Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Red Tape...

of life is engulfing me. Excuse me for a month or so as I delve into taxes and the money muck of our life. The FAFSA and the CSS (the worksheet alone is 18 pages and there is a fee to file) are sitting on my computer desktop, waiting for me to lay bare our financial status. This year the hardest part is looking at the losses. I find no comfort in knowing that I have company. Ah well, I am not one to shirk hard work. It's time to dig in and be done with the mess. I'll post again when I've put this onerous task behind me. Since Honey Girl will graduate in 2010 this is the last time I have to f@%* with financial aid forms. If you are wondering what all my fuss is about read this NY Times article. And my advice to those of you with young kids; why are you sitting on your thumbs; get GET.

Winter's Encore

...happened this past Thursday. Darned if that Groundhog wasn't right. We had snow Wednesday night and this is what I saw Thursday morning:

a blanket of white in the blue light of early morning;

Snowdrops nodding towards the icy crystals at their feet;

Schools had a two hour late start so the DH and I took a walk in Shorewood. The Olympics stood out in their winter whites.

Saturday, February 21, 2009


to 5o degree weather and a freshly mowed lawn. I took the bus home from the airport for the first time. $1.50 is a whole lot cheaper than a $25. cab. It did take 50 minutes (mostly because of the wait time at the bus stop) but the weather was so lovely I didn't even mind the 7 block walk from the bus stop. I had just enough time to unpack and put together a cheese and sausage platter for the wine tasting. The 7 year old Wisconsin cheddar from Laney was a hit as was the old fashioned German sausage from Maplewood Meat Shop. The Glen Fiona 2007 Basket Press Reserve Syrah more than made up for the nasty corked wine we brought to a tasting earlier in the month.

I had a wonderful time visiting family and friends in Wisconsin, packing in a lot of visiting, shopping, eating, and card playing in seven days. Now here I have been sitting for 3 hours plus, organizing photos on Flickr, listening to Boot Liquor on SomaFM (if you must listen to country music, this is the one to listen to). It's time I shake myself away, maybe go on a run and do a little yard work. The rain is due to return.

But before I wrap this up, I want to say "Happy Birthday, Jeff!"

Isn't my younger brother handsome? He's hardworking, generous, and blessed with a serious 'gift of gab'. Enjoy your day, Jeff!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Nose Woes

My cousins Barb and Michelle posted Nose Stories on their blogs and asked readers to share their own. I have two.

It was during holiday meal preparations at my Grandparents'. Baked beans must've been on the menu. I was probably 4 years old. I found a dried navy bean on the floor. Why oh why did I put a navy bean up my nose, I do not know. But that is what I did totally without bribery or coercion. STUPID!! Once it was there it wouldn't come out and of course I panicked and was totally terrified to tell my parents and especially my grandfather, who was somewhat stern and had a 'smartest man in the world' complex. I remember lots of tears and commotion and the threat that a bean plant would grow clear into my brain. Then I remember a white light bulb inches from my face, grandpa holding my arms tight so I wouldn't wiggle and he could get a good look. I remember talk of using tweezers and the feel of a man's big white handkerchief against my face streaked with hot tears and being told to "Blow hard!" and the bean flew out and the relief was enormous, both physically and emotionally.

Memory number two is really my daughter's Nose Story. It would be interesting to hear her version. She was probably 6 years old we were going out for lunch at Kid Africa's near Green Lake. "Mom, Dad, I have a bloody nose." she mumbles from the back seat. Sure enough, vivid red blood is coursing from her nose. Chris dashes into Kid Africa's, comes back with fists full of napkins. We are parked, the back door opened, pinching her nose, sopping up blood. It seemed to take forever to stop, she is quiet yet fidgety. You know, Honey Girl is almost never quiet (unless she is reading a book). I tilt her head back and peer into the nostrils, one is a black and empty, the other has something blood soaked. I of course suspect the worst; it looks like brain tissue coming out of her nose. I express alarm, trying not to be alarmed. 'The daughter' begins to cry. "It's a tissue she sobs." "What tissue?" I ask as none of us had colds and I am not a reliable, save the day mommy, with tissue up my sleeve. "Barbie's tissue she cries," flushed red with embarrassment. You know those Barbie doll sets with the little shoes, hair brushes, and make up kits. Well, the one in the back seat with her had a teeny tiny Kleenex box and she had sampled the tissue,inhaling when she should have exhaled and "Whoosh!" up her nose went Barbie's tissue! That brought some relief for me but we were still stuck with how in the world to get the dang thing out. DH opens the glove box and hauls out a pair of needle nosed pliers with green handles, she shrieks, I shriek and he decides "Maybe this is NOT the tool to use." I do not think we stayed to eat. I do remember ordering milk shakes and heading home and I think she blew it out on her own. I guess it is up to Honey Girl to tell the rest of the story!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Visiting the Frozen Tundra

