of my hotel. One is called Raw and doesn't have its hours posted, but was open tonight on my walk to the other- Caviar. So, tonight I had a spider roll and a Caviar signature roll. Holy smokes. The signature roll was T-A-S-T-Y. Inside was yellowtail and albacore tuna, salmon and cream cheese. Outside was two types of roe and tempura flakes. Drizzled over all this was eel sauce, a hot sauce and a wasabi dressing. Wow. Yum.

4. There aren't any gay boys in sight. However, I have seen lots of t-shirts for sale that say I heart KY, so they must be somewhere. Any time you have t-shirts professing a love of a personal lubricant, you have to have some concentration of gay boys nearby, don't you think?

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Malls Suck and Wig Stores Are For Strippers

So, I settled in to my room at the Brown Hotel in Lousville, KY and decided to go exploring on foot (hey, it's 48 degrees here!), thinking I would catch the last few hours of retail and grab a little sushi to go for dinner. Hmmmm. Didn't happen. First of all, the only retail left in downtown is a handful of cellphone stores, several wig stores (see below), a Border's book store and a food court sort of affair in the business district. *sigh* Another downtown raped by a mall. *sigh again* And the only Sushi I found is open Monday through Friday because no one is apparently around that area on the weekend. I need my sushi.
In my short walk, I passed THREE wig store in about 8 blocks. Hmmm. So, here's the thing. I'm thinking, okay we're near a medical center, so maybe there's a demand for chemotherapy wigs, that sort of thing. However, not one wig looked like something a cancer patient would wear unless the cancer patient is a stripper named Amber (the universal stripper name). Did you know that they even have long wigs with the roots grown out to various lengths? I guess if you're going to get a wig, you might as well simulate a really bad hair day? Maybe they put their trashiest wigs in the window, hoping that they'll get stolen? I such a small area, why the need for so many wigs? Should I ask the concierge?

I Was Eavesdropping Again v2

So I'm at the airport this morning catching a flight to Chicago on my way to Louisville, Ky (woo hoo) and there is a group of about 6 guys together at my gate, all looked like hunter-good-ol'-boy types and weren't from Minnesota based on their accents. Anyway, one of them was a bit of a blowhard and doing most of the talking. When I sat down, they were talking about bass fishing:

Blowhard: I only use live frogs as bait to catch the big bass.
Group member: Yeah. I've done that before with some real small ones. Worked good.
Blowhard: One time I put a big one the size of my palm on the hook and let him swim. Pretty soon, a bass hit him so hard that the frog flew up out of the water pretty much riding on the lower lip of this huge bass. His mouth was so f*ckin' big I swear I could have put fist in it.
Group member: How much did he weigh?
Blowhard: Well, he stripped the frog off the hook so I didn't get him.
Group: (chuckles and gives the blowhard a little ribbing)
About 15 seconds later, blowhard starts in again-
Blowhard: This is gross, but I know some guy in Pennsylvania that uses live kittens as bait to fish for muskie and northern.
Group: Silence.
Blowhard: Yeah, I guess it has something to do with the way they thrash around in the water that gets the huge muskie excited.
Group: Stunned (I'm guessing) silence.
Blowhard: Silence
Group: More silence.
Blowhard: Well I only saw him do it once, but he didn't get anything that day.

So, I'm stunned and horrified that these words would even come out of this guys mouth, but I figured they must be pure bull. Until, I googled "kitten fish bait" and saw this. What???? I guess if it can happen in Europe, it can happen in Pennsylvania. But, what the hell would have to be wrong with a person to do that???? Aaarrrgggghhhh!

Friday, December 7, 2007

I Am A Scrooge

Boy, oh, boy. I am already sick of holiday music and we have a few weeks to go. A good carol, sung in church is one thing. Jazzy or pop versions of holiday classics make me insane. For example:

1. Macy's has their holiday loop going. Each time I visit I hear Jingles Bells- not the happy upbeat tune I fondly recall from my childhood. No. Instead it is a dated jazzed up version in which the male crooner sings a line, followed by a trio (or so) of women singing "I like a sleigh ride." So the song goes:

Dashing through the snow
I like a sleigh ride

In a one horse open sleigh
I like a sleigh ride
O'er the fields we go
I like a sleigh ride
Lauging all the way
I like a sleigh ride
Bells on bobbed tail ring
I like a sleigh ride

... and so on until I'm ready to puke. Make it stop!

2. Our cafeteria at work has a CD going called Inspirational Christmas that contains a jazzed up version of The Holly and the Ivy. This is a lovely melody when sung straight. However, with syncopated phrasing and a choir that sounds like The @%$#*@&! New Christy Minstrels on happy pills (hork!), it gets under my skin. Quickly. Deeply.

3. Any version of Little Drummer Boy or Do You Hear What I Hear is a bad thing. These songs should be sung only by 2nd graders, not Celine Dion or David Bowie paired with Bing Crosby. Feh! Feh!

Okay. Cock. Aim for the speakers. Shoot.
I feel better now.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

A Brief Pause for Celebration

Unbelievable as it may seem, today I have been sober for 20 years! For anyone who knew me in my Luther College or U of I days, this is a very good thing. We'll be celebrating with cocktails tonight at the neighborhood bar. Just kidding.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

I Was Eavesdropping Again

I love to overhear odd bits of conversation at work, at the mall, etc. Today, it was Target.

Woman: Oh, my mother just loved Christmas.
Friend: Really?
Woman: Uh huh. Every year she would just go crazy and lose her mind.
Friend: She did?
Woman: Oh, yes she did.

