Thursday, December 25, 2008

Holiday Blessings

Amazing. As crazy as the time leading up to Christmas seems, it seems to come and go in an instant. December has been a whirlwind...and I lamely offer that as an excuse for not writing more.

The closer it gets to Christmas, the crazier my work becomes. Crazier and harder. As you can imagine, the holidays is a difficult time to be in the line of work of "helping others". Stress piles up for everyone and it's hard not to feel that. I try to bring home with me the good stuff...the joy in helping make the holidays a little easier for families that don't have a lot of resources. Joel and I had a good time playing Mr & Mrs Claus for the families (even if we came home with the flu). It was a tough year for our Holiday Store for our families...donations were down, but we managed to serve all our families.

And while I worked the last few weeks to make the holidays better for others, I was trying hard not to go crazy making Christmas better for my own family. Thankfully I get a 2-week holiday break from my work and starting Friday (when my break began) I was busy running around like every other crazy fool.

And so I celebrated Christmas with my kids and hubby yesterday. "Santa" was very, very good to me (Thank you, honey!) But in the end, it's the combination of all the "little things" that make the holidays complete...the time spent with my kids and husband, listening to the same holiday music, eating the same cookies, decorating the tree with the same ornaments...these are the things that I treasure year after year.

And I know that I am blessed.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The surprise at the end of this post

I was really kicking myself for not making it outside yesterday, so I was determined to venture out today. Not the best move. My daughter Ana was off today, so we headed to downtown Mpls to check out the Dayton's, er Macy's 8th floor display. We took the bus...because of the weather and the fact I hate driving downtown Mpls.

I just have to say that I was a bit disappointed with Macy's this year. The display was about half the size it normally is and there were none of the "illusion" scenes they typically have. It was still beautiful, but didn't quite measure up to past years.

Ana and I did a bit of shopping. I love shopping downtown Mpls, but it was getting colder and windier as the afternoon wore on. Plus I started feeling like crap. I found out a few weeks ago that I have a severe vitamin D deficiency...which explains my severe fatigue and muscle/bone fatigue & weakness. After walking around for a few hours I was done. Actually I was in pain. We headed home, but the 8 block walk home was miserable.

I'm not looking forward to this bout of winter weather that's coming this week. I would love to hibernate!

And now for the surprise at the end of this post: As a means of promoting my Etsy shop and art blog, I am hosting a giveaway on my art blog. It's also a way to show appreciation to those folks who are following my artful adventures. I will be giving away a necklace to one of my viewers. Check out my art blog for details. All you have to do is leave a comment (on my art blog).

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The birthday revisited

Joel as Santa last year with a friend's child.

Our room at Moondance

I was just retelling the birthday story to my mom and enough time has passed to make it somewhat I thought it might be time to share it here. Be forewarned: if you cannot stomach stories containing vomiting references, you better stop here. (I promise, it's more comical than wretched)

My birthday was last Friday--December 5th. I turned 48. Far too close to 50, but that's a post for another day.

On Thursday evening and again on Friday, Joel accompanied me to work to play the part of Santa for our annual holiday parties for the families that we serve. I played Mrs. Claus. Nearly every kid in attendance sat on Joel's, er, Santa's lap to have their picture taken. Joel is a fantastic Santa. He was a real trooper handling on those kids.

Following work on Friday, Joel and I went to dinner at Famous Dave's with my kids. It was nice having dinner with my kids...then we headed home.

I was wiped. Joel obviously was too, because I think he was in bed by 10:30. I was a little miffed that he went to bed so early on my birthday, but truth be told, I was exhausted too...and I think I was in bed at 11. At the time I was thinking we were both getting too old to have a late wild night.

Around midnight Joel said he wasn't feeling well...and soon enough I heard some wretched sounds from the bathroom...Santa was puking. About an hour later, I was in the other bathroom doing the same. Thank god, we have two bathrooms...we needed them both.

My first thought was that our dinner at Famous Dave's was making us sick...cause frankly, that was the first thing coming out. (Not recommended) I managed to reach my son, who was not sick. Then I thought it was my birthday lunch. I was a little pissed that I was being hit with food poisoning for the second time in 6 months...and on my birthday no less.

Sometime around 2 in the morning, with Joel and I each in separate bathrooms puking, I heard a LOUD crash. I rushed to Joel's bathroom as quickly as I could and tried to get in. Joel was on the floor in front of the door. Eventually Joel was able to get up...and when I knew he was reasonably ok I returned to what I had been the other bathroom.

