30 June 2006

Being Southern

Some days I am sad that I am not southern, because being southern, in my romantic view, would mean lots of romantic notions. For example, how about drinking a mint julep in a cotton dress on the front porch of your huge, old, farmhouse underneath the magnolia trees covered in moss while sitting in a rocking chair and watching the sunset.
That is precisely what I wish I were doing at this moment.
Instead, I am sitting in an ergonimically incorrect desk chair, watching the minutes fail to tick by on the clock in an otherwise completely uninhabited office.
And, I was thinking about leaving early, but then my compatriate decided to do so instead, even though, as far as I can tell, he spent nearly EVERY day this week playing golf, rationalizing it as work.
Whatever. I know you like golf an all, but come on--can a girl get a break here???
So, at this point, I am typing just to stay awake.
Last night the Religion & Philosophy discussion group discussed Relativism. Most of the crew cancelled on me fairly last minute, so there were just a few of us there, but the discussion was rich and enriching nonetheless. The menu was watermelon agua fresca with pink champagne (which only I drank) and red velvet layer cake (which pretty much only I ate). Rita brought a new girl, Val, and I have to say that most people rub me wrong when I first meet them, but Val did not. I actually liked her right away. Yay! I hope she comes back. Heather and Rita both brought interesting items to discuss in regards to Postmodernism. We discussed the logical fallacies of relativism. We also did some logic exercises to learn the meanings of and the differences between deductive and inductive reasoning. Overall, other than the lack of attendance, it was a very enjoyable evening.
And then, after everyone left, I went outside into the darkness, turned on my "fairy lights," lay in the hammock, and watched the trees etch their leaves and branches against the murky, dark sky. And that, my friends, is a truly glorious summer moment.
I have some strange things in my refrigerator on any given day. For instance, the Christmas Milk I tried to feed my friend, Matt, in April. Since that sad incident, I have tried to do a better job of cleaning out the fridge more regularily, leaving room for actual edible goods. But, one of the things in my fridge right now would hopefully not be considered edible. It is mesh bags filled with ladybugs. Their sole purpose: to eat the gross bugs off of our elm and ash trees that are making GROSS eggs sacs on everything. How violating. Yay ladybugs! Eat your fill.
I also ordered a.....well, what would you call it, I guess....probably an egg sac filled with potential praying mantises. My husband zip-tied the sac to the bottom of a potato plant leaf (what can I say--he's a mechanic and very handy--most people would've used string). They should hatch in a few months and eat every kind of bad bug EVER in our garden. Yeah, a few months too late, but for only $2.80, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to see them hatch.
I have good news. My soap kitchen/workshop is complete as of this morning. My husband has wired and plumbed in a dishwasher and stove (don't tell the city of fargo), I have organized the entire area and put away ingredients, and husband also completed drying racks this morning.
Nothing can stop me now. Except money.
So, hopefully by the end of the year, my little pipedream will start to become a little bit more of a reality, and I will actually be able to start taking real orders from people at least for soaps. And hopefully I will have some very strong contenders/prototypes for the standard set of soaps I hope to sell. Cosmetics is more complicated--there are lots of scary laws and things, so for now, I will just experiment with those products until I find things I like.
The first project I will do the in the new soap kitchen will be to make up gift baskets filled with purple and lavendar-colored items for the attendants in my grandma's wedding.
[See previous posts in regards to my grandmother getting married--I am not going to get into it again.]
My hope for the weekend is that it will involve lots of lying in the hammock, probably lots of sipping of drinks such as the watermelon agua fresca that is almost totally left over from last night as well as some mojitos made with fresh mint from our herb garden. Yum!

29 June 2006


We have a stupid, ridiculous, archaic rule here where even if you wear sandals during the summer, you have to wear nylons.
1) Is this not the tackiest thing you've ever heard?
b) The material that "nylons" are made out of is absorbed into your skin as you sweat, and it is toxic. Nice.
3) They are bad for your circulation. This has been proven by studies.
d) Someone has an idea that they look more "professional." However, there is nothing professional about looking like a fashion moron. So many people from other companies ask our women "Why are you still wearing nylons?" Exactly. Exactly. Exactly.
@) Wearing them with sandals is slippery and dangerous. I have nearly broken my neck four times this summer, personally, and many times last summer.
Qwakisurpinique) The idea of spending the entire summer with my sweaty feet trapped in boring winter shoes in boring winter colors makes me want to DIE.
So, sometimes, I give in and wear the damn nylons. But today, like other days lately, I have been bucking the rule. And you know what's great. I have noticed that most other women in my office are bucking the rule as well. It makes me feel empowered. But it also makes me feel nervous to venture too far from my desk lest I be discovered in my rebellion.
I don't care.
I hate this rule more than anything.
Today we have insane printer problems. The printer keeps printing 300 copies of something it has already printed. And IT can't figure it out. So, the rest of us are even more lost. What to do, what to do?
My husband told me that as of this morning, our cat, Meowcifer (aka Jacque), has learned how to open the door from the porch to the outside world. Which he did--and then escaped. And in his place there came a bird into the porch. And the bird, upon seeing my husband, thought that the best place to get away (even thought the door was wide open to the wide, free world) was to hide underneath the cabinet in which is housed our cat box. The very one. So, Billy tried to corral the bird out with a long stick. Thus began an almost interminable limbo game between Billy and The Stick and Bird.
Upon finally exhuming the bird, Billy went on a bike ride to find in the cat. Molly, the stupid dog, thought it was a perfect time to use her abilities to escape the fence to track my husband on his bike. So, while Billy was out searching for the cat, Molly was getting lost trying to find Billy. Billy finally found the cat on our neighbors sidewalk. Molly finally, finally came back later.
Stupid animals.
It is a stupid day and a stupid week with stupid people and stupid situations and lots of frustration and I HATE EVERYONE (except you, my dear readers).

