Wednesday, December 05, 2007

OhPleaseOhPleaseOhPleaseOhPleaseOhPlease

12:15 p.m., from Peter Gammons
Don't expect to see a Twins-Red Sox or Twins-Yankees whopper. The sense is now that Minnesota will hold onto Johan Santana.


I've been obsessively checking and re-checking every rumor blog and news wire since early Monday morning. Never in my life have I paid any attention whatsovever to these kinds of offseason wranglings, but this is Mi Corazón we're talking about now.

Every time I start to think that maybe, maybe this could happen and I'll still, someday, be close to okay, then I think of next year's American Leaguge Championship series, and the possibility of the Twins maybe going into Game 1 to face Johan Santana starting for the Red Sox, and then I just want to die.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

This is What Happens When an English Major Does Math

Fitting three and a half dozen helium-filled balloons into my Honda Civic should be no problem, right?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Ugh.

So, Torii is an Angel. We all knew it was coming, I've been braced for it for two years, and given that the last couple of weeks have been jam-packed with school musical performances, the Thanksgiving holiday, Mother Bear Project appearances and preparing for DemiGoddess the Elder's Super Sweet Sixteen Birthday Blowout Bonanza (I've hired Hannah Montana to entertain, Ben & Jerry will be staffing the ice cream bar, and each guest will receive their own Hummer in a pink satin party bag), I haven't had a lot of time to get overly upset about it.

But now the speculation vacuum that Mr. Hunter left behind is filling in with rumors concerning Mi Corazón. I warned my boss yesterday that I've already started saving up sick time, because if Johan goes anywhere, it will be a few days before I'll be able to get out of bed.

He actually thought I was joking.

Monday, November 12, 2007

A Memorable Birthday

I got a Wii and Guitar Hero III and food poisoning.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Costume for a Goddess: The Reveal

Here it is:
Have I mentioned that the Marketing Deity is a Yankees fan?

The false eyelash adhesive is not for eyelashes, I used it to glue several more plastic flies to my face and neck this morning, just like Joba in game 2:
But, unlike Mr. Chamberlain, I'm carrying my own bug spray.

Happy Halloween, everybody!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I'm Not Going To Discuss It


"If Hunter leaves in free agency, the Twins would receive no compensation for losing one of their biggest stars and a locker room pillar who takes some of the attention away from young players like Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau.

Keeping him, however, will no doubt cost a pretty penny. And with Johan Santana set to become a free agent after next season and Morneau sure to get another big raise in arbitration, the small-market Twins have to decide who they can keep and who they have to let go."


...until whatever happens, officially happens.

To quote Batgirl, the offseason sucks.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Thursday, October 25, 2007

One Last Postseason Thought

Stupid Red Stupid Sox.

I am very, very angry at the Boston Red Sox for denying me seven more games of Grady Sizemore. Just when I was warming up to the idea of having a Cleveland boyfriend, just when I had decided that no, not the eyes, definitely that mouth is Mr. Sizemore’s most beguiling feature, just when I was beginning to feel better about how they had kicked the Twins' collective arses around all season, since they were clearly headed all the way to the World Series...

Well, you know how this ends.

It was a nice diversion. I forgot worrying about Torii Hunter going to Texas or Chicago or wherever, or Johan maybe someday becoming a You-Know-What-Kee, or what, exactly, life with the Twins’ new GM is going to be like. For a couple of weeks, I stopped asking how, how, HOW a team with an American League MVP and a Cy Young Award and an AL Batting Champion could finish the season under .500.

But I cannot root for the Red Sox and I do not care about the Colorado Rockies, so it seems that baseball is done for me until next March. Let us never speak of the 2007 season again.

And because I am a one-team goddess, I return now to being a straight-up Twins fan, wishing only strife and futility and pestilence upon the very team on whose behalf, as My Ho will confirm, just a few nights ago I was anxiously pacing my living room carpet.

That includes Mr. Sizemore, even though he is so PRETTY.
"Oh! You gods, why do you make us love your goodly gifts, and snatch them straight away?"

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A Random Postseason Thought

Trot Nixon is very possibly the best baseball name ever.

Monday, October 15, 2007

A Costume for a Goddess

A few weeks ago, the Marketing Deity decreed that this year, all his subordinates are required to wear a Halloween costume to work on October 31.

I don’t normally dress up for the holiday, but the Marketing Deity is boss to my boss’ boss, which means I fall into the “his subordinates” category.

So, from now until Halloween, because it amuses me so, I will post photos of certain elements of the ensemble I have created for the occasion.

Hint #1:

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Making Room for Jesus

The homecoming dance was Saturday night, and the DemiGoddesses both looked appropriately sparkly and fabulous, in spite of the fact that I cruelly forced them to do housework on Saturday afternoon. This caused major dismay on the part of Demi the Younger, who voiced concern that she might "smell like bleach" at the dance. As the bathroom-cleaning she was engaged in at the time was five hours before her scheduled departure, I assured her that she would have plenty of time to take a shower and de-bleach her loveliness.

Another crisis was narrowly averted when I realized that I had absolutely no idea what to do with Demi the Elder’s hair. It’s curly, you see, which my own most definitely is not, and so the wash/volumize/blowdry routine that works so well on my head was not translating well on hers at all, and my ineptitude with a diffuser attachment soon became painfully apparent. Fortunately, my sister Molly, who is gorgeous and who has almost the exact same hair as Ms. Elder, arrived in time to save the day. A little conditioner, a little scrunch-scrunch-scrunch, and sister Betsy was ready to add the finishing touches with the curling iron. Voila!

Demi the Elder’s date was the Adorably Geeky Boyfriend (the AGB, for short), who apparently has not been to a lot of dances with girls, because when presented with the yellow rose boutonniere Ms. Elder brought for him, he tried to pin it on HER. There was no sign of a corsage. (Does this boy not have a mother?)

Grandma and grandpa, the aunts and I all fussed and admired and took pictures, and as Ms. Elder was on her way out the door, Demi the Younger reminded her sister to “make good choices” and “make room for Jesus.” This is Demi-speak for keeping enough space between oneself and one’s date to allow for the holy spirit to interpose and preserve the purity of all involved.


I have no doubt that Demi the Elder would have behaved herself at the dance anyway, but it was reassuring to know I’d have a mole in attendance who would be more than willing to report back on any Jesus-squeezing that might have been going on.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Exceptionally Awesome Boyfriendage

Not only did he show up at my house last night with a graphing calculator (only a couple of hours after being on the listening end of a highly unattractive telephone pity party inspired by DemiGoddess the Elder’s announcement that she needed a graphing calculator for math class, which happened to occur on the same day I learned my insurance company would not be bestowing me with quite as large a home repair settlement as I had been led to believe, which took place on the very same day I had just spent a not inconsiderable sum of money on contact lenses for Demi the Younger), because he just happened to have one lying around his desk at work.

Not only did he tolerate with good humor the exclamations that Demi the Younger and I made during the Cubs game regarding a certain Mr. Theodore Roosevelt Lilly (“Oooh! Look at all the CUTE!”).

But also, he remembered that today is our three-year anniversary.


Thank you, My Ho, for sharing my passion for Indian food, reality TV, independent films and Icees; for allowing me to find out for myself that Kent Hrbek is maybe a just little too big for his already sizeable britches; for being my source of understanding and wisdom during the 2007 baseball season; for making all my co-workers jealous by sending me three dozen roses at work; and for not doing anything embarrassing when we were on the Kiss Cam.

Here's hoping we can celebrate number four at an ALDS game.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Pick a Plague, Any Plague

My Fix-it-Up Feller is putting new flooring in my sunroom today. This linoleum represents much more than just an easy-care, scratch-resistant, simulated stone tile finish with a 15-year warranty. It is the final stage of recovery from my leaky skylights problem, which I started dealing with two days less than two years ago. I know this because I blogged about it (See? Blogs are good for something!), and also because my insurance agent has reminded me multiple times that Thursday is the last day that he can pay out on my claim. With a little luck, I’ll just make it.

