Thursday, July 27, 2006

Did Someone Say Ennant-pay Ace-ray?

This afternoon I stumbled from day three of yet another agonizing three-day meeting to find that while I had been locked away in the depths of a hotel meeting room, lulled to a stupor by the soothing glow of PowerPoint, the outside world had moved on without me.

The street in front of my house is no longer a muddy trough, it has honest to goodness black top on it now.

Everyone in the blogosphere appears to have left for BlogHer except for me, because I am poor, and the boy bloggers, because of that whole lacking-a-uterus thing.

DemiGoddess the Elder has acquired her very own case number with the city police, although not because she did anything naughty. Some bad, bad boys stole her bike from the park, and she, all by herself, filed a police report. And then she found her bike in some nearby bushes a short time later.

And then there’s the baseball.

Like Ozzie Guillen, I am speechless. There are simply no words. And even if there were, I wouldn’t write them or say them out loud because I am a deeply superstitious Goddess and have no doubt that if I did speak or write the words I would jinx the whole thing. And until the matter of this pesky little half game gets resolved, you'll get nothing out of me on the subject.

But oh.

Oh my goodness…

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Beyond Codependency

To: Little Nicky Punto, Tiny Superhero
From: EverydaySuperGoddess
Sent: Tuesday, July 18, 2006 11:33 p.m.

Dear Nick:

Tonight our friends at Fox Sports had a microphone on you during the game. How thrilling it was to hear firsthand what really goes on on the field every night. I so enjoyed your pre-game conversation with Gardy, when you assured him that you were, in fact, well enough to play. Your willingness to push on through your pain for the sake of the team was, well, inspiring.

And then, when you went to the mound and made it look like you and Francisco were having a conference, all so that he could have a little bit of a breather after running to make that out at first base... even after he told you he was okay, you insisted that he take a couple of extra seconds, just to be sure. It was so good of you to take care of our sizzling young starter that way.

And when Luis Castillo made that fantastic diving catch, you were right there with the positive reinforcement. You told him, “Suave para ti,” which means “smooth for you” (according to DemiGoddess the elder, who speaks fluent Spanish). Translating your encouragement into Luis' native tongue was an especially nice touch, even if it doesn't really make sense.

Later, you made certain that Mike Redmond fetched the ball after Josh Rabe got his very first major league hit, which was so thoughtful of you, because I’m sure Josh will want that later.

You were there for everyone tonight, making sacrifices and putting the needs of others before your own. It was most endearing. But, the thing is, I’m a tiny bit concerned about you.

So I’m sending along my Melody Beattie book collection for you to read. I think you’ll find “Codependent No More,” particularly useful. And the daily readings in “The Language of Letting Go” will make excellent pre-game meditations. Because you can't take care of anyone else without first taking care of yourself.

Remember Nick, you didn’t cause it, you can’t cure it, and you can’t control it. Not even with a head-first slide into third.



P.S. How do you tell all those Jasons apart? They all look the same to me!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

This is What My Heart Looks Like

(Photographic evidence that my family is capable of producing a male child.)

(And THAT, my friends, is the view from the outhouse...)

Photo credit goes to my sister Meghan, who took all of these...

Monday, July 17, 2006

It’s Too Hot For Baking, We’re Eating ‘Em Straight Out The Box

I gave up any gardening ambitions a long time ago, partly because I have no green thumb, and partly because I’d much rather visit the Farmers’ Market in downtown Minneapolis for fresh produce. You have to get up early, and parking is a nightmare, but it’s one of my very favorite places to be on a sunny Saturday morning.

The market is made up of six or seven covered walkways, each one the length of a city block and lined on both sides with vendors’ tables. A few stands sell things that were obviously shipped in (last I heard, pineapples and mangoes don’t grow in Minnesota), but most of the tables are covered with cardboard boats that overflow with locally grown, seasonal produce. This time of year, the variety is amazing—summer squash, potatoes, fresh herbs, cucumbers, snow and sugar snap peas, onions, sweet corn, watermelon... even strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. Plastic buckets of water are crammed full of bunches of every kind of flower, and a few potted garden plants are still for sale, many marked down, since planting season has been over for a while now. You can buy real maple syrup, honey, home-made salsas and jams, olives, cheese, fresh bread, free-range chicken, grass-fed beef and organic eggs. At the south end of the market, artists sell hand-crafted jewelry, wooden birdhouses, and children’s dresses made from flour sacks. For the person who has everything, you can buy a tie-dyed T-shirt, a knockoff Kate Spade handbag, or alpaca-wool mittens imported from South America. Some booths are there every weekend, others come and go.

