My online journal.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A.I. Top 9

Soooo, this is "Popular Downloads on iTunes" week? So random. OK.

I noticed right off that Allison is dressed like a buoy. And then Anoop sings some Usher song called... uh... "Collared"? I've been really slack about listening to popular music so I'm afraid I'm in for a rough week.

Anoop -- Some Usher song
He sings it sharp, it sounds like karaoke, and I'm just not buyin' whatever he's sellin'.

And Paula, I KNOW that pale lipstick is in, but I think it makes you look old. Old with maybe even a mustache. Do not fear colored lipstick! You have nothing to fear but fear itself! I asked Joel for a good quote and he came up with "Easy, furball." So that's something.

Megan -- Some Bob Marley/Lauren Hill song
They announced what she was doing right before a commercial break, and I said to myself, "This is going to be BAD and I'm going to LOVE it." I didn't *exactly* love it though. I think if Megan were in my living room singing this song, I would find it terrific. But on that big stage, she pushes her voice way too hard.

Danny Gokey -- Some Rascal Flatts song
Can you tell I can't get my internets working at the moment? Oh wait this song is "What Hurts the Most." Lucy, of course, thought Danny hit the rock. I guess it was good. Joel thought it wasn't his best. And the judges are recycling comments from four seasons ago.

Allison Iraheta -- Don't Speak by No Doubt
This was kinda identical to the Gwen Stefani version. It was fine -- it was good. And I just don't GET Allison's hair. How does she keep it that color? And how did she get those crazy spikes on top -- is it a hairpiece? Or did she, God forbid, actually get it cut that way?

Scott -- Just the way you are by Billy Joel
AGAIN Scott talks about "stripping down." This guy has naked issues, methinks. I thought the song was really lovely. I even enjoyed the Billy Joel hairdo -- how much fun would it be to be the stylist for a sight-impaired person?! Joel thought he looked a little like Teen Wolf, and thought the song got really good toward the end.

Here, Ryan Seacrest announces that The Fray and Celine Dion will be sung by Matt and Lil. And I wish out loud that it's Matt singing Celine Dion.

Matt -- NOT singing Celine Dion (grrrr.)
Matt, again, sounds bad on the early low notes of this song. He continues to be pitchy on descending notes for the rest of the song, and I think the judges (specifically Paula) are exactly right in their assessment of his performance as a lousy repeat of his Coldplay song from an earlier round. Joel says that Matt was "trying to move someone with his singing -- he moved my bowels." Thanks, Joel, for another quality quote.

Lil -- NOT singing The Fray
(Insert comment from Stu regarding The Fray.)
I didn't take a single note on this performance. It stunk, and I hate to say that because I really like Lil a lot as a person... errr, rather, I think I would, if I actually knew her. Lil, I'm so sorry.

Adam -- Wild Cherry's Play That Funky Music
Let it be said that I HATE this song. Let it also be said that I would really appreciate it if Adam's version entirely replaced the usage of the original version at weddings. Any chance we can get a petition going?
I loved the tempo changes -- doing the part before the chorus twice as slow, then speeding back up for the chorus -- it reminded me of the tinkering they did with the Beatles songs in Across The Universe (PS if you like music and have not seen this movie YOU NEED TO).
Right, so Adam is just amazing. My parents called a couple days after his "Ring of Fire" performance a couple weeks ago, giddy because they'd paid $.99 for the song on iTunes. He is good, good, good. And if he winds up in the bottom 3, he'll be crying himself to sleep on his huuuge pillow. That boy's head's like Sputnik.

Kris -- Ain't no sunshine
Hard to go after Adam, man. I, unfortunately, much prefer some other version of this song. it was good but boring. Joel was hoping for some more up-tempo in the middle of the song. I know everybody loved it, but yaaawn.

Well, it's probably good this is my last week. I hate to say I'm getting bored, but there are very few surprises and the remaining singers pretty much shake out the same every week. And it's not looking good for the VCR -- apparently hooking it up with the antenna and the converter box is nigh-on impossible ... unless maybe we want to take up a collection for an HD antenna? The rankings:

Giant head (and shoulders) above everyone else:

Next bunch:

Bottom bunch:

Joel's new favorite nemesis

Fluffy Whole-Wheat Biscuits

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter (unsalted)
1 cup milk (I used about 2/3 c buttermilk and 1/3 c skim)

In a medium bowl, combine flours, baking powder, sugar, and salt; mix well. Cut in butter (I used a pastry blender)until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in milk just until moistened. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface; knead gently 8 to 10 times. Roll to 3/4-in. thickness; cut with a 2-1/2-in. biscuit cutter (I just patted it flat with my hands and then cut off square/triangle-pieces with a butterknife) and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 450 degrees F for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve warm.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Somewhere My Love

A snippet of this song is playing on NPR. I like that I recognize it -- I like that about my upbringing, that I know old songs and can sometimes sing along.

