Wednesday, November 24, 2010


To Temp, who rocks in so many ways.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Vacation! (Now with pictures)

The China trip was awesome, but I find I'm having a hard time coming up with anything coherent to say about it. Maybe I'll try a list.

Awesome Stuff:
1. Diplowhat and Wog! So great to see them both; I wish Diplowhat hadn't had to work so much of the time, but what time we did have together was lovely. They were amazing hosts and tour guides and took very good care of us.
2. The food. Everything from the higher-end restaurants all the way down to the bowls of beef noodles and jian bing street food (totally craving this right now). And any country where spicy noodles are standard breakfast fare is good in my book.
3. Scenery. The mountains at The Great Wall, the rivers and karst hills in Yangshuo, the fields and oxen and towering bamboo. So much gorgeousness to look at.
4. Guardian Lions and dragon turtles and all the other impressive, iconic imagery that goes with China's ancient sites.
5. Ridiculously affordable, awesome Chinese massage. The exchange rate in general.
6. Being on vacation.

Less Awesome Stuff:
1. The air.
2. The crowds/scary traffic.

I guess that'll do as a nutshell version. I'm sure Puck and I will both bore all of you to tears over the next few months with random "Oh! And in China..." stories though. Meanwhile, here are some pictures.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


We leave for China tomorrow! Holy crap!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Dear Dodge:

No, the Caravan did not literally give birth to all other minivans.

No love,


p.s. This still isn't as bad as your grossly sexist Hemi SUV ads. I'm sort of glad you make such a shit product so I will never feel tempted to give you my money.

Friday, August 20, 2010


I just got to edit copy written by a non-native speaker. Wow.

The best part? The restaurant review that talked about foie gras, caviar and happy pills.

Edit: Okay, I got to see it again, so I'm reproducing the whole thing here for your ...enjoyment?

"Taste of Discovery Station and happy pills, caviar and foie gras, terrace barbeque, pink therapeutic cocktail lounge and international DJ... Sunday brunch in pink themed new perspective awaits your discovery."

Or, as I thought of it at the time, "Copy edit this, bitch."

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Under the wire

Just noticed that I have not posted once in June, despite it being a perfectly lovely month in which many good things happened.

Kicked it off with a visit to Temp in her new digs. She took us to the licorice store, an awesome street market, the Nebraska store with its incredible selection of Nebraska wine (don't laugh), several nifty beer joints, and The World's Most Homoerotic State Capitol. There was also a little gardening in what locals seem to consider soil but I know as modeling clay.

Hit the lake for the first time this year for a rainy weekend with the folks. It dried out long enough for us to go on a few good walks and for my dad and I to fail to catch any fish. We did, however, have a splendid bird-watching excursion from the boat, so let's just pretend that was the point.

Last weekend was the Minnesota wine tour! Yay! A bunch of us squished into J & TSB's minivan (thanks again for driving, J!) and drove around the southeastern part of the state drinking wine. Beautiful vineyards and sparkly shirts abounded. Couldn't have been nicer, even down to the dramatic thunderstorms on the return trip.

The garden is going well. I built a raised bed for the tomatoes this year and filled it with mostly compost, so I have huge, beefy, mutant plants. Whee! Since Ken retired this year, he's growing his own. It feels very strange to only have five tomato plants instead of my usual 15 or so. The snap peas have been weird this year. The plants only got about a foot high. They still gave me peas, but on these tiny, spindly little vines. For the first year since I put them in, I'm getting a bountiful blueberry harvest. Oh, so tasty. Now I'm wobbling again on whether to move them. They just finally started producing well, so it seems a shame to dig them up! Accidentally bought bush beans instead of pole (oh seductive purple, why could I not read the packaging beyond your allure?). The poor zone 5 peach tree is still with me, but the center keeps dying off every year, so it's weird and sprawly and completely lopsided. I'm sure I could fix some of that with pruning, if only I had a clue how to do it properly and what to take out (though there's really no pruning that can balance out an empty center). But it did bloom this year, which was pretty damn cool.

Also, bought a reel mower. I should really do a product review of that soon -- it's nifty, but does have some issues.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Faster, Day, faster!

Not a lot to do at work to day, and wow am I impatient for the weekend! Heading out this evening for the long drive to Lincoln to visit Temp and check out her new digs. (Poor Puck is going to have quite the drive, since I haven't managed to stay awake much past 9:30 yet this week....)

Is it time to go yet? How 'bout now?




Friday, May 21, 2010

No fair doing this while I'm on cold medication

Seriously, L.A. Times, you had me wondering whether I had (a) fallen asleep or (b) started hallucinating with this one.

I mean, Kevin Costner May Hold Key to Oil Spill Cleanup? Really? And it all started with Waterworld?


I think I need to go back to bed.

Pusher's Guide to Weight Loss

C'mere. Let me cough on you.

In the week and a half that I've been sick, I've dropped eight pounds. Of course, I'll be gaining it all back as soon as I start staying awake long enough to eat supper....

