Saturday, May 31, 2008

If I Were A Horse

I had my semi-annual dentist appointment recently, and you know what? Hey Ma! No cavities!

I had a rather chatty hygienist, which is a bit tricky, what with all the equipment in my mouth most of the time. I was also getting ribbed--okay, I have a magpie's fascination with sparkly and shiny things, so my purse is silver, and my ubiquitous iPod is encased in silver metal and encrusted in rhinestones.

I was also wearing purple. No surprise there--I love purple. I wear a lot of purple. Purple is my happy color--make it sparkly, and I'm totally there. So, my hygienist, who was somewhat older than I am, was noticing my shinies, and she mentioned my purple. "And you aren't even 40!" she said, obviously thinking about the poem about "when I am an old woman, I shall wear purple. . . ."

Well, as much as I refuse to admit it, I am indeed 40--I am actually 45 at this point. So I said so. She was gratifyingly surprised, and blurted something out about how I didn't look it.

Now, don't I have to take this seriously, given that she had been working on my teeth for about 30 minutes by that point? I mean, that's how you tell how old a horse is--by checking its teeth. That's why the adage says "don't look a gift horse in the mouth"--if it's a gift, you don't need to care how old it is.

So, if I were a horse, I'd still let you look at my teeth. I guess.

Signs of Spring

Sometimes, one has to be a bit creative here in the Frozen North when identifying the actual arrival of spring. Mother Nature is rather fickle, throwing in some 40 degree lows and keeping gardeners poised to protect tender plants.

That's right--I said 40 degrees. Farenheit. Kind of cold, you say, for the edge of June?

But yesterday, I had proof that the season has truly arrived. As I was driving home from an errand, I found myself at the end of a long line of stopped cars. In the right lane. There was no turn, no accident...

It was geese. Half a dozen Canadian geese waddling across the divided road with a good two dozen of their adolescent goslings. Unlike baby ducks, which are tiny little puffs of downy cuteness, baby gees are gangly, with disproportionately long necks and short bodies and wings. When standing with neck extended, the new geese are as tall as the adults, but covered with a grayish-yellow fuzz that spikes and clumps. They look for all the world like teenage boys at the end of a growth spurt.

They get tired too, like teenaged boys. One of these fledglings just couldn't keep up the pace, and settled down in the middle of a traffic lane, tucking its bill against its chest and closing its eyes. The adult assigned to prevent stragglers did something--I didn't see what--and the sleepy one made it all the way to the meridian.

Yes, it's wicked cold here for far too long. On the other hand, we all stop for the babies.

Photo source from here.

How To Charm Me

Also Known As--how to ogle women with your wife's permission:

Captain Sweetie has a Hollywood crush on Scarlet Johansson. Well, who doesn't? I would too, if I had girl crushes. But he is a loving and clever man. You know what he says? He says:

"She reminds me of you when you were 21."

I'll take it! Ogle away!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

New Car Shopping

So, gas prices, huh? What's up with that? Up--get it? A joke! I just crack myself up sometimes.

Anyway, I was filling my car the other day. My 1998 Honda Odyssey, which is still a sweet ride, if a bit. . .what's the word. . .oh, I remember. . .OLD. But, it still drives great! And I still can drive multiple kids to events and stuff! And--oh, yeah, gas. And gas prices. Sure, it gets great mileage for a minivan, but it still costs more than $50 to fill the thing.

And lo! There was a choir of heavenly voices saying "Behold, for we bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all car buyers. You shall search for the 'Hybrid Synergy Drive' and it shall be wrapped in a Toyota Prius, which shall bring good gas mileage to all peoples!"

Now, Captain Sweetie has raised the issue of a new car with me quite a few times over the last couple of years. You know, as the MamaVan has aged over time, and his car leases run out and he gets a new car and he wants to be certain that I am not feeling left out of the new car party, and I DON'T because I still love the MamaVan. I mean, it's purple! And is actually a compact car! Who doesn't love a minivan that is actually a compact? It's not so much a minivan as it is a tall station wagon, with car-type doors, not those stupid van sliding doors, and it gets 20 mpg, which is as good as just about anything and I still like it!

But then, I had my vision, and started looking at the Prius.

Man, those puppies are everywhere! But they look good--kind of like my sporty 1988 Acura, which was my last new car. I even got to drive one! I know! I mean, there is a six month waiting period to buy a Prius, but they had one on the lot, and I got to drive it! And not only did I drive it, but even after driving on 2 highways and a bunch of local roads, I averaged better than 52 mpg!

