Monday, March 31, 2008

Small town childhood memories

This weekend I went to visit my mom and we spent the afternoon watching the MN State Boys Basketball tournament. In particular, we watched my old hometown--Ellsworth--win their second consecutive state title. That's Ellsworth, MN not Ellsworth, Wisconsin. Not only did the Panthers win the title, their star player, Cody Schilling, became the new state record holder in scoring in boys basketball. I went to grade school with his dad.

Not bad for a town with graduating classes no larger than 30 kids. (To read a nice feature story about Schilling's and mine small home town click here.)

Random information, perhaps. But thinking about Ellsworth conjures up many pleasant memories of my childhood. It's a tiny, tiny town located in extreme SW Minnesota. It really is a Minnesota version of Mayberry. My family moved to the town several years before I was born. The year I was born, 1960, my parents moved the family into a rambler that they had built. Hardwood floors. Huge basement. Even bigger backyard and an empty lot between us and the next house.

My family moved to Ellsworth because my father was the representative for the local power company (Interstate Power). That gained us some notoriety in town, because we were the house everyone called when the power went out. My mom took a lot of stupid calls while my dad was out working in the storm (like how do I heat up my baby's still have hot water, duh).

It was an idyllic childhood. Everyone knew a way that seemed good in my childhood. It was safe to ride my bike anywhere...and for fun on a Friday night, I would ride my bike a mile out of town, cross the state line...just for the thrill of answering the question "where'd you go?" with a simple "Iowa" when I got home. My mom would frequently send me "uptown" to pick up a few things needed for a meal...the grocery store owner knew me, of course (he was a neighbor), and whatever I bought was simply put on credit. Oh, and you always got to pick out a few things from the HUGE penny-candy box.

We left Ellsworth in early 1973 when my dad's health forced him to retire at the ripe old age of 45. We moved to another small town, Eden Valley, to be closer to family. But the ties to Ellsworth remained. My three older siblings graduated from Ellsworth and two of them married high school sweethearts.

A few years ago, Joel and I passed through Ellsworth on a road trip. We went by my old house, which now of course, looks so much smaller.

I love the city, but sometimes I miss that small-town atmosphere. It was a good childhood, riding my bike through the streets of Mayberry...I mean, Ellsworth.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Take me out to the ballpark

The sun is shining. Yes!

I am very excited, because today I start my spring break vacation. Our agency closes for spring break and so everyone there is off this coming week! (that decision to return to work there is looking good right now!)

So what am I going to do?

In a word: Baseball.

The Twins opener is Monday night and Joel and I will be there! And we'll be there on Tuesday night and Thursday afternoon as well. We're ready to go with our new Twins jerseys and our new Twins seat cushions. I expect that all the tension in my body will evaporate once my body steps into the stadium.

I am still a tad upset that my man Santana won't be on the mound Opening Day (or ever), but of course, I'll give the new guys a chance. And hey, as an added bonus, Torii Hunter's new team (Angels) is the team we're facing, so we'll get to see the man cover centerfield as always. I hope his bat is cold, but I'll cheer for him anyways.

Other than that, I'll be relaxing and spending time at the art studio.

And just a warning: if you don't see me posting here, you may catch me blogging at my baseball blog (see side link). I've been neglecting that blog during the offseason, but no longer!

So have a good week everyone and let's hope the sun continues to shine!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Well, I weighed in this morning and lost 2.2 pounds. Two pounds is a great loss and it was hard to get that this week. I actually don't know if I would have lost that if I had gone in on Monday evening as planned. But I wasn't feeling well Monday, so I bought myself a little extra time. Morning weigh-ins are a bit easier as well...there's less fluctuation in weight than you have later in the day. But I'm not going to try to diminish this weight loss. I'm still down 2 and that's a very good thing!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

It's March 18th and that means...

Happy, Happy Birthday Stacy!

(that's Stacy on the right and Mel on the left).

Wish Stacy a Happy birthday here.

Monday, March 17, 2008

A Sea of Green

Top O' the Morning to you all...and Happy St. Patrick's Day! Saturday we were able to view part of St. Paul's St. Patrick's Day parade that lines up in front of our place. Believe me, I think a good time was had by all!

Monday, March 10, 2008

7 pounds

That's what I lost in Week One. 7 pounds. Yippee!!

It's a great start. I stuck to my plan througout the week. Losing the 7 pounds makes bypassing all the extra treats so worth it. But this was the easy week. I always lose weight the first week, but I have to stay on my game if I want to keep losing. And I plan to do so.

