My online journal.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Ohh, these Twins are breaking my heart...

I'm listening to the Twins game on the radio, and it's in extra innings, which is sort of annoying because I think once it's over I'll actually go to bed, but in a way it's a good thing because I get to sit on my duff and write to you all! And also I like to listen to baseball.

Whoa, this is starting out really stupid. OK. Joel is in Duluth this weekend, playing softball with lots of boys, and I'm here with the kids, hopinghopinghoping I don't go crazy.

I got in a run this morning and I weeded the garden (well, weeded maybe 1/6 of the garden -- the grass growing in there is some crazy mutant variety which grows in massive clumps bigger than my entire torso, I am not exaggerating) AND all the dishes got done, plus it looks like a major thunderstorm is a-brewin', so I'm off to a good start!

Donna my fabulous mother-in-law drove down Wednesday night (oh! I didn't even tell you about our visit with my cousin Bridget and how we went to the Twins-Sox game and how superfun it was!) and she played Mary Poppins all Thursday morning and into the afternoon -- I'm not joking, she and the kids cleaned the whole basement AND the kids' room, and the kids LOVED IT -- and I got to take a lovely bike ride over to Dayton's Bluff proper and get some errands done.

Timeout: it literally has not rained here all summer so I'm sitting here with the windows open, enjoying the rain and the wind and then realized I'm sitting here with the windows open. Oops. Got to go mop up a big corner of the living room.

OK I'm back. So I took my new $60 bike (thanks Dave and Nikki!) out for a spin and it is SO NICE to ride a nice bike -- gears that shift without popping the chain off... brakes that don't scream... fully-inflated tires. It was downright enjoyable. Anyway, I picked up a back issue of a local newspaper I'd written an article for (that Joel had tossed our home-delivered copy of before I even got to peek at it)... and I returned some books to the library... and then I screwed my courage to the sticking place and walked into Keyra's salon and asked if I could have my brows and mustache waxed.

You probably know I'm not a real high-maintenance kind of girl. I keep my pits shaved, as long as I'm planning on wearing sleeveless. I wash my hair about twice a week. I bite my nails and typically skip the blow-dryer. But I'd noticed my facial hair was getting a little out of control, and I thought a little $20 clean-up job would make me feel a little better. What I wasn't so sure about was the reputation of the salon (I've driven past it zillions of times but never stopped), nor my ability to communicate my wishes (that particular block of the Dayton's Bluff neighborhood is populated almost exclusively by Mexican restaurants and bodegas, quinceanera-dress shoppes, and other Spanish-signage spots).

Well anyway I walked in, and the place was deserted save three female workers. The gal who walked over had had her own personal eyebrows entirely removed, and penciled in in purple. This didn't do much to secure my confidence, but she was kind about my faltering, gesture-laden Spanish ("Puedes... err... waxar mis... err... como se dice 'eyebrows'? Y puedo pagar con credit card?") and she let me park my bike in the waiting area. She took me in the basement, which I have to say with the bright-yellow walls and fluorescent overhead lighting wasn't exactly what you'd call a soothing spa-like environment. But she did really lovely work, honestly. The mustache was easy -- even a girl who hasn't spent enough time in America to learn how to say "please" and "thank you" in English still knows that a 30-plus white woman wants that mustache GONE -- but the eyebrows took some negotiating.

Remember, this is all happening in Spanish:

Jasmin: How do you want your eyebrows shaped?

Me: I am sorry, I don't know, it's been 10 years. Or 11. Not too much.

Jasmin: So, not very delicate, not very fine.

Me: Right! Good! Not too delicate. NO.

Jasmin: Just nice and clean.

Me: Uh, more slowly, please? Oh yes! Clean! Good. Clean.

Jasmin: You have nice eyebrows, so I will keep them natural.

Me: Yes! I think so! Good! Natural! Very good! Thank you!

Throughout, she'd ask me if it hurt -- I mean, it does a little but it's brief and not the worst thing. I didn't say anything after she ripped the first strip off, but I gave her a little "Oooh!" after the second one -- I think she preferred a little emoting, so I tried to throw her a bone.

Then she started working on the top of my brow, and all I could think about was the admonition from the June 1992 issue of Seventeen NEVER TO PLUCK THE TOP OF YOUR BROW, but it didn't FEEL like she was taking off my whole eyebrow, and I knew we'd reached an understanding with the "natural" conversation. Anyway, my eyebrows look terrific, neat and clean and muy bonita. I even made a joke (in Spanish!) about mi esposo being muy feliz about the disappearance of the mustache. I read in someone's blog that husbands like that sort of thing. Anyway Jasmin laughed, and I enjoyed our moment.

