Friday, April 30, 2010

Merry Unbirthday

I am a bit loopy having just finished my free birthday coffee from my local Caribou -- my thirdcaffeinated drink of the day. I think we should all celebrate today, so all together now!!!

A very merry unbirthday
To me
To who?
To me
Oh, you

A very merry unbirthday
To you
Who, me?
To you
Oh, me

Let's all congratulate us with another cup of tea
A very merry unbirthday to you

Now statistics prove
Prove that you've one birthday
Imagine just one birthday every year
Ah, but there are 364 unbirthdays
Precisely why we're gathered here to cheer

A very merry unbirthday
To me?
To you
A very merry unbirthday
For me?
For you
Now blow the candle out, my dear
And make your wish come true
A very merry unbirthday to you

Thursday, April 29, 2010


It's too early for Writer's Block Friday.

We've had our poem.

I've whined enough about my birthday.

What's left this week?

Oooh! How about ice cream? I have sort of a fancy* ice cream machine that I decided I haven't been using enough, so I cranked out a mighty tasty batch of chocolate this week. I normally take my chocolate straight up. I don't really go for chocolate cake either, but this was really, truly good.

I have the cookbook, but you can find it right here on the internet. How fancy!!

* I miss Shelby and having been using her word of the week "fancy" as much as possible.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Suck It Up

Last week my vacuum died and even a mediocre housekeeper like myself knows that sometimes you've got to get out the Hoover and pick up the potato chip crumbs scattered around the ol' dance floor. My vacuum had to be replaced.

Oh, Mary Lisa! I am so sorry! What a miserable use of valuable vacation fund dollars in these difficult economic times.

Thank you, friend and/or loved one. You are so, so right.

Now, I know some of you take your vacuum really seriously, but as we have firmly established by now, I find house cleaning to be a really questionable use of time. It does, after all, just get dirty again. Thankfully, a new issue of Consumer Reports was on the table. (Well, frankly, I don't know how new it was. There's quite a bit of stuff on the table that just gets pushed around to make room for things like eating and such.) Also, thankfully it was an issue rating vacuums and so, I just picked the top rated one in my price range and ordered it on the Internet to be delivered to my home (for 97¢ shipping!). Done, done, and done.

A few days later my new Hoover (No, really. It's actually a Hoover.) arrived. It's shiny blue! Very fancy! Very nice! Very loud! It has power steering or whatever you would call it on a vacuum! I started zipping it around the living room and quickly realized my old vacuum was probably on its death bed a lot longer than I'd thought. This baby was picking everything up. That's when I noticed a tiny red and green light flashing on and off at the bottom. "What is the meaning of this tiny light?" I asked myself.

I dug out the instructions. Now, truthfully, I didn't think I really needed to read them. What's to know? Turn it on. Pick up chips. But there in the instruction book it explained that this little light would tell me when the carpet was clean. Red means it's not. Green means it is.

Great. I figured it would be red all the time. Why do I need a vacuum to tell me my carpet is dirty. I can see that the powder blue carpet that covers my entire first floor is no where NEAR as lovely and pristine as when we moved in. We walk on it. I think the people before must have hovered.

At any rate, the light does turn green and my new vacuum has inspired me to vacuum other areas of the house that were in some neglect -- like under my bed. Well, under my bed as far as the vacuum will reach. You're not supposed to actually move your bed to vacuum.

Are you?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Poem for Tuesday

I was looking for a good birthday poem and having no luck. They were all too cute or too depressing. There seemed to be no middle ground. I noted this frustration to my husband who said . . .

"How about a good pirate poem?"

No, I do not always understand the way he thinks, but how delightful at 51 his mind turns immediately to pirates when he doesn't know what else to think.

So here for my husband -- in honor of my birthday -- is a pirate poem. You may decide for yourself whether or not it is a good pirate poem.

The Pirate Don Durk of Dowdee
by Mildred Plew Meigs

Ho, for the Pirate Don Durk of Dowdee!
He was as wicked as wicked could be,
But oh, he was perfectly gorgeous to see!
The Pirate Don Durk of Dowdee.

His conscience, of course, was as black as a bat,
But he had a floppety plume on his hat
And when he went walking it jiggled - like that!
The plume of the Pirate Dowdee.

His coat it was handsome and cut with a slash,
And often as ever he twirled his mustache
Deep down in the ocean the mermaids went splash,
Because of Don Durk of Dowdee.

Moreover, Dowdee had a purple tattoo,
And struck in his belt where he buckled it through
Were a dagger, a dirk, and a squizzamaroo,
For fierce was the Pirate Dowdee.

So feaful he was he would shoot at a puff,
And always at sea when the weather grew rough
He drank from a bottle and wrote on his cuff,
Did Pirate Don Durk of Dowdee.

