Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Beastie’s Bedazzler Smackdown

From: Sister Betsy
Sent: Tuesday, May 23, 2006 9:58 AM
The Sister-Cousins
Subject: 4th of July T-shirts

Hello All,

Some of us had a brainstorm that for this year’s
4th of July celebration we would create patriotic 4th of July T-shirts for each other. Each person will be making one T-shirt for a cousin/sister to be presented to them at the cabin. They MUST wear it, under penalty of excommunication, on the 4th. So get ready to glitter! Paint! Fringe! Bedazzle! I know recently Target has had basic 4th T-shirts on sale for $5. Does anyone think that our mothers would want to do this? Here is my randomly (well, I just put our names alphabetically) chosen list for who is making shirts for whom:

Happy bedazzling!


And also, bring it ON, bitches.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Fool Me Twice

One of the many sisterly wrongs that my sister, Meghan, has still not forgiven me for is the time when I was five (which would have made her three) and I cut all the hair off her Barbie doll. When she discovered the damage, she was much more upset than I had anticipated she’d be, and I knew I had to think fast to keep her from running to my parents and getting me in trouble.

“It’s okay,” I told her. “It’ll grow back!”

It worked.

I felt a tiny bit of guilt (I’m not completely heartless), but I was off the hook, so it was all good. Except that the hair never did grow back, of course, and to this day Meghan, who apparently has the memory of an elephant, loves to use that particular incident as evidence that she spent her entire childhood being victimized by her older sister.

Fast forward to my recent garage sale, when, through the magic of fresh batteries, I managed to entice my niece into falling love with the DemiGoddesses’ old Furbys. They both went home with Maggie (and, by association, my poor, unsuspecting sister, Meghan). I felt a tiny bit of guilt (again, not completely heartless), but I gave them to her for free, of course, and ultimately, those nasty, noisy, talking monstrosities (the Furbys, not my sister and her daughter) were gone from my house, so it was all good.

Except that this is what happened after that.

Yes, I am evil. But you’d think she’d learn.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Oh My God Trader Joe’s

Back when I was doing the online diet thing and trying to eat healthier, one of the regular members of my Internet support group was forever posting comments about the fabulous deals on gorgeous foods she’d find at this “Trader Joe’s” place. She lived in California, and being in Minnesota, I had never heard of Trader Joe’s until that point. At the time, even Whole Foods was a new thing in my neighborhood, and although I love Whole Foods, they arent exactly known for being affordable. I was intrigued by the idea of a store that sells quality foods cheap.

Not long after that, a co-worker who had just moved here from California mentioned that he was having trouble finding a good, inexpensive bottle of wine. He asked me, “Isn’t there a Trader Joe’s around here?” When I told him that no, sadly, there is no such place in the Twin Cities, he looked, well, disgusted.

And then I found The Midwestgrrl, and discovered that they even have TJ’s in Cleveland. Cleveland! What are we here in Minneapolis, I wondered, some third-rate hicksville? Why not us? WHY NOT US??

So you can imagine how thrilled I was when, a few months ago, I read a little article in the local paper that said yes! Trader Joe’s is coming! The opening date was set for mid-April, and then mid-May, and finally, finally, 9:00 a.m. on May 15, 2006.

Twitching with anticipation, I e-mailed The Midwestgrrl, and pleaded, “Tell me what to buy!” She graciously provided me with a number of extremely helpful suggestions, including:

“Honey Sesame Sticks are the snack I once called ‘a new and conveniently legal form of crack.’ Awesome.”

But really, that only made it worse, all the having to wait.

I read online about the store that opened in Manhattan, and how there were brie en croute riots and several people were trampled. I made up my mind that I would definitely NOT go to the new Trader Joe’s on its opening day. You know, because of the children.

But then? Yesterday? I totally did.

The place was wall to wall people, but for the most part they were well-behaved. Some of them were almost giddy. I carried a hand basket, naively thinking that I was really just there to investigate, and maybe buy one or two little things to try. I picked up some whole wheat mini pitas and a bag of lightly salted roasted almonds, two jars of Indian simmering sauces and a jar of TJ’s brand hot sour soup, a bag of frozen mango chunks for the DemiGoddesses (who love them some mango), a package of “Multi-Seed Rice Crackers,” and for sure a bag of those honey sesame sticks (which, by the way, Midwestgrrl was totally correct about).