So I have a conundrum. Well, two. Again, my desire to teach dance is conflicting with my home life.

I've been teaching these preschool dance classes, and while I enjoy myself immensely, I have nagging guilt about HAVING to drag Lu and Ed along with me. I mean, once they're there they typically love it, but getting them there is a giant pain in the noodle. So I'm just torn -- do I keep dragging them along, or do I just say Sorry! to my students and postpone classes until my kids are safely into school? It's a real stinker.

Also -- I have some bad news. Tomorrow night will be my final timely American Idol posting. I have a new gig on Tuesday nights at 7:00, so unless I can figure out how to use my VCR, I'm doomed. *Sigh* It was SUPER fun, while it lasted. Unfortunately, Teaching For Money outweighs Watching My Second-Favorite TV Show For Free. That is, unless someone can raise $400 in the next week? Then I can tell my Tuesday class to shove it. Well, let me know how that goes.

I'm making my mom's famous Turkey Carcass Soup this evening and golly it smells delicious. Gotta go find a biscuit recipe...

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Anybody out there?

Hey everybody. You ever have one of those days/weeks where it feels like nobody likes you? I do sometimes. It helps to know there are people who love you. It helps to know that God still loves you. It does NOT help when your two children scream "DON'T TALK TO ME!! BAD MOMMY!!" over and over. And over.

How am I supposed to teach my kids anything when they immediately realize they're about to be taught something, and proactively buck and revolt? And, oh, that's right, they're 4. And 3. It's going to be a loooong 15ish more years.

Joel took the little darlings outside this afternoon for some yard-time. It was chilly but sunny and they all had their coats off by the time they came in around 4:30. He dug out our veggie-garden area a little, expanding it for this year's attempts. Here's what's on the docket (or the order form, as it were):

snap peas
bell peppers
...and the much-discussed apple tree(s). Sure sounds ambitious for someone with a black thumb! I don't have terribly high hopes, but I think it will be fun trying. If anybody is growing anything different and wants to trade, I'm totally open (especially the radishes; last year we had 50 times the number of radishes we could eat).

ECFE is on spring break this coming week, which means an entire week of no ECFE. And from the looks of it, we'll be lucky to hit 40 degrees all week. Sob! Whatever will I do with myself!?

Now I'm going to go try to convince Joel that we should watch the women's figure skating championships on TV. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

American Idol Top 10 -- Motown Week

UGH! Motown!? At least they're getting all my least-favorite genres out of the way. Honestly, between show choir and AI, if I never hear "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" EVER again, it will be too soon.

Ed passed out on Joel's chest on the couch before Lucy and I even got back from dance class, so we gently tossed him into his bunk and then let Lu stay up a little later to watch much of the show. As the opening sequence began, Lucy says "I'll point to the girl I love," which is no easy task when the scene is cut like a music video. After several near-misses and several buttery fingerprints on our TV screen, Lucy nailed magenta-haired Allison as her pick. Not a surprise, but she does have good taste.

Matt Giraud (Lucy: Did he say "Smacker Drive"!?!?) -- Let's Get it On
The very beginning at the piano was HOTT, though immediately following that I'm not sure Matt has the vocal range to hit those low notes. Lucy said "He did well because he listened to his teacher" -- that's my little firstborn! (A teeny note on inbreeding -- in addition to Lucy being the firstborn child of two firstborn children, two of her grandparents are also firstborns and the two grandparents who aren't technically firstborns are the second-borns-of-eleven. The chattiness factor goes back at least three generations. The girl has no chance.)
Overall, I liked it quite a bit.

Paula looks classy and beautiful tonight.

Kris Allen -- How Sweet It Is
How many times has this song title been used as a pun by a headline writer? "How Suite It Is." "How Sweet Kitt Is." "How Sweet It... Israel!" I might've made up the last one, but seriously, this song reminds me of magazines.
Has Kris always been sporting this 5:00 shadow? It's cuters on him. I mentioned that his performance was rock-solid and very enjoyable, and Joel thinks he has a really interesting sound to his voice. Lucy said "I thought he was solid" and I said "That's what I said!" and Lucy repeated, "I thought he was salad." I do not know what this means.
After Paula guesstimated that Kris's high note at the end was an A, I thought back to what I imagined the note to be, and sang it out loud. Then I ran over to my piano (just like you said I would, Jean!!) to try to find the note, and I started on A. Now, my piano is slightly out of tune but Paula was RIGHT ON. An A! Who knew Paula Abdul had perfect pitch?
Now it's possible that I remembered the note wrong, and I just happened to sing an A. In which case *I* have perfect pitch! See, everybody wins!