I was walking the opposite direction so didn't catch anything else. I assume that the woman was talking about her mother going crazy decorating, but she didn't say that. Then, there's the friend who answered in disbelief that this woman's mother loved Christmas. Really? It's kind of an annoying conversational habit that I even catch myself doing now and then, but despise. I think it comes from either a lack of listening or just a need to add some noise in a pause.
Or, perhaps, the woman's mother loved Christmas so much she really did lose her mind. I can see that happening.

America's Next Top Model: The Demise of the Autistic Girl

This is sort of a catch up update in the ANTM saga. A sad three weeks it has been. Heather (autistic girl) was asked to speak and model- a spokesmodel. Who knew that pretty girls could do that? Wow. Anyway, a few weeks back, the girls were challenged to be a design student's muse, after which a dress would be designed just for them. Well, Heather, being autistic and socially awkward, was not so inspiring. Then they had to do a runway show and describe for the crowd how they inspired the dress. Heather sort of hated her dress because she is a fire sign and the dress was very watery. I guess that makes steam. Whatever, Heather. Anyway, she choked, choked, choked on the runway and got harshly critiqued. Then, the girls were dropped off in the desert, told to stand next to a flaming car and look defeated, but hot. Heather, who had not taken her criticism well, looked defeated and warm, but definitely not hot. See evidence below:

She sort of looks like she's checking the tires, which might be what you expect of an autistic girl when the car is on fire. Damn. That night, Heather took it from the judges too, but didn't go home. Instead, she went to China with the rest of the ladies.

The next week, in China, the girls had to do this dumb Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon ninja posing on flying wires. Bianca, our Heather's nemesis skank- who is also very pretty, flipped out and couldn't do it because of her "trust issues." Give me a break. Heather, however, did well and won the challenge. To share her shopping spree prize, she chose Chantal (uppity) to go with her. Basically it was 500 bucks in the cheap looking markets around their hotel. Hmpf.

Then, the girls had to do their Cover Girl commercials and photo shoot. The thing I hate about this challenge every season is that the lines they have to deliver are so frickin' dumb. This year, the tag line was "Every woman is a queen." To that I say, "Pffffffffft!" They didn't hear me and went ahead with the dumb commercial. No one did well, but two gals, Lisa (stripper) cried all the way through, and Heather (autistic girl) couldn't deliver a single line and made faces at each flub. Her photo shoot went okay, but not great. The picture kind of reminds me of the scene in Adamms Family Values when Wednesday creaks out a smile after watching Disney videos as punishment- a little creepy, a little pretty. See for yourself:

Like I said, not convincing. Anyway, judging was harsh for all the girls, but Lisa and Heather landed in the bottom two. Lisa went home because she was just losing it under all the pressure. Sad, because next to Heather, she was the prettiest girl in the competition.

This week, the girls had to venture out on "go-sees", where, as the name implies, they go see designers to try to get booked in shows. There were 5 designers and 6 hour in which to complete the task. Most girls got in 3 go-sees. Heather, spent 3 hours wandering the street in front of the correct building, before "finding" the designer. The next 3 hours were spent finding her car. She arrived 40 minutes late, and was disqualified along with two other contestants.

The photo challenge this week was to stand out among a Chinese New Year celebration. Most of the girls did okay except two. Heather was sort of lifeless, but took a great picture. Jenah (bucktooth Daisy Mae) just sort of blended in to the background and pissed off the photographer (judge Nigel Barker) with her "humor". Both were in the bottom two, but Heather went home, because, as Nigel put it- "She doesn't make the camera focus on her, the camera just sort of finds this pretty thing and takes a picture of it." A pretty damn good picture, I might add.

So, that's the end of the Heather story. I will probably follow the rest of the season and harshly criticize the remaining contestants, since I'm not rooting for any of them. Hmmmpff.

Musical Nightmares revisted

If you haven't done so already, please, please, please check out Scott J's musical nightmare list. The YouTube videos are the frickin' horrifying highlight:

1. John Asscroft singing some nightmare
2. Celine Dion (and some other skank) covering AC/DC's "You Shook Me All Night Long"
3. Rick Springfield and Cheryl Ladd (!!!) covering the Loggins/Nicks hit "Whenever I Call You Friend"

I can't stop watching them. Eeeeeeeeeek!

Season's Greetings from Dawn Davenport

A bit of Christmas cheer from Dawn Davenport.
'Female Trouble,' a John Waters classic, is one of my all time favorites.

Waaaaaaa! Post script.

I'm back and feeling a bit better. First, my apologies to Madame L and Kirelimel, who seem to have caught my dread disease (see link for evidence). Disease blog. That's me.
Anyway, every time I get a cold of any consequence, I end up with a wicked sinus infection complete with crappy bend-over headaches. This has been going on since I was in high school. Anyway, the problem is that I apparently go to a hippie clinic where no one will prescribe antibiotics, and instead say comforting things like "It's viral, just ride it out," or "You're just going to have to suffer through it." Thoughtful, kind. Last time I had a sinus infection, I went to three doctors over the course of 8 months of misery. The last finally ordered a CT scan of my sinuses ($225 out of my pocket!), prescribed antibiotics and called to apologize that I hadn't gotten them sooner. Nice, but not so nice. Flash back to our last trip to Puerto Vallarta where I did some exploration in the local farmacia and discovered that I could buy antibiotics over the counter. I did and, after much internal debate, have been taking a nice 5-day course of Azitromicina. (Dr. Ben is going to have something to say about this.) Sinus infection seems to be clearing up, but I've missed three half-days at work, two classes at the gym and the 5K I was supposed to run in yesterday. Bummer. I've also been a horribly crabby baby. Big bummer for Curt. Ah, healing.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


I'm home sick from work today with a horrid sore throat and sinus thang. I hate being sick and am a big baby about it. Waaaaa!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

What Is Happening To Me?