A few hours later I heard Joel moving around...and got up just in time to see him crash to the floor in our first bedroom (we were by that point sleeping in separate beds). I tried to help him up, but couldn't...and he couldn't get up on his own. Finally, I just threw him a pillow and blanket and told him to stay put until we were stronger. We crashed for a few hours.

Eventually Joel managed to get up to the bed...and immediately puked again (thankfully in the Twins pail I had given him hours earlier...yup, we were each puking in his n' hers Twins puckets). I couldn't handle that yet and ran with my pail to the back bathroom. (Essentially we switched beds and bathrooms).

In the morning light it was easy to see the damage that had been Joel's first collapse in the bathroom he had poked his eye with the door jam...not a flexible door jam, but an old, SOLID door jam with no metal tip. We were lucky he didn't rip his eyelid open...but his eye was completely swollen shut and about the size of a golf ball. On the second fall, he skinned up his knee pretty good.

Still too weak to think about going anywhere, we slept most of the day and ate a few crackers and applesauce. About 5 in the evening I took Joel to the ER to have his eye checked out. The doctors were pretty impressed...but no real damage was done (thankfully).

We had planned a number of activities for my birthday, but obviously everything on Saturday was cancelled. Fortunately, we were able to salvage the trip to Red Wing to stay at the Moondance Inn that we had planned for Sunday/Monday. I told Joel both my eyes would have to be swollen shut to miss that. It was a lowkey trip, but there wasn't any better place to recuperate. We lounged around in our jammies and soaked in the hot tub. And Joel pampered us both by booking massages at a local Red Wing spa.

Oh ya, I should add that it probably wasn't food poisoning at all, but a nasty bout of the flu...a whole bunch of folks at my work were sick as well.

So that's the birthday story...who says we're too old for wild nights!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tillie's Beans

Sorry for the long overdue post. Work (meaning that 9-5 job) is in that holiday frenzy mode. And then for my birthday, I got the flu. Thankfully the flu came after the birthday dinner with the family...but it was/is nasty stuff. Me and the hubby are still recovering. But I managed to salvage a lovely few days away at the bed & breakfast we love. It was just where we needed to go to recuperate.

Now back to the grind. And speaking of in coffee...

A big announcement: Last week I dropped off four of my paintings to be hung at my favorite morning coffee shop: Tillie's Bean located at 2803 E 38th Street (right near the light rail station). The paintings include the Birch Trees pictured above. More on this later...I just wanted to get the word out. Stop by to see them. And buy some coffee (I can't recommend the best coffee...I'm not a coffee drinker...but the chai is Wonderful).
More later...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Etsy Treasury and second sale! Yippee!!!

I'm so's been a good night on Etsy. First, I snagged a treasury. It's hard to explain, but it's a gallery of other people's stuff that you put together...and then hope it's featured on the front page of Etsy. Anyway, if you have a minute, take a look, click on some of the items, cause it will help me get to the front page.

Second, I sold another necklace! So weird too...cause I accidently relisted it so someone might see it for their treasury. (I meant to relist a different necklace). It's one of the first necklaces I listed.

I'm not sure I'm going to sleep tonight!

James Taylor singing "River"

Just a little holiday treat for's not exactly a holiday song, but it's on JT's holiday CD...anyway, it's peaceful...this performance of Joni Mitchell's song was performed by James Taylor at a tribute to Joni (with whom he had a little fling at one time, but that's ancient history)...anyways, enjoy.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Monday, Monday

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It's been sort of a wild, crazy Monday. So far. The good part of the day was waking up, checking my Etsy shop (a morning ritual that I take part in every morning over oatmeal) and discovering that my Etsy shop is being featured on another Etsian's blog. How cool is that? I'm hoping it will bring some viewers to my shop, but if you have a minute, please wander over to this blog and then visit dragonfly's store. She features practical, but stylish baby items. Her blog site is:

I plan to be promoting some other Etsy artists over on my site from time to time, so please check that out as well.

So I blissfully head off to work and when I get there discover a gruesome site within 5 feet of my desk. A mouse had been caught (and killed) in a rat trap, which created a bloodbath. Fortunately the trap had flipped over, but it created an ugly scene nonetheless. I found someone who removed the mouse, but the mess... No, I did not clean that up...but hid it by the strategic placement of a large garbage can. (Thank you Susan for doing that nasty job).

You may ask why my work is using rat traps. I work in a very old building that was once a convent. It's a beautiful building, but old and the little critters find there way in...even up to the 4th floor where my desk is. A few folks thought they saw a rat, not just a mouse...hence, the rat trap. I refuse to believe that there is a rat in our building. I can barely deal with mice.