Scott -- You Can't Hurry Love
Ryan Seacrest: "Here's Scott!"
Lucy: "... aand he's blind." (her comedic taste might need some work, but her timing is impeccable)
Let's get the horrifying pink pants out of the way right now. Wait, I didn't mean "get them out of the way" like "take them off"!! Egads. No joke, those pants look like they were made out of the same sludge as Chicken McNuggets. Grody.
I thought he was kinda shouty. Joel started to comment, when Lucy broke in with "remember, he's blind." I'm not certain she even knows what "blind" means. Something to work on. Joel mentioned that Scott's range seemed kind of small, like he might do well with Randy Newman-style songs that are more about being charming than about blowing the roof off.
Paula's Night Of Being A Musical Savant continues as she uses the word "rubato". Unfortunately, the wheels start to come off when she crawls under the desk, displaying that the bottom half of her "classy" dress is actually a giant tutu. And then she displays ... what is this, Simon's hidden stash of Fiber Bars? Ohh, crayons. Hmm.

Megan -- For Once In My Life
Well! I think to myself, Here's a Motown song I actually like! A lot! I imagined it was going to be really fun and lovely, and I was SO WRONG. She sang sharp, she oversang it, she sang it so fast I couldn't even hear her signature tone. A giant bummer. Lucy: "She hit the rock for me." Joel and Me: "Huh?" We think she meant it as a compliment.

Anoop -- Ooh Baby Baby
Even Smokey Robinson admitted that this is not actually a song. Hey Anoop! THIS IS NOT ACTUALLY A SONG. The sound coming out of his mouth was pretty great, but you are supposed to sing A SONG on this show.

Mike -- Ain't Too Proud To Beg
I actually thought this was surprisingly competent. But that's all -- there was nothing super-exciting about it. Joel wanted Michael to mix up the chorus the 3rd time, but I can't even get that specific... I just thought it was fine, but blah. Which is just what the judges said -- not good enough this year.

Lil Rounds -- Heat Wave
I ADORE her dress and must have one immediately. But she was yelling the song, and I grew bored.

Adam -- The Tracks of My Tears
This song mentions clowns, and therefore I hate it. And yet Adam is an amazing performer and once again he gets my top vote. Joel mentioned that Adam is a chameleon, but that shouldn't surprise anyone who's read my opinions before. Like Bo Bice and Constantine before him, Adam is an actor who can be Mick Jagger one day and Young Hot Elvis the next. I have no idea what that means for Adam from a marketing standpoint -- musical theatre geeks like myself will find him fascinating and it will be easy to cast him in the next Broadway revival of West Side Story, and everyone else will probably just be baffled yet AMAZED at his New Look!
But I want to mention that the song needed to resolve on "you" and not on "need." I waited for that "you" for a good eight seconds until I realized it was never coming. I'm guessing I'm not the first girl Adam has left waiting, sorta confused. To paraphrase Neil Patrick Harris's recent SNL monologue, "I'm like 'What, is he allergic to timing?' and my girlfriend is, like, 'Why won't you kiss me?' and I'm, like, 'Later, I mean, LOOK at this guy!'"

Smokey Robinson dresses real hip for, like, a 75-year-old dude?

Danny -- Get Ready
Joel thought it was amateurish. I actually really enjoyed it, but maybe in the same way that I enjoyed Michael Sarver's performance -- it was good but not really good enough.

Allison -- Papa Was a Rolling Stone
I actually used to think this song was about Mick Jagger. Until tonight, actually. Allison sang the heck out of this thing and I have to go finish cutting Joel's hair so now my rankings...

Top 3

Middle of Pack

These Guys Can Start Going Home In Any Order:


Lu: "A jabberbox is somebody who talks a lot. I'm a jabberbox. My papa calls me a jabberbox."

And also:

Lu: Mama, you laugh a lot on the phone.

Me: Well, I do like to laugh.

Lu: Maybe you laugh because you have so lovely kids.

I've got a house full of one 3-year-old, three 4-year-olds, and a recent 5. The convos between the older kids are hilaaaaarious.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Shopping Spree

Those of you who know me well know I don't buy stuff.


This week has been a grand, fabulous exception. I've acquired the "Free to Be... You and Me" new hardcover book AND the complete CD (not the 4-song disappointment that comes with the book). This was to be a birthday present for Eddie and while he and Lu have been now listening to the CD nonstop since yesterday, I do think my bliss eclipses theirs. I remember bringing my old 1981 version of the book (which came with a vinyl record) to first grade, hoping to stage a "dramatic reading" of the Boy Meets Girl scene with Eric Lee, only to find that Eric Lee, though one of the smartest kids in first grade, did not yet have the reading skill to do an impromptu performance during Show-and-tell.

I remember Mrs. Head stepping in to divert attention from Eric's frustration. I bet she volunteered to read it with me, but she was a GIRL, of course, and would not do.

