Thursday, December 31, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Cocoa with Buttershots. Oh yes. And for MAXIMUM COCOA INSANITY, make it Bailey's AND Buttershots. Little bit of heaven, is all I'm sayin'...
Roast beef. Yum. I'm talkin' deli slices on crackers and such. That's what I'm looking forward to this evening. And those pickle spears smeared with cream cheese and wrapped in ham. And olives. That's Pajama night food, to me.
Speaking of Bailey...the cats you see in that picture? Bailey and Jack--a couple of the most hilarious dudes, ever. They both have Santa Suits, by the way...
What!?!?!?! They need something to wear on Pajama Night!
The fact that my children like to put clothes on the cats is just too funny. Also hilarious? Most of the other things they do. Those girls make me laugh and smile so much. If there no laughter in all of this hustling, it would hardly be worth it.
The Dalai Lama said: "We can live without religion and meditation, but we cannot survive without human affection." These are the words that ring truest to me, so thank God for small blessings. Even in this time in which it feels like all kindness has left the party--when the dog bites, when the bees sting--there is refuge in these and other things. I'm not sure I remember any year in my life that was ever so difficult as this one. I wasn't kidding when I said I was ready for One Big Wonderful. That doesn't mean I'm not glad that I have all the "little" wonderfuls--they keep me alive.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
And I pushed "send".
Then I went to Blogger, to take the extra step to disallow any "buck up, little camper" comments on the thing. Because I was so determined to stay miserable.
Well, actually, I wanted to block the "quit yer whinin'" and "What a loser" comments. Either/Or. (My misery must not be questioned! For it is the most miserable misery of all time! It is not open for discussion!)
Then I noticed that for some reason, the formatting was all messed up on the post, and half of the paragraphs ran together and half of it was in a different font and font size than the other half. So I started to fix it (Oh, HTML....what joy you bring).
So driven, was I, to preserve the misery in it's intended, I Hope You All Cry Like I'm Crying, You Bastards! form, that I pulled it off the published list, and began the piddly process of going through the thing line by line (Dear Blogger: Please add Find/Replace. Thank you.)
Then I couldn't get it to work.
But not to worry! The tear-soaked manifesto was all in one piece, right there in the Sent box of my gmail! I know! I'll just copy and paste it!
Aaaand then I couldn't get THAT to work.
So I took a break.
While I was outside, smoking, I logged on to Facebook on my phone, and what was the first thing I saw?
Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.
And it suddenly occurred to me why this thing was being such a pain, and why it would never be published.. First of all, don't worry, it wasn't a suicide note or anything--really more of a Greta Garbo, "I want to be alone" statement. Because I was miserable. Truth be told, I'm not UN-miserable now, I just realized that Miserable + Whiny = Blech
There is a fair amount of "Fake it til you make it" going on in any happy person. You have to convince yourself, first, that you're going to have a good attitude whenever possible, This morning, a good attitude was the last thing I wanted to have. I don't particularly want to have a good one now, either. I mean, you don't go from sobbing directly to "Yay Wednesday!". But you CAN go from sobbing to "I think I'll stop sobbing now". It's a start.
Monday, December 21, 2009
It has a lot of meaning to me, for numerous reasons, some of which give my friends a good laugh in the "Oh, Shelly, what are we ever going to do with you?" vein. Singing bird....uh-huh. Not too tough to figure that one out.
But, never mind the bird my friends give me crap about...
There are many days in which I think, "WHY am I tending to this stupid tree, anyway? Those branches are empty--been empty for a long time. This so-called 'singing bird' appears to be extinct or something..."
That is to say, I get tired of being diligent, sometimes. I get tired of being supportive. I get tired of being conscientious and thoughtful when I see no return on the investment. And it can be over the most ridiculous of things, like, I get tired of how I always make the effort to park carefully at my brownstone so others can find a spot, while every day, I come home to Johnny-Rude-Boy (new neighbor! YAY!) who likes to space each of his two cars very broadly over as much real estate as he can claim. Then I have to park down the street and trudge through the snow in my nice shoes. See what I mean? That kind of thing.
And lots of other things, too.
What? You thought this whole thing was going to be about parking? Nah...don't you worry about the parking. If he gets bad enough, I have ways of making him suffer. That's right...Pollyanna with a generous dash of Cruella at the core. I'm nice and all, but Karma is my very, very, very good friend.