27 June 2006

"The Woman at Yoga: and other things that have been going on the past week"

So, there was a new woman at yoga today. She reeked of left-over alcohol and beer smells. You know, how a chronic alcoholic smells after a night of drinking? Yeah, that smell. And, by the way, she wasn't exactly the smallest woman, and she had on tiny, tiny shorts (with only a very small string of fabric for the crotch).
For those of you in yoga, just image down-dog for a moment. Just imagine the sights and smells, shall we?
Unfortunately, I was stuck right behind Small Shorts Woman. For the entire hour.
Not at all conducive to ujaji breathing. Not at all.
So much for getting in the zone.
Lots to report. Lots of familial interactions these days. Last week my mother and dad were visiting for a few days. Actually, if we back up, this is how the past few weeks have gone. First, my brother and his wife stayed with us. Then, a few days later, my mom and dad stayed with us. Then they went to Minnesota. Then my mom came back to stay with us and my dad went home; meanwhile, my grandparents from Montana ALSO came to visit (though they were not houseguests) for an extended weekend. Interspersed in all of this was my sister (poor Hollie) driving back and forth from her town to ours to greet every group of people.
Good thing I like my family.
Anyway, it was really nice having everyone around since I have lots of freetime in the evenings now. I actually gave my mother chores to do while she was home during the day (at her request), and I got all my scrapbooking done out of the deal. I HATE scrapbooking. HATE it. So, to come home to a scrapbook filled with all of my random goings on for the past 10 years--without having to lift a finger--now THAT is a gift!
PS--She also made banana bread. Can't beat that either--coming home to fresh bb.
My grandparents, who are Swedish, and fantatical about this fact, came to attend the Hjemkomst Festival. This strange "h" word is a Norwegian word for "homecoming." The festival IS actually very cool. This year the focus is on Sweden. So, perfect--the Swedish grandparents arrive.
I have to say I did a lot of things with them that were unplanned and that I'd never done before. Such is life with Momo and Fafa (that's what we call them--don't make fun of it--you're just jealous you couldn't think of anything more interesting to call YOUR grandparents than Grandma and Grandpa). For example, I had my first Sons of Norway experience. Now, I love those Norwegians (I have to, my husband is one). But they do love their carbs. Here is what is on the smorgasbord at the Sons of Norway dinner (that you have to pay $10 for by the way): iceberg lettuce with a choice of six dressings (no other vegetables), stuffing, mashed potatoes, Norwegian bread, some kind of concoction with corn, pumpkin bread cake stuff, and by the way, we are represented by one meat: turkey (your choice of white or dark--they actually had them separated).
So, I am standing in line. And I am wondering what in the world is going to happen to my body when I eat all these carbs. I haven't eaten this many carbs in years--not without cancelling them out with vegetables. And iceberg lettuce isn't a vegetable. In fact, it has no nutritional value whatsoever. It is merely an excuse to eat dressing.
We thought we had to be at this shindig at 5pm. So, I leave work early in a torrential rainstorm in order to arrive on time so as to not worry my grandfather (he is a worrier). And we were supposed to get some kind of a program out of this deal.
Well, they usher us into this huge room filled with decorated tables (all, of course, in Norwegian motif complete with Rosemalling, flags, colors, etc, etc. There were lots of gnomes). And we are the only ones in the room. 25 minutes goes by. By this time, we are still the only other people in the room. Another 25 minutes. Still no people. And this entire time, we have about 10 ladies and 4 men who are constantly waiting on us hand and foot (I guess b/c no one else was there). The men were all wearing red vests. There were huge, mysterious, tall doors in the wall that looked Satanic. It was an odd atmosphere. And no one else was there.
Turns out the "program" wasn't until 7:30. So, we snuck out early. If you can call it sneaking out when you are the only people in the room.
I, of course, felt guilty. Momo, on the other hand, found this hilarious. I think she didn't have it in her to feel badly for the Norwegians.
We also went to this opening ceremonies-type banquet at one of the colleges here. It was actually really good. Afterwards, they had this pianist from Sweden named Anders Gustafsson play for everyone. And, there was also a Russian violinist. And, did I mention that both Anders and the Russian were totally and completely HOT. Of course, I am not single, but my sister is. So, I took the liberty after the concert of giving the Anders fellow her phone number. Which, I think he probably couldn't even read after she spent 20 minutes trying to steal it out of my hand and thereby demolishing it.
For instance, it at first read "Hollie 741.5431 Love you!"
By the time she had ripped it up, sweated on it, smeared it around, it probably said something like, "Hlsd 7015308341 Lick me."
Who knows, maybe that would entice him more.
Anyway, he was really hot. And he played the piano upside down. Meaning, he lay upside down on the piano bench and played the keys over the top of his head. It was cool. And it takes a lot to impress a music snob like me.
I did not have the pleasure of going to the day-time festival activities around town, but my sister did. She accompanied my mom, Momo, and Fafa. And, I guess that Momo was so out-to-lunch, so to speak, that she almost was run over five or six times. No awareness of traffic.
Mind you, this is not because she is old. It is because she is The Momo. And that is part of what being the momo is all about.
As is giggling. Which she does in excess. And which is where I probably get it. And on the way home from the Hot Anders Banquet, the entire car-load of people dissolved into a fit of laughing into crying into wheezing, and I, who was driving the car, was completely paralyzed to the point of not being able to drive. So, I just kind of rolled to a stop in the middle of the street. I have no idea what we were laughing about (probably nothing), and no idea if there were other cars around. I had one focus: do not pee on Momo's car seat. Do NOT pee on Momo's car seat. Do not PEE on Momo's car seat.
The final day of the festival they did the Maypole ceremonies and other such Swedish things. I guess there was a comedy act also, and Momo and Fafa managed to become part of the act (they have a way of drawing attention to themselves without even trying).
One really neat thing we did was go through a bunch of old pictures and geneology that Momo and Fafa had brought along. There were some cool people in our family. For instance, back in the early 1900's, I had a great, great uncle named Thornhild (yes) who was an Olympic runner in the Stockholm 1912 Olympics where he broke all kinds of records. I will try to remember to post pictures next time.
Anyway, it was really cool that my Swedish grandparents had the opportunity to come visit me and go to the festival.
Billy and I also had some hang time with just my mother. And, I can't believe this, but we all went out for martini's.
Yes, Hollie, mom drank her first martini ever. I could hardly believe it myself. She got one called Summer Solstice (appropriate as always), I had one called The Dirty Girlscout, and Billy had his Classic. We went to Monte's and had a glorious time.
And yes, mom LIKED her martini.
And now, hell has frozen over.