In addition, I've gotten my gardening undies in a metaphorical bunch and I am, after all, acquiring the hanging planter-baskets mentioned in the earlier posting. I'm also getting a set of clothesline poles off craigslist, and in addition I found an iron garden bench that I'm going to put in my front yard (in a soon-to-be-dug-out area by the sidewalk) to encourage neighborhood walkers to sit and enjoy the sunshine. Or, should I put it in the shade?

The baskets and bench are being acquired for me by my darling friend Becky, who is never averse to being sent all over the northwest metro area on wild-goose-chases, meeting random people who talk her into buying used board games. Thank you Becky!

AND I think we're going to get a Honeycrisp apple tree. Maybe 2. Through the Friends of Ramsey County Parks and Trails or something. Mmmm, free apples!! Well, after the $25 cost of the tree, that is.
P.S. If anybody knows ANYTHING about planting/keeping apple trees, I could really use your helps. Thanks.

Most importantly, today we got a piano! It's a spinet and looks HUGE in our living room and it needs tuning, but it's here, hoping to be played. I'm so excited!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

just me

The kids are in Monticello with Joel. The house is silent.

I'm lonely.

And I sort of have a migraine so I might go for a run -- except it's only 40 degrees now and I hear it's getting up to 60. I hate to get all my good outside-time when the temp hasn't reached its potential.

Who's calling me?

P.S. Later addition: I wanted to mention that Lucy totally read a word the other day: WATER. Just like Helen Keller!! I nearly cried from excitement.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

American Idol, Top 11, Week 2 -- Grand Ole Opry

Ugh, I have trouble even typing that: Grand Ole Opry?? Grrr. My hands just want to write "Old Opera" and I don't even like opera.

So I'm not a giant country-music fan. I mean, OK, I have a couple Garth Brooks albums and maybe one Faith Hill, but I swear I never listen to them. Country-music week is historically a super-rough one on AI. I walked in the door just barely in time to catch the first singer -- I'd been dropping off corned beef, sauerkraut, potatoes, and Irish soda bread for Jean at the ER. The very ER that's blocks from about eight Irish bars as well as the Xcel Center where a Wild game was just about to start. Traffic was a bear so I came home a little frazzled.

While I was gone I missed some good old-fashioned bathtime shenanigans with the kids. Joel reports:

Lucy: Whoever says "ketchup" first gets their hair washed first. Okay
Eddie, what do you say?

Ed: Ketchup!

Lucy: Oooop, Eddie wants his hair washed!

Lucy: Whoever says "bathtub" first gets a prize. BATHTUB! Ohh, I get a

My ECFE parent educator tells us that making up rules for games is part of being four years old. Evidently.

OK so first up: some schpiel about Randy Travis -- honestly, I had no idea he was so old, or that his head would be so oblong. Someone mentions Carrie Underwood, to which Lucy squeals, "Carrie UNDERWEAR!?" and off we go:

Michael -- Ain't Goin' Down 'Til the Sun Comes Up
Doing Garth Brooks is incredibly dangerous -- for one, he's a gigantic karaoke favorite, and for two, he's an incredible showman. Michael's rendition was not bad, but totally forgettable. I might have enjoyed it if he'd played harmonica and sung at the same time. Joel didn't know if he liked it.

Allison -- Blame It On Your Heart
The song was blah, but she is adorable and a really strong singer. Joel likes her tone, Lucy thought it was DOPE, and I really like how Simon says "tuneless" like "chuneless." Just like that series we're watching on Henry VIII: "The Chudors." Or today: "Chuesday." So cute.

Kris -- To Make You Feel My Love
I was surprised by the quality of his voice. During this song, Eddie hit me in the head with a metal pole off an old Pack-n-Play, then blamed me for it and called me a Bad Mom about 20 times. It was a rather unpleasant ending to a nice performance.

Lil Rounds -- Independence Day
Simon, usually I kind of like you, but you're being kind of a jerk. YES there is a recording artist named Li'l Kim, who uses Li'l as an abbreviation for "Little," But Lil is also short for Lily or Lilianna and the older I get the ruder I think it is to refuse to call someone the name they ask to be called. Even if their last name sort of sounds like an adjective/noun. On to the singing: Lil, that dress is SO WEIRD. I used to fold pink cloth napkins for a living and stuff them into coffee cups, and your dress reminds me of that, and not in that good "free desserts and get to watch horses and sometimes drink free booze" way but more like "fold these 1,000 napkins and then spoon 500 cups of gross-out Louie dressing into these cruets."
So like I said, On to the singing.
It wasn't very strong. At all. She is not the powerhouse of Fantasia Barrino, or even Allison. Lucy said she looked tired. And that is that.

