Monday, February 27, 2006

Meet My Dad

My sister Molly is in the Bahamas, and yesterday she sent us all this very nice, check-in e-mail:

-----Original Message-----
From: Molly
Sent: Sunday, February 26, 2006 4:21 PM
To: EverydaySuperGoddess and Family
Subject: HI

Hi all,

How were your weekends? Mines been A-OK. We're having a great time, weather is beautiful. Nice and warm and humid. Its been mostly sunny, it just rained a little bit but stopped quickly and it was gorgeous earlier. We have just been sightseeing and checking out downtown and this crazy Atlantis casino that has all these amazing shops and fish tanks and crazy gardens and stuff. The food has been good, of course overpriced. Let me know how you all are doing. Talk to you soon!!

And this was Dad’s reply:

-----Original Message-----
From: Dad
Sent: Sunday, February 26, 2006 10:27 PM
To: Molly
Subject: Re: HI

Our house was foreclosed on today, and we are penniless street people.

Betsy was arrested by immigration personnel and deported to France.

EverydaySuperGoddess was arrested and charged with criminal vehicular homicide, and both Demigoddesses have been put up for adoption.

The dog ran away.

Enjoy your vacation!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

A Good Omen

I have gone to the same hair stylist for the past several years, but it wasn’t until just now, when I made a desperate call to the salon to beg for a last-minute, emergency haircut appointment that absolutely has to happen before Friday morning, that I found out she works until 7:00 p.m. on Thursdays.

And she had an opening tomorrow night, which will fit perfectly in between dropping the Demigoddesses off at their school musical performance and picking up phase 1 of the Girl Scout cookies. No groveling necessary.

When I get there, I think I might just kiss her.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Grandpa’s on eBay

My most excellent cousin Catherine sent me this link yesterday.

My Great-Grandfather Devoy, the original owner of my family’s much-revered cabin in Upper Michigan, was big into taking photographs. The cousin who sent me the link has that same steamboat shot in print form (her scanned version is below). I didn’t realize any of my great-grandfather’s photos had been made into postcards back in the day, but there it is. The names, dates and locations all match up.

What’s really cool is that, based on the hills in the background, it looks he must have been standing in the exact spot where our dock is now when he took the photo. There are houses and a county park over there now, but otherwise the view is the same.

I was curious about how the postcard ended up on eBay, so I e-mailed the seller, and this was her response:

Wow, that is so cool! We bought about 400 postcards in Pelham NH at an estate sale. Most of the cards were addressed to Stevens Point, Wis. Times like this I wish I had known before and I could have just sent it to you! Thanks and take care.

That’s an even better eBay find than my Kate Spade Georgetown Carlyle handbag…

Monday, February 20, 2006

Happy Pitchers and Catchers Day!

The Minnesota Twins pitchers and catchers are officially required to begin working out today, although many of the players have already arrived for spring training in Fort Myers.

This means, of course, that spring is just around the corner. The Kiss Cam and the Hormel Row of Fame, Twingo and Dodgeball and Dome Dogs, they are so close, I can almost taste the by-products. The smell of freshly groomed Astroturf is in the air, and My Ho, he bought part of a season ticket package this year. What could be better than THAT?

It also means that I had to change my sidebar counter. Instead of pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training, it’s now counting down to opening day.

Mmmmmmmm... opening day...

How can you not love
these guys?

Friday, February 17, 2006

Friday Haiku: Paranoia

A guy came to my house to measure my floor this morning. The flooring place had told me he’d arrive between 9:00 and 11:00 a.m., and when he knocked on the door at 9:45, I did exactly what Oprah and Dr. Phil say you’re never supposed to do. I opened the door and let him in. Without asking for ID, and without first calling the flooring place to confirm that he was their employee. As soon as he was in the door, I remembered all the precautions that women are supposed to take before they let a strange man into the house, and I remembered every daytime talk show horror story I’ve seen dramatically re-enacted. But by then, it was too late.

As he kicked the snow off his boots, he commented on the cold outside. It was about eight below zero out there, with something like a -20 wind chill (gotta love winter in Minnesota). Trying to make lighthearted conversation, I replied, “Yeah, it was freezing in here a little while ago. I have the thermostat programmed lower during the day when I’m at work, and I forgot to override it this morning.” He chuckled politely, and I realized I’d just told him that my house is usually empty at this time of day.

I showed him to the sunroom. He took out his measuring tape and a note pad, and as he went to work, I wondered if the flooring company does criminal background checks on these guys before sending them out to people’s houses. He didn’t really look like a serial killer. But they never do.

Ten minutes later, he had the measurements he needed. He said that if I want sheet vinyl in that room, it’ll probably have to wait until spring, because the adhesive doesn’t work unless the temperature of the floor is above 70 degrees.

