Saturday, January 31, 2009
Friday, January 30, 2009
I have a slightly used 2008 Guide to the Caribbean I could donate in a couple of weeks.
I am trying to talk her into taking the kids to Mt. Rushmore with me after school lets out. She wants to go somewhere alone with her husband. Whatever, if that sort of thing interests you. Chicago with Captain America or a van full of kids to South Dakota. Seems like a no-brainer to me. I think we could even make room for Mom.
In other news:
Jeremy J and I were talking about irony yesterday, and I found this thing which just cracked me up . . . because I am a geek who finds jokes about literary jargon funny. Someone was looking for examples of irony and someone else responded with corrections to the Alaniss Morissette song "Ironic" which ironically isn't.
Are you still reading?
An old man turned ninety-eight. He won the lottery and died the next day . . . of chronic emphysema from inhalation of the latex particles scratched off decades' worth of lottery tickets.
A black fly in your Chardonnay . . . poured to celebrate the successful fumigation of your recently purchased vineyard in southern France.
A death row pardon two minutes too late . . . because the governor was too busy watching Dead Man Walking to grant clemency any earlier.
Rain on your wedding day . . . to Ra, the Egyptian sun-god.
A free ride when you've already paid . . . all of your money to the good-natured cab driver when you mistook him for a mugger.
The good advice that you just didn't take . . . after reading Norman Vincent Peale's The Power of Positive Thinking and resolving that the key to success is making your own decisions.
Mr. Play-it-Safe was afraid to fly. He packed his suitcase and kissed his kids goodbye. He waited his whole d*** life to take that flight. And as the plane crashed down, he thought, Well isn't this nice . . . now I'll never make it to the National Association of Aviophobics conference in Reno, NV.
A traffic jam when you're already late . . . to receive an award from the Municipal Planning Board for reducing the city's automobile congestion 80 percent.
A no-smoking sign on your cigarette break . . . at the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco corporate offices in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife . . . with which to kill your spouse for sleeping with the young soup chef who works at the Au Bon Pain.
Meeting the man of my dreams and then meeting his beautiful wife . . . who happens to be the psychiatrist I recently hired in hopes of improving my luck with the opposite sex.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
1. I was born in Heidelberg, Germany.
2. My birth certificate is on file in the National Archives.
3. My first job was working for my dad numbering furniture store flyers by hand.
4. I graduated from Mankato State with a degree in Business Administration/Linguistics.
5. I went to work for my dad.
6. I coordinated a supervised visitation program in a house near Loring Park in Minneapolis.
7. I graduated from St. Cloud State with a degree in English.
8. I went to work for my dad.
9. I led storytime at my local library for two years and my checks were signed by the mayor . . . my dad.
10. I have never seen ET or ridden on a snowmobile.
11. I wanted to get married on Valentine's Day but figured it was too nauseating.
12. I can take you on every major ride at Magic Kingdom in just under four hours.
13. Sometimes I like to watch Lawrence Welk on Sunday on PBS. So what.
14. My hair is naturally dishwater blonde. Surprise!
15. I'm not a fan of marshmallows.
16. I can play the clarinet.
17. I always got white milk in elementary school. Geek.
18. I like my eggs over hard.
19. I qualify to join the Daughters of the American Revolution, but I don't really want to.
20. I walked through a revolving door with Reggie Jackson in Cleveland, Ohio. (I had to be told afterwards I had done this.)
21. I like to cook but not clean up.
22. When I was little, I dreamed of getting locked in the library overnight.
23. For a while I tried hyphenating my name. Mary-Lisa
24. You can call me Mary Lisa or Lisa. If you went to school with me you can call me Mary, but it has always made me cringe.
25. I go for the cheap laugh.
And a bonus thing because I adore her:
26: AMBER IS A BRIDE!!
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
We started a new session of ECFE today. Since Toddler D turned two we had to move up to the "big kid" 2-5 year old class. I was a little nervous going into a new group. It seemed all right. I knew a couple of people and Toddler D actually did better with the older crowd than he had the babies. Probably comes from hanging out with your older brother and sister who are actually adults.
When class was done I asked smart and sassy ECFE coordinator Cathy what I should be doing to prepare D for our long departure.
"Oh, leave him a picture."
What? That's it?
"More than likely he won't remember you were gone."
Well, yes, but what if he spends the whole week crying at the door?
"Will your mother stick to his routine?"
I doubt it.
"Well, anyway, at this age they still have a poor concept of time and he will get used to the fact that you're gone."
