Monday, December 29, 2008

auld lang syne

Heading up north to spend the last day of 2008 with our families, something we haven't been able to do in four years! It sounds as if Mother Nature intends to bless us with a winter storm along the way, and sub zero temperatures. Ahhh, nothing like Bemidji in December.

See you next year!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Twas -

- the day of Christmas, and all through the house, we were all stirring, except this little mouse
The stockings have been emptied, with squeals of glee, the presents are gone from under the tree. We've eaten the snacks,and captured the moment.We've had brunch with friendsnad enjoyed our tree
Santa stopped by, because we believed.Today we'll eat cookies
that we decorated
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And enjoy the snowand the simple magic
of just being together.A Happy Christmas to all, far and wide. May your day be blessed with those you hold dear.And a HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my sweet sis, who turns 35 today. She was the best Christmas present our family ever received.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


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We have been so cold for several days-it actually got to 20 yesterday, and the sun was shining. I was expecting to see folks pull out their shorts and flip flops.

More snow predicted for today and tomorrow, Mike has already had to shovel twice this week! This is the most snow we have had prior to Christmas in quite literally years-I remember several years just hoping we would see a flake or two before Santa arrived. It is actually quite beautiful, from my viewpoint, where I don't have to be the shoveler, or the daily commuter.

Speaking of Santa, Charlie still claims to believe (knowing that Santa doesn't show up if he doesn't), but I know that he no longer fervently believes in his heart that Santa crawls down our chimney. That's okay, he lasted a pretty long time in today's world, and I wouldn't want him getting beaten up in junior high.

Sorry for the lack of posts-December in retail doesn't leave much room for frivolous activities like blogging. But I was up very early today, so figured I could squeeze in my thoughts. Things will start winding down soon, and I will be back in full force to share recipes and useless information.

Friday, December 12, 2008

the big day

If you regularly read my blog, you may have read this little tale:

And here is the happily ever after part:

A few weeks ago, this is what the room looked like at Cleveland Middle School:
And here is what it looked like, yesterday morning, before the big ribbon cutting ceremony:
Here is the relieved builder, as he is escorted to the Simulation Lab. Every student in the school turned out (with big smiles, cheers, and applause) and lined the hallways from the classroom where the morning started, all the way down the stairs to the room full of wonder.
Here are some of the students, excited about their new equipment:
3M was a big contributor to the project, with a grant that provided three of the simulators. Here is one of the 3M execs, trying out a simulator:
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Here is Jill Wahl, the educator with the dream: And this is the principal, Dr. Vincent, who shared the dream, and worked to make it a reality.
Here are students who were selected to demonstrate how they work (canopies up so everyone could see inside, normally they will fly with the canopies down). But after all of the fanfare, they got down to what this is really all about, the learning.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Oh, Harry.
Words can't describe how much I loved your concert, but I will try.

You started exactly on time, which I really admire. You aren't one to leave your adoring fans squirming in their seats, checking their watches. Clearly, many of the concert goers weren't aware that there actually is an entertainer who starts when the ticket says he will, as people kept looking for their seats in the dark for the first three songs. How incredibly rude. I loved how you made a point of mentioning it to the two people seating themselves, RIGHT IN THE FRONT ROW, in the middle of your third song.

Loved the Christmas music, both from the new CD and your earlier one. Loved how you talked to the kids in the audience. Your twelve piece band? Incredible. The sound filled the theater with joy, along with a little of the blues. Is there any instrument you can't play? Last night you played a 100 year old Steinway, an organ, the drums, your regular piano, and the bongos. Who knew?(not from last night, I couldn't sneak a camera in....)

Lucien was great (the slide trombone man, and vocalist extraordinaire). The evening just kept building, and even though you did one encore, we really didn't want you to go. Seriously? I think we would have stayed all night to listen to you.

But the best part, watching you dance....happy holidays to me!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

it's here

Got our first really good snowfall. (Here is how I measure it, if I push snow when I open the door to get my newspaper in the morning, it's a really good snowfall.)

Think of all of the happy people this morning!