Can I also just say, there are a ton of features you can get on a car that didn't even exist when I bought the MamaVan? There is this "Smart Key" technology, which means you can put this thingie in your pocket or purse and it will allow you to unlock the car and even start it, without having to actually dig the thing out! And there is a navigation system that uses a touch screen, just like on an iPhone! Well, I don't know if you can actually load photos on it, but still! And how did I live so long without a backup camera which transmits the view behind your car in HD?

Okay, but what I really want are seat warmers.

I'm going to go get myself on one of them there waiting lists. Stay tuned.

Weight Loss and Time Travel

So, I'm still mostly eating the Seattle Sutton Healthy Eating (SSHE)(TM)(Ph.D)(ASAP)(Do wah diddy) program. Sure, there are a bunch of meals that I just--ha! Can you believe it--don't actually eat because WE WENT OUT TO EAT! Or, like last weekend, we spent the weekend on the boat and I can't cook on the boat until we put in an inverter. . .and you don't care, but really, these are GOOD EXCUSES.


So, I finally lost my first 10 pounds, which is more than I have lost at any time in the last 19 years, so yeah. It's a big deal. But the weird thing is that I don't think of weight as actual numbers anymore. (Which is convenient, because now I don't have to tell you what I really weigh! Score!) Instead, I think of weight as related to the times in my life I actually weighed those amounts.

Okay, so that wasn't at all clear. Here is what I mean. I stood on the scale the other day, and saw HEY! I've lost 10 pounds! And my next thought was: Hey! I only need to lose one more pound and I'll weigh what I did three years ago, when Capt. Sweetie and I spent a honeymoon in San Francisco!

So, does that mean that if I lose one measly pound I also lose three years off my age? Damn straight it does.

So then, all these other times come back to me. If I lose 10 pounds after that, I'll weigh what I did when I had that emotional breakdown in my therapists office about how the depression was killing me and . . .

Okay, let's not focus on that one.

Let's focus on the next major goal! The weight I was when I got pregnant with each of my wonderful little girls! Which is (yes, I am bragging) the exact same weight I was when I left the hospital after the birth of my girls! It wasn't baby weight, it was the weight I gained after I had the babies that I'm working on now.

Or, a mere 8 pounds after that, and I'm the weight I was when my sister, the Fabulous Suefunky, got married. That was a good time! Plus, then I get to subtract all 10 of those years!

After that, I get to go all the way back to what I weighed when I was 25 years old! Take that, Dorian Gray!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Life Is Good.

Life is good when--I have finally lost 10 pounds!

Life is better when--Capt. Sweetie keeps looking over at me and admiring the improvement.

Avast, Ye Land Lubbers!

In a lovely surprise, the boat went into the water last Saturday morning, at 9:45 Central Daylight Time. We had been told the launch would be tomorrow, so getting the boat in FIVE! days early, + in time for the long weekend = Very Happy Husband.

FYI--with the boat in the water, Mr. Sweetie would like to announce that he is now to be known as CAPTAIN Sweetie, thnxkbye.

The entire Famille Evil was present for the actual launch, and we got to take an inaugural/shakedown cruise down the Mississippi to our actual slip. Wooden boats dry up over the winter when they are out of the water, and once back in, they need to soak for a bit, to let the wood swell back into place, so we didn't do too much sailing that first day. However, Sunday night we decided to have a sleepover at the dock, and take a longish jaunt downriver on Memorial Day.

The weather turned a bit cloudy and cold, but could in no way spoil the thrill of the first outing. Capt. Sweetie got to try out his new anchor, as well as some new electrical wiring fixes on the instrument panel. We spotted two bald eagles soaring across the water, and had a lovely day. Even Bermondsey is getting to be a fair sailor, and we are pretty certain he won't just jump overboard if he catches site of another animal.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Junebug--A Review

I finally saw this film, what, three years after it came out? I'm on kind of an Amy Adams film kick right now, and as she was nominated for an Oscar for her performance, I thought I'd watch it. And this review can be summed up in three words:




Was there a plot? I kind of lost track after the scene where Alessandro Nivola appeared butt naked. Literally.

Okay, this picture is from Laurel Canyon, but that's one delicious man. More shirtless pic available where I got this one:

Heard at the Airport

"Will passenger Harold Potter please return to the gate to reclaim a forgotten item?"

Do you think it could be. . .oh I don't know. . .maybe broom shaped?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

This May Explain World War II

Today the Bunny was confirmed. She's on the young age of the confirmation class, but it's not a large church, so they only hold confirmation class about once every three years. Yes, it is also Mothers' Day, but that happens every year, so today we celebrated her.