Oh, he had a cutlass that swung at his thigh
And he had a parrot called Pepperkin Pye,
And a zigzaggy scar at the end of his eye
Had Pirate Don Durk of Dowdee.

He kept in a cavern, this buccaneer bold,
A curious chest that was covered with mould,
And all of his pockets were jingly with gold!
Oh jing! went the gold of Dowdee.

His consience, of course it was crook'd like a squash,
But both of his boots made a slickery slosh,
And he went throught the world with a wonderful swash,
Did Pirate Don Durk of Dowdee.

It's true he was wicked as wicked could be,
His sins they outnumbered a hundred and three,
But oh, he was perfectly gorgeous to see,
The Pirate Don Durk of Dowdee.

Monday, April 26, 2010


My birthday is Friday. I won't say how old I am . . . okay you dragged it out of me. 41.

Turned 40 seemed so hip. So neat. So on the edge. All the cool kids were turning 40. 41 seems so . . . so . . . so . . . what's the word I am looking for here . . . uneventful. There's nothing special or glamorous about 41. You're just a little more 40.

Girlfriend Georgia said to me yesterday morning that there is still so much potential at 41. "You could still have another baby," she said. She was perfectly serious. Girlfriend Robyn looked at her and said, "That makes my insides clench just thinking about it." I hate to say it friends and loved ones, but I'm with Robyn. Preschooler D exhausts me so, I cannot imagine adding another to the mix at this point, even though it is still possible. And do not even mention this conversation to Big Daddy Brent (BD). We are getting very near the point where a child of ours could have a niece or nephew who is older. Yes, we know people for whom this is true, but -- well, we're tired, that's all there is to it.

While I was having this conversation about fertility out in the foyer, BD was over in the praise band having a conversation with the acoustic guitar player . . . an adult man . . .with three children of his own . . . who discovered Brent's birth month and year and said, "Hey! You're a month older than my dad!"


I'm not afraid, particularly, of getting older. I am mellowing out. I'm becoming more interesting, I think. It's just a little less novel this year, isn't it?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Writer's Block Friday

Blah, blah, blah . . .

1. Preschooler D has just fallen asleep. Not good. Not good at all. It's too late. If I try to wake him up now, he will be cranky all afternoon. If I let him sleep, he will be up long past when I want to go to bed.

2. Just took down the Easter decorations. When I say "Easter decorations" I mean I had one bunny and a basket with two eggs in it. I was in a conversation with a mommy who said, "I decorated better for holidays when I didn't have kids." She is right on the money for our house as well. I used to put up elaborate things for Easter. Not so much right now.

3. I've been keeping a food diary. I don't want to talk about it . . .

4. The allergies are getting better. I didn't wake up with a headache today. Hooray!!

5. A friend reminded me today of the Mary Tyler Moore episode "Chuckles Bites the Dust." You can watch the whole thing on Maybe you have to have a cheap sense of humor, but if you need an easy laugh . . . "somewhere out there, there's an elephant with your name on it."

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Still Down

(SNORT!) Hey. I still dond feel berry well. (ACHOO! WHEEZE!)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Up for the Moment

Friends and loved ones, the leaves are popping out like crazy here in West Lake Woebegone. It would be a beautiful thing if not for the the tree pollen that was exploding with the leaves. I have a headache that will not be touched by massive amounts of Advil Sinus alternating with Tylenol. I have taken to my bed. While I ponder moving to Arizona where there are no trees, why don't you go visit the new blog of my friend and real-life writer Roxane Salonen, Peace Garden Writer. You know her already from Peace Garden Mama in my blog roll, but she has started a new blog focused on the writing process.

Preschooler D is watching a movie, so I am going back to bed.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Poem for Tuesday

This poem is for Preschooler D, who is not well enough to be out and about and not sick enough to be in bed. He is not happy.

I'm So Mad I Could Scream
William Cole

I'm so mad I could scream,
I'm so mad I could spit,
Turn over a table,
Run off in a snit!

I'm so made I could yell,
I could tear out my hair,
Throw a rock through a window,
Or wrestle a bear!

I mean - I am furious,
In a terrible huff,
I'm raging and roaring
And boy, am I tough!

I'm really ferocious,
I really am mad
I'm ready to beat up
My mother and dad!

On thinking it over,
I will not leave home,
But I'll put all my anger
Right here in this poem.

I'm feeling much better -
Like peaches and cream -
For a poem is the best way
Of letting off steam!

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Sickie

Preschooler D is down for the count. Not sure what's wrong. He has a slight fever and is resting on the couch watching episode after episode of Dora the Explorer. I know he must not be feeling well because he could tolerate two Doras in a row at the most.