Here’s a play-by-play of what has happened in the months since that storm back in October 2005:

A “Preferred Service Provider” contractor guy, recommended by my insurance company, came to my house and pulled down the ruined drywall, only to find that the leaky skylights had caused quite a bit of damage. The wall and part of the ceiling and part of the subfloor would all have to be replaced, and maybe the roof, too, which the insurance company might or might not pay for. An adjustor would have to get up there to inspect the roof to be sure, but by that time, there was snow up there, and the adjustor wouldn’t be poking around on any roofs until spring. So I stapled plastic sheeting over the rotten studs and exposed insulation and waited.

In the spring, an adjustor climbed up on the roof and said that the insurance company would pay for most (but not all) of a new roof. A few weeks later I hired a roofer guy, and soon had a fresh layer of shingles, a skylight-free sunroom, and noticeably less anxiety every time it rained.

Because the sunroom is adjacent to the kitchen, I decided that when the new sunroom flooring went in, I might as well replace the flooring in the kitchen as well, so it would all match. But the kitchen was in serious need of some love, which I figured should probably happen before the new flooring. Thus, last spring’s kitchen-painting project.

Another insurance adjustor paid me a visit, inside the house this time, and said that the insurance company would not be paying for the necessary repairs to the walls and ceiling and floor, since that damage had been caused by the ongoing skylight leak and not the October storm. They would, however, pay for new drywall and new vinyl flooring. Which could not go in until the damaged walls and subfloor were replaced, at my expense. By then it was fall again.

More plastic and a long winter of angst later, in the spring I found my Fix-it-Up Feller. He repaired the walls and ceiling, replaced the drywall and installed two new sliding-glass deck doors. He also removed the giant wasp nest that had been hiding under the rotten portion of the subfloor, and magically eliminated my ant problem (Huzzah!). All this, he did for considerably less than the “Preferred Service Providers” quoted me two years ago. (“Preferred” my arse.)

Over this past summer, I painted the new walls and ceiling (because I just can’t get enough painting), installed new ceiling fan lights in the sunroom and in the kitchen (again with the matching), and then spent the last couple of weekends ripping up what was left of the vinyl flooring and the damaged underlayment from the old sunroom floor. It turns out the Goddess is a real badass with a pry bar and a hammer. Consider yourself warned.

Which, finally, brings us to today’s flooring installation. Everything that used to be in the sunroom is now in the garage or the dining room or the living room. It’s all a major mess at the moment, the worst part being that I had to dis-assemble the computer, cable modem and router, so the Goddesses are 100% offline at home today. (I hope it’s just for today.)

When this process began, my insurance company informed me that I am only allowed to file a claim once every two years. At the time that seemed very scary. But now, suddenly, I’m in the home stretch, two days away from that two-year mark.

Bring on the hail, fire, frogs and locusts.

Monday, October 01, 2007

The Party’s Over

Well, so much for that, then. Nice that my Darling Beloveds could go out with a win (at Fenway no less) but they end the season under .500, and that makes me very, very sad.

Nobody seems to be able to explain exactly what happened. The bats died, Liriano was out recovering from Tommy John surgery, and the “Piranhas” were laugably un-piranha-like. There was the hand-licking greasiness of Sidney Ponson and the futility of Ramon Ortiz. Catchers dropped right and left, the bullpen faltered, and Mi Corazón was used and abused by Cleveland again and again and again. That hurt.

Justin Morneau broke his nose and bruised a lung, Joe Mauer had a hernia, and Michael Cuddyer tried to kill himself with his own batting helmet. Mike Redmond took Jim Thome’s bat upside his head and lived to tell the tale… until a smashed-up hand finally took him out in September. I waited and hoped, hoped and waited, for a 2006-style turnaround that never materialized, and toward the end of the season, about the only thing worth talking about any more was whether or not Torii Hunter will be back. And as I’ve said, I don’t have a whole lot of patience for speculation. Terry Ryan’s announcement a couple of weeks ago was like the crappy cherry on top of a seriously crappy cake.

Which is too bad, because this year My Ho had season tickets, and we had a lot of fun getting to know the ladies in the seats next to his in the front row of section 220. We were in those very seats when My Ho and I were pictured on the Kiss Cam.

I brought DemiGoddess the Elder and a couple of her friends, including Ms. H., who has been passionately in love with Joe Mauer for a large percentage of her young life, to the game during which he was awarded his American League batting title:


And I watched Demi the Younger’s friend A. wrestle a foul ball from some twentysomething asshat who tried to take it from her (I was halfway out of my seat to intervene when the formidable Ms. A. prevailed).

I spent a glorious Fourth of July sitting in the sunshine, gazing out over the lake and listening to my Darling Beloveds win at Yankee Stadium, thanks to the miracle that is My Ho’s XM satellite radio. Even though we had to listen to the Yankees announcers call the game, their repeated mispronouncing of “Kubel” and “Guerrier” soon turned into an awesome drinking game.


There was Bat Baby’s complete game, as well as a visit from Dr. Dave, during which we caught a Royals game, just like old times. And then there was the 20th reunion party for the 1987 World Series team, where, thanks to MyHo (who knows people), I very much enjoyed some face time with Tom Brunansky, Frank Viola, Greg Gagne, Jeff Reardon, and other members of that celebrated Minnesota Twins team.

It wasn’t all bad on the field, either. Jason Tyner finally got his major league home run:


Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau and Johan were All-Stars, and Scott Baker very nearly pitched a perfect game:


And Mi Corazón’s 17-strikeout game will continue warming my heart well into this coming winter.

At least until Twins Fest, anyway.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Go See This Movie

Every Oscar season there is one movie I get really wound up about. Last year it was “Little Miss Sunshine,” the year before it was “Brokeback Mountain, ” and about 20 minutes into “Once,” I knew that this was my movie of the year.

It’s a lovely, lovely little film, and the chemistry between the two lead actors is so intense that I was very surprised to learn that they aren’t actors at all, they’re really musicians. Which explains why the songs in this film, mostly written by the two of them, were in my head all weekend long. After listening to me rave about the movie and the music in my head for days, My Ho, being the kind of guy he is, smuggled a surprise copy of the soundtrack CD onto the driver’s seat of my car. I found it when I left for work on Monday morning.

“Falling Slowly” breaks my heart every single time (you can hear it here). And I’m humming “If You Want Me” while I’m typing this very post. If you don’t see another movie this year, seriously, go see this one.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Hello, Goodbye

A couple of months ago I had a very vivid dream. It was like one of those you have after somebody dies, when the person you miss so much is there with you, and you know it isn’t really happening, but you’re so happy to see them and to spend time with them that you don’t want to wake up. Except in my dream, the person I was so happy to see was Demigoddess the Elder, age two. She was little enough to fit in my lap, and I held her there, smelling her head and gratefully stroking her hair.

When you first bring that little newborn home, full of anticipation and new-parent fears, no one dares to tell you that someday that little person will walk out the door and down the street toward her first day of high school, with barely a look over her shoulder as you wave from the front step. No one talks about the ache you’ll feel in your chest when, in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, you spy a little girl with hair almost the same, or you hear a certain familiarity in someone else’s child’s laugh at the grocery store.

I always thought that when the Demis grew older, I’d feel a sense of accomplishment. A readiness to let them go out into the world and do what they will with the things I’ve tried to teach them. And I do feel a lot of that. But saying goodbye to those little people hurts a lot more than I expected. I wasn’t prepared for this very real grief.

I don’t wish they had never grown up. I don’t want them to think that I begrudge them their maturity and independence. I’m very proud of the opinionated, creative, busy young people they’ve become. Which is why, when DemiGoddess the Younger complained a few days after the fact that I hadn’t made a bigger fuss about her first day at the senior high school, I said, “Just because people aren’t behaving in ways you expect, that doesn’t mean they aren’t dealing with things in their own way. What you didn’t see is that I spent most of that day trying very hard not to cry.”

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Very Much Keeping the Doctor Away

The return of Honeycrisp apple season has become one of my very favorite things about fall. It’s an especially welcome event this autumn, during which there will be no joy of post-season play for the Twins, and no, I really don’t want to talk about that, thanks.

I bought our first Honeycrisps of the year on Monday night, and while I remembered them being delicious, the reality of these apples is sooooooo much better than I even remembered. They are so delicious that I had to lay down an allocation as soon as I brought them into the house—one per Goddess/DemiGoddess per day—because last year the Demis demolished five pounds of them in two days.

(Eat the cookies! Snack on chips! Walk up to the McDonald’s and buy yourselves a couple of Big Macs! But stay away from the Honeycrisps, you fresh-fruit gluttons!)