I am late on two America's Next Top Model updates. I haven't even seen the tape of this week's episode. What is going on? Does it mean I'm becoming less shallow and beginning to seek a deeper purpose for my life? Uh, no. Look for them later this weekend.

The Votes Are In

.... and you picked American Slices In Celophane (what the?), followed by a two way tie for Cheez Whiz and Hickory Farms Cheddar Spread. The only virtue that I recall of American Cheese slices is that they bubble nicely under a broiler as a tuna and toast topper. Can you think of any others? Think of me in the dairy aisle next time you roll past the winner.
On a cheese related note, I spent the day with MNMom and family yesterday, where I encountered a fabulous stinky cheese ball concocted of blue cheese and chopped olives. The coolest part was that one of her 13 year old twin girls had requested it and made it herself. Teenage girls with an appreciation for stinky cheese- a beautiful thing really.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Hey, At Least I Beat the Guy on Crutches

Last night at my Team Weight Loss class, one of the team members mentioned that she was going to run the 18th Annual Turkey Day 5K today and invited me along. I am not a runner, especially not at this weight, but I've always been intrigued by the idea of running a 5K- not a big deal for most, but for me, something.
So, this morning, I get to the Target Center at 7:30, get registered and start getting warmed up when the phone rings. It is my teammate bailing on me. Grrrrrr. For a moment, I considered bailing myself, but decided to go for it.
I ran the first two miles without stopping, walked two blocks, ran three, walked three, then finished running. My time: a lightning fast 40:01. Woo hoo. A little faster than a brisk walk. I did beat the guy on crutches (really, he was there), and I beat my pace vehicle (a plump 60 year old woman in purple tights) by about 20 yards. Sa-weet!
Next: Reindeer Run 5K on December 1. That race my whole class is doing, not just the bail-out woman from today.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

How Good Has Your Day Been If You Haven't Bitch Slapped Someone?

If MNMom were a teacher, I would take a class from her so I could get easy assignments like this one. (She is, but I don't have enough B.O. or ciggy smell to be in her class.) She has tagg-ed (say it with two syllables for more fun) me with listing only 10 things that people do that make we want to slap them. Hold on everyone, this is going to go by fast.
1. Developing, or worse- stealing, a catch phrase, or gesture and overusing it. Slap!
2. Kicking the back of my seat in the movie theater. Slap!
3. Anyone stopping in front of me in the pencil thin isles at Trader Joe's. Slap!
4. Driving the wrong direction in an angled parking lot, even though the arrow is there to guide you, not to mention the direction of the cars. Slap! Slap!
5. Pondering choices at the salad bar while making decision noises. Slap!
6. Using of the non-word "irregardless." Slap!
7. Dressing young girls in suggestive clothing with the word "foxy" or "hottie" bedazzled on the front. Then, dressing like your children. Slap! Slap! Slap!
8. Merging at the very last minute. Slap! Slap!
9. Driving erratically while talking on your cell phone. Slap!
10. Interrupting me in a way that lets me know they haven't even started listening. Slap!

Monday, November 19, 2007

You Mean It Happened AGAIN?? What??!?

There's nothing like a good old fashioned church sex scandal to make me feel all warm inside. When is Jesus just going to come on down and flick some of his followers off the planet like crusty nasal pickings? Can't happen soon enough.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Ten Songs I Never Want to Hear Again

Lately, I've been hearing songs (mostly at the gym) that are so horrible or over exposed that I want to scream. As you may know, they also get stuck in my head. Really ugly.
Here are ten songs I really want go the rest of my life without hearing again:

1. Celebrate..... Kool and the Gang
2. You Light Up My Life..... Debbie Boone
3. The (mother @#$!#*&!) Macarena..... Los Del Rio
4. All Night Long.... Lionel Richie
5. Candle in the Wind ..... Elton John
6. Any Michael Jackson song where is says "shamon" or whatever the hell he's saying
7. Red Red Wine..... UB40
8. Achy Breaky Heart ..... Billy Ray Cyrus
9. We Built This City on Rock and Roll..... Jefferson Starship
10. Evergreen ..... Barbra Streisand

Hmmm. I think I'm going to tag some folks here, though I warn you that if I see anything by Stevie Nicks on your lists, I'll be a little hurt. Tag to: Ben Bob, Melinda June, MNMom, Kirelimel, and how about that crafty Madame Leiderhosen. I'm also tagging ScottJ, even though his blog is political and maybe just a bit too high brow to mention Muskrat Love or some other horror.