21 June 2006

Observations on an Anniversary

Today is my third wedding anniversary somehow. Someway time has passed this quickly, and I am suddenly catapulted into the world of being a "non-newlywed." It's strange. It seems like just yesterday we were married.
So far, I gotta say, it ain't been that bad, being married. Actually, overall, I think it's great. I don't know what everyone complains about all the time. Marriage certainly has many benefits. I enjoy them. My husband is very good to me. I try to be good to him (but I'm not very good at that).
I would say that so far the best thing I have experienced about being married is just always having someone to goof off with and to be ridiculous.
Husband and I were bored last Saturday night. No friends were around, we were exhausted and broke, and there was nothing too do. Too hot to watch TV, too windy to be outside, etc,etc.
So, after a glass of wine, I attempt to invent something to keep us busy while we were lying in the hammock.
"Let's play a game [this is not really a game mind you, but for lack of a better word] where we take animal names, combine them together, and then figure out what that animal would look like and act like, and then act it out."
Husband: ?????????????
Me: Like, for instance, squirrel and dog--"Sqog!" Hysterical, maniacal laughter ensues, but only from me.
Husband: (giggling) You are insane.
Me: (I am still laughing so hard that I can't speak and drool is starting to come out of my mouth.)
Me: (Between laughs) HAAAA!!!!!!!!!!Now we have to figure out how to act it out BWAHHHHHHHH!
Husband: I'm not doing that. It was your animal combination.
Me: (laughing) (laughing) Ok, it would look like a dog but have a bushy tail, and it would eat nuts. HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (crying mixed with laughing)
Husband: (he grabs me and starts soothing me and petting my head) It will be ok. You are insane. Calm down now.

Actually, the previous conversation is a pretty accurate representation of most weekends at our house. I love how you can have all kinds of little inside jokes between your spouse.

I also love that my husband and I grew up in the same town, and because of this fact, we can make "Mott Jokes" to each other.
A Mott Joke involves using the name of a person who lives in Mott. And it is not funny AT ALL unless you, yourself, are in fact a Mott Person.
"Honey, there is a miller [a miller is like a dusty moth, in fact, i think they are really called Dusty Millers. They are gross when you squish them.] flying up by the light."
"So, is that Chuck or Tina Miller?" [the Millers are our neighbors in Mott]
"I was thinking more like Craig Miller." [Craig is Chuck and Tina's son]

See, this is only funny if you are a Mott Person.