They're big apples. One per day is not unreasonable.

The Demis were not happy about the rationing, but clever Demi the Younger has found a way to prolong enjoyment of her daily allotment by cutting her apple in half in the morning. One half goes into her lunch, and the other half she stashes in the refrigerator for after school. She even sprinkles the after-school half with a little lemon juice so it doesn't turn brown before she gets home.

They are exactly THAT good.

But these morsels of September heaven also present a problem. The crisp, the juicy, the crunching and lip-smacking and “mmmmm-mmmmmm-mmmmm…” noises are impossible to stifle here in cubicle-land. So this morning when I arrived at work I apologized in advance to the co-worker in the next cube over. Because Honeycrisp apples are cannot be eaten quietly, and I don't think I can wait until lunch.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Quack, Quackity, Quack


So there is this boy that DemiGoddess the Elder spent a lot of time with last summer. He's a year ahead of her in school, but they met when they both had parts in The Visit last spring. His only scene was at the very beginning of the play, and hers was waaaay at the end, so the two of them spent a lot of get-to-know-you time backstage in between, apparently.

Once the school year ended, about once a week they’d get together to go bowling, or for bike rides, or over to his house to play Scrabble. She pretended it was all very casual, and assured me repeatedly that he hadn’t tried to make any moves on her. But from where I was standing, the thing was walking and talking an awful lot like the proverbial duck.

Mid-summer my suspicions were confirmed when, via instant message, he asked her if she'd like to "go out." This, I have since learned, is 21st-century teen speak for becoming boyfriend/girlfriend. She replied, also via IM, that she totally did want to "go out" (while also gently reprimanding him for asking a question of such monumental import in an instant message), and we knew it was official when the boy in question changed the status on his Facebook page from "single" to "in a relationship with DemiGoddess the Elder."

I was a little bit nervous about this development, obviously. She and I talked at length about how love can cause even a smart DemiGoddess with demonstrated good judgment to sometimes make choices that are not always in her best interest. (I did not go into explicit detail regarding how, exactly, I know this to be true, of course.)

Then one day he brought over his stop-motion camera and the two of them spent an afternoon creating animated movies featuring Fisher Price Little People. How could I not approve of that? And when Ms. Elder informed me that she wouldn’t be seeing him for the next few days because he was spending a week at meteorology camp, I knew I had nothing to worry about. My daughter’s boyfriend is a great big geek, and I couldn’t be more pleased.

Now that school is back in session, they're both busy with school work and extracurriculars, including the school musical. (He's in the pit orchestra this time, because he plays like nine different instruments. 'Nuff said.) So interactions have mostly been limited to the phone and the IMs. Which, again, is just dandy with me.

Last year Demi the Elder went to a couple of dances with boys, but homecoming next week will be her first one with a “boyfriend.” We found her a sparkly gold Jessica McClintock dress-up dress (at a deep, deep discount at my favorite outlet store), which she is very excited about wearing. And because I am such a smart Goddess, I had already picked up some blingy dress-up shoes and genuine faux jewels at various end-of-summer sales, knowing that we’d likely have use for them in the near future. Luckily, they all work beautifully together. She’s been wearing the shoes around the house all week, practicing her walk in heels, just like the girls on America’s Next Top Model.

Tyra Banks and me, we’ve got her back.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Can’t Quite Bring Myself to Type the “N” Word

Tiny tots were rocking the Goddess household last Thursday night, as my sister-cousin Kerry left her two children with the DemiGoddesses and me for the evening. It has been a long time since people that small occupied my home for six consecutive hours, not to mention that one of them was of the male persuasion. As we’ve established, I’m still figuring out what exactly one DOES with these “boy” creatures.

Keara is six months old now, and at one of my very favorite baby stages. She smiles and laughs and responds to funny faces with cute little gurgly noises, but is still mostly immobile and easily entertained by anything colorful and/or fuzzy.

Zeke, the BOY, at age 2½ is as delightful a child as there ever was—easygoing, agreeable, chatty and completely charming. I unearthed as many boy-friendly toys as I could find buried underneath the Polly Pockets, Beanie Babies and Barbie accoutrements in the Demis’ old playroom, and he entertained himself happily enough with that odd assortment. But the real score was when My Ho showed up with a big box of wooden Brio trains from The Youngster’s archives. Like magic, Zeke was suddenly all about constructing wooden bridges and having deep philosophical conversations with Thomas the Tank Engine. Boy toys to the rescue!

I must admit that at one point, as I pondered how to schedule the dinner, bottle, two diaper changes and bedtime ritual that would need to take place within the next hour, I wondered how in the hell I used to manage all of this on my own every day. How quickly we forget.

Another thing I forgot—that time after both children are finally tucked into their beds, fed, dry and freshly jammied. Those sweet, sweet few minutes when you finally get to sit down and breathe. Delicious.

As it turned out, my evening of hanging out with Zeke was perfectly timed preparation for the arrival of my sister Meghan’s new baby, who came into the world early on Friday morning, and is totally a BOY.

I know. Go ahead and take a moment to let that sink in.

Thankfully, the loveliness of both Zeke and Batgirl’s baby Dashiell have done much to temper what would otherwise be utter shock and dismay on my part. The baby’s name is Ben, which has morphed into “Big Ben,” since he came into the world weighing 9 lbs., 6 oz., and was 22½ inches long (oof).


Welcome to the family, Big Ben. And thank you in advance for your patience as we figure out this “boy” thing.

(NEPHEW. There. I did it.)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Welcome Aboard, Mr. Macri

The arrival of the Twins' newest infielder has presented me with an unexpected opportunity to recall just how I came to love baseball in the first place.

My Darling Beloveds may have lost their mojo, and the pieces may be refusing to fall into place the way they’re supposed to this season. There may be injuries and ass-bats and shutouts. But as hope for Twins postseason action grows thinner and thinner, I'm suddenly reminded that, really, none of it matters.

Because I will always have cute guys in baseball pants.

Out:


In:

I am SO liking this trade.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Aftermath

The DemiGoddesses and I tried to walk over to the bridge after the Twins game on Friday night, but were met with police tape for blocks and blocks. The closest we could get was well upriver, below the Guthrie Theater, and all we could see from that vantage point above the locks was the very north end of the wreckage. The top of that slab that sticks straight up was illuminated by the floodlights, a glimpse of twisted green girders that was enough to me cry.

I can't understand why there hasn't been a place designated for us to go, a place where we can see what happened to our city. All of us who live here have had our sense of place violently altered. Even the people who weren't directly impacted need to grieve. The Stone Arch Bridge has opened, at least, but the police tape still blocks off a huge radius around the site.

I didn't know until it was happening that our fine president was scheduled visit Minneapolis on Sunday morning. I wish I were a person who could simply accept without question another person’s attempt at kindness, but W's statements from the site just made me angry. I wanted to march down there and tell him to go back to Washington DC, because we are not interested in his brand of bad-grammar, staged-sympathy bullsh*t here. He said he was speaking "on behalf of the American people," but I'm pretty sure the American people can speak for themselves, thanks.

For example, there was this, a letter that arrived, along with a big box packed full of Moon Pies, pork rinds and other goodies, in the Minneapolis Star Tribune newsroom. It seems to me a much more genuine gesture, a gift from strangers in one part of the country to strangers in another part of the country, who suddenly find they have something in common:

“To Star Tribune Journalists:

A few days after the Virginia Tech shootings, a large box arrived in our newsroom. Inside was a note and lots of stress-relieving junk food like you'll find in this box. The note was from Joe Haight, managing editor of
The Oklahoman of Oklahoma City. Joe wrote that similar boxes arrived in his newsroom after the McVeigh bombings. He recalled what that gesture meant to his staff, which had been worn down to a nub covering the catastrophic community event.

We were so moved that we vowed to pass it on when we next sensed a newsroom could use a little pick-me-up. So please consider this a journalistic chain letter of sorts, one that you'll pass on when the next bulletin breaks in a newsroom somewhere in America.

Enjoy the snacks. Sorry we couldn't send beer (company policy, ya know). And most of all, take care of yourselves.