So in a week when my mother in law conquered her fear of driving into the Big Bad City... I conquered my fear of Latin beauty salons! It's a good week altogether.

Tomorrow Alley Joel's going to work kid-breakfast duty and Cara and I are hitting the St. Paul farmer's market. I haven't been in months so I'm kind of really excited to buy some grass-fed meats or possibly some artisan breads (I hate the word artisan in that context). Then I kinda want to take the kids to that Disney Earth movie (starring the voice of James Earl Jones... yummy) -- it's at the $2 show -- and then we're checking out Ashland's high school summer camp version of Aladdin. Lucy and Eddie CANNOT WAIT.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a cheeseburger today

It's 1:00pm and for the second time in 2 days, both my kids are tucked into beds (not their own, of course: Ed's in Lucy's bunk and Lucy is in the basement guest quarters) for naps! We've been eschewing naps a lot this summer, due to activities or pure laziness on my part (because it's WAY too much trouble to close the shades and read my kids 2 books and make sure they have blankies... I mean, really).

I've got a rhubarb pie in the oven even though Pat Watson says not to pick rhubarb after the 4th of July -- I chose the thinnest, reddest stalks and I really think it's going to be OK. My cousin Bridget and her fam are supposed to be coming to town tonight, but I honestly can't say what time they're coming. Well, we'll have burgers and pie for them upon arrival!

For lunch today, I scrambled myself 2 eggs with some (home-grown!) spinach and butter and garlic and cheese. I think this is better than skipping lunch entirely, which is what I did yesterday. Some days I just have no patience for lunch and the thought of PBJ or another turkey sammy makes me want to yak. The eggs today were tasty (Lucy probably ate 1/8 of my portion; that girl loves eggs and leafy greens!) but now I'm having some tummy twangs. Probably used too much butter, I'm guessing... or after a couple weeks of food-on-the-road my body is simply rejecting an Actual Meal. Or possibly I should have had some bread or something on the side.

Garden update! Only because I went into lots of detail about the planting, and then left you all hanging. Yeah, you all... both of you, Dad and Heather. :) :)

The Japanese beetles have been devouring anything with leaves, which includes our new apple tree leaves. I simply cannot keep up with these green bastards -- for one, I am SEVERELY eeeked out by them. And this is kind of a side note -- in my garden this year I find bugs BUZZING IN MY HAIR from time to time. Is it the yellow hair? Do they think I'm a flower? Anyway it's HORRIBLE and I really can't be bothered to hat up every time I go out to grab some beans. OK and for two, the beetles are EVERYWHERE and they seem to have wised to my scrape-'em-into-soapy-bucket trick. I miss at least 3 out of 4 tries and the buggers get away. I HATE THEM. You would not believe the swearing I am capable of when I find the beetles on my plants. I'm like Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino -- GET OFF MY RASPBERRIES. But with more anger.

OK OK the garden. The apple trees seem to be still alive, but they don't really look like they're growing much, and I haven't been pruning them because honestly the only thing I think I ought to prune is the tall man in the middle, but that's the trunk of the tree! and I'm afraid of killing them.

Tomatoes are starting to ripen, hooray! Lucy remains my cherry-tomato hound -- she eats 'em like grapes and loves them. But calls them "potatoes." My basil is being pushed out by the crazy tomatoes but I think I will get some tomato-basil overlap which would be faaaaaabulous. The zucchini plants are full and flowery but not a single zucchini!! What gives?!? The sunflower is about 4 feet tall, hanging in there. Our pumpkins are once again totally out of control (I thought Joel'd pruned them into submission but he might actually have known what he was doing, after all -- and for those of you on facebook, I didn't actually overdraw checking after all so it winds up being a wash still! Hooray!) and the watermeon are starting to flower up as well. Our radishes have come and gone and I keep forgetting to plant a second round of radish seeds. The peas (which I keep calling green beans because I really think they're more similar than not) are also growing like crazy and they're delicious. I forgot we planted carrots and I wonder what ever happened to them? I've not been great about weeding, so entire sections of the garden have giant long grasses growing in them. I can't do it all, people!

The strawberries I think are done -- even if they weren't, the Japanese beetles are all over those buggers. We've gotten maybe 8 raspberries all year and again the beetles have eaten much of the leaves. I think I talked about the rhubarb already... we're getting tons of bell peppers which I'm super-excited about... spinach is on the tail end but still edible... oh, and our enormous walking onion is always good for a laugh, and tasty too. And we have dill for miles.