As the Special Person Of The Day, Bunny got to pick where she wanted to go for lunch after church. She started studying German this year, and is all but obsessed with all things Deutsch. So we went to lunch at the Black Forest Inn, a German restaurant in Minneapolis that is a fixture, having been there for over 45 years.

I have not been to this restaurant before, nor have I much experience with German food. It seems to involve a lot of sauerkraut, which is as vile a concoction as was ever passed off as food. Do you know how you make sauerkraut? Basically, you shred cabbage, put it in a crock with vinegar, and let it sit for about six months. And then you give it to somebody else to eat, because after living around fermenting cabbage for six months YOU aren't going to eat it.

So it was with some trepidation that I viewed the menu. They have a few American items, hamburgers, chicken strips, french fries. But the point was to eat something German, so I looked at the traditional menu.

If there is one thing common to the German specialties served at the Black Forest, it is MEAT. Usually veal or pork, some beef, and liver if you want it. You can get meat wrapped up in cabbage leaves, meat in gravy over noodles, meat rolled up into balls and fried, meat left on the bone. Carnivorous, this cuisine is.

But you can add just about anything that isn't a healthy green vegetable to your meat, as long as you like it soaked in vinegar or brown (meat) gravy. Lots of cabbage too.

So as I read this menu, I began reassessing German culture. What do you make of a culture that eats nothing but meat and vinegar soaked rotten cabbage? This must be one testy population--probably digestively challenged and gastricly irritated. No wonder they invaded France--probably looking for something edible.

And then. . .

The house specialty drinks.

Infused vodkas. Vodkas infused with. . .


This is a diet for warriors!

Things That Make You Go Hmmmm.

Consumers today are worried about the effects of growth hormone being fed to dairy cows, which have unknown effects when the milk is consumed by growing children. Even so, I'm not sure that this is the answer:

I guess it's better than adding "unhealthy kids" to the milk: but still! Do we think giving our kids milk "plus healthy kids" is any better than cannibalism?

Global Warming=Colder Weather?

Mother Nature is quite the tease recently. It's the middle of May, and is it warm yet? Not hardly. Oh, sure, we get a day or two of sunny weather, with temperatures up to 60 degrees. It's enough to make you think you could put away the winter coats, box up the sweaters and wool pants and break out the summer wardrobe.

And then --SPLAT!!--Mother Nature throws a cold, wet, gray and soggy day in your face, and you have to go back into the boxes of winter clothes so you don't freeze.

It's enough to give one climate whiplash, this back and forth between the Winter That Wouldn't Leave and the timid Spring That Isn't Sure It Wants To Be Here. I don't really want to play peek-a-boo with the seasons, thank you so very much. It's May. It should not be snowing.

Maybe, if the ice caps melt, we'll just ship the penguins and polar bears here instead. They could probably get used to a diet of walleye, don't you think?

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Something New!

Well, the good news continues to flow in here at Chez Evil. Spring has finally arrived, at least enough so that the grass is now green instead of brown, although there has been no need to get the lawn mower out yet.

The temperature here hit 60 degrees, and so I had to actually go spelunking in my closet for my spring/summer wardrobe, as wool pants and turtlenecks are decidedly too warm for this weather.

Finally, as I mentioned in a previous entry today, I am finally going into the world, and so I am taking this opportunity to announce my newest venture: Member of the "MomSquad" for the new website "MinnMoms" sponsored by the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

The call went out last month for "smart women" willing to make a one year committment to starting and sustaining conversations with other women on topics of interest to moms. A friend forwarded that information to me, and without thinking too much ahead of time, I sent in my basic info, plus some Embarassing Mom Moments. I offered a number of topics that I thought would be fun to discuss in a community forum, where I felt I had something to add.

I got an email about two weeks later, confirming that they had received my application, one of over 300! applications and they would be making selections soon. I got the actual phone call on Monday--they want me!

Well, like a total dope, I failed to keep a copy of my application, so now I don't remember half of the topics I said I was interested in--clearly email etiquette and technological record-keeping were NOT in there.

Today was the photo shoot--a beautiful spring day, sunny and breezy, cloudless blue sky. The MomSquad--14 of us, plus the newspaper editor, reporter and photographer--met for the first time on the rooftop garden of the Minnesota Children's Museum. It is a delightful collection of women, with children ranging in age from not-yet-born to 21 years old. We had individual pictures taken, were allowed to fact-check (but not creatively edit!) our profiles, and finally forced into the sandbox for a very tightly squeezed group photo. If we weren't close personal friends before that, we surely are now. Frankly, there were more body parts pressed together than I have shared with anyone except Mr. Sweetie!

