Sunday, August 17, 2008

I saw Santa Claus!

I know where Santa Claus was on Friday! My husband and I were sitting by the XCel Energy building on Nicollet Mall people watching on a beautiful day. The sun was shining and there were a few fluffy clouds decorating a beautiful blue sky. I looked up and there he was -- I'm certain it was him -- Santa Claus, just walking down the street. If you think about it, it is his off season. And where do most of us want to go on our holiday? Being a native Minnesotan, I enjoy warm, tropical places. So, if Santa were to follow this train of thought, Minnesota would be a perfect place to vacation.

Now the other thing I believe when it comes to Santa is that he no longer employs a stylist. Apparently whoever hooked him up with the red suit rectified his clothing dilemma for the most important event of the year and like so many men, he decided that was sufficient. I must report that he has given a vacation to the grr-animals too. You may be wondering how I know this and all I can tell you is it took just one look. When Santa waltzed past us he was sporting green plaid shorts, a striped shirt that barely covered his "bowl full of jelly" belly and much to our surprise, a pair of Chuck Taylor's (hightops even)!

Isn't it kind that Santa chose to visit during the month of August rather than during the Republican National Convention? Poor OLD John McCain doesn't need any other media distractions, he already seems to have been forgotten most of the time.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Are you an over or under person?

Recently my mother took a bad fall in her home. She suffered a broken hip and had surgery in Sioux Falls. I has wanted to go to Sioux Falls for the 4th of July but not for this reason. My best friend Julie opened her home to me for more than a week. When life turns chaotic, it is indescribable how wonderful it is to have friends like mine - especially "The Moving Crew".

Julie went back to Minnesota to spend the long holiday weekend with her family. Unfortunately, her mother is experiencing health issues of her own and needed some assistance.

While she was gone, I needed to change the toilet paper roll in her bathroom. I did and was pleased with my abilities. It all seemed fine to me. I mean when I needed toilet paper, I tugged on it, it unrolled, I tore it off and all was well. Upon return from her parent's home, Julie let me know with a chuckle, that she had to redo the toilet paper because it was coming from underneath and she likes it to unroll from the top. I giggle about this each time it crosses my mind.

So, I find myself wondering -- are you an under or over person? Or, are you like me -- just thankful there is toilet paper there when you need it given there have been a number of times when that wasn't the case.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Mandatory Questions

I don't know about you, but there are some questions that cashiers ask that trigger certain emotions. My rational self knows it is nothing personal it's just part of their job, but I find it amusing how a simple question can evoke certain reactions.

Here's an example: When I go to the liquor store, I know that it is their standard protocol to request identification, but it still makes me feel good. I always walk away with a smile on my face. To be honest, if they don't "card me", I walk away thinking . . . "Damn, I know I'm getting old when they no longer ask for id".

Another example: I enjoy shopping at our local Mills Fleet Farm. Surprisingly they have one of the best candy sections around. When I go there, I am usually running a number of errands and I haven't necessarily taken the time to worry about my makeup, hair or outfit and I'm usually there to buy salt for our water softener but I get a bit defensive when the cashier asks, "is this for home or farm use?" My immediate thought is, "Ugh, I must look like shit today!" My friend Mary once described me as 'prissy'. My appearance must be slipping.

It's silly isn't it? The liquor store cashier only asks for my id to protect their job and avoid legal problems, but it still becomes a nice ego boost. The Fleet Farm cashier only asks if it's for farm use to determine taxation on the purchase, but immediately it taps into the stereotypical image of a farm wife. You know the one I'm speaking of, tom-boyish, sturdy build, practical and devoid of glamour.

It would be interesting to know if there is a cashier question that triggers similar thoughts for other people.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Granny glasses rock!

On Monday I picked up my new glasses from the optometrist and along with them a "rite of passage" to old age. My glasses are not only equipped with a stronger prescription but thanks to Carl Zeiss, my new RX is housed in "progressive lenses" (formerly known as bifocals). As a result, I can see clearly now the vanity is gone! It's funny -- I have been covering my grey hair with dye for years, I buy expensive Estee Lauder products for my face to try and prolong the inevitable wrinkles, and I had absolutely no problem with turning 40. But the bifocal thing, I felt the need to put that off as long as possible. The eye doctor at my previous visit told me I was "right on the fence". Well, that was a couple of years ago and I think during that time, I fell over the fence and trotted toward the neighbor's.



All I can say now is - I LOVE MY PROGRESSIVE LENSES. My days of imitating Stretch Armstrong in order to read cooking directions or expiration dates on coupons are done. There for awhile I thought my arm was going to be long enough to drag my knuckles on the ground.



Oh, and just a note about the terminology -- when I was "on the fence" I was chatting with my co-worker Ruth about needing bifocals in the near future. With a smile and a bit of a chuckle she said to me "aren't they calling them 'progressive lenses' these days?" In all honesty, I thought she was teaching me some slang. So off I trotted with my hip new terminology. I seriously thought the phrase 'progressive lenses' was a spin technique to remove the "old age" stigma from the term 'bifocals'. That was in 2006. Can you imagine my surprise when I ordered my new glasses and found out that 'Progressive Lenses' is the ACTUAL name of the product. I walked out of the doctor's office feeling blonder than The Girls Next Door.

Friday, May 23, 2008

I committed murder!

I feel awful! It wasn't intentional or premeditated, so I believe it would be manslaughter, or should I say birdslaughter.