I haven't been posting, I'm not teaching (it is Mid Winter Break) and I am not gardening. I am on a much needed vacation visiting relatives in the Mid West. To save time and catch you up to speed I will give you the short list of what I have been doing:
1. Friday 2/13 flew into Midway Airport in Chicago. Schlepped me and my luggage aboard the #55 bus to my daughter's apartment. She was delighted to open the stinky French cheese I had brought. She fixed a delicious tartiflette for dinner. Frans chocolate caramels with smoked sea salt made for a perfect dessert. Went to sleep easily with a light snow falling in the lamplight outside her window.
2. Saturday 2/14 went shopping with the daughter in downtown Chicago. Bought a rice cooker/steamer Cuisinart cooking appliance for the daughter as well as shoes at Nordstrom. (What's wrong with this picture; I am the one who was supposed to get shoes!) Met with daughter's boyfriend in the pm and went to the Art Institute and saw a great exhibit of work by the Norwegian artist Edvard Munck. Once back at the apartment I grocery shopped and cooked dinner of basmati rice and chicken and in the new appliance. It's tricky; I think it will be useful once she gets the cooking times down. I had doubled the recipe and the cooking times were off; I ended up sauteing the chicken on the stove top.

3. Sunday 2/15 I cleaned the top of their refrigerator and rearranged a few dishes and appliances to make room for the rice cooker/steamer. Daughter,the boyfriend, a roommate, and myself all took the Metra downtown again to see the movie Coraline. It is wonderful! It is in 3-D which was a new experience for me. The animation is riveting and the story line is kind of spooky. A little girl living in a secluded creepy house somewhere near Ashland, Oregon with 2 parents who are too consumed with their garden writing careers to give her so much as five minutes of their time, discovers that she has a parallel mom and dad behind a secret door in the wall. The parents behind the wall try to woo Coraline away to their side with candy, circus shows and toys; every indulgence a child could possibly want. They want her to leave her real parents and stay with them but first she must agree to have buttons sewed in the place of her eyes, which she wisely refuses to do. Lots of danger and terror ensue as she tries to get back to her 'real parents'. Upon watching this movie I thought maybe nightmares such as this were the reason my own daughter refused to wear buttons on clothing as a child. After the movie we went to an Armenian Restaurant and had a delicious dinner. I had a combination plate. My favorite part was this huge lamb meatball in a yogurt mint sauce. When back at the apartment I finished reading Nine Parts of Desire and I left it behind for 'the daughter' to read. Then I finished 'the daughter's' taxes.
4. Monday 2/16 Walked 'the daughter' to campus and said our good byes, not tearfully, but wistfully; I wished I could've stayed longer. I made a necessary trip to the bursar's office to iron out a wrinkle in the bill. Then I took lots of aimless pictures of the old buildings covered in naked vines and church steeples cutting crisply into blue winter skies.

Once back at the apartment, I packed up, dragged my luggage to the Metra station, back to downtown again and once on Michigan and Van Buren, walked about 6 blocks to the Union Train Station. I think I had to ask more people how to find the Amtrak gate for Milwaukee than I have ever had to ask for directions to anything else. Boarded the train to Milwaukee
just in the nick of time. This was fun. The train is comfortable. I read my new book and ate the mozarella and tomatoe sandwich I had bought at the Corner Bakery. An hour and a half later I was hugging my sister Lynn in Milwaukee. We went shopping at the Boston Store and this time I shopped for me and bought two pair that were about equal in price to the one pair I had bought my daughter. Then we went to have coffee at Alterra, a coffee shop overlooking Lake Michigan. It is in a very cool building that was an old mill with a water wheel. Then we met our niece, Terra and her friend and we all went out to dinner at Wicked Ale brew pub. The hamburger I had was delicious with blue cheese and grilled mushrooms. Hugged the sister good bye (That was pretty incredible for her to drive from Madison to Milwaukee just to see me!) Niece Terra was then kind enough to chauffer me to Green Bay. We talked and talked about family, friends, relationships, jobs, and running and injuries. The one and a half hour drive went quickly. Then there I was sitting with my mom and dad at their kitchen table smiling and talking for an hour more. What a full day!
5. Tues. 2/17 Walked in the morning with my mom. Then we went to Laney Cheese and bought 4 yr. and 7 yr. old cheddar. Went to Fleet Farm with dad and looked at everything from bird seed to garden seed and plumbing and light fixtures. Second sister Lisa, her husband Tim, and nephew Tanner arrive, more hugs more talk. Tanner, mom and I play the dice game Left Right and Center and then the card game Uno. Mom is lucky to have a grandson that loves games as much as she does. 6:00 and the pork and beef roasts are done, my brother Jeff (Happy Birthday, Jeff!)arrives and we sit down to a delicious meal finished off with scham tortes and strawberries. Plenty more talk and a game of Rummy between mom and I follows. Now there is snow falling outside. It is so peaceful and pretty, hardly appears to be the storm that the weather report forecasted. But I guess strong winds could change all that. I know no one here is happy to see more snow, but I am secretly pleased. After all, it is still winter in the 'frozen tundra.'