Random James Taylor blog

Driving into work today I heard a newly recorded version of James Taylor's Fire and Rain (sorry I didn't catch the artist). It's not all that different than James' recording, in fact, in my humble opinion, not as I wonder why they just don't re-release the old version...but I guess that's not how it works in the music biz. On the positive side, I guess there's a bunch of young folks that will hear the song (great lyrics...for those who don't know the song was written by James when he learned that one of his friends had died...either a suicide or accidental OD. JT was in London at the time recording at Apple studios--alongside the Beatles)

So anyways, listening to the song stirred some random thoughts (like those above) that I thought I'd share....

James Taylor in promo shot for Fire and Rain, 1970

I realize that Fire and Rain was recorded over 35 years ago. Last night Joel & I watched part of a JT concert on public television (that my daughter alerted me to). As JT sung You've Got a Friend Joel commented that he doubted JT imagined he'd be singing those songs for so many years. Nope, probably not, since in the early years he was a heroin addict.

I also realize that most adults my kids ages (early twenties) don't really know James Taylor or his songs. Yikes, I'm getting old! (for the record I was tuned into JT at an early age by my oldest bro. Thanks Phil!). But my kids know JT! Ana will call me if there is something JT related on tv. Cy's middle name is Taylor (yup, for that reason). Music can be one of those fun things you share with your kids.

Another random JT note: Last night Ana asked me how many times I have seen JT in concert. Three. Should have been four, but there was that night in 1987 when her dad didn't come home to watch her and her bro so I could go to a JT concert. That's the night I stopped being his doormat! So you see, lots of James Taylor woven into the fabric of my life.

O.K. one more random JT note: James Taylor turns 60 on Wednesday, March 12. Happy Birthday, James! (Yikes, JT is an AARP member!)

Sunday, March 9, 2008


It's been a nice, sort of relaxing weekend. I'm almost afraid to say it, but finally, I think my mouth may be on the mend. It was still quite bothersome last week, so I went back to the dentist for another check. He thought the infection was under control, but I was healing slowly.

Friday I was exhausted. It had been a hard week at work and my mouth was still bothering me. Date Night was pretty much a dud, but sometimes that's just the way things work out. I was so tired that I didn't even go out with Joel to run errands. I hit the hay early.

Since I was such a bore on Friday, Joel and I headed to the Mpls Institute of Arts on Saturday. The MIA is one of my favorite places to visit, especially when I need some inspiration or comfort. Saturday I was seeking both.

I spent a little time at my studio when we returned. Later in the evening my daughter, Ana, and her boyfriend, Adam, came for dinner. Today I spent some time at the studio and then went to do a little shopping (for "diet" food). I came home and made quiche. Now I'm caught up in a CSI (Las Vegas) marathon.

Boring, but relaxing.

I like that.

Monday, March 3, 2008


It's been a long day. I'm never really fond of Mondays and I start the work week by being on "coverage" Monday morning. That basically means I need to be at work to cover any emergencies or in some cases, just be an extra set of hands/eyes, whatever...usually there aren't any issues, but I need to be there just in case. It's not a big deal, but it's not my favorite way to start the week either.

My goal this week, first and foremost, is to feel better physically. I was still feeling pretty cruddy this weekend and it seems like the antibiotics are slow in working. Today was the first day I did not need to take pain relievers at the beginning of the day...thank god, the pain relievers have been playing havoc with my gut (plus the constant achy pain in my mouth was making me crabby).

It was an intense and emotionally challenging day at work. Because of confidentiality, I can't really write about the specifics...but one of our families is going through more tragedy than any family should have to bear. It makes no sense...and I'm at a loss in regards as to how to understand it. I guess some life events never really make sense. I do know that it's important to savor every day we've got on this earth...and even the mundane stuff is worth treasuring.

But on another front...

Today I was determined to follow through on pursuing another goal. It's been hard to keep the weight off this winter...actually this past year. I can really tell that my metabolism is slowing down as I get older (I guess that makes sense...everything is slowing down). I've tried to "diet" on my own, but it's not been working. Even being sick these last few weeks I haven't taken any weight off. So today I did what I knew I needed to do, what has worked in the past...I joined Weight Watchers.

5 years ago I joined Weight Watchers and lost around 30 pounds. I kept that weight off for over 3 years, but the last 1-2 years that's been harder. Yes, I want to lose the weight so I look good. Like everyone else trying to lose weight, I have those skinny jeans I want to fit in. But I also want to lose the weight to improve my health. I'm a Type II diabetic, have arthritis and other aches and pains...and the extra weight doesn't help. It's time to take some action.

It's not rocket science...I need to eat less. Especially less chocolate and other treats. Weight Watchers teaches you all the basics, but what I really get from the plan is the pat on the back when I do well and the gentle kick in the pants when I could be doing better.

So I went to my "first" meeting tonight. I don't like the weight I'm starting at (no, I'm not going to reveal what I weigh), but I'm not planning to stay there for long.