Monday, May 31, 2010

always in our hearts

Today we pause to think of those who are no longer with us.  Sure, it's nice to have a Monday off, when the beautiful days of summer are starting to dawn and we are enjoying our yards and gardens.  To gather with friends and have a picnic, or get to that chore that has so far eluded us.  To turn off the alarm clock for another day, and linger over a cup of coffee, and read about the events planned for Memorial Day.

Today, take a moment if you can, to go through your photo albums, and remember those who aren't here.  
(My Grandpa Archie-my mom's father, he died on my Grandma's fiftieth birthday.  That's my mom, in the window of the car.)

Remember the occasions you spent together, whether it was Christmas Eve, or a special birthday.

(my aunt Sandy is the one on the right, my mother's sister, she passed away from cancer in 1998.)

Listen to a song that was a favorite of a loved one, and imagine the look on their face.

(My Great Grandma Ethel, my dad's grandma-I like to believe I most take after her-clearly in the drinking department...)

Cook a recipe that was your grandma's, or plant a flower that was always in your grandpa's garden
(my Grandma Betty and Grandpa Don, my dad's parents)

Go fishing, or golfing, or something that they enjoyed.
(My Great Grandpa George-my father's grandpa, the littlest boy was my uncle Doug, who is no longer with us either.  My dad is the taller boy-thank goodness he is still here!)

Pick a sweet memory that makes you smile,

(my Great Grandpa Peder and Great Grandma Mabel, my mother's grandparents-that's my mom they are holding)

and thank them in your heart for making you the person that you are today.

And  Happy Birthday wishes to my sweet dad, who turns 68 today.  I'll be home to go fishing soon!

Friday, May 28, 2010

gelato, anyone?

I will get back to telling the tales of adventure that my sister and I experienced last weekend, but today I want to tell you about some women entrepeneurs.  And the reason I must tell you today, is that they will be at the St. Paul Farmer's Market this weekend, for the last time. It's very hard to secure a slot there,  they will only be there through May, as now it will be time for the veggie vendors to move in.

A mother daughter team, they started their business in November.  They make everything by hand, and all of their ingredients are from local farmers and producers.  Their flavors change with the seasons-Charlie and I first discovered them on Mother's Day at the market (how fitting).  That day, they were offering Salted Caramel,

Strawberry Rhubarb, Maple Bacon, Coffee, and several others.  They cheerfully offer free samples, and you can buy a dishful for $3.50 or take home a pint for $ 6.  I would rather pay $6 for a pint of their gelato, than buy a Blizzard at the Dairy Queen any day!

Here's a link to their website, where you can learn all about them.  After their stint at the St. Paul Farmer's Market, they will be at Grand Old Days in June, and other local markets.  Take a peek at their calendar to see where you can find them:

They aren't yet in any local supermarkets, but I would cheerfully help them lobby for a spot in any grocer's freezer.  The texture of the gelato is unbelievably creamy, and the flavors are PERFECT.  Not overpowering, but subtly delicious.  I have tried the Salted Caramel (an early favorite), the Strawberry Rhubarb (delightfully tangy yet creamy), and Hazelnut.  The day I brought Heather to try it out, they were nearly sold out of everything (good for them!) but we were able to bring a pint of Hazelnut home.

It was a delightful end to a long day of shopping and fun, which I will share with you next week.

In the meantime, try to get out and visit this adorable team of gelato makers, you will fall in love with their product (and join my petition to get them in a local grocer's freezer case!)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

coral bell love

Today's gardeners have more options for planting than ever before, and each year new hybrids and colors are developed.  Zones are changing, and things you could never plant in Minnesota now will thrive. 

I love visiting garden centers, and finding new and unusual plants to add to my collections.  A few years ago, I feel deeply in love with Heuchara (commonly known as Coral Bells).  While they do get flowers (tiny blooms on tall, elegant stems) I grow them for their leaves.  The colors are stunning, and some of them change through the seasons. 

