Friday, December 26, 2008

A REALLY Good Graph

I found the following graph while "stumbling" a few minutes ago ( I couldn't have explained it better myself!!!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

...And So It Goes...!

Crap! I KNEW that if I got back into the "theater thing", I'd get hooked again... I TRIED to convince myself that theater was "silly", and a "waste of time", and that, perhaps, I'd finally outgrown my need for adoration. Yeah right...

My friend Keri convinced me that I should be a part of "Once Upon A Christmas" at the Maplewood Community Center with a group called "Ashland Productions". I KNEW that they were the company responsible for "Pirates", a musical involving LOTS of grade school students in SEVERAL schools around the metro, and BRILLIANTLY exposing our students to the magic of the theater, and thought "wow...they are doing such a COOL thing, getting kids involved on stage", but I SO didn't think it would be a group that I would ever be involved with...

Well...I was wrong. From about the fourth or fifth rehearsal, I was hooked! How much better does it GET than learning four part harmony to standards of the season??!! OF COURSE the first couple of rehearsals were AWFUL (here's a secret for those of you who don't know me very well...I'M SHY...and going into a show, where I don't know anyone, TOTALLY freaks me out...and to make matters worse, Keri went to New York for the next THREE rehearsals, so I didn't know ANYONE there...ack!).

I have to say, though, that the people who act for Ashland are AMAZING! What a fabulous group of people...from the little kids, to the high schoolers, to the "adult chorus"...they were AMAZING!!! I had SUCH A BLAST hanging out with these people...!

I can't truly say that I like rehearsing a show, but I can DEFINITELY say that I LOVE being on stage...what a "catch 22" to be such a diva, and "socialphobe" at the same time! Luckily, the diva usually wins, and I left my comfort zone, and chatted with people during those rehearsals, and met some COOL, COOL people!!!!

Anyway, the show closed yesterday, and I'm actually a little sad (okay...I'm also REALLY glad to be home, and to NOT have to drive through the CRAPPY weather and HORRIBLE roads we've had the last week or so). The performances went well (despite having the LEAST AMOUNT OF REHEARSALS FOR A SHOW I'VE EVER EXPERIENCED...!). In fact, I liked it so much that I've already scheduled my audition for their next show: "Seussical: The Musical"! NOT that I have the time OR "stamina" to face snowy/icy/hazardous commutes to Maplewood from Eagan in January, February, March, and part of April, but...who knows...maybe it will all go away early this year??!!

Here are a few shots from the show that just closed. If you're in the Twin Cities around the end of April/beginning of May, come see the show (I'm HOPING to get cast...I guess you'd better wait until the "I Made it Into the Cast" post before reserving your tickets!!!).

"The Years are Passing By"

"Christmas Time is Here"

"The Most Wonderful Time of the Year"

"A Strange Way to Save the World"

"I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm"

Hope YOU rekindled a passion from YOUR past this week!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Nausea and Wildlife

Okay...these have ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with each other, but BOTH have been on my mind today...the nausea because I've felt that way since about 11:00, and am hoping it's just too much coffee, or a touch of food poisoning from last night's party, or too much wine AT the party, because the alternative is the flu bug that's been seeping through school, and I SO don't have time for that!

The show (see previous blog entry) opens NEXT weekend, and I need EVERY SECOND of rehearsal time between now and then to figure out WHAT THE HECK the words are to all of the songs, WHERE THE HECK my blocking takes me through each of the songs, and HOW THE HECK I transition from point "A" to point "B" (and "C"...and "D"...and...).

Wildlife has also been on my mind today. I have it here in my new place...from the wolves howling in the woods off my deck a few nights ago, to the family of deer that ambles into the yard out back to forage for corn a neighbor leaves out in the snow, to the GORGEOUS quartet of cardinals that sit in the crabapple tree out my dining room window. Have I mentioned how much I LOVE living here yet????

Hope YOUR day is NOT queasy, but full of wonderful wildlife, too!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Spell with Flickr

I saw a cool "artsy" photo montage in a gallery a year or so ago, and thought "wow...this is cool!". It was a word, spelled out with photos of different letters...some were taken from signs, some were Scrabble pieces, some were magnetic letters.

I've tried to take photos of signs and letters to make my own, but, at the TIES Technology Conference (and awards ceremony, in which I was one of about 50 educators from around the state honored as "exceptional teachers of the year"...but that's a different story) went to a presentation on blogs, and discovered Spell with Flickr:

You can go to this link, type in what you want spelled out, and it'll bring it up with various "Flickr Photos". You can click on the individual letters to change them, and create ALL SORTS of cool things.