It becomes a case of Am I A Complete Doormat? vs. No, You're Fine, That Guy Is Just a Stupid, Thoughtless Prick, with one problem: I never really allow myself to believe that That Guy Is Just a Stupid, Thoughtless Prick. I'd rather believe that, given the opportunity, they'd prefer to be "nice"--they would think and act with "kindness" if they knew it mattered. I don't believe that people are bad, but I do believe that people are quite capable of doing "bad" things when they are not armed with enough information. I'd like to think that if Johnny-Rude-Boy actually witnessed me hauling 20 bags of groceries to my house from half a block away, he'd think, "You know...if I just moved my car up three feet closer to that driveway, she could fit her car in, right in front of the building." Maybe he'd picture his mother hauling 20 bags of groceries from a half a block away, and it would get him to thinking. But it's not something I worry about. Karma, remember? He might not get up just then and move his car or anything, but, maybe next time her drove up to the house, he'd think about the possibility of being labeled a space-sucking jerk.
But that's something we'll leave up to Karma. If that happens, I predict car trouble. For him, not me.
Obviously, that's the Pollyanna.
I don't dislike that girl, Pollyanna, but I must tell you that lately, she's been killing me. Disappointment. I'm tending to the tree, and that tree is beautiful, but, no singing bird. No birds of any kind. No squirrels, either. That beautiful tree seems like little more than a fool's folly, and the worst feeling I could ever have is to think myself a fool. "If you build it, they will come", has gone right out the window. A few times. I stopped worrying about whether I was being a doormat, when I became overwhelmed with evidence that I was being a complete idiot. I'd take "doormat", over that, any day. I would also be satisfied with any evidence of You're Fine, That Guy Is Just a Stupid, Thoughtless Prick. Either of those are workable.
I wonder sometimes--today, for example--how long is one expected to maintain that space in their heart, while they wait for something wonderful to happen? How long?
Or is it simply a matter of defining "wonderful"? Because a lot of nice things do happen in a day...just, not the nice thing you had in mind when you created that beautiful space.
Well...sorry. Sorry, all you tiny little nice things. Sorry. I'm tired. I'm tired of years of sifting the universe for little nuggets of nice, that I then have to melt down to make one big "wonderful". Today, I am going to very selfishly ask for that one big wonderful to arrive in one piece. No assembly required. Not some little wonderful, like somebody shoveled the walk and it wasn't me. I want a gigantic, knock-me-over-the-head, OMG-I-Didn't-See-That-Coming, AMAZING wonderful. Just one. And I promise not to get drunk on the wonderfulness and ask for another. One big wonderful would last me a looooooong time. Like at least 10 years What do you say, universe? How 'bout it?
And I wish you ALL one big wonderful. It's been incredibly tough lately...people dying and before they're even in the ground, they and their families become food for the wolves, people being really, REALLY harsh to one another, acting like it's their right to judge, call people names, and dismiss them--People just feeling like it's their JOB, somehow, that they are entitled, to be the mouthpiece of "right" and "wrong" for the whole world, and failing to act with anything other than selfishness. (Yeah, yeah...I know...Twitter, etc., means talking, but seriously? STFU and listen. Not to me--to yourselves. Now picture what it would feel like if somebody said that sh*t to/about YOU. Not so nice, is it? it is possible to be funny and interesting without tearing somebody else down....try it. Like the saying goes, "Kindness is like a boomerang...")
I can't help but think that one big wonderful might just cure all of that...we're nearing the end of a decade--it would be a perfect time to have it.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
- Tony Bourdain. At the State Theatre. April 23rd. I soooo want to go. Of course, tickets go on sale this weekend, and I am decidedly broke until sometime next year, by which time there will likely be no tickets left. Hate to start Random on a bummer note, it's just that the same thing happened to me when BoDeans tickets went on sale in October and *POOF* two shows were sold out before I even had time to dig in the couch cushions for change. The moral of the story is a simple one: Stop being broke, ya nut!
- A child is born, and, he's a honey of a boy, he is. Babies are awesome, and my brother is over the moon with his new baby, born yesterday evening. We were talking this morning about how different the experience is for men and women (besides the obvious physical experience of child birth) and my office full of women decided that men's reaction to their child being born is..."so cute". I mean...guys are astonished by the miracle of it all, while women are more matter of fact, because it's just a thing we did. Am I right, or am I right? Not that we don't goob all over our new babies when they put them in our arms for the first time, but when we meet them, it's usually more of a case of, "So YOU'RE the little so-and-so" that's made my body go haywire for the last nine months! Uh-huh...we're gonna have some fun together, you and I..."