The aromas of roasted corn, fresh herbs, smoked sausage and coffee mingle deliciously. Here and there, musicians play for dollar bills thrown into their instrument cases. Vendors and shoppers of every ethnicity speak an array of languages. There’s no haggling, and please don’t squeeze the tomatoes.

Saturday morning, the DemiGoddesses and I arrived at the market at about 8:00 a.m., which is a little later than I usually prefer. By 9:00 on weekends, the place is so crammed with bodies that it’s hard to move. My usual strategy is to start at the south end, where the artists are, and then walk through the produce stands, looking everything over once before going back to buy what I need at the stalls where the merchandise and prices seem the best. But since the crowd was growing, and also because it was already close to 80 degrees (on its way to hitting 100 later that day), in the interest of speed I picked things up here and there as we went along the first time through.

I tried to spread my purchases out among several different sellers. $1 for lettuce here, $2 for green beans there, $2 for zucchini from a man who spoke English to me, but asked for change for my $5 bill from an older woman behind the table (his mother?) in Hmong. The tote bag over my shoulder grew heavier with each purchase.

An extra-squeaky taste sample enticed me into buying a bag of cheese curds (fresh from Wisconsin). We resisted the giant cinnamon rolls, but eventually succumbed to cherry turnovers, and the three of us dribbled a trail of pastry crumbs as we walked along. We also bought fresh-squeezed limeade, which tasted especially good in the heat. By the time we had seen everything, my tote bag was full and all three of us were sweating. But before heading for the car, I had to go back for one more thing.

It was a splurge, and I may live to regret it, but given my passion for fresh cherries, a 20 lb. box doesn’t seem completely outrageous. And at $1 a pound, even if the Demis and I only eat half of them, they’ll still cost half what they do at the grocery store.

Anybody got cherry pitter I can borrow?

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The End of an Era

In August of 2002, on the night we first met, Dr. Dave and I went to a Twins game. We arrived at the Metrodome late, so we missed most of one of Johan Santana’s few starts of the season, but we did see Torii Hunter’s sixth-inning home run, which also scored Corie Koskie to put the Twins ahead of the Mariners 2-1. David Ortiz and Everyday Eddie Guardado made appearances, I was as yet undecided as to which player I harbored fonder feelings for—AJ Pierzynski or Doug Mientkiewicz (it would later prove to be enthusiastically Doug)—and their win that night brought the Twins' magic number to clinch the American League Central division down to 13. It was an exciting time to be a Twins fan.

That turned out to be the first of many regular and post-season games that Dr. Dave and I attended together. He was very much a stats-head while I, on the other hand, was all about the sass, so we made a yin-and-yang sort of baseball-watching team. He understood my appreciation for the aesthetic aspects of the game, at one point offering the brilliant suggestion that I design my own line of baseball cards featuring photographs of the players from the back. (He’s for sure getting a cut of the first million I make on those.)

Having grown up in Chicago as a Cubs fan, Dr. Dave’s playoff excitement in 2002 was understandable and contagious. He ordered the tickets for us both. I gave him a Cubs Fan Barbie for Christmas.

In 2003, when Hideki Matsui tried to kill me by hitting his first post-season home run directly at my face, Dr. Dave ducked right along with me.

In 2004, during a 14-strikeout Santana start (on the day I first met Batgirl in PERSON), Dr. Dave helped hold the “Santana/Nathan ‘04” campaign sign that got us on TV.

By then, he had become known in Batgirl’s comments section as“TwinsProf.”

When the Twins three-peated that same year, Dr. Dave and I were at the Dome, Homer Hankies in hand. And when, after they incomprehensibly surrendered a four-run lead to be eliminated by the Yankees (AGAIN) in game four of the ALDS… as I found myself standing on Washington Avenue trying very, very hard not to be one of those people who cries actual tears over something so stupid as BASEBALL… Dr. Dave was there, graciously pretending not to notice.

Even after My Ho had become my primary baseball buddy, Dr. Dave and I continued to attend occasional games together. Last May, on cap night, we were at the Dome once again, and although I knew he had accepted a new job in Maryland, it didn’t register at the time that an era was coming to an end. Not until a few weeks ago, when we met for dinner and he presented me with his bobblehead collection as a parting gift, did I realize it will likely be a long time before he and I go to another Twins game.

We’ll keep in touch. He e-mailed me just the other day to say that he arrived safely and is slowly getting his bearings. Always a true friend, I wrote back and said that if he decides he hates Maryland and comes back to Minneapolis, he’s totally not getting his Doug Mientkiewicz bobblehead back.