That makes me feel better . . . I guess.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
With love and thanks to Grandma Malmberg and her scrapbooks.
Swedish Nursery Rhyme
by Ruth Miller
Sleep, little willow,
Winter lingers long;
Still sleep birch and heather,
Bluebells and robin song.
Spring will come at last,
The apple tree will bloom.
Sleep on, little willow,
Winter will be over soon.
Sun eyes will look at you,
Sun arms will cradle you,
The flowers will wear
A butterfly sheen.
One more sunshine prayer,
Little willow, and you will be green.
Monday, January 26, 2009
My goodness we take ourselves seriously. Who has time to read other people's blogs and get their undies in bundle like this and start threatening people?
Well, I do know. I grew up in the family's weekly newspaper business. People got their undies in a bundle all the time over things you just never thought possible. As far as I know no one ever threatened Dad's safety . . . no, I take that back. We had a powerline come through our county in the late 70s. Guns came out and the like. As far as I know, no one ever threaten Dad's family.
That does not mean we did not see our share of "crazies" at the paper. Oh, my yes. Oh, yes. We saw people angry because their classified ad had the wrong phone number (legitimately frustrating), the birth date of their great grandfather was wrong in the obituary (it should have been right), the price of the newspaper too high (sorry, it stays at 50 cents).
Sometimes they were just confused. I took call from a woman once who was upset because her children had a garage sale and sold her measuring cups before she went into the nursing home. What could I say? I'm sorry. I'll see what I can do.
We had a man in one day who wanted his life back. He felt Dad and the rest of the world's media had stolen it. Yep, us and the BBC. I'm sorry. I'll see what I can do.
We had a man in one day who had photographic proof -- from the internet -- that 9/11 was a hoax. Fascinating. Yes, well, we don't really cover national news.
Putting things in "print" comes at a cost. People will read it. It feels great when you write something that everybody loves and everybody agrees. It feels not great when people read what you wrote and have a reaction which seems disproportionate to the situation.
Dad always says it's okay when people react to what you wrote because at least you know they're reading.
There are certain topics you're just not going to see me take a stand on because I'm not in the mood to argue these days. I've left it intentionally a little bit complicated to comment on my blog. There are things about my life and family you just don't need to know.
Unless you're Barbara Walters. Then ask away. I'd even answer that famous Katherine Hepburn question about what kind of tree I'd be. I'd be a willow.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Friday, January 23, 2009
I miss the way she kept the kitchen floor clean.
I just had no idea that even in her advanced arthritic age, she was doing such a tremendous job of keeping the floor spotless. Apparently I thought we lived just that cleanly. We don't. Look, that dog could not see, could not hear, could not smell. If some bit of snack fell to the floor, we had to get down on our hands and knees and thump the floor so she would feel the vibration. Apparently, that was all for her amusement in her senior years because, I'm telling you, now that she's gone, the floor's a mess -- Play-Doh (brand modeling clay, "Molded results will vary by age and skill of child."), spaghetti, cracker bits, dust, crusty cheese, crusty bread. Good heavens! It's no wonder she remained slightly overweight despite her low-cal senior dog food.
So, I am weighing the pros and cons of a new puppy. CONS: house training, puppy chewing, barking, yipping, letting outside in 30 below weather, vet bills, kenneling bills. PROS: cleaner kitchen floor.
Let me think.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
I got a lot of it finished and made one more emergency purchase from ebay. I'll be set. The next thing to pack will be my guilt, of course. We will be gone NINE days. What kind of mother leaves her children for NINE days to sit in the sunshine with a chocolaty martini in her hand and SPF 50+ on her shoulders?! What kind of daughter leaves her mother with Toddler D for that long?
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
I just feel for those men. Bless them, that is a job I would not want. They look old and tired by the time they get done -- like they have the weight of the world on their shoulders. I suppose they do. I remember thinking that Bill Clinton looked liked he'd aged about 20 years on the inauguration day of George Bush and I thought it again today. What a relief it must have been to get on that helicopter and just fly away. Good luck, new guy. See you all later. I'm going to bed . . . for the next six months.
I think I would have made a good protocol officer. You could see them on the news coverage with their headsets and walkie talkies. They were carrying giant notebooks and each one looked like the cat who swallowed the canary. Nobody knew what to do today so everybody was listening. "Step here? Oh, okay. Go up now? Fine." I imagine every other day in the office of protocol is filled with smiles through clenched teeth. "Don't call Queen Elizabeth 'Betsy.' Don't call the Queen 'Betsy.' Please, please, please. Don't call the Queen 'Betsy.'"
