Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
-Mary Oliver

26 December, 2010

It's sentimental, I know...

I find that frequently, and especially around holidays, words fail me.

But there's this song, by an Aussie musician and comedian named Tim Minchin, that so very perfectly sums up everything I feel about this time of year.

So here's what Tim Minchin has to say about Christmas:

I really like Christmas
It's sentimental, I know, but I just really like it
I am hardly religious
I'd rather break bread with Dawkins than Desmond Tutu, to be honest

And yes, I have all of the usual objections
To consumerism, he commercialization of an ancient religion
To the westernization of a dead Palestinian
Press-ganged into selling Playstations and beer
But I still really like it

I'm looking forward to Christmas
Though I'm not expecting a visit from Jesus

I'll be seeing my dad
My brother and sisters, my gran and my mum
They'll be drinking white wine in the sun
I'll be seeing my dad
My brother and sisters, my gran and my mum
They'll be drinking white wine in the sun

I don't go in for ancient wisdom
I don't believe just 'cos ideas are tenacious it means they are worthy
I get freaked out by churches
Some of the hymns that they sing have nice chords but the lyrics are spooky

And yes I have all of the usual objections
To the miseducation of children who, in tax-exempt institutions,
Are taught to externalize blame
And to feel ashamed and to judge things as plain right and wrong
But I quite like the songs

I'm not expecting big presents
The old combination of socks, jocks and chocolate is just fine by me

Cos I'll be seeing my dad
My brother and sisters, my gran and my mum
They'll be drinking white wine in the sun
I'll be seeing my dad
My brother and sisters, my gran and my mum
They'll be drinking white wine in the sun

And you, my baby girl
My jetlagged infant daughter
You'll be handed round the room
Like a puppy at a primary school
And you won't understand
But you will learn someday
That wherever you are and whatever you face
These are the people who'll make you feel safe in this world
My sweet blue-eyed girl

And if, my baby girl
When you're twenty-one or thirty-one
And Christmas comes around
And you find yourself nine thousand miles from home
You'll know what ever comes
Your brother and sisters and me and your Mum
Will be waiting for you in the sun
Whenever you come
Your brothers and sisters, your aunts and your uncles
Your grandparents, cousins and me and your mum
We'll be waiting for you in the sun
Drinking white wine in the sun
Darling, when Christmas comes
We'll be waiting for you in the sun
Drinking white wine in the sun
Waiting for you in the sun
Waiting for you...

I really like Christmas
It's sentimental, I know...

13 December, 2010

O Christmas Lamp O Christmas Lamp

Christmas shopping. You have evaded me this year. Usually I am inspired and done with the shopping well before Thanksgiving, but due to the unemploymentness of this year, well, I've just started. And no freaking wonder I've always done it early. This is incredibly stressful! Also, this year is different in that I have absolutely no idea what to get anyone. Usually I'm pretty good at gift giving. Oh, sigh.

Still, the Christmas spirit is seeping into my life, slowly, but surely. I decorated on Saturday, during snowmageddon, while watching the SyFy original Yeti.

My decor is perhaps a little unconventional this year. Last year, I skipped it all together, but this year Trader Joe's was selling tiny living trees so I went for it.

Because my tree is all of seven inches tall, I found...other places...for ornaments.

What is also giving me holiday cheer is the fact that I've chosen my gift wrap for the year, and Sunday I wrapped the two presents that I've actually gotten, and let me tell you, they look gorgeous. But, in the words of Levar Burton, you don't have to take my word for it.

One of my favorite things about Christmas is choosing wrapping paper. The pleasure that nicely wrapped gifts give me is possibly greater than the pleasure that the gifts themselves give. So, even if I give shit gifts this year, they will be presented beautifully. Look on the bright side, right?

12 December, 2010


Fucking hell, I hate dealing with snow, "dealing with" being the operative phrase. I like snow when it when it is not on my car and sidewalk. I enjoy building snowmen and having snowball fights and wearing my jammies while gazing out at a winter wonderland. But when I have to do something about it? Screw that. Today I am faced with the daunting task of digging out my car without a shovel after a snow fall of 17 inches. I am procrastinating and reading the paper. I just saw a headline in the Star Tribune that said "Report: 2 people die in Minneapolis fire" and my immediate reaction was envy. "I wish I could die in a fire," I muttered crankily, as I turned and glared at the mixing bowl I am going to have to use for my snow removal. Yes, I am a occasionally a little melodramatic. What's it to you?

Today, I am feeding the bad wolf.

05 December, 2010


In an unlikely turn of events, I spent last Sunday afternoon at the Vikings vs. Bills game. It was to celebrate my sister-in-law's birthday, and because I like spending time with my family, when they invited me, I accepted. I impressed myself with my team spirit because I coincidentally brought a purple purse. I am not really a football fan, or a fan of any kind of sport, but it is difficult not to get caught up in the excitement at a professional sporting event. Especially because on the Vikings team is the only football player I've heard of.

Until recently anyway. Ask me now and I can rattle off four or five...But anyway, poor old Number 4 was out of the game by the third play.

As the team prepared to emerge from their battle-ready inflatable ship, I was struck by the historical inaccuracies. I wouldn't sail that puppy across a koi pond, let alone the North Atlantic. Also, the horned helmets? Really guys?

Mascot or crazy, time-traveling homeless guy?

Henderson really popped the booty for this shot, didn't he?

Post-game man hugs!

