Thursday, December 21, 2006

Global Warming Hits Minnesota

I think we finally have undeniable proof of global warming this year. Not only is the frozen tundra of the north facing a brown Christmas, but today it is raining. Raining! I don't mean freezing rain or drizzle. I mean a downpour. It is cloudy and wet and icky outside, but I don't need a coat Minnesota. What more proof do we need?!?!

Besides soaking the ground for the inevitable freeze that will send semis skidding off the highways, this quirky weather system has also dampened the holiday spirit around here. No loud snowmobiles rumble down the quiet neighborhood streets. The holiday lights look almost pathetic with those dark rain clouds hanging overhead. The ski resorts can barely manufacture enough snow to remain open. And the ice skating rink by our house is a giant brown mud puddle. Worst of all, I bought CT a snowboard for Christmas! Needless to say, I feel very Grinchy today.

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Today's Favorite Quote

I once bought my kids a set of batteries for Christmas with a note on it saying, toys not included.
-Bernard Manning

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Monday, December 18, 2006

O Christmas Card! Thou Art the Unceasing Agony in My Otherwise Cheery Holiday Disposition

I spent all weekend working on finishing up my Christmas cards. For those who don't know, I am the sucker that spends a majority of my holiday season creating handmade masterpieces that probably hang on my loved ones' refrigerators before being tossed in the nearest trash can on December 26. OK, that's a really negative outlook for this jolly time. The truth is, I enjoy making least the first 10 or so. Anyway, I was so proud of this year's totally original design. I won't post a photo yet so not to ruin the surprise for my friends and family who eagerly log on to read my rants and will receive this card via snail mail any day now. You'll just have to take my word that it is a fabulous card. Since we cut our Christmas card list down to just 80 this year, I took it upon myself to make a more complex, yet imaginative design. I have decided based on this foolish decision, that I may not be in my right mind around the holidays. Perhaps I am lured into some strange Christmas fit of madness by the festive holiday music that begins playing in the grocery store at Halloween and I never fully recover until stuffed pink Easter Bunnies make their appearance on the store shelves sometime in February. Nevertheless, I endeavored and labor-intensive, yet stunning, Christmas card this year. It never fails that I fall completely in love with my card until about the 10th card. By about the 30th card, I start shortening the already shortened recipient list. And by the 50th card I detest the whole Christmas card ritual and make excuses as to why certain family members don't deserve this work of art anyway. The only thought that gets me through is the knowledge that at least my mom will appreciate the effort. It is the duty of every mother to marvel at the child's creative talents no matter how lacking those talents may be. And my mother has continued to honor this maternal commitment since the days of fingerpaintings and crayon scribbles (thanks Mom!).

So, I labored on these cards this weekend. Not a labor of love, but of obligation. I was liberated from burden late last night when I finally placed the pastage stamps on each envelope and put them in a box to take to the post office. Having been released from the holiday card bondage, I was again excited about my little Christmas showpieces and I rushed to the post office before dawn this morning to drop them in the box and send them on their merry way to delight my dearest friends and family. So, you can imagine how frustrated I was to find that my local mailbox was crammed so full of other people's store-bought, completely boring greeting cards that I couldn't stuff any of my cards in the slot...not even the card addressed to Mom! ARGHHH!! Oh Christmas Cards, will your harassment never end?!?

But do not fret, my friends, I am not yet beaten. I made my way to another nearby suburb to a almost hidden out-of-the-way mail receptacle and gleefully tossed in my multitude of Christmas cheer. I even managed to still make it to work on time! What I've learned from this year's experience can be summed up by the following: I hereby promise and swear to treasure each and every Christmas card I receive this year (especially those handmade by other creative elves out there) and cherish them dearly....until at least December 27.

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Today's Favorite Quote

Every kid, at the back of his mind, vaguely but insistently, believes that he will be struck blind before his 21st birthday. And then they'll be sorry.

-Ralphie (A Christmas Story)

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Friday, December 15, 2006

Today's Favorite Quote

What I don't like about office Christmas parties is looking for a job the next day.
-Phyllis Diller

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Knitted Overalls?

My new niece and her favorite aunt.

Now, that my sweet little niece has been born, I can finally share the photos of my latest knitting project. I worked for months on these little knitted overalls. Not just any ordinary baby sweater would do. I had to knit something that would be unique and stand out in a crowd. It's not pastel and it's not frilly, but you have to admit it's adorable!

Front: Those little buttons took an eternity to sew on. For those who don't know, I am sewing challenged.

Back: Check out those cute little pockets. I have no idea what a baby keeps in her pockets, but they are cute nonetheless.

As usual, I welcome your comments on my latest project (that's my way of fishing of compliments, people!) Why don't y'all ever comment anyway? I know you're out there! Perhaps my uncanny wit has dumbfounded you and you are unable to speak, much less type. Or maybe you have surfed so long that you no longer have a free thought or opinion in your head and you are lulled into believing and agreeing with everything you read on the net. In this case, my beauty has recently won me the title of Miss America and you must send me cash in order to prevent a massive earthquake that will destroy us all.

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

CBDS Strikes the Nation

In an attempt to solve all the world's problems, our local newspaper ran an article on how to tie a bow today. So before I turn my attention to the problems of the middle east and stem cell research, I will pass on this valuable information to all the crafters out there who struggle with CBDS (Christmas Bow Deficiency Syndrome) day after day. Although CBDS is more noticeable around the holidays, this heartbreaking illness is common and symptoms can be seen in cards, gifts, scrapbooks and sewing projects year-round. There is no cure for CBDS, but if you or someone you love is suffering with the disease, the instruction below can offer some relief.

  1. Start as if to tie your shoe and twist, leaving it longer on one side.

  2. Bring ribbon across bottom of twist, up over the side and across the top of twist. Tuck under twist and pull back toward yourself. It is now stable. No knots are necessary. Make a loop and pinch in the middle.