They play well with others, and can make a lowly impatien or viola really pop.  Mix them in with coleus varieties, and you can have a foliage festival!  There are different leaf shapes, and they are the first plants to bring you color in the spring, and stay strong all season long.  How can you not love a plant that will never let you down?  And best of all, most prefer part shade, which is mostly what I have in my yard. 

My obsession started innocently enough, with a little Palace Purple:
(Google images) 

Each year I  find a new variety, and with every new color I bring more variety to my garden, all season long. 

Lime Rickey:
(google images)
(Google images)
(I had intended to highlight my actual plants, but am experiencing TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES so I have found pictures from the net that will highlight things.  Most of these are from on-line nurseries, if you ever have time to fall down the rabbit hole and enter that world, you can order pretty much any plant you want.  I better hide my credit card....)

Here are some varieties I would love to add to my collection (not only do I love the color, I adore the names!) Creme Brulee:
(Google images)
(Google images)

Black Currant:
(Google images)

(google images)
Each year on Mother's Day, I like to add a new addition-this year it was Miracle (rather fitting, don't you think?)
(Google images)

Yesterday I added a new one to my collection, 'Melting Fire'.  Even Home Depot carries a few varieties:
(Google images)
Isn't it stunning???

  I have read on-line that there are over 500 varieties of Heuchera, with new ones being developed each year. 

I'm going to need a bigger garden.....

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

How Sweet It Is

Today's regularly scheduled Recipe Box Wednesday has been canceled so I can bring you the latest from the St. Paul Music scene:  (and a shoutout to James and Carole for getting it right last night, realizing they were in St. Paul, and not Minneapolis, as is so often heard at the X.)

Post-concert syndrome. PCS?  I am sure someone  has labeled  it. My head is a little stuffy, my hands are sore from clapping, my back is reminded of arena seating.

And songs are drifting through my head.  As I vainly tried to fall asleep after arriving home around midnight, they took turns.  First James, then Carole.  This morning I woke up to "So Far Away".  Then I read the reviews of the concert  - Pioneer Press:

Star Tribune:
 and other songs started racing through.

It was magical.  Beautiful.  Powerful.  Here's the set list, indulge in a little nostalgia yourself: 

Set 1 Blossom/ So Far Away/ Machine Gun Kelly/ Carolina/ Way Over Yonder/ Smackwater Jack/ Country Road/ Sweet Seasons/ Mexico/ Sing a Song of Long Ago segued into Far Away/ Beautiful/ Shower the People/ Natural Woman

Set 2 Where You Lead/ Crying in the Rain/ Your Smiling Face/ Sweet Baby James/ Jazzman/ Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow/ Steamroller/ It’s Too Late/ Fire and Rain/ I Feel the Earth Move/ You’ve Got a Friend ENCORE Up on the Roof/ How Sweet It Is ENCORE Close Your Eyes
Yes, the crowd was mostly 'baby boomers'. I had to double check, and I am on the end of the spectrum, as the US Census Bureau has defined it as those born between 1946-1964.  But my date, and good friend who brought me to the concert, wasn't born until 1970.  And I am thinking she loved it just as much as every baby boomer there.

You don't have to be part of any specific generation to appreciate the volume of songs penned by Carole King, or beautifully sung by James Taylor.  They have aged incredibly, and throughout the evening they would show pictures of what they looked like, back in 1970 and 1971, when they performed together at the Troubadour.   Carole's voice is unbelievably strong, and James continues to amaze with his vocals, and adorable banter.  But mostly, it's the music.  The words mixed with just the right elements to evoke heartache, joy, hopefullness.  I alternated between goosebumps, and smiling ear to ear, and wiping tears from my eyes.
They had the original members of the band, from forty years ago.  I can't imagine the reminiscing that happens at the end of a concert, when they rest their tired feet, with a twinkle in their eye full of memories. 

