Friday, August 31, 2007

Just another hole in my head...

Yup...I survived...and have another hole in my head to show for it. The extraction itself went fairly well. The dentist obviously didn't get the message from his assistants that I wanted the laughing gas and he almost started without the gas...yikes...the gas made all the difference.

The recovery process is not so fun. I'm laying around being a slug. It's a good excuse to veg in front of the t.v. alternating between the Twins game and What Not to Wear.

Just another hot night at our house!

Dental woes

Today is the start of a long weekend for me...long for maybe the wrong reasons. This morning I have a dentist appointment...I'm having a tooth pulled (dentists like to say extracted, but I think pulled sums it up best). Anyone who knows me knows that I have a HUGE dentist phobia. Unfortunately, I also have bad teeth.

The really pissy part of this whole thing is this past January I faced my fears and had 6 teeth pulled! It actually went much better than I ever imagined...but the key in all that was that I was completely knocked out. I woke up with no recollection of what had occurred.

Drugs can be a wonderful thing.

They were supposed to pull then any tooth that was not worth saving. So I'm a bit miffed that now I have to face another extraction. It doesn't boost my faith in dentists. And I will be awake this time. Yes, I'm getting novocaine and laughing gas, but...

Why is it called laughing gas? I don't think I'll be laughing.

But I have to get this done (this tooth has been killing me for the past month) will be o.k., right?

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Day 1 in words and pictures

It was far from a perfect weather day at the fair. In fact, as we made our way to the fair around noon on Thursday, it started raining--a light drizzling sort of rain that was never a downpour, but at times annoying. The rain, however, did not curb my enthusiasm for the fair. In fact, I would argue that it was not that bad--it was never hot (in fact it was downright beautiful after the rain ended) and the crowds stayed light.

The rain actually gave me some great photo opportunities. Joel was a great sport and wore the "Target" raincoat, while I wore the less obnoxious "got milk?" raincoat. It made for some amusing photos (see earlier post) and garnered some second looks.

As promised, we started our day out with a pork chop on a stick, followed by a malt. I had a blackberry malt, but I know there is a chocolate malt in my future. Hey, we took the Kashi "get healthy" challenge and snagged a great bag. We went through a lot of buildings in the afternoon, partly in an attempt to stay out of the rain. When the rain really started getting to us, we went to the Coliseum and watched horse jumping. I do this every year. Joel was a little bored, but it gave us a chance to get out of the rain and recharge.

And the rain had ended when we came out. Joel got his second wind (thanks to some mountain dew) and we were good to go. We were able to listen to enjoy some free music performances and more people watching. We stopped at the Fox Sports booth and Roy Smalley was there (we also got to watch the Twins game for a bit). Joel missed the opportunity to snag some autographs, but he did get his pic taken with Smalley (check it out here). We also walked the midway as it was starting to get dark and checked out the birthing barn before heading home.

We managed to put in a 9 hour day at the fair. My body is still recovering (I woke up the next day and felt like I had walked 9 hours on concrete), but I'm already game for a second trip. Joel and I are heading out for our second trip to the fair. There's a chocolate malt with my name on it.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Day 1 in pictures

We don't do rides, but it sure makes for great people-watching & pictures

Joel and the "other woman"

Joel modeling his Target raincoat

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

One day and cow-nting

Tomorrow is the start of the "Great Minnesota Get Together" aka "the State Fair." Traditionally, I make it to the fair for the opening day and I think tomorrow will be no exception. I'm leaving the door open to the slim possibility that I will wait till Friday to go (because of weather), but right now I have a hard time imagining that tomorrow will be enough of a washout to keep me from being there. Perhaps it will be a short trip, but more than likely it will be a full-day af-fair. I love getting there the first day when everything is fresh and new. Everyone is excited that it's fair time once again.

Fortunately, I married a man who shares my passion for the State Fair (that & can a girl be so lucky!). Last year Joel and I went on the first day, dodging raindrops at different times throughout the day. Just as we were finally deciding to call it quits (for our first visit) a thunderstorm darkened the sky. As we turned back to seek shelter from the storm, the skies opened up and dumped buckets of rain. As we ran across fresh sod to get to the Birthing Barn, my shoe was swallowed up by the saturated sod. It was hilarious and became one of my favorite 2006 Fair memories.