Decompression... breathe, breathe, breathe

I've been decompressing all afternoon from another stressful trip to see my dad. He's 80, has had a stroke that slightly affected his mobility, is diabetic and doesn't pay attention to it, is a tightwad to the point that he makes bad choices for himself even though he has lots of money, is mostly deaf and would rather have us yell than wear his hearing aid, has a vocabulary that would embarrass a sailor, is convinced that he can drive even though he has no peripheral vision and has cataracts, and, to top it off, is unreasonable to the point that any idea other than his own is bad until he comes to the same conclusion 10 minutes later then announces his great new idea- formerly my own. It makes for stressful, unpleasant time spent with him. And still, I have affection for him, even though he and I have never had a lot to talk about. I gained a lot of respect for him while my mother was ill, and saw him suffer deeply after she died. So, it is hard, when he is being a shit- which is most of the time- to be patient and not want to throttle him. Even though we have it out about his health and choices, I try to leave on a positive note, but it is damn hard. *sigh*
For anyone who ever wants to experience the fun with me, here's an offer you can't refuse: if you ever want to hear the words Jesus Christ uttered frequently outside a church, come see my dad. Just about every other sentence starts with these words, and he's not saying a prayer, I assure you.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Your Opinions Please

I've decided to start polling my small readership on issues that are important to me. The first topic is cheese. Please contribute to my non-scientific study at right.

America's Next Top Model: Week 8

Okay. So, this was sort of Heather's (autistic girl) week again. The other models are catching on to the fact that despite her disability, she is a real threat to win the competition. The camera LOVES this girl as you'll see.
So, the week started off pretty silly. The girls, in beige unitards (not flattering), worked with Tyra on being sexy but not hoochie for video. They worked on the video essentials: crawling, sliding down a wall and back up again, and walking fiercely. You know, this could be why the family videos from Christmas are so boring. We don't do enough crawling and sliding down walls, or walking fiercely for that matter. Maybe we'll work on that this holiday season- "Dad, work that lefse while sliding down the wall!" or "Aunt Liz, get on the counter and give me that seductive crawl from the meatballs to the salads!" I think this might just work.
Anyway, the gals got a big surprise when they were taken to shoot a music video with Enrique Iglesias. They were supposed to be vampiresses in an underground (sex) club, all of them with an eye for Enrique. Most of the girls did well except Chantal, who all episode was saying things like 'God gave me this face and this body for a reason' and being all uppity, and Sarah (fattie), who was very stiff and self-conscious in her see-through number.
Who did well? Well, of course, our Heather (autistic girl) looked fabulous.

In this clip, she is the vampiress standing on the right of the doorway whose arm lingers on Enrique, then gets a close-up. Is she not fabulous??? Okay, so it wasn't so fabulous a little later, when her eyes rolled back in her head from exhaustion and dehydration and she got all clammy and sweaty. That wasn't so pretty, but that didn't matter when it came to judging.

So the judging was pretty favorable overall. Lisa (stripper) did a great job in the video and came in first. Heather, always fabulous, came in second. Sarah (fattie) and Chantal (uppity) came in as the bottom two. Chantal was read the riot act for being boring and non-committal in the video, while Sarah was again chided for not being as fat as she was when she started the competition. In the end, Sarah was eliminated, which just goes to show that there is no place in the modeling world for normal size women. You have to be bone skinny or chubby. I'm shattered. Okay, maybe not so much.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Shake Your Thang While Cleaning

I took the day off today to clean and run errands for a little event we're having tomorrow afternoon. If you know me at all, you know it takes a lot of motivation for me to clean. Having a few tunes on helps. A while back I made a house cleaning CD and pulled it out to help me along today. Here are some of the tunes:

1. Ain't Nobody..... Chaka Kahn
2. Summer of Love..... B-52's
3. Everybody Everybody..... Black Box
4. Don't Want to Fall In Love.....Jane Child
5. Pleasure Principle..... Janet Jackson
6. Intuition..... Jewel
7. Shine ...... Cyndi Lauper
8. Big Time Sensuality ..... Bjork
9. Perfect Kiss ..... New Order

Back to cleaning. If I had a Chaka Kahn wig, I would be wearing it about now. Love her.

These Attorneys Don't Look So Bad

Generally, I don't care much for attorneys, mostly just personal injury litigators who take up so much late night commercial air space, but this particular batch doesn't look so intimidating. I think I also see a MNMom nephew in there somewhere. Aren't they cute?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

This is So Messed Up

I'm rarely without something to say, but I just can't think of what it might be after reading this story. There are things about this that are very wrong on many levels here, the least of which is parents allowing tiny children to eat their toys.

Whole New Me: Update #2

I've been a little slow on the weekly updates, my apologies. This Team Weight Loss program thing is time consuming- 7 p.m. on Monday , Wednesday and Friday. Holy crap! I have also been taking some introductory classes on the Pilates Reformer machines so I can take group classes later. Work, eat, gym, sleep. That sucks. I"m even arriving late to a dinner at Curt's sister's house on Friday because of this program. Crazy.

So here is my official update:
Weight loss: Six pounds.
Man boobs: Still there. Less bouncy, not in my lap anymore when I sit.
Spare tire(s): Still there. I'm sort of between my old notch and a new notch on my belt. This is hopeful.
Big ass: Still big but firmer.
Back fat: Still there but seems to have shrunk a little. Holding out hope.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Song Stuck in My Head v.1

Getting songs forever stuck in my head happens so frequently and is so annoying to me that I thought I had best share it with the world. It can happen to good songs. Or, as is the case tonight, with really horrid songs.
I've been singing the following song in my head and out loud for the last 90 minutes after hearing it in the background at the gym:

"I Think We're Alone Now" by Tiffany

This one is so bad that I can see the video in my head. Won't you please join me in singing this musical atrocity.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