After that it's been a crazy day of running around. I'm hoping for a peaceful evening at home.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


All right, I know I've been on a bit of a blogging hiatus. Not exactly, really, since I've written a few posts on my art blog.

Part of it is that I'm sick of the gray. The gray that has been our sky for the past few weeks. Whenever there has been any sun, it's been gone by the time I get home...because then it's dark. Weather-wise, this is my least favorite season.

But on the other hand, the next 6 weeks or so is one of my favorite seasons...the holiday season.

I've been busy working on holiday crafts. Much of my free time of late has been spent over at my workshop, um, I mean studio. There at one table I'm working on a few new paintings. Then, when I need a break from painting (or something needs to dry), I flip to another table where I'm working on holiday crafts.

I'm working on several sets of holiday ornaments...the kind I've been making for years with tissue paper and modpodge. I love modpodge. And tissue paper. My hope is to have these featured in my Etsy shop soon.

Have you seen my Etsy shop yet? It's been slow going. I've had 2 sales. Only one sale shows because I sold a necklace to my sister-in-law (thanks Claudia) off of Etsy. When I'm not working the 9-5 gig or at the studio, I'm sitting in my recliner beading. I have new necklaces I'm getting ready to list on Etsy. Take a look, please. I don't really care if you buy anything, but if you stop by "heart"'s a mood lifter. Think about checking out some of the Esty could lead to some holiday shopping right at home!

So that's it for now. I'll let you know when the new items are up on Etsy.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Vacation Wrap up

Sorry for my tardiness in writing about my trip to Arizona. I guess writing while I listen to election coverage is as good a time as ever.

It was a wonderful trip...good to get away. And Sedona is inspirational on many levels. First off, geographically it is a fascinating area. The red rock canyons are spectacular...and unlike any other part of the country I've seen. Sedona is the center of red rock canyon land. The colors of the rock are something to behold, coupled with the bluest of skies...amazing. I couldn't take enough pictures of the red rock...and I don't think my pictures really do them justice.

And then, Sedona is a very "artsy" community. The town is filled to the brim with various art galleries/shops. It also boasts a very nice Community Art Center. We tried to take in as much as we could, but battled sensory overload much of the week. The weather...outstanding. It was a little warmer than average when we were there...and I was thrilled. Highs in the mid-80's, no humidity (making for good-hair days!), no clouds, crisp air. We managed to set aside a little time to sit by the pool!

There were lots of bead shops in/around Sedona...and my favorite was actually going out of business, so I scooped up lots of good deals. I did manage to make a few necklaces while in Arizona (and they're up on Etsy already!).

One of the side trips we took during the week was to an abandoned copper mining town named Jerome. The town is now "inhabited" by various artists...basically they have taken over all the little shops...there are still a few saloons set up as such. It was a lovely town to wander through and see alot of original artwork...often with the artists present. We actually stopped to watch a glass blower do his thing. I actually enjoyed viewing art in this venue much more than in the overpriced galleries of Sedona.

It was hard to return the sense that it's hard to return to the reality of "real life", which includes juggling work, the chores of keeping a home running, family obligations...I am relieved that Minnesota bounced back from it's brief interlude of cold weather to grace us with a few more warm days. I hear that more winter-like weather is on it's way soon. I think I'll be pulling out those "warm" Arizona pics quite a bit this coming winter.



Saturday, November 1, 2008


A shot of the hills near where we were staying

The red rock canyons are incredible

The variety of vegetation surprised me...there were trees with leaves changing colors. This shot was taken by a creek near Montezuma's Castle.

Montezuma's Castle...mistakenly named Montezuma's Castle because white discoverers assumed it had been built by Aztec Indians (it was built by a much smaller tribe). I don't know how they managed to build this...or live was a straight climb up these rocks to their homes in the rocks---and they were not close to the ground!

Another shot by Montezuma Castle...the sky was so blue!

Another rock formation...don't ask me the name!

A few shots of the red rocks at sunrise. Truly amazing!

A few shots of where we were staying. I loved all the adobe homes.


So I've returned from Sedona. It was beautiful...highs in the 80's, no humidity (resulting in good hair days), no clouds, beautiful red rock canyons, lots of art and bead stores...a little bit of heaven.
I'll share the pics for now...details later.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

It's time to go

I am finishing up my packing and preparations for my trip to Sedona. It's been crazy busy at work the past few days. My work day ended with me locking my car keys in the ignition. Thank god for AAA.