Anyway, the point being is when you have shared history with someone (and we have upwards of our entire lifetimes together thus far) there is a lot of material to work with for comedic purposes.

I have a few good stories about learning to live with my husband. Most of our difficulties have been with nighttime and morning routines. We have a small house, small bedroom, and even smaller bathroom. And neither of us functions at all in the morning.

Well, one night after we'd been sleeping for hours, I had to get up to go pee. Husband was calmly sleeping.
I have to interject here for this story to make sense that I have actually been PARANOID of being abducted by aliens my entire life.
So, back to the story. I am in the bathroom relieving myself. In order to try to be considerate of my husband, I shut the light off in the bathroom before I opened the door to what is the cavern of our bedroom.
And, in the dim light, I see a figure standing right next to the bed in the dark.
It is an alien.
A moment passes.
I think, "Do I move? Maybe the alien can only see things in motion."
Fear takes over, and I scream.
Suddenly the alien is making really weird noises, petting my head, and simultaneously throwing me onto the bed.
I realize the alien is my husband.
"What are you doing?"
"I'm trying to calm you down. I'm trying to soothe you."
"Why are you standing in the dark like this??????!!!!"
"I was trying to remember to go to the bathroom after you were done."


There was also the time when were were sleeping, facing each other. Suddenly, Billy says to me, "Hey, hold on a minute." And then he rolls over and goes back to sleep (or stays sleeping)

I have a few good traveling anecdotes as well. See, we have no kids. And we have credit cards. So, we can travel. So far since we've been married, the two of us have been to Glacier National Park, Yellowstone National Park, the Grand Tetons, Wyoming, Montana, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Canada, Hawaii. (I, myself, have also been to Vegas and Paris). So, I guess we do travel a lot.
So, there was the time in Yellowstone when we were camping in early June. And we hadn't brought warm clothes along. And we forgot our pillows. And can I just say that in June in Yellowstone it gets really freaking cold. It snowed on our tent one night. We shivered the entire night long every night and slept on our dirty clothes as pillows. This night it was soooooo bad that we put the gas lantern inside and fell asleep with it on. Can you say "fire hazard"? Anyway, that same night, I woke up to just have this FEELING that something was outside the tent. And I heard a few twigs snap.
The next morning, we awoke to snow on the tent, and buffalo tracks in our campsite. They even left us some buffalo wool (I don't know what you'd call it, really). And the buffalo in Yellowstone are huge, dare I say, collosus, compared to the ones in good ol' ND. I think they were just wondering what this weird glowing green thing (our tent with the lantern in it all night) was doing in the middle of the forest.
Then there is THE story to beat all stories. But for that one, you're just going to have to ask me. It's not safe for the blog.
All this to say that if you are married, I hope that you love your spouse freely and well, and that you find joy and satisfaction in your marriage. And if you are single, find joy in your singleness. That alone time is precious, too, because once you are married, you get very little of it.
And also to say that I love you, Scoob. That you for being a wonderful husband and a funny friend to me.

19 June 2006

Mystery Plant Solved!

Thank you Ron Smith, you are now my favorite person. You have solved the mystery of the strange plant in my yard.
It is a Virginia Waterleef (which is considered a weed, but I looked, and it does have medicinal uses).
He also identified two other mysterious plants. Turns out they are comfrey and artemesia. Comfrey has a million medicinal purposes as does artemesia (i.e. wormwood--you know the one that makes you poop parasites--awesome!).
I love finding that I have medicine in my yard.
Everyone--hug your local horticulturalist today!

16 June 2006

C'est fini!

I learned how to do an I-cord, how to crochet, and have a pretty cool scarf.
Thanks to Dana, Stitchnbitch nation, knitting help.com, and Lion brand yarns crochet tutorial. :-)

