Thursday, January 29, 2009

Really Minnesota?

I'm actually embarrassed to post this but WOW, I'm so glad the stimulus passed the house so we can upgrade our skateboard parks here. And god knows we need a snow making machine, its freaking Minnesota the same snow is here from November through April.

I had to run on a treadmill tonight planted in front of a tv (because the ice rink was being used). Anywho, my man Hannity was mocking this so I had to come home and dig it up.

Here's the group's list of 10 Worst Economic Stimulus Requests Made by Minnesota Cities and its take on the projects:

10 – Shorewood, $300,000
Tennis court improvement and rehab -- A backhand shot from a prosperous southwestern suburb that should be vigorously returned by taxpayers.

9 -- St. Paul, $2.1 million
Western Avenue reconstruction, "including bike facilities, traffic calming elements" and "public art" -- An artful attempt to have patrons, a.k.a. taxpayers, underwrite the collaboration of St. Paul public works engineers and artists in creating fun sculptures, playful signs, "traffic calming elements" and bike facilities.

8 – Burnsville, $50,000
Greenhouse gas tracking program -- How exactly does a city-run greenhouse gas tracking program stimulate the economy?

7 -- St. Cloud, $150,000
Street sign upgrade program -- The state has mandated that street sign lettering be 150 millimeters for capital letters and 113 millimeters for lower-case letters. A case of a city government asking the federal government for funds to comply with a state government mandate to replace signs that were already pointing the right way and doing the job.

6 – Hanover, $750,000
LED streetlight conversion -- How many years’ worth of city electric bills will it take to pay off the $750,000 cost of changing the bulbs in this city with an estimated population of about 2,500?

5 -- St. Louis Park, $3.5 million
New water meters for St. Louis Park residents -- The city wants to open the federal tap to give 12,800 water customers new water meters and install remote meter-monitoring equipment.

4 – Roseville, $1.5 million
New clubhouse and maintenance shop for city golf course -- Roseville's city-run Cedarholm Golf Course, a 9-hole, par 3 course, lost more than $800,000 between 2000 and 2007 (years inclusive). Why should all taxpayers be asked to "chip in" even more money at this losing enterprise?

3 – Burnsville, $550,000
Nicollet Commons water feature rehab -- Burnsville expects taxpayers to open the federal floodgates for a $550,000 upgrade for the water fountains and sculptures in its highly touted town-square-style park.

2 – Duluth, $6 million
Spirit Mountain snowmaking and maintenance facility -- This multimillion-dollar snow job attracted national media attention to Duluth.

1-- St. Cloud, $750,000
Skateboarding Park -- Ever since a local entrepreneur closed the doors of his skate park in 2006, enthusiasts in St. Cloud have tried to raise a quarter of a million dollars to start building a huge state-of-the-art skate park "plaza." The city even agreed to carry donors' debt for four years, but donations -- to use skateboarding terminology -- continue to "grind" along well short of their goal. So the city has done a "kick turn" and asked taxpayers to foot the bill for the entire project. Taxpayers need to become familiar with another skateboard term and "grab" their wallets.

Brenda Warner Jackpot!

Not only do I have a memory like a steel trap (actually my memory sucks) but I was a good enough "googler" to find the exact stinking picture I remembered.

Here's Brenda Warner and her boa back when he won Super Bowl with the St Louis Rams (1999). She was the odd, loud, obnoxious, crazy, old looking woman in the stands always yelling and hootin.

I swear I remember her almost picking him up when he won. Anyway that boa has been burned into my retinas for 10 freaking years. I don't think she was exactly the media darling either which probably explains why we haven't seen here around much this year.

I guarantee it has nothing to do with her looks because she doesn't even look like the same person. I don't know what amount of something could give this drastic of a change. I mean I'm not saying I'm just saying.

Go Steeler's!!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


So who do you want to win the Superbowl? Steelers or Cardinals?

I gotta go Steeler's because I remember Kurt Warner's wife (and her purple boa scarf) from the last time he won a Superbowl and I can't go there again.

Going to my happy place now......Go STEELERS!!

Perhaps I will get ambitious and put a poll up, stay tuned for that.