  3. Bring the short piece of ribbon across the top and tuck through hole formed by pinching the loop.

  4. Tighten bow and trim ribbon ends by folding each one in half, left to right as is you were closing a book. Cut on the diagonal, away from yourself, forming an upside down v.

Now to sort out that pesky little UN mess...

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Today's Favorite Quote

The worst gift is a fruitcake. There is only one fruitcake in the entire world, and people keep sending it to each other.

-Johnny Carson

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Monday, December 11, 2006

I Will Buy Pink

Yippee! I am the proud aunt of a beautiful new niece. Ok, I haven't met her yet but I know she's beautiful. For those of you keeping track of such things, PKBS gave birth this morning by c-section to a healthy baby girl at 7:56 am. She weighed 8 lbs. 9.2 oz.

I want to rush right out to the store and buy everything pink I can find, but I'll have to try to contain myself. I was hoping for a girl. Besides the new little angel, PK and I have 2 nephews and another niece (but she is in college and as far as I can tell, pink frilly things are not the latest style around campus).

I love being an aunt, especially when I know how much CT looks up to all his aunts and uncles. It's a great way to have incredible influence, but very little real responsibility. In fact, I highly recommend being an aunt or uncle. If you happen to be an only child and married to another only child, then I suggest you make yourself an honorary aunt or uncle to someone else's kid. It is advisable to pick a child you actually know. I think it is frowned upon to pick up some stranger's kid and insist they call you "Uncle Doug". Anyway, be an aunt or uncle and buy pink (or remote control cars). It is incredibly gratifying without the pain of childbirth or paying for college.

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Honey, Is There Any Food Here for Us?

You know you have a busy holiday season ahead of you, when you buy a week's worth of groceries and none of it is for your family to eat.

For instance, this week I prepared for the potluck at work by baking the cookie dough I purchased from my my nephew for his school fundraiser. Obviously, the house smelled of fresh, hot cookies. PK and CT groaned when I told them they could only have a few and the rest were for work. Poor PK was shot down when he recommended I make a second batch of cookies for us to keep at home. "No, those are for the cookie exchange next week," I reminded him, "What do you want for dinner?"

"I thought you were making tacos," he said pointing to the taco shells on the counter.

"No, that's for taco night at the scrapbooker's retreat this weekend."

"Oh, and the cake is for the birthday party?" He remembered that it's my turn to bring treats for the birthday girl at work this week.

"Honey," he said meekly "is there any food here for us?"

The answer is, of course, NO! I wonder if this is a phenomenon everywhere. Men all over the country are literally starving to death because they are being denied the tasty seasonal delicacies that surround us everywhere this time of year. No wonder they never gain weight over the holidays like we do! They aren't allowed to eat until the new year!

Well, not my men, ladies! Let them pack on the pounds and make weak diet resolutions like the rest of us, I say! I did make that second batch of cookies....and they've eaten like kings, I can tell you.

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Today's Favorite Quote

It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?

-Dr. Seuss

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Monday, December 04, 2006

An Ode

By KellyFaith

Bucket standing beside the bed
Jackhammer in my head
Standing guard beside the bowl
Trying hard to hit the goal
Of delicious food and drink
One like me can hardly think
Oh, how much I hate you
Cruel and vile stomach flu

(Don't groan. You can't expect Emerson from someone feeling this bad!)

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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Today's Favorite Quote

A lovely thing about Christmas is that it’s compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together.
-Garrison Keillor

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Monday, November 27, 2006

Pick-Up Man

Last week PK's old Nissan finally headed for that giant parking lot in the sky. I'm gonna miss that car. We bought it used when we were first married. We have put close to 200,000 miles on it in our years of road trips. Now, it is rusty with no air-conditioning and questionable heat (not a good thing in the frozen tundra that is Minnesota). The interior has a moldy and old french fry smell. The driver-side door doesn't close all the way and we've been driving with a broken tail light for about a year. Every year or so we have replaced the alternator that always seems to go out at the most inconvenient time possible. But, overall, it was reliable and very inexpensive to maintain. Alas, it is no more. I'll take a moment to mourn our loss....

OK, now to the good news (at least from PK's point of view). For years I've promised PK that when we finally kissed the reliable, sensible, affordable family car goodbye, he could have a pick-up. Well, to his great delight, we found ourselves in need of a second vehicle and fast. Despite the pain of another car payment, we set out to find the perfect, cheap truck for my pick-up man. Lucky for us, it was Thanksgiving. We went up to farm (and truck) country to his parents' place for the holiday. On Friday after the leftovers, we took a short tour around all the small towns looking at truck after truck. To be honest, they all look the same to me and I was bored out of my mind. Did y'all know that in those small-town little dealerships, they don't even take your license when you take a test drive? And they let us drive it for a couple of hours....weird how trusting those folks are. Anyway, we finally ended up at the first place we had tried and bought PK's new pride and joy.

Despite the numerous country songs to the affect, I was not prepared for the love and devotion a man can feel for his old pick-up truck. I quickly learned.