14 June 2006

Mystery Sound

Today at work we are dealing with Day 3 of the Mystery Sound. Mystery Sound is something akin to the sound that comes out of a balloon when you hold the opening really tightly. And it is happening at random intervals and no one knows why. And most people don't care b/c they don't have to WORK out here near the lobby. Talk on the PHONE near the lobby. Try to THINK near the lobby. But Sara and I do.
This Mystery Sound might finally be the end of us.
To help fend off the Mystery Sound, however, Sara was nice enough to bring us iced lattes this morning.
Last night I had the pleasure of having a glorious meal with Matt and Dana. Dana made amazing hamburgers, homemade buns, flatbread and hummus soup, and fruit crisp for dessert. And, the best part was that she had the entirety of the nutritional information figured out for the entire meal. This is helping with keeping track of the calories--check out calorie-counter.com. It's free, and it tells you everything you need to know to keep your motor running and get rid of body baggage.
Dana also helped me replace a zipper in a pair of shorts (actually, what I should say is that Dana did 75% of the work) thereby completely eliminating my mending pile for good. Yippeee!! If it is not useful, I either have to make it useful or get rid of it.
Also, Dana keyed me into flylady.com--she has lots of great tips for more efficient housekeeping. I think it is wonderful, though a little too structured for me. So, I am just ripping off some of her ideas and adapting it to my own routine. A lot of what she says is just common sense stuff, I think--but it is the kind of obvious stuff that no one ever thinks about, for some reason. At any rate, I am taking her suggestion of "keeping your sink shiny." Premise: if you keep your sink shiny, you will want to keep keeping it shiny, thereby, you will want to always have your dishes done and put away so that you get the payoff of a shiny kitchen.
I love trying to be efficient.
Yesterday was about the most beautiful day in the history of the world. It was also election day. I did something unusual this year. I voted for a liberal democrat for mayor. I figure voting for a lib for mayor is not as big of a deal as voting for one for president. At any rate, I like what this woman had to say about keeping neighborhoods strong and taxes--she has a lot of ideas of how to simplify things--and I think that's great. She didn't win, but it was a stretching experience for me. Also, why do they make it so complicated to figure out where the heck to vote??!! No wonder people don't turn out--they don't know where to go! My theory is that you should be able to vote wherever you want. But instead, I drove around trying to find a non-existent church only to discover that my polling place wasn't at the fake church, it was at the school across the street from my house Bah!. The one benefit of this was that it lead to me getting to actually SEE my husband and be home with him, enjoying a glass of fizzy water and a vegan cookie that probably contained one person's entire caloric intake for one day.
Last night I took advantage of the gorgeousness of the weather by doing yoga outside in my yard for awhile and then mulching the heck out of my flower beds. They look great. But mulch never covers as much as you would like it to. And it was pushing it to fit 15 bags of cypress mulch into my little car yesterday. But, I think I am going to do it again, but I think the end payoff will be less weeding and watering and a more polished look for the backyard. Yeah! I like the idea of having less maintenance in the yard and more time to enjoy the yard instead.
I should tell you about Chipmunk Woman. I promised Sara (the other one) that I would tell about her. Chipmunk Woman looks, sounds, acts like a chipmunk. And she has an office down the hall from me. And she is a loud chipmunk who doesn't shut her door. So the chipmunk voice and speech flutters down the hall towards us all day long. It is louder than talking to someone sitting right next to me. And the Chipmunk Woman scurries around--and she is short--so you can't always see her.
I am telling you--she is a chipmunk. Sigh...
Today is Date Day with my husband. He works nights now, so unless we go out to lunch, we do not get to have a face-to-face conversation for the entire week. I don't know where we will end up today--I am thinking Cajun Cafe possibly, but maybe somewhere downtown, too.
I am making progress on a knitting project and a book simultaneously this week. The knitting project is the butterfly scarf from Stich'n'Bitch Nation. I am making it out of pink and brown chenille cotton. I hated the yarn at first, but now that I have decent needles to work with (thanks Heather!), I am off and running. The scarf part is done. Now to make the butterflies. I am scared about it, but I am just going to jump in and see what happens.
This weekend is Father's Day. My dad is actually going to be in town, so that's exciting. I don't know what to get him. Why are dads so hard to buy for? Bah! Mom's are WAY easier.
Mona--the invincible rhinestone grandma--is having some problems, everyone, that I fear may interfere with her wedding plans. She has trigeminal neuralgia. Yes, it sounds scary, and yes, it is scary. They [the doctors, i guess, or people in-the-know] say that it is the most painful ailment that a human being can have. Basically a nerve in your face decides to hate you and makes you feel like your face is continually exploding over and over. Mona was able to get this ailment under control a few years back through a combination of chiropractic, surgery, and prayer, but now it has come back. She is probably in surgery right now to deaded her nerve permanently. If this does not take care of it, probably nothing will, so please pray for Rhinestone Grandma. It is terribly painful and obviously very upsetting.
Also, Billy's grandma had to go into the nursing home yesterday, which is really sad.
Poor grandma's--please pray for them. It sucks to get old. I hope I never do (please Jesus--come back for us!)
In a move of surprising musical optimism, I think that as a matter of faith that Grandma will get better, I will finally start rehearsing the wedding music this week.

13 June 2006

Return of the Puppies

The puppies have finally returned from their agrarian eco-adventure vacation. They are tick-covered but generally clean and NOT at all happy to have to be city folk again.

However, Molly has been having fun dunking her ball in the pond, getting it out, and putting it back in again.

And, of course, she is also having fun riding around in this new basket.

