Friday, October 31, 2008


Happy Halloween!

I LOOOOOVE Halloween.

It makes me use a lot of vowels.

When else is it completely acceptable to have spider webs all over your house?

And you can dress ugly, and it's all good.

And warts and nasty wounds are not only acceptable, they are revered.

"It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" is the greatest movie of all time.

I love chocolate, and on Halloween you can eat as much as you like.

You can wear fake tattoos and people think it's cool. But if you still have one on Nov. 1st, it means something completely different.

Handing out pounds of sugar to children is not only good, it is expected.

You can't wait to see what "The Simpsons" Halloween episode will be.

When children are small, you can dress them as lambs. Or lemurs. Or teeny tiny construction workers.

Then they get older, and want to be superheros, or book characters.

Then they hit fourth grade, and want to be dead, or wounded, or scary.

And when you are 46, you just want to light the candles, hand out the candy to the cute kids in costumes, and pour yourself a glass of wine while you watch Charlie Brown, and remember what it was like to walk by the dark houses in your neighborhood and wonder why they didn't want to hand out candy....

Thursday, October 30, 2008

let's have some perspective

Okay, politically speaking...

are some people taking this election just a little too seriously?

NONE of these people running for office, even the president, will completely change our lives.

Because the founding fathers made sure that just one person could not rule the country.

Have we forgotten that?

And do we remember that most political promises are not delivered upon?

I am boycotting all political information-tv, mail, newspaper.

When people are having their property defaced, or are receiving death threats, we have gone TOO FAR.

Can't we all just share a good recipe and get along?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

okay, okay

Clearly, I have been neglecting my cat: (this is where I found him on Sunday when I left the table to answer the phone....)

" you think you could take a break and feed me?????"
"Maybe give me a hug?"
"Please? I don't even know what a tax audit is..."

Monday, October 27, 2008

I'm Back!!!

I am hoping that I have left the absolute craziness of October behind!

The sales tax auditor just left my house, she has been here since 8 am reviewing our business for the last four years worth of sales, purchases, etc. All in all, it went pretty well. I will owe some use tax (here is an example of how nutty use tax is: if you purchase something and have it sent to your St. Paul address, but you use it in your store in Bloomington, you are supposed to pay the state the difference in the amount of each city's sales tax.) Did you know that? me neither!

She was very kind, and easy to work with, so now I can quit stressing out about that.

And the BOO Bash at Charlie's school on Friday night was a huge success, the most profitable ever! So once I finish counting tickets and going through all of the boxes of stuff that came home with me, that will be done.

We still have three simulators to build and install by Dec. 1st, but that seems kind of minor now...

I plan to get back to regular blogging, and sharing recipes and photos, this week. Thanks for waiting for me!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

big theater in the city

When I was a little girl, I loved to read. (still do) The books transported me to other places, and I would imagine I was there. My very favorites? The Little House books. I read them over and over and over. I played covered wagon on our front step. The back yard was South Dakota. The woods behind our house were the Big Woods of Wisconsin. Lake Bemidji became the Shores of Silver Lake. If I could have had a bonnet....sigh. And I kept waiting to meet my very own Almonzo. Thank goodness I never knew a Nellie.

Two very special girls picked me up this morning, dressed to the nines. We had a fancy brunch at Jax Cafe, then wound our way to the Guthrie. Amazing! I had not been to it's new home yet. Spectacular.

And then we spent two hours, enjoying "Little House on the Prairie", the musical. Charming, delightful, tearful. Especially sitting next to a sweet five year old girl, who made the show that much more enjoyable.

Seeing Melissa Gilbert, all grown up, playing Ma, was such fun. I religiously watched her as Half Pint. LOVED that show. And it still appeals.

So THANK YOU Tracy and Eloise, for including me in your very special outing! Tonight I am thinking I will dream about wide open prairies and great big skies...

EDITED: please go to for pics of our day!

Saturday, October 18, 2008


It is an absolutely gorgeous fall day here in St. Paul. The leaves are at their peak, and the sun is shining in a nearly cloudless, achingly blue sky. I hope to get out this afternoon and take some pics, to show those of you who are missing fall, how beautiful it is.

Just thinking today how lucky I am, in so many ways. Last night I got to join dear friends for dinner and shopping. I rarely get to see them, and it was so fun just to forget about accounting and flight simulators and such for a few hours. Thanks Sally and Sue!

This morning I got to reconnect with Joelle, she used to live next door to us, and our boys are just 4 months apart in age. They practically grew up together, until they moved to Golden Valley nearly 6 years ago. They still get together when they can, and today they have been riding bikes, playing football and video games, and enjoying malts and burgers at Snuffy's. I wish they were still here in the neighborhood, Joelle is just the sweetest, and I miss her smile and kindness. And she shared pictures and memories of her 10 day trip to France with her mom, which she recently got back from. I need to add that to my list of places to go to!

Today I am feeling like a pretty lucky person, and counting all my blessings, long before Thanksgiving even arrives....