I haven't figured out ALL of the "ins and outs" yet, and the best I've been able to come up with is copying and pasting it all into a Word document and rearranging them to read from left to right (they cut and paste vertically).

Not really sure of how I can use this yet, but I'm sure there are ALL SORTS OF POSSIBILITIES!!!!

J - järnväg = railway E Lower-Case Letter F (Washington, DC) f

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


I went on the GREATEST field trip with the 6th graders today! There's a place here in Eagan called FEED MY STARVING CHILDREN. It's a non-profit, Christian organization that focuses on feeding the hungry of the world. We are in the process of preparing our 6th graders for their HUGE "end of elementary school" project, called exhibition. One aspect of the exhibition is an "action piece"...doing something to "better our world", so we took them to FMSC to give them a "real life" example of something they could do.

Feed My Starving Children's brochure says: "Founded in 1987, Feed My Starving Children has a mission of 'Feeding God's Starving Children Hungry in Body and Spirit'." Their approach is simple...volunteers of all ages hand-pack nutritious meals for severely malnourished children. The meals are distributed to starving children in over 55 countries around the world.

FMSC has a unique food mixture which was designed specifically for severely malnourished children by Minnesota food scientists. The meals consist of rice, textured soy protein, dehydrated vegetables, and 20 vitamins and minerals with a vegetarian chicken flavoring (we got samples after the session, and it's NOT bad...kind of a mix between Rice-A-Roni and ramen noodles...!). The facility is 100% volunteer run, and it costs 17 cents to produce each meal.

We started with a short "lecture", and learned some SOBERING facts...for instance, every 4.8 seconds, someone dies from starvation...18,000 children die EACH DAY from starvation or starvation related HORRIBLE!!! FMSC "contracts" with various religious groups, and humanitarian organizations, and feeds one child (or group of children) for an ENTIRE YEAR.

We were introduced (through photographs) to a child in an orphanage in El Salvador. His name is Omar, and, at age 8, weighed only 19 pounds. After eating FMSC food for 6 months, he weighed 73 pounds, and is now a healthy was AMAZING!

After the lecture, we washed our hands, donned EVER SO ATTRACTIVE hairnets, and gathered in the "bagging room". We learned about the FOUR things to be added to each bag (mentioned above), and how to bag it, seal it, and box it up for shipment (ours are scheduled to head to Uganda on Thursday).

Our kids (along with various staff and parent volunteers, as well as various corporate and church groups who were also there to "bag stuff up") did a GREAT JOB...the morning group bagged 10,584 meals (each bag feeds ONE child SIX meals, or SIX children ONCE). The volunteer who led the session said that we saved TWENTY NINE kids from dying of starvation. The afternoon group bagged 13,176 meals, saving THIRTY SIX kids from starvation.

What an amazing experience, and what a COOL organization. You can learn more about them at They have "drop in nights" for people to just "show up" and bag meals. They are also looking for volunteers to help with various aspects of the process, and I THINK I'm going to get involved...what a REWARDING experience, and a GREAT cause!!!

It's really HEARTWARMING to know that there are organizations out there like FEED MY STARVING CHILDREN to help the needy of the world. I was TRULY blessed to be a part of this one.

Hope YOUR day was FULL of fulfillment and blessings too!!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Kim and Ashley's Visit!!

Kim and Ashley made it up for ANOTHER fun weekend visit! Ashley came up to look at the University of Minnesota because she's thinking of transferring up here next year...I say DO IT GIRL...we'd LOVE to have you here in the cities! I remember how AMAZINGLY WONDERFUL it was to be able to spend weekends with Larry and Dee (and family!) in Tipton, so I hope Robin and Dave and I can provide that kind of "hominess" for her as well. Now if we can just convince Kim to move up here too (in "theory" to be close to her daughter, but heck...we just think it would be fun to have HER around too!).

The weekend was the usual BLITZ of activity...with shopping, and eating out (which, for some reason, is the only thing I managed to take pictures of...the photos below are from our lunch at Big Bowl in Edina).

The only BAD part of the weekend happened the first night they were in town. They stayed at a hotel on 494 and France, and their car got broken into (the front passenger-side window got smashed out). Ashley lost all of her college books and notes (JUST before finals...natch), her IPod, and the backpack itself. They also lost a bag of food (??!!), and Kim lost ALL her makeup...yikes! They got the window fixed the next day, and HOPEFULLY insurance will cover some of the loss...PEOPLE SUCK!!!! was a FUN, FUN weekend, and we always have SUCH A GOOD TIME with them...MOVE HERE GIRLS!!!!!!

