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 pursuits...like 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 size...one 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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