Tuesday, May 31, 2011

How Being With My Family In The Woods Makes Me Think

It's been a long time since I spent time at the lake cottage.  This past weekend was the opener.  For three days the air was chilled and on the brink of storm.  There was little rain but lots of overcast.  There were hoards of mosquitoes and wood ticks.  But still, despite what I've just described as a positively dismal weekend it was quite how I would have it if given my preference, at least for this weekend.

I'll have to admit it was quite a twirly mess preparing for a weekend away from the workshop.  How would I get everything done for my upcoming shows?  There was also the nagging feeling that I would be leaving the house in too much disarray.  What about the laundry?  What about those chunks of dirt on the kitchen floor?  But once I was packed and on my way, those things drifted away from the front of my mind just as quickly as my car rolled away from my driveway.

The wood ticks and mosquitoes kept us indoors for the evenings where we all talked about plain old stuff.  Those kind of talks are great to have with other family members.  It give you a chance to get to know what's going on, how they're getting along, what kind of dynamics are at play, and at the very basest level just who these people are and why we're all connected.  There were no deep philosophical discussions, just ordinary stories.  Amazing how well you can reacquaint yourself with people when you're in different surroundings.  The ordinary stories are the most telling.

It kind of reconnected me to my psychology training and I got all analytical, but not in a critical and diagnosy way.  The thing is, when I get all analytical about other people it eventually turns inward and I become extremely self-aware. 

Stuff changed for me in my head this past weekend.  I'm not sure where all of these insights are going to lead, but I think there have to be some changes.  Emphases have to shift.  And most of all I have dial it back and focus on content rather than quantity, especially when it comes to growing my little business.

Funny how this kicks just weeks before I go "on."  Could be I'm just second-guessing myself.  Could be I have something inside me just itching to get out.  Could be I don't trust my instincts.  Whatever it is, it's surfacing at a most inconvenient time. 

I haven't given this thing a definition because, well, I can't.  I'm just going to roll along with it.  Maybe something else will occur to me.  But now that I'm home, back in the cocoon of my little life and my little business, I wonder if my awareness will wane. 

As I sit and reflect on the previous weekend I guess I can be grateful for my family who was just there to inspire my brain to explore new possibilities.  Weird how that whole progression took place; a simple weekend with family triggered some pretty drastic turns in how I want to do things. 

And now, I continue on with my new insights.  I hope I can do them justice.  All I need is a little confidence and a little courage.  Here I go again...

Monday, May 23, 2011

A Poem: What I Did Over The Weekend

Copying and pasting, learning the limits of the program.

Numbers and numbers, and then more numbers
hoping I get them all straight.

A look into the life of a soon-to-be graduate whom I've never met;
I was the maker of a gift that will make him laugh
and forever remind him of his days of study.

Making good on a promise made.

Cardboard, labels, stickers
bottle caps, glue, resin,
beads and monofilament.

Hot wax, cold wax, wicks of all sizes.

Scents that fill the entire house
on a stormy day.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Signs Of Spring

I know I have a lot of work in store for me when I come home and see this...

I've got a project just waiting to be reborn.  It flopped in a previous venue but I'm sure with a little tweeking and a new audience it will fly.  I've got another project underway with a product that has always done very well for me but I've never produced enough of this particular item to keep up with the demand.  This year will be different.  I know I'm being kind of teasy, being so vague and all.  When these two products are ready for sale (and when I get a decent photo of them) I'll unveil the secrets.  For now I'm just itching to tear into these boxes and get started!  I know it's springtime because two of the supply boxes contain something that is risky to ship in cold weather.  The boxes are here, so I can pretty much guarantee the warm weather will also be here for a while.

You wouldn't think a Christmas tree is a sign of spring.  I still can't get over what a perfect creation of nature our Christmas tree was this past year.  Husby kept it outside in the back yard through the winter with plans to cut it up in the spring for some firewood.  Throughout the winter the tree turned a lovely rust color, but the needles are still holding strong and the overall shape of the tree is nearly as perfect as it was when we decorated it in our house five months ago.

Because of the unusually long winter we had Husby hasn't cut up the tree yet.  And it's a good thing.  Here's what he discovered nestled in the branches of our dead, but beautiful, Christmas tree...

Springtime is definitely here, and the baby birds will be soon.  It's been a long time coming, but I think we can finally count on some warmer weather in the weeks to come.  Happy Spring!

Monday, May 16, 2011

They're Cute And Smiley

One thing that comes with having a degree in psychology is that I am constantly trying to define my feelings or analyze where those feelings came from.  It's a gift...and a curse.  Defining my feelings isn't the hard part, but analyzing their origins can take up a lot of time.  Analysts spend decades with their patients figuring out the origins of their feelings, which is pretty stupid because feelings change as often as I change underwear.  At least mine do.  (Does that mean I have a mood disorder?)

So many times the answer is just so plain and simple, yet the process of analysis can weave in all sorts of forgotten memories, displaced blame, and other assorted psychobable into the emotion du jour.

