Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

Hmm. Last time I did this was 2006, as far as I can tell. Guess I'm due.

You may have noticed I haven't been writing much this fall. I'm really not exactly sure why that is, but mostly I think it's because I realized I think way too much about who might read what I write, and then I worry way too much about what they might think. Not that I am seeking their approval or get my feelings of self-worth from others' opinions of me. But rather, that someone might disagree with me and challenge me and then I will have to decide if it's worth arguing or debating with them and do I really care what they think anyway, and suddenly it's tiring and it's just easier not to write anything at all.

I think that stems from the presidential election. I am still weary from that. My bounce-back ain't what it was when I was younger.

Then there is the blog I read a while back that talked about "scrapbook blogging" - said with perhaps a touch of "real bloggers blog about real topics" attitude, as opposed to "just" posting photos and explaining what's in them. That apparently affected me enough to make me stop blogging, as I got sensitive about the quality of my writing, and whether what I was writing was important enough (who defines enough, anyway?) But some of the blogs I love the most are those of people I care about and don't see very often and seeing their photos is the highlight of my week, often! So I love when other people "scrapbook blog" and maybe just need to get over myself and my desire to be Significant.

Of course, I am also working close to full-time outside of my house, and I have a new relationship which takes a bit of time, then there's having older kids with bigger lives themselves, and two dogs which require walking every single day. Weekends, too. All of that combines into a busier fall than I have ever had in my life.

So maybe it's not me after all, but rather the circumstances which I call life now.

Of course, I have this little voice inside which reminds me (rather snidely, too) that OTHER people do all that and still manage to blog more often than once a month.

Whatever, I hope to get back into it in 2010. Some days it will just be photos. Some days I may venture an actual opinion on an actual topic. Most days I will ramble on mindlessly and probably bore you to death. Whoever you are. All 7 of you.

So. With all that, here are my New Year's Resolutions for the upcoming twelve months:

  1. Blog more.
  2. Cook more, to reduce the number of restaurant-purchased meals per month.
  3. Pay off the new carpet and other repairs I put on credit cards to get my house ready to sell, which it never did.
  4. Resist looking at online listings of houses for sale in my area until #3 is done.
  5. Lose those pesky few pounds which I have gained since starting my job in September (sitting at a desk all day is not good) so that I can comfortably fit back into all the new clothes I had to buy to start said job.
  6. Take time to tell - really tell - the people who are important to me that they are so. Possibly do this by writing old fashioned, honest-to-goodness LETTERS. Sent in the MAIL.
  7. Get the Christmas tree down before the end of January.
  8. Defy all sociocultural predictors and actually USE the new WiiFit Plus program I got for Christmas.
  9. Deal with the mail the minute I touch it - straight to recycling (as opposed to the kitchen table) or into a designated location depending on content, to be dealt with thoroughly and efficiently, in a very short time frame.

I think I will stop at 9. Seems more attainable.

Happy New Year, All!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

7th Grade Concert

Last night Ty had his winter band concert. This is the first song his group played. He's the snare drum player on the left (the short one!) standing next to his buddy Carter. He said this song was pretty hard, but I think he did great!

First chair clarinet is Shawn's daughter Hannah - she also did great!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Spicy Cod

Home tonight after lunch out with girlfriends and viewing Amelia with Hilary Swank - fabulous movie, BTW.

Anyway - home and started to think about dinner. Found some cod in the freezer and did a quick online search for recipes, and found this one - and it's a keeper!

Easiest Spicy Cod

1 1/2 pounds cod fillets
1-2 cups salsa (enough to cover cod filets in pan)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper to taste
Crushed tortilla chips (I used Red Hot Blues)
1. Preheat oven to 350ยบ F

2. Rinse and dry cod fillets. Place fillets in a lightly greased casserole dish, on
top of crushed chips. Pour salsa over fish. Sprinkle with parsley, salt and pepper.

3. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Serve warm over rice.

Mmm, Mmm, GOOD!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


It's still breast cancer awareness month, but I have to use my pumpkin pie ...

Happy Halloween!


Just in time for the snow...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Coming Soon

I'm thinking about posting again, really I am. I am sick of seeing that Twins thing there. It was all timely and such when they were winning but now? Not so much. I even have some fairly good ideas about what I want to write about.

But then I sit down and on the one hand I could blog, and on the other I could read other people's blogs or play Farkle or watch videos or just walk away from the computer entirely.