I nearly fell over dead when I saw the prices on their frozen fish, which are well below those at Whole Foods, but my hand basket had somehow become REALLY heavy, and I was starting to think that perhaps my eyes had gotten bigger than my budget.

But then? I really did fall over dead when the total bill for my two bags of groceries came to… $35. And that’s when I knew I had finally found retail nirvana.

The teriyaki chicken stir fry we had for dinner was delicious, and, in summary, I’d have to say that I found the whole experience absolutely worth all the hype and anticipation.

And also, I want to marry Trader Joe and have lots of his little organic babies.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Better Than A Stuffed Unicorn

My yesterday began with waffles. Waffles topped with pecans and sliced bananas, no less. After months of trying to get a table at Zumbro on a Sunday morning, it seems that on Mother’s Day, while the families of four and six have to wait, like FOREVER, a party of two (My Ho and me) is no problem.

Halfway through my (delightful) waffles I remembered that I had left my cell phone charging in the kitchen at home. And I had locked the front door. And the DemiGoddesses, who were due back from their Girl Scouts camping weekend some time before noon, did not have a housekey.

Happy Mother’s Day.

To my tremendous relief, neither Demi was on the doorstep when we returned from breakfast. They arrived later in the morning bearing gifts of Laffy Taffy candies in a carefully selected array of flavors, which they had purchased just for me at the camp store. Apparently it had come down to a choice between the candy and a unicorn stuffed animal, and my wise children went with the Laffy Taffy because they know their Goddess mother has a superhuman sweet tooth.

I also received a bouquet of lilacs from the back yard.

And then, as if those weren’t gifts enough, they also allowed me to complete an entire game of Age of Empires. From the Dark Age all the way through the Imperial Age, they patiently waited for their turn on the computer.

After dinner with the family at my Mom and Dad’s, the three of us ended the day on my parents’ bed in the dark, flipping between the Twins game and the Survivor finale and occasionally engaging in foot fights and kiss attacks.

The Twins lost, but even so, I couldn't have asked for a better day.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

They’re Going to Kill Us All

Once again, Mr. Zellar has eloquently expressed exactly what I was thinking, much better than I ever could.

How is this team ever going to finish above .500 if 3/5 of their starting rotation seems determined to straight-up suck?

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed last night’s 15-5 win over the Rangers as much as the next Goddess. 19 hits and six RBI by Justin Morneau alone were like gifts straight from the heavens, and believe me when I say that I am very, very grateful. Really I am.

But as the score crept from 10-0 in the third inning to 10-5 after the sixth, the old familiar feeling of dread began to descend, and I vowed to My Ho that if Silva blew that ten run lead I would never, ever watch another Twins game as long as I live.

Thankfully, Francisco Liriano spared me that fate.

Can we talk for a moment about the twelve-fingered Rangers pitcher? Forgive me, but eew. And also, EEW. I thought the sidearm pitchers were weird, but a six-fingered fastball almost seems like cheating.

And while I’m being politically incorrect, I’ll just add that I find this incredibly irritating.

Seriously? In a locket??

Girlfriend, I am very sorry for your loss. I sympathize with you and your son. But honey, YOU WERE NOT MARRIED YET. Clearly, your fiancee did not see things the way you are claiming, or he (or one of his people) would have made certain his will reflected those wishes. Kirby’s children are the only ones in this world who have any rightful claim to his estate, and the more noise you make about it, the more you look like a monumental, not-very-bright, gold-digging asshat loser. Please. Let it go already.

Monday, May 08, 2006

I'll Be Keeping The Day Job

We didn’t take in a ton of cash, and a sizable pile of junk remains in my garage, but I’d say Saturday’s garage sale was a success… if for no other reason than it turned out to be a damn fine day to sit out on folding chairs next to my driveway display of unwanted crap bargain-priced treasures. The weather was so perfect, I even managed to acquire my first sunburn of the season.

Supplying the electronic toys with fresh batteries turned out to be a very savvy marketing move. Most of them sold, even the Kung Fu Fighting hamsters. My niece, Madge, fell in love with the Furbys, so now they live at sister Meghan’s house. (Ha ha ha... Suckah!)

For future reference, the clothed Barbie dolls sell much better than the naked ones, Japanese people love them some Beanie Babies, and any item that bashes George Bush will sell immediately. At least in my neighborhood.