The
Roanoke Times Newsroom”

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Forgive the Random, I'm Trying to Wrap My Brain Around It

“I’ve driven across this bridge every few days for thirty years. There are bridges, and there are bridges; this one had the most magnificent view of downtown available, and it’s a miracle I never rear-ended anyone while gawking at the skyline, the old Stone Bridge, the Mississippi. You always felt proud to be here when you crossed that bridge, pleased to live in such a beautiful place. Didn’t matter if it was summer twilight or hard cold winter noon - Minneapolis always seemed to be standing at attention, posing for a formal portrait . We’ll have that view again – but it’ll take a generation before it’s no longer tinged with regret and remembrance.”
--James Lileks


Around 5:45 p.m. last night, I drove DemiGoddess the Elder to a library one suburb over from ours, where she met up with a couple of friends to do some volunteer work. Ms. Elder has been very vocal about the fact that she is boycotting McDonald’s because of their contributions to rainforest deforestation, so last night, while she was otherwise occupied with her friends, I took the opportunity to stop at our neighborhood McDonald’s to pick up some dinner for Demi the Younger and myself. We two still enjoy our junk food.

Sitting in my car outside the drive thru window, I was deep in my head about some incredibly important thing or other, when I looked up and noticed the sunshine on the trees across the street. Really saw the late summer lushness of the leaves, and the gold tinge of the light.

I thought of all the days, of all the dates that disappear from memory while we are so occupied by life that they slip past without notice. I thought of the dates, like September 11, that we never forget because of some awful tragedy that marks them. I said to myself, “Today is Wednesday, August 1.”

That was at about 6:20 p.m. The bridge collapsed at 6:05, although I didn’t know that until I was home and My Ho called to see if I was okay. I didn't understand the reason for the concern in his voice. He told me to turn on the TV.

A number of Twins fans were on and near that bridge last night, headed for the baseball game that started an hour later. During the live news coverage, my breath caught when a hovering news helicopter captured the image of a woman wearing a Kirby Puckett jersey, the number 34 clearly visible on her back, standing near her crumpled car on one of the fallen slabs. In video clips of people helping survivors reach safety, I saw Twins jerseys, T-shirts or hats on both the rescuers and the rescued.

I saw the lot where I parked before the games during the playoffs last October.

The fact that so many of the people who survived the fall, banged up but mostly okay, immediately ran back onto the rubble to help other people, that they went back to help carry those children off that school bus, says so much about the people who live in these Twin Cities. It makes me so proud to have been born and raised here.

I keep thinking of Governor Tim Pawlenty’s oft-repeated no-new-taxes policy.

Somehow, I am not taking a lot of comfort from our president's statement that he is praying for us.

I was on the phone last night with my sister Betsy when a journalist from a Montreal, Canada, CNN affiliate called on her other line. Apparently he had called the French restaurant where she works, hoping to find someone there who could speak French, and the restaurant manager gave the journalist my sister’s phone number. She can, in fact, speak French, but she had just heard the news herself and wasn’t able to provide him with much information.

I talked to many friends and family members on the phone last night, brief conversations mostly consisting of, “Are you okay? Good. Yeah, we’re fine. I know. I can't believe it, either. I’ll call you later.” This morning I had e-mails from people in town, as well as from family members in Boston and even London. Such tiny gestures of concern that speak volumes. Thank you to everybody who has checked in.

I love you, too.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

We're Okay

And, as far as I know, everyone in my inner circle is okay.

I have driven over that bridge hundreds of times over the years--it spanned the Mississippi right between the University of Minnesota and the Metrodome--and all evening I have watched the news coverage, unable to believe what I'm seeing.

My prayers go out to everyone who was involved, including the rescue workers, and all of their families.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Bat Baby Goes Nine


DJ Bat Baby completed nine full innings in what was just his second career appearance at the Metrodome last night, and the Minnesota Twins rewarded the rookie’s outstanding performance with a 5-2 win over the Angels.

Highlights of the evening included a spectacular three-run inside-the-park homerun by Joe Mauer—the first for the Twins since July 2001—and Bat Baby’s enthusiastic gumming of a plastic Coke Zero bottle for several innings.

“It was great to see him get his first complete game,” Mauer said. “When it looked like he was going to go all nine, we knew we had to do what we could to get him a win."

Bat Baby delivered the best start of his young career so far, giving up only one short nap and consuming 7 oz. of formula. After putting in eight successful innings in his first outing, DJ Bat Baby's record now stands at 2-0.

“DJ continues to show a lot of potential,” said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. “We see him playing a major role in the future of the team.”

The youngster also received post-game congratulations from Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame veteran Tony Oliva, and a tour of the press box courtesy of official scorer Howard Sinker.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Examine My What?

I did not see Justin Morneau get his lung bruised on Friday night because sister-cousin Tiffany was in town from Seattle, and that is cause for much hoopla and celebration, as well as lots and lots of sangria.

Tiffany and the rest of the sister-cousins all attended parochial school back in the day, while my parents opted to send my sisters and me to public school. I always considered my 1970s Catholic upbringing to be very “Catholic Lite.” For us, CCD class was heavy on the touchy-feely, peace-and-love. We never once darkened the door of a confessional, and I couldn’t say a rosary to save my life. So we did not know until Friday night that in parochial school health classes, my sister-cousins and their little Catholic-school girlfriends learned some very interesting methods of birth control family planning. I won’t go into the gory details, but the phrase “examine your mucus” became the punchline at more than one point in the evening.

Gross, yes, but still arguably less traumatizing than seeing the American League MVP coughing up blood on TV.

DemiGoddess the Younger spent the weekend up north with my former mother-in-law, while Demi the Elder chose to stay home due to her numerous and pressing social obligations. Well, really, due to just one social obligation, which involved a certain sophomore boy from the cast of “The Visit,” with whom she shared a couple of spectacularly John Hughes-esque moments backstage during rehearsals. So this particular social obligation came in just a smidge higher on her priority list than spending the weekend in Brainerd with grandma. She had little heart bubbles bursting over her head all weekend.

I also took Ms. Elder out to practice driving on Saturday morning. The first time I let her drive my car was over Christmas vacation, and the fact that it took me six months to do it again is absolutely not a reflection on the quality of her driving. It simply took me that long to recover from the cramp in my right wrist, incurred as a result of an extended death grip on the passenger-side door handle during our first lesson.

For our second lesson, I chose the parkway around Lake Harriet, where the traffic is one way and the speed limit is 25 mph. She circled the lake three times, did not hit anything and was only honked at once. And I can still grip a pencil, so I’m calling it a success.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Signs that the School Year is Winding Down

DemiGoddess the Elder’s Girl Scout troop had a bridging ceremony the other night. She and the other girls in her troop, most of whom she’s been chums with since kindergarten, went from being “Cadettes” to “Seniors,” which is the last stop before adults. Looking at the little Brownies who were bridging to "Junior" Girl Scouts, it seemed like Ms. Elder was that little just a couple of days ago. I didn't bawl, though. I think that's progress.

During the ceremony, Ms. Elder paused mid-bridge, in front of all the parents of all the Scouts who were bridging that night, and did a hammy QEII-style wrist wave before crossing over to accept her new sash. I couldn't have been more proud.

Demi the Younger spent today at the pool with the rest of her eighth-grade class. She left for the bus this morning wearing flip-flops and her swimming suit under her clothes, even though it’s only about 70 degrees out today.

The kids got to eat pizza at the pool for lunch, which is just as well. She tells me that the offerings in the school cafeteria get progressively weirder as the last day of school approaches, as the lunch ladies attempt to use up and sell whatever food is left. Last week’s menu included something called “sub sandwich hot dish.” I don’t even want to know.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Damn West Coast Road Trips

Last night My Ho and I were on the phone until way past our regular bedtimes because the Twins were playing in Anaheim, and in spite of our better judgement, we just couldn’t look away.

My Ho watched from his bed at his house, I watched from my bed at my house, and as the game progressed, things started to get a little punchy.

Inning Six—10:45 p.m. CST, Twins 1, Angels 6

ESG: “So, I’ve been watching ‘Flavor of Love Girls: Charm School,’ and flipping to the game during the commercials. It’s a very bad sign when ‘Flavor of Love Girls: Charm School’ is less of a train wreck than the baseball game.”

Ho: “Yes.”

Inning Seven—Twins 1, Angels 8

(A shot of Ron Gardenhire in the dugout, looking toward the field and twirling his index fingers around each other.)