Add to today the fact that I am a Live Breaking News! junkie and it has been a big day.
Friends and loved ones, I know a few of you won't agree with me. You didn't vote for the new guy (guess what, neither did I) or you think our country isn't really worth the trouble. You know I respect that.
And I think we love each other anyway.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Well, yesterday I came downstairs to make a second cup of coffee and left the bathroom door open upstairs. Who sees a potential problem involving Toddler D here?
Toddler D was watching TV (yes, I know wrong that is, too) and playing toys. It will take me three minutes to make my second cup of coffee.
When I returned upstairs Toddler D . . . okay, I don't know what happened exactly, but Toddler D is swishing the empty wand around the toilet and there is a wet scrubber thing on the floor and blue toilet water everywhere. Thank you, blue dye, I could see there was dye on his hands and all down the front of his yellow shirt but NOT anywhere near his mouth. I am hoping that the Clorox counter-acted any effect of sticking his hands in the toilet. I don't really like to think about it.
You know, I usually like to photo document these cute little mischief making scenes, but in the interest of keeping family court services away from our house, I'm just going to let you use your imagination.
Monday, January 19, 2009
It reminded me (and him, too) of a time a few years ago when he and I were singing a hymn for special music. I gave a long speech (because Brent was picking the song on his 12 string guitar and had to put on a lot of picks. Note to self: Next time marry triangle player) about how great hymns are and how they are written on your heart and how people in Alzheimer units can't remember their own children, but they can remember the words to "Amazing Grace."
Well, I finished this speech and . . . nothing. Neither one of us could think how it started or how it went. Finally the congregation started singing for us.
Which, I guess, proved my point.
Friday, January 16, 2009
My new vehicle: It's still working great. The check AWD light came on today. I called down to the dealer and my local service person said she'd been getting calls all morning. When it's this cold . . . the car computers . . . sometimes get confused . . .
Other blogs: Dear sweet little blog writer Margaret was so excited to see a rainbow in the daytime sky the other day and wrote a beautiful entry, and I promptly wrote back to point out that those were sun dogs which are a . . . sign of very cold . . . weather . . .
Then I apologized.
Toddler D: Actually asked to put his socks on today. I think it was because his . . . feet were cold . . .
Colin: Has been home . . . because school is cancelled due to . . .
You know, it's supposed to warm up this weekend.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
On an up note, the high next Tuesday is supposed to be 30. That will be a 60 degree difference from the low today.
I'm getting out my swimsuit.
Diane B. says when she gets angry at the weather, she remembers that if we lived somewhere warmer, we would have to deal with bugs and snakes. So on a day like yesterday, she goes around saying "bugsandsnakes bugsandsnakes."
I have just read a blog entry from Cyberspace which was an excellent reminder to thank my lucky stars once again that I am not a prairie pioneer girl.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
So Saturday, I got a new vehicle. My last car was a zippy and sporty sedan purchased so that Big Daddy, Colin and I could zip around the country in search of adventure. The week I picked it up our adventure arrived in the form of being pregnant with Toddler D. He was my 37th birthday surprise. Not a bad surprise. Not an unwanted surprise. Just a surprise. I would have purchased something that was easier to fit the large "I'm an older parent" car seat. Ha! I would have purchased something in which I could fit the large pregnant older parent.
I live a short block away from my small town's only car dealer. (My town is small, but we are number one in the country at selling business forms and hospital software and number one at selling Chevys in our region.) I like to shop at my local dealer. It went something like this:
Hello, Randy, it's ML. My lease is up.
I'd like an all-wheel drive with a DVD player.
Okay. I see there's one in Shakopee. We could probably get
it on Saturday. You want heated seats and auto start, I assume.
Abso - stinkin - lutely.
Okay, talk to you later.
My car dealer knows me. There is no mess, no fuss at my car dealer. Saturday my AWD with DVD player arrived and we drove my old car the one block, picked up my new car and drove it back one block. It's perfect.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Blah, blah, blah. It's Writer's Block Day! Happy Writer's Block! Merry Writer's Block Day!
Let's see. I'm an English major (twice, of sorts). What were we supposed to do? Write down everything we could think of and sort it out later. Stream of consciousness.
Great! Let's try:
*I don't understand what Twitter is. Facebook without the games? What's the point of that? Note to self: Have Cyberspace Sarah explain.
*I'm cold again.
*Who has eaten all the chocolate chips out of my trail mix?
*The high on Thursday is supposed to be -7.
*Who does Oprah think she is?