- Winter has arrived, and despite the lack of Snow Day for my children and Cursing Mama, it's all good. No, I mean it! Nothing says "Wake up and smell the coffee!" like snow mixed with high winds. I feel like Joe from Family Guy..."Let's DO It!" See me in March after the inevitable Spring blizzard, when my attitude will surely have changed to "Why is this still happening...?"
- You know those people that talk to you like you're 5? You know how embarrassing and offensive that is, when people treat you like you're stupid? Yeah. Got one of those, again. At work. And they're in a position where I can't completely blow them off, as they so richly deserve. And I'm about to strangle somebody. Tell you what....the new motto will be, You keep nit-picking, and I'll just keep kicking ass and saying "whatever". It's all you can do, right? Yes, yes...I do plan to ever-so-innocently point out their every flaw in my very special "Oops! Was that YOU who did that?" kinda way. Because I'm a bitch, that's why. But I'm innocent, as far as you know...
- But never mind the annoyances...Life continues to be an interesting adventure! The people that cruise in and out of my life are intriguing and keep me excited to get up and go, every day. You all ROCK! "Let's DO It!"
Monday, December 7, 2009
Saturday, December 5, 2009
So....you're outside in the cold December chill, but, you're helping someone and, there's great live music. One of those schnapps-laced cocoa opportunities we spoke of...remember? Schedule below! (And here is their Facebook info...) Get there about 15 minutes early, because train schedules are, well, train schedules, so they might find themselves sneaking into town a bit earlier than planned, and you don't want to miss anything!
Saturday, December 5
Gurnee – 5:15 p.m. to 5:45 p.m., Viking Middle School Park, 4460 Old Grand Ave.
Saturday, December 5
Sturtevant – 7:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., new Amtrak Depot, 9900 E. Exploration Ct.
Hartland – 9:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., parking lot adjacent to Cottonwood Ave. and Pawling Ave.
Sunday, December 6
Portage – 1:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., Amtrak Station, 400 West Oneida St.
Wisconsin Dells – 3:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., Amtrak Depot, 100 La Crosse St.
Mauston – 4:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Division Street Railroad Crossing
Sparta – 7:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Corner of S. Water St. and Milwaukee St. (South side of the CP tracks)
La Crosse – 9:15 p.m. to 9:45 p.m., Amtrak Station, 601 Saint Andrew St.
Monday, December 7
Rochester – 12:45 p.m. to 1:15 p.m., end of 16th Ave. N.W., behind Mickey's Irish Pub, next to the Barlow Hy-Vee grocery store
Owatonna – 4:45 p.m. to 5:15 p.m., 1145 Park Drive at the rail crossing (Near Owatonna Bus Company)
Waseca – 7:15 p.m. to 7:45 p.m., 308 South State St. and Highway 13
Janesville – 9:15 p.m. to 9:45 p.m., 236 Front St. at Veteran's Memorial Park, between Main St. and Craig St.
Tuesday, December 8
Tracy – 1:15 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., 131 Fourth St. at the DM&E Rail Depot near South St.
Tuesday, December 8
Brookings – 5:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., 534 South 22nd Ave., along Orchard Drive
Huron – 9:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., Gate 13 of the State Fairgrounds at the State Fair Race Track
Wednesday, December 9
Springfield – 5:45 p.m. to 6:15 p.m., Springfield Community Center parking lot, 33 South Cass Ave.
New Ulm – 7:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m., 224 Third St. North, Public Utilities empty lot between German Park and the railroad tracks
Thursday, December 10
Austin – 11:15 a.m. to 11:45 a.m., Eighth Avenue Rail crossing (west of the county recycling center)
Thursday, December 10
Mason City – 2:45 p.m. to 3:15 p.m., 1200 S. Kentucky Ave. Parking available at the Temple Baptist Church - 1211 S. Kentucky Ave.
Marquette – 9:45 p.m. to 10:15 p.m., Marina parking lot, north of Lady Luck Casino at Water St. and Highway 76
Friday, December 11
La Crescent – 2:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., The Commodore Food & Spirit parking lot, 215 South Chestnut St.
Winona – 5:15 p.m. to 5:45 p.m., Amtrak Station, 65 East Mark St.
Wabasha – 7:15 p.m. to 7:45 p.m., Gambie Avenue railroad crossing near Bruegger Park
Lake City – 9:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Hearth & Home Technologies, 800 West Jefferson St.