On Saturday, we left the in-laws for the long 6-hour trip home. We decided that PK would drive his new toy and I would follow in the car. I didn't get far...just up the driveway and onto the highway for a quarter of a mile before the turn onto a dirt road. Once I hit pavement I realized something was terribly wrong. I had a flat tire. I pulled over onto the dirt road just in time to see PK gun his engine and fly down the road spraying a cloud of dust as he went. He never looked back and he never heard my horn honking or saw my arms flailing in a vain attempt to get him to stop and help. I guess the allure of the 4X4 is just too powerful....even his damsel in distress could not pull his attention away. Well, I waited for a few minutes hoping he'd realize I was no longer behind him and come back for me. He didn't. I called his answer. Finally, I weighed my options. I could unload all the luggage from the trunk and struggle to put the spare on or I could walk the short distance back to the in-laws' and request assistance. I opted for the walk as I was unsure if I could remember how to change the tire myself (I can already hear the women around the world crying out in shock and dismay at my inability to be self-sufficient when it comes to this important task, but I swear I could do it if I really had to...I think.) So I hiked back to the the freezing cold....with snow up to my waist...OK, OK, it wasn't that bad, but PK might read this and the guilt factor will pay off for me sometime in the near future. Actually, it was pretty cold, but my father-in-law came to the rescue and drove me back to my car where he changed the tire for me. We decided that the flat couldn't be fixed and that I wouldn't make it home on the spare. So DIL (Dad-In-Law) sent me to town to the tire store where I was informed that they "don't see many Saturns up here" and that they had nothing that would fit my car. Luckily, DIL decided to follow-up and had followed me into town. He talked with the owner and the two of them called other tire stores in surrounding towns to no avail. Finally, tires were found in North Dakota about 45 minutes away in the wrong direction. So, off I went with DIL following me to make sure the spare made it. Still no word from PK....I made a note the check that the truck included a rearview mirror. Only I could have this kind of rotten luck.

We made it to ND and waited about 2 hours for the new tires during which DIL bought me lunch. Then he bought my tires for me too (which is good because I just spent $6000 on a truck and new tires might have been CT's Christmas present...and I don't think he could take those for show-and-tell). I know you're all green with envy over my priceless in-laws. Just remember that I have the husband the ditched me on the side of a dirt road in the middle of nowhere....not so jealous anymore, huh? To his defense, PK did finally call when he finally had reception on his cell. And he has been appropriately apologetic, but I figure I'd better milk the poor, pitiful damsel thing as long as I can.

I don't know what y'all were thankful for this Thanksgiving, but PK is thankful for his new ride and I am ever-so-grateful for my lovely parents-in-law.

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

How To Survive Traffic Court

For starters, please refer to the previous post entitled "Friday the 13th Strikes" to see why I had to go to traffic court yesterday. You will note that my ticket was for having out-of-date proof of insurance. One week after receiving my citation, I made my way to the courthouse on my lunch break to show the court administrator my up-to-date insurance information just as I was instructed to do by the officer. There, I waited in line for at least 30 minutes (probably more like 10, but it sure seemed like forever!) before finally speaking to the lady behind the counter. She informed me that I could not just pay a fine or show my proof to her and that I would have to appear in court to settle the matter. When I very calmly explained what the officer had instructed, she very rudely told me that showing her my proof of insurance was only acceptable if I had been cited for not having insurance at all. This makes a lot of sense to me, folks. She told me that I would have been better off not showing the cop any proof at all than showing him my 3-week expired insurance card! Anyway, the court date set for me happened to be the week I was out of town at LB's wedding. So, I was instructed by the idiot....ahem...I mean nice government wait until the day before we left (because being proactive on these matters is discouraged, I guess) to call the court and request a continuance. I did this and was given yesterday as my new court date at 1:00 p.m. I arrived at exactly 12:45 only to find a line out the door of the courthouse for people who were also assigned the same court date and time. After a lengthy wait and check-in process, we were ushered into the courtroom and introduced to the prosecutors and judge and instructed of our rights. Then, we were all told to wait in the hallway outside the courtroom until our name was called. So I waited....and waited...and waited. By the way, there were not enough chairs for all us criminals, so I stood for the most part. At 2:00, I called into work to inform my supervisor that I would obviously not be returning to the office. At approximately 3:00 I called my daycare to inform her that I could be late picking up CT. At approximately 3:30, I called PK to inform him that he may beat me home at 5:30 and to ask that he please pick CT up at daycare if that was the case. You can see how my irritation might have been growing. Finally, at 3:45 the prosecutor escorted me into a small office just outside the courtroom where I defiantly whipped out my current proof of insurance and thrusted it at him. He asked me how long I had been waiting and I, as politely as possible , responded "Well, I was driving a Model T when I got this ticket." He was not amused. He took a look at my proof and explained that I could have just shown it to the court administrator at the counter and avoided court altogether. ARGHHHH!!!

So how do you survive traffic court? Here's my suggestions based on my vast experience:
  • Bring knitting (or other project). My fellow lawbreakers took bets on whether or not I would finish the entire scarf before we got out of there.
  • Think happy thoughts when the baby some ill-advised mother brought to court cries so loud that you can't here the clerk calling out names you desperately want to be yours.
  • Try not to laugh out loud when the bailiff passes you escorting the guy charged with minor possession while she admonishes him for getting high in the parking lot outside the courthouse while waiting for his turn to see the judge.
  • Talk to that girl with the nose ring and a tattoo on her exposed tummy. She's really just a single-mom anxious to pick up her kids at the bus stop.
  • Ease-drop on the conversation of the two teenagers accused of underage drinking while they discuss the responses of their parents to their numerous indiscretions. This may be useful information if you are ever a parent of a delinquent.
  • Try not to lose your temper when you realize that half of those waiting don't speak English and need the services of the interpreter and therefore, are allowed to see the judge first because the interpreter has another appointment. Just vow to learn Spanish at your earliest convenience.
  • Most importantly, never trust the low-level government buffoon behind the counter without a second opinion from another low-level government buffoon.

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Monday, November 20, 2006

Today's Favorite Quote

The wild turkey is to the Thanksgiving offering what the tiger is to the tabby: a creature that knows better than to trust a human.
-New York Times

Sunday, November 19, 2006

It's Not Easy Being Green

I spent this weekend at work and sniffling in bed. Luckily the work load and flu let up enough this afternoon for me to prepare for tomorrow night's November Stamp Club meeting. Here are the projects I have planned. Do you notice a theme?

Inside of frog card.

I just hope I have enoug green cardstock to go around. I may have to raid the scrap box!