09 June 2006

[spoinbljkask398[09smfa/sk}a;lks ;faisd ;oihjs;lkfj]

I think that is how you would spell the sound of someone blowing their nose.
My poor friends; they have to blow their noses a lot when they come over to my house. We have three animals and an old house that is not perfectly kept.
Last night there was a lot of nose blowing. Because last night was the first night of the religion/philosophy discussion group. I was a bit apprehensive before everyone came over because I want to make sure that everyone feels comfortable, feels heard, and has a fabulous time to boot. And I want us to learn something.
So, I think everyone felt ok mostly about most things. And that, I guess, is a good thing.
We have chosen some heavy topics for the summer. Our first night out we will be discussing Postmodernism/Relativism, tolerance, and open-mindedness. A tough order. A tall order. But, we have three weeks to prepare (thank God), and I am hoping that everyone has something interesting to bring back to the group.
Some of the other topics that we will be discussing include things like Feminism and gender roles, Separation of Church and State, Bioethics, and some other things I can't remember.
Last night we discussed how to argue well, some logical fallacies to be aware of, and worldviews.
Lots of good points were made and some fairly good discussion was had. I think everyone is still a little bit shy, but I am sure that people will overcome that through getting to know each other better.
Tonight Heather and I are going to see a film at the Fargo Theatre called "Kinky Boots." It is a story about a shoe factory that is going into bankruptcy when a transvestite and it/her/his dance troup rescues the factory from financial ruin by ordering tons of stiletto boots for their shows. Here's the best part--this is based on a true story. So, we are going to have some wine and then go see the film, and I think it is going to be an interesting experience.
I love interesting experiences.
Tonight my puppies, Molly and Priscilla, are returning from their agrarian eco-adventure vacation at my parent's farm where they have been for about a month. I am so excited to see them, even though they are going to be covered in ticks.
Ticks....gross little blood-sucking bastards.
Anyway, the puppies will probably be sad to be back in the urban jungle (if you can call this town an urban jungle), but I will be happy for some companionship and dare I say protection when Billy is working late. That's a good thing. Despite the mud on the floor and the incessant shedding of hair.
My brother and sister-in-law will also be in town; this will undoubtedly lead to cigar smoking and good discussion.
I have a feeling today is going to be a long day at work. It is 10:00, and I am completely caught up already. I am surviving the day so far by ringing my desk gong, listening to Tapes'n Tapes and Sufjan Stevens, and generally laughing about anything.
Tomorrow is World Wide Knit in Public Day, so I will be with the naughty knitters group at the event getting my yarn on (or yarn over).
So, get your yarn on!

Does ANYONE know what this is???

Well, so far I have asked a forester, an agronomist, and consulted two different complete online visual guides to all native plants and weeds and such in North America, and have also consulted my own books on the subject.
Apparently, this plant does not exist.

06 June 2006

An Entry a Day keeps the Shrink Away

I am currently on a mission to determine what the weird plant is that is growing in my yard. It comes back every year, thus it is a perennial. I have spent the entire afternoon at work going through online databases of ND and MN wildflowers and plants, hoping to be able to determine what this alien plant is.
In the meantime, I learned lots of interesting plant names i.e. bastard cabbage, fascicled broomrape, what have you.
But, I can't figure out what this plant is. It's a weird plant. It has really evil looking leaves and strange dangly flowers that are sort of reminiscent of bee balm, but they hang kind of upside down. I wouldn't be surprised if it is in the mint family. Right now it has a BAD case of downy mildew. Gross. Lots of mold in the valley. And mildew and other unsavory moistish sorts of things like grubs and such. EWWWWWWWWW.....
I am really showing you what a gardening nerd I am right now, aren't I?
Well, screw you. This is interesting to me.
I will probably end up contacting the extension service to see if they can help me. Although, I am not sure about that either. I contacted them last year to have them explain the difference between huckleberries and the deadly nightshade. Well, they described them. And yesterday, as I was going through my new book of plant identifications, I discovered that what I have growing in my yard really IS nightshade. And NOT huckleberry. Thank God I didn't eat any. That would be a bad way to die.
And no, Dad, it is not purple loosestrife. I am not perpetuating an agricultural pest. At least not one on any known list.
Maybe it is some kind of rare really special plant that will make me famous amongst all gardeners. And then all the gardeners will give me cuttings of all of their special plants and things.
Today's other project has been getting the hand-outs on worldview ready for Thursday night's philosophy and religion discussion group. Dana has also helped me out tremendously by encapsulating an entire book into a 2.5 page hand-out for us on how to argue well. That was a gift. I am paying her back in chocolate chip cookies on Thursday. I will also have wine, iced tea, and water available. I was also thinking of making like a rhubarb shaved iced slush situation...but we'll see.
Last night I went to Knitty Naughties. We went to a local coffee shop. They have windows that kind of overlook the river, and we had a fantastic view of the thunderstorms going through the area.
No, Dad, don't worry about tornados. All the fun stuff in the T-storms always goes AROUND Fargo. It's always pretty boring here except for the occassional light hail.
Anyway, knitting was fun. I continue to work on the Clap. I made progress until I ran out of stitch markers. Darla is working on her third or fourth felted women's hand bag--very cute. Angela is working on a felted bag, too, and Niccole is making something amazing out of very beautiful green wool. There were some other people there that I didn't know, but they were all knitting in acrylics. This weekend is Worldwide Knit in Public (not Pubic) Day which Knitty Naughties will be celebrating.
Last night I also attended a new yoga class. The teacher was graciously militant. Sweat was pouring off of me the entire time. It was intense and very challenging, and I loved it. We did an exercise called Buzzing the Chakras in which we tried to, through humming, create the sensation of vibration at each of the seven chakras. I found this interesting as a resonance exercise since in my former life I used to be a singer. It was fascinating to see that the same goal in opera is also sought after in yoga to a large extent--well them method is the same or similar, I guess the goal is different. But, nonetheless, it is interesting to think about and wonder what it all means.
Tonight progress continues on house things, namely laundry and cleaning the basement and mold eradication. Once we get all of this little piddly stuff out of the way, we can begin the bathroom reno, but we can't really do that anyway yet b/c the bathtub guy has been putting us off for weeks. He keeps saying he is going to bead blast the tub, but then he never does. I guess we just aren't important enough. He keeps promising...
But, once the house reno is done, other things can happen. Like relaxation. Working on making new products and business planning. Figuring out what to do with myself. The list goes on and on...