I may gently mock, but I did have a really good time. I learned a few rules of the game, sang a fight song, and if nothing else, a football game is a terrific place for people watching. And if I'm really being honest, it was nice, in the sea of purple, to feel like I fit in.

02 December, 2010


A picture's worth a thousand words and all that.

14 November, 2010


Because the weather was like this,

and because I had half a pint of leftover pumpkin,

I put on this playlist

and put these to use.

I kind of love winter.

02 November, 2010

Blood Stains and Spirit Gum: Part Four

Well, thank Jeebus that's over. The past two weekends as a zombie at a haunted theme park were not as bad as the first. After the first weekend, instead of being a "park roamer" I was demoted to "attraction actor". It was a demotion, but it was way more fun. Mostly because the assholes have to keep walking so if they're going to harass you, they can't harass you for very long. It's much better. I spent one night in the corn maze and four nights in the haunted forest. My evening in the corn was spent next to a speaker broadcasting this message: "We're watching you (watchingyouwatchingyouwatchingyou). We've been waiting for (waiting for) you (waitingforyouwaitingforyou). Stay with us (staystaywithus)." Repeat. For 6 hours. Also, I don't think I've ever heard so much cursing. Especially with a thick Minnesota accent involved. "Oh, shit! Oh, shit! Oh, my God! Oh, shit!" It was like being in Fargo. My favorite was a woman I jumped out at and she yelled "Jesus! Is good!"

Full moon + wicked tall corn = total awesomeness

Friday night was horrible. I had gotten some horrifying news just minutes before I had to go, and spent most of the time in between groups sobbing quietly to myself behind a polystyrene tombstone. Not a good time.

But then there was Saturday night. There was still occasional quiet sobbing, but Saturday night was the best, all thanks to a big, burly guy who I scared nearly into unconsciousness without even trying.

I was hiding behind a wall when this fellow runs up ahead of his friends and jumps behind the wall, right next to me. This did not look like a guy who would be easily scared. He reminded me of 50 Cent. I assumed he was going to try and scare the group of people he was with. I also assumed that he saw I was there. Clearly, he didn't, because when I turned to offer assistance, he looked at me and screamed like a little girl. He turned to run away from me, but unfortunately he just bounced off of the board that was supporting the wall. He fell to the ground flat on his back but quickly stood up to take off in a new direction.. Only this time he tripped over a log on the ground. He did a sort of awkward somersault, got to his feet, and ran across the path to the woods on the other side, did a loop back on to the path, and then sat down right in the center of it looking confused. By the way, the little girl screaming noises continued right up until he fell on his ass on the path. His now hysterical friends caught up to him. They collected him off of the ground, and all continued on their way. It was one of the funniest things I have ever seen. I'm really not a mean-spirited person, but I swear to the moon and back that you would've laughed if you'd seen it.

I got in one other pretty good scare, also without meaning to. I had my face pressed between two boards in a fence, and a girl came up and started stroking my nose. There is a very strict "don't touch the actors" policy at most haunted houses, so I reminded her of this. She screamed and ran away. Fast. I guess she though I was a mannequin.

I would consider doing it again, maybe somewhere closer to home. The 40 minute drive was pretty inconvenient. All in all, though I complained about the experience a lot, I realize now that I am looking back on it with fondness. So, go figure.


29 October, 2010

How DO you like them apples?

I had an enormous amount of fun last Saturday when I went to an apple orchard with my friends Bethany and Teresa.

It was cold and a little rainy, but very autumnal and very lovely. The orchard to which we went, Minnesota Harvest, is in its last year of business, which is a real shame. It's a beautiful place.

I went there last year with my daycare kids and their families; back then, they offered trail rides, a petting zoo, hot food, tons of local goods (jams, jellies, honey, cookbooks, et cetera) All that was gone, and it was a bit sad to see it so barren this year. But they did still offer all the available apples for tasting.

In the end, amongst the three of us, we ended up with about 60 pounds of apples. I took 20 pounds and the ever ambitious Bethany took 40.

I took my apples to my mom and said "Let's do something with these guys." And now I have three jars of apple butter and eight jars of applesauce which I have placed in my freezer, because that seems less annoying than canning. On the subject of applesauce, I recommend trying it in the same meal as cottage cheese. A winning combination.

As we were leaving to orchard, to the left we saw what appeared to be an airplane hangar painted the brightest yellow you've ever seen. Unable to pass up an opportunity like that, we all immediately agreed we should go see what it was. Turns out it is "Minnesota's Largest Candy Store". This candy store boasts either 57 or 87 kinds of licorice (there was some conflicting signage). To be fair, only about half of the store is candy. The rest is bacon, apples, pies, locally made hot sauce and the like. Also, 20 or so kinds of root beer. Because of the awesome variety, we decided to go for a choose your own six-pack deal and have a tasting later in the evening. After supper. At "Suzette's".

The funniest little restaurant ever. Its menu boasts things like chicken mousse and cranberry pork, but the atmosphere suggests a diner whose specialty is the world's greatest cup of crap coffee. It was a very good meal and afterward we returned to Bethany's house for our root beer tasting.

The winner!

The winner of the root beer tasting competition was Henry Weinhard's Root Beer. It had everything we were looking for; it was indeed, as the company says, a "gourmet elixir, brewed with sassafras, vanilla and honey..." They also use only the "highest quality ingredients". I think it's so good because they use only the highest quality phosphoric acid. But seriously, it was delicious. If I had one here now, I'd be on that root beer like...

wait for it...

ants on an apple.