Growing this garden really reminds me of how people say "it takes a village to raise a child" -- and it's totally true about gardens and villages and so many other things. I feel like American culture has emphasized The Self-Reliant Individual, to the detriment of our "villages" and communities. I have an overabundance of peas and rhubarb -- but how would I find someone to trade for some potatoes*? I can't grow EVERYTHING; nobody can. Yet we're all expected to Rely On Ourselves and to Be Strong and stay in our little silos.

We all expect to have everything we need THIS INSTANT instead of learning to give and take and work together. Delayed gratification is such an important thing for children to learn -- but how many of us grownups have learned it?

I swear, I'm meant to live in a commune.

I started writing a wayyyy longer thing about all this, even bringing in a discussion of the breakdown of the institution of marriage in America, as a function of Americans needing to be instantly happy and valuing individual happiness over the potential for Greater Good. But I'm totally not going there now! I gots some hummus and hamburgers to make...

*I use this as a theoretical, of course; I loathe potatoes!

Monday, July 27, 2009

One from Eddo

In the house this morning; I'm trying to clear up the flotsam and jetsam of three vacations.

Eddie (clearly chewing something I have not fed him): I have to go potty.

Me: Eddie, what are you eating?

Ed (cheeks full): Nuffing.

Me: What do you have in your mouth?

Ed: I found it. On the floor.

Me: What is it?

Ed (brows furrowed): I don't know.

Me: What does it taste like?

Ed: It is a nut.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Must... finish... french fry... zzzzzz...

You have to watch my friend Heather's video. Here.

For the internet-challenged:

Monday, July 20, 2009

Winona weekend!

Hi gang! Just got back last night from a fun-packed weekend trip to Winona. Because the kids and I are leaving for another road trip in the morning and because today I've got to start laundry, grocery shop, hit the beach, and plan a couple dance lessons, this update will be brief and photo-filled.

We stopped at Lark Toys in Kellogg, Minn. The kids got to ride on the carousel and we marvelled at the July weather that would be with us for the next 36 hours: low 60s, cloudy and windy.

Upon arriving in Winona, we met up with the Vanornys (Stu, Julie, Winona, Dashiell and Tristan, Stu and Amber's nephew) and Cigelskes (Amber, James and Amelia) at beno's deli for lunch.

Naptime at the hotel consisted of chips & salsa, veggies and dip and a screening of Bolt, much to Eddie's elation.

We swam and hit Bub's for dinner, much to Lucy's dismay: "It's called BOOBS!?!? THAT'S not a restaurant!!!" And our kids were out like lights at 9:15:

Saturday morning brought more miserable weather -- thank goodness for the Riverport's indoor pool and our fabulous poolside rooms! Lucy learned to "dive" (bellyflop) from the top step, and Eddie did his best flailing dog-paddle to keep up with her.

Stu, Dash and Ed:

Tadpole #1 and 2:

Winona has had quite enough:

We finally ventured out around 6pm to visit the WSU Campus. The Shakespeare festival was going on and we didn't catch any theatre but we got to enjoy some live music.
Kids on the rocks:

Lucy: "These flowers match my skirt!!"

The obligatory dorm-pix:

After we parted ways on Sunday, we drove out to Jared's place. We pet Bullet the goat:

Despite my grunting and eyebrow-twitching, the kids drove the tractor:

And Jared took us up his folks' mountain in a weird little buggy and I thought for sure we would all die. No pix of that (too busy clinging to Lucy's bony body with one hand and a sawn-off piece of wood with another).

THEN we took the kids horseback riding!

Lucy and I rode Lucky -- Joel and Ed were on Ebony. The trail leaders chided us (a bit) for not letting Lucy ride her own pony. I thanked them for their suggestion and held her a little closer.

The kids got to pet a miniature horse named Marshmallow. Super-cute.

After the horses we went up to Garvin for our farewell panorama. We stopped at the Garvin Heights Vineyards for a brief wine-tasting and then took the Wisconsin route back on Hwy 35. I'd never gone that way before and it was lovely -- next time we'll build in more time to stop in some of the small towns along the way.

We finished the evening with dinner with the Watsons, whom we haven't seen in, like, forever. The kids ran around together like a horde of puppies and we adults enjoyed the Wats' lovely garden and some g & ts.

It's good to be home but laundry and the garden can no longer be neglected! And I've trips to pack for!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Help me tie these tap shoes and put on this fringey skirt, will ya?

Lucy: We're going to the ball and we're going to find the most handsomest man to marry.

Me: Oh, like your daddy?

Lucy: No, someone else. A YOUNG guy.

Ouch, Joel.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I'm NOT your Eddie

Ed is in this crazy-negative phase. He just handed me a CD and asked "What is this?" and I answered "It's called Paris Combo" and he just grunts and replies "It's NOT Paris Combo!" I don't get this 3-year-old stage.

