Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Hoorary a Tag

MNMom has tagged me. Hooray!

5 things found in your bag:
1. A testicle
2. Oh, look, another testicle.
Sorry, couldn't find anything else. Hee hee hee.

5 favorite things in your room:
1. A picture from shortly after Curt and I got together of the two of us napping at a friend's cabin.
2. Our king size bed with a great mattress.
3. A door that opens to our backyard. Convenient for letting the pooches out in the morning.
4. A print of the Lower Dam in Decorah by Carl Homstad.
5. A gorgeous piece of pottery by an artist who's name eludes me.

5 things you have always wanted to do:
1. See Europe
2. Take cooking classes and get really good with a knife
3. Be fluent in a foreign language other than pig latin
4. Sing in a musical. (specifically I want to be Elphaba in Wicked, but fat chance- oh and I can't sing that well and am probably too fat to fly)
5. Be the same person with my family that I am with my friends

5 things you are currently into:
1. Blogging
2. Watching our early spring garden grow
3. Quilting
4. Getting ready for my cycling trip
5. Walking the dogs

5 people you'd like to tag:
1. Scott J
2. Ruth J (start a blog! You shall have a computer at home in three days)
3. Kirsten
4. Mindy June
5. Any gentle reader who needs some inspiration

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

What Have I Got Coming?

My employee C and I were talking at work today about the book "The Secret", which I have never read. C hasn't either but has seen the movie. There's a movie?? I didn't get as far as asking who played the lead- Cher, Buddy Ebson, Marcia Wallace- but the gist of it I guess is that you get in return whatever you put out into the universe. Well, let's see, that would be karma or the golden rule. I'll skip the book as I seem to grasp the basic principle.

Anyway, it seems that whenever C speaks ill of someone, her fetus in fetu flares up on her forehead, gnashing it's teeth and poking its finger in the air, as some sort of karmic retribution. (Actually it is just a big zit, but we don't have to tell her that.) I told her that she's in pretty poor shape if she needs a parasitic twin to act as her conscience. So, today to make up for her bad behavior, she very kindly helped out an older blind man regain his bearings downtown.

Oh wait, no, that wasn't why she helped. Apparently there is some ongoing thing on Dateline NBC, where they create ethical dilemmas for strangers (do I help? do I ignore the problem?), then film them to see how they react. C is convinced that she has been filmed twice ignoring things where she really should have helped. So, today she was not passing up any opportunity to appear helpful on camera. She not only helped the blind man, but picked up a piece of paper that had blown away and returned it to its owner then looked around triumphantly for the camera. Afterwards, she kvetched about looking awful on camera wearing her tennis shoes with her suit. The milk of human kindness in bad shoes, is still the milk of human kindness, right? Tomorrow, she'll probably drag me out for a walk in some Manolo Blahnik stilettos to find someone to help. (That's her in the heels, not me.) With her luck she'll find someone to help, then fall out of her heels onto her ass and we'll all be watching it Friday night on Dateline. Poor C.
(Hi C! I know you love reading about yourself in print.)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

A Lovely Sunday

I must say that today was the perfect spring day. It started out a little cloudy, but by noon was beginning to clear. Once the clouds were gone, the temperature shot up from the low 50's to the low 70's. Lovely.

We spent about 3 hours out in the back yard this afternoon clearing away more old growth out of the garden and removing some of the mulch around the cold hardy plants. Our plants are going to be crazy big this year. We're beside ourselves with anticipation. Of course, the dogs joined us out back. Louis plopped down in the middle of the lawn and enjoyed the sunshine. He warms up nicely since he's black and just lays there looking all blissed out. Claire went between lying on the patio in the full sun to lying next to the shed in the shed chewing on sticks. She's our wood chipper. Dogs have it rough at our house. Being cute is a full time job I guess.

After the garden we cleaned off the patio and put got our patio furniture out of winter storage. Then we did an amazing thing. We used the the chaise lounges. To most folks, this wouldn't be much of an accomplishment, but we bought the darn things two years ago and have kept ourselves so busy in the back yard we just haven't used them. Today though, we each soaked up the sun for about 15 minutes. Sweet. Curt got just the slightest sun burn on his bald head. I got a little color on my cheeks. Radiant.