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Friday, November 17, 2006

LB's Wedding

The wedding was beautiful. It took place at a mansion in a place that looked like it was straight out of Gone with the Wind. It was short, which was great for a certain little wiggle-worm of a groomsman. And just like that, my little brother was hitched. Hard to believe he's all grown up and starting family of his own.

The reception was absolutely wonderful. The food was excellent. They even had something similar to lefsa (Norwegian family get-together food for those not from the 10,000 lakes area). The yankees and hicks seemed to mingle well together and everyone seemed to have a good time. Like every wedding, there was a half-dressed drunk girl that had to be carried out by two of LB's army buddies, but other than that everyone behaved themselves.

Here's a photo of the happy couple:

They are beautiful, happy and in love. Sorry, you'll have to take my word for it.

Here's a photo of me showing off my flip-flops that my sister-in-law gave me as a bridesmaid gift:

These were a great gift for showing off our new dance moves all night. (See post Slow, Slow, Quick, Quick)

Here's a photo of my Scarlett O'Hara hair:

My sister-in-law was so sweet to indulge my fantasy hair. I could never accomplish this on my own.

We had a wonderful trip, but as expected I managed to get myself sick (luckily not until after the wedding). You would think I always invite Mr. Flu on vacation with me. At least Flu does not require a separate plane ticket! This time I blame it on my step-mother and PK who began getting sick a couple of days before me.

I suppose now that she's family, my sister-in-law needs her own blog pseudonym....I'm open to suggestions. Post your sister-in-law pseudonym ideas as a comment and I'll pick the best one.

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

No More Georgia On My Mind

Sorry for blog drought, but we have been in Georgia at LB's wedding. We had a great trip, but we're exhausted. It was a beautiful wedding and it was great to finally meet my sister-in-law. To be honest, I'm way too tired to even make jokes at my family's expense today. I'll just say that they behaved themselves for the most part and there was only minor bloodshed. CT burned himself on a sparkler at the wedding and then cut himself with the pocket knife he was given as a groomsman gift the day after the ceremony. Overall, I consider it a success that he came home still breathing.

Instead, I'll finally be able to share the project that's been keeping us busy for the past few months. Our wedding gift to LB and his bride was an end table designed and built by PK to hold 16 photo albums. CT stained the table and I applied over 150 childhood photos of the lovebirds before we finished it with poly (see Polyurethane--Great for floors and your skin!). I am very proud of this project. I think it turned out beautifully despite the sweat and tears (thankfully, no blood) that went into it. We will be taking orders, if anyone is interested, but I warn you that our prices are exorbitant.

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Monday, November 06, 2006

Today's Favorite Quote

With renowned charm, Savannah remains the gently mannered city by the sea.
-Rhett Butler

Post from Mom RE: Chicken Chase

OK, Mom doesn't actually post, but she sent me this e-mail and I just have to share it with the rest of the world. I tend to favor my mom a tiny little bit, so y'all might recognize the resemblance in this post, but assure you I only corrected a typo here and there. This is pure Mom. It's also important to note that my mom lives right in the middle of a rather large city in a big, older house with a nice, normal backyard...almost normal.

"It was rainy and dreary today. I looked out the back door and Momma Chicken and Little Rooster were looking longingly at the back porch.

So, I propped the storm door open and backed out of sight. They came in the house!! I thought it was so cute as they checked everything out. Then I let the dogs out the front door to do their business. When I came back in the fowl were eating cat food out of the pet dish in the kitchen. OHHHH How cute. So now it is time to go outside, right? Little Rooster just went right out, but Momma didn't want to go. I tried to chase her out and before I knew it we were running around and around the dining room table. First clockwise, then counter clockwise. Must have looked like we came out of a Three Stooges movie! Well, when that didn't work. I got the broom. And here we go. the chicken jumped up in the big window in the kitchen and tried to go through it! I was still swatting with the broom and she knocked all those antique bottles off all over the place. Then she looked out and saw Little Rooster in the yard. She tried again to peck through the window. I kept swatting and she tried to fly (yes she was flying in my kitchen) out the window over the sink. Hit her head and fell in the floor, so I tried to sweep her towards the back door. She got away and got in that cabinet by the sink that doesn't have a door. She got way in the back and stood still, like she thought I couldn't see her. By this time Little Rooster was standing at the back door crowing his little head off for his mother. HG [House Guest for blog purposes] and I poked with the broom til she came out from under there. She tried to fly out the window again and fell in the sink. She sat there for a while and HG got the broom after her again. The head of the broom fell off in the sink, scared the chicken and sent her running across the stove and behind canisters on the cabinet. I moved the canisters one by one and she was doing that statue thing again thinking I couldn't see her.

Finally I remembered that birds get tame in the dark. I threw a towel over her head and she got real calm. Then I just picked her up and carried her outside. I can tell you that she doesn't care to be anywhere near me now! Then I had to clean up the kitchen. Luckily, in all this rigmarole, the chicken only pooped once!

So if you need any ideas on how to add excitement on a dreary day--just ask me!

Love ya,

I love my mom!

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Thursday, November 02, 2006

Diorama Drama

CT's Diroma depicting Joe (of Hardy Boys fame) about to be hit by an oncoming train, but luckily falling through a hole in the tracks into a mysterious metal room with a large open door just in the nick of time.

(For those who can't see it, let me quote the talented artiste: "Duh! It's one-point perspective, Mom.")

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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Monday, October 30, 2006

Road Trip!

As my birthday present this year, PK meticulously planned and organized a road trip around this great state of ours to visit some of the most important and significant landmarks. I've been told that I have a gift for making an ordinary event entertaining and hilarious when put into words. I'm not really sure how to work that kind of magic on this story so I think I'll let the pictures speak for themselves. Keep in mind that these are the highlights of the tour....the 9-hour tour. (I think this is the modern-day equivalent of being forced to watch someone's vacation photo slideshow. Enjoy!)

Perhaps hanging out so close to the electrical boxes for so long has contributed to the unusual size of Bessie...