In case you don't know, Dora is a small cartoon child who speaks both English and Spanish and she goes on little adventures with her trust sidekick Boots who is a small cartoon monkey in boots. I don't really mind Dora, but (and Cyberspace Sarah will back me up here) Dora seems to be YELLING all of the time, and it gets old for me. I've watched her in Spanish -- on Univision of course -- and she doesn't seem as loud. Perhaps she thinks her English speaking audience is slightly deaf.

I really like Max and Ruby but I can't watch for very long because I start to over think the whole premise. Max and Ruby are cartoon bunnies who wear clothes and walk upright and live in a bunny town, but their parents seem to be missing. Grandma Bunny shows up every now and then, but by and large Max and Ruby seem to be on their own. Ruby gets a wee bit bossy, and I don't know if I feel annoyed by her or sorry for the poor dear because she has to care for her brother at such a young age.

See. I over think it.

I'm just glad Barney has gone the way of . . . well . . . the way of the dinosaur. Colin watched him a little, and I didn't BAN Barney or anything, but I'm not sorry he's gone.

I hear a small moaning for chocolate milk. Gotta go . . .

Friday, April 16, 2010

Writer's Block Friday

Blah, blah, blah . . .

1. Check out a new blog in my blog roll "La Maison du Moi." Korie is one of the little sister mommies from play group and ECFE. She is going to be attempting a great food experiment in which she radically alters the way she eats. Korie just cracks me up in a big way, and I am sure you'll love her too. Let's cheer her on!

2. They are repairing the city dock in an alley a block or so behind my house. It's a big dock. They hauled it over in the wee hours of the morning some days ago and now we can hear them sand blasting . . . or something. Sounds serious at any rate. This morning they turned it around which was some good entertainment for Preschooler D. It would be nice to get this kind of window show for him more often.

3. From Norway, s'daughter Shelby reports that she is not covered in ash from the volcanic activity in Iceland, but the airports are closed, so even if she was she'd just have to brush the ash off because she is stuck there.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

New Phone

I have a very fancy schmancy new phone. I'm not entirely sure I am deserving of this advanced wave of technology, but it's very exciting. I already have found several useful apps (whoo! look at me usin' the lingo!) including a grocery list and a game that simulates a phone, so that when Preschooler D get a hold of my new phone he thinks he's using it, but he's really not. Tricky, huh?

Okay, but one of the things that concerns me about the new fancy schmancy phone is that all members of the family will now be keeping their calenders on the fancy schmancy new phones. I know. This is a blessing not a curse, right? Wrong . . . well, sort of. I know once I get used to it, I will love it. Hooray! I know where Big Daddy Brent is! Hooray! A little chime goes off to remind me it's time to go to play group with all the little sister-mommies!

But there's no writing involved in this calender. If you are a paper and pencil kind of person, you know what I am talking about. If you're not, you probably quit reading when I referred to my new phone as "fancy schmancy." I like to write things down and cross them off. There is no writing and no crossing on the electronic calender. I have tried several versions over the years to humor my husband, and the success has been limited at best.

Maybe I could just hold a pencil over the FS phone and pretend to cross things off. I know I can make this work.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sharif don't like it

I have to tell a story on s'daughter Shelby and I hope I don't embarrass her when I do so. I am positive it was not her intention to do anything but sing. (No one reads this, honey. Not even your dad. Don't worry.)

Shelby is in Norway and even though I am not her birth parent, I am certainly capable of worry over her. I gave her many good looks in the eyes before she left, "Think smart! Stay safe! Stay safe! By the way, stay safe!! I want you to stay safe!! Think of ways to stay safe!!" Shelby is lovely and mature and blah, blah, blah, but think of that girl in Italy convicted for the death of her roommate. Just want Shelby to stay safe. It's not like we could just hop in the car and go get her if she got the flu (which she did) or needed a ride home from the party (don't know), but she's been over there for several months having a great time.

Now today, I was in a couple of conversations about worrying about scarring your kids for life and needing to take to your bed with worry over it when Shelby posted this Facebook status: "Sharif don't like it . . . Rockin' the Casbah . . . Rock the Casbah." It was all very innocent on her part. She had it stuck in her head and no one else knew it, but I know it because it is one of my very favorite songs of all time. Any time we hear that song, I scream like I am 15 years old.

And, if by chance, one of my favorite songs of all time can get stuck in her head, what other positive messages might be in there as well?

Oh, yes.

It gives a parent hope.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Poem for Tuesday

There was a thunderstorm in West Central Minnesota last night. I have written a poem in haiku form to honor the evening. It is second in my series of poems honoring my bed.

Go back to your bed!
Little room for Mom and Dad!
I love you! Go! (smooch)

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Final Decision

I am back to thinking March -- March is the cruelest month. Do you remember my argument about this? No? That's okay. The long and the sort of it was I was having a disagreement with a poet who was dead before I was born.