After that, Curt took off for a walk, while I prepared soup. Not just any soup, but a soup recipe from the Cheesecake Maven called Upstate Minestrone Soup. I was attracted to the recipe because it has meatballs. I'm a meatball guy, what can I say? Curt was a little whiny about one of the ingredients- cabbage- until he tasted the soup. YUMMMMMMYYYYYY! Thanks mucho, Maven.

After dinner, we took the pooches for a long walk, stopped to visit with neighbor Judy and headed home. A lovely Sunday indeed.

14 Year Olds Playing Volleyball: Not as Spastic as You Might Think

Last night, Curt and I went to the Burnsville Volleyball Warehouse where we hooked up with MnMom who was watching one of her 14 year old twins play volleyball. I was expecting lots of flailing limbs, falling on the floor, crying (only saw it once) and general uncoordination. I was pleasantly surprised to see the girls running plays and showing some skills. I think Curt, who is still an 'A' ranked volleyball player at age 45, was even more pleasantly surprised. All in all, it was a fun evening, barring two small problems:

1. A mom from the opposing team was just plain rude and yelled things like "It's okay girls. You can do it. They're not very fast." Okay, first of all, you hag with man hands in your Chic high waisted mom jeans, these girls are 14 and this is league play. We're trying to encourage skill development and sportsmanship. I didn't see a sports scholarship in her daughter's future either. Secondly, we're sitting less then 18 inches from you. You do not want to see MNMom go after her car aerial and open a can of whoop ass all over you. You just don't'.

2. Both teams had nearly identical uniforms. It was hard for me to keep up with which side of the net our team was on. Couldn't one team have worn a dazzling broach to distinguish themselves from the other?? So, confusing. I suggested to MNMom that I could design fabulous new uniforms for the team, which reminded me of this clip from Kids in the Hall. This one is for you MNMom and twins-

Saturday, April 19, 2008

My Chi Is Flowing Better Now

...thanks to a healthy prostate. Har har. In last night's post I mentioned improving my home's feng shui by getting rid of some things that are unused and are creating unneeded mental and physical clutter. And so I did. Here is how much lighter I am already:

7 pairs of jeans
9 casual/dress pants
20 casual shirts
4 dress shirts
2 sweatshirts
4 sweaters
8 shorts
4 athletic shorts
2 pairs of shoes

and most painful of all....

about 15 lbs of cotton fabric (many, many yards).

The thing that feels best that I got rid of are all the pants- these were skinny pants that have been following me around for about 8 years. Who the hell needs that kind of reminder every time they open the closet? Out with the bad.

In with the good.... I only bought one piece of pottery this afternoon at the ACC show. Mental discipline. Yeah right.

Friday, April 18, 2008

A Geek's Night Out

Because we're giant squares, Curt and I ventured out to Dave and Buster's for an evening of retarditude playing video games. Of course the place was filled to the brim with twenty somethings, all of whom were using D&B as a warm up to their late evenings out. Not so for us. We were in at 6:30 and out by 9:20. Yeah, baby. That's living dangerously.
So, it's not even 10:30 and I'm heading off to bed to read. No, not a great novel, but quilting magazines. I've a got a foot high stack of them on my night stand. Thank deity of your choosing I'm not able to sleep in clothes, because I'm pretty certain I would pick a flannel night gown at this point in my descent into old womanhood.
Tomorrow could be a slightly more exciting day. In the morning, I'm going to improve both my feng and my shui by doing some lighten my load (of stuff) activities followed by a trip to exciting St. Paul for the American Craft Council show. There will be potters, so I should perhaps keep my credit cards locked up. Nah.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Another Sure Sign of Spring: Gay Mallards

About two blocks down in our lovely suburb, there lives a sort of crazy neighbor. They have a "sculpture" made of plywood and bowling balls in their front yard, about 50 bits of inflatable yard decor for each holiday, and each spring these folks set out a little hard-sided kiddie pool, perch a ramp up the side and wait for the ducks to arrive. Every year, two male mallards are the first to arrive. They spend their days hanging out under the bird feeders in the yard and swimming circles in the kiddie pool. A cute gay couple. (Ducks are exceedingly cute, aren't they?) Some mornings, we'll drive by on our way to work and observe about 6-8 male mallards hanging out together in the pool, clearly wrapping up a night of gay duckie drinking and debauchery. In all the years we've lived here, we've only ever seen males. Today, however, we saw a female mallard (see likeness above) perched on the side of the pool. Did one of our boys switch teams? Nope. There was a softball in the yard, so we naturally assumed she must be a visiting lesbian. Ah, spring.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

And the winner is....