The Reverend Fred Phelps Takes It In The Ass

... or at least took it in the ass figuratively on Friday when a federal court in Baltimore awarded $10.9 million to the father of a fallen soldier, whose funeral the Phelps family had picketed with anti-gay messages. The soldier wasn't gay, but the Phelps family believes that God is punishing the U.S. for its tolerance of gays and lesbians. Recently many states have passed laws against protests at funerals, specifically for this clan of lunatics. (Funny that no one paid attention for the past almost 20 years that they've picketed the funerals of dead gay men. Hmmmm).
If you don't know the Phelps clan from Kansas, these are the folks probably most (in)famous for protesting the funeral of Matthew Shepard. I became familiar with them back in the late 80's / early 90's when they first surfaced at the funerals of gay men who had died of AIDS complications.
Aside from all of this is the fact a jury reached a verdict here that didn't attempt to restrict hate speech. Rather the verdict was based on the argument that the Phelps clan invaded the privacy of the mourning family and intentionally inflicted pain on the family. This will be very interesting to follow as the appeals play out. I would also be curious to find out if the pain inflicted would have been perceived as less if the protests were only anti-war protests and not anti-gay protests. Lots going on in my head about this right now, but mostly just glad Fred Phelps and his clan are feeling a little discomfort about now.

Could You Say No To These Faces??

Look who is fresh from the groomer and looking cute and smelling delicious. It's Louis (right) and Claire (left)!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Salad Bar Lady

This little peeve has been on my mind since Tuesday, so I thought I better write it away. So, there is this woman at work, I don't know her name, but after a couple of trips with her to the salad bar, she's a little hard to forget. The problem is getting in line behind her. I've come to accept that Lutherans, in general, are really slow at a salad bar, just a cultural thing I guess, but, this woman is a champion. She's not old or dumb or physically slowed down in any way. She's just irritating. Here is what she does:

1. She grabs her to go container, then spends a full 30 seconds pondering the vast assortment of greens to choose from- spring mix, iceberg or spinach- during which she makes choosing noises. You know- "oh, hmmmmm, gosh"- or any combination.
2. Then we get to the prepared salads (pasta salads, popcorn salad- another story in itself, cottage cheese) and the veggies (broccoli, carrots, etc.). This is when she stops. Her jaw drops slightly as if overwhelmed by the selection. She reaches for a spoon in the cottage cheese, says "no" outloud, and retracts her hand. She reaches for the tongs in the cauliflower, looks troubled, and retracts her hand. This goes on for another 30 -45 seconds before she chooses basically a single baby carrot and a teaspoon of pasta salad. I already hate her at this point.
3. Now we get to the meat and misc toppings. Here she makes noises of surprise "Oh gosh, wow, mmmmmm" as though she has just seen everything now that there's cubed ham before her. Here she spends less time choosing and goes right for the meat, moves forward to the croutons, stops, backs up and says excuse me as she goes for the turkey, gets past the turkey to the goldfish crackers, backs up again and grabs the croutons. You get the picture.

I've been behind her several times before. So, Tuesday, I stood back and watched this go on for about 30 seconds then rather abruptly cruised around her to the dressings. She noticed and looked at me with sort of a hurt look on her face. I don't have much of a poker face, so I don't know what my face might have looked like at that point, but I do know that I clenched my ass really tight just to distract myself from opening my big mouth. Maybe I'm being harsh, peevish and impatient. (Well, I know I'm peevish and impatient.) And maybe, to give the benefit of the doubt, the trip to the salad bar is the only joy she gets of her day. But, damn.
Okay, I feel better. Thanks for listening. Whew.

Bleeping Computer!

I can't believe it. I got a frickin' virus even through my two routers, firewall and virus protection. Sort of like getting pregnant on the pill, I guess. (Pay attention teenage girls and boys!) A sinking feeling in either case. Actually, I was infected with what seems to be a yet unnamed virus that is all the talk on the techie message boards for the last 3 weeks. Glad, I guess, to be among the first. So, here's what the nasty thing did to me:

1. Took away all administrator rights related to anything resembling security, software removal, security updates, reporting virus information, etc.
2. Shut down my firewall and opened me up to all manner of malware. So, by the time I gave up, I had identified at least 15 different viruses and worms.
3. Once the damage was removed, I thought, I would reboot and the process would start all over again. Frickin' frackin' thing! AARRGGH!

After 3 evenings totalling about 18 hours of trying to repair the damage and about $125 spent on fixes, I ended up having to do a full system restore, wiping away everything to start fresh. I hate having to do that. I had to do it on a system before this one and just about cried. Fortunately, I had my 1500+ digital pictures backed up on my laptop and all my tunes on my iPod. Whew. Everything else can be reloaded if I can find the disks. There is hope in the darkest of times.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Little Queen on the Prairie: The Halloween Special

So, what have we here? The year is 1976, it is Halloween and we have a clown, a hobo, and, oh, gosh, what is that? That is a 10 year old tawdry little cross dresser perched daintily against the garage door. Would it be me? It sure would.
It took me 20+ years to find this picture funny. The only reason I'm in possession of it today is that I stole it from my mother's photo album in my twenties out of shame. Why? That particular Halloween was one of my first moments of awareness that I was different than other little boys and that different did not always go over well with one's parents and friends. I very clearly recall my mom encouraging me to be something else, my dad asking why the hell I wanted to go trick or treating as a woman and getting teased a bit by my friends. This photo was hard to look at for a long time. Now, I just feel sorry for the kid in that picture for not having someone around to give him a squeeze and let him know that he should hang in there for another 8 or 10 years at which time he can get the hell out of that little town and see there is a world full of people just like him.
Today, I get a really good laugh out of this picture. There are just so many things wrong here- the hair painted on my legs, my trailer trash makeup (which is the only makeup I could ever do- my upbringing I suppose), the fact that in a gay universe my exaggerated feminine pose would be just as it should be, but in Decorah? I was also a tall child. The other two in the picture are a few years older than me. I could have passed for a really trashy 15 year old. Had I had my wits about me back then, I might have wandered in to the Corner Bar and seen if the locals would have bought me a drink. Mmmmmm. Locals.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

A Morning Pick Me Up

If you've got a God given gift, share it with the world. Enjoy.