*I got a new car on Saturday. Had to -- my lease was up. It's "black granite." I wanted my first car to be black. My dad told told me I wouldn't like it. I got blue. HA! Take that, Dad . . . 20 years later . . . I guess . . .
*Where ARE Max and Ruby's parents?
* Note to self: Make list for Schwan's Man next week ahead of time and stop boring him with idle "lonely at home mommy" conversation.
*Toddler D and I cleaned out toys Monday. We found Ella or Natalie's sock. We have a lot of Mr. Potato Head pieces.
*It's 26 days until the Big Anniversary/Birthday/Birthday Trip. Who's counting? Note to self: Practice cramming travel size bottle in small plastic Ziploc to appease TSA.
*I'm cold. Tomorrow I am definitely wearing long underwear.
*Note to self: Stop playing Facebook games long enough to pay for Girl Scout cookies.
* I just finished reading The Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian. What the heck? Did not see it coming. Feel like I should have.
How boring was that? Poor you. Think good thoughts for tomorrow.
Monday, January 12, 2009
Truly funny friend Carol came up with the idea of a potluck where you bring the most horrid dish you can think of. The concept of a Spam-Cheez Whiz fondue was brought up . . . with Bac-O bits. I, of course, would bring a lime Jell-O with marshmallows and banana pieces. Being allergic to banana, I would not have to eat it. Before Christmas, my beloved hairdresser Sharon said she would never eat another lil' smokie in BBQ sauce as long as she lived because her grandmother ate them night and day. I'm sure her grandmother's been dead for 30 years or more, but poor Sharon is scarred for life.
I think, though, the conversation started because that end of the table was discussing being brought up on certain foods that sound awful to others. It was a woman who still loves kipper snacks who started it. I don't know what that is, but she still loves them. A small fish from a can or something.
We ate a lot of Kraft macaroni and cheese growing up. I just couldn't possible eat it today due to the powdered cheese factor, but I loved it at the time. Peanut butter sandwiches with brown sugar is another favorite memory from childhood. Sometimes I think of making one of those. White rice with sugar (see entry on Scandinavian white foods from a few days ago). My Grandma Malmberg (not Gigi) made a peanut butter sandwich with chocolate. I wonder how she made it.
I also wonder why I have a sweet tooth.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
All right. This is a picture of Colin eating an Oreo.
I'll try once more. I know a beautiful memory is on the way. Fourth photo last folder:
I give up.
Friday, January 9, 2009
Yet, some of us eat lutefisk. Friends and loved ones, do you know what I am talking about when I say lutefisk. It's dried cod or other white fish reconstituted in a lye solution. No, really. It's a Scandinavian heritage thing. It's white and it's boiled in white milk and prepared with a white sauce and white mashed potatoes and the whole thing is covered in butter and eaten with white potato sausage and lefse which is (altogether, now) white.
I haven't had any since my grandmother passed away over 20 years ago. Even though I am a first born, I just don't feel that sense of personal responsibility to keep that particular tradition going. I know people who like to eat it annually, but I have never met anyone who said, "Boy, I sure do love lutefisk. Eat it weekly."
My memory of it is that it doesn't actually taste that bad, but you have to get past the truly horrific smell and the gelatin like texture which -- as we know -- is a deal breaker for me right there.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Huh. I'll be darned. There's a capital E on every m&m . . . as well, I suppose, as a lower case "w."
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
I always try to be pleasant enough. I'm not here to judge. I think she dislikes the fact that my spotting her took some of the wind out of her sails for judging some of my bad pre-marriage behavior. I don't really know. I don't really care. Can't we all just get along? Haven't we all made some bad decisions down the line? Didn't Jesus have something to say about this in John 8?
I don't really feel like I'm missing out on much because she doesn't like me, but she makes it all the more awkward by being extra friendly to my husband. What shall my response be to this?
It would be a weird world if everybody liked us all the time. I understand. My personality just rubs some people the wrong way. I've been told I am elitist and condescending -- in one sitting, come to think of it. I don't see myself that way, but I can sort of see why others might see me that way.
I think I am very shy. One on one, I'm fine. Talking alone in front of large groups, no problem, but I have a hard time in social group settings. Fortunately or unfortunately, I have a melodramatic personality, which I imagine could appear stand-offish or snobby in these types of settings. I am just coping.
Are you following any of this?
What is it that makes us say, "I certainly don't like you, but you have NO REASON not to like me."