A chicken!! My friend RB and I went to Chicago this past weekend for the International Quilt Show. As always, there were many spectacular quilts on display. The one pictured above was the best in show. It was amazing to say the least. From this distance it is hard to see just how cool it is, but here are some amazing things about it:
1. The entire quilt was made with commercial prints and commercially available batiks. Most representational art quilts use lots of hand dyed fabric created specifically for the quilt, or use lots of fabric paints to create the image.

2. The quilt was entirely quilted on a home sewing machine- every feather, every grain of wood. Outstanding.

3. The quilt took one year of planning and three months of vigorous execution to get it right. During execution, the quilter used the local church basement ladies to provide feedback. Church basement ladies rock!

4. Most quilters are women. This quilter was a MAN, baby! Woo hoo!

As usual, there were about 400 vendors to empty our bank accounts. The strangest was an entire double booth devoted to patterns for Bedazzlers. I threatened RB that I was going to buy the Texas! pattern and bedazzle it on the ass of all her pants while she slept. (Note to self: remember not to tell the people selling the tool for affixing Swarovski hot fix crystals that they are selling bedazzlers. They're a bit uppity and humorless.)

The best vendor was Martelli products. Their demonstrator is a handsome young guy in a clingy cotton polo shirt and nicely fit blue jeans. This guy knows how to work a crowd of 10,000 old hens and me. His tactic is this: when you are trying the product, he reaches across the table, puts his hand gently on yours and helps you achieve the correct hand position. SOLD! The ladies (and me) swoon and buy lots of his products. Last year I bought a rotary cutter from this guy without even hearing much of the presentation. RB and I are plotting a booth next year staffed by shirtless cabana boys. We don't know what we'll sell, but it won't matter. We'll still rake in the cash.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Genius Du Jour

About a week ago in the Minneapolis area, a 70 year old grandma wrestled a pit bull mix down a hill after it had killed her 13 year old schnauzer. The grandma had tried to get the dog off her schnauzer and was attacked in the process. The pit bull mix named Vicious was caught two days later and was put down today. The dog's owner, Jacquelyn English admitted that the dog escaped from her yard after her grand daughter left the gate open. Her son was interviewed for the Star Tribune story that ran today. Here are his thoughts on the matter:

English's son, 21-year-old Ronnie English, said Vicious "wasn't really vicious" and blamed Johnston for getting bit by his 70-pound dog.
"The lady socked him," the son said. "What kind of idiot really gets in the middle of a dog fight?"

There is a certain amount of contrition that you would expect from the owners of a dog that killed someone else's family pet. This isn't the right amount.

Monday, April 7, 2008

A Sick and Boring Life

YouTube is just awash with clips from my favorite John Water's film "Female Trouble." In this clip, the glorious Edith Massey, playing Aunt Ida, tries to convince her nephew Gator to bat for the other team.

Can you believe this was subtitled for release in another country?

For 14, you don't look so good

This clip goes out to MNMom who is raising not one but two 14 year old girls. Of course, her parenting skills are slightly more advanced than my dear friend Dawn Davenport here.

From the John Water's flick 'Female Trouble'

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The New Neighbors

This winter, the house that is kitty corner from us across our back yard finally sold and became a group home for developmentally disabled adults. The previous neighbors were a very nice pair, except that, according to other neighbors, they were both bipolar and refused to take meds. We always knew when the guy was manic because suddenly there were household projects going on at all hours of the day and night. Two summers ago, for instance, the man power-washed the deck from 5pm to 11:30 pm every night for just under three weeks. So, when we heard that a group home had moved in we thought it was a nice upgrade. (I must admit that for a moment I envisioned the group homes I ran in my twenties when the movement to empty state hospitals was underway. I had one house where the guys were chasing eachother around with spades and throwing eachother over the railing of the split level entries. That's another story though.)

So, anyway, as we were gardening yesterday, we kept hearing this cooing sound. Cooooo. Cooooo. Cooooo. Cooooo. Finally, Curt asked "Is that Mourning Dove?" I chuckled and said "No, honey, that's one of the group home residents." Curt sort of rolled his eyes. A little later, we hear some music come on followed by louder cooing and a little wailing along to the music. I'm thinking this is kind of charming and, you know, more power to anyone who engages in self expression. I see Curt looking up occasionally and seeming a little puzzled. Finally, he asks me "Is that supposed to be singing?" I say, "Yes. These are the haunting vocal stylings of our new neighbors." To which Curt says, "Sounds more like a nightmare to me ."