Sunday, May 16, 2010

In which we are raided by the police

Update: For those of you who expressed curiosity: A very nice young police officer just stopped by to apologize and explain. They had the wrong address. He gave more details than that, but that's someone else's life and I'm not comfortable telling more. I almost preferred not knowing. Then I could pretend it was just a dumb prank.

Let me set the stage: It's 3:30 a.m., and I am sleeping the sleep of the grossly ill before being jolted awake by a tremendous noise and what seems to be the house shaking. Briefly wonder what could have fallen with that much force, then bedroom window is pierced by intensely bright sweep of light, and the tremendous noise is repeated, proving to be emphatic knocking, accompanied by someone shouting "POLICE!"

I wonder if the neighborhood is being evacuated. Ah, the stupidity of a clean conscience!

Then I hear voices in the back discussing an "unsecured entry" -- we never lock the back door when we're home -- and I realize they're coming in. My main priority at this point is getting into my robe before they get into my bedroom, because I am *not* dealing with the police naked. The robe is, of course, mulishly uncooperative, but I manage to find the arm holes eventually and shuffle out, meeting several of Our City's Finest in the kitchen. The one in the lead is wearing a bright yellow vest over body armor, and is carrying a a very disorienting flashlight and maybe a gun.

Anyway, they are tense, I am tired and confused. I wonder why they're there, they establish the address, say there was a call, ask some questions about who else is in the house and whether there's a basement apartment, blah blah blah all-a-mistake-cakes. They clear out with an awful lot of noise, light, and radio chatter, and I wander back toward bed. Am met in the hallway by Puck.

Puck: "Were the police just in our house?"
Me: "Yeah."
Puck: "Weird."


Anyway, no big deal, just a surreal sort of interruption. I really hope it was just a prank or something equally stupid, and that there wasn't a real emergency at, say, our address on a different block.

Monday, May 10, 2010

May in March, March in May, wth is going on around here?

Actually, I have really appreciated the long, cool spring. But it's mid-May now. Time to start warming up a little so I can put my tomatoes in the ground.

Those would be the tomatoes I bought at plant sale, which was as fun as ever, even though it was really chilly and I did (accidentally) try to ditch No-Nick on the way there. I behaved myself quite well this year. I didn't even buy the contorted-needle pine that I fell madly in love with at first sight. (I briefly considered selling my house and moving somewhere that I'd have room for it. It was that awesome.) What is it with me and plants that look diseased? Veggie was equally strong in the willpower department, and we both managed to escape within budget, or near enough as makes no difference.

This was the second weekend in a row at the Arboretum for me, as Puck and I went down with my folks to be blown away by the crabapples in full bloom (pretty impressive tulips in the annual garden too). Also getting some work done in the yard, though, as always, the more I get done the more I see that needs doing. Which reminds me, must take the annual picture of Mixologist's bleeding heart!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


My coworker who sits at the corner was treated to a nifty show today as the vulture sat outside his window and preened for while. He snapped this shot with his phone, and was kind enough to share it with me.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What, you wanted something current?

Okay, so the 2010 Arboretum Plant Sale list is now up.

Meanwhile, there are dozens of blooms on my blueberries, the serviceberry turned completely white with flowers while I was away for the weekend, the garden is turned over and ready to plant, the weeds have already taken over, and there is a vulture stalking my office windowsill.

Ah, spring!

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Sixty-five degrees before St. Patrick's Day? What the hell?

Played in the dirt today. Yay.

Monday, March 8, 2010


Good thing Veggie is around to make up for my slacker ways. She's on top of things, and informed me Saturday night that the Arboretum Plant Sale List is up! Woo-hoo! Time to start planning in earnest!

So who's in for the annual trek to the Arboretum May 8? And are we doing a Landscapalooza this year? I'd be happy to host one if folks are interested.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I love being downtown on the 17th floor and watching it snow up.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Life is good

Between having an office with windows and getting out cross-country skiing every weekend, this has been the easiest February of my life. I am continually amazed at how much difference sunshine and fresh air make to what is, to me, the most dismal month of the year.

Last weekend in pictures:

There was a fog Friday night, so Saturday all the trees and shrubs were gleaming with frost. So pretty!

We got out skiing at the Arboretum every day – including Monday for me, because I had the three-day weekend. Three-and-a-half miles each day Saturday and Sunday, then two miles Monday. I definitely have more stamina than I did in December! The Arboretum is ridiculously gorgeous. Looking around at the views is as much of a falling risk as any of the hills are!

Saturday night after skiing, Puck put together this beautiful supper. Wine, cheese, fruit, saucisson, a fresh baguette from Patrick's ... ah, bliss.

And in continuing retail therapy, I have once more purchased Spring In A Pot. Ridiculously overpriced as bulbs and soil and a plastic pot go, but one of the best values I've ever found for winter blahs.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

As promised

The three-day weekend was just as awesome as I had anticipated. Filled with good things happening for several people I love, including Sunshine getting a job (in case some of you hadn't heard about that yet). Hooray!