So I'm excited and a little nervous. And strangely a little sad. I have not taken many out-of-town vacations in my life, especially without family. I have only flown anywhere 2 other times! So while I am overwhelmingly excited about this wonderful opportunity, I am also aware that I am leaving my family behind...and I am not any more used to that than I am to flying. I spent a little time with both my kids today and once I finish this packing, I'll be spending some time with my hubby. I know I will miss them while I'm gone.

Sometimes you have to leave your life in order to appreciate your life even more.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Leaving on a Jet Plane

In two days I will be heading out of town, meeting up with my best friend and fellow artist, Julie, at the airport in Phoenix. From there we will drive to Sedona, where we plan to spend a week together in a self-prescribed artist retreat.

I can't wait.

Julie and I have been friends since our kids came into this world (they're now in their early 20's). Initially, we worked together at the U libraries...both having majored in Studio Arts. Then we had kids together. Then, living miles apart, we went through ugly divorces together and raised our kids as single parents.

As we struggled to raise our kids singlehandedly, we dreamed of someday being able to go on a vacation together, just to spend time together and make art.

The time has come.

I'm not sure if I will have access to a computer while I am gone. If you don't hear from me before Halloween that is the explanation.

I'll have plenty of stories and pictures to share when I return.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

First Sale

I had my first Etsy sale! I had my first Etsy sale!
The first thing I've been doing each morning is checking my Etsy shop...I almost thought I was dreaming when I saw there was a sale. (I sold my Follow Your Heart Create Necklace pictured on the left. Don't worry, Stacy, your necklace has been made. And if anyone else wanted one, I still have more of those beads!)

Yippee! It's a good day!

Thursday, October 16, 2008


If you're sick of political ads and stories about our failing economy, here's a story that is sure to touch your heart. It was broadcast on Kare11 News tonight and even the second time it made me cry. Click here and then play the video.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Art Crawl weekend

I am busy (very busy) with final preparations for the Fall Art Crawl. I'm anxious for the prep work to be done and the crawl to begin. I'm excited about family and friends visiting my studio. I wonder what new visitors will have to say about my artwork. And as a bonus I'm selling (or trying to sell) some the necklaces I've recently made.

Feel free to stop by. If you stop over at my art blog you can click on the links to learn more about the crawl and read my tips for exploring the crawl.

Hope to see you there.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Open for Business

For those of you who don't know, I have been preparing for a few months now to open up an Etsy online "store" that sells handmade items to folks around the world. I plan to sell some of my crafted items and original artwork in my Etsy shop. In the past few weeks I've been doing some of the necessary work in preparation of listing items for sale. Last night I finally was ready to list my first item.

It didn't really go smoothly. I "lost" the listing a few times...listing an item is a multi-step process and on more than one occasion I lost or basically deleted my listing before I was done. There is also no inherent way to save an unfinished listing and go back to it later. (I found a way later). Then when it came time to upload images, I couldn't get it to work. I hit my head against the wall for a good hour before I came to the realization that it was an Etsy problem and not a Risa problem. No one was getting their pictures up on Etsy. So I saved my work, went to bed very late, and then woke up very early this morning to upload my images.

Viola! My first listing was ready to be posted. My Etsy shop is officially open for business.

I was pretty excited today to see it up for the whole world to see. Tonight I added a second item. In the coming weeks (especially after the Art Crawl), I'll be listing more items.

For now I am listing necklaces that I have beaded. More handmade items and original artwork to follow.

(Pictured above are images of necklaces that are or will be featured in my Etsy shop. Please click on the left side buttons to go to my Etsy shop)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

My Day

As a social worker, I spend a lot of time with people; hopefully helping them. Some days my job is just hard. I watch as families struggle to find a way to feed their children and put warm clothes on their backs. I listen as people tell me their life stories...of childhoods spent without loving parents and growing up in foster care. How do you grow up to be loving, caring, protective parents if you never saw how that's done? How do you heal that sort of hurt?

My day is spent juggling compassion, while scrambling to find resources. My day is sometimes being social worker/taxi driver--helping families get to those resources. My day is spent showing parents how to be the type of parents they wished for as a kid. Sometimes before you get to that place you have to deal with all the bad stuff that came first.

I believe in the resilency of kids and adults. I believe in the power to heal from all that hurt and be a better person. I have to or I could never do my job.

But sometimes at the end of the day, I come home tired, discouraged, and for a moment hopeless. I'm tired from being with people and just want time to myself. I don't necessarily want to hear on tv about politics or how the economy is failing. You don't have to tell me how hard a time families are having--I see it every day. I don't need to hear any more doom and gloom. And I don't want to hear a bunch of promises either.

So my evening may be spent escaping in a baseball game or even better, doing something creative.