Town Hall...closed. But meeting posted for that very evening. Too bad we can't stick around to hear the debate over Bessie's growing appetite. Notice how happy PK is to be on this little jaunt with me.

Glockenspiel performances scheduled for noon, 3:00 and 5:00 p.m. About 40 people (including one tour bus) eagerly awaits 12:00 show....12:05, clock must be late today.... 12:10...still no show....12:15, bummer, clock must be broken. Very anti-climatic. According to the townspeople this has never happened before. I'm skeptical. I'm almost sure it's some big hoax to lure unsuspecting tourists to the town square where they can be ogled and guffawed at when peeking from behind curtains.

Herman the German....yes, that's his real name. Minnesotans are not known for their originality or creativity when it comes to naming their landmarks.

Finally, we have found Bessie's lunch! Sadly, this ear is rumored to house a minuteman missile inside it's innocent giant corn facade. The search for Bessie's sustenance continues.

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Today's Favorite Quote

A diplomat is a man who always remembers a woman's birthday but never remembers her age.

-Robert Frost

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

PK's Quest to Become Cultured

OK, it was a brief quest to lead a more cultured life, but it was quite an interesting experiment. Apparently, Steve got some free tickets to a "dance" show at the university. Rather than tell me about it, he decided to make it a surprise and refused to tell me what our Friday night plans were until we actually got there. When I arrived in jeans and an old sweatshirt and saw the other guests in dresses and ties, I knew this was a bad idea. Poor CT had no idea the torture he was about to endure.

We made it to our balcony seats and settled in. The program listed 5 dance numbers and described how this 100-year old dancer had started this dance company and choreographed the dances we were about to see. I was expecting some sort of musical or tap dancing of some type. Those are bad enough, but none of us were prepared for the show at hand. Each dance had a little story that went along with it. I think the first one was something about a lady stuck in a labyrinth battling a monster, but it turns out to be just in her head. You can see how bad this could get. Anyway, when the performance started I had a small amount of hope that it could be ok. For the first 5 to 10 minutes CT actually watched and studied the dancers. I could tell he was really concentrating and focusing. Finally, he turned to me and whispered "Mom, I don't get it. What are they doing?" I think PK and I were asking ourselves the very same question. It wasn't dance at all. The stage was blank with no background and only a few meager props...something that looked like metal V sticking up out of the floor and a white string winding its way across the stage. The "dancers" (and I use the term very loosely) were stomping around making strange faces. The male dancer (I think he was supposed to be the monster) held a large stick above his head as he galumphed around. This went on for at least 20 minutes. I swear there was no talent involved at all unless you count my own uncanny aptitude for holding in my giggles so I wouldn't make a scene. Still, we did not give up. Maybe the second number would be better. It was supposed to be about love...a ballet perhaps. I was so wrong. This time, all the props were removed and it was a totally blank space. When the curtain opened with a male and female dancer posed together on the stage, CT said "Mom, he's naked!" in a not-so-quiet whisper of shock. In fact, he was not naked, but had on very disturbing flesh-colored tights and no shirt. CT was mortified. We endured another 20 or 30 minutes of weird gestures and more tromping around the stage. Finally, mercifully, intermission came. We snuck out discreetly and agreed that this would be our last attempt at civilized culture for quite a while. We'll stick to more meaningful entertainment watching bowling on ESPN or taking in the beauty of the goldfish swimming around the filthy tanks at Wal-Mart.

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Friday, October 20, 2006

October Stamp Club

I feel really lazy, but I didn't have time to prepare the 4 or 5 projects I usually prepare for this month's Stamp Club meeting. Luckily, the girls didn't seem to mind. We got together and shared our latest projects. I should've been more on the ball and taken photos of some of them, but I didn't. I was quite impressed with their projects.

At the meeting, we did decided to do a calendar exchange which I am very excited about. A calendar exchange is where each person decorates a calendar month that has been printed out on white cardstock. She duplicates the page enough times so that each person in the exchange will get that month. Then we will have a potluck in January and swap our pages. Each person will have a complete calendar with each month stamped by a different person. It's a lot of fun and I'm glad we decided to do it. I get a lot of compliments on my calendar hanging in my cubicle.

I did manage to get one project ready for last night's meeting. I am so glad everyone is so understanding of my status of overextended and didn't mind the shortened format. I usually like preparing projects I think they'll like, but this month has been so crazy that I just didn't have the time. Anyway, here's a photo of the card we made lat night.

Unfortunately, we'll have to have another shortened meeting in November. I'll be so busy with the wedding. Everyone seems to be ok with that though.

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Thursday, October 19, 2006

Today's Favorite Quote

Happiness is having a large, loving, caring close-knit family in another city.
-George Burns

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Perfectly Legal Torture Chambers

I couldn't sleep at all last night. I tossed and turned and dreaded today for hours. Today is the horrific day that I must march right through the gates of hell and face the devil himself. Oh, we call him a dentist but those little cubicle rooms just hide the fire and brimstone we all know is there. Even worse than the dentist, are those perky little hygienists. I hate them. I know it's wrong to stereotype and judge character based on just a few, but I have never, ever met a hygienist I like. I mean no offense to all you cute little skinny blondes who studied for years just to have privilege of poking my gums until they bleed. I just don't understand how you can be so darn cheerful while causing such excruciating pain. And, by the way, saying things like "Well, it shouldn't hurt" or "If you would floss, this wouldn't be so bad" is not helpful. It always hurts and nobody flosses.

OK, I know I'm a big baby. I just have such a low tolerance for pain and suffering (especially when it's me suffering). Because of my obviously serious phobia, I rarely get up the nerve to go to the dentist. So, I'm looking at a good 2-3 hour appointment this afternoon. If I don't make it, I would like to leave all my worldly possessions to my family. All I ask is that y'all establish a foundation, self-help group or other non-profit in my name to assist those suffering from genetically bad teeth and an unrealistic fear of that scraper hook tool thingie.