Friday, October 17, 2008



Applicant needs to be experienced in the following job responsibilities:
* sales and use tax filing and documentation
* depreciation and /or fixed asset schedules
* business tax returns
* general ledger preparation
* general journal preparation
* cash disbursement and cash receipt journals
* purchase journal and purchase archives
* accounts receivables
*compilation of all purchases and sales for an entire fiscal year and four selected months from the last four years of business, possibly to include the last 12 years, to be determined day of audit, which is 9 days away
* ability to keep the house clean, the laundry done, and prepare at least two meals a day while completing above mentioned tasks, in addition to assisting 11 year old with homework and transportation to activities, while co-chairing the elementary school Halloween party to be held in just a week

Salary negotiable, must be willing to start immediately, if not sooner.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

getting there

Finally, a chance to post.

We are in the home stretch. Mike delivered the third of the first four sims to the school yesterday, and spent all last night getting the fourth one started. He should be able to deliver that one by Monday, and then he will spend next week connecting everything and getting them up and running. Then he can take a break from day and night work before he starts in on the last three. It has been a manufacturing blitz!

Fall has flown by us, I have to make a conscious effort to appreciate the glorious color, and the crunch of the leaves under my feet as I walk to get Charlie from the bus stop. I make myself pause, every now and then, to look out the window as the leaves gently float to the ground, a little faster each day. Already some of the trees are bare, and I wonder how it went so fast. It seems it was just last week that Charlie and I were at the pool, and it was so very warm. I may turn the furnace on today, it feels like it's time.

It's clearly time for tummy warming food. Food that greats you with it's aroma when you walk in from outside, with pink cheeks and a runny nose. Dishes that are steaming when you sit down to enjoy them. I found this recipe in our local newspaper. We love stew in our family, and I usually go with our standard recipe. But I decided to try this one, and we have a new favorite!

Smoky Cider Beef Stew
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 lg onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 tsp smoked paprika (get it at Penzeys)
1/4 tsp powdered ginger
2 lbs stew meat, cut into chunks
1 c. apple cider
3 lg carrots, sliced
3 potatoes, cut into chunks
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes with juice
1 14 oz. can beef broth
1/4 c cold water
1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
salt and pepper to taste
In large Dutch oven, heat oil over med hi heat and saute onoin, garlic, thyme, paprika and ginger for 5 min or until onion is tender. Add meat, cook 5 min or until brown. Remove thyme sprigs. Add cider, scraping the good stuff from the bottom of the pan. Add carrots, potatoes, tomatoes with their juice, and the broth. Stir well, bring to a simmer. Simmer for an hour and a half or two (the longer you cook it, the more tender the meat will become). Mix the cornstarch into the cold water, add to the stew to thicken. Simmer for a few more minutes. Serve with warm biscuits and a hearty red wine.
Other options:-buy leaner, more expensive meat. If you do, you can simmer it for just 20 minutes, then finish it by baking it in the oven for 15 minutes. You can bake your biscuits right on top of the stew if you choose to do it this way.

Take a few minutes to appreciate our gorgeous landscape before the fall color spectacle comes to an end, and make yourself a pot of this stew!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

a brief respite

Since Mike and I have been working pretty much non-stop lately, yesterday we decided we needed to take a break from everything going on in our lives and just spend the day as a family. (we can always catch up, right?)

Whenever we want to get away from it all, our first thought is always to jump in the car and head down hiway 61, and cross over into Wisconsin at Prescott. Considering what a gorgeous fall day it was, many other people felt the same way! I don't think there are traffic delays, all that often, in Maiden Rock, or Stockholm. But get a nice day in October, with unbelievable color, and what a boon for their local economies!
Our first stop was in Maiden Rock, at our favorite bakery. The line was out the door and down the sidewalk, so we decided to skip that and instead browsed the market they were holding. We picked up Lazy Wife Pickles, Blueberry/Rhubarb Jam, Fresh Salsa, and Apple Butter-all lovingly made in someone's farm kitchen. Then we picked out some goofy looking gourds and pumpkins, and headed on our way.

Taking a county road off of very busy Hiway 35, we headed up the hill to look for apples:

This is a delightful little orchard-they had freshly baked apple treats and even a winery! The best part? You could pick your own apples. So of course we had to.

The woman who worked there, who brought us to our spot in the orchard, was so friendly. We chatted as we walked down the dirt path, and she told me of getting stung by wasps, and about her family. As she left us, she gave me a big hug and thanked us for stopping by. See why I love Wisconsin?

The trees were just heavy with fruit, and we had our bag full in no time. Don't they look happy?

After stocking up on apples and cider and cheese curds, it was back on the road.

Our day brought us through Pepin, Nelson, and Alma, with winding county roads bringing us to Mondovi, where we stopped at the local hardware store to browse, and had homemade malts at a little cafe. It was perfect in every way, and when we parked in front of our house our truck was full of autumn treats and warm memories.

Friday, October 10, 2008

when I grow up...

I want to be somebody else.

I find during times of extreme activity, with little down time, that I tend to daydream about the people I wish I was, instead of myself.

I have already introduced you to Amy Butler, she designs fabric and patterns and all sorts of wonderful things in her converted barn. sigh.