So someday I will blog again. But not today.

Sunday, October 04, 2009


With Mama Ava in Beijing and Lucy in Malaga, Lonnie in Gjoevik and Kelly and Jil planning thier next trips to Disney (Kelly to World and Jil to cruise) ... well, let's just say I am feeling really sad that I have nothing in the works which involves an airplane.

Looking at Lonnie's photos makes my heart ache for Norway. It's a physical pull, heightened when I read her blog or look through her Facebook photo albums. Malaga and Beijing have the lure of being new and exotic to me (and I am going to Beijing, just haven't figured out exactly when yet ... so that does help some!) And then Disney... one year ago today I was starting to pack to take the boys on our first-ever cruise, with Disney, and the memories now are flooding back as I talk to Jil about their upcoming journey.

I think I'm going to Two Harbors next weekend, and then I do have a road trip up to Moorhead planned for November.

It's just not the same.

It's all about the birthday cake

My birthday is coming up in just a few weeks (ok, about 9, but that's less than half the year, right?) and I have found my cake.Whichever of you, my darling friends and family members, chooses to provide it, here's a handy link to its creator's website. So she's in Dallas, aren't I worth it?

Thanks, Cake Wrecks, for finding my dream cake for me!

Friday, October 02, 2009

Flash Forward

Is anyone else here watching it? I have this need to talk it to death ... into a greater depth than Brian is willing to go with me ... anybody?

Dog is gonna be OK

Well, the dog has allergies, and possibly hypothyroidism. Which transfers into $225 of exams and medicine. But they threw in a free nail-clipping, so I'm not complaining!

The new, ugly, open sore on his head? An allergy burn. The doc said they come up very suddenly and are pretty nasty. In examining Chaco, she found another spot which she said to watch, as it looks like it's about to erupt.

The thinning fur and lack of appetite are probably related to his thyroid function, so blood was drawn and more medicine may be in our future.

Right now, he will be on a three-week regimen of cortisone to help the allergies (someone just was telling me this fall has been nasty for dog allergies ... was it one of you??) and hopefully the itching and burns will disappear. But, she warned me, he may have an increased need to drink and urinate ... hopefully not in the middle of the night, but it's possible. Oh, and we have ear drops to help the itching in them. Because he has scratched them pretty raw, too.

And just for kicks, she noticed he has a dead tooth. So a tooth cleaning and extraction are in our future, the estimate on that is a mere $670. That does not include pain meds for the days after the surgery. But it does include use of the Bair Hugger, the inventor of which I know personally. But that can't be done til the cortisone treatment is done and out of his system, so we are looking at just in time for Christmas.

But everything is treatable and he's gonna be fine. And I guess, at least for now, that is priceless. For everything else, I used my Master Card.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

time flies ...

It's October. Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I need a mammogram. (not because I think I need one - need one, but because I haven't had one for a few years ... oh, hi, there, Dad, I'm sure you needed to read this ...)

I realize how lucky I am. I have now been working for a month. Not even full time (I have Fridays off.) But I can barely get anything done. How do women do it who work full time and have kids who actually need constant mothering??? I have not had to juggle life duties like this for .... well, I was going to write in the number of years, then I realized it would be never. I have never had to work full (or close to full) time while also being a parent. Since laundry and cooking and buying milk and picking up garbage are barely getting done, blogging has pretty much completely fallen by the wayside.

The good news today? I really like my job. The variety of tasks, the friendliness of the people, the relative solitude (I know those last two sound contradictory, but for me it's perfect - I rarely see anyone, but when I do, they are really nice.) The hours fly by every day, the weeks are zooming by. And two paychecks so far :-)

The bad news today? I am very worried about my dog. I have been worried about him (Chaco, the little white one) for a couple of weeks, but we were dog-sitting for my parents' dog so I thought maybe it was just the stress of having a foreigner in the house. But today Brian found a pretty good-sized raw sore on the back of Chaco's head, which is tender and scary-looking, and that, combined with my uneasy feelings over the past two weeks, is making me take him to the vet tomorrow to get thoroughly checked out. (then tonight I read Minnesota Matron's post about her dying dog and I am NOT in a good emotional state.)

This is not well-written and it's not getting better the more I type, but it is an update (I fool myself into thinking there are people out there who actually notice my absence) so I am going to go with it.