Let me back up a bit and fully explain this. Completely out of character, I decided to pick up some of the garbage around the house. I'm almost ashamed to admit the extent of my laziness. (No, the boxes from our move are NOT unpacked!) But, it's the middle of May and I decided that before the little boy scout comes by selling this year's Christmas wreaths I had better discard last year's. Yes, you read that right - I just threw away the Christmas wreath that has been hanging on our front door since November. I knew we have had frequent visits from a bird to our front door because I can hear the chirping and singing. I just thought she was collecting items from the wreath and from our dryer vent to take back to line her nest. What I didn't realize was that the mama bird had decided to make the wreath her new home.

Thursday is our garbage day and in effort to get the wreath into the trash bin before the garbage man came, I grabbed it off the hanger and high tailed it to the bin by the curb. When I approached the front door to go back inside, I could see two little wiggly things on the porch. Each of them looked like a really fuzzy caterpillar wiggling around. I did a double take to make certain it really was moving -- it was. My first thought was, "yuck, what an ugly worm". Upon further examination, I saw there were two of them and just a few inches away, a splattered egg. Then, it hit me. These weren't caterpillars, there were itty bitty teeny weenie baby birds. They weren't even an inch long, but you could see all their features and how hard each was trying to survive. Believe me, I had no idea they were in the wreath!

Normally, something like this wouldn't bother me, but for some reason, yesterday was different. To make matters worse, I was doing some cleaning in the kitchen and I could hear the mama bird outside calling for her babies. Searching for the home she thought was safe.

When I went to show my husband what I had done, we realized that the landscapers had swept the porch that afternoon and the birds were gone. My guess is that they were swept away but I am not certain. I wonder if the mama bird found her babies on the porch.

I honestly don't know what I would have done if I had known about them. I certainly am not running a bird sanctuary, but I may have been able to relocate them. My apologies to the birdies' momma.

Note to self: Christmas decorations should be removed in a timely fashion (like before Valentine's Day!)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Last Day of School

Today is the last day of school for my friend's daughter Shianne. I'm certain she is excited for summer, the family trip to Disney World and her upcoming birthday party. But the end of the school year is a bit of a disappointment for me. For the past several months, I have had the privilege of being a travel agent for Flat Stanley. (And I did a damn good job if I say so myself.) Shianne's Stanley (and clones of Stanley) went all over. He headed out to Connecticut to visit WTNH. My friend is an anchor person there and he showed Stanley the ropes! My brother and sister-in-law took him to Nashville for Easter Break, my co-worker Rhonda sent him to the Artic Circle with her husband and my nephew took him vacationing in Hawaii. To be honest, I think the adults have had at least as much fun, if not more fun, than the kids with this project.

If you ever have the opportunity to befriend Flat Stanley, do it! It will change your life.

Thank you Jeff Brown and Dale Hubert for the joy and education you bring! Are you curious now? Check it out . . . http://www.flatstanley.com/jeff_brown.html

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Black Friday

How many of you headed out early on the Friday after Thanksgiving? Better yet, how many of you were in line not long after your turkey dinner? Y'all know I do enjoy shopping and it must include a bargain but I just don't have it in me to be a part of the 'mob scene in the morning'. Don't get me wrong, I went online to search the ads before publication, I poured over the pages diligently comparing bargains on my couch and I noted a few things that I really needed to pick up.

On Friday afternoon, my husband and I headed out to shop. First stop, Wal-Mart. To begin, I have to say the Apple Valley Wal-Mart sucks! I realize I am spoiled by having had two Wal-Mart Super Centers in Sioux Falls but shopping at the Apple Valley Wal-Mart is like having to shop at Family Dollar after having been a regular customer of the Dollar Tree. It's a poor, poor option. We went to Wal-Mart to purchase a $5 cd for my husband and a $6 game for my honorary nieces Shianne and Katie. We walked out of there with a stack of cds, two dvds, a sweater, some holiday stationary and a few grocery items. The children's game was sold out. A $13 visit had become more than $100.

After that, we headed to Circuit City. My husband wanted a dvd. At two o'clock in the afternoon the place was still crazy. All of the parking stalls were full. The dvd bins were empty. People were standing in lines that stretched from the checkout counter, down the central walk way of the store and toward the computer department. I couldn't believe the number of large ticket items that were being loaded up in the luxury SUVs as we exited the store. Hari bought another $5 cd and we were off to Kmart in Bloomington. This was a refreshing experience. The music was soothing, the sales were good and there were relatively few shoppers. We found the dvd that had eluded us at Circuit City. We browsed the display of Christmas trees and plotted our upcoming purchase and once again, we went through the check-out with more than we had intended. However, Hari now has some new shirts for work and we have a beautiful rug instead of a carpet remnant in our entry way. Hari grew up without malls and discount stores and as a result does not have the stamina for shopping that I have developed over the years. Therefore, after returning some items from Lands End to the local Sears store, we decided to head home.

In case you are keeping track, that would be zero Christmas presents purchased and numerous items that will not make it to our wish lists!

The day after Thanksgiving reminds me of a roulette wheel. You throw down your money and if you are a merchant you bet on black. If you are a consumer, your best bet is on red. And just as the wheel spins round and round, we go through this each and every year. There is one distinct difference -- shopping for Christmas brings greater returns than Vegas. Here's hoping that the effort expended and the gifts you purchased bring satisfaction to you and your loved ones and may the holiday day season bring you true love and joy.

For those of you who are more like me, have fun as you complete your list. Me, I have to make my list and get started. Although I may look like Chicken Little while trying to get it all done, rest assured it will all come together in the end.