* Independent snowplow operators-they have had some pretty lean years around here lately, I bet they are grinning from ear to ear as they plow our alleys and parking lots.

* Ski hills-enough said.

* Snowblower repair folks, and anyone who sells shovels or snow boots (speaking of, have you ever noticed that nearly all snow boots are made in Canada? Nothing like getting product from the experts!)

* Children-Charlie was already out with friends last night, building a snow fort. I can imagine the sledding hill at the golf course will just be crawling with kids once school lets out today.(taken last year at Kruegers Tree Farm duing a snowstorm)

*Snowbirds-if they haven't left already, but are packing for their winters in Arizona, Texas, or Florida, they are feeling pretty justified in getting the heck out of here.

People who may be a bit grumpy this morning:

*Commuters-snow really snarls up traffic. Don't expect anyone to arrive at work on time today, unless they really planned ahead and left far earlier than usual.

*Kids who have to shovel before heading out to school.

Me? Today I am grateful that I work from home. I can layer up, put on my warmest slippers, brew another pot of coffee, and watch everyone as they slide off to their destinations.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

I wish

Before I start in on my wishes, let me just say that I really have not been cooking Thanksgiving leftovers for more than a week...I just haven't been very good about that party of the blog! But if you would like to know just how long you can keep things in the fridge or freezer, go to:

Okay, back to wishes.

I have been spending the day quietly, listening to my favorite Christmas CD's and wrapping gifts. It has been gently snowing off and on all day, Charlie is at a party and Mike is at ACES, and I am sipping a cup of cinnamon hazelnut coffee. Really, does it get any better than that? Why yes, it does. Sitting at a spa would be okay too...

If I had unlimited funds, here is what I would buy some of my favorite people for Christmas this year:

My sister would receive a brand new, custom built home, just for her and her son. (with a room for special guests, like me!) It would have a picket fence, and lilac bushes, and enough space for a little garden. Each shiny window would be adorned with a window box that she could fill with geraniums, or evergreens. It would have a porch, where she could drink lemonade and read. It would have a cozy chair by the fireplace, where she could snuggle Riley and read him stories. A just right kitchen, with a pantry for all of her bargains, and a bookshelf for all of her cookbooks. And of course her bathroom would be equipped with a jacuzzi, to melt all of her cares away.

My dad would receive unlimited days of perfect fishing weather, and bait and tackle for life. Along with a good supply of salted nuts, and snacks for the cooler, when he takes his grandkids fishing.

My mom would get to remodel her house, every room, and she wouldn't have to consult my dad on any of the choices. And a new car to replace her 100 year old Buick, perhaps something with a sun roof, so she could zip around town and feel the breeze, but it wouldn't mess up her hair.

What would you do if you could do ANYTHING you wanted for those in your life?

To be continued....

Friday, December 5, 2008

wild about Harry


I don't know that people use that word very often anymore. But I really like it. It fits perfectly.

I will be swooning on Tuesday evening. My sweet hubby got us tickets to see Harry Connick Jr. at the State Theater. Is it okay to swoon in front of your husband?

I think so. He knows that Harry is happily married to former Victoria's Secret model Jill Goodacre, and has been for 14 years, and they have three adorable daughters. And he knows that I would never leave him for Harry, even if I had the chance. I don't think...

Hey, I bet Harry can't build flight simulators. But I did read in his bio (clearly obsessed when you take the time to read a musician's bio) that he does hold a US patent for something he invented. Very multi-talented.

I have been swooning over Harry for years. I wore out my cassette tape of music from "When Harry Met Sally". I have ALL of his cd's, even the obscure ones. I have seen "Hope Floats" more times than I care to admit to.

And did you see him sing the other night when they lit the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center? The only performer who even came close to matching him was Tony Bennett. sigh.

So I will be spending the next few days eagerly anticipating the concert, and playing his new Christmas cd. Here's a link to his fan site, make sure to watch the video of yesterday's performance on the Today Show:

Swooning, I tell ya...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

time flies, part VIII

It really hit home for me, how fast Charlie is growing, with the holidays approaching.