I'll try to update about the dog after I hear more ...

Friday, September 25, 2009

Reminiscing ...

Man, I miss these days ....

Ben was about this size when the Olympics came on and he would bounce around during gymnastics routines, standing triumphantly with both arms raised above his head at the end. What I wouldn't give now to have a video of that!

They grow too fast ...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Required Reading

If you don't already, please read Girl's Gone Child's post today about parenthood ... unless you are not a parent, don't plan on being one, and never had one. She is an incredible writer always, but this one just tugged at me more than usual!

Happy Thursday, all ...

Friday, September 11, 2009

New Job, New School Year, New .... hmm, what else?

Well, we made it through our first week of me working and the boys attending school. I, for one, am exhausted. I fell asleep last night watching Project Runway, then I fell asleep again this afternoon reading a new book (that I was enjoying, I might add!) It's a tired, old joke, but this work stuff is really hard work. Getting up to an alarm clock every morning - something I haven't had to do all summer, and even last year I would get the boys up and out but then I could return to bed if I so chose - but no more.

Both boys are happy with their classes. Ben is having a bit of an issue figuring out which math class he should be in - I may end up going in next week to talk with the teacher and/or the counselor, but for now he is trying to manage it on his own and I am so proud - but also wistful that he is old enough to be doing this on his own. Such maturity, such pragmatism, such good communication he is exhibiting! Warms a mother's heart.

And my job. I so appreciate the support and love I have felt all summer long from all of you as I have searched and searched and searched for a job, and now the shared pleasure and satisfaction you all show me that I have finally found employment. The job is ... well, to be honest, it's just a job. It's not my dream job, not even, really, a step in my imagined career path, but on the other hand, my career path has never been straight or steady or paved or even visible, so who knows, maybe it is part of the path and I just don't know it yet. I am now the office manager (though sometimes I say I am the administrator to try and make myself sound more important!) of a small church. It's a Unity Church. Every time I say that, someone inevitably asks, what denomination is that? The answer is "it's a Unity Church." Unity was started as a church in the late 1880s by a couple in Missouri (where the church headquarters still are, today.) From their website:

Unity is a positive, practical, progressive approach to Christianity based on the teachings of Jesus and the power of prayer. Unity honors the universal truths in all religions and respects each individual's right to choose a spiritual path.

Unity teaches that each person is a unique expression of God created with sacred worth. Living from that awareness transforms our lives and the world. Unity emphasizes the creative power of thought in our life experience. We refer to this as the Law of Mind Action. When we take personal responsibility to choose life-affirming thoughts, words and actions, we experience a more fulfilling and abundant life.

Unity emphasizes the importance of applying spiritual principles in our daily lives.

Unity teachings continue to evolve as we identify, embrace and apply spiritual insights and the spiritual implications of new discoveries.

Deepak Chopra, The Secret, New Thought ... all are related to Unity Church. It's an interesting religion, no doubt.

The church I am working at is small and growing. Currently there are about 100 members - there were more until a change in ministers brought about issues that divided the congregation about two years ago. The current minister and members are working to overcome that time in history and build themselves up again. I see a lot of potential for my talents to be put to good use here. In my first week, I have been learning a lot about the daily operations - not too much about the faith itself (though pretty much everyone I meet asks if I am going to join the congregation. From my past experiences, it is usually better for office staff at a church to not be a member of that church. That can get messy.) The people are friendly, welcoming, and eager to work with me. The minister is from Nigeria originally, and was an engineer prior to becoming ordained. I am in charge of the day-to-day tasks including keeping the website up-to-date (I will eventually be working to get them to let me to completely overhaul it!), doing daily Facebook and Twitter updates (I have been resisting Twitter for as long as I have known about it - who knew it would become part of my job responsibilities?!), all types of internal and external communication, overseeing some volunteers, supervising the general management of the building (supplies inventory, making sure maintenance is done, etc.), mail, email, and phones, and then pretty much anything else that comes through the door. I love the variety and breadth of my responsibilities and tasks. I hope that I don't get bored six months down the road. The very best part? I will be receiving my first pay check on Tuesday. And the biggest challenge? (I said this on Facebook - mine, not the church's - already) ... it's located one block from Culver's. Today I treated myself to a hot fudge shake to celebrate my first full week.