I realize different folks enjoy different parts of the fair. Here are some of my favorites:

Favorite foods:
Pork chop on a stick
Chocolate malt from the Dairy Bldg (these two items start me matter what time I arrive...hey, protein and dairy makes a woman strong)
Shaved ice (on a hot day)
corn dog
Cream puff (with chocolate whipped cream)
(No cheese curds for me thank you)

Favorite buildings:
Fine Arts
Creative Activities
Birthing Barn
Empire Commons

Favorite Fair activities
people watching
watching horse jumping competitions
collecting information and recipes
listening to music
checking out the "butter heads" of the Dairy princesses (Princess Kay of the Milky Way...its an annual pilgrimage to check out the butter tradition I instilled in my kids...remember, I grew up in Dairy farming country)

Hey, if you want some State Fair info to plan your trip, check out this link .

This year I am going with my new digital camera in hand (these pics are not mine). Finally, I will be able to capture my favorite fair sights and memories. I'll be sure to share some with you.

What are your favorite fair memories?

See ya there!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut Butter Cookies

(chocolate chips recommended)

1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup shortening
2 eggs
3/4 cup peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda in 1/4 cup hot water
3 1/2 cups flour
optional, but recommended: chocolate chips

Cream sugars, shortening and eggs. Add peanut butter and vanilla. Add salt and baking soda, mixing before adding flour. Add chocolate chips if desired. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.

These cookies are a little piece of heaven when you eat them fresh from the oven--still warm of course! This is an old recipe that my mom used to bake. If you want to bake just peanut butter cookies (sans chocolate chips), you can roll the dough into balls and flatten with a fork. Also, no need to be that exact on the peanut butter...I just take a big scoop and throw it in.

Yes, Stacy, I'm bringing a few to work! If Joel saves you a few!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Work pics

Kermit sings and entertains whenever called upon, which is often.
He really does sing and rippet when certain body parts are pressed (not those body parts...geez, his belly and feet and hands or whatever those frog extremities are called.)
Kermit also enjoys McDonald's vanilla iced coffees.
He is planning to make guest blog appearances from time to time.

Looking for a pot to piss in?

What can I say?

How often are you going to see this outside your office building? Several bathrooms have been torn out to make room for the elevator.

The new desks being put together.

A few of the new desks put together and starting to form a pod.

The table posing as a desk that 4 of us shared at the beginning of the week. Kermit is there to provide comfort and entertainment.

Since I've been talking about the construction at work all week, I thought I would share a few photos. It's a work in progress, with a lot of progess still in the works. I'll share more photos as the finished project speeds, I mean, lurches ahead.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Office Update

Well, the phones and computers are functional. The new desks have arrived and are in the process of being put together. In the meantime, we are using some tables for in-between desk space. The whole "3-4 peas in a pod" idea may be out the window and instead we will be in di-pods. We'll see.

I should have been bringing my camera to work all week because there's been some interesting sights all the 3 toilets lined up outside. We have a new sink that looks more like a urinal trying to be a sink (it's toddler-size).

It makes life interesting.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Moving offices (again)

I am sitting in the midst of chaos at work. Southside is moving offices from the 2nd to the 3rd floor. When I left Southside some 20 months ago, this renovation project was in progress. The moving offices part was a long way off and I never dreamed that I would be around to experience it. I thought I was leaving that whole mess behind. Transitions are tough, especially when they include physical moves.

But no, I returned before the renovation was complete. I came just in time to set up at one desk for a few months--knowing that I would move to more permanent digs later. Later is now. As I was packing up my desk on Friday I kept muttering to myself, "I can't believe I came back before this was done."

The move is in full swing. The phones are disconnected and in process of being set up at our stations upstairs (our new desks have not yet arrived, so I guess the phones are...on the floor?). Computers will be moved tomorrow. Hopefully, the desks arrive this week.