05 June 2006

The Purging is Complete

The basement and garage are empty. The garage sale was had (and not all that successful). The items have been donated.
The purging is complete.
And about $30 later, I feel that we have had a household enema. It is good to feel empty.
Funny thing is, as soon as I woke up this morning, I started seeing more clothes and things that I could easily part with.
I think we have this idea that we need all of this stuff to make us happy or secure or whatever. Our concept of what we "need" to run our lives it a bit twisted.
I am going to start trying to think every time I buy something about the fact that I will eventually also need to get rid of, dispose of, or donate said item. And every time I get a new piece of clothing I have to get rid of two.
One benefit of having the garage sale was getting to hang out with friends, Matt and Dana, and my sister and husband pretty much all day doing almost nothing (definately NOT making a lot of sales for some reason). Dana showed me how to start on my most recent knitting project--the clapotis. For this I am using the mohair-nylon red, purple, and white sparkly silver stuff that Dana gave me for my birthday. I am hoping it turns out well. By Dana's standards, this project is boring. But Dana is an accomplished knitter. I am not an accomplished knitter. I am definately, most certainly, still in the beginner category. But I have now acquired a few new knitting skills I wasn't planning on having. Plus I am getting to use the fun yarn. Plus this is preparing me to use the clouds of rainbow mohair I purchased a few months back. Additional knitting projects are knitting a really cute butterfly scarf out of some truly wretched cotton chenille (wretched b/c it keeps breaking). And I am also going to somehow magically knit a new seat cushion for a chair I inherited from my mother which will then go on the porch with the rest of the leftover but very cool mis-matched furniture.
I have not given up on my read a book-knit a project pattern, but I am stuck in the middle of several books and several projects mainly because I haven't had a huge chunk of time to finish any one of them, and frankly, sometimes I am just not prepared to read or concentrate--especially when the weather is nice. And, when the weather is nice, I don't really feel like hanging onto warm woolish types of yarn things either. So, a third activity is currently in the mix and will be for the summer--gardening! Yippee!!
This Thursday begins the summer Philosophy and Discussion Group that I am starting (with Dana's imput) at my house. The plan is to talk about worldview the first night. The second time we meet, we will discuss Relativism. Then, after that, the world is our oyster.
Two fun links today:
Thanks go Dana, I now do not have to belong to ediets anymore in order to keep track of everything necessary to run a human, namely me, at optimal performance. You can join for free, and it keeps track of your calories and food and activity and tells you if you need to lose weight and gives you a REASONABLE amount of time to do it in (which was a relief to me).
My brother's new online photo gallery. He has become a talented photographer in the past few years and is contemplating beginning to sell his works of art.
Our friends, Ben & Christina, had their baby last week. They named her Ava Marie. She was only 6 pounds. She is a peanut and very cute.
We had Billy's graduation party at our house this Saturday. This meant lots of good grilled and outdoor food, wine, cigars from Hawaii, and breaking in the new fire pit. I also had a cocktail party for work on Friday night and a day-long get-together for the bellydance troupe on Sunday, thusly, I am partied out. Nonetheless, I am very much looking forward to Knitty Naughties tonight. We are meeting at a local and for me very-conveniently-biked-to location. So, I am going to head there after yoga.
This week's project in the house is Mold Eradication and general clean-up in the basement. Yes, the mold has found a way to grow underneath the new paint we just put on the floor. So, we bought a dehumidifier and a bunch of bleach. I hope to be able to make the mold wish it were never created by God and to run away from my house permanently.
I am also on a quest to determine the source of The Smell in the kitchen that apparently only myself and NOT my husband can smell. It is a repulsive, moldy, mildewy, dead smell that happens from time-to-time. I do not care if I have to rip the kitchen to the bare walls to find it--The Smell is going down.
Other than that, I am struggling with several things related to being content in my job. Now that I know I have a husband who is gainfully and well employed, it makes it more and more tempting to think about doing something more up my own alley. I figured out we can have our debt paid off in 2.33 years at the current rate of pay with both of our jobs. With only one job, it is 5.4 or something like that. So, I will keep working and try to do other things to get the debt paid off sooner, and then, then we shall we what we shall do.
In the meantime, we are having to attempt to adjust to his working the swing shift. Which means, essentially, strange sleeping patterns and never having a face-to-face conversation all week long. And I really LIKE my husband and LIKE to spend time with him, so this is very, very upsetting to me. I am just praying that he will be able to go on day shift sooner than I think (right now there is no end in sight). It is sad to not see him very much (though I do like having time to myself--a luxury I have not had since we've been married, really).