This morning I was thinking about the date. 9/11. The strange thing for me, today, is that on that 9/11 I was working in a church, too. I remember getting calls at the church - it was a primary election day and the church was a polling place - and we brought up a TV and had it going so people waiting to vote, and the election judges, could watch. Is there significance in the fact that I have come full circle to working in a church again? I don't know.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

New favorite blog

I have a new favorite blog. It's written by two grandmothers (at least one is a great-grandmother.) Well, at least that's what they say, you know how it is with the internet, you can never be sure anyone is who they claim to be. But they have such an entertaining way of presenting what I believe. I find myself needing to find ways to laugh lately when looking at anything political in our nation these days. Margaret and Helen provide that.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Working Woman

Yesterday I started my new job. After months of searching, applying, interviewing and not being picked, I finally got chosen to be on a team! I am the new Administrator at Unity South Church here in Bloomington. It's part time (25-30 hours per week) and (for now, anyway) I always have Fridays off. The church is small but vibrant and growing, and there is a lot going on - plenty of challenges to keep me busy and lots of room for me to be creative and innovative.

This pic is from my first morning. In somewhat atypical fashion for me, I was way more stressed about what to WEAR to work than about what the work would actually be like. The last few jobs I have had (last 18 years' worth) I have either had a uniform to wear, or I could wear jeans. This job calls for something one step above jeans, and I don't think scrubs would work. They'd be comfortable, yes, but probably not give off the right image. So I spent quite a few hours fretting about what to wear on my first day, and this is what I came up with. My favorite part of this picture, though, is Colby. He saw me posing, and looked at Brian with the camera, and he deliberately walked over to me, sat down where you see him, and stared straight into the camera lens, until Brian told him the picture was taken. Then he moved away again.

So now I have two days under my belt, and I am liking it. I am eager and ready to dive in and see what I can offer the church, and see how all the different pieces of my life - with the new job and the boys going back to school - are going to all fit together. But I do have to say, after a lot of years of setting my own timetable for everything, this getting up early to go to WORK is a tough transition.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Umm, how's that again?

I read it three times before I saw it and started laughing ...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Fresh Tomato Pie

Today I used the fresh tomatoes sent home with us from Iowa by Holly, to make a Tomato Pie. I used a recipe from my friend Susy, who got it from her friend Char who we lost to cancer last year. So tonight's meal was in memory of Char, and in honor of friends and family.

You start by layering shredded mozzarella and fresh basil in a double-layer of pie crust (I use Pillsbury refrigerated but homemade would be good, too, if you do that type of thing!)

Then you layer fresh, sliced tomatoes. The original recipe calls for Roma, but I used these (no idea what variety) from Holly - I just made sure I removed as much water (juice?) from the slices as possible so my pie wasn't soggy.

Then you place a layer of sliced pepper jack cheese, and cover with a second layer of tomato slices.

Finally, you cover the tomato layers with a spread of mayo, more mozzarella, fresh Parmesan, and fresh garlic. Then pop it in the oven for a half-hour.

When you take it out, the crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly and hot. The smell is amazing, and everyone in the room will drool in anticipation!

We enjoyed it with a baguette and a Caesar salad .... and finished the meal with freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. DEE-LISH!

Full Recipe:
2 Pillsbury pie crusts, layered in pie pan
Then layer:
Shredded mozzarella (about 3/4 - 1 cup)
Fresh basil leaves (to taste)
Sliced Roma tomatoes (maybe 4 small or 2-3 large?)
Sliced pepper jack cheese
Sliced Roma tomatoes (about same amount again)
Mix: 1/2 c mayo, 1/4 c fresh Parmesan, 4 cloves minced garlic (or more to taste - I use 5-6), 1 c shredded mozzarella. Spread on top.
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Let sit 5 min before slicing.

Monday, August 24, 2009


It would seem that Charlotte and her web are alive and well, comfortable and thriving on Jack & Holly's porch,
right there in beautiful Mitchellville, Iowa.

From Iowa with Love

Brian & I took a quick trip to Iowa this weekend. Drove down Saturday morning and back again Sunday evening. In those 36 hours or so, we went to the Iowa State Fair
(pretty close second to the Minnesota Fair! Not that I'm biased or anything ...), played too many card games (I was the designated loser, apparently), ate wonderful home-grown tomatoes, learned a ton about homing pigeons, drank a bottle of Iowa Wine (a first for me, thanks, Lonnie, for leaving it there for Holly & I to enjoy!), and had plenty of time to relax and visit and laugh.