Moving seems to have been a theme in my life these past 20 months. I am using the past tense in an optimistic stab at projecting an end to this theme in my life. I have changed residences twice. I have changed offices more times than that. I don't think I go anywhere without seeing some of my things in boxes.

All this moving has helped me let go of some things. Really, when you keep moving the same boxes over and over and the boxes don't get unpacked between moves you start wondering how much you really need the stuff. More space seems to mean you simply keep more stuff.

At work I am getting less and less space. It's sort of a "communal living" sort of office. I will be sharing a not-that-large work space with 8 other coworkers. I will be at a "pod" of 4 desks. I know it will not always be easy being so close to other people. People start getting funny about "real estate"...wanting the best desk, the best view, some little bit of privacy... It's nice, but sometimes you can have all that and still be miserable. From my perspective, it's not the office that makes the job. It's the people you work with. It's about how you touch other people's lives and they touch yours.

Hey, but from our 3rd floor office I'll have a treetop view of the Phillips neighborhood in south Mpls. That will be something! We're moving on up!

When the desks arrive, I plan to set up my new work space...with the hope that no other move is in sight. I'm unpacking and throwing the boxes away!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Blueberry Buckle

Blueberry Buckle

1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine, softened
1/4 cup shortening
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg

Mix sugar, butter, shortening and egg with spoon. Add milk and vanilla. Stir. Add remaining dry ingredients. Spread in ungreased 8 inch pan.

Sprinkle with 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

Mix until crumbly:
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Sprinkle over blueberries. Bake 45-50 minutes.

O.k. another blueberry recipe to enjoy this season. Who makes Blueberry Buckle? It's actually just another name for coffecake. This recipe I've been making for years ( I even modified it once and used rhubarb for the fruit). It's actually a recipe I got from one of those recipe packs you pick up in the Dairy Building (Empire Commons) at the State Fair (only 11 days till the Fair opens on 8/23! Yippee!)

Thursday, August 9, 2007

A Quiet Passing

Joel & I with Jerry & Dee at our wedding

Just a brief update...

Joel's father, Jerry, died yesterday afternoon. Fortunately, Joel & I was there, alongside Joel's mom, Dee. As hard as it was to say good-bye, it was comforting to know we could be there to hold his hand. Jerry passed away quietly, without pain, while we sat next to him.

I have learned a great deal about Joel's mom and dad these past few days as we've sat at the hospital passing time telling stories. Jerry and Dee were married 55 plus years. Together they raised Joel (and had one other son that died as an infant). Both Jerry and Dee worked; Jerry working most of his years with Glenwood-Englewood Water Company. In his later years, Jerry worked caning chairs--and teaching others how to do it ("caning" is the chair weaving you see on the backs and seats of some is not easy to do). Jerry was still caning chairs this summer. Jerry and Dee also enjoyed travelling--not just in the United States, but overseas as well. They had a love for adventure. They also had a great love for one another.

Jerry was 85 years old. I think he lived a good life and that Jerry and Dee had a good marriage.

That is something to strive for.

(See post Lessons in Living below. Also check out my baseball blog to read a post that Joel wrote about his dad-- )

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Recipe of the Week

Cornmeal Blueberry Pancakes

This is a relatively new recipe that I found in the paper and decided to try. A couple of helpful hints: Prepare the batter the night before, if possible, to allow the cornmeal to soften a bit. Also these are best if made as small pancakes--they are somewhat delicate and don't flip easily.

1 cup flour
6 tsp baking powder
1 cup cornmeal
1 tsp salt
2 tbls sugar
1 cup boiling water (perhaps a bit more)
1/2 cup milk
8 tbls (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten
fresh blueberries

In a large bowl, stir together cornmeal, salt and sugar. Add boiling water, stir and let stand 5 minutes. Stir in milk, butter, and eggs. Add flour mixture and stir until smooth. Add additional water/milk to obtain desired consistency. When making pancakes, pour batter on hot griddle and then sprinkle with blueberries. YUM!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Lessons in living

It's been a harsh week. Late Monday night my aunt Honey died. If you read my earlier post you know that she was not doing well; her body was tired and failing. Fortunately, there was time before her death to visit and let her know how much she was loved. My mom spent the past weekend with her, up till the time that she slipped into a coma on Monday.