Ah, Spring!

I know. I know. It is only early April and we could still get lots of snow and temperatures in the 20's. Pfffft! Yesterday, was a glorious day in Golden Valley- sunny and temperatures in the low 60's. I don't think we've seen that since the middle of October last year. Anyway, it was a great day to focus on springy things.

I started my day at about 6:30 a.m. with a fresh pot of coffee and acrylic craft paints. The unpainted birdhouses had been primed the night before and were just waiting for a bright coating of paint. But, first I got ambitious and added little shingles to one of them. (Word to the wise: don't invite me over to help shingle your home.) While the shingle adhesive was drying, I began to paint the other house. When I stepped back from it to take a look, the tropical colors I thought I had selected, made the birdie domicile look more like a Howard Johnson's for birds just passing through. *sigh* I let that nastiness dry, then got rid of the orange for some green. Work in progress.

Next, I ran some errands that included stopping at my all time favorite quilt shop,
Colorful Quilts, in St. Paul, Best Buy to pick up some geek things for my computer and Rocco Altobelli for a snappy new do. All this and home shortly after noon. Fabulous.

In the afternoon, Curt and I did something we both loved- cleaning up the gardens. This basically involves taking down last seasons expired growth that we kept over the winter, without removing the mulch. Gardeners call these things "winter interest" because sometimes they look pretty in the winter standing up over the snow. Mostly I think we gardeners are just too damn depressed that the season is over to take this stuff down. Or we're lazy. Whatever the case, cleaning it up in the spring is fun because it renews our hope that spring really is coming and it also exposes some new growth that is already pushing up from the cold dirt. So, here is one of many lovely things that were under old foliage:
These little nubs will become this in about 6 weeks. Hooray! (click to enlarge for all it's beautiousness)
After three hours in which we got about 2/3 of the gardens done, we called it quits for the day. Curt suggested a Dairy Queen visit. I love him so. A couple of hours after DQ, I fired up the grill for the first time this year and put on some jazzed up red potatoes and two t-bone steaks (thanks, Dad!) and put some biscuits in the oven. We ate in front of the TV while we watched "La Vie En Rose." If you haven't seen it, do. Of course, the gays love Edith Piaf, just like we love all bigger than life, talented and tragic women who die before their time. It's true.
Then we were off to bed. Curt read 'Middlesex' while I read Quilting Arts magazine. Louis was curled up at the foot of the bed and Claire snored under the bench. A perfect spring day. Ahhhh.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Dead Rabbit

Like Kirelimel, I'm having a strange dream life recently. Last night, I had a dream in which I was about 4 months pregnant. Talk about an oops baby. In the dream, there was no explanation for my pregnancy aside from divine intervention or parthenogenesis- and I didn't even know I had eggs! But, that's not how the public saw it. I was attending a conference on some topic I don't remember, when the subject of pregnant men came up. The majority of attendees believed male pregnancy was the work of, who else, SATAN!! Bravely, I stood up and announced my pregnancy to the group, shamed them a little for being assholes and, get this, also told them that 8 years earlier, I had given birth to a little girl who was now being raised by my sister as my niece. I didn't even know that until I said it. After my little speech, I became a little afraid for my life and the life of my miracle baby and snuck out quietly.

This isn't the first time I've dreamed I was pregnant. In each dream, there is no visible means of giving birth either- no vagina anywhere. Where's miracle baby going to come out?? Anyway, this dream was probably precipitated by two things, The Oprah had on that pregnant "man" from Oregon this week and I looked at my gut in the mirror last night before going to bed, standing there in my underpants, and was horrified. Why can't I have dreams where I'm thin, or at least on the table getting liposuction? Why? :o)

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

America's Next Top Model

I'm going to stop posting about ANTM. The show is now less about modeling and more about cat fighting. I hate watching people treat each other like dirt.

That said, I do need to post a single quote from former supermodel, now ANTM judge, Paulina Poritzkova (sp?). When Katarzsyna approaced the judges tonight with a new haircut, Paulina says, "I like your new haircut. It gets rid of your eastern European tackiness."

Sweet. Thanks for the compliment. That's so nice.