Then he packed up his tape measure and his notepad, and he left…

...without making me
into a lampshade, which was
nice of him, I think.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Fame! I’m gonna live forever…

Demigoddess the Younger managed to get her photo in the newspaper again yesterday. The first time was last January, when she was photographed at Twins Fest speaking Spanish with Johan Santana while he autographed our Venezuelan flag. That photo appeared on the front page of the sports section the next day, and Demigoddess the Elder, who had missed the whole thing due to a friend’s birthday party, was pretty severely put out over it. (It didn't help that Demi the Younger, well, she’s never been one to underplay her own successes.)

Yesterday’s photo was of Ms. Younger onstage during a rehearsal for the school musical. The picture ran in a section of the paper that only goes to certain suburbs, and included a group of kids from the play, but Demi the Younger is right there in the middle of the shot, hamming it up and looking like she was born to be onstage. Ms. Elder also has a part in the junior high musical, but somehow she once again missed the photo op. This time, though, while she was a little bummed, she mostly seemed resigned to accept her role as ever the wind beneath her celebrity sister’s wings.

My Ho says that Demi the Elder has a wealth of character that she just doesn’t appreciate yet. I think he’s right about that. Especially after last night during Project Runway, when she did an impression of Tim Gunn that rivaled Santino’s in its sarcastic brilliance.

So to Demigoddess the Younger, congratulations on your celebrity (again). You looked fantastic.

And to Demigoddess the Elder, hang in there sweetie, because when your moment to shine arrives, it will have been worth the wait.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Feelin’ the Lurve

In Target the other night, it occurred to me that this is the first Valentine’s Day in a long, long time that I haven’t had to buy either of the Demigoddesses a box of those little kid Valentine cards (and, of course, candy to go with them, because no self-respecting elementary school parent allows their kid to give out just the cards any more). It’s yet another one of those parenting requirements that one by one have fallen to the wayside as my children move closer to adulthood. I feel like perhaps I should be a little wistful and sad, but really, I’m all, thank the sweet lord I don’t have to deal with THAT any more.

Of course, counting out SpongeBob Squarepants Valentines, writing names on 30 miniature envelopes, and taping heart-shaped lollipops to each one has been replaced by other rites, like helping Demigoddess the Younger shop for a nude-colored strapless bra, which I was informed is a required part of her costume for the school musical. So really, the fun doesn’t end, it just becomes an all new kind of fun.

When Demigoddess the Elder was in kindergarten, she spent a long time carefully addressing Valentines to each and every kid in her class, all by herself. Every little envelope had a name laboriously written in lopsided capital letters, and the very best one of all was the card for her friend Clint. Not because her lettering was any better on his, but because she had forgotten to include the “n” in his name. (And yes, I fixed it before sending it to school.)

I totally resent the fact that flowers and cookie deliveries and restaurant dinners all suddenly cost three times more on Valentine’s Day than they do on the other 364 days of the year. The Valentine cards that aren’t flat-out disturbing pretty much just make me want to retch, and my gut instinct is to rebel against this Hallmark-invented pseudo-holiday altogether. A tiny, genuine romantic gesture on a random day is so much more meaningful.

And all of that is a complete bunch of crap, because I just went all girly and weak-kneed when these arrived at my desk:

(Thanks, Ho.)

Because, really? I love the love.

So here’s a little tip on keeping it in the every day that I think is fantastic, from The Sneeze:
A Valentine’s Love Tip

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Monday, February 13, 2006

I Ain’t Seen the Sunshine Since I Don’t Know When

I was sick as a dawg all last week, but my presence was nevertheless required in three long days of off-site work meetings. These quarterly meetings are painful enough when a person is healthy, but sitting at a table full of executives while trying to conceal a lap full of used tissues, washing down all manner of over-the-counter cold remedies with cup after cup of tea with honey and trying to stifle coughing fits, well, that took the agony to an all new level.

My parenting performance was lackluster at best—most nights I got home late, threw something onto a plate, called it “dinner,” and then went directly to bed and passed out. Thank God my poor children are remarkably self sufficient. And also very forgiving.

My disease has now moved from the “please kill me now because I cannot endure another nanosecond of this misery” phase to the “it sounds much worse than it feels” stage, which has turned out to have one surprising benefit.

With the singular exception of Patsy Cline, whom I adore, I am not a fan of country music. When My Ho suggested that we bring the Demis to see “Walk The Line” a few months ago, I was hesitant. Based on the little I knew about Johnny Cash and the fact that he always credited his wife, June, with saving him from alcohol and drugs, the last thing I wanted my girls seeing was some romanticized version of a codependent woman's relationship with a self-destructive drunk.

But June redeemed herself in my eyes by repeatedly slamming the door in ole’ Johnny’s face until he was good and ready to clean up his sorry act. Afterwards, My Ho thought I’d like a taste of the real deal and bought me a copy of “Johnny Cash at San Quentin,” and it’s been on heavy rotation at my house ever since. I especially love to sing along with “Folsom Prison Blues” while I’m doing the dishes. The appropriateness of that should be obvious.