At any rate . . . it was really a gorgeous weekend in West Lake Woebegone. Preschooler D and I took two walks to the park -- and not the close park either. We went to the farthest park. That's right. I said it. The farthest park. It's something like two and a quarter miles round trip down by the lake and it was worth the trip both times.

On Sunday we took Big Daddy and Colin with us. Grandpa John and Colin purchased Colin a new bike on their weekly errand outing on Saturday. This bike is so nice, I am thinking of pulling some sort of parental thing and claiming that he is too young for such a great bike. Or maybe I will look super sadly at Grandpa John and remind him it's been 20 years since I've had a new bike . . . and I'm still riding it. Or maybe I will be a big, grown up almost 41-year-old and buy my own bike. If only I had a job that paid money . . .

Now Colin is nothing if not cautious. Nothing. He rode very, very, very carefully. Very, very, very slowly. We almost beat him there. On foot.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Honest Scrap: ML Style

My sister Cyberspace Sarah has given me this little award and now I am to tell you seven things you may not have known about me. (Happy Birthday to Cyberspace, by the way.)

I feel I tell you so many things you may or may not to know, but here we go:

1. I am a gum chewer. I used to be Trident Original, but I have recently switched to Orbit Sweet Mint.

2. The Proverbs 31:15 Lenten experiment in which I was going to get up "while it was still dark" was a complete and utter failure. I think it happened once and I was so tired I hardly made it through the day . . . but I think you knew that in your heart of hearts, didn't you?

3. I am a Wycliffe Bible Translation prayer partner and I cry every time I get going and think about people learning that Jesus loves them in their own language.

4. I enjoy a glass of Riesling, and, no, I don't find it "insipid" as one waiter recently put it. I also like a glass of White Zin which I know makes real wine connoisseurs shudder with grief.

5. In 22 days I will be 41. Good. There. I've said it. I'm finding it to be a lot less glamorous and exciting to turn 41 than last year when I was 40.

6. Even though we have "A Poem for Tuesday," I have sort of a love/hate relationship with poetry. What I like, I really like and what I don't I find . . . well, insipid. There it is again.

7. I am currently writing a blues song entitled, "Why Aren't I on Vacation?" I have looked deeply into my own feeling for the material here.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A Poem for Tuesday

I can't find the author for this poem, but it speaks truth.

Chocolate Rabbit

I got a chocolate rabbit
For an Easter treat,
A great big chocolate rabbit,
Good enough to eat.
So I ate his ears on Sunday,
his nose I finished Monday,
Tuesday I nibbled on his feet.
I ate his tail on Wednesday,
Thursday I kept on,
By Friday he was going,
Saturday he was gone.
Oh, I loved that chocolate rabbit,
From the moment that he came,
And if I get another one,
I'll love him just the same.

Monday, April 5, 2010


Can you see that Preschooler D has eaten the ears off his chocolate bunny first thing? He ate the head for breakfast. He had a Rice Krispie/jelly bean nest at brunch, and then the jelly bean filled egg hunt . . . It was a long afternoon with no nap and then a real panic about 5 p.m. when it looked like he was going to fall asleep. NOOOOOOOO!!!! He would have been up until midnight. We pumped him full of root beer. Was that responsible parenting? I won't swear that it was, but if you would have had a better solution, I suggest you should have come and spent several hours with Mr. Busy-high-on-Easter-candy.

Friday, April 2, 2010

A Poem for Tuesday on Good Friday

Isaiah 53 (New International Version)

Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?

He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
Like one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted.

But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.

We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before her shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.

By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
And who can speak of his descendants?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was stricken.

He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth.

Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.

After the suffering of his soul,
he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.

Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Mid-life Crisis: Part 2

Was there a Part 1? Not sure.

Okay, now that I am 40 and have learned how to play the bass guitar, I think as I approach my 41st birthday, I should learn something else new. And here's what I have decided . . .

Spanish. And here's why . . .


That's right, Univision -- the Spanish language network. Have you ever stopped to linger and wondered just what the heck was going on? I have many times. It looks to me like there is always something interesting on Univision and I have just barely a clue what they're talking about. Telemundo, I understand has English subtitles on some of their programs, but I don't get Telemundo, I get Univision.

So I am left this morning watching "¿Quién tiene la razón?" (I have looked up that this means "Who is Right?") with La doctora Nancy Alvarez and am left wondering, who was right? There was a man who was making a big fuss over his clothes and how he liked to look good -- I think -- and then a woman came on who I think was his wife. Perhaps his clothing budget was eating out of the grocery budget. I will never know because I don't speak Spanish. I speak German. It was the only language offered at my school.

No, I don't know why. It was a small school. It was the 80s. Maybe they thought we'd need it for the Cold War. At any rate, if I'd been watching "Wer hat recht?" I could maybe tell you what had happened.

I could learn Spanish, couldn't I? Or, I guess I could turn off the TV.