Saturday, December 12
Hastings – 4:15 p.m. to 4:45 p.m., CP Depot, 500 East Second St.
Cottage Grove – 5:45 p.m. to 6:15 p.m., West Point Douglas Road, South of Seiben Bridge in front of the Youth Service Bureau
St. Paul – 7:15 p.m. to 7:45 p.m., Upper level ramp of Central Parking System at Kellogg & Broadway in Lowertown
Minneapolis (Shoreham) – 9:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., CP Shoreham Yard, 2800 Central Ave. NE
Monday, December 14
Loretto – 4:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Hennepin County Road 19 railroad crossing/Chippewa Trail
Buffalo – 6:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., 612 NE Third Ave., behind McDonald's on Highway 55
Annandale – 7:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., West side of downtown park over Oak Avenue railroad crossing
Eden Valley – 9:15 p.m. to 9:45 p.m., Main St. railroad crossing, State Highway 22
Tuesday, December 15
Alexandria – 1:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., Eighth Ave. East railroad crossing by Hubbard Feed Mill at 8th & Nokomis
Detroit Lakes – 4:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Holmes St. railroad crossing near the Holmes Community Center, 826 Summit
Thief River Falls – 8:15 p.m. to 8:45 p.m., CP Depot/City Hall, 2017 Highway 59 SE
Wednesday, December 16
Elbow Lake – 4:45 p.m. to 5:15 p.m., Main Street railroad crossing
Wednesday, December 16
Hankinson – 7:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., American Legion parking lot, 122 1st St. (Main St. railroad crossing north side of track)
Enderlin – 9:45 p.m. to 10:15 p.m., CP Depot, 101 Harvest Lane
Thursday, December 17
Harvey – 4:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., CP Depot, 600 Lincoln Ave.
Minot – 7:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Main Street railroad crossing
Carpio – 9:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., Main Street railroad crossing
Friday, December 4, 2009
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Anyway--Shaun Verreault. Insanely good guitarist, and singer and stuff. Don't worry, he only looks 12, so nobody has to have any "Too Young to be an Insanely Good Guitarist" envy, or anything. I'm sure he's....uh...30ish, or something.
He's on a train at this very moment, doing some holiday shows--if you are in the Chicago area, the info is below, so by all means, hit it up.
Here's his Twitter (that's where I stole the pic).
Here's the Wide Mouth Mason Twitter.
And here's their web site. Hopefully, you can find everything your little heart needs in the Wide Mouth Mason world from there...really a stellar band. I mean it.
(You see how I justify stealing and posting pictures? "C'Mon, man! I lnked to you! I called you "stellar! See? Nothing but love...")
When: Saturday, December 5, 2009 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm (train arrival approx. 5:15 pm)
Where: Viking Park- 4460 Old Grand Ave. Gurnee, IL.Benefitting: Northern Illinois Food Bank
How to Help: Bring a non-perishable food item or cash donation to help battle hunger in Lake County
This has been a public service announcement...we now return you to your regularly scheduled programming...
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Go ahead, ask me....
My mother made this. It's insanely good. I literally ate some every day for three days in a row. Actually, four days in a row--my brother had a slice left in the fridge, and I ate it for breakfast Sunday morning. Yum. Punky made sure to snake the recipe off of one of her pumpkin cans before we left, so as a public service, I thought I would share. I recommend making a double batch. :-)
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar (to sprinkle on towel)
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup Pumpkin (this is a Libby's pumpkin recipe, by the way...)
- 1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
- 1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Powdered sugar (optional for decoration)
PREHEAT oven to 375° F. Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan; line with wax paper. Grease and flour paper.
COMBINE flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in small bowl. Beat eggs and granulated sugar in large mixer bowl until thick. Beat in pumpkin. Stir in flour mixture. Spread evenly into prepared pan. Sprinkle with nuts.
BAKE for 13 to 15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched. (If using a dark-colored pan, begin checking for doneness at 11 minutes.) Immediately loosen and turn cake onto prepared towel. Carefully peel off paper. Sprinkle a thin, cotton kitchen towel with powdered sugar. Roll up cake and towel together, starting with narrow end. Cool on wire rack.
BEAT cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar, butter and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until smooth. Carefully unroll cake. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake. Reroll cake. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving, if desired.
Be sure to put enough powdered sugar on the towel when rolling up the cake so it will not stick.