Wednesday--well Wednesday delivered quite a jolt to everyone here in the metro area and certainly beyond, as the 35W bridge came tumbling down. In an instant lives were gone, without time for a goodbye from loved ones. It is still mindboggling.

Thursday, Joel's father, Jerry, was taken by ambulance to the hospital (HCMC--the same hospital many of the victims of the bridge collapse were taken). He was admitted and still is in the ICU. The health professionals are still sorting out what is going on with him--multiple infections, a possible bowel obstruction, and pnuemonia. In reality, his body is also growing tired. He is 85 years old.

So Friday morning, Joel and I headed to Clear Lake, MN for my aunt's funeral. When we returned to the cities, we headed to the hospital to visit his father.

I barely know my "in-laws", but in some respects, this difficult situation is allowing me to get to know Joel's parents a bit better. Friday night we returned to the hospital with Dee, Joel's mom. While we took a break for some dinner, Dee told me wonderful stories about the many family trips that they took when Joel was young. Every summer they took a 2-week vacation--visiting new states each year. Dee told me stories about Joel that only a mother can tell. I loved that. Following dinner, we went back upstairs to say goodnight to his dad.

Jerry and Dee have been married for some 55-plus years. I don't know if my words can capture the tenderness between Dee & Jerry as they said good-night. Dee is a small, seemingly frail woman (she is indeed quite feisty, as is his father, which will help them both right now). Dee is so tiny that she was unable to reach over and give her husband a kiss. They improvised...and blew kisses to one another. Before Dee left, she told Jerry in a most loving voice to "listen to the nurses and fight to get better."

I am hoping that Jerry does grow stronger and that I will have the opportunity to hear stories about Joel that only his father can tell.

So, given the events of the past week, Joel & I, newlyweds that we are, have had more than ample opportunity to talk about death & dying, our own funerals... Really, these have not been morbid conversations. Quite the opposite, it has been comforting to have someone that I love (and who loves me) to share thoughts with. First, we both vow to come back and kill the other if either of our funerals involve a sermon about how to save sinners. In fact, I don't want a sermon at all. I know that no funeral is exactly a party, but I want mine to be filled with music I love (we're both composing a list), memories shared of good, silly, and even dumb things I have done in my lifetime. Go ahead and shed a tear or two, but please share a laugh as well. (And for god's sake, if I have an open casket, don't lie and say I look good. I'm dead. I don't expect to look good. If there was ever an excuse for a bad hair day...)

Second, I just hope that when it's my time to go, I'm in a place where my hand can be held by the ones I love--Joel and my kids. Don't get me wrong, I don't want it to happen any time soon. I want many, many years to grow old alongside my husband. Someday I want to bounce grandchildren on my knee. I want to travel places I have not seen (Christ, I haven't even been to Canada yet).

But the tragedy and randomness of this week's bridge collapse is a reminder that we don't always have time to say goodbye. Sometimes death comes in the blink of an eye. I hate that. Years ago, I watched my dad die before me, swiftly and unexpectedly. There wasn't the time to say good-bye the right way.

I learned from his death, as I was reminded this past week, to live, as much as possible, in a way that makes leaving this earth a bit easier. Tell your loved ones "I love you" every chance you get. Don't get caught up in material possessions--they're not going with you in the end. Enjoy life events--birthdays, holidays, and just "ordinary days". Treat people with kindness as much as possible. Turn the other cheek when you can. HAVE A GOOD TIME.

It's not always easy to do. But I'm going to try a little harder this next week to do just those things.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

I have been watching the news coverage of the bridge collapse here in the Twin Cities. Yes, I am safe--we were not enroute to a Twins game. It's horrible...I think it will be days before we actually know how many lives have been lost.
Totally random, horrible event that makes no sense. Hug your loved ones tonight.