And then the next day, I'm ready to do it all again.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Well, I think the Golden Slugger's birthday celebration may officially be over. Friday night we decided to take advantage of the warm weather and drive out to Stillwater. On a whim, we went on the Paddleboat dinner cruise up (or down?) the St. Croix. It was a beautiful night; very relaxing being on the water. And fortunately, no pirates were encountered. It was, after all, National Pirates Day.

The rest of the weekend has been laid back as well. I did a bunch of shopping/errands (lots of stops at Joann's, Michael's and Dick Blick)...and I finished 3 more necklaces.

This last little bit of summer was quite a treat. I think we'll need to savor this weekend for quite a while to come.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Monday, September 8, 2008

September 8th

I returned to work today after a week off...not a bad day...actually a fairly decent day. Late this afternoon, Joel called me and I answered my phone by saying, "How's the man I said "yes" to 2 years ago today?" Yup, today's the day we got engaged at the baseball game (that story here).

What was nice was that my husband remembered the day and wanted to do something to commemorate the day. We settled on a wonderful romantic dinner at Kincaid's, a St. Paul restaurant we've been meaning to check out. My review--great for a special dinner. And if you go early--between 5-6 pm--you can get a fabulous 3-course dinner for $25.

And just let me say, I'm still tickled pink that I said "yes" two years ago today.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


Police State?

The view at Rice Park--the location of the MSNBC broadcast

Landmark Center decked out for the RNC

No getting past this gate
Just wanted to post a few photos that I took on my walk downtown today to catch some of the action of the RNC...well, what you can see from the street. It's been sort of a surreal event taking place in our backyard. There have been cops everywhere in every form...on foot, on bikes, on horses, and even in the air (helicopters). There are cops in uniform, cops in polo shirts and cops in riot gear. And then there are the Secret Service...some in suits and some with bullet proof vests that identify them as such. Downtown St. Paul is normally a very quiet city, but not this week.
I look forward to a return to normal.

Friday, August 29, 2008

RNC coming to town

The Republicans are heading to town. And I would like to run for the hills. Not purely because it's the Republicans (although that doesn't help), but because I'm tired of this whole convention mess before it even begins. For months here in St. Paul we've heard about how many people are coming to town, what roads will be closed, what businesses will be closed...We've witnessed the banners being hung and the streets being cleaned and spruced up with flowers. It's all nice, but I can't wait for this whole thing to be over.

It's not like the "locals" are encouraged to participate or even to observe. If you want to take a walk anywhere near the Xcel Center, you better be ready to be frisked by a Secret Agent. No thank you, I'll pass.

To be honest with you, I'm a little tired of politics in general. I'm tired of the rhetoric and political posturing. I'm not really interested in debating politics with others either. I know who I'm voting for. I encourage everyone to vote. But I don't want to get in an argument about it. My vote is no more important than your opinion is no more important than yours. I'm not going to try and sway you if you should think differently than me. I just hope you go out and vote.

Don't get me wrong--I think this presidential election is very important. And I really do care about the outcome. But I hope this election makes this country more unified rather than divided between two candidates.

The very nature of elections doesn't encourage that.

So during the upcoming week of the Republican Convention, don't be surprised if I bury my head in the sand. Wake me when it's over.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

State Fair Trip #1

It was a good first day at the Fair...a little warm and humid, but the breeze helped keep things from being unbearable. We got to the fairgrounds around 10 am and stayed till 6:30 pm--over 8 hours at the fair! We were exhausted when we got home!

We enjoyed some of our favorite treats--pork chops on a stick, malts from the Empire Commons bldg (frequently referred to as the "Dairy Bldg"), shaved ice, mini donuts and of course, a foot long corn dog. I'm looking forward to my next trip to enjoy some treats I skipped the first day.

We made the full circle of the grounds, probably more than once. We made quick trips through the Fine Arts, Creative Activities, Horticulture and Education buildings...planning to return for longer visits when the weather is a little cooler. Somehow Joel convinced me to ride on the Sky Glider again this left me a little queasy at the beginning, but you do get great pictures from up there (which I will be uploading soon).

The International Bazaar has been rebuilt...and looked awesome. The Twins tent moved to a better location...close to the International Bazaar and next to the FSN North tent.

Even though I'm fighting a cold, we're planning Trip #2 for tomorrow. We'll be taking my mom and Joel's daughter along with us. This won't be a 8 hour trip, but it should be a great day nonetheless.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Tomorrow, tomorrow...I love you, tomorrow...

Tomorrow's the BIG day: the first day of the Great Minnesota Get-Together; also known as the STATE FAIR. I have purchased oodles of discount tickets, as well as 2 coupon books. My camera has been cleared of all old photos and its battery has been charged. I am ready to go.