Lots of our behavior and emotions can be traced to very unpleasant origins.  Most times it's unnecessary to do that tracing.  Why bother?  For example, this is the desktop background of my computer.  What deep psychological urge compelled me to choose this image? 

One could guess I have delusious of grandeur as power is the theme behind the subjects of the ocean and a strong animal.  Or it could be just the opposite ~ I may have a poor self-esteem and the representations of strength and power were subconsciously chosen by me to boost my self-image.  One could also think I crave more balance in my life as depicted by the amazing balancing skill of the animal. 

Guess what?  I picked it because I like elephants. 

I've been doing way too much analyzing lately.  Analyzing myself, analyzing other people, analyzing data.  I've analyzed myself into a mass of meaningless statistics, factoids, and whimsical theories. 

This week I'm going to take everything at face value and just roll with it.  Because conjuring up causes doesn't always fix the effects, and sometimes the effort and insight just makes things worse.  This week, I'm just going to like the elephant.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Dang It!

Blogger underwent some maintenance in the past couple of days and completely wiped out my blog post for today.  I can tell you it was a doozy.  Probably the best I've ever written.  Probably the best writing ever created since the beginning of the English language.  The post would no doubt have earned a Pulitzer Prize had it been preserved. 

Ah, c'est la vie.

I'll be back next week, but I can't promise award-winning writing.  Something that spectacular happens only once in a lifetime. 

Thursday, May 12, 2011

My Life Reduced To Bullet Points

It seems like it's been a long time since I was here, recording the happenings of my life.  It really hasn't been that long, but so much has happened.  Today you get a bullet point presentation, which points I may elaborate upon in later posts.  Or not.  I'm very slow to commit to anything these days.  Now, let's see what's been going on...

*  Husby had a birthday.  I feel kind of badly I didn't post a special greeting to him on the blog as I usually do.  I have no excuse.  We did, however, celebrate his birthday with a trip to Como Park where we haven't been in ages.  It was a very cold day for the month of May, but our bodies warmed up quickly in the temperate conservatory where the tropical plants, trees, and flowers were in beautiful bloom.  We also saw some animals, most of which were staying warm inside their buildings instead of roaming around outside.  The seals and polar bear were having a marvelous time out in the cold, but believe it or not, even the penguins were cozied up inside.  We had a little lunch too, at Dixie's on Grand.  Boy has that place changed since I was there last.  I almost felt under dressed, but the manager assured me it was still a casual place despite the uniformed staff and white tablecloths.  The food was marvelous.

*  A medical procedure was performed.  No details are forthcoming.  Suffice it to say there was a day of icky preparation and another day of recuperation.  Also some very goofy talk. 

*  A funeral was attended.  It had nothing to do with the medical procedure.  My great uncle Gerald died.  He was eight-nine.  The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of him is how he used to sing Popeye The Sailor Man in a weird Popeye voice.  Something like that always makes kids laugh.  He also had some very ugly dogs.  Icky, bulgy-eyed pugs.  I never liked his dogs.  He owned a creamery where we would go to get free ice cream sundaes when we visited.  Funerals like that, ones where I'm more of a spectator than one of the bereaved, cause me to examine the family tree.  I observe my relatives, seeing their strengths and weaknesses.  I realize I come by my faults honestly and have survived some strange things in the gene pool.  I also realize how families, no matter how weird or dysfunctional, are a pretty good thing to have, and they bind us to a history that is usually very fascinating.

*  Mother's Day.  I hosted this event at my house as I'm the only one in my immediate family who is not a mother.  I prepared a nice brunch with some contributions from my mom and Charlotte who both insisted on bringing something.  It was a nice and relaxed afternoon.  However, I fell apart after everyone left.  The combination of an out-of-town funeral and having company at my house in the same weekend drained me of all my strength.  My head throbbed from all of the stimulation.  Thus, I ended the action-packed weekend with a Tyenol PM and passed out on the couch until 5:00 a.m. the next day when Husby woke me up to go to the day job.  Husby claims to have tried to get me to go to bed, but I was unresponsive. 

*  A member of my extended family is undergoing some very delicate surgery this week.  The results of this have thrown the family dynamics a little out of whack.  The outcome of the surgery is yet to be disclosed.  It is a time of great stress for some of us and a time of some adjustment for others. 

I'm kind of back in my routine again.  Kind of.  These days there is nothing better than curling up in bed, which is no more than an indulgent dream.  I wish I could linger beyond my usual 5:00 a.m. wake-up time, but that's another story for another post.  For now I'm easing back into my groove as much as I can.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Bundles Of Joy

After a few years of hoping and dreaming, Husby and I are happy to announce the arrival of four little, bitty bunnies in our back yard.

We've had bunny families in our yard before, but not for some time.  We're happy to see the little fluffs nibbling on our sad, brown lawn.  The live underneath the wood pile, safe from the local hawks and foxes.

There will be a time, should they decide to make our yard their permanent home, when Husby gets irritated with their feasting on his garden. After all, we are already missing out on the blooming of our bridal wreath shrubs due to Mom and Dad Bunny chowing them down to nubs during our very snowy winter. But they're just so cute and fluffy now, we can't help but love them.