One of my favorite parts of the album is during the end medley, when June’s attempt to take on Folsom Prison Blues herself ends with her laughing because she can’t sing the lowest notes. Normally, I can’t do them either, but on Saturday, in my temporarily phlegm-induced bass voice, I was right there with Johnny:

“…When I hear that whistle blowin', I hang my head and cry…”

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Sistah Meghan Up ‘N Tagged Me

My very first meme.

Normally, I wouldn't, but I was sick yesterday and from today through Thursday I will be in the agonizing all-day meetings at work, so it's this or nothing. Sorry.

I will do my best to spare you many of these in the future.

4 Things

4 Jobs I’ve had:
Mrs. Field’s Cookies Peddler
Salad Girl at Arby’s
Circulation Director for Seed Trade News, Grain Age, and Fur Rancher Magazines
Editorial Assistant for a Fishing Magazine

4 Movies I Could and Do Watch Over and Over:
Bull Durham ("Oh, my…")
Out of Africa ("I happen to be very good at stories…")
The Godfather (Parts I and II)
Pride and Prejudice (The BBC version, which is really a mini series and not a movie, but it’s my meme and I can put it down if I want to.)

4 Places I have lived:
Minneapolis, MN
In My (At the Time) Grandmother-in-Law’s Basement in a Western Suburb of Minneapolis
In a Basement Apartment in the Same Western Suburb of Minneapolis
In a Very Small, Leaky House in the Same Western Suburb of Minneapolis

(Oh, how I envy people who have lived in actual different cities…)

4 TV Shows I Love:
Project Runway
Sex and the City
The Amazing Race

4 Favorite Books:
Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
The Stand by Stephen King
Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner
The Disapparition of James by Anne Ursu

4 Places I Have Vacationed:
All Over Norway (I was way too young to appreciate it.)
London and Parts of France (Same trip as Meghan.)
Boston (Fenway!)
Seattle (Safeco!)

4 Websites I Read Every Day:
The Midwestgrrl
I’m a Blogging

4 Favorite Foods:
Popcorn with Real Butter, Preferably in a Movie Theater
The Entire Lunch Buffet at
Surabhi Indian Cuisine
All Manner of Baked Goods
Fresh Dark Cherries

4 People I’m Tagging:

Friday, February 03, 2006

And I Also Need A Nap

An all-you-can-eat Friday haiku:

Indian lunch with
My Ho is the best, but now
I smell like curry.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Narrowed and Degraded

I had made up my mind not to watch or listen to any of Tuesday’s State of the Union address. My disgust with this administration has grown to the point where the mere sound of the president’s voice fills me with such rage that I’m ashamed. I’m ashamed to be capable of so much resentment. And I’m even more ashamed that my response to intolerance is intolerance. Which is why, in the end, I tuned in.

Confucius said, “It is easy to hate and it is difficult to love. This is how the whole scheme of things works. All good things are difficult to achieve; and bad things are very easy to get.”

I believe that’s true. Hating is easy. It’s easy to decide that people who don’t see the world the way you do are cowardly, unpatriotic, ignorant, and immoral. Especially when those people imply the very same thing about people like you, and they do it on live national television, moments after vowing to “act in a spirit of good will and respect for one another.”

It’s easy feel righteously indignant. It’s easy to be dismissive and angry.

But I also believe what Coretta Scott King said, that hate injures the hater more than it injures the hated. Buddha said it too, that holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else, because ultimately, you are the only one who gets burned.

I do believe that love is the only solution to hate, and that tolerance is the only correct response to intolerance. Dropping that coal is the only way for us to save ourselves. It’s right thing to do, and that’s exactly why it’s so damn difficult.

I wish I had the fortitude to be like Booker T. Washington, and permit no president to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him.

But as of right now, I still don’t have it.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Joys of Homeownership, Part II

The work on my water-damaged sunroom began on Monday morning, although I wasn’t there to see it happen. The crew arrived after I left for work and were gone by the time I brought the ailing elder Demi home from school over my lunch hour.

I know they had been there because the drywall, some of the linoleum flooring, and part of the ceiling in that room are gone. A portion of the subfloor was replaced, and there’s new insulation in the wall, but there’s no new drywall and the ceiling remains open because it’s wet, wet, wet up there. The second time he called me Monday morning, the contractor said he’d send out a roof guy to look around up there and try to figure out the source of the moisture problem. They won’t be able to replace the ceiling or finish the walls until everything is dry, which will likely not be soon with all the rain and snow we keep getting. And I haven’t seen this roofing guy yet, and haven’t heard from the contractor since Monday.

So now mostly I’m trying not to be wholly overcome with anxiety about how much this is all going to cost me and whether or not this contractor, whose name I got from my insurance company, is some kind of predatory scam artist who is going to destroy my house and disappear with all my money.

Which is totally rational since I haven’t actually paid him a cent yet. (And yeah, I checked him out with the Better Business Bureau already.)

I consider myself a reasonably capable individual. Just last week, when the light switch in the living room went wacky and started sparking and making smoke, I replaced it all by myself. So why is it that whenever some big thing needs fixing, whether it’s the car or the washing machine or the roof of my house, all I want to do is crawl into the back of my closet and hide?