Friday, October 26, 2007

America's Next Top Model- Week 6 Update

Week 6 was another exciting week in top model land. The week began with a visit from Tyson Beckford to work with the girls on being spokesmodels- a whole new skill in addition to looking pretty all the time. In the exercise the girls had to sell a common kitchen object to Tyson. You could tell all the girls were all moist over him because you've never heard kitchen utensils and equipment sexualized like that before. A little embarrassing ladies.

The obscene kitchen activity was followed by a team competition to write and act in a public service announcement for a children's charity. Heather's (autistic girl) team won the challenge. Two of the girls on the winning team got these foofy gift baskets, but one who's name was drawn from a bowl got to go shoot a real ad for a real charity. The weird part was that Mary J. Blige was the art director for the shoot. Huh? Mary J. an art director all of a sudden? Odd. Anyway, Heather had her name drawn and did a flawless photo shoot- face on, no profiles. Go, Heather, go!

The judging challenge was as dumb as ever. The show decided to promote non-smoking and a green mentality this year. So, this week, the girls had to do an editorial shoot where they were various recyclables. Wha huh?? Can you stand it? Heather (autistic girl) was to embody aluminum cans. Zzzzzzzz. Only Heather could make aluminum cans look this good. (See below)

Anyway, the really exciting part came at judging. A little back ground first- all season Monique (pretty cheese ball) who is quite beautiful has not taken criticism well and appears to have very little self awareness. So all episode, she was whining and carrying on about wanting to go home. It came down to Ambriel (musical theater major) and Monique. Both had taken average pictures at best. However, Ambriel got sent home. But wait! Monique spoke up and said that she wanted to go home instead and that's when Tyra nearly popped a vein. She didn't pop a vein, but she really, really, really wanted to. You could just see her holding back to avoid the embarrassment of a previous season (see video below). She very calmly told Monique that the quality she found least attractive in people was being a quitter and sent her home. Ambriel got to stay another week.
Compare that Tyra moment to this (stick with it- it gets great at about 40 seconds):

Don't you just LOVE IT??

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Dog Story

Back in the late winter of 1997, I was in the habit of visiting the humane society to say hi to the dogs and wish them good luck. One of those days, I decided to see who was in the lost and found section. This isn't a public area, so I had to tell a little white lie to get myself back there. As I was saying hi to the dogs, I came across a cage with a tiny apricot toy poodle who was cowering at the back of his kennel. His hair was matted all the way down to his skin and he didn't look well. I asked an attendant what his story was. She indicated he had been found a week earlier in a snow drift in the Brookdale Mall parking lot- a dumping. When I asked what would happen to him, she said he probably wouldn't make it to the adoption floor considering his sickly appearance and shy disposition. That was all I needed to hear. The next day, I went back to the humane society, told another white lie and $80 later, I had the little poodle in my car and was on my way.
At the time, I taught basic obedience at a local pet store that also had some groomers on site. I convinced the groomers to give the little guy a bath and hair cut. After the grooming, a different little dog emerged. He was pretty bald, but cute, as all of his hair except for his ears and tail had to be shaved off to clear the mats. What had changed most though was his attitude. The little guy was obviously feeling much better because he was strutting, and had gone from introvert to extreme extrovert. He was a very sweet little guy and ended up living with Louis and I until a new home could be found.
I posted a sign advertising him at United Way, where I was working at the time. Within an hour, a co-worker, Gin, had called offering the dog a new home. Gin is an interesting woman- older, a bit shy and socially awkward, but very, very kind. She had recently lost one of her two dogs and was looking for companionship for her remaining dog. We arranged for her to get the poodle that day. After leaving United Way a short time later, I lost touch with Gin, and the story of Mickey the poodle slipped to the back of my mind.
Today, I was out for a walk with my employee Cynthia (also a former UW employee) during which we chose to walk around the United Way building, just a block from our current employer. As we passed the front of the building, who steps out? Gin. I reintroduced myself and asked what ever happened to Mickey the poodle. It turns out that Mickey had just died on Monday after developing some heart trouble. She said that he had been her best friend for ten long happy years together. I was deeply touched. I really believe that sometimes the forces of the universe align in the right way and make the right things happen. It was affirmed for me through a woman and her much loved little dog today, that doing something small, something that was almost forgotten a decade ago, can brighten a small corner of the world. Forgive me for being cheesy and maudlin, but it makes me want to do more small, forgotten things as a pawn for the universe.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Whole New Me: Weekly Update

Alas there is still no Whole New Me yet. *sigh* However, I am feeling a lot more hopeful after a week in the new Team Weight Loss program. The diet piece has been going pretty well. I'm now on an individually customized dietary exchange program that is more balanced than any approach I've tried before. So, I get to eat a real egg (1 protein, 1 fat) as part of breakfast, which I've denied myself for years. Sweet. I've also met a cool woman who's name is Shanita, a fellow IT geek- very interesting, highly motivated and would be fun at a party. So, anyway, here is the weekly update:

Man boobs: Still there; have been doing some weights so they feel a little firmer underneath their "boobness"

Spare tire(s): Still there, however, my pants buttoned just a hair easier yesterday. It's probably a combination of muscle toning and a little weight loss, but I'll take it.