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Monday, October 16, 2006

Friday the 13th Strikes

Usually I am not a superstitious person, but this particular Friday the 13th may have me watching out for black cats and throwing salt over my shoulder. I know this is probably just the typical unfortunate coincidences that strike my life every day. But the day on which these events fall make them worth writing about.

Our first mistake was planning a large game party for the evening. We try to have these gatherings 3 or 4 times a year. We chose this cursed day for the simple fact that it did not coincide with any of our other obligations. It was, in fact, our last free night until at least August of next year. You'd think we'd be elated to spend the night watching tv and playing computer games. But not us. This is the blog for the overextended wife, mother, etc. Anyway, the troubles began with a not-too-unusual Minnesota October cold snap coupled with quite blustery winds. I took my lunch break to go to the grocery store near my office to pick up some last minute party supplies. As you may know, the season Minnesotan's know as "construction" is currently coming to rapid end. This means there is a rush to finish all road and construction projects before the ground freezes. On my way to said errand, I passes just such a construction site. As I cruised past, a large piece of insulation blew off the side of a new structure and whipped into the street. By large I mean the size of a small jet airplane. This pixie pink instrument of death hurdled toward my car at what seemed like hurricane force. It slammed into the side of the car and nearly drove me off the road before coming to rest in the middle of the lane. After stopping to pull the material out of the road in order spare someone else the trouble, I assessed the damage to my car. Sure enough, there is a long scratch (albeit somewhat superficial) scratch down the driver's side panel. After some cursing and lamenting of my fate, I made my way back to work. This was the first curse (and you know they always come in threes).

After work, I picked CT up from daycare. We were in quite a rush to get home and complete our party preparations. In addition, I really, really (and I can't stress that enough) needed to visit the restroom. In my haste, I may have accidentally run a red light. Sure enough, that car right behind me was a police car and less than a block later I was parked on the side of road squirming in my seat. For those who know of my recent run-in with the law, you'll understand that it was not just the need to use the restroom that had me fidgeting. Anyway, after a long lecture on the dangers of running red lights (which left me explaining and making excuses to CT for the rest of the evening) the nice officer gave me ticket for having out-of-date proof of insurance. It had expired (of course) only a few weeks prior. This was the second of the curses.

As I said, PK and I generally try to throw these game parties 3 or 4 times a year. They are always a lot of fun, but we usually have such a low turnout that we have to spend re-examining our social life and our popularity among those we consider friends. To avoid the usual embarrassment of blaming bad weather or a local football game for our tiny assembly, we invited everyone we know. No one was safe from our nagging and pleading. We even allowed CT to invite a couple of his school friends. We encouraged guests to bring kids and spouses. Y'all know where this is going. We had so many people that the house was steaming from the body heat. And there were kids we didn't even recognize...oh the kids we had! It was quite loud and rowdy at times.The crowd was so large that we found it difficult to find space and games to accommodate us all. Everyone said they had a great time, but we will definitely be more careful about the size of our guest list next time. The only positives out of the situation is that almost everyone brought food to share and I discovered that not all of PK's friends are imaginary. OK, this last curse wasn't all that bad. Afterall, discovering that one has too many friends can hardly be called a burden. But it did leave me considering the possibilities of the days' events after I flopped into bed that night. Is there something to this Friday the 13th thing? The conclusion I have reached is that it is quite probable that these same "curses" afflict me almost on a daily basis. So, Friday the 13th was really no different than Thursday the 12th... that's the day I made an appointment at a bridal shop to have my bridesmaid's dress altered only to find the shop was under new management, had changed its name and moved to a new location and it took me 45 minutes driving around town to find the new place that had, by this time, closed for the evening.

I'd love to hear your Friday the 13th stories...or Thursday the 12th for that matter. Feel free to post them so we can all marvel at the mysterious coincidences that harass us all on this wretched day.

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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Today's Favorite Quote

Genius may have its limitations, but stupidity is not thus handicapped.
- Elbert Hubbard

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Monday, October 09, 2006

Knitting for a Cause

Yesterday, a friend and I went to the 3rd Annual Minnesota Knit Out event at a local mall. It was sponsored by The Minnesota Knitter's Guild. I must have been expecting a lot because I was a little disappointed. The turnout didn't look very good and there were only a few local shops represented. There were some door prizes and an entertaining fastest knitter contest, but other than that there wasn't a whole lot to see. I did find some information on a charity knitting project that I'm interested in. I've been half-heartedly looking for a charity project to participate in and this one sounds like fun. It's called Caps to the Capital and it's sponsored by Save the Children and Warm Up America. It's a great way to use up some of my miscellaneous leftover yarn by making tiny little preemie hats and submitting them to be distributed. I'll be sure and post photos once I have a couple of them done.

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Too much bling?

This weekend I finally received the bridesmaid's dress I'm supposed to wear to LB's wedding. It's really not all that bad. It is a cornflower blue knee-length skirt with an ivory strapless top. I hope LB has arranged for plenty of hors d'oeuvres at the reception because I have declared that I will fast from the time I slip on that dress until after the ceremony. I know it doesn't seem like a long fasting commitment, but just knowing that I am forbidden from eating or drinking will make me famished after just five minutes. I hope it is a short ceremony or I may go out of my mind and begin munching on the bouquet. The reason for this odd diet? As I mentioned, the top is ivory. I have already envisioned my first shrimp cocktail plummeting from my lips to land squarely on my bosom. Or perhaps it will be the red wine or maybe a bit of vinaigrette from a bite of salad. Heck, I will probably drop my open lipstick tube with my luck! (Note to self: apply lipstick before dressing, just in case.)