Thanks, Dr. Dave. It was an exciting run. And if the Twins ever see post-season play again, rest assured, I'll have a ticket for you.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

I’d Invite You Over, But You’d Have to Park in Duluth

The street in front of my house has been torn up for a couple of weeks now. What used to be blacktop is now a wide muddy trough full of bulldozers and blinky hazard markers and large men in orange vests. The trough is a good three feet below where the street used to be, and the curbs and driveway aprons are completely gone, so a steep gravel ramp temporarily allows me to get in and out of my driveway. Assuming that an earth mover hasn’t parked in front of my house, that is.

The work is scheduled to continue through the summer, and the thought of that is exhausting, because I never know from one day to the next what I’ll find when I arrive at my street. Some days one end is open, some days that same end has a huge hole full of workers in the middle of it, and I have to circle the block and try the other end. Sometimes that end turns out to have a giant pile of gravel blocking the way, and I have to circle back around and try the other end again. A more evolved individual might find this recurring challenge exciting, but I am not a person who likes having my routine f*cked with. At the end of the day, I just want to get my sorry self home, I don’t want to have to strategize new ways to get into my own blessed driveway on a daily basis.

To make matters worse, the parking lot of the building where I work is also being re-surfaced. Half of the lot looks eerily like the street in front of my house, which means that the number of available parking spaces has been cut in half. Yeah. You do the math. I’ve been arriving early enough in the mornings to find a spot without too much trouble, but on the one day when I made the mistake of leaving for lunch, the only available parking space when I returned was next to a dumpster. In Winnipeg.

Last Friday, after dodging a steamroller and weaving my way through the orange cones, I arrived home from work to find a bright pink notice attached to my front door informing me that, due to some utility work, the water would be turned off for most of the day on Monday. The notice included instructions for filling the bathtub with water, which could then be used to keep the toilet tank flushing until the water was turned back on.

The DemiGoddesses are astonishingly capable young women, but I really didn’t want them to have to deal with that all day. Knowing that one of The Ex’s sisters was in town with her new baby and would be staying at The Ex’s parents’ house, I thought I’d kill two birds with one stone, and called The Ex’s mother to see if the Demis could spend Sunday night and Monday at her house as well. That way they could visit with their aunt and the baby, and be away from our house until the water was back on.

It seemed like a reasonable plan, except that making the arrangements turned out to involve much more hemming and hawing, taking of votes and general drama than I had anticipated, for reasons that rest entirely on shoulders of The Ex and the Universally Hated Step Psycho. Though the details are highly entertaining and I would very much love to share them, it seems that The Ex has been reading this blog for some time now and has taken issue with a few of the things I have written here. In spite of that, relations of late have been cordial (sort of), and for the sake of the children and my own serenity, I am trying to play nice. So I’m not going to post the specifics of what transpired. If you want the dirt, you’ll have to e-mail me.

In the end, the Demis did spend the night at their grandparents’ house. They had some quality time with their aunt and the baby, and enjoyed a lovely day with their grandmother on Monday, including going out for lunch. So I was feeling pretty good about having handled that mini-crisis until I arrived home from work on Monday to find another notice on my door, informing me that the water was going to be turned off again on Tuesday.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

A Porch Full O' Patriots

Highlights of the Smackdown included this creation, by Tiffany for Betsy:

Amazing what one can find on Cafe Press when one performs a search using the words "USA" + "Jesus." All Tiff had to add was the lamp fringe around the hem, and a little marabou boa for flair. Tim Gunn would be so proud.

In the "Best Use of Iron-On Transfers" category, we have this piece by Kerry, created for Meghan:

That is a picture of Neil Diamond, in all his sequined, long-haired and sweaty mid-70s glory. The lyrics to his anthem to immigration, "America," are written in glitter ("Freedom's Light Burning Warm..."). Note the silk flower detail around the hem. This ensemble came complete with glow-in-the-dark earrings, a visor, and stars-and-stripes flip flops, winning Kerry an additional nod for "best accessorized."

From the back:

The bottom ribbon is obscuring the signature lyric, "TODAY!"

And then there is my own magnum opus, as modeled by Kerry:

It features two strategically placed, fully functional spangly pinwheels (how long can she keep them spinning?), accented with metallic red, white and blue streamers. Each sleeve sports its own authentic American flag like a proud wing, poised to take flight on the slightest Fourth of July breeze.

And on the back:
Kerry Back 2
...a cape of flag fringe completes the look.

We really did wear them to the Marenisco fireworks. It was about 55 degrees out that night, so we all ended up wearing jackets over our T-shirts which, while disappointing, was probably for the best.

Had they been able to see our patriot wear in its full glory, the rest of the town would have felt really self-conscious about their own conspicuous lack of pinwheels, lamp fringe and Neil Diamond lyrics. And we certainly wouldn't have wanted to make other people feel bad about themselves on the anniversary of our great nation's birth. That would have been downright un-American.