In the meantime let's talk game food because of course we will have a huge PAR-TAY here. I'm thinking of copying my NY Eve menu which was Mexican themed. It gives plenty of good munchie food and nothing I have to work too terribly hard to prepare (so I can be in front of the tv with the dudes watching the big game).

So I will make this killer Queso dip, sauteed pepper & onions (for Fajitas), seasoned rice and this yummy black bean dip and filler, guac and Black Bean Salsa.

This mix of stuff will create a build your own burrito, burrito bowl, quesadilla or taco bar.


I probably have more than I care to admit but here are a few that stand out. What quirks do you have?

Names - I never call people by their given names, I typically make up a name for them or just use "hey". Except for my kids, I use their real names but they also have a long list of nicknames (MareBear and Big P being the top ones).

I'm not sure what it means if I call you by your given name but I would take it as a compliment. Only 1 other person besides my kids has that honor.

Wasting Food - I hate wasting anything but food really bothers me. Perhaps its because I have very little control over all the people and kids that go hungry each day.

Anyway I refuse to toss anything out but most of the time I can't eat it so I donate it to my 2 dogs. I'm not sure if that's really not wasting it but it feels like good karma to me (and the dogs dig it).

Pictures - I have 1,234,543,756,000 pictures of my kids, dogs, trees, house and various things but none of me. I think that is why I love photography because I'm behind the camera and don't need to be in any shots. I simply hate the way I look in pictures and never feel like its a good one.

I need a good, current one for my blog and for facebook and just because underneath my yoga pants, ponytail, wrinkled t-shirt, haven't showered in 2 days self is a hottie!

Modern Furniture - no offense, it just doesn't fly in my book.

Cold Coffee - not Iced Coffee but when my hot cup of coffee turns lukewarm. It has to be scalding hot - love it.

Wouldn't you know that as I'm re-warming my mug for the 23rd time someone will interrupt my drinking process and it will once again turn lukewarm.

Off the cuff but when tiny hands dig through my office desk and discover the Valentines chocolate I bought for them.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Favorite Pics of 2008

I totally meant to do this right after 2008 was over but I was in a slump so better late than never. In no particualr order

Maren in the pink hat

Preston (with long hair) soccer action shot(resulted in a GOAL)

My hutch, man I love you

The wildflowers (I planted around the kids sandbox - oops)


The chickens at the zoo


bro & sis

My famous pizza (if I don't say so myself) cooked inside

the basement beer tree (yep, its Odouls - rock on Carissa)

Girls Weekend in AZ

First snow

Fall outside my kitchen (man I love fall)


Do you ever just have a good day. Nothing really specific to put your finger on but just a good day, a day when you smile for no reason. Don't get me wrong I smile most days, even at strangers but today I was just giddy, silly, happy! I haven't had a HAPPY day in a long time.

What I think I love most about life is the unexpected quality of it. How you can be moving down one path and hit a completely large speed bump and sometimes that is a good thing.

I'm a planner by nature and I thoroughly enjoy mentally planning out every aspect of my life. Right now I'm not really interested in that and would simply like to enjoy the ride. Perhaps because I ultimately have no say in the future like I always thought I did.

One things I love is hearing a song and listening to the words and finding meaning in them. It's exciting and almost healing to hear someone else dealing with a similar situation.

I do wish I could see into the future, it would be nice to know everything ends happily.

No pictures, even with my new favorite lens I haven't taken my camera out much.

Probably distracted by something.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Rock on Snowman!

Preston brought home this fine piece of artwork today from school and I was so freaking proud. It's not everyday your first born makes a tie-dye snowman!

The snowman is now proudly displayed in the kitchen and he will rock out daily with us and remind all who come to work hard, party hard. I'm pretty sure that isn't what Preston had in mind when he created the masterpiece but that is my motto.

Maren had her first gymnastics class tonight. Unlike Preston she didn't have the chance to participate in 427 different mommy and me classes (I was pretty burnt out after living la vida loca with Preston, we did every class under the sun and then some).