ESG: “What was that?”

Ho: “It was a sign.”

“I know that. What did it MEAN??”

“I don’t know.”

“Maybe it was the sign for, ‘Can we please get this wrapped up so I can go back to the hotel and drink a lot of vodka?’”

“Could be.”

“Actually, no. I think it was the sign for, ‘Does anyone have a sharp object handy? I need something to jam into my eye.’”

Inning Eight—Twins 1, Angels 8

ESG: “Who’s that guy?”

Ho: “Jason Miller, one of the new relief pitchers. We saw him during the game against Toronto last weekend.”

“Oh, right. But we were at the Dome for that game, so we were too far away to see that he looks like a turkey.”

Inning Eight—Twins 1, Angels 12

(A shot of the lineup card posted on the wall of the Twins’ dugout.)

ESG: “Did you see that? Right under where Boof’s name was crossed out, Gardy just wrote ‘HELP ME.’”

Inning Eight—Twins 1, Angels 14

ESG: “This is cruel. Why is he still in there?”

Ho: “No reason to burn up somebody else’s arm in this game.”

“If he gives up two more runs, he’ll have doubled the score in a single inning. That would be impressive.”

Inning Eight—Twins 1, Angels 16

ESG: “Called it.”

(Gardy summons Pat Neshek from the bullpen, and then, mercifully, visits the mound to dismiss Jason Miller.)

Inning Nine—Twins 1, Angels 16

ESG: “Did you just see him picking his nose on TV?”

Ho: “It was a double pick, even.”

“Who gives up eight runs in an inning and then sits on the bench and picks his nose??”

“I totally agree.”

“Maybe he was looking for his fastball. I don’t think you’re going to find it up there, Jason.”

Final Score—Angels 16, Twins 3

(For the more intelligent end of the conversation, see here.)

Monday, June 04, 2007

Almost, But Not Quite, Entirely Unlike Chipotlé

Halfway through her burrito last night, DemiGoddess the Younger said, "We're eating Aztec food. I'm doing a report on the Aztecs for school."

"The Aztecs ate rice and black beans and tortillas?" I asked.

"No, they ate dogs and turkeys and humans and tortillas."

"Aah. Sounds tasty."

Friday, June 01, 2007

You Can’t Miss Her

Last night I lost DemiGoddess the Elder in Super Target. One moment she was right there, then she said, “I’m going to look for some eyeshadow,” and she was gone.

In our usual (regular, average, non-super) Target store, this isn’t a big deal. It’s a smallish store, and we always run across each other eventually as we’re shopping. But Super Target is, as the name implies, super big. All the departments where I usually find her are in different places than they are in our Target, and they are    very        far             apart.

On my third loop through the store, I called her name in the women’s dressing room and even checked the bathrooms with no luck. Demi the Elder is well past the age of easy abduction. It’s hard to snatch and run with a 5'5" high-school freshman without drawing a considerable amount of attention. But even so, I started to freak out.

In desperation, I went to the guest services desk and asked the two women working there if they’d page her. They said they only do pages for children under age 11, but they could send a call out to the store's employees over their walkie-talkies. They asked me what she looks like.

I said, “She has dark, wavy hair. And she’s wearing a bright pink T-shirt that says ‘You Have Died of Dysentery.’

I found Ms. Elder a few minutes later in the shoe department.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Seriously.

Is there anything better than driving around on a sunny day with the windows rolled down and the music turned up loud enough to annoy all the neighbors?

Make way for the funk-tastic Nano-licious Goddess mobile, Bitch-ez.

Last Christmas My Ho's Youngster made me a mix CD as a gift, which I thanked him for sincerely and then didn't listen to until, like, February. Because I was afraid.

The Youngster is a member of a high-school garage band named "Ocelot Slaughterhouse." I have never seen them perform in person, but one time My Ho played a CD for me, which Ocelot Slaughterhouse had recorded in one band members' parents' basement or something, and while their enthusiasm was admirable, I found the music to be a smidge heavy on the screaming for my taste. I was pretty sure that this mix disk probably contained a lot of the same.

In fact, there is a little of the screamy stuff on it, but a lot of it is really not all that bad. In fact, some of it is really pretty good, and by bands I probably never would have heard of if not for his gift.

I became so obsessed with one song in particular, "Certified," by Diverse, that when my Nano finally arrived, I went straight to iTunes and downloaded the whole album. I'm sure I look very cutting edge, a thirty-something mother of two driving around in an aged white Honda Civic, blasting the hip-hop music through her iPod. You can call me G-mom. The Original Goddess.

It is, as the kids say, tight.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

So Dear, and Also, So Thoroughly Disgusting

Over the weekend I was in my backyard mowing the lawn when I came across an empty hole in the ground, about the diameter of a Coke can. Next to the hole was a little pile of dried grass and grayish tufts of fur, a clear sign that this hole had once been home to a litter of baby rabbits.

Our neighborhood is thick with rabbits, and my dog has caught several in our backyard. One time I opened the back door to let her in the house, and she came trotting merrily up the deck steps with the freshly eviscerated remains of a full-grown rabbit hanging out of her mouth. I could see that she had plans to bring her prize inside to finish snacking on, on the living room carpet no doubt. After some prying, I got her to drop the carcass into a garbage bag, and when I let her in the door, sans carnage, she flashed me a look that I would later see many times on my thirteen-year-old daughter, a look which clearly said, “Why do you have to be so MEAN? Gawd!

So on Saturday, as I kicked loose dirt into that hole to fill it in, I tried not to think about what probably had happened to the baby rabbits. I hoped really, really hard that I would not have to find out for certain what had happened to those baby rabbits.

Then, last night, it was dark outside and starting to rain, so I opened the door to let the dog in. As I was admiring the little yellow flowers that have sprouted on the tomato plants in the pots just outside on the deck, the corner of my eye caught something dangling from her muzzle. Before I could say, “NononononoNONONOOOOOOOOO,” she had strolled past me and dropped her dangling something onto the kitchen floor. It was a dark, wet, shapeless little pile, which had tiny pink rabbit feet attached. Based on the smell, these remains were decidedly un-fresh.

Another plastic bag later, the offending pile was out of the house, but its aroma was not. Disgusted, I put the dog into her kennel and latched the door shut.

I watch plenty of “The Dog Whisperer.” I understand that my dog is an animal, and she was only doing what she, as a dog, is hard-wired to do. But at the same time, I was so appalled that I could not even look at her.

This morning when I went to let her out again, I thought I still smelled that smell. Maybe it was only the memory of it that I was detecting. Or, more likely, my darling hound probably took a nice, long roll in her stinky pile before picking it up to bring in the house, and I am going to have to give her a serious scrubbing in deodorizing shampoo tonight.

I am choosing not to wonder exactly how many baby rabbits were once in that hole.

I am also choosing not to wonder where exactly my dog might have others stashed away for later.


Mmmmmm... Rabbits...

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I Have an iPod!

I have an iPod!
I have an iPod!
I have an iPod!

I pretended for a really long time that I didn't want one at all, because I didn't WANT to want one. But really I DID. And now I have one of my very own, and it is all silvery and awesome and full of This American Life podcasts and music that is inapproproate for children.

Joy.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Sigh.

Because Batgirl is my friend, and because I compeletely understand and respect her reasons for ending what has been a beloved gift to Twins fans and baseball lovers everywhere, I am not going to tell her how genuinely heartbroken I am right now.

R.I.P. Batgirl.

You will be sorely, sorely missed.

(Also, see here, and here, and here.)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Maybe With a Squeeze of Fresh Lime

It’s been a few days since I posted, so I thought that today I’d share the e-mail I wrote this morning in response to my lovely sister’s inquiry as to how I’m doing:

Well, yesterday I took the morning off of work to try and fix a pipe that was leaking water all over my basement. I thought I had fixed it, and it IS better, but it's still dripping. I think I put a part on wrong, which means I have to take it all apart again. Just about every six months, it seems, some random bit of my house starts dripping/leaking/spurting water. It's awesome.

Last night I busted a DemiGoddess (who shall remain nameless) in the middle of chatting online in Facebook. I've told the Demis that they're not allowed to do online chat rooms, and My Space is forbidden. I never mentioned Facebook specifically, but given that it wasn't until my third inquiry that she finally admitted what she was doing, I'm pretty sure she knew I would not be okay with it. The cable modem is in my purse until further notice.