The set-up was unlike any concert I have been to - a round stage in the middle of the arena that slowly rotated throughout the evening, and small tables and chairs set up around it for those lucky few who paid dearly for special seats.  And being the giving performers that they are, most of that ticket money was going to charity.  It was created to feel like an intimate setting, surround by 18,000 adoring fans.  Giant screens gave those of us in steerage seats wonderful views, and the rotating screen above the stage was where they showed us images of Carole and James and the band in their younger days.
Each time the first notes of a new song started, you could almost hear a collective sigh from the crowd.  They could  have literally played for hours, considering the volume of songs they both have in their pockets.  We gleefully showed our appreciation, and they responded with not one but two encores.  I have never seen so many smiling, satisfied faces leaving an event.  Or so many hip gray haircuts and cute (but clearly uncomfortable) shoes (some of those folks were moving pretty slowly at the end of the night.....)

Thanks to my dear friend for a very memorable birthday gift.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

dream weekend, part one

My weekend was so full it will take a couple of days to share it all with you. 

When my sister comes to town, something happens to the space/time continuum, as I am pretty sure a regular minute is reduced to 30 seconds.  (and if you are a science professional, and realize that I have no idea what a continuum is, and don't know what I am talking about, please keep your comments to yourself and just let me run with this, okay?)  It's an ANALOGY.  Or something like that.  If you are an English major, don't correct me either.

Let's just say, the weekend went way too fast.

But boy, do we know how to pack a lot of stuff in.

Friday afternoon we dodged the raindrops and hit up a couple of yard sales.  Now, this is against one of my basic rummaging rules (number two, which is:  Go when they open, be done by 11 am), but sometimes exceptions must be made.  And bending that rule was just fine, as we came across a delightful sale full of old things we love-ephemera and dishes and linens and jewelry.  I picked up a 1960's era electric fondue pot, which included the brand new fondue forks still in plastic, and TWO vintage fondue cookbooks.  And it is orange, no less.
And my favorite part of this sale, a vintage RECORD CABINET.  The woman who was holding the sale was quite old, and the cabinet had belonged to her parents.  It will be perfect for all of my 12 x 12 scrapbook paper!

(Consider this a 'before' picture, I will take an 'after' picture once I strip it or paint it or however I decide to make it my own...)
The sale down the alley was amazing, every table was covered in a pretty tablecloth, they even had displays of clothes with accessories, and had fashioned a dressing room, complete with full length mirror, in the corner of their garage!  Boutique shopping, garage sale prices.  (I think Heather has some pictures, when I get them I will share.)

Then it was off to Ax Man.  Heather had never been, and we had always talked about it, and finally made it.  If you have been there, you will understand why I can't even begin to describe it in my blog.  I picked up some old Northwest Airlines dishes (from back when they used to serve food on flights!)  Check out the store here:

Then it was off to Roseville, where we hit up Homegoods and Michaels.  By then we were tired and hungry, so we made a quick stop for fresh cheese curds (from Nelson's-they are delivered from their cheese shop in Wisconsin every Tuesday and Friday, and they are easily the squeekiest cheese curds you will ever bite into).

We then made our way to Pizza Luce, on Selby Avenue, and enjoyed a Spanish Chicken Pizza (marinated chicken breast with red onions, toasted garlic, mushrooms, mozzarella and smoked Gouda cheese on red sauce).  Is your mouth watering?  Here's a link if you want to know more about it:

We ended the day in my living room, with big glasses of wine and lots of giggling.  Stay tuned for more tales of our adventures!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Charlie vs. tree

I am often asked how I can 'let' my kid ride dirt bikes.  Isn't that dangerous?
Yup.  All sports have a risk of injury, and just as in other sports, he is fully protected.  Probably more so.  And the chance that he could get hurt far outweighs the fun he has, and the time he gets to spend with his dad.  Life lessons are large in the sport:  how to maintain his bike, how to handle any condition while out camping in the woods, patience, perserverance, respect for machinery, being a considerate rider, learning to look down the trail, and handling emergency situations, among others.

Of which he had one yesterday.

From what I have been told, his bike went out from under him and he slid headfirst into a tree.  And of course the part of him that hit the tree was the only part of his head not completely covered by a helmet (you do need to be able to see when riding...)