So this weekend I spend a miserable Saturday driving from mall to mall searching for a strapless bra and ivory shoes. This type of shopping trip should be banned under the Geneva Convention as cruel and unusual punishment. For one, I have discovered that I am an odd bra that strapless bras do not come in. I'm convinced that the strapless bra makers of America or China or wherever strapless bras are made have conspired to ensure that us of a larger disposition should not be allowed to wear a strapless top. Perhaps they think there is too much risk that the girls might resist being restrained by the polyester and spandex and pop freely out for all the world to see causing a wardrobe malfunction that will scar children and frighten little old ladies. Nevertheless, after hours of struggling with way too many bras, I finally bought one without trying it on and shuffled out of the store with my head down in defeat.

Then comes the horrific task of finding ivory shoes in Minnesota in October. It's cold here people! There are no ivory, white or otherwise shoes in this state! I was reduced to searching through the summer clearance aisles in countless shoe stores hoping to find one last pair. The bride has given very little guidance on the type or color of shoes she would like me to wear. I've been left out here on my own trying to decide the difference between white and ivory and stuffing my fat feet into the size 6 clearance sandals hoping they'll fit. Finally, after a long day, I was hungry and tired and I had a headache. I stopped at one last shoe store before heading home and declaring that I'll go barefoot. There on the clearance rack a glimmer caught my eye. A small little sparkle....ok maybe a lot of sparkle. Keep in mind that my mental state at this point is little on the desperate side. With something so shiny dangled right there in front of me, it's no wonder I snapped and bought the darn things! After a good meal and a little rest I have slowly realized that these wild little shows may have entirely too much bling (if there is such a thing). LB has teased that I always have to be the center of attention (the merits of this argument are irrelevant). He has said that he wouldn't be surprised if I showed up to the wedding wearing a tiara....maybe he wasn't that far off. So, PK was kind enough to spend way too much time taking pictures of my little piggies last night so that I could post them on this blog and ask the opinion of my friends, family and complete strangers. Is this too much bling and will my future sister-in-law be mortified? I invite you to post your comments (good or bad) right here. Y'all know that I obsess about little things like this and then I ask everyone I know to offer their opinions. Then I disregard the advice and agonize some more before I finally just give up and make no decision at all. So, here I am pleading for your input and making no commitment to abide by or even consider the outcomes. Thanks in advance!

Please be kind and disregard my fat feet and deformed toes.

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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Slow, Slow, Quick, Quick

Last night PK and I had our first ballroom dance lessons. Don't ask how I managed to convince him that we should do this. Let's just say promises were made, bargains were struck and I'll probably never stop hearing about it. All in all, it was a lot easier than I had expected.

Anyway, we're taking these lessons to get ready for the uber-fancy wedding in November. So, for the next 8 weeks on Mondays the schedule will be as follows: after work, I pick up Nick at daycare and drive directly to the bus stop to pick PK up. From the bus stop, we brave rush hour traffic to drive to his brother's work. We leave CT with BPKA (Broke PK's Arm, for blog's sake) and then make our way to some fast-food establishment for a quick bite. Finally, we arrive at the ballroom for the dance hour-long dance lesson taught by a sweet elderly Swedish couple. After the class we make our way back to BPKA's home to pick up CT, who has hopefully completed all his homework. Then we make a quick stop at the bus stop to pick up PK's car (assuming we don't forget this step like we almost did last night). At last we make it home a little after 9:00 p.m. It's a long day, but a night just the two of us is worth all the hassle, right? That and gliding gracefully across the dance floor like Fred and Ginger. Which brings us to last night's class...

We arrived a little earlier than expected having misjudged the traffic delay. PK refrained from ordering a drink at the bar to relax before the class, but I'll encourage him to order something stiff next week. He really needs it. Anyway, one by one the couples arrive. We begin to notice a trend in our fellow classmates. It seems we are the only couple under the age of 80. What does this mean for the ballroom tradition? Is it lost forever? Doomed to be forgotten by the younger generations like the record player or VHS? Fear not, my friends, two younger couples finally showed up just 20 minutes late...Isn't that just like those whippersnappers to be late to the first class? For our first lesson, we practiced the fox trot. A practice is exactly what we need. We started by learning to walk....yes, the very basics folks. We walked and I began to feel confident in our abilities. I was already visualizing the two of us accepting gracious praise from all the wedding guests, when we were instructed to add the little quick, quick step. We were a disaster right away. PK marched like the Marine he is and my short stride left me far behind the rest of the group. And it only got worse from there. OK, I'm exaggerating. I think we did master the steps ok...we just can't do them together. In all we learned 3 basic moves all using the same slow, slow, quick, quick step:
1) turning to the left,
2) backwards and forwards and
3) the "conversation", which is a sort of sideways step to the right thingie.
We cannot, however, put any of these moves together. So where does that leave us? Well, we can either always dance in a circle (always turning to the left, of course)...or we can move forwards and backwards in a straight line, which is great if no one else is allowed on the dance floor...or we can move continually to the right until we run into the buffet table. I have not lost hope though. Our generous instructors have sensed our plight and invited us back for Thursday night sessions at no charge (I told you we were bad. They took pity on us!). We may have to take them up on that offer. In the meantime, I've narrowed down our dancing deficiencies to the following:
1) PK is extremely stiff and clenches my hand so tight that I can no longer feel my fingers. Do all men clench when their concentrating?
2) I cannot let PK lead...I recognize this as the much deeper flaw of always needing to be in charge
3) PK cannot lead...that's not just my bossy side talking either. He really cannot make decisions and commit to them quick enough to allow me to follow....thus the problem of me taking over and leading us back to #2.
4) PK cannot hear the beat of music...perhaps this can be improved over time by repeatedly playing polkas over and over while he sleeps, but I doubt it. I'll let you know how that plan plays out though.
5) PK has the annoying habit of saying the steps out loud under his breath like so: "Forward. Backward. Left and Turn". For reference, these steps are exactly opposite for the female, so you can see the problem that this causes.
6) Every time we look at eachother I have an uncontrollable urge to burst into a fit of laughter. I can't help it. He's trying so hard and it's so cute.