Yesterday after a visit to her friend's house, the other DemiGoddess (who shall also remain nameless) walked in the door and said to me, "This is going in my memoir, and you are NOT going to look good." My offense? Making her walk home from her friend’s house, which is half a mile away (the same distance as the coffee shop that she walks to at least once a week). With gas at $3.40 a gallon, I will not be driving her a half mile to anywhere.

I didn’t bother to mention that the only reason she got to go to her friend's house after school at all was because I was so distracted by the dripping pipe yesterday morning that I forgot to tell her I had changed my mind about letting her go based on the latest grade update on the school website. Specifically, her grade in Chorus, which was a letter that a person would basically have to be sleeping through Chorus class to receive.

After fighting unsuccessfully with our CD-R drive and ending up listening to the playlists on the Demis' iPods in the car on the way to the lake for Mother’s Day weekend, last week I finally broke down and ordered a refurbished 4 GB Nano for myself. I'm simultaneously wracked with guilt over spending money on such a frivolity and obsessively checking the "Order Status" link on the Apple website to see when it’s coming and where it is today (Sacramento).

Other than that I've pretty much been driving the Demis around (to places that are more than half a mile away) and watching crappy-ass baseball on TV.

Except for last night's game, which was magnificent.

I bought a bottle of
cherry lambic at Trader Joe's last week and I'm thinking seriously about drinking the entire thing tonight while I watch the "Lost" season finale.

Aren't you glad you asked?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

DemiGoddess the Elder is a Poet

A few weeks ago, Demi the Elder told me that she’d entered a poem she had written into a poetry contest at school. I knew she was clever and creative in many ways, but until then I did not know she wrote poetry. Intrigued, I asked if I could read her submission.

No, she said. It’s too embarrassing.

Oh, my child, I said. You have no idea about embarrassing. I told her that I had, buried in the basement, reams of my own high school poetry—self-obsessed, pretentious, over-the-top with angst high school poetry. Poetry that is the very definition of embarrassing. And which she might read, if she would let me read hers.

It was a deal.

Her poem is called “Soon They’ll Come Out with a Barbie Girl Mastercard.” It’s a commentary on some of the more rampant consumerists in her peer group, and is scathing, earnest and funny.

Yesterday at school Ms. Elder found out she won first place in that poetry contest at school.

I’m hoping she’ll use the Barnes & Noble gift card she received as a prize to purchase something a little more worthwhile to read than my eleventh-grade creative writing.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

22 Games, 2 Home Runs

Halfway through the eighth inning of last night's Twins/Bitch Sox* game, Chicago was ahead 4-1, thanks in large part to an ugly and totally avoidable throwing error by the starting pitcher, Boof Bonser. I left the TV to change laundry loads in the basement (the washer is fixed now—woohoo!), resigned to the fact that this was going to be another one of those games.

When I came back upstairs, the score was 4-3, and thank goodness the DemiGoddesses had been watching so they could fill me in on all the mad piranha action that I had just missed.

To quote Mr. Gleeman: “…if you're going to extend your [hitting] streak to 22 games like Hunter did last night, doing it by tying the game with an eighth-inning, two-out single is the way to go.”

Hell yeah, it is.

And THEN? Justin Morneau came through with a tenth-inning, three-run, second home run of the game (and a monster of a home run, too), for the win.

Have I mentioned how much I enjoy the celebratory man love?

*See Batgirl.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Ten Thousand Years in a School Auditorium Will Give You Such a Crick in the Neck

The four-day run of DemiGoddess the Younger’s school musical, “Aladdin Jr.,” took place over the weekend, and as a result I have had the song “Arabian Nights” circling in my head since Friday evening. Not even an excessively loud Flogging Molly session in the car on the way to work this morning had the power to exorcise the thing from my brain.

(“…more often than NOT, it’s hotter than HOT, in a lot of good waaaaaaays…”)

In the days leading up to opening night, Ms. Younger had expressed doubts about how the choreography was coming along, and commented disdainfully that some of the other actors were still not “off book” yet. (Apparently that’s theater speak, and means that they still hadn’t memorized their lines. Aren’t we just thespians?). But in spite of her reservations, it turned out to be a fun show, with colorful costumes and lots of high-energy musical numbers, and all the kids did an impressive job with the singing and the dancing.

Ms. Younger’s performance, including several spoken lines and a couple of short singing solos, was as spectacular as expected. And I was astonished to hear her good friend K., whom I had long been convinced was incapable of speech (she is almost always completely silent whenever she is at our house) belt out her solo parts at an ear-splitting decibel level. Who knew?

And after three hours of “The Visit” on the previous weekend (not to mention the rest of the past years' consistently lengthy productions) I am not too proud to admit that my favorite part about this particular show was that it was one hour long.

I kept checking my watch after it was over, feeling like someone had just sprung ME from a magic lamp.

Friday, May 04, 2007

1+1 = So Out of Luck

Remember a few months back, when I did some significant upgrading to my home PC? I had finally started using a digital camera, there was the blogging, the Demis were pining for iPods, and they were both increasingly using the computer for Important! Homework! My old desktop computer was just not cutting the mustard, so, with a little help, I installed a new processor and a new motherboard, boosted the memory and upgraded the software. And for a while, it was all very exciting and good.

The irony, of course, is that the upgrades have allowed the DemiGoddesses to become heavy users of things like iTunes, YouTube and instant messaging. And with just the one desktop PC for the three of us, well, let’s just say that the math hasn’t worked out quite the way I had hoped. I've been forced to come up with some very creative chore assignments just to be able to check my e-mail ("This dog needs waxing. And you, go rotate your dresser drawers. Do I have to do everything around here?").

Oh, the bickering.

So, a couple of weeks ago, when my workplace announced a drawing for a bunch of used IBM Thinkpads, I was all over it. With a laptop, thought I, I would finally be able to get some screen time at home. Why, I could even take a laptop to the neighborhood Cairbou Coffee, where I could drink expensive coffee drinks with whipped cream and candy bits piled on top while I blog, just like the cool kids.

So last week I was thrilled to learn that I had won one of those used IBM Thinkpads, and once again enlisted my skilled and generally high-quality friend Daniel to get me set up with a wireless network. Which he did, again, for the price of a sandwich from Jimmy John’s.

And just last night, after some network wrangling and one more trip to MicroCenter for an Ethernet cable (and, since I am incapable of leaving that store with only the item I went in to buy, a wireless mouse that is SO COOL), we went live.

…aaaaand within fifteen minutes, DemiGoddess the Elder was adding photos to her blog on the desktop PC, while DemiGoddess the Younger was researching current events for school on the Thinkpad.

At which point I went out to the backyard to scratch my next blog post in the dirt with a pointed stick.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

In Which I Become a...


The DemiGoddesses have been busy, busy, busy young thespians lately. DemiGoddess the Younger is just finishing up rehearsals for her school musical, “Aladdin,” a junior-high-appropriate show based on the Disney movie. And, over the weekend, DemiGoddess the Elder played a news reporter in her high school’s production of “The Visit,” a play that is weird and dark and a lot like a three-hour episode of “The Twilight Zone.” With eunichs.

My Ho and I saw the show on Friday night, and just like when she performed in “Grease” and “Little Shop of Horrors” and “Anything Goes” and “Love’s Labours Lost,” I was astonished at how articulate and composed Ms. Elder is on stage. I had another one of those sobering moments when I wondered who that pretty dark-haired young woman was, and then realized suddenly that she was my daughter, so close to grown up that it knocked the wind right out of me. Again.

She had a good-sized bit of dialogue, all of it in a single scene toward the end of the play. Because there was no flash photography allowed during the performance, after they'd taken their bows, the kids returned to the stage and worked their way back through the show, re-creating a number of key scenes so that the parents could take pictures. I waited patiently while they set up props and changed costumes and posed for dramatic moment after dramatic moment. As the drama teacher called out scenes from nearer and nearer the beginning of the play, it became clear that she had skipped over Ms. Elder’s big scene. Conflicted, I watched the mass of parents jostling back and forth in front of the stage, cameras flashing as they elbowed each other out of the way, and considered whether the desire to capture my daughter's big moment for posterity outweighed my reluctance to become one of those parents.