Davey teaching Emilie to use chopsticks

Duane and Robin

Abigail, Ashley, and Kim!!!

Ashley and Kim

The gang at Big Bowl

Hope YOUR weekend was full of family and fun too!!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Ack! I'm in a Show!!!

I don't know how it minute I was QUIETLY sitting in my office at school, anticipating a LOVELY, quiet holiday season (now that I'm NOT suffering the injustice of retail at the holidays), and the next thing I know, I'm doing a show with Ashland Productions...HOW DID THIS HAPPEN???

I VOWED that I would NEVER again "bog down" my holidays with ANYTHING, after suffering through THREE YEARS of retail HELL...and the first "please do our show...we need PEOPLE" that I get...I FORSAKE my vow, and run off to perform.

I thought I was OVER the "theater thing"...but I don't think you can EVER truly "disengage"...the THRILL of the adulation (why pussy-foot around the issue...we do it for the adoration...plain and simple) is just TOO strong.

Anyway...the show is called "Once Upon a Christmas", and BASICALLY revolves around some kid finding the ture meaning of Christmas...blah, blah, blah.... There are FIVE men, and FIVE women rounding out the "adult cast", and it could be fun...(OF COURSE I asked if it was all "chorus"...or if there were still "solo parts" TRUE diva fashion...!).

The show goes up on December 19th, 20th, and 21st, and I've been ASSURED that it's a light rehearsal schedule...we'll see how THAT goes. It's a good this will set me up (hopefully!) to be a contender when they audition for "Seussical: The Musical" this spring (although I don't really know the show, and THIS show might KILL ME OFF anyway, so I won't even be available this spring!).

Laura Osnes (recent winner of the reality show "You're the One That I Want", and SANDY in "Grease" on Broadway) has done some stuff with Ashland Productions, so...WHO KNOWS what connections I might make through the...ordeal...!!!

Check out their site at They are also doing a show with our students called "Pirates"...which sounds like it's going to be a hoot!!!

WHAT HAVE I DONE??!! Wish me luck...I'm going to NEED IT!!!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Proposition 8

I've been ANNOYED for a week now, because of the passage of "Proposition 8" (I've renamed it the HATEFUL BUCKET OF CRAP ammendment) in California. I can't BELIEVE that people are still so SPITEFUL, and JUDGEMENTAL, and BIGOTED, and SHALLOW, and STUPID, and CLUELESS, and MORONIC, and STUPID, and EVIL, and STUPID...

Tena posted a GREAT video clip on her blog by one of my FAVORITE media personalities/newsmen...Keith Olbermann. I'm posting it here for those of you who read mine, so that you can see it too. He was very eloquent, and passionate, and sincere, and kind, and, if the world had MORE people in it like Keith Olbermann, it would be a MUCH, MUCH better place to live!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I Give Up!

Last year, on the way home from school, I saw a yard in which 50 or 60 "light up" snowmen were displayed. At first I thought they were INCREDIBLY tacky, but, as I drove by, day after day, and saw them all lit up, smiling happily at the people who passed by, I started REALLY liking them.

So...this year, I decided that I wanted to find one or two for my deck (now that I'm in the new place, and have outdoor electricity, and don't have to try to figure out how to run a cord through my sliding glass door).

Do you think I can FIND a plastic, "light up" snowman ANYWHERE in the cities, though??!! I've been to Menard's, Home Depot, Lowes, Target, Wal-Mart, K-Mart, and even Mills Fleet Farm. They have TONS of tacky "blow up" snowmen, santas, nativities, and even moose on merry-go-rounds. They have LED light up mesh snowmen, santas, candy canes, and animals. They have wreaths, and ornaments, and bows, and trees, and stockings, and sleds, and holiday turkey deep fat fryers, but NO PLASTIC "LIGHT UP" SNOWMEN!!!!

To be honest, I DID find a scary looking one at Menards (I would have nightmares if I had THIS one looking in at me from my deck!), and K-Mart had a "smaller than normal" snowman that didn't look too scary, but the "paint job" was COMPLETELY substandard...whoever they have supplying them with plastic "light up" snowmen needs to learn how to use a spray gun!

So...unless E-Bay or Goodwill has anything, or my dad runs across one at an auction, I'm just going to have to settle for a string of lights and some pine boughs...WHERE'S THE TACKY WHEN YOU WANT IT??!!!