The elf reappeared, as he does every year, the day after Thanksgiving. He moves to different places in the house to keep on eye on Charlie, and report back to Santa( or ride Mike's model motorcycles while we are all sleeping).

Charlie isn't buying it anymore. There goes that wonderful behavior modification tool.

He even pointed out the tag on the elf's butt "made in China", and rolled his eyes at me, and said "Yeah, right mom."

Okay, I knew I was pushing it this year. But you can't blame me for trying.

He has no interest in helping make cookies. (Yes mom, I used to let him sit on the dining room table to decorate cookies...)

He didn't ask for any Legos, and has lost all interest in Playmobil.

He just wants Itunes gift cards so he can download more hip hop songs. (now I know how those parents felt, years ago, when their kids were listening to that crazy singer named Elvis Presley....)

He likes to be in his room with the door shut, listening to KDWB. What happened to dancing around the living room with me to our favorite Christmas songs?

But I bet he would still help Mike build a model-maybe I will pick one up for them to work on over Christmas break.

He did help me decorate the tree the other night, while we watched "Elf". So all hope is not lost. But for sure he won't fit in my lap anymore, as he did just five short years ago.... (clearly this photo never made the cut for our holiday picture, it was clearly taken on Christmas Eve, after a long season of retail).

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


I find this to be a very neurotic time of year for me. Although I just checked on the real definition of neurotic, and apparently this term is no longer used. Well, it fits, so I am going to use it. Neurotic: a nonpsychotic mental illness which triggers feelings of distress and anxiety and impairs functioning.

The holidays are a mixed bag for me, as I am sure they are for many. While I love the magic of it all, and decorating the house, and bringing home the tree, and lighting candles, and receiving cards from friends and family, I also spend way too much time thinking about all of the things I wish I had time to do, that I don't.

Actually, I kind of do that all year, so it apparently isn't just a seasonal problem for me.

Being in retail, the store has to come first. Invitations to holiday gatherings, wrapping gifts, sending cards, and being with our families all take a back seat to whatever needs to be taken care of for ACES. I manage our internet gift card business, which this time of year is about one third of our sales. So not a lot of time left over for decorating Christmas cookies. And that makes me kind of sad.

But I will just go put on another holiday CD, (as long as it isn't I'll be Home for Christmas, or I'll start weeping), get done what I need to do, and enjoy what I have and what I CAN do! And maybe in January I will get time to do all of those things..I am sure my friends will enjoy those beautifully decorated cookies just as much in January as they would if I delivered them this month...

Hey, thanks for listening! Who needs therapy when you have a blog to pour your heart into?

Monday, December 1, 2008


Things I am thankful for (I know, I know, I am several days late....)

1. That the Mall of America is closed on Thanksgiving.

2. That we are nearly almost completely done with our simulation installation at Cleveland Junior High.

3. That I had a new kitchen to create our Thanksgiving meal in.

4. Leftovers.

5. Nice weather, so that creating our holiday window boxes was not even painful.

6. My kid, who took out the garbage without being told. And who spent a whole day of his vacation helping his dad move stuff out of our storage place.

7. Our new car. We did our share of holiday spending this weekend! Our 1997 Honda Accord, which we bought used back in 2001 (after our other Honda was stolen...a story for another blog...)will now be posted on Craig's List.
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8. My hubby. Who has been working pretty much non-stop since August. He leaves very early today for Orlando, to attend a Simulation Conference all week. I booked him at a very nice hotel, so he will have a sinfully cushy bed, and a pool, and a workout room, and a beautiful lobby. I hope he gets a chance to just hang out at the pool and read a book, and not have to figure out why the right rudder pedal won't connect with the keyboard.

9. My family. All of you have been in my thoughts all weekend. I miss my mom's corn pudding and pecan pie, and tramping out into the woods to collect pine boughs and make wreaths. And debating politics with my dad. And giving my nieces and nephews a big hug. And visiting with my dear Grandma. And listening to my husband's parents tell stories of holidays gone by. And shopping with my sweet sis at Emily's.

10. Vicodin. For helping me survive these last few weeks!


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