He also makes a sound like a very angry cat when he's mad, and he's big into announcing "I DON'T LOVE YOU" every chance he gets.

Joel took us (me, Lucy, Ed and Jean) to the Science Museum for my birthday a few weeks ago, to see the Titanic artifacts exhibit. It was a lovely day and before we went into the exhibit, we took a couple minutes to explain the sinking of the Titanic to the kids. They were surprisingly enthralled with the story and if I can figure it out I'll post a video of Eddie's recap of the story. It goes something like "The boat CRASHED into the iceberg and it went up and up and then it CRACKED and then it went downdowndown." Which is actually pretty accurate.

I'm sorry, I have about 100 other things to mention, like the fact that earlier this week I accidentally bought 12 pints of blueberries at Aldi ... and that we're taking a little trip to Winona this weekend (and Lucy keeps asking "When are we going to your COLLEGE?!!" ... and that Joel and Jean did their triathlon last Saturday and totally rocked... and that my folks were up for the tri and helped us clean out our whole backyard, making it a really pleasant place to be (finally!)... and that we found ANOTHER awesome little beach in Woodbury ... but I've GOT to go shower and get the kids to the park before we all implode.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

2 from Lu

Lucy found my high school varsity letters (from choir, of course, because they totally give letters for choir!) and asked what it was and why it was laying on the floor of my room. I explained what it was and that it was on the floor because I was putting some of my high school pictures on Facebook and the letters fell out of my scrapbook.

And Lucy asked, "Is it because you want to remember your childhood?"

Well, golly, I guess it is.

Also last week we were at the Dari-ette, and I took Lu to the potty, and as she was sitting there she remarked "Every time I sit on the potty, I go potty!"

Me: "Yeah, I guess."

Lucy: "Typically, that's just how my life goes."

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Anybody want a condo?

My darling (I actually typed "daring" at first, which is not altogether inaccurate) sister is selling her condo. MLS # 3807174. It's in West Saint Paul, 3 BR/2 BA and it's a really nice place for $129K. Anyway... if you know anybody...

Lovely homes also still available in our neighborhood -- I think Alley Joel and Cara go on the market in the next few days here (*sob!*).

Thursday, July 02, 2009

They found the kids

Hey there, I completely forgot to post this and I know this is way-late, but they found Maya and Rojo Espinosa in North Dakota on June 6. I don't actually have any other details, but they are physically safe. Thanks everyone for your prayers and kind thoughts.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

My I key keeps breaking, this is a problem.

2 little Lucy things I forgot:

1. She is TOTALLY SWIMMING. 2 weekends ago we were at the lake. On Saturday she was laying in the water, "walking" her hands on the bottom and kicking her feet. On Sunday she was paddling with her hands and kicking, with a noodle around her middle. On Monday we went to the beach with the Watsons (and the Dalys, Hobdays, and Youngbergs) and Lucy saw Owen and Will swimming solo, and there were no noodles in sight, so she just up-n-started dog-paddling.

And to think I questioned Dan Fors when he said 6-year-olds could do actual strokes! Amazing!

Also, today in the bathroom at the Dari-ette, Lucy remarked on the fact that "Every time I sit on the potty, I go potty!" and I said, well, yeah, and then she added "Typically, my life goes like that."

Oh, and she saw a "No Parking" sign today on the way home from Jean's house, this one:

And she asked whether I'd seen "the R with the line through it" (I can see how she thought it was an R) and I said No, sorry, I missed it, and she said she'd keep it in her mind until we got home so she could draw it for me, and after we stopped at Aldi we got home and she grabbed paper and pencil and drew it for me, and I said Oh! and I explained that it meant No Parking, and she took that in and then commented, "Well, it would be nicer if they just said 'Please don't park here,'" and she totally has a point.

Carol remarked that we should have our government send 4-year-olds to all international negotiations, and things would probably go much more smoothly, and I can't argue.

Oh, and I'm sooooo excited about So You Think You Can Dance, and I adore Brandon and Janette and their cha-cha, and Philip and Jeanine were just MADE to do Nappy-Tab's choreography, and Melissa and Ade's ballet was gorgeous but completely unfair, no way did they pick that out of a hat unless it was a hatfull of ballet! and Evan and Randi's Sweet Charity number was also unfair in that it was choreographed by a six-foot-tall woman since E and R and both about Lucy's size, and I also loved Kupono and Kayla's vampire dance, and Vitolio and Karla, I like you too but that number just wasn't awesome, and I think Jason and Caitlin HAVE to go home this week because that B-Free Alien number was ridiculous, and not in the Mia-Michaels/Dan Karady way, but in the way that actually means "ridiculous."