The next thing I knew, I was standing behind the drama teacher saying, “Um, excuse me… Hi, I’m Demi the Elder’s mom. Do you think maybe you could have them do that town meeting scene? It’s the only one she had lines in.”

It turned out that the teacher had intended to set up that one, but she’d overlooked it in her notes. She thanked me for reminding her, and then quickly had the kids change back into their act three costumes. I got my superstar her photo, and I only had to hip check two bald guys with video cameras to do it.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Just in Time for Summer

Fruity cocktails count as health food, study finds

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A fruity cocktail may not only be fun to drink but may count as health food, U.S. and Thai researchers said on Thursday.
Adding ethanol -- the type of alcohol found in rum, vodka, tequila and other spirits -- boosted the antioxidant nutrients in strawberries and blackberries, the researchers found.
Any colored fruit might be made even more healthful with the addition of a splash of alcohol, they report in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.
Dr. Korakot Chanjirakul and colleagues at Kasetsart University in Thailand and scientists at the U.S.
Department of Agriculture stumbled upon their finding unexpectedly.
They were exploring ways to help keep strawberries fresh during storage. Treating the berries with alcohol increased in antioxidant capacity and free radical scavenging activity, they found.
Any colored fruit or vegetable is rich in antioxidants, which are chemicals that can cancel out the cell-damaging effects of compounds called free radicals.
Berries, for instance, contain compounds known as polyphenols and anthocyanins. People who eat more of these fruits and vegetables have a documented lower risk of cancer, heart disease and some neurological diseases.
The study did not address whether adding a little cocktail umbrella enhanced the effects.


Drink your strawberry margaritas, everybody!
They're GOOD FOR YOU!
WOOHOO!!!!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

DemiGoddess Guerilla Art

A couple of nights ago, I stepped out my front door to take out the trash and found this:


Spring, it seems, has sprung.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A Little Bit Like the Fireplace at the Cabin

My washing machine crapped out again a couple of weeks ago, which, while annoying, didn’t seem like a big deal at the time because (as I’ve written previously) I was wise enough to purchase the extended warranty when I bought the washer four years ago. So I will not have to pay for this latest $800 repair, just like I didn’t have to pay for the four previous $300 repairs on what has proved to be a highly unreliable home appliance. (I am not strong with the math, but it seems to me they would have been better off buying me a new washer by now, no?)

In fact, however, this latest crapping out has turned out to be a big, giant, smelly pile of a deal, because the repairman can’t fix my washing machine until all the parts arrive from the manufacturer, and to date only two of the four parts he ordered at the time of his first visit—three weeks ago—have arrived.

When the DemiGoddesses were little and we lived in an apartment, schlepping the laundry was a weekly ritual. Our building had only one coin-operated washer and dryer for eight apartments, and those machines were in constant use by other tenants. Not that it really mattered to us, of course, since we were always too broke to pay to use them anyway. For years, every Sunday morning, I hauled both kids and a carload of dirty clothes over to my parents’ house, and then stayed there all day long while I washed and dried load after load after endless bloody load. When we finally bought a house that had a washer and dryer, I swore that I would never complain about doing the laundry again, because my days of hauling baskets of dirty socks and underpants to and from the car were finally OVER.

But about a week and a half ago, strange aromas began to emanate from the DemiGoddesses. I could see that they had stopped wearing socks altogether. I did not ask about underwear. As much as I hated to admit it, I could no longer deny the inevitable. Laundry would have to be schlepped.

So two Thursdays ago I left work early, picked up $30 in quarters at the bank, and took a mountain of clothes to the nearest self-serve laundromat. I had never visited it before and, in fact, had only found the place by looking it up on the internet, even though it turned out to be less than two miles from my house and I have probably driven right past it a thousand times.


I fully expected the laundromat experience to suck rocks. So I was pleasantly surprised to find the place clean (relatively), quiet, and completely empty when I arrived. It smelled reassuringly of fabric softener, and, best of all, there were four triple-sized washers. I washed, dried and folded every article of clothing in the Goddess household in less than two hours.

By yesterday the Demis were running low on clean jeans again, and I was astonished to find myself actually looking forward to another visit to my good friend #40 Mega Washer. I even invited DemiGoddess the Younger to come with me. And, once there, she had to agree with me that it was strangely soothing, watching the suds and the water and her favorite jeans swish, swish, swishing in circles behind the round glass door.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

A Question Posed During Last Night’s Merciless Pounding Baseball Game

Why is it that no one on the Yankees team ever seems to age?

Pettitte and Jeter and even Mariano Rivera have looked exactly the same since 1996.
I think they must drink the blood of small children during the off season.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Successful Living with a Teenage Daughter in Four Easy Steps

Step 1—No matter what outrageous, baiting, completely detached from reality utterance comes out of her mouth, DO NOT RESPOND. Do not speak. Don’t even open your mouth.

Step 2—Go directly into your bedroom.

Step 3—Shut the door.

Step 4—Stay there until*:

a) She graduates from high school; or

b) She no longer has any memory whatsoever of what she was angry about in the first place (usually about two hours).

*Alcohol consumption is optional.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Celebrity Snark, Goddess Style

Last weekend DemiGoddess the Younger spent an afternoon at the Mall of America (insert cat-hacking-up-hairball sound clip here) with a group of her friends. The next day she announced that, after much searching, she had finally found a perfume that she wants to purchase. Because it smells soooo good.

“But,” she said, “it’s kind of an embarrassing brand.”

“Was it JLo perfume?” I asked.

“No. More embarrassing.” She said.

“What could be more embarrassing than JLo perfume?”

“Britney Spears perfume.”

“Oh. Oh, no. Are you seriously going to tell your friends at school, when they ask what you’re wearing, that it’s Britney Spears perfume?”

“I’ll just tell them it’s hairspray.”

That’s my girl. When in doubt, lie to save face.

“What does it even smell like?” I asked. “Bald people?”

That earned a snort from DemiGoddess the Elder.

“Well, I thought it would smell like Red Bull and Cheetos, but it doesn’t. It smells really good.”

“I know what it doesn’t smell like,” said Demi the Elder, who, apparently, had been waiting patiently for her intro.

“Underpants.”

(Thank you, you’ve been a great audience. We’ll be here all week.)

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

A Most Excellent Hope Opener

Joe Mauer hit a single in his first at bat, which was exciting for a few minutes until it was upstaged by back-to-back homeruns courtesy of Justin Morneau and Torii Hunter. Rondell White made an amazing catch, and the American League MVP made an old time hockey-style hit at home plate that inexplicably did not force the Orioles catcher to drop the ball, but did have him running to the dugout for a Band-Aid. Mi Corazón sat down six, the bullpen struck out several more, and my darling beloveds beat Baltimore by a score of 7-4. An optimistic start to the season, I think.

For the first time, DemiGoddess the Elder did not sit with Demi the Younger, My Ho and me. She attended the game with her friend Hannah. Just before Brad Radke threw out the first pitch, she called me on my cell phone to ask if I could see her “Circle Me Bert” sign (she had cleverly created it on the white underside of a vinyl snow tube she got for Christmas and then popped during an extra-vigorous sledding party over the winter). Yes, I said, we could see it, waaaaaaay up in the nosebleed seats, across the Metrodome from where we were sitting in the lower deck. She said she could see us waving through Hannah’s dad’s binoculars. Then she had to hang up because the game was about to start.

A good time was had by all on our end of the Dome, and she had a lot of fun with her friend, in spite of the altitude. But even though her absence meant more peanuts and Twizzlers for the rest of us, it still seemed like our opening day roster was a player short.

There’s going to be a lot more of that in the future, I’m sure.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Porch Song

Herb Carneal
1923-2007

"Just give me two pillows
and a bottle of beer,
And the Twins game on radio
next to my ear,
Some hark to the sound
of the loon or the teal...
But I love the voice
Of Herb Carneal."

--from “Porch Song,” by Garrison Keillor

Friday, March 30, 2007

Oh, Doug.

Go ahead and just stab me right in the heart, why don't you?

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Whoopsie

DemiGoddess the Younger had a very close call yesterday morning. Early in her day at school, she was seated at a table in the junior high cafeteria, where she and the rest of the eighth grade were taking their “honors test”—the exam designed to evaluate whether or not they are qualified participate in the honors program at the high school next year.