This all started when Lonnie - Brian's cousin who lives in Norway - was pining for a deep-fried Snickers bar. I volunteered to eat one for her - that's just the kind of person I am - and we were planning on doing it here in Minnesota. But then we thought hey, let's really meet Lonnie's needs and eat it at the Iowa Fair - the place her memories were made - and the fact that this way I get to do it twice - there, and here - never entered my mind. Nope, sure didn't.
So off we went, and now, this coming weekend, we will go to the Minnesota Fair, and we will compare the deep-friend candy bars, the largest boars, pumpkins and bulls, the rides and the pizza, the displays and the crowds.
I think this may be the beginning of a beautiful tradition.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

No moving for us this year

Well, today the decision was made. I am taking the townhouse off the market. After six+ months of trying, I am giving up on the idea that it is going to sell at a reasonable price (heck, I haven't even had any unreasonable offers. There's just been no interest at all.)

So that means we are not buying a house, it means the dogs will still need to be walked 3 times daily as opposed to being let out to run in the yard, and it means I will still have to drive the boys back and forth to school.

But it's not the end of the world, by any means, the townhouse is very comfortable and this means I don't have to move all our stuff, which certainly makes my fall less chaotic.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed, though.

Friday, August 14, 2009


So I went out for dinner tonight with 3 amazing women, and I admit it, I drank a little more wine than I might usually do - but I wasn't driving, and it was so good, and they had a 25% off special on the wine.

After returning home, I just sat in the glow of friendship - seriously, I sat here thinking about all the incredible women in my life, and how important they are to my well-being. I am tempted to start listing them with something specific I thank them for, but I know I would forget someone and I would hate to do that so I won't make the attempt.

But women - true friends - are so incredibly valuable in life. We get each other through relationships, parenting, loss, employment (or lack of it), weight gain or loss, relocation, and pretty much anything else you can think of. We support and love one another and offer unending and unconditional acceptance.

I couldn't survive without my girlfriends. And were it not for the wine, I would probably be able to go on for several more paragraphs and express myself far more eloquently. But for now I will just say it again - I couldn't survive without my girlfriends.


My son just created a Facebook account. He is 14. Right now he & I are FB Friends. But should we be?

Should I be seeing all he posts, and (perhaps more importantly), should he be seeing all I post?

What do you do - parents with teens with FB accounts? Looking for guidance here ...

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Working again ...

Thank you all for your patience with me whenever I snap at you "DON'T ASK ME IF I HAVE A JOB YET."

I still don't have a job. But I am working today (well, would be if I was not here blogging. I am actually going to go away from my house to work for a while because self-discipline is not my strong suit.) (As evidenced by the blogging that I have convinced myself is necessary because I promised so many of you I would keep you up-to-date on the employment front, a promise I made to soften the rudeness of my snapping at you last time you asked.)

I contacted a former client, one I have worked for in the past but not for the past several months, asking (begging, really, if you need the whole truth - I need some income that badly) if there might be a project for me to work on. She said yes! So today I am working on a smallish writing project, maybe 10 hours total or a little less, and I just got an email from her saying she has a lot more work if I am interested as she gears up for the fall busy season (she caters to the educational world.)


So I am still sending out resumes and still being rejected regularly, but at least I will be generating a little income, and using my mind for something other than Sudoku and Scramble and blogging.

Thanks for caring :-)

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Nature is cool, ya know?

Tonight we went to see the Awards Festival of the "Quiet on the Set" short film competition my nephew entered. His film won an audience choice award, but unfortunately you had to have the judges choose you - not the audience - to get a trophy or any cash. But we are all terrifically proud of him, anyway!

After the awards, we wandered through south Minneapolis to Minnehaha Falls. Ben swears he's never been there (he has) and Ty announced with authority that he was just there a few weeks ago on his final 6th grade field trip of the school year. Brian can't remember the last time he was there, and I ran around saying "this wasn't like this when I was a kid" until both kids were rolling their eyes at me.

It was getting dark, and the neon lights of Dairy Queen across the street were calling to us, so we didn't stay long, but it was still beautiful.

Friday, July 24, 2009

I don't know Jill & Kevin, but I wish I did!