Hope YOU are able to find all that YOU want to use to make YOUR place more festive this holiday season!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Revolting Recipes # 1

As I scour antique stores and used bookstores for vintage cookbooks and recipe card boxes, I run across some INTERESTING recipes. I do not know WHY people would come up with some of the creations that they do, and I've always been fascinated/mortified with the concept of jell-o and vegetables as an actual offering. an effort to "inform the world" of how truly AWFUL some recipes can be, I've decided to, periodically, share some of the more DISGUSTING offerings. This "delicacy" fell in to my lap at school yesterday (figuratively speaking, of course!). I was looking through my non-fiction collection, and noticed So-Good Meals, by Better Homes and Gardens, circa 1963. The 60's were a bad, bad time for jell-o related dishes, rivaled ONLY by the 50's (and maybe the 70's).

So...without further "ado", for your culinary scoffing (or enjoyment...??)...

Winter Garden Loaf

2 3-oz. packages lemon-flavored gelatin
3 1/2 cups hot water
3 tablespoons vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
9 to 12 canned whole green beans
3 of 4 long strips pimiento

1 cup cooked cauliflowerets
1/2 cup cooked sliced carrots
1/4 cup diced celery
1/4 cup sliced radishes
1/4 cup sliced green onions

Dissolve gelatin in hot water; add vinegar and salt. Pour about 1/2 inch of gelatin mixture into 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Chill till set.

Divide beans in 3 or 4 bundles; circle each with pimiento strip. Arrange on gelatin in pan. Chill remaining gelatin till partially set; pour enough over beans to cover; chill until firm.

Meanwhile combine remaining gelatin with rest of vegetables (but do not chill). Pour over firm gelatin in pan, then chill till set. Unmold on lettuce. Serves 8.

Serves EIGHT???!! I'm thinking at a dinner party of 25, you'd STILL have leftovers!!!

Hope YOU have your OWN favorite jell-o delicacy to enjoy today!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Photos from "Party Like a BARACKSTAR"!

Just got these photos from the OBAMA party I went to Tuesday night. Except for having THREE chins in some of them, they aren't bad!

Janelle, Jill, Keri, and Me!

Look at the bows in Pat's hair!!!

We voted!!!

Keri, Kate, and Pat

Jill, Keri, Me, Pat, and Kim

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Election Thoughts

I was trying to figure out what to say today, regarding my thoughts about the election. So many things have been running through my head. Then...I read my friend Tena's blog (, and didn't need to think any more about it. Her thoughts on this whole thing are BRILLIANT, and ELOQUENT, and PASSIONATE, and REALLY, REALLY POIGNANT. I'm posting HER WORDS here on my blog, because they really spoke to me:

I had no idea I'd cry so much tonight.
I cried when I realized it was possible.
I cried when the networks projected a winner.

I cried when John McCain spoke.
So eloquent.
So gracious.
So classy.
I hurt for him.
He truly is a hero who has sacrificed more
than I ever knew I had.

I cried when I saw Barack Obama speak to more than
a million people.
I cried because I was happy.
I cried because I was scared.
I cried because I was relieved.

I cried because our country has taken another step.
A step toward growing up.
When Geraldine Ferraro said in 1984 that
"America is the land where dreams can come true for all of us,"
it wasn't really true.
I cried tonight because now it is,
or at least we're a lot closer to where that is.

I cried because the hope is so big
it feels like it's going to burst through my chest.
The hope that we can be respected again in the world.
The hope that we can have peace.
The hope that we can all just get along and be proud Americans,
no matter what our beliefs or philosophies.
The hope that we can have differing opinions
but still respect each other and work together.

I cried when Barack Obama talked about his grandmother.
I miss mine,
and I know how it feels to have wonderful things happen
and to wish the people you love the most were
there by your side.

I cried because I'm proud.
I'm proud to be an American.
I'm grateful to live in a country where I have the right
to speak
to teach
to debate
to vote
to dream

to hope.

Hope and gratitude.
Important words in my life.
I'm so filled to the brim, they spilled out.

I cried.

Wow! What amazing insight into the whole thing!!!

As HAPPY as I am that Barack Obama is going to be our next president, however, I can't say that I'm COMPLETELY satisfied with how things turned out...Michelle Bachmann got reelected to another term, and she's a COMPLETE and UTTER MORON...Proposition 8 passed in California (barring gays from getting married...incidentally, I found it interesting that an article online today stated that a LARGE number of blacks came out to vote for Obama, and, in exit polls, stated that they voted for the proposition...hmmm...they have THEIR civil rights, but are voting to keep another group of oppressed people from having theirs...that sounds a little BIGOTED and PREJUDICED to me...).