Maren & I pretty much stuck to the basics like music, gym and swimming. She was all alone tonight with me watching from the sidelines and did terrific. It's amazing how well your kid will listen to a complete stranger. I totally expect my daughter to be an Olympic gymnast after seeing her performance tonight!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Girls have Vajamama's

Yep, as you heard I had to clarify that girls do not have 2 butts. Fast forward to our now daily conversation about who all has a "Vajamama". You just have to love kids and their open innocence and willingness to talk about anything. I'm certainly not going to clarify what a Vajamama is but I will enlighten you with some of the other odd pronunciations that Maren uses.

wopcorn - popcorn
woptart - poptart (we of course don't eat these here)
rareplane- airplane
brokli- broccoli
chuck - truck

It was a long week of funerals with both friends and family. It's nice to arrive at Friday and know that we can get together with our friends cook, drink, eat and know that just for a few minutes everything is right with the world.

I'm giving this new recipe before I try it because I don't plan on having pictures since I'm still without a lens.

Creamy Zucchini Spaghetti

Lightly saute some garlic, red pepper flakes, zucchini (julienned) and salt/pepper in olive oil. Add some butter in to melt and then add sour cream, fresh lemon juice and some milk and flour to create a cream sauce.

Cook your noodles and then pour this over the noodles adding in some fresh grated Parmesan cheese and some additional fresh grated pepper. Bake for 20-30 min and serve with a crisp green salad and lots of wine.

Like most of my recipes I don't have exact measurements but if you really want them, just ask! This should be a light fresh cream sauce similar to Alfredo. I'm using Spaghetti because I heart the way it bakes up with some crispness to it.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I have 2 butts!

I'm going to keep this as clean as humanely possible and I guess its a really good thing that my camera lens broke yesterday. I spent the morning explaining to Maren (who is just about to turn 3) that she doesn't' have 2 butts.

I had heard rumors about this for a week because we are very free flowing with talk about Preston's parts. Not so much with the girl stuff, the words just aren't as "nice sounding" so I stay far, far away from it.

I know that most of you are saying what an irresponsible thing to do, not to give your kids the correct names for each part but I must say at least I didn't name it some cute fluffy name. Like all boys have a we willy winky and all girls have a fluffy bunny. I kept it real....until this morning.

It took 20 minutes of talking and convincing and it even involved bodily fluids. I was able to prove her wrong (victory!!) with talk about the origination and final resting place of poop (sorry but you know this would eventually go south).

I feel like Mom of the Year now that both my kids can refer to their parts with the correct terms. Off to reward myself with some quality reading materials (Us Weekly) and a glass of hydrating water (wine).

Before I go, I'm throwing in a random picture just because it will be awhile before my dear husband stops at Best Buy and buys the lens my camera needs. Feast your eyes on my new lens.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Death Trifecta & Superstitions

I will warn you nothing in this post will make you think of rainbows, small furry bunny rabbits or a Disney princess.

Let start with the obvious Death Trifecta, I was introduced to this thought process years ago and it was more in relation to celebrities and how they seem to die in sets of 3. Over the years I have watched the patterns in my friends, coworkers and acquaintances (because I have very little family to see the theory play out).

Sure enough you tend to see death come in 3's. Sometimes its all in one family or sometimes all in one month or sometimes not much rhyme or reason other than 3. Like I said before it very rarely impacts me because I have so few family members.

Until today, My grandpa passed away unexpectedly, you would add this to the fact my friend Rachael lost her Grandma a few weeks ago. We are up to 2 (in case you are slow in math like me). The problem is Rachael's husband lost his Grandpa today also so we are at 3. You might be thinking we are in good shape not so quick, Rachael's husband is also watching is dad (who is so young) fight for his life.

That is the spooky part, if we loose him then the Trifecta starts over and somehow I have to deal with losing 2 more people. Let's think positive and with lots of prayers.

Now onto the superstition, this habit of mine has really increased as I've gotten older and had kids. I believe somethings just shouldn't be messed with and I'm afraid I messed with something I shouldn't have.

When I was pregnant with Preston my Grandma gave me a Celtic cross from Ireland (they are originally from there). I never took that cross off in the 5+ yrs I have had it until Friday. Wouldn't you know it, I take the cross off and lose my Grandpa 2 days later. I'm probably a wee bit more emotional right now but that just seems down right spooky to me.

yep, I'm a downer. Maybe tomorrow I can crack a smile, we shall see how several things play out.