Be sure your sound is on, and if you are as sentimental as me, have a kleenex handy ...

Now that's the way to start a life together!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Banana Peels

Somewhere within the past year, on one of the blogs I read, there was a debate about the "right" way to eat a banana - which end you "should" start from. Well, I was just directed to this video ... and now I am going to go buy some bananas to try it!

(I know, I know, you can thank me later.)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Extreme Makeover ....

Here's the 3 stages of hair change in Brian yesterday ... I'm still getting used to the new look.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Weekend Work

When Hillmans return to China later this month, I will be storing their van for them. In return for storage, I get to use it for runs to IKEA or other times I need a large vehicle to haul stuff or kids or dogs or kids AND dogs. But.

Here is my garage as of this morning:And another shot:
Hmmm .... not quite sure where that van is going to fit in. But I am determined ... so this morning after I took those pictures I started sorting, cleaning, and tossing. I have made tremendous progress in the past 3 hours (and I am starting to think I should never move again as I have too much stuff. Even after making a giveaway pile and filling my garbage can.)

Here is the give-away pile. The game board is one that the boys picked up 3 years ago at the neighborhood curbside pick-up. It's never made it into the house, we have no idea if it works or not (it has a plug) and we have no game pieces to use with it. The TV works but the remote doesn't. The microwave works great. The VCR plays but won't record. And the boxes are full of clothes and other assorted stuff. (If anyone wants any of this let me know soon!)

And then there is the final pile. The problem pile. See, I have had a thing for boxes my entire life. Perhaps it stems from moving every 1-2 years during my formative years. Perhaps at one point in my life I was threatened "if you can't pack it in a box you can't keep it." Or perhaps I am just odd. But I have real difficulty throwing away a perfectly good box. Or the bubble wrap or packing paper or styrofoam peanuts that come in some boxes. And now I am (hopefully) moving soon, so it really doesn't make sense to get rid of any of these, right?

My pile of empty boxes (it doesn't look that bad, but know that every box you see is filled with more boxes. I am efficient.) Sigh.

Hopefully tomorrow I will finish up and have some "After" shots to show you. I have another week until I need the space, but I want to take advantage of the cool weather to get it done now. Wish me luck!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Old Friends are Best

Today I had lunch with Kelley, one of my very best friends in junior high and high school. I haven't seen her much in recent years, even though she lives fairly close, but we have reconnected through Facebook and are enjoying renewing our friendship. She just emailed me this picture she found in some box in her basement - it was December, 1976 so I had just turned 15, and she was a few months older than me. Neither of us remember where we were, but our best guess is Southdale since that is where we tended to hang out when we were together. Since it was winter and we were 15, one of our parents must have driven us - in warmer months we used to ride our bikes (something I would not let my kids do today - there are a lot of busy roads and intersections between here and Southdale!!!

I am so grateful for Facebook - it has brought me together with so many people from my past, and provided us with a way to reconnect virtually even if we aren't as geographically close as Kelley & I are. The memories we share are fun to discuss and it's really rewarding to see that we can still connect in a close and meaningful way, even without seeing each other in 20 years, because of that shared past.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Hi-ho, Hi-ho, to Iowa we go ...

We are leaving shortly for Iowa. Off to meet a large number of Brian's relatives. Off to celebrate his mom's 75th birthday (shh, it's a surprise!) Off to visit Mitchellville - a town I had never heard of before February of this year, but now it feels like I could be from there, too.

I assume this is the town logo? This was the first image that came up when I googled for images of Mitchellville.

And apparently they have cows.
What would Iowa be without cows?

And, apparently, there is a giant mushroom somewhere. I will try to find this and get a picture of Brian & me in front of it.

There is (or was?) a Reform School for Girls there in Mitchelville, too. Looks kind of spooky.

Check back later this week for current pictures and stories of our trip!

Monday, July 06, 2009

A Milestone Reached

Measured today for the first time in 10 months ...

But my hair is bigger!

Apologies for not posting more frequently ...