Adam -- Ring of Fire
The way he sang "Ring of Fire" made me cringe, thinking about the guy from Jean's blog. That said, I sort of loved it. A LOT. Joel made a couple points about Adam changing "the rules" (which were, ostensibly, to sing something "country") and about the song being "werid, but memorable" -- but the truth is, Adam NAILED IT. I mean, seriously, he is taking some giant risks going for those notes and he hits Every. Single. One. He does look like Elvis and the performance was definitely indulgent (which is not a word I use, ever, but Simon hit it on the nose) but I'm sorry, I totally loved every second of it.

Scott MacIntyre -- Wild Angels
I get this song confused with both "Wild Horses" and "10,000 Angels." Dear camerapersons: I would like to see more actual piano-playing on camera. More hand-shots. Here's my other question: do people actually WANT to see the judges fighting? I HATE watching people fight. "Good television" be damned. Just all get along, ok?

Alexis Grace -- Jolene
The wee person! Joel says. Someone sang this song last year, I says, and I just don't care for the song. Also, she had some major pitch problems. Why don't the judges ever use the phrase "off-key?" Joel also thought she was oversinging -- I don't disagree. I also hate it when people say "the reason is because..." It's really redundant. You can say "the reason IS..." or "X happens because..." but "the reason is because" just chafes my hide.

Danny Gokey -- Jesus Take the Wheel
So maybe I am just in a bad mood today, but the rimless glasses and the popped-collar jacket just put me off. And Danny, you were singing way sharp on the verse. Oof! Where's my wine!?

Anoop -- You were always on my mind
Let me tell you, the first version of this song I ever heard was some weird late-'80s techno remix, which I always liked a lot. So I disagree that the Willie Nelson and/or Johnny Cash versions are "untouchable." I also want to say that I feel like all the songs are starting in unexpectedly high keys this week. But Anoop, this was really lovely. Joel was really looking for a high falsetto note at the end, but it was a very enjoyable performance.

Commercial break: Don't you think if jet-packs ever become de rigeur, that for sure everyone would wear helmets? Or maybe the commercial was about oatmeal. Whatever.

Joel also tells a story about Saint Patrick's Day downtown today, and how walking to his car he had flashbacks to St Patrick's Days in college, with everyone giddy to be drinking beer outside, tee-hee, staggering around from a winter of inactivity + too many wobbly-pops, wearing shorts with blinding white legs peeking out.

Megan! -- Walking After Midnight
Why do I like her so much!? Who cares?! I do. The amount of her talent reminds me of a Kelly Pickler -- who, last I checked, was doing rather well. Joel remains completely uncharmed by her, neglecting even to notice her gorgeous bosoms under that dress. Honestly, I had to point them out. He just rolled his eyes and claimed that now she was going to get "the flu vote."
I think she's fascinating. She's got the makings of a fantastic one-hit wonder, and I mean that as a compliment. Something about the way she sang tonight reminds me of Neko's "These Days" from a mix CD we got from Stu several years ago. That, unfortunately, was not a compliment.
I'm curious about her dropping the "Corkrey" from her name -- on St. Patrick's Day, no less! A crime!

Matt -- So Small
Joel and I do not know the original verison of this song, but we thought this was VERY good. I want to take this moment to appreciate Paula a bit. If nothing else, she is overflowing with love and joy. That's not a small thing in this world (which, actually, is what Matt's song was about) and I just want to say, Thank You Paula -- don't go changin'.

Joel wraps up with: "This is a good year. I don't mean to sound like I'm into this show or anything, though."

And I wrap up with my rankings:

Top 4:

Middle of the Pack:

Bottom 3:

It's probably time for Michael to go. Let's be honest: he's not going to win this thing. Neither are Scott, Kris, Megan, or Anoop -- I'm just putting it out there. Let me know what you think!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Hey there, it's March 17 and that means any doofus can dress up in green and drink too much.
We haven't started drinking here... yet... but we did hit the St. Pat's Day parade downtown St. Paul.
The kids and I hopped the Metro bus and met Joel, the Dalys (including Grandpa Daly), and the Crandalls... and Jean actually had the infamous green coat!

At the bus stop. If you ever want to appear cool and savvy and street-smart, do NOT take a 3- and 4-year-old, decked out in green, on a city bus.
In the skyway -- Ed's favorite part.

On the street, waiting for the parade. It was chilly until the sun finally came out.

The Swarm -- a professional... err... lacrosse team? I dunno. But I do have a token for BOGO tickets, if anybody is interested.

Josie ... and Owen ... eating candy, I presume.

Eddie with Auntie Beans and Grampa Daly in his authentic Irish cap. Slainthe! Or something.
Hey, did someone the other day say that Eddie's breath is "milky"? I mean, it totally is -- it's still baby-breath and it's the best thing ever. Lucy still has some sweetness, although a different sort, in her breath too.
I spend a LOT of time smelling Ed's breath while he sits on the toilet these days, so I guss it's just on my mind.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Seattle! I'm going to Seattle!