We also didn't pass our technology levy for my school district, which means next year is a HUGE question mark...technologically speaking...AND the proposition to have the city of Eagan buy the defunct golf course behind my townhouse. and keep it as "green space" was defeated...which means the guy who owns it can now put in a combination of houses, townhomes, and low income housing...GREAT...maybe I WON'T buy this place...just in case they rip out all the trees and build a GHETTO back there...

Overall, however, I AM thrilled, that Obama is our president elect...although it FLOORS ME that it took 200 years to finally elect a non-caucasian president!!!! Another article that I saw online today stated that Obama is TRULY our first "international" president...father from Kenya...raised for part of his life in Asia (Indonesia?)...spent another part of his life in Hawaii (okay...not TECHNICALLY an international location, but tropical, anyway!)...I can't WAIT to see what the next four years will bring!!!

Saturday, November 1, 2008


As I was EXTOLLING to Duane the virtues, yet again, of my GT Xpress 101 (well it really IS a cool gadget...!!) the other day, he coined a new acronym for me...apparently, I have TCSS (Television Commercial Susceptibility Syndrome)!

I have to admit, he might be right...when I SEE the infomercial for the "Greatest Hits of the 70's Collection" I NEED the "Greatest Hits of the 70's Collection" (even though the Air Supply guys look REALLY old!)...when I SEE the ab roller thingamabob I NEED that ab roller thingamabob (to get those tight abs simply by "rocking" for 15 minutes a day!)...and when I SEE the tube thing where you can cook spaghetti noodle in a FRACTION of the time in your microwave I NEED that tube thing where you can cook spaghetti noodles in a FRACTION of the time in your microwave (even though I don't HAVE a microwave).

I wonder if there's a pill I can take for this??!!

Hope YOU saw something YOU couldn't live without on the "boob tube" today...wait...that not a good thing to close with...dang...maybe there's a support group I could join...!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser

Tonight was my school's annual "Spaghetti Dinner Scholarship Fundraiser". We sell tickets to eat in the cafeteria (our school's FAMOUS spaghetti sauce is COVETED for MILES around!), and also have a variety of "silent auction" items to bid on. The money raised goes towards scholarships for students who have "graduated" from our school, and helps defray the cost of college (a little...!). We usually end up raising enough to give $1,000.00 awards to two or three recipients.

The staff signs up to work various "aspects" of the dinner...from selling tickets, to serving meals, to cleaning up after it's all over. Janet and I worked the "dish room" again this year for a shift. We had a BLAST last year, scraping trays, and running them through the "dishwasher", so thought we'd give it a try again this year.

I have to admit, LAST YEAR was more fun...this year there was WAY more "washing of hands" (we're scraping dishes...what's up with that??!!), "netting of hair" (I lucked out because my hair was short enough that it didn't NEED to be netted), and "following of rules" (how CAN you spray the "cleaning hose" at each other, if people keep telling you NOT to??!!).

Good cause...our shift didn't have much "business" (too early in the evening)...and we can now say that we HELPED with the cause...what more can you ask for??!!

Here's a picture from LAST year's fun:

Hope YOUR day involved some "good clean fun"!!!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Bridge Tours, Bonfires, "Beergaritas", and Brunch- SECOND try...

Not sure WHAT happened to the blog entry and photos I was entering (and with "dial up" that process was clocking in at about AN HOUR AND A HALF, so far...!), but the following is all that's left after it IMPLODED...grrr...

You can piece it together yourself. Fill in the "blanks" with your own sordid details...grrrr again....

...and what an alliterative weekend it was...chock FULL of exhilarating "B's", including "baccuuming, "blaundry", and "bwinterizing the deck", but here are the highlights...

Duane and I went to see the historic Rock Island swing bridge over the Mississippi River Saturday afternoon. The county park association gave the tour as an "awareness" project to possibly help save part of the bridge from being destroyed.


The beverage of choice was something called a "beergarita". It wasn't BAD, but not exactly what I would have, tequila, margarita mix, and a couple of other things that I've forgotten...


It was a GREAT time, and really fun to spend time OUTSIDE of work with everyone (well...not EVERYONE...but the "everyone" who bothered to show up!). I've decided, though, that I'm TOO OLD to party until the wee hours of the morning...I'm PAYING FOR IT today!!!!