Sunday, Birthday party, Sunday

Preston has a birthday party all the way in the city (ok, its only 30 min away) so I figure I will take my laptop and actually go sit in a coffee shop and work. I'm not sure I will actually be able to focus on work without the normal interruptions of "Can I have some water", "Come watch me pee" or "He hit me" but I'm willing to give it a go.

It's a dreary Sunday here and I'm the first to admit I LOVE IT!! I love the soft snow fall and the cold winter coloring as it makes me want to stay home bundled in sweat pants and a blanket by the fire. I'm going to have to venture out, after P's birthday party I'm going over to the ice rink to run again. I stopped running after I hurt my back and am glad to be back in the saddle. It gives me a solid hour of daydreaming potential and/or problem solving time - love it!

We are entering birthday party central here - 1 today, 2 next Saturday and then Maren's party is the following Saturday and then we pick up a chunk in February and then finally Preston in March. I'm sure that I missed some and we will have other pop up.

Here's a picture of this week's crafty project, wondering if anyone can guess what I used to make it. Excuse the kitchen parts in the pic, I was too lazy to find my smaller lens or to move the craft project.

I also hate that I have 2 great made up recipes to share but no pics of them. I made Veggie Lasagna last week and the filling was so yummy you could eat alone with bread or crackers. This week I made Sweet Potato Pasta, good but not great. I think had I been a tad less tipsy when cooking it would have been really great. The secret ingredient to both is Ricotta cheese, so rich yet not so unhealthy like heavy cream.

In fact we have a dinner party coming up and I'm going to take one of my signature dishes, Vodka Penne and work some ricotta into it and see what happens.

In regards to my facebook fears, I'm ok with it now. I needed some time to sift through all the memories and what I concluded was it was my friends that made the time so memorable. The other stuff/people I can forgot now. I do like how we have all grown up, some have kids and everyone has a life.

crap, my Grandpa just passed away unexpectedly. very sad, he was a wonderful man.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Serious Ranting!

Again I suck at blogging right now, I'm in a total funk and can't figure out why. Life is same old, same old so that isn't the problem (or is it). I love winter and it is really winter here right now (-10 below) so that can't be it. Who knows but I'm cranky and not talking about it right now!

I finally took the plunge with Facebook, I need to understand these sites from a Social Marketing perspective for a work project and I was tired of getting pestered to actually check my page. It has been an interesting ride so far reconnecting with old friends brings back so many memories. I remember most although some are blurry due to underage alcohol consumption (I can't get into trouble for admitting that now, can I?), some are humbling since I had some big family things that went down on a regular basis and some are hard to stomach because I was so shy and insecure back then.

I have a hard time reconciling the person I was back then with who I am now. I really shouldn't let that stop me from catching up with old friends and walking down memory lane but it stirs things up I pushed way down and sealed off. Sometimes i think I should have stayed in Colorado and not come to Minnesota so many years ago - was I running from my problems, not dealing with difficult situations or just ready for a change. I don't know and I'm not sure I want to know.

Housewife rant - I'm officially on strike, nothing in my job description says I should have to pick up stray socks from random places or attempt to carry a six pack of empty soda cans from the bedroom.

Some of you will know this new strike is in addition to my previous dry cleaning strike of 6 months ago. I need to come up with a name for this all encompassing strike that would include soda can removal from any area of the house, dealing with laundry remnants and crumb wiping up.

A heads up to anyone who lets their kids play unsupervised while they blog, this could happen to your pool table! Notice the strategically placed dog tail(he was too dumb to move). How in the world did they get all those pillows and blankets past me (some are in the basement but most are from their beds - BAD MOM).

On a final note this is the face Maren made most of Monday night while at the hospital. She made this face when telling the doctors "I won't eat poop anymore".

This is the poop she is referring too - thanks Nana!

Sometimes I wonder if this is really my life????

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

I suck!

I suck so bad I can't even manage a blog post to wish everyone a happy and healthy 2009!!!