Two questions into her test, Ms. Younger began to feel a little bit sweaty, and a little bit burp-y, and a little bit like her stomach, which had been feeling not quite right since halfway through her bus ride to school, was suddenly about to stage a hostile takeover. At the last possible moment, she made a desperate dash for the door, and was just outside the cafeteria when she lost her breakfast on the hallway floor.

After getting the call from the school nurse, I left work and brought Ms. Younger home, where she spent the rest of the day on the couch watching Dr. Phil and sipping peppermint tea. A school counselor called in the afternoon to let her know that she’ll be permitted to make up the test on Friday, but her real fears were put to rest a couple of hours later, when her friends called to find out what had happened to her.

Apparently, none of the other students had seen a thing, and only her friend A., who had been seated very near the door, had heard the splat.

What a relief.

(P.S. She’s fine now.)

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Right. It’s Not the Cat’s Fault. But Still.

My Ho and his Youngster are in Massachusetts doing a college prospecting tour this week. Tonight they’ll be having dinner with Batgirl and Jeb and BatBaby Dashiell, and I am properly put out that it will all be happening without me. While I am here. Feeding his stupid cat. And pouting.

What helps is knowing that opening night is only five short days away. My darling beloveds will take the field at the Metrodome next Monday night, Mi Corazón will be the starting pitcher, and My Ho and I will be there for our third home opener in a row. The cat is not invited.

Although I’ve tuned in here and there, in general I haven’t paid a lot of attention to the spring training goings on. I don’t have the patience for all the speculation, being much more a rubber-meets-the-road kind of Goddess. Just tell me who is going to be on the final roster and then get out there and do the thing already.

But Carlos Silva’s struggles have been all everyone has talked about lately, to the point where even I was thinking maybe it’s time for him to go. That is, until I saw this.

I’m all about anything that keeps Johan happy. And somehow, that video makes everything better.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Please Vote!

All due respect to Aaron and Seth, my vote is for Batgirl.

And my other vote is for The Shadow Thieves, by Ann Ursu (a.k.a. Batgirl).

Go! Vote!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Post-Party

My Ho's big birthday blowout happened last night. The evening was remarkably low-stress, thanks mainly to the fact that my kind and generous sister Meghan (to whom I am now indebted big time) let me have the thing at her house. Because her house is bigger and nicer than mine, and also because she has one of those husbands who likes to clean.

(I had thought those were an urban myth until I saw him doing it with my own two eyes.)

The details--the food and the drinks and the party supplies--all came together nicely. The balloons and decorations were in Chicago Cubs red and blue, the cat was black, and the fake ivy (which was everywhere) and the miniature replica of the Wrigley Field scoreboard were green.

The cake caught the immediate attention of my niece, Madge, who dragged a chair to the table from halfway across the room so that she could get up close and gaze adoringly at it. "Oooooooh..." she purred, "That's a cool birthday cake!" And it was--with the red Wrigley Field marquee sign ("Home of Chicago Cubs") reproduced in icing on the top. Again and again, we reminded Miss Madge that she could look, but mustn't touch. She obeyed for the most part, although at one point I did see her carefully pluck a single colored sprinkle off the side. Even so, her restraint was admirable.

My Ho’s friends are interesting and social enough that the people from work mingled comfortably with his old college chums, who got along swimmingly with the members of my own family. Even my brother-in-law’s friend Steve, who crashed the party after seeing all the cars in front of the house and popped in to see what was happening, fit right in. My Ho's Youngster, after a long day of helping my sister Molly's aspiring-filmmaker boyfriend make a music video, made a cheerful, if weary, appearance.

And that, I think, was the best part. Seeing My Ho so happy to be surrounded by all of his favorite people, who were there to celebrate his birthday.

He makes it very easy to do nice things for him.

Friday, March 23, 2007

It Was Organic, At Least

Earlier this evening, while her mother shopped, I spent a good thirty minutes in the produce aisle with my 2½-year-old niece. Together we did a thorough review of everything from Brussels sprouts to sweet potatoes. We sniffed the ginger roots. We contemplated parsnips, beets and fennel. We did a side-by-side comparison of a tiny button mushroom and a giant portobello mushroom.

Granted, I am thoroughly smitten with this child, but I really can’t imagine anything better than hearing her tiny, gleeful voice screech, “That’s an ARTICHOKE!”

We discussed the fact that while radishes look a lot like cherries, they do not taste like cherries. And when I took a moment to return the little bunch of radishes to its display, I turned back around to find Miss Madge happily munching on a carrot. Totally unpeeled, straight off the display.

“I love vegetables,” she announced.

“That’s good!” I said. “Vegetables are very good for you! They’ll help you grow up healthy and strong.”

“They’ll help me grow up healthy and strong, Jewee.”

I love the way she helps me remember how to really see things again. I had completely forgotten how gorgeous eggplants are.

And yes, her mother paid for the carrot.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Nobody Puts Half Pint in a Corner

Patrick Swayze as Pa?


Oh the humanity!

Maybe it's just me, but this whole Laura as Ma, the Swayze as Pa thing seems like the realization of a Freudian dream Melissa Gilbert had in 1979...

Monday, March 19, 2007

I’d Have Been Better Off Throwing Darts at the Bracket

My Ho has run the annual NCAA pool at his place of employment since long before he was My Ho. Every year there is a pool where I work, too, but, never having been much of a fan of basketball in general, and of college hoops in particular, I didn’t pay a lot of attention to March Madness until he and I started dating.

Inspired by his enthusiasm, for the past couple of years I’ve gone ahead and filled out a bracket based on My Ho’s picks, and forwarded them, along with my $5 entry fee, to a guy in our accounting department. I have yet to win any money, but with My Ho’s guidance, I always finished somewhere in the top half. It’s something to do until opening day, anyway.

This year he carefully chose a number of underdogs with potential to upset the favorites, because he has participated in enough NCAA pools to know how these things go. And also, he’s super smart. Or, at least, I thought he was super smart, until every blessed one of his carefully chosen underdogs-with-potential picks went belly-up over the weekend.

When I first glanced through the Excel spreadsheet of current standings that the accounting guy e-mailed out to everybody this morning, I thought for a moment that he had accidentally left me off the chart. Then I scrolled to the right and found my name in the faaaaar column. Currently, I am holding strong at number 95 out of 97.

We’re not out if it yet, though. All of our final four teams remain alive, and we can finish in the money IF the remaining half of March goes for our surviving picks a lot like the last half of the Twins’ season did for my darling beloveds last year.

They did end up winning the division, after all.

Maybe I should just stick to baseball.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Another Happy Birthday

Two of my favorite guys in the world have birthdays back-to-back. Yesterday was Johan’s, and today is My Ho’s birthday, which makes life infinitely easier, because I’m terrible at remembering dates most of the time.

My Ho is not Venezuelan, he is from Skokie. He grew up a fan of the Chicago Cubs, and as a kid would take the El to Wrigley Field early on summer mornings, to wait in line for the bleacher seats. In particular, he was a fan of the 1969 Cubs team, and I am convinced that this is the reason he turned out to be the man of character that he is. My Ho is a sensitive soul, and exceptionally kind, and I believe this is because he learned from an early age the pain of a broken heart, and how to carry on and continue to love, even in the face of bitter disappointment.

As far as I know, My Ho cannot throw a changeup, but he is the fastest two-finger typist I have ever seen. And, like Johan, he is not one to self-promote. Many of the admirable deeds he has done in the past I found out about by accident, which makes knowing him a little bit like a treasure hunt. I just never know when I’m going to stumble across something amazing.

This is a big birthday for My Ho, one that ends in a zero. The real party will happen in a few days, and it will have a Wrigley Field/1969 Cubs theme, complete with a black cat (big thanks to Dr. Dave for the tip). But I wanted to do something special for today, too, as a little preview.

(Ernie Banks was already taken. Sorry.)

Happy Birthday, My Ho!

“Hey, hey, holy mackerel,
no doubt about it,
the Cubs are on their way!

The Cubs are gonna hit today
they're gonna pitch today
they're gonna field today
come what may,
the Cubs are gonna win today!

Hey, hey holy mackerel
no doubt about it
The Cubs are on their way!

They've got the hustle
they've got the muscle
the Chicago Cubs are on their way!!!”