This morning, I met my friend Pat, her "BFF" from Willmar- Sarah, and Kate and Josh W. at Jake's for brunch. It was nice to FINALLY meet Sarah...very fun. Brunch was a hoot, and it was a GREAT chance to eat WAY too much food, and spend MORE time "catching up" with work people (since we DON'T, apparently, do that enough at school...which actually IS a cool enjoy hanging out with people that you see every day even when you don't HAVE to!).

Now, however, I'm paying for staying up too late, and drinking a "beergarita" (ick now!), and eating too much breakfasty stuff...I'm thinking I'll be spending the afternoon lying on the sofa...there might even be some moaning involved...ugh!

Hope YOUR weekend had some adventure in it, but that YOU are not paying for it now!!

Grrr again!!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Wedding Weekend!

I went to Fairfield this weekend for Mandie and Sean's wedding...and what a BUSY weekend it was! I left the cities on Thursday (it was MEA...Minnesota Education Association...weekend, which meant we had FOUR days off)(technically to attend workshops and the convention, but MOST people just take the long weekend and GO somewhere!). I listened to the wedding music, that I was going down to sing, for a large chunk of the trip. My goal was to have it memorized by the time I got there, but, it turns out I didn't need to, as we decided to use the sheet music during the ceremony (which was actually GREAT...because it was much LESS stressful)! It was a BEAUTIFUL day, and a NICE, leisurely drive.

I stopped in Pella, on my way there, to get guveldekuchen and Dutch letters. UNFORTUNATELY, they only had TWO guveldekuchen (I wanted SIX), and I still had on my "city face" (and maybe a hint of attitude!), so I think I SCARED the poor woman behind the counter when I said "are you KIDDING me??!!" after she went to the back to see if they had any more, and didn't. I "made nice" with her, and she suggested that next time I came through town that I call ahead. She said they'd be HAPPY to hold some back for me...yeah...that'll be GREAT when I go back next spring!!

I got to Fairfield around 4:00 (after getting LOST trying to figure out how to get to town via the new bypass!) and had a QUICK chance to talk to Tena before she went to a meeting. When she got back, we had a SPEEDY pizza at George's (I have pepperoni and green olives!), then met LeAnne and Fred at the high school to run through the wedding music. Emily wasn't in town yet, so Tena stepped in for a few of the duets (which was a GREAT help!). Mandie and Sean were there to listen (no PRESSURE!), and we plunked out our parts. I was feeling a little uneasy at that point, but, calmed down a little bit when I realized that we still had the "real" wedding rehearsal, and an additional "hour before the wedding" rehearsal in which to work stuff out!

After singing for about an hour, I went over to Carol J's house to "hang out". It was LOVELY to see her again, and to catch up, and we had a nice, relaxing glass of wine while chatting. She's a DEAR friend, and it was REALLY REALLY AWESOME to see her again!

After offering redecorating advice, and talking about how we could "de-old lady-fie" her house (I think we came up with some AWESOME ideas!), I went back to Tena's, and she and I spent some time catching up as well. She had to work on Friday, so we didn't stay up TOO late!

I learned on Friday morning that it SUCKS to go to Fairfield when everyone you know has to work! I hung out at Tena's for awhile, then went to Revelations to get some coffee. I drove to Chautauqua Park and sat on a bench near one of the shelter houses for awhile, then drove around town for a bit, then drove out to Libertyville (to see how the bypass had been routed), then drove to Jefferson County Park and walked one of the trails. LUCKILY, I ran into Mosie (which I tend to do on my trips home!), so she walked with me, and we had a chance to catch up as well.

After Jefferson County Park, I met Claudette at the library, and we had a chance to chat over lunch at the Istanbul Cafe. I got to see Deena while I was waiting for Claudette, an was also able to meet the new children's librarian. She seemed like a HOOT, and I think will be a GREAT addition to the staff. It was SO nice to see Claudette again! We hadn't talked (except through e-mail) for AGES, so it was a NICE chat! I miss spending time with here, and am vowing to "fix that", and maybe make lunch a regular part of my visits back to Iowa from now on! As I mentioned in an earlier post (referring to Kelly when she came to visit), Claudette is one of those AMAZING friends with whom I can just "pick up" where we left off, and it's comfortable, and relaxed, and OH SO NICE!!!

After lunch, I stopped by Sunnybrook Assisted Living to see if I could find my dear old friend Edna. I called Sunnybrook earlier that day, and they wouldn't tell me if she was there, because I wasn't family. I was a little annoyed, but, as a teacher, and librarian, understood the whole "confidentiality" thing. I ASSUMED she was still there, and asked the person who answered the phone that if she WAS there, would it be possible to visit her. She said "probably", so I took that to mean that she was still there.