Time sure has a way of marching on, regardless of human intent, doesn't it? Today I give you bullet points, as I just don't know that I can manage much more.
  • Carla was here and is already gone. *sniff* I hardly got to see her. If you haven't heard, her role for the next several weeks is now stage mom (Matron, you can give her tips, maybe?) as her son is in the movie "Kung Fu Kid" starring Jaden Smith (yes, the son of THOSE Smiths.)
  • Fireworks were great at the Bloomington Summerfete on the 3rd. It was the world premier appearance of former spouses Steve & Karen Peterson each with their respective new honeys, all on the same blanket.
  • I am baffled by Sarah Palin.
  • My townhouse is still not sold, and I am seriously (as opposed to all those frivolous times) considering taking it off the market and making do. I have not been looking at houses to buy at this time, though I am still very aware that the dream house I didn't get *is* still available. If we were to stay in the townhouse, we could spend some time and money fixing it up a bit to make it more comfortable, though we still would not have a yard to let the dogs run in, and I would still have to drive the boys to school every morning. Those are the two drawbacks. The benefit, of course, is that we could stop keeping it so darn impersonably clean.
  • I am still among that great group commonly known as the unemployed. I am still in the running for one clinic RN position at Planned Parenthood, and I don't know when that decision will be made. I am plotting Plan B (err, I guess Plan L would be more realistic) which is to get a job somewhere like Caribou or Home Depot or Barnes & Noble to generate some income while I figure out how to become an independent millionaire. I'll keep you informed as to how that goes.
  • Part of the reason I haven't been blogging too much is that Facebook makes it so easy to stay over there all the time. Those of you who aren't on FB yet, you really oughtta be. Just yesterday, I friended my great-aunt in Oslo, and someone I went to middle and high school with who knows my friend Teresa with whom I was in a homeschool co-op with years ago and who knows my sister-in-law from Ireland, AND that someone who was my classmate years ago is a long-time family friend of Brian and his family. SMALL WORLD, indeed.
  • I took the boys to see "UP" last week and if you haven't seen it yet, GO. TODAY. BRING KLEENEX. (And don't bother spending the extra $$$ to see it in 3-D. 2-D is wonderful.)
OK, I think that's it for now. Life is in the details - didn't someone profound say something like that? That's as close as I get today. Happy Monday, all!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


I was seriously beginning to think this day would never come.

Congratulations, Senator Franken!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Job Hunting

Hey all ... for the past few weeks I have been seriously job hunting. I figured out that this "no freelance clients = no income" gig I have had going for the past 6 weeks is not a good long-term strategy for life. Who knew?

I have been doing freelance work since the divorce, so about 2 1/2 years, and it has been absolutely perfect. I started it so that I could be with the boys whenever and wherever they needed it, with total control over my schedule. Clients magically appeared, projects were fun and interesting, money was great, life was good! Then, recently, that all changed. Clients stopped calling as they struggled to keep their businesses afloat - who has money for outside freelancers? And I found myself less and less interested in seeking out new clients. What I started longing for was a job that I could drive to, work at, leave, and not think about until I drove back again. Something that would not consume my weekends and evenings and something that would give me days off.

Coincidentally this started around the same time as I was developing another interest to fill all those other hours. Hmmm ....

Anywho. I have kept my RN license current lo, all these many years, for situations exactly such as this. I dusted it off, updated my resume, and, through the wonders of Craig's List and the MN Council of Nonprofits, I found oodles of jobs online, and sent off my most beguiling cover letters and resumes to about a dozen different places.

Two responded. Two. What is this world coming to where they can't even email a note that says my application was received? Geesh. I know, from talking with many others, that this is just the way things are these days. But still. Talk about frustrating.

So one of those who responded eventually turned into an interview, and then another interview, and news that I was one of two finalists and she really wanted to hire us both but just couldn't ..... and then I heard that she chose the other finalist.

But. In the meantime, I had also applied for a position at Planned Parenthood, but was told that the position was already offered to someone else. So my timing was lousy. But - then just last week I applied for a different position with PP, and they told me that the nurse hired for the position I initially wanted didn't work out, so now that was open, too. So I went for an interview on Tuesday of this week, then back for a second one on Wednesday this week, and I have to meet one more person and (hopefully) impress the heck out of her, too, in order to be offered the position that I want. They are already doing a background check on me, which, I was told, they do "on all our new employees." Not "all our prospective employees."

I am so very excited about this job. It is perfect for me. I have learned over the years (thankfully I have learned something!) that it's important for me to have my professional life in sync with my personal life. This is why I have devoted most of my professional life to non-profit work. The mission, the cause - they have to mesh with my personal beliefs and values.

And ... once I have steady income, house-hunting can start again in full force!

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