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Kreativ Blogger Award

An award has been bestowed. Aleurs! Woe is me! Ok Barbara, of Our Life Together..., this is the one and only time! Audience, I am agreeing to this only because Barbara has been a faithful commenter on my blog for probably two years and she is a fellow kindergarten teacher who burns an amazing amount of energy and enthusiasm in the teaching of her young students. She is a colleague and blogger I would love to meet in person. Thank you, Barbara.
This is it though. (Those of you who blog know that awards are bait for readers, right?) Which is ok; but I blog mainly for me. It is my selfish pleasure and my gardening journal (see side bar). So here goes, I keep the thread going by bestowing the award on 7 others:

1. Copy the award to your site.
2. Link to the person from whom you received the award.
3. Nominate 7 other bloggers.
4. Link to those on your blog.
5. Leave a message on the blogs you nominate.

1. Tanya, teacher friend and mommy to Chase: The Adventures of Chase Talk about a woman who tries to do everything to perfection, Tanya's it. She's a dedicated ELL teacher, mother to 19 month old Chase, soon to celebrate her second anniversary with her husband, Chris, a serious yogini, and she's beautiful. Along with all that,she has the good fortune to live in Hawaii.

2. Barbara, cousin and a Middle School Special Ed. teacher: Half Past Kissin She received a Golden Apple for her teaching a couple years back, need I say more?

3. Michelle, cousin and seriously funny sister to #2 Barbara:Second Chances

4. David Perry, garden photographer extraordinaire; I long for the recognition that artistic photos like David's give to a garden. He no longer allows comments so I doubt that he knows he has paisons like myself idolizing his garden photograpohy.
A Photographers Garden Blog

5. Billy Goodnik, a Santa Barbara gardener and musician; It is just our nature to admire someone who is a wee bit more ahead of the gardening crowd. Of course he has mild winters and early springs to his advantage. The Gardenwise Guy

6. Rosemary, She's an enthusiastic gardener, a retiree from the field of education, and she's our neighbor in the Great White North of Ontario, CA Visit her at Rosemary's Blog

7. I know I am supposed to give the award to 7 bloggers, but my reading arsenal jumps to newspapers and Boing Boing and the West Seattle Blog and NPR after I peruse the above six blogs. Sorry folks, that's all I write.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Cove to Clover 5k

This morning after more than an hour reading a book and the paper online in bed along with my half pot of coffee, the DH says, "Get on up, let's go out for breakfast!" Off we went to Mick Kelly's Irish Pub in Burien. This was our first visit and it won't be the last. The food was great and the prices reasonable. I got the 1-1-1 which is one egg, one buttermilk pancake (huge!) and one strip of bacon and a side of fried red potatoes (delish!). The DH ordered the corned beef hash with one egg, and a biscuit. They have plenty of authentic Irish fare on their menu which we would be interested in trying some day. Only the coffee was a disappointment; but remember, I already had my half pot. While waiting for our food the DH grabs a copy of the Stranger from the rack at the front door as reading fodder and he also drags along a flier for a new 5k organized by the pub to benefit the Highline Area Food Bank and to be held on March 15th (How Irish!) It goes from the Cove in Normandy Park up into downtown Burien, ending at Mick Kelly's of course. Now this will be a real butt burner. It goes from 33ft. to 420ft. in just under a mile!

As if that wasn't ambitious enough, I also registered for the Rock 'n Roll 1/2 Marathon on June 27th. I was encouraged to do this one by my friend Valerie who will also be running it with her two kids; they will be 16 and 14 by then. There is a band at every mile along the route and an evening concert free to race participants. Sounds like fun!