Got out skiing all three days. None of them were long jaunts, but that's okay, because three days in a row, y'know? Aside from Puck repeatedly trying to kill himself on Day One, it was all good fun.

I love wine tastings. So glad so many of you were able to attend this time around! Came away from it convinced that Meritage wines are universally yummy, which will probably bite me in the ass someday. Throw in some Dominion and Rock Band and that was a darn good Saturday.

Ended up at Jax for Dad's retirement supper. I'd had a late, copious lunch, so I had all these good intentions about just getting soup and a salad. Which I did, but...somehow I don't think a bowl of dark, rich french onion soup topped with about half a pound of gruyere and a large Caesar salad (complete with anchovies) quite counts. Many thanks to J for calling to remind me about Book Club, because that was really fun and I'd've hated to have missed it.

Monday I skied and relaxed and made vichyssoise. Because if potato and leek soup is good, potato and leek soup with cream is even better. Then Puck and I went to a Surdyk's wine class on Bordeaux. The presenter was a former math teacher who showed us pictures from his vacation to France. It was seriously awesome. :-)

Definitely racking up some karmic debt these days, determined to enjoy it while it lasts.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Can it be the weekend now?

Slow day at work = slow day at work.

Especially when I have a three-day weekend coming up, chock-full of awesome plans. Cross-country skiing (providing the snow holds up to these warmer temps), wine-tasting party (hope to see many of you there!), meal with the folks (Dad has actually, really, honestly, you'll-never-believe-this, RETIRED! Today is his last day! I suspect his Friday is going even slower than mine), and the chat for Book Club in which we get to talk about dead bodies. Is it any wonder I'm impatient for it to start?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Best headline ever

One of my editing groups just put this up. It's from three years ago, so maybe the rest of you have seen it, but gosh it makes me happy.

Skywalkers in Korea Cross Han Solo

Sunday, January 10, 2010


I continue to be absolutely amazed at the difference it makes for me to have windows at work during the winter. I was never dangerously affected by SAD, but it did make a difference in my life. But now? Winter is just cold, and the time when I get to go cross-country skiing instead of gardening.

The skiing helps tremendously too. Being able to get out and appreciate how beautiful winter is makes for a powerful mood tonic. Yesterday Puck and I went out to the Coon Rapids Dam, and there was a cardinal sitting in a branch just a few feet up off the ground, all fluffed up for warmth. So gorgeous against the snow and dark branches of underbrush. Today we're going to Bunker. After I beat my outa-shape self into some semblance of endurance, we'll hit the Arboretum.

Meanwhile I'm wishing I'd managed to sleep later. Dear self: When you are up until 2 a.m., it is not necessary to get up at 7:30. It really, really isn't. (And yes, I can imagine all of the parents reading this rolling their eyes about whining over 5.5 hours of uninterrupted sleep....)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Blogging. Right. I have a blog.

So, sort of skipped the month of December. And most of November. Oops?

Updates since then. Let's see....

I didn't succeed at NaNo this year. I had an awesome first weekend, and a pretty good finish, but there was a while in the middle there where I pretty much just stared at the glowy box and did nothing. That and my unwillingness to give up Wednesdays this year was too many days lost to make up for. I'm not too bothered by it though. I make up my own measures of success, and this year's novel was fun more often than it was frustrating -- that's good enough for me.

Puck and I took a mid-December long weekend up to Grand Marais and attempted downhill skiing. It was cold and the conditions weren't great since it was all fake snow, but still very fun! I was hoping I'd be a little better at it this time since we've been doing cross-country and it's been less than ten years since the last time I attempted downhill, but I think I was about the same. We visited the Ben Franklin, and ate at the Coho Cafe and the Gunflint Tavern. Also stopped at Gooseberry on the way up and admired the frozen falls. Neat.

Went to Chicago for Christmas. Stayed with Puck's family, but dropped by to see my sister and the nieces for a couple hours. Just long enough for the girls to give me a cold, which is inevitable anytime I come in contact with children who aren't afraid to climb on me. Must work on instilling necessary fear. Welcome suggestions that will not cause family rift. Sadly, even though the cold was minor, it brought a lingering cough that kept me from being able to stay for Iron Bartender on New Year's Eve. Woe! Still, I did get to show up long enough to see everyone and enjoy the lovely spread J and The Sexy Blonde put up (as well as No-Nick's hot buttered rum. Mmmmmmm).

Greatly enjoyed our December guests: first The World's Coolest Mother-in-Law, and then our very own much-missed Temp.

Finally got out cross-country skiing this past weekend, despite the high temperature of 1°. Yay! Looking forward to doing more, hopefully with slightly warmer days and healthier lungs.

The most exciting bit is probably that we bought our plane tickets for the trip to China next October. Wheeee!!!!

No New Year's resolutions. I never keep them anyway.