When they walked into the kitchen yesterday, hours earlier than planned, I knew something was up.  .  Charlie has a lump on his forehead (which was dramatically reduced in size by the time they drove home) that I am guessing will mean a very puffy face and black eye this morning.  He is still sleeping, and I haven't dared take a peek yet.  This is one instance where I am really glad I don't have a photo to share with you...

Mike was behind him on the trail, so he was able to get to him right away.  I can't imagine the thoughts racing through his head when he saw it happen.  Oh, I feel for him.  Luckily one of the fellow riders at the event just happens to be a doctor, so he was able to be checked out right away.  The doctor told him he was lucky to hit where he did, as that is the hardest part of our head, and can handle it.  He told him to keep ice on it, and to watch for headaches or stomach issues, which would signal a visit to the doc.  He had neither of those last night, so we will keep our fingers crossed that all is well.
Charlie's first big injury.  So glad it wasn't worse. So glad his dad was right there with him.

Too bad he isn't more interested in, say, chess.

Friday, May 21, 2010

coffee cup 'wisdom'

First I must share this picture of Claude with you, he is 19 now, and certainly knows how to live (or shall I say, reign).  He remains healthy (three different meds twice a day help that) and sleeps about 23 hours a day.  Not a bad life.  And his humble servants are always at his beck and call.

I stopped in at Caribou Coffee this week, a special treat while we waited for Charlie to get in for a hair cut.  They have new takeout cups, with bits of wisdom.  I share some of that with you today:

Learn to say thank you in ten languages.  (personally, I think it would be great if people just remembered to say thank you at all!)

Be the first to apologize.  (easier pontificated than lived...)

Marshmallows have no nutritional value, and that's okay. (totally agree with that one!)

You'll only be your current age once.  ( I prefer not to discuss age this weekend...)

Don't wait for New Year's to make a resolution.  (Great, I rarely keep the ones I make in January, what are the chances I will adapt ones I make in May?)

Get your hands dirty.  (like that one, I find gardening to be inexpensive therapy.)

Be the ruler of your own life.  Now that one really resonates, I head out today to do just that.  Clearly Claude is already living it!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

girls weekend!

My sis arrives tomorrow to begin our three days o fun-she hasn't been away from her son for well over a year, and has not been for a visit down here since last July, so needless to say we are both giddy with anticipation.
Whatever shall we do first?  The time will fly, as it always does, as we try to pack in all of the things we love to do.

We will probably start off with a light lunch as soon as she arrives, I am thinking I will make her Ina Garten's Sundried Tomato Pasta Salad.  I have lots of fresh basil in my garden, and two balls of fresh mozzarella in my fridge.  My stomach is groaning just thinking about it.

Rummage sales?  Shopping at our favorite spots?  Maybe a day drive to Stillwater, or Stockholm?  Farmer's Market?  A picnic in my backyard?  Visits to my favorite garden stores?  A Yahtzee or Scrabble tournament?  Jewelry making?  Which restaurants shall we go to?  Old favorites, or try something new?  The possiblities are endless, we will be free as birds with no commitments or children to manage.

Today I must ready my little house, and iron some freshly washed sheets with lavender linen spray, and make a run to Trader Joe's for some of her favorite treats.  I will pick some flowers - the lily of the valley are blooming, and their fragrance is unbelievable.  I will check the wine cellar to make sure it is stocked, and plump up the pillows on the outdoor furniture.

Oh, it shall be bliss.  I of course will fill you in on the frivolity next week!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

recipe box Wednesday

I have been on a kick to try new recipes lately, and find some new family favorites to add to our seasonal routines.  Last night's choice was the most well received so far, and will definitely be going into our rotation.  I will share it with you today.

It came straight to my inbox, part of Martha Stewart's Dinner Tonight from Everyday Food email that I get daily:

(Wait for the link to load completely, so it brings you to the Lemon Tortellini recipe).  If you haven't already done so, you can sign up to receive daily recipes too.  Or browse the 99 other main dish pasta recipes.  You will receive different main course dishes daily, sometimes poultry, sometimes pasta, lots of options.