It's hard to get photos of the little buggers. They're still very skittish and just opening the back door causes them to scurry underneath the wood pile to safety. Like we would ever harm them! We normally just watch them from the window.

Little animals and birds are a sure sign of spring. The fuzzy little goslings will be waddling around our house very soon too. We might get lucky and have some robin and wren nests in our trees. Sometimes we'll even find a quarter-sized turtle in the grass.

For now we'll just stand by the window and watch the hijinx of our four little bunnies like a couple of proud parents.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

A Dream Of Rest

I'm kind of tired of being cold.  The in between we've been living through has taxed my last nerve.  My frigid fingers are making me crabby and summertime activities in forty-degree weather wears me down.

I'm kind of tired of trying to be seen.  It all seems so needy.  And I'm tired of trying to think of different angles.  My brain has malfunctioned.

I'm kind of tired of knowing how much I have to do and watching obligations pop up in my path.  I'm not really startled by them, but I want to just stand really still and hope they don't see me.  But I always see them and know they must be honored.

I'm kind of tired of listening to people who don't really know what they're talking about ~ to people who attempt things on a professional level when their competency ranks amateur.  I want to enlighten them with things I know from my own experience, but I'm kind of tired of convincing anyone I know some things.

I'm kind of tired of feeling whiney and wimpy.  Too tired to empower myself and disgusted with with my lack of motivation. 

With this very sad and tired piece of writing I hope to grant myself what I really need.  Some rest.  A break from the demands I've placed on myself.  A little time to become less tired.  A little time to become more tolerant.  A little time to become less selfish and more selfish all at once.

I'm just kind of tired.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Dive Night ~ Macaluso's Roadhouse

Dive Night is a once monthly adventure undertaken by me and Husby, along with our friends Ruthie and Ray. Each couple alternates choosing a restaurant, one which must come under the category of "dive." Our definition of dive: a neighborhood gathering spot hiding under the radar. Casual atmosphere and good food. We're out to find the best food in the Minneapolis/St Paul area without having to pay a fortune or dress up. A sip of beer or wine doesn't hurt either. 

A long time ago I went to a little bar with my motorcycle -driving boyfriend.  We were young and foolish and very brave.  This little bar had a reputation of serving the toughest bikers in the area, but like I said, we were young, foolish and very brave.  We had a drink and left the bar unscathed.  I never returned...until now.

The bar has probably changed hands since I visited over two decades ago, but it's still known to cater to the biker types.  I'm not so young and foolish any more, but I can still be pretty brave.  We entered Macaluso's Roadhouse like we owned the place.

The first thing we noticed after we seated ourselves at a booth was this...

Happy hour from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.  You gotta love a place like that.  Interestingly, when Ruthie asked our waitress what kind of wine they had she left and returned with a list.  A very generic list.  The waitress's "cheat sheet" to be precise.  Pinot Grigio was actually a choice, so Ruthie and I had one.  The guys both had a beer.  True to a dive they also offered free popcorn, serve yourself of course.

It wasn't very good popcorn, but I didn't expect too much.  I also ate plenty.  I think I was hungry.  There was also a nice meat raffle girl walking around selling numbers.  I asked what kind of meat we would win and she hesitated.  I asked "animal meat?"  She concurred with a relieved smile. 

The view from where I was sitting was less than optimal.  Basically I was facing Ruthie and Ray, who were sitting in front of a wall.  Seems that happened last time we went out too.  I'm going to have to make sure that doesn't happen next time.  I did turn around at one point to get a photo of the place.  The disco ball was particularly endearing.

I was kind of amazed at the variety of food Macaluso's offered ~ everything from pasta to burgers.  We began with appetizers, as usual.  These included chicken nuggets with BBQ and ranch dipping sauces (we requested two and weren't charged extra) and fried ravioli served with marinara dipping sauce. 

The ravioli was especially good, I thought.  The appetizer plates were styrofoam.

Entrees came with either chips or baked french fries.  Our waitress failed to ask us what we wanted so we got chips.  When we said we wanted the french fries the cook said it would be another twenty-five minutes as they're baked, not fried.  I would have liked to try those, but was too hungry to wait another half hour.  The chips were fine with my meal.

My Italian Hoagie

Husby's Taco Basket

Ruthie's Meaball Sub

Ray's Hot Dago

All of us enjoyed our meals immensely.  Really, I really wasn't expecting food that good.  Just goes to show you, can't judge cuisine by its clientelle.  Hot and delicious, really flavorful.  Apparently their pizza is also very good, and I'm pretty sure Husby and I will try it sometime.  They have take-out and delivery on their pizza. 

There was one other thing I really loved about Macaluso's was the t-shirts worn by the waitresses.  Check it out...

Sounds like something I'd say. 

If you're feeling brave you should really try Macaluso's Roadhouse.  Dress down.  Wear leather if you've got it.  You won't regret your visit.  And really?  Those bikers are actually very nice people.  Don't let them scare you.  However, you should know we arrived for our dining adventure around 5:45.  I can't vouch for the atmosphere after 7:00.  If you're feeling really brave, check it out and let me know how it goes.

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