I shouldn't even write this, since we haven't exactly booked the tickets yet. Joel is going to Seattle for a benefits thinghy in May/June and... I'm going too!

He grumbles that I won't get to spend much time with him because he will be "very busy." Pfft! I'm more than happy to explore alone. It's sort of always been my dream to travel alone. I can't wait!!

Soooo... what should I do!?!?

Also here's a pic taken by my friend Annetta, whose darling children were in my recent dance class:

And Eddie sans the toofers:

And just one more pic for good measure:


Remember that garish kelly-green coat I bought back in 1996? I CAN'T FIND IT. Do you have it? I would like it back by Tuesday, if at all possible. Thank you.

Also, yesterday I posted on Craig's List looking for some hanging baskets in which to plant some flowers and hang around the gazebo. I got a reply, from someone I'll call Revayco. I suspect this guy might be a long-lost relative.

Original craigslist posting:

Hey there, I'm looking for your used hanging basket-style containers for plants or flowers. Optimally, they'd have a hook or loop at the top and I can hang them off some existing hooks in my yard. Any size is OK -- I'm thinking in the 8"-14" range. Any material (plastic/metal) OK too. Im looking for up to six (6) hanging pots. The picture shows what I would call very high-end -- a cheapo throwaway plasticky kind is totally fine. Free would be best -- cheap is OK too. Let me know what you've got! Thanks!

Revayco replied:

Hi - I have 6 of the metal type of hanging basket that I won't be using this spring.
I paid $5 apiece for these in 2004.
They are in real good condition. I've discarded the moss, so we are talking frame only.
I don't have pictures.
We be asking a firm $15 cash.

I live in Champlin. Haven't been in East Saint Paul since the Vikings were in the Super Bowl.

So I wrote back:

I wasn't aware the Vikings were ever in the Super Bowl.. Thanks for the reply --
Champlin's too far for me, though. Sorry...

At which point I would have expected the conversation to end. However...

Revayco writes back:

Thanks for letting me know. I'm also delighted the inhabitants of the
east side write and speak English.
Four Super Bowls in fact.
I earned the right to talk smart about the east side. I married one, and made a good woman out of her.
Keep smiling.

So now I've been engaged, and I can't resist. I reply:

Hellooo, didn't you get the memo? The east side is the new happenin' spot. The new Uptown. Uptown II. Uptopia. We're still working on a title. All the hep English-speaking cats are groovin' over here..
Get out and do some yard work, or something.

And here's the response from Revayco:

Hep Cats ??? My good common sense says, Meg wants the last word. Ain't happening. I'm Irish.
The east side is like a foreign country. Lower Liberia. Southern Somali. Eastern Ethiopia.
The fringe benefit you get is to see the sun first, not conducive to a good crop of anything except weeds.
Best check your TV guide.
Wouldn't want you to miss Lawrence Welk and those sweet "Hep" Lennon Sisters you grew up with.
Oh, I don't do yard work till after Easter. Makes it easier to hide the eggs. Yard mice don't like eggs.
The price of the hanging baskets is now $250 cash only. I need it to get my head examined.
I'll now retire to the bat cave. We're burning pictures of Oprah to use for tomato

So the upshot is, I still don't have any hanging baskets. If you have any to get rid of, let me know. And now I have the memory of this very strange e-conversation.

In unrelated news, a friend of mine offered to teach preschool drawing class and asked whether Lucy would be interested. Lucy likes to produce art, but I'm not sure she'd benefit from a class at this stage. Anyway, I was mulling this over in my head yesterday morning when I turned the corner and ran into ... Frida Kahlo.

So I'm guessing the art class might be a good idea after all, eh?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

American Idol Week 1 -- Top 13

YESSSSS. American Idol is back, baby!

Sorry, I don't have much to live for these days... or that might be the way it seems. Regardless, I am fully on the American Idol bandwagon after three yearsish of waning interest.

Here's my own personal recap of tonight's show, the Top 13. I have ranked the contestants as I see 'em, but I think I'll do my commentary in chronological order since there are soooo many of them at the moment.

It's Michael Jackson week, which I think is pretty cool since he has a gigantic catalog of decent songs. Paula borrowed her outfit from Bjork, and here we go.

1st up: Lil Rounds! What a name. She sang "The way you make me feel" and I thought it was great. Eddie said "Look at her! She's beautiful!" and Joel thought it was a little slow and dull at times.

2. Scott the Blind Guy singing "Keep the Faith"
I like this guy, he's a pretty good musician, but I can't help but think he's getting lots of votes for being the blind guy. As Scott was sitting behind his VERY shiny piano, Eddie said "He's in the WATER!" and then, as the camera rotated, "He's on the STAGE!!" That Ed, you can't get anything by him.