Big ass: Still there, but firmer and seems to be carrying itself a little higher

Back fat: Still there; looks like boobs if I bend at the right angle so, no noticeable change

Weight loss: I think I might be down about 2 lbs on the home scale. We only do official weigh-ins on weeks 1,3,6,9,12, so I'll let you know.

Some day we need to uncover the reason that all female personal trainers are named Lindsay, Bethany or Danielle. Do they change their names like strippers who are all Amber?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Another @#$#!*% Trip to Whole Foods

Why can't I leave Whole Foods with only what I intended to get?? Aaarrrggghh!! This morning, I stopped in after the farmer's market to pick up a bottle of balsamic vinegar. I quickly found a bottle and popped it in my basket and was ready to go.
Then it happened- the evil cheese counter. I start looking at some cheese with no real intent to buy any, when I hear a voice from behind the counter. It is one of Whole Foods' many cheese incubuses- a disarmingly cute, polite, 20-something young man with cheese knowledge- saying "Sir, could I interest you in some Stilton with a chile-lime puree on a spelt cracker this morning?" Of course, I said yes. What was I supposed to say- "F*ck you, cheese boy, minion of the dark lord of quality dairy products?" It was like he read my mind- cheese? chile? lime? This guy was good.
So, what did I leave with? A bottle of balsamic vinegar, two varieties of stinky cheese, a 9.99 3 oz jar of chile-lime puree (!!!), a tiny bottle of truffle oil that I spotted at the evil cheese counter and a copy of the UTNE Reader with the cover story "Why Are We So Angry?". Why? Because we spend all our money at the damn cheese counter. That's why!
When I got home I opened the blue and left the gorgonzola for later, sliced a pear, and dabbed a teaspoon of chile-lime puree on the plate. It was a moment of heaven- and it fit on my Whole New Me diet/fitness plan.

A Great Yesterday

Hooray! The sun was out yesterday, which meant that Curt and I had a fantastic day out in our yard and patio. Partly sunny and 70 on October 20th. Aaah.
We first put our outdoor furniture under tarps for the winter, an exercise in which we both have distinct roles. I am the "Tetris Master" for my ability to creatively stack the furniture. Curt is the "Tarp Master" and has the job of covering the stuff and tying down the tarps. He rarely offers opinions on my portion of the work. I, on the other hand, always have an opinion about how we could tarp better. Stupid me. I offered a few suggestions yesterday and took way too long to catch on the fact that I was better off keeping my big mouth shut for the sake of our union.
While Curt was finishing the tarping, I moved to the shed, which seems to look like a war zone by the end of the summer. So, I removed just about everything that wasn't already hanging on wall and put it out on the lawn. Then I set about building some simple crafty storage solutions and installed some big hooks. All the stakes and posts are now stored neatly in a cage between two wall studs. Same with some window screening. The two big patio umbrellas are now hanging horizontally- one over the back wall and one neatly over the top of the wall with the window. Slick. After some more implements went up on hooks, the multiple pails stacked, rolled fencing placed in a large ceramic pots, we ended up with lots more room that before- even room for our huge new generator. Hooray! Curt was thrilled, but just looked at me funny when I suggested a moment of silence for this great moment in shed history.
In the evening, we went with a group of friends to see Elizabeth- The Golden Years. It was a visual feast and a great little film even with the historical embellishments.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Sun is Out! The Sun is Out!

Okay, well not completely. It is popping in and out of the clouds though, which is good considering the in-the-crapper weather we've had lately. I'm still pale, but in a happier mood.

Stevie Nicks Fajita Round Up

This is a skit from Saturday Night Live a few years back featuring Lucy Lawless parodying Stevie Nicks, who I adore. Very good stuff.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Translucent and Lacking Vitamin D

Sun. I need sun. It has been raining for about two weeks and not a single ray of unblocked sun. I'm crabby and can see my veins through my skin.

America's Next Top Model- Week 5

Just look at Heather (autistic girl) below. Pretty, pretty Heather. Unfortunately, this was not Heather's best week ever, but I still love her and am inspired. She started off badly by sitting around with the other gals offering her opinion of everyone's weak spots. Bad form. I think she may have been making an attempt at adapting to the loathsome social norms of the top model dream house. She does not need to go there.

The first exercise this week was to go to a gym and strike poses while bouncing on a long trampoline. Benny Ninja, voguing legend (we'll get to that later), was the posing coach. Many of the girls did reasonably well at this exercise, some were complete spazzes. Then there was Heather (autistic girl). She was alone in her total spastic universe. Fortunately, she had a good sense of humor about it, as she does most things. However, when she watches the show, she will realize that she looked like a brain damaged chimpanzee throwing itself against a wall. Not so fun to watch.

Next the ladies had to use what they learned on the trampoline by posing and expressing an emotion while being lifted by a professional figure skater... on the ice! Yes!! Most of the girls had never seen ice, except in their cocktails, let alone been on skates. There were varying degrees of success. Monique posed well, but her "sorrow" was expressed in a big pouty lip. I covered my eyes. Skater man didn't even attempt to lift Sarah (fattie) over his head. She did okay on the posing though. Then came Heather (autistic girl). It was tragic. I don't think she is accustomed to a lot of touch from strangers, and may have been afraid of the ice. Let's just summarize her performance with the image of the chimpanzee set forth in the previous paragraph. Lisa (stripper) won the challenge. She has low self esteem and needed the boost.