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Big Daddy Brent and I are actually looking at the shorts this week as we are taking a big trip next month for our big anniversary/birthday/birthday year. We stopped at a store in a larger town the other day because I wanted to try the shorts on in person and not just order them and send them back (which, it turns out, is what would have happened). It felt more than a little weird. They only had two different kinds of shorts out and everyone else in the store was picking through the Christmas clearance sweaters. If I'd had more time I certainly would have too, but I didn't.
Nope, I just zipped to the back and tried on my shorts. My little ghost like legs stuck out of the shorts and immediately started turning purple . . . because it's cold. It's hard to determine just how attractive shorts are when you have to imagine sandals where your wool socks are.
It's actually even sort of hard to look at the models in the Eddie Bauer catalog. I keep thinking, "You must be so cold."
Monday, January 5, 2009
But now we are all up and most of us are dressed and on our way back to a regular routine.
I have a big ol' bag of mixed emotions about this. Our family does so much better on a regular schedule. We get tired and feisty when were not. But what a fun, fun vacation time we had together.
The big mystery of Christmas vacation is What Happened to Colin's Snowpants? He has two pair: one for school and one for home. They send the school pants home at holiday breaks to be washed. I remember seeing them in a laundry basket, but I don't remember if I washed them, and they are no where to be found. No where. We've looked in logic places. We've looked in illogical places. We've called both grandmas and made them look. We've call Jeremy and made him look in his car. No where.
It's not like a baby sock or something that got eaten by the washer. It's a big pair of elementary kid snowpants.
It seems like the school pair gets lost every other year, but usually it's . . . in school. You know, where there's a lot of chaos and several hundred pair of black snow pants. What could possibly have happened to them between here and the washing machine?
It's only one floor.
Sunday, January 4, 2009
Saturday, January 3, 2009
During those first awkward years, when someone asked me what I did I would say, "Well, I worked for my father in the publishing field, but I have left that now." Thereby sort of leaving the impression that I was between careers. Lately, I have embraced the term "homemaker" and from my dear friend Patty I have added the phrase "practising mothercraft." It's fabulous. It sounds all artsy craftsy.
Frankly, I very seldom have to answer the question. I live in a very small town. Everyone knows that I worked for my dad, now I don't. No one really cares.
So imagine my surprise the other night at the New Year's Eve thing when I was introduced to a man I did not know and the FIRST question out of his mouth was, "And what do you do?" Well, my gut response was "nothing," but it was New Year's Eve; I was all dolled up; and, to be honest, there was just something in his tone that led me to believe he expected me to say something more impressive than "nothing."
Before I had a chance to say anything, the woman I was talking to shouted out enthusiastically, "She's a thespian!!" Now, look kids, it's true I have done my share of bad community dinner theatre and preschool productions, but it is not something I brag about. So I laughed heartily and said in my most charming, dressed up, cocktail party voice, "I like to say I practice the ancient art of home economics (wink, wink)."
He looked startled . . . and puzzled. "Oh! You're a home ec teacher?"
I didn't have the heart to tell him I don't think they have those anymore, so I said in that humoring way Auntie Mame has when she goes to visit the Upsons, "Why no, I practice home economics (wink, wink)."
"Oh," he said as his face fell. "You're an at-home mom."
And off he went.
Will I never learn the subtle art of cocktail party conversation?
Friday, January 2, 2009
"Well, at least make them shorter."
So. In an effort to please this particular section of my readership, I shall end here. Mark, this one is for you.
Don't say I never did anything for you.
Thursday, January 1, 2009
I can't quite make it to Twelfth Night like my mom used to do, but I do like to leave the lights up through New Year's because I think it's more festive and I'm just not done until then.
But now it's time.
I tried to ease into it over the course of the week putting things away that no one would notice much . . . empty chocolate Advent calendars . . . stockings . . . I threw away half a dozen candy canes no one seemed to be eating . . . stale cookies. Now it's time for the tree, though. I have an artificial tree, so there will be no trauma of seeing it outside on the curb until tree pickup day. That's a good thing. Those trees . . . it's like driving past the body every day. I know you real tree lovers enjoy your smell and all that, but I just can't deal with the death.
The ornaments are another project. For whatever reason, I rebox the Hallmark ornaments in their boxes which just got tossed in a pile at decorating time. And the glass ornaments have to be packaged in such a way as not to get broken. And I label the kids' ornaments so they'll know which ones are theirs.
We should create some sort of tradition which celebrates the life of our Christmas which has passed. A memorial service for Christmas. A cake? No, we'll be having one for Baby D's second birthday and the poor kid is getting short changed the way things are so close to Christmas. A movie? A lasagna? Trip to Florida?! Ideal, but probably not.
I have to think about this.
Happy New Year, anyway!!