Next time I would add a little more lemon, and perhaps saute some mushrooms along with the prosciutto and garlic (being one who can never leave well enough alone). It was easy, and we ate it outside in the sunshine with a bowl of fresh strawberries and some iced tea.  And thoughts of snow and winter were far from our minds as we watched the girl's softball team frolic through the grass, laughing and enjoying the warm night.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

the early bird...

...really does get the worm!

I saw it for myself on my walk this morning.  The robin turned to look at me, probably wondering if I was going to fight him for it.  No thanks, it's all yours!

Early morning is my favorite time for a walk.  When the birds start chirping and Claude starts meowing and I sleepily look at my clock, I have to make the fateful choice between snuggling in deeper in my bamboo sheets (another post for another time), or getting up and greeting the day.

Today I made the healthy choice, I am usually glad when I do opt for the walk.  The neighborhood was still quiet, although I did come across some folks already leaving for work.  Birds and squirrels were very busy, two squirrels frantically chasing each other through the dew sparkled lawns reminded me of cartoon characters. 

Lilacs are nearing the end of their blooming season, and dandelion fluff has collected in drifts along the sidewalks and roadways, strangely reminiscent of snow.  Lawns are lush and green after last weeks soaking rains. More and more flowers have started blooming, and gardens are coming alive with color.

Speaking of gardens, not a single one of my six varieties of columbines survived the winter.  What's up with that?  Some of them I have had for years, only one of them was a new plant last summer.  Go figure.

But just as a garden will disappoint, it will delight and surprise too.  One of these returned this year:

It's a Toad lily, I planted it several years ago, and it rarely blesses me with a flower.  Maybe it's trying to make up for my losses.

Friday, May 14, 2010

dropping a line

It's the official start of summer in Minnesota-never mind the regular calendar.  It's Fishing Opener!
Living in St. Paul, far from a fishing lake, with a hubby who doesn't own a fishing pole, just isn't the same as growing up in a household where the fishing opener was very nearly a religous experience.  Nights were spent before the big weekend putting new line on reels, cleaning out the tackle box, making sure all of the good lures were ready to go.  Maybe going crawler picking in the rain, looking for the longest, juiciest ones.

A side note (Tracy M, you may want to skip this part, knowing how you feel about worms and all....).  There is a fine art to picking crawlers.  Sure, they may LOOK like they are just laying there on the ground, waiting to be grabbed.  But if you aren't quick, they can scoot back down their hole quicker than lightning.  Wearing rubber gloves only compounds the problem, it is really best done with bare hands.   And since they only come out when it rains, it is usually quite an adventure, and you come home all soggy and, well, dirty.  But boy is it worth it, to pick a big bucket full to take fishing.  Not that I get to do that much here in St. Paul.  Although a few years ago you could find me in my yard in the rain, picking crawlers, and then growing them for my dad when he used to be on the professional walleye tournament trail.  Yup, you can buy both worm bedding AND worm food, right here in St. Paul.  And for some reason I have a lot of night crawlers in my yard...

If the season was on track, we would go minnow seining too.  I fondly remember a big culvert that we would wade through with our big net, my dad on one side and me on the other, with my brother waiting to help us scoop them up and get them in the bucket.

I LOVED going fishing with my dad, and when I was little it seemed like we went a lot.  I really miss it.

I am sure he is gearing up this week, and tomorrow he will be out in his boat.  Probably not at midnight, like in the old days, but for sure he will be wetting his line.   Good luck dad, and to all of the other fishing folks this weekend!  And Heather, kiss a blue racer for me, won't you?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

sick day

Charlie is home again today.  Apparently spending all day Tuesday outside in the rain wasn't so good for him, he has a nasty sore throat and stomach troubles.  No fever, so that's good, and so far Mike and I have stayed healthy.  With this unceasing string of rainy cold days, I'm surprised we aren't all sick.