I am a bit concerned that I have a bit of a sore throat, but I think that can be attributed to the screaming I did at the ballgame today (Twins win 3-2, but those dreaded White Sox continue to win as well).

Hopefully, I'll fall asleep quickly tonight, so that we can head out fairly early tomorrow (9 am?). I already know what our first stop at the fair will be: pork chop on a stick.


Sunday, August 17, 2008

Fair Time

Anyone who knows me, knows that I live for the fair! And it's almost Fair time!

The Fair opens on Thursday, August 21...and rain or shine, Joel and me will be there!

Just to help get you in the mood, here's a montage of photos from our visits (I think 5 trips) from last year.

Oh, and I found a blog of a bigger Fair fanatic...check it out at

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Office Max Rubberband Man

As promised, the Office Max commercial featuring the Rubberband Man. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Hump Day present

Call it my "Hump Day" present to you--The Spinners performing Rubberband Man on the Midnight Special--another blast from the past, courtesy of YouTube. (This could become a weekly tradition). Check out the outfits...and hang in there till the end when they pull out the rubberbands. I'm not lying!

This is a song my high school band played for years. I can't hear the song without thinking of this small-town band playing "Rubberband Man" marching down Main Street of rural America.

Office Max did some very fun commercials a few years back featuring their own Rubberband Man...maybe I'll bring you that tomorrow.

Until then...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Date Night on Monday

Joel and I generally have "Date Night" on Friday. It's something we stuck to once we were living together and not "dating" any longer. Sometimes we don't do all that much, but it's a night reserved for the two of us.

Tonight, quite spontaneously, we found ourselves in the middle of what felt like a Date Night.

After work I wanted to head to a bookstore and before that, we grabbed dinner. The weather is wonderful tonight...a cool breeze providing welcome relief from summer heat.

We normally drive past Como Zoo on our way home and initially decided to stop to take a walk. Then I had the idea of playing miniature golf.

We got started on the course just before a HUGE group walked up. This was the first time Joel and I have played miniature golf. Joel took an early lead, then I pulled ahead by the 9th hole. But a few shots later, I was again falling behind.

In the end, Joel was the winner...although, I want a re-match.

We wrapped the evening up with a stop at Izzy's for ice cream.

Now that's what I call Date Night.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A blast from the past...

This morning on my way in to work I enjoyed singing along to an old Paul Simon song "You Can Call me Al". Yesterday it was Paul Simon's "Fifty Ways to Leave a Lover". Some time ago, when I was still working at the Y, me and another person started singing the chorus to that song...and the younger crowd were a bit dumbfounded. Paul Simon has a knack for writing nearly nonsensical lyrics to little ditties that you will remember for years. And they more often than not bring a smile to your lips.

So, as I was listening to the song this morning, I remembered how much I loved the video to this song. Paul Simon, along with Chevy Chase--who sings as if he's Paul Simon. It's a very, very simple video, but Chevy Chase makes it funny. Simon keeps a straight face...until the end, where he cracks a smile.

So thanks to Youtube, I'm bringing you this video.

Hope it brings a smile to your day. Sit back with a diet coke, if you have one, and enjoy.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Weekend mix

Another busy weekend--juggling time with kids, time with husband, and even some time for myself. (To see what I've been up to during "me time" check out my art blog--you'll learn more about this painting "Force of Nature". )

Joel's been taking care of his daughter more this past week, because her mother has been out of town. In fact, we spent a few nights apart, so he could take care of Bree at her place (which means he was staying overnight at his ex's house, which is a little strange...but makes more sense in the long run). Friday night Joel came home for several hours so we could go out to dinner and then spend some time together.

Saturday afternoon Joel brought Bree here for the remainder of the weekend (Bree normally stays with us from Saturday afternoon till Monday afternoon). Noel was here to watch Bree on Saturday afternoon, so we went out to catch a movie.

This is the summer of the action-adventure, and more often than not, action-adventure based on a comic book hero. That works for some folks (including my husband). But I was wiped and wanted something slower paced. And preferably a small theater not crammed with people.

We found a great movie at Edina's Landmark Theaters. We saw "The Visitor"...small, independent film that I hadn't heard of, but got great reviews. Well-deserved, I would add. It was just a nice quiet film, that told a story well. Check it out if you get the chance.

Tomorrow--back to work. I wish the weekend didn't go by so fast.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Farmer's Market Delight

Beans, Onions, Carrots, Potatoes, Zucchinnis, Tomatoes (safe ones), Cukes, Eggs, Kettle Corn, and lots and lots of flowers...all at the Farmers Market right outside our door. The Market is hitting its' summer prime. All we're waiting for now is sweet corn and melons!