The website launches officially on Sunday--Mothers' Day--although we are planning to get on and get things started among ourselves a little before that, so anyone who logs on isn't greeted with a bleak silence.

Stay tuned here for more info, and come join a the truly funny and brave women of the MomSquad!

Things That Make Me Laugh

Mimi Smartypants makes me laugh out loud with this one, about her husband:

The doctor says it is a herniated disk. LT is improving each day but not fast enough to suit me, and it is frustrating because there is nothing I can do to help. Except provide blowjobs. Even that does not seem to be helping but LT says that sometimes it takes a while to build up therapeutic levels. Aye aye, Captain!

What a Waste--Wine Division

I went out last week with my book club friends. We have taken to meeting in coffee houses and wine bars--it takes a lot of burden off the "hostess."

Last week, the place was "Wilde Roast," a coffee house named after Oscar Wilde. Since everyone knows that "book club = wine" I ordered a glass of pinot grigio, usually one of my favorite wines.

Well, lets just say that this one wasn't so good. It wasn't that it cost $8 a glass. It wasn't that it was served in a juice glass.

It was that it tasted like nothing so much as rusty tap water. Hey! If I wanted to drink rusty tap water, I'd go pour myself a glass out of the taps at my studio!

Depression--Evil Suck Hole of Pain, or "Growth Experience?" DIscuss

I don't know if you know this, but I suffer from depression.

Okay, so, you might know that, although I haven't be tremendously voluble on the topic. I think. Or so it seems to me. If you are tired of it, you may be excused. It's okay, we'll wait.

Anybody left? Okay. Well.

Depression. I have struggled with it since not long after the birth of my first child, and at times it has been a heavy heavy burden. The emotional pain made it literally, physically difficult to get out of bed or out of the house, and all my personality got swallowed up in the hamster wheel of panic. This went on for a very long time.

The other trap of depression is that I was perfectly incapable of being able to manage my own care. Depression, among other things, stripped me of any perspective on my own life, so I would go to doctors, or therapists, and I had no way to evaluate whether they were actually helping me or not. What did I want to talk about in therapy? I don't know--what would be helpful? Can't you tell me? After all, I was not the professional in this!

Thank god I ended up in a doctor's office (after about 7 years of this) who listened to me for about 10 minutes and said "norapinephrine." I had been taking medication to regulate the levels of seratonin in my brain, but apparently I was a textbook case of unregulated norapinephrine. I got on a second medication, and the world got better.

Not immediately, of course--depression medications are notorious for having to be "ramped up" to reach a certain level of presence in the blood, and that can take six weeks, more or less, to achieve. And even once you have reached the proper dosage, the improvement takes some time to manifest itself. So, medically, it takes a while, even once you are on the right medications, to get back to feeling even semi-normal.

So I found this doctor about five years ago, and over time I have slowly begun to feel better. The experience is like walking on an icy lake: there are some places were the ice is safe, but thin patches can show up unexpectedly and drop you into the icy dark. So, I began to slide slowly across this treacherous surface, learning to trust that I wouldn't fall in.

It is only recently--I mean, VERY recently--that I have come to trust that I won't go under. I have begun to put myself out into the world, and have found that I can do things that I haven't been able to do for years. Mr. Sweetie and I have gone out to social events where I had to meet new people and talk with them--and I found that I can do that, and even enjoy it again.

So, after an appallingly long time, I am finally seeing that I am coming back to the person I was FOURTEEN fricking years ago. That is a lot of time to lose, for anybody. So, I have struck a bargain with myself. I deserve to have some of that time back. I'm not going to be greedy about it, but dammit, I need at least some of those years back! And I don't want to just tack them on at the end. Who wants an extra fourteen years at the END of you life? No, I want those years NOW.

So, I have decided that I should get at least half of those years back, and I now declare myself seven years younger. My birthdate is now officially 1970, and I am the youngest of my siblings instead of the oldest. (Unless they want seven years back too--I'll share!)

This works out okay with my children--the oldest is 14, so I was 24 when she was born, which isn't scandalously young. It does wreak havoc with my wedding anniversaries though--I must have been 15 when we got married, unless we drop seven years off that number too.

So, congratulations, Mom and Dad! You had a baby in 1970! I guess you are entitled to an extra seven years as well.