Mother Nature has surely done a number on us here,  but I am seeing hopeful signs in the weekend weather forecast that things will brighten up soon.  Just in time for fishing!  It has been a good excuse to hunker down at night with knitting and cups of tea, rather than working in the yard.  The grass is getting so tall I am reminded of a jungle.  Glad I'm not the mower in the family.

Do you remember sick days as a child?  Burrowing down deeper under the covers, realizing the whole day stretched ahead of you with only books and naps in your schedule.  My mom would make me tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches to feed my cold, or dry toast and flat 7 up for stomach troubles.  She would bring me water or juice with a bendy straw leaning against the glass,  on the metal tray whose legs folded up when it didn't need to be used in bed.   The only other time that tray saw use was when I sat on the floor in the living room, and used it to color pictures in a fresh new coloring book, in front of our black and white TV.

And sometimes on a sick day, my mom would run to the store while my dad was home for his lunch, and bring me home a new Archie comic book and some ginger ale, to help pass the day.  It was like a little reward for being stuck at home, as I was one of those elementary school kids who LOVED school, and hated being home.

What are your staying home from school memories?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

recipe box Wednesday

We are currently receiving our weather payback for our above and beyond, beautiful early spring weather in March and April.

Yesterday it tried really hard to get over 45 degrees, last Tuesday it was 79.  All of my enormous perennials are looking at me as I walk by, asking me what the heck is going on.  I tried to explain Minnesota Weather Karma, but they just bowed their leaves and sighed.

Everything really tender is in the garage.  I am covering the tomatoes and green peppers with plastic storage boxes at night.  And keeping my fingers crossed.  Mike and I helped Charlie and his classmates work on their rain garden at school on Saturday morning-in the intermittent rain and sleet.

The weather motivates my cooking immensely.  So as I was sitting working away on my computer yesterday, a giant lightning bolt struck me and I knew it was time for Ina Garten's Chicken Stew with Biscuits.

I knew I had blogged about it before, and ironically I found my post on April 29th of 2008.  It sounds like I was influenced the same way-a cold dreary day after signs of spring.  So the pictures are a repeat-I am sure you won't mind.

This recipe can be found in the Barefoot Contessa's "Family Style" cookbook, or if you have the recipe collection I made it is listed under Poultry and I called it 'Decadent Chicken Pot Pie'.  Or here is the link:

And since the weather was influencing me yesterday, I whipped up a blueberry/strawberry crisp for dessert.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

reality bites

Life is not all flowers and sunshine...

Do you remember the Rotor Rooter man song?

"Rotor Rooter, that's the name

and away go troubles, down the drain".

It was a really fun Monday in our house....

But my troubles have all gone down the drain...sorta.

Monday, May 10, 2010

house envy

Last weekend Charlie had a sleepover birthday party at a friend's house.  They have moved from St. Paul to south Minneapolis, and they gave Mike and I a tour of their new place.

Oh my.  The house was built in 1951, and is a gem.  I loved the light wood, the spiral staircase off the entry way (boy, could you make an entrance down those stairs).  The kitchen is adorable, and still has it's original two Thermador ovens.  The bathrooms have the great old pastel tile, and original sinks and fixtures that match.  It has a beautiful screen porch in the back, and a cozy wood paneled den to store all of the books.  The main family room has a beautiful stone fireplace, with rock covering most of a wall.  The basement is a kid's paradise, lots of room to run and play on the linoleum tiled floors, and a built in bar for entertaining.  (On this night it was stocked with pop and Doritos!)

As we wandered through the house, getting an enthusiastic tour from the owners, I couldn't help but be wracked with envy.  Oh, look at all the closets!  The huge windows overlooking the street!  The perfect condition of the wood floors!  They have done some remodeling to the home, but have worked hard to maintain the character of the house.  They even had the original blueprints to work off of!  And best of all, their house has a history.  It was built in 1951 for Minnesota's most notorious mobster, Isadore Blumenfeld. 

Here are some stories about him, if you are interested:

He even had a tunnel built from his house to the house across the street, where he kept a girlfriend!  (it is no longer functional...)