A portion of my modest cash bonanza went to buy a bag of cinnamon-roasted almonds (the LARGE bag, no less) at the Dome before yesterday’s Twins game. Johan Santana restored my will to live by striking out eleven and going seven hitless innings. Heavens, he is a glorious sight to behold. Torii Hunter made a catch that defied all laws of physics, and by some incomprehensible miracle did not damage himself in the process (see the clip for yourself by clicking the “Torii’s Running Catch” link over here). Louis Castillo hit his first home run of the season, the Twins beat Detroit by two, and the weekend would have been pretty close to perfect if My Ho hadn’t broken a tooth on our very last cinnamon almond during the eighth inning. He says it doesn’t hurt, but still.

All that was left was to decide how best to spend the remainder of my windfall, and I pondered a number of possibilities... until this morning when Demigoddess the Younger informed me that she needed money for a school field trip to the Science Museum, which reminded Demigoddess the Elder that she also needed money for a school field trip to the zoo. I signed the permission slips, doled out the money, and that pretty much killed off the garage sale fund.

I’m sure my current crippling sinus headache is 100% the result of spring allergies and has nothing at all to do with the fact that my garage sale preparations ended up being worth less than two dollars an hour, most of which I didn’t get to spend anyway.

No, no. Nothing at all.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Bear #28

This was the 28th bear I knitted for the Mother Bear Project.

I made it in February, and gave it, along with three others, to Amy, the Mother Bear founder, in early March.

In April, Amy took her second trip to Africa. She traveled to a number of countries, and visited many of the organizations that help her distribute handmade bears to children who have been impacted by the AIDS epidemic there. Of course, she also handed out lots of bears. The last time I saw Amy was the day before she left for Africa, and I asked her to please take lots of pictures while she was there.

Yesterday I received the following note in the mail:

“I just got back from Africa and it was pretty amazing. The children loved the bears. I have so many photos to show you! I will bring them to our next knitting group. Hope to see you there! Love, Amy”

Also enclosed was this photo:
My God, how I would love to gobble up those little feet.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Bargains Galore! One Day Only!

Next weekend my neighborhood is holding its annual garage sale. Much like childbirth and international travel, I’ve found it takes about two years to forget what a pain in the arse holding a garage sale is before I start thinking that it might be a good idea to give it a whirl again.

And yes, it was two summers ago that I hauled a carload of delightful bargain-priced treasures to my friend CombatGirl’s driveway for a garage sale at her house. In spite of a newspaper ad and strategically placed signs, the only thing that made that effort worthwhile was selling three children’s books to the Viva half of our local cable-access celebrity couple, Viva and Jerry (“Two bucks, two bucks!”).

My brush with fame made the day exciting, if not particularly lucrative. The few items I sold were mostly things that CombatGirl herself purchased, and the carload of crap came back to the basement, where it sat until last Saturday.

Amazing how easy it is to ignore the steady accumulation of junk in the backs of the closets and the darker corners of the basement. And amazing how, even after I’ve unearthed an overwhelming mountain of stuff, there doesn’t seem to be any less in those closets and basement corners. My storage spaces are like Strega Nona’s pasta pot.

This time around, our sale will include a large number of toys that the DemiGoddesses have outgrown. For most of the weekend, the three of us sorted through and priced a boatload of books, assembled puzzles and games, and tried to make the Barbies presentable. Yesterday afternoon I replaced the batteries in two Furbys, a Techno robot puppy, a WuvLuv, and two mechanical hamsters that twirl tiny plastic nunchucks and sing “Kung Fu Fighting.” I bought the batteries at the dollar store, so I figure if I can break even on those, I’ll still be ahead of the game.

We are not materialistic people. The Demis hardly ever received new toys outside of birthdays and Christmas. But the bounty of playthings those two have amassed over the years is nothing short of obscene. Three giant Rubbermaid tubs full of stuffed animals? IS TOO MANY. There are children starving in Africa, and my kids have enough freaking Beanie Babies to populate a small Asian country. How did this happen?

The point, of course, is to get rid of stuff. This time, when the garage sale is done, none of it is coming back into the house. Our local Goodwill has a drive-through for donations, and whatever is left at the end of the day is going, going, gone. I’m not expecting to be able to retire on Saturday’s garage sale income, but it would be nice if we could take in enough cash to catch a movie.

Or, maybe, take a trip to Italy…