3. Danny singing "PYT"
This was the first song of the night that got me really excited. I like Danny a lot, and not just because he has the same glasses as I do (except mine have a giant "G" on the sides, and that's only interesting because Danny's last name also starts with a G, although I guess it's a good thing because if we ever got our glasses mixed up it would be very easy to tell them apart... and I am indeed happily married but, Danny, it would be OK by me if our glasses somehow got mixed up). I also like Danny not just because he dances like Stu, which he totally does. I thought the performance was fun and entertaining and I loved it. And now, a conversation between Joel and Lucy:

Joel: I thought he rocked it.
Lucy: What does "rocked it" mean?
Joel: I thought he nailed it.
Lucy: What does "nailed it" mean?

This from a girl who just yesterday was looking for Jerusalem on our globe, and called out, J... J... I'm looking for a J... and when I said, a J? How did you know that? she grinned at me and told me she sounded it out.

4. Michael singing "You are not alone"
Michael, I'm not your biggest fan. Sorry dude. And it was confusing because I could never tell when they meant you, or when they meant Michael Jackson. And guess what, today at AYP rehearsal a 9-year-old girl called Michael Jackson "Michael Jordan." And then had no clue what a Greyhound Bus was. I feel ooooooold.

5. Jasmine singing "I'll be there"
All right, I admit I didn't actually see any of this song (nor the second half of Michael's) due to kiddos bedtime. But I promise she was boring.

6. Kris singing "Do you remember the time"
This was gooood. He is cuuuuute. Joel liked it too but without all the extra vowels. Joel also caught the Jason Mraz vibe and that's fine but Kris is still in my bottom four-ish.

7. Allison singing "Given to me"
I ADORE this girl and I think she's amazing. Joel thinks she's going home, though, because "who's into rock anymore?" I suspect he's wrong, but I can see how her sound probably sounded a lot more fresh eight years ago when Kelly Clarkson started doing it.

8. Anoop -- Beat It
This was bad, bad, bad karaoke. And it was followed by a weird Hershey Kisses commercial where a kid hands a wrapped Kiss to his mom and she pops it right into her mouth. It made my fillings hurt.

9. Jorge Nunez-- Never say goodbye
I liked it a lot, actually, and then the judges went and ripped him to shreds. I really like Jorge. And Paula looks soaking wet. What is her DEAL!?

10. Megan Corkrey -- Rockin' robin
She looked super-embarrassed to be singing such a ridiculous excuse for a song. Her red dress was bizarre and exactly the opposite of the kind of clothes I want her to be wearing. The dress was weird, the song was weird, and yet there is something about the tone of her voice that I LOVE.

11. Adam Lambert -- Black & White
Let's get this straight: Adam Lambert is Constantine Maroulis: 2009 edition. And I mean that in the most loving way: drama geek with a fantastic voice and stage presence who has chosen a niche (possibly out of a hat) and is rocking it. Except Adam seems gayer -- I find myself strangely unattracted to him and there is something ungenuine (is that a word?) about him. Possibly his base makeup. Also I cannot STAND the name "Lambert" -- wasn't that the name of a pathetic sheep character in some cartoon of my youth?? That said, Adam's performance was brilliant. And I was really impressed by his comment about it taking a lot of hard work to get his performance the way he wanted it. I think that's something a lot of young performers misunderstand -- Adam doesn't just lay around all day until it's time to hop on stage and do his Aerosmith/Rolling Stones thingamajig. He WORKS HARD to get the sound and the effect he wants. Certainly he has natural talent, but he also puts in a lot of hard work to make it seem effortless and natural. Bravo!

12. Matt -- "Human nature"
Pretty darn good, but some of the end notes were weird for me.

13. Alexis -- "Dirty Diana"
Joel thinks she's adorable and he is totally right. I thought her performance was decent -- did anyone else notice that she's six inches shorter than Ryan Seacrest, even while wearing 4-inch heels? She's a peanut!

OK my top three:
Lil Rounds

Middle of the pack, hope they're safe:

My bottom three:

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Facebook profile photos

Kate, I really hope you don't mind me doing this. I just think it's ... well ... such a funny accident!

My cousin Kate:


I invite anybody else (particularly any other cousins, but the invitation extends to others with a similar look: Sarah McLachlan, for example, or the Progressive Auto Insurance girl) to post their competing pics. I dunno, maybe we can come up with a prize or something.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Chocolate cake for the toothless wonder

It is for sure, like, 50 degrees out this afternoon. Bring it on, spring!!

I found a couple Lucy quotes laying around on scraps of paper, and I doubt I've posted them yet so here goes:

"Mom. I'm gonna pick out the shirt, you're gonna pick out the pants. Is that clear enough for you?"


Lucy (immediately following some sort of meal or snack): "I'M HUNGRY!"

Me (knowing that she means "I'M BORED!"): "What did you say!?!"

Lucy: "I didn't say 'I'm hungry.' I said . . ." (she pauses to think) . . . "'I love you.'"