01 June 2006

Nothing catchy to say today

No, I don't know why that picture of me posted twice. Lay off. It is computers. Or squirrels. I don't know.
A week after our trip, I am still quite literally trying to recover from jet lag. One thing has made this especially difficult. My husband now works the swing shift, and so his arriving home from work at midnight every night jars my sleep and makes me feel as thought I am basically "starting over" with sleep.
I do not deal well with sleep deprivation or things interrupting my sleep. I think that it is the primary reason I couldn't have kids.
So, anyway, I haven't felt much like posting since we got back due to the consequential fog I am living in and the insane amount of work to catch up on both at home and at work.
I would first like to say that two days ago, I found an entire piece of pizza in one of my hanging flower baskets outside. Yes, an entire piece of pizza. And earlier in the week, I had a very sick, slow-moving, mangy squirrel sitting in my yard. I wonder why, squirrel? Did you actually eat the rest of the pizza?
We also saw a squirrel carrying a donut up a tree the same day. What I want to know is, who throws so much food away. It is like the squirrels have access to their own bakery and restaurant sometimes.
The trip to Hawaii was filled with adventures and some fun along the way. Husband acquired a staph infection in his foot in a blister. Apparently, there is staph everywhere in Hawaii due to the tropical conditions. Gross. Which meant he couldn't be in the water or the sun for pretty much the entire trip.
We found this out when we went in for our spa day. We were to have massages, facials, and pedicures. However, after the massage, our two very gay masseusses starting totally freaking out about Husband's foot, saying we needed to get to the doctor right away and that he might be in critical condition soon if we didn't do something. Thus the spa day was ruined, and we spent some time getting to know the medical system in Hawaii, which, I would just like to note, is actually cheaper than here by a long shot. I was impressed.
Also, the day we were supposed to leave to come back here on the plane, I didn't realize it was the day we were supposed to leave. I thought we had one more day. And when I realized it, I felt like I had just gotten my life taken away from me for a short moment. And it was especially sad because we had saved the thing that we had most looked forward to (or at least I had) until that day, and then we didn't get to do it.
But what DID we get to do? Well, we drank lots of umbrella drinks, swam in the ocean a few times, went to a wedding, went to a luau, saw Pearl Harbor, had a long-ass flight from Chicago, saw a glass-blower, watched polo (briefly from the car), drove up to the top of a volcano caldera (dormant) and looked inside, ate seafood, ate seafood, ate seafood, had amazing breakfasts every morning at our beautiful hotel, drove around the island in our sporty rental car, got chewed out by locals a few times, made friends with a local a few times, went to art galleries, went to an oyster bar, went on a glass-bottom boat, sat on the beach, had drinks at a swim-up bar, slept in, slept in a bed that may as well have been a cloud, had a drunk man rant to us about his sick mother and father, and listened to LOTS of Hawaiian music.
I guess there was more, but I have to say that I was truly in a state of shock the entire time we were there. The environment was just SO different than anything I've seen before, and the atmosphere was so indescribable, that I felt like I couldn't really take it in. I felt in a daze the entire week. A week is not long enough. The best thing was the plants--everywhere there are plants and they are all huge and amazing and in bloom and smell gloriously.
And, now that we are back home, we have two full-time incomes again, and we can finally start our lives together. And this is an even better feeling to me than being on vacation. We actually are going to start having options--especially me--in regards to work and money and things that I want to do with my life (whatever that is).
In the meantime, I am doing lots of gardening. And after three years, I am finally winning the gardening war with my gardens. I am finally figuring out organic gardening. Things areactually looking pretty good--as in--there are actual plant growing, not just weeds. It's really exciting to finally start feeling some success at all of this.
This week is rummage sale week in which Dana and I will attempt to sell the fruits of our purging labors. I had one full car-load of clothes--unbelievable. This weekend will be Husband's graduation party at our house where we will imbibe wine and cigars from Hawaii and hang out with friends, grill, eat, drink, have a fire, and generally celebrate the last two years finally having come to fruition.

Some Hawaii Selections