She was, but it was a DIFFICULT visit. She's MUCH more frail than she was the last time I saw her. She's been falling a lot lately, so had been moved to the "more assistance" area of the home, and I could tell that it was really BUGGING her that her independence was being taken away, bit by bit. She can't drive her car anymore, they've taken the stove from her room, and she doesn't get many visitors at all. It's SAD, really, because she's done SO MUCH for SO MANY families around town that she REALLY should have DROVES of visitors...but she doesn't.

We had a very nice chat, and her SPUNKINESS came out several times during our was nice to see. My favorite bit of "spunk" was when she said that the man in the next room kept wandering into her room and lying down on her sofa...but that it was NOT a good situation, because he "wasn't even good looking"!!

She said that she mainly spends her time reading, and watching television. I asked if they had a library there, and she said no, so, I suggested that the administrator at Sunnybrook contact the library to see if it would be possible to bring books out as part of the library's "homebound" program. Not sure if that's possible, but I hope so...I'm sure there are LOTS of people like Edna, who could use some new material to read!

After visiting with Edna, I went back to Tena's and got ready for the rehearsal. Duane flew to Cedar Rapids, and then rented a car, and arrived just as the rehearsal was starting. We did a sound check, rehearsed everything, and, I must say, did a BRILLIANT job...especially since Emily and I had never sung together before!

Duane left to meet Carol J. for dinner, and I stayed for the "official" rehearsal. It went well, and afterwards, we went to the fairgrounds (to the agriculture building!) for the rehearsal dinner. We had AWESOME Italian food, and my good friend Trish joined us (she was one of the hostesses for the wedding reception), so she and I had a chance to catch up.

After the dinner, I went to Carol's to chat again (with Duane this time!), then we headed back to Tena's for MORE conversation and to FINALLY go to bed!

Saturday, we got up, got around (slowly), then headed to Revelations for coffee. We walked the square, shopped (I found a chocolate BACON bar at the Chocolate Cafe!), then went BACK to Revelations for lunch (their pizzas are AMAZING!). After that, we looked around the TINY local farmer's market, then headed to Jefferson County Park (after picking up Avery!). We took an AWESOME walk (AGAIN for me!), and got some GREAT pictures...and here they are!

Duane and me outside Thymely Solutions!
Tena and me trying to WAKE UP!!

the civic center (where the wedding took place)
the cuppola on the Jefferson County Courthouse

a maple tree outside the McIlhenney House
Duane and me at the beginning of one of the hiking paths at Jefferson County Park
Tena and Avery

Duane and me

Tena on the "bouncy frog"!
Tena, Avery, and me at Jefferson County Park

After walking in the park, we all came back to get ready for the wedding. I had ANOTHER rehearsal at 4:30, so went to that, and then met up with Tena and Duane at the civic center.
Duane, Tena, and me before the wedding
Tena and me...what FASHION PLATES!!!!

Me and Trish before the wedding!
What can I say about the wedding, except that it was AMAZINGLY EXTRAVAGANT!! The stage was set with two HUGE silk flower arrangements, and Mandie's dad had built a gazebo-type structure for them all to stand in front of during the ceremony. There were flowers and beads draped all along the structure, and there were rose petals strewn in the shape of a heart on the floor. The lighting was dim, with spotlights focused on the cross affixed to the front of the gazebo, and on the areas for the wedding party and the musicians. The ceremony was beautiful, the music went VERY well (despite the fact that I could NOT clear my throat to SAVE MY LIFE before it began!). I also did the reading, and was HAPPY to not stumble over any of the words (at the rehearsal the night before, all of a sudden, I ceased to be able to understand the English language, and had a DIFFICULT time getting through it!).

After the ceremony, the guests were ushered into the "convention hall" part of the civic center for a catered dinner. The decorations were AMAZING...candles and black silk and tulle draped over everything...a dance floor surrounded by a lighted framework (which Mandie's dad ALSO built!)...china and crystal...a draped dias along the center edge of the seating area for the bride and groom...a chicken and ham buffet for 250 people (featuring a mashed potato bar, almond green beans, salad, marinated chicken, ham sliced as you went through the line by the chef, a dessert!).

Duane and me at the reception

Tom, Duane, and me reacting to Tena's cleavage!!
Duane and me with our "seat tags"!