My little Eddie-man turns 3 tomorrow. Got to go wrap presents...

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Anyway, yes.

Eddie continues to rebound as though he'd never even been under the knife... err, the pair of pliers, as it were. He was running around the house like his old self yesterday afternoon and it was all Joel and my dad and I could do to keep that kid on light-duty.

I can see Ed sticking his tongue in the new hole in his mouth, and the rice he was eating last night kept spilling out as fast as he could shovel it in. Also, sometimes he whistles when he talks, now... but other than that, all is back to normal for him.

Joel and my dad and I all took everything much harder, I must say -- when the dentist came in to confirm what we were doing for surgery yesterday, he was hinting that maybe the teeth wouldn't need to come out at all. Then he noticed something on the chart that he hadn't noticed before... NOT what a mama wants to hear in the waning moments before they knock out your son to rip out his teeth. No, what I want to hear is that the doc has been thinking about nothing else besides my son for the last three months. Ridiculous, I know, but could he at least pretend to be sure what he was doing?

It all did shake out OK, though -- like I mentioned, the teeth did really need to come out, and it all went seamlessly until Joel backed into a pylon in the hospital parking ramp and tore the plastic off our driver-side taillights. Grrrr.

We came home and proceeded to watch ... oh ... maybe four kid-movies in a row? Madagascar, Ice Age 2, Nemo, and some Veggie Tales. The grownups all catnapped, but NOT EDDIE. Stinker. He must've eaten seven popsicles and an entire tub of strawberry yogurt.

Joel (knowing he'd be home all day) called a garage-door-fixit company to take a look at our garage door. The door itself is only a few years old, but the opener has been flaking out on us for the last five years or so -- the first couple years, it wouldn't operate when the temp was below zero or over 100. Last year the range was 20-80 degrees and this winter, really, once it got below freezing there was no chance of it working.

It's a detached garage and we keep almost nothing of value in it, but still, we do live in a city neighborhood and it had been damn frustrating to have to manually tug the door open and shut (and even then it would buck and rebound and cause endless frustration). So yesterday, $360 later, it is completely fixed. We also found out that the mechanism was from 1983. So it'd been living on borrowed time for at least the last decade. It brings me great joy to watch my garage open and shut merrily along and I feel like a giant thorn has been removed from my rear end.

I'd better go call Grampa and Ed in from their rollick in the snow. It's lunchtime!!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The teeth have left the building.

Eddie and Joel and I all just got back from the hospital. Ed is doing GREAT. He's eating popsicles like they're going out of style, and holding court on the living room couch, while being doted on by his loyal admirers -- mostly Gramps and Lucy.

The teeth are out -- and it's a good thing, because the roots were very badly damaged, according to the doc. He and all the Children's Hospital staff were just wonderful, gentle, kind, and patient. It was a wonderful experience.

Thank you, everybody, for the thoughts and prayers and well-wishing. Gotta go unwrap some more popsicles!!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Say "sayonara" to those two front toofers...

Just wanted to post a beautiful new pic of the kids. We are all going to bed here -- Ed's surgery (to get his two mangled front teeth removed, in case you've been living under a rock) is at 7:30 AM Wednesday. I will post updates later in the day.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Drowning my sorrows in Cinnamon Life Cereal

I think I'm getting arthritis, at least in my right hand. The back of it hurts, kind of a lot, with a frequency that's starting to get irritating. UGH.

Kind of a cold, worthless weekend around here. It was sunny but pretty much too cold to take the kiddos out sledding or anything. Life is tough when your legs are shorter than the recent snow accumulation.

I spent much of Saturday at Pat Watson's photo studio open house. It was a fun time; I got to see several people I don't get to see very often; and most importantly I was out of the house. Phew. I also got to tuck into a massive grocery trip All By Myself. It felt good, and it feels even better to have something other than lonely, rotting carrots and Worcestershire sauce in the fridge.

Joel and the kids and I went to Augustana Lutheran down in West St Paul this morning, to check out their contemporary service. We liked it a lot, even though I'm not sure we can go back following Joel's behavior at communion. You can ask him about it -- I do not care to relive his wrestling match with the poor teenage kid holding the wine chalice.

We're on the countdown for Ed's tooth extraction (do I say "teeth extraction" since it's two teeth?) Wednesday morning, March 4. I will, if everything goes smoothly, post an update that afternoon. In the meanwhile say prayers/send power/think happy thoughts for Ed and for Dr. Mielke and for the anesthesia staff, and for me to hold myself together. I almost cried several times at our pre-surgery tour last Thursday night. Last Saturday, Pat and his other photog-friend were kind enough to snap a few quick shots of the kids, so I could get some pre-extraction 3-year shots of Eddie. He turns 3 this coming Saturday, March 7 -- hope his face is healed enough to down some chocolate cake by then.