The judging challenge was to pose up on the roof of a building and be a high fashion gargoyle. Yup. You read it right. Anyway, most of the girls did well considering how lame the idea was. However, Ambriel (musical theater major) was terrified of heights and it showed. Sarah (fattie) apparently didn't know what a gargoyle was and instead posed as a hamburger waitress or something. Heather, as you can see below, was again gorgeous.

When it came to judging, our lovely autistic girl got harshly critiqued by the judges for never looking at the camera, but instead offering only profile shots. Beautiful shots, but profile. As a result, she didn't register in the top three. Sarah (fattie hamburger waitress) should have been eliminated for her lame picture but wasn't. Crime. Instead, Janet (pretty athlete type) was sent packing. Sad.

Okay, so the Benny Ninja, voguing legend, business. What the hell? Curt and I can barely watch this guy. He takes his "craft" of posing/voguing so seriously that it embarrasses us. Oh, and wait, didn't voguing become terminally uncool the very moment that Madonna did it? When a middle aged white woman, no matter how pretty or rich, co-opts a piece of an underground black gay subculture and broadcasts it to the masses, it is not just sad, but over. Over, Benny.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

King of Lame, but Proud?

My first ever tag comes from Melinda June, who, after 35 years of acquaintance, knows my life is one lame moment followed by the next. But of which lameness am I proud? Here is the assignment:
TO DO: List 5 things you do, did or like that some may consider “totally lame,” but that you are totally proud of.
Here we go:
  1. I am a Creative Memories consultant. Yup. That's got to win a lame prize or count as three lamities or something. It really is cooler than you think. Host a party at your home to find out. I can hear the phone ringing now.
  2. I love Stevie Nicks. God how I love her. I nearly spoke in tongues at her concert two years ago and have been known to sing Stand Back and Edge of Seventeen over and over and over in my car while driving to Iowa. Though she sounds like she's been dating Jack Daniels and the Marlboro Man for 40 years, you have got to at least respect her longevity. Or maybe you don't.
  3. In college, one of my roommates approached me 25 minutes before she had to leave for class and asked for help with her paper. She had only written 4 sentences at that point, which was a little lame in itself, but that will be on her list. So I sat down at my little blue electric and cranked out a 750 word paper by just by adding lots of flowery language and pure unadulterated bullshit. She got a B+. I'm not proud I helped her cheat. I'm proud my bullshit got a B+.
  4. In the late eighties, I got a little addicted to having really tall hair and sort of did a modified version of mall bangs, but stood up most of the hair on my head in a stylish sort of way. I still look back at those pictures and think I looked good, real good. (Who doesn't at 23?) A boyfriend at the time once said to me, "It's okay to have a lot of hair products, but do you have to use them all at the same time?" We didn't last. And he's now dead. Not by my hand.
  5. As you might know from reading older posts, I have two webbed toes on each foot. Chang and Eng on my left foot are the most webbed. Occasionally, I'll draw smiley faces on their toe nails and think I'm the funniest guy on earth. I especially enjoy it if they are still smiling back at me when I take my socks off at the end of the day. I should be careful not to amuse myself to death.

Sadly, Melinda June tagged all the people I know in blog land. A blog nerd with no friends. *sigh*

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to The...

...farmer's market. Okay, so it's Sunday morning at about 8:30 a.m. and I am driving to the farmer's market. I'm on a two lane one way street in the left lane (with the parking lots on my left) and there is an older maroon Toyota in the right lane just a few feet in front of me. As the parking lot entrance approaches on my left, the maroon Toyota starts turning in to it from the right lane causing me to slam on my brakes in order to miss the idiot driving the Toyota. I was WILDLY UNHAPPY and laid on the horn a few times, vocalized some choice words loudly, then followed the moron in to the parking lot. To get the market, I have to walk right in front of idiot driver's car. Without paying much attention, I say rather loudly "Do you ever LOOK before you change lanes???" Rather quickly, the passenger door opens and I'm soon face to face with a ferocious looking 4' 5" Hmong grandma. Actually, it was really more like my sternum to her face, but it felt much worse because she was having none of my ranting. So, I let it go and moved on quickly to start and finish my shopping because I'm certain that within minutes grandma is going to go to all the Hmong vendors, make them raise their prices just for me, then spit on my produce. Bad grandma.
But that's not all. When I cross the street there are three guys looking at me. A few things are pretty clear to me about these guys:
1. They have no real interest in the market beyond waiting for their wives to get done.
2. My near miss is the coolest thing they've ever seen before 9:00 a.m.
3. There was some look in their eyes that said they wanted to bond with me over my near death experience. (I dramatize, but you never know what could have happened without prompt braking.)
Sure enough, as I approach them they start smiling and laughing and saying things like "Do you need any witnesses?" "That was pretty cool." "Do you want us to beat 'em up?" I reply by saying it has taken me 20 years to get used to Minnesota drivers and I'm still surprised. I also advise them to watch for the car's occupants and let me know if they can take them in a fight. They were still chuckling as walked away, but I imagine they caught a glimpse of grandma shortly thereafter and instinctively knew she could kick all their asses in about 30 seconds. Bad mean grandma.