The market is crazy busy on Saturdays, but a little less so on Sundays (note to mothers with young children: this may be an easier day to visit the market. And there is a nice kid park 2 blocks away next to Channel 2 )

I thought I would share again the video montage I made last year. And if you come down to the Market, be sure to give me a holler!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Cute kitty pictures alert

Some cute pictures of Ana's cat, Honeykins. The first is the cat getting ready to pounce. The last four were taken when she was trying to figure out how to get to the strip of fabric that was blowing in the wind--but outside the window.

Monday, July 14, 2008

I bring you...

... not pictures from vacation (they're coming soon), but an updated Salmonella outbreak map (from 7-11-08). As you can see, the number of MN cases has grown to 19! And now Mississippi and West Virginia are reporting confirmed cases. Apparently, not much salsa and such is eaten in the Great Plains states free of salmonella. Maybe the Dakotas should make that part of their summer tourism campaign..."vacation in a state free of salmonella..."

Beware of fresh tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, and fresh cilantro...all suspected culprits!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Happy Birthday, Ana!

Today, July 10th is my daughter's birthday. She turns 24 today! I am off from work to celebrate with her (and my mom is here to join the celebration as well). Ana is an incredible young woman. She faces life, even when it is hard, with strength and determination. I love spending time with her. I am extremely proud to be her mom and still get teary-eyed when I think of the day she came into this world. It changed my life completely--and I wouldn't change that for a minute.

I wrote about her birth last year on this blog. Rather than try to say it all again, I am re-posting that post here--

Tuesday my daughter, Ana, turned 23. I don't think it will matter how many years go by: I will always remember with vivid clarity what it was like welcoming my first child to this world. I am a "goosebumps" kind of girl, so when I recall these type of life events, I often get a case of goosebumps. Goosebumps are often accompanied by teary eyes.

My first pregnancy was considered "high risk"...not only was Ana in the breech position, they thought part of her brain might be outside of her skull. Ultrasound technology was relatively new at that time and they weren't always sure what they were seeing. It definitely lacked "high definition". Throughout my pregnancy, I saw one specialist after another--all who were afraid to give me any straight answers. The joy and anticipation of my first pregnancy was also fraught with fear. When I was 8 months pregnant another specialist walked in after yet another ultrasound and greeted me with the words: "When I read your chart, I thought this was a hopeless case." He went on to say he didn't think it was going to be so hopeless, but he couldn't make any promises.

They also could never figure out what my due date should be. It started out as June 23rd and kept getting pushed back further and further. I felt the birth would be somewhere around the second week of July (a mother always knows best). On July 9th, when I had my weekly appt the doctor said my baby might not come till August. I nearly kicked her from the exam table.

Sure enough, the night of July 9th I did go into labor. Because Ana was in a difficult breech position and they were unsure of her health, a c-section was planned. They were "allowing" me to go into labor on my own. Those few hours of labor were a glorious experience.

On the morning of July 10th, we headed to the hospital--during a torrential rainstorm (side note: Ana's full name is Anahita--which is the name of a Persian goddess represented by water--very important in a desert climate).A few hours later, when Ana "arrived" via c-section, pink and healthy as could be...well, those first few moments are always "goosebump memories"...she was fine. What they saw on the ultrasound was merely a fold of skin (she had no neck like my dad!). Because she was breech, she was folded in half. They kept reassuring me that there was nothing to worry about...and I didn't care about that...she was breathing, crying, and everything was where it was supposed to be. The months of worry evaporated with her first few healthy breaths.

An hour or so after her birth, I was able to call my mom and tell her the good news...that her granddaughter was born healthy. That phone call is also a goosebump memory. In that phone call, my relationship with my mother was forever changed. In my mother's voice I could hear her relief that Ana was o.k. My connection with my mother deepened with that phone call. I understood her better and I do believe that my mother understood me better. We knew where each other "came from". I think we were both willing to give each other a little more latitude. At the end of the call, my mom said she would be there the next day (she didn't drive and needed to arrange transportation). She made it to the hospital by dinnertime.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


The fuel pump in the car needs to be the tune of about $800. Yikes. It's a less than cheery way to spend vacation, but it is what it is.

The best part of the day so far...waking up and heading to the studio to do some painting before it heats up. That's what I really wanted to do this vacation.

Monday, July 7, 2008

A quiet Fourth

It was sort of a quiet 4th of July holiday around here...which after the last few weeks was o.k. by me. Saw fireworks twice (it's just a few minutes walk from here to catch the Taste of MN fireworks). Hung out at home most of the weekend.