Oh, if those walls could talk.  No traces remain of his life there, it isn't like there are bullet holes in the wall, he did all of his nasty business elsewhere.  I had no idea such a horrible person lived in the cities.

If I had known I was in for such a visit, I would have brought my camera to document the tour.  It was truly amazing.

So this morning as I drink my coffee and look at my crummy wood floors that really need a good redoing one of these days, I sigh and dream of big closets, a room just for books, and a big kitchen to cook in. And I may just have to drag out our deed and see what interesting stories I can find out about our little old house.  Nothing quite so dramatic, I am sure!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

a tribute

Yes, today is Mother's Day.  But considering what mom's contribute to this world, I think maybe a whole week would be more appropriate!  I know so many amazing moms, and have learned something from all of them along the way:

Whether you are a mom with 3 girls, and managing a baby in your forties:

Or a mom with a graduating teenager, and two busy boys, and a day care mom to lucky kids:

A mom with three active kids, all with their own interests and pursuits:
A mom who took in her daughter after a devasting end to her marriage:
A single mom, who is doing an amazing job creating a wonderful life for her son:

A mom who not only is raising two brilliant children, but is the principal of a middle school, so a 'mom' to many (sorry, no picture available of Kate!)

A mom with two busy boys, who I so miss having in the neighborhood:

A mom of four kids, who I have just connected with again, and I enjoy learning more about her life and everything we have in common!
A mom in Fargo, who I never get to see anymore, but when I do it is like we were never apart.  A  mom who has been a teacher all her life, and has inspired so many.  Mom's I knew in high school, that I still know and love.  Mom's I met in college, and still keep in touch.  Mom's in the neighborhood, or mom's I just know to say hi to in the grocery store.  Mom's at the dirt bike track, mom's at the soccer field, mom's at school, mom's at the library.  Mom's who make amazing Indian food, mom's who can whip up pies with two little girls underfoot.

We come in all shapes and sizes, and have different religions and political views.  Some like to garden, some faint at the site of worms.  Some love to cook, some love their microwave.  There are those of you who love to run, and those of us who prefer a brisk walk.  But one thing we all have in common:  I am betting every single one of us would rush into a burning building to save our kids.

I raise my cup of coffee to you all.  I love you as dear friends, and am so glad you are in my life.  Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 7, 2010

ring of death

For those of you with an Xbox, you know what I am refering to.  The red ring of death appears on an Xbox when it has died, and is often followed by wailing and gnashing of teeth.

At least, amongst the youngsters in the house.  The parents quietly rejoice.

I have learned that the Xbox has a 55% fail rate.  And I believe it, since it has happened to us twice.  And we haven't really had it that long.  And it isn't on constantly.   As a business owner, I don't think I would be happy if my customers had a bad experience 55% of the time.  In fact, I would maybe go back to the drawing board and come up with a better product.  What does it say about us that we are willing to accept that?  Because when the machine fails, you have already invested lots of money in games, and perhaps you even have a one year subscription to Xbox live (that allows you to play on-line with others, and watch Netflix on demand...).  So it fails, and we get it fixed, and just move on.

Fortunately, they do make it relatively easy to send it back, and get it repaired.  They email you a label, and repair it for free if it is still under warranty.

My blissfully quiet days (our satellite dish has been out too, what are the chances?) are at an end.  Charlie has been tracking the UPS package since it left Texas, and each morning he would gleefully report on it's progress.  "Mom, it left Eagan at 6:09 am!"

He made sure I would be home the entire day it was scheduled to be delivered, as a signature was required.

And now it's back.  But on the positive side of things, you have never seen a child get his homework and chores done so quickly (a prerequisite to having any on-line time).  And so far, he has been really good about managing his time that he is allotted.

But it's only been four days.  We are ever watchful of attitude shifts and lazy habits returning-as soon as they do Xbox time will be gone, at least for a while.  It's almost as good as having Santa to hold over their head in December, when they are old enough to still believe.

Parenting a twelve year old in the electronic age....


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