Needless to say, none of our other classmates seem to have these same trials. Those geezers can dance! I am not embarrassed though. We are there to learn and we are there together. I am so happy that after 10 years of marriage, PK and I are still willing to spend an hour making complete fools of ourselves together. Who knows, maybe we'll practice really hard this week and blow those old timers away next week?

In the meantime, PK has admitted that it wasn't as bad as he expected and I had a blast. I'm already looking forward to next week's class. I'll keep you posted on our progress.

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Monday, October 02, 2006

Today's Favorite Quote

If a woman has to choose between catching a fly ball and saving an infant's life, she will choose to save the infant's life without even considering if there are men on base.

- Dave Barry

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Friday, September 29, 2006

Polyurethane--great for floors and your skin!

Last night I was puttering around the garage picking up and looking for a good paintbrush. Suddenly (and quite oddly) I got the impulse to start dinner. So, I went the garage freezer for a bag of not-so-fresh frozen green beans. When I lifted the freezer lid, I inadvertently knocked off a gallon a polyurethane. Normally, this would not be a big deal because we always seal the can when we finish using it. There must have been some misalignment in the stars because the lid was not on the can tightly and the entire gallon of poly spilled onto the freezer and garage floor. Well, now what? PK was not due home for another hour and if I waited for him to help, the poly would start to harden. So, I took every old towel and rag in our home (we also seem to have a lot of old rags, but there's never enough when you really need them) and I wiped the syrup off the floor. It wasn't long before I and all my clothes were fully coated in a thick sticky mess of poly. It was just after I stripped down to my undies that I discovered that the mess had slowly started to expand and was now at the foot of PK's enormous, heavy table saw which was now firmly stuck to the concrete floor. I pushed and pulled to free it and finally managed to push it out of the reach of the still growing puddle of goo mixed with sawdust. I managed to get a majority of the slop up. Then I found a can of mineral spirits and dumped it all over the remaining mess. Then a dumped more mineral spirits on my hands and feet which were rapidly beginning to harden at an alarming pace. By the time PK got home, I had the mess pretty much under control. I am thankful for the cool weather this week. All those old and now highly flammable rags and my drenched clothes were tossed into an old garbage can which mercifully did not burst into flame as I feared. PK wasn't angry like I expected. In fact, he laughed heartily at the whole situation. Frankly, I think I would have preferred an angry explosion, but when your entire body is covered in a shiny clear coat, nothing seems very funny. Today, after a long shower, I am still a little sticky between my fingers and toes. However, I can now abandon my nightly shower for a a wipe down with furniture polish and a dust rag. And our garage floor is now water-proofed and shinier than LB's bald head. If you're thinking this all sounds like an episode straight out of a cartoon, then you are correctly visualizing the scenario.

By the way, we did not have green beans with dinner!

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Monday, September 25, 2006

Saturday, September 23, 2006

All Alone and Stamp, Stamp, Stampin'!

This weekend my boys went to PK's parents house for the weekend. That means I am all alone and blissfully stamp, stamp, stampin' today. The weather outside is cold and rainy and I can't think of a better thing to do than stamp all day! Of course, I'll have to break tonight to catch the Twins game.

Thursday night was also full of stampin'. My upline (for blog's sake we'll call her SHAO for "Stamps Her Art Out") hosted a Stamp-A-Stack event at her house. SHAO is a mega-stampin' queen with a large downline and huge customer base. She is definitely someone to learn from. Our goals are very different, but I can't help but respect the success she has had. Anyway, she invited her downline to partipate in her Stamp-A-Stack and I was excited to see what it was all about. A Stamp-A-Stack is an event where a customer pays a fee and comes to stamp a large number of cards for different occassions all in one night. Apparently they are all the rage in stampin' circles because people are able to take the time to complete card for all their upcoming needs in one night. In this case, we completed 16 cards (4 each of 4 different kinds) for a $16 fee. The cards were relatively simple but showcased a lot of different products. They were easily customized for any occassion and SHAO had a variety of greetings for the stampers to use. Here are photos of the projects we completed.

I relly enjoyed it and I'm thinking of hosting a Stamp-A-Stack of my own. It might have to wait until after LB's wedding though. I'm a little worried I won't have enough interest in the event to make it worth while. SHAO had 16 people at her event. I'll be lucky to get 5. I guess I'll never know unless I try though.

Today I'm working on getting together projects for my stamp club meeting on Monday. I'm looking forward to having everyone over again. This week we're going to try a new faux metal tehnique. It's a little difficult to master and it's messy, but it's a good opportunity for the girls to try it out. Here's a photo of the card we'll be making.

Since the faux metal is a difficul technique and takes quite a bit of time. The other two projects are a bit more simple. You'll notice that I copied the format of this card from one I did at SHAO's Stamp-A-Stack. I changed the stamp set and a couple of the colors, but kept the rest the same. Don't worry, copying is the greatest form of flattery to a stamper. I encourage all new stampers to copy at first. For more experienced stampers, copying can get those creative juices flowing again after a drought of new ideas. In my case, I just liked the card and thought my customers would like it too. I also wanted to use my Just Beakause stamp set again. I haven't used it in a long time.
By the way, it says "party together" on the inside of the card.

I get a lot of my ideas from other stampers and stamping publications. A lot of times I change the format, stamps and colors so much that you wouldn't even recognize it as a "copy". Somtimes a layout or color scheme is all the inspiration I need. Other times, I really like the way a stamp was used. In the last stamp club project I'm planning, I got the color scheme and stamps from SU!'s regional convention. But I've modified the layout slightly and added some embellishments to better meet my tastes. This is a 6X6 scrapbook page. For blog purposes, I've distorted the face of CT, but you still get a good idea of the overall page effect.

It says "I just love you" in the left corner. It might be too small to read.

Well, I have to get back to work. So little time, so much stampin' left to do!