Now I want to introduce you to someone else I would like to be right now-I have had her cookbooks for years, and I get a lovely email newsletter from her every so often. She lives on Martha's vineyard, and writes and illustrates cookbooks, and designs fabric and scrapping supplies.

If you need a little break from whatever is bugging you in your life right now, hop on over to her website for a breath of fresh autumn air. (there will not be one word about politics, or the economy).

I think we could all use a respite right now! I myself think I may bake some bread this weekend, just to get back to basics for a bit.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

I am cryin'

'cause I just discovered this.

Some qualifying things:

1. if you knit, watch this.
2. if you grew up listening to country western music, watch this.
3. if you need a laugh today, watch this.
4. if you have written a book, and are trying to think of ways to promote it, watch this.
5. if you need a Halloween costume idea, watch this.

how come I cain't be that clever?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Time Flies, part V

Eleven years ago today, I was packing up the last things I thought I would need at the hospital. Playing cards? check. Portable CD player with relaxing CD's? check (obviously, the pre-Ipod era). Warm socks? check. Books for Mike? check. Calling card to use from hospital phone? check (nope, didn't have cell phones then either).

At just about this time (7:15 am) we looked around the house, knowing that when we came back to it our lives would never be the same. And boy was that right!

Charles Donald Pohl was born at 8:57 pm on Tuesday, Oct. 7th, 1997. (yes, it was a VERY LONG DAY). He weighed 8 lbs. 13 oz, was 21" long, and was the most beautiful baby ever born.

(Aren't they all?)

We started celebrating this weekend (as he wanted one of Deb's Chocolate Cream Pies, and she was leaving town!)
Happy Birthday Charlie! We are so blessed.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

heading into

It is Saturday night and I am trying to catch up...we have been building sims and washing windows and putting up storm windows, from the way the squirrels are behaving cold weather is definitely on it's way! Another sure sign? I packed away all of my sandals and our beach towels. Sigh.

They are forecasting rain and a fall-like day tomorrow, I may need to haul out the crockpot and whip up some of this: (that is why they call it comfort food....)

4 c. baby carrots ( 1 lb. bag)
4 med. yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1 1/2" pcs
1 lg onion, chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
3 c. chicken broth
2 c. fresh snap pea pods
1 c. half & half
1/2 c. flour
1 tsp thyme
Place carrots, potatoes, and onions in crockpot. Sprinkle with 1 tsp of thyme, salt, and pepper. Top with chicken thighs and broth. Cover and cook on LOW for 7 to 8 hours, adding pea pods in last 5 to 10 min. of cooking.

Remove chicken and vegetables from cooker to serving bowl, keep warm. Increase heat setting to HIGH. Mix half and half, flour, and 1 tsp thyme in a small bowl, stir into liquid still in crockpot. Cover and cook about 10 min. until thickened. Pour sauce over chick and veggies. Makes twelve 1 and 1/2 c. servings. We like it with warm biscuits!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Mari update

Here is the latest info I have on dear Mari: (see original post here: )

Since Mari is in such a weakened state, her body has been rejecting the skin grafts the doctors have been trying on her amputated leg, using her own skin from different areas of her body. Yesterday, they used a combination of shark skin and cow skin, and it appears to be working! She has turned a corner, and hopefully things will just get better from here. Isn't technology amazing?

On another note, the person arrested for this horrific crime was in court this week. If convicted of the vehicular offense, he won't get more than a year or two in prison. But he had cocaine in his possession, and it is enough to make it a federal offense, so he may get 24 years for that one. We can only hope that the justice system prevails.

I have the details on the benefit they will be holding for her and Dan in November:

Spaghetti Dinner and Silent Auction
Sunday, Nov. 9th 1-5 pm
Rosetown Memorial American Legion Post 542
700 West County Rd C
Roseville, MN

tickets $10 adults/$5 kids
To purchase tickets contact: Al Lewis 651-353-7295 or Kim Lewis 651-208-9358

If you have something you wish to donate to the auction you can send it to me and I would be happy to make sure it gets where it needs to go, just email me at

If you can't make it to the Benefit, and still wish to help, you can make a donation at any US Bank branch: Dan Sanford/Mari Plaster Benefit Fund.

stay safe

A quick note and safety reminder-

This week a woman was waiting in her car at 2:30 in the afternoon for her son to finish his day at the high school by my house. A young man attempted a car jacking. She sensed this guy and situation didn't feel quite right, so quickly locked her doors, and when he tried to get in she drove off and called the police on her cell phone. This happened 2 blocks from my house, in the middle of the day, in a busy area. Luckily, he didn't get her car.

Always drive with your doors locked, and be ever vigilant. Just another reason to get off those cell phones and pay attention to your surroundings. Thank goodness it's getting colder so we won't have our windows down much longer!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

join the army!

I am still crazy busy, but this needs to be out there.

I saw Dr. Susan Love on the Today show, and also on the Nightly News-I think this is such a great idea-attack the problem before it starts! Figure out what causes it, and how to prevent it!
My aunt would want me to help.

If breast cancer ( or ANY cancer ) has touched your life, YOU can make a difference. You can help. I joined the army - do it if you can!


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