Sunday decided to head to the Twins game--I haven't been to a Twins game since June 18th! I almost didn't make it to the game...when I went down to the car, it wouldn't start! (I had this same problem about 10 days ago...had the car towed to a garage and then it started the next day! We had the car towed today and yes, again, the car started at the garage! Something is definitely not working!) I decided to jump on the express bus to Mpls to get to the was worth it--the Twins won to sweep the Cleveland Indians.

While my co-workers are returning to work tomorrow, I'm taking this week off to rest and relax. No big plans. More hanging at home and hopefully lots of time at the studio. Now that I'm feeling better, I'm back in my beading frenzy...I've made 4 new necklaces in the past few days.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Salmonella watch

Salmonella cases reported and confirmed in Minnesota are up to 8, with 10 cases in Wisconsin. Keep in mind that not everyone who becomes ill has a stool specimen tested and thus may not be included in the count. The Dakotas are still salmonella-free.
Carry on with your weekend.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Mystery solved

This map reflects the number of salmonella stpaul cases nationwide. I am one of the "Minnesota 2"

I had a long conversation with the Department of Health last night. It seems my case is a part of the big "Salmonella saintpaul" outbreak that has been on the news nationwide. (The "saintpaul" part is just what they named this particular strain of salmonella, it has nothing to do with location.)

It seems there have been a number of Minnesota cases recently, all coming from a Roseville restaurant that I ate at on June 16th (not Cafe Latte like I thought!). It seems to be coming from tainted tomatoes...or at least some sort of produce we ("the infected" ones) all had in our meals. I knew I should have had that tuna melt like Joel did (he did not get sick)!

So mystery solved. I never want to have that nasty little bug again. And while I will continue eating out, I think this summer I'll be taking a pass on any dishes with raw tomatoes.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

And I have...


The word came back late Thursday afternoon. Salmonellosis is caused from the bacteria called salmonella. That could have came from tainted tomatoes, someone not washing their hands, bad meat...We may never know.

The treatment is antibiotics (which last night didn't seem to be doing the trick yet). I'm hoping another day of treatment and I'll be able to eat a bit more normally.

But it's a relief to know what the heck I've got.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Quick update

I went to the doctor yesterday...her guess is that I have picked up some sort of parasite or something from some contaminated produce/water...Unfortunately, we won't know until lab results come back...which I'm hoping will be by Friday. They can't treat me until they know what it is exactly. For now, the only thing I can really take is immodium...which is holding the diarrhea at bay (it seems). Still can't really eat and my stomach hurts.

This has been a really long week.

But hey, how about those Twins!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Losing weight the hard way

I feel slightly better today, but still not good enough to go to work or really eat anything. I tried to get into my doctor's today, but they couldn't squeeze me in till tomorrow.

I'm getting a little bored with laying in bed and watching t.v, but really couldn't muster up the energy to make it over to my studio (3 flights of stairs). Really, without getting too detailed, I still need to be very close to a restroom. Enough said.

But Joel, being a good sport, took me out for a little bit late this afternoon. It was the first time I had left the apartment since Friday afternoon. That wouldn't bother me so much if it was raining or the dead of winter. I'm bummed I totally missed a weekend of wonderful weather.

I decided I might as well grab some good from my recent "diet" and drop in for a quick WW weigh-in. Haven't written much about it here, but I've been plugging right along. And yes, I lost 3.4 lbs in 10 days, for a total of (drum roll, please) 21.4 lbs! I know I may put a little of that back on (temporarily) when I start eating again, but it was still quite a pick-me-up.

Then we simply stopped at Target to pick up some essentials and search for some food I might find appealing. Man, if I could bottle what I've got (minus the misery) as an appetite suppressant, I'd make millions! Nothing looked very good at all. Hopefully this will all be over soon, because it's really no fun to not enjoy your food at all.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Mack truck headed my way

I am laying low. Feeling like a mack truck hit me. Thursday night Joel and I went for a lovely walk, came home and when I got out of my recliner I could tell something was wrong. I'm not sure what's going's an odd combination of symptoms...body aches that are horrid, alternating between fever/chills, thee worst headache, no appetite to speak of (it seems like food in the cereal category are all I can stomach), and then some, well, let's just say what I do manage to eat, doesn't stay with me long. This is sucking big time.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

As promised, pictures!

Ana's new kitten, "Honeykins", just 10 weeks old.


More peonies.

My kitty, Squeakers, resting on the recliner with me.

The new couch.

And the recliners.