Tena and me

Duane and me
Mandie and Sean (perhaps she should have worn the "Stay-Fast" lipstick??!!)

Me and Emily...the musicians

At the reception, I had a chance to chat with Mandie's father. He wanted to let me know that a guest had asked if Emily and I had flown up from Branson, Missouri (where Mandie is a recording artist) to sing at the ceremony. Mandie's dad replied "yes...yes they did"! Nice to be thought of by SOMEONE as a professional singer!!!

After the reception Duane, Tena, and I went back to her place and got out of our UNCOMFORTABLE clothes. We put on our COMFORTABLE clothes to finish the evening with more "catching up"! Then...we went to bed!!!

Sunday, we got up, Tena went to teach Sunday school, and Duane and I tried to find coffee (Revelations is CLOSED on Sunday!). We found a cafe around the corner, got coffee, then spent a few minutes looking for my "brick" in the FAIRFIELD garden nearby. I FINALLY found it (with Daune's help!). After that, we got back in our cars, drove to Cedar Rapids (after a stop at Steak and Shake in Coralville, dropped the car off at the airport, and continued on to the cities in MY car.

Me by the Fairfield Sign

My brick on the plaza (thanks LaDawn!!)
It was a LONG, HECTIC weekend, but REALLY REALLY REALLY fun, and I was able to reconnect with a BUNCH of dear friends!

Hope YOUR weekend was full of "reconnections", and that YOU got to eat cake as well!

I LOVE it!!!

Recieved the following photo today, via e-mail, with the tag line

Gives new meaning to the phrase "can't we all just get along?", doesn't it??!!

FOR ANOTHER GIGGLE, CHECK OUT! Click on the door SEVERAL times to see a VARIETY of interesting "Palinesque" motifs!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


So I got on Facebook last night to check out what was going on, and, in a "Wall-to-Wall" with my friend Tracy, tried to write the web address for my blog (the one you are reading now), so that she could see the photos of autumn leave which I'd just referred to in my "Jeff is..." status box.

I got a message stating the SOMEONE had reported my blog as containing "abusive content", so I wasn't able to post the URL. WHAT??!! "Abusive content"??? WHERE??? Granted, my buttermilk cheddar herb scone recipe IS enough to make you want to bang your head against a wall, and Tina Fey IS amazing as Sarah Palin (even though the REAL Ms. Palin makes my skin crawl...but that's HARDLY "abusive" in content, and I can name about FIFTY other people who feel the exact same way that I do!!).

Not sure WHO is so "clenched" that they'd find ANYTHING on my boring little blog abusive, but when someone starts messing around with MY constitutional freedom of speech, I get a little...SNARKY. BELIEVE ME...the abusive thoughts that started running through my mind were ANYTHING but boring! The phrase "shove it up your tight little Republican ass, and FART back out a diamond" (!!??) has been running though my mind A LOT in the last 24 hours!

How DARE they curtail MY freedom of speech, and cut off MY ability to share MY thoughts with friends on Facebook! These are the same HYPOCRITES who are SURE that you should listen to (and agree with) THEIR point of view (ad nauseum), DESPITE the fact that anyone with half a brain would IMMEDIATELY see them as the ramblings of a clueless MORON...but I digress...they are CERTAINLY entitled to their own opinion, and FAR BE IT from ME to try to curtail THEIR freedom of speech...

This is censorship, plain and simple. an effort to thwart the repressed conservative who feels MY comments are not to be shared with the masses (AS IF my 79 Facebook friends constitute "the masses"!!)...feel free to share my blog address with whoever you can think of, and let's shoot my "counter totals' through the roof...a little bit of "reverse censorship", if you will...!

How YOUR day didn't end with any of YOUR civil rights being "snuffed"!!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Fall Colors! much as I've grown to DISLIKE winter, with it's slick roads, and early darkness, and LONG periods of brown and gray and slushy yuckiness (although I have to admit that a walk at night, in falling snow, still makes my toes tingle!), I REALLY REALLY REALLY like the colors and crispness of a fall day...even though I KNOW what's "just around the corner"...!

Duane and I took a long walk on Sunday, and he took me down a couple of paths that I hadn't traipsed during previous walks through the neighborhood. We ended up along the edge of a lake, stuck right in the middle of town, surrounded by trees that were a THOUSAND shades of red, and orange, and yellow (and a few pinks and purples too!).

So today, I went out with my digital camera, and got the following pictures of some of the gorgeous colors (until my camera battery died!).

Enjoy an Eagan autumn morning...

Hope you have some AWESOME color in YOUR life today!