Thursday, July 31, 2008

Three rashers of love

a gift of gummy bacon. I haven't tried it. Sadly, it's strawberry flavored, not bacon-y.

bacon bag from Target. I'd been eyeballing it for awhile, but when it went on clearance, Velma had to pounce.

Elvis cake tonight!!! (images to come)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Fry to the left, flip to the right...

let's eat bacon day and night!

YAY! Heather from Bacon Unwrapped is writing a book! (now if only we could get that "Chicken Soup for the Soul" dude to stop, all will be right.)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Review of Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination

Well, it’s a super busy day, Lone Reader. My kids are in a Y tennis camp, which is so far not so great. Here’s hoping that today turns out better than yesterday.

Star Wars review:
The exhibition (currently at the Science Museum of MN) is good, with a just few missteps. Don’t bother waiting for the C-3PO droid movie. It’s in a little room that has benches and most of the action takes place low on the stage area, so kids can’t see. It was about a 20 minute wait to get in, and a good 10 minutes of “When is this over?” once inside. It was also crazy hard to hear what was being said.

The science part at times feels tacked on - like, "We know you're here because you're a Star Wars geek, but we still have to serve our mission, so we'll pretend this has something to do with George Lucas. Go along with it, already." Several of the hands-on things weren't working while we were there.

Like all blockbuster museum exhibitions, be forewarned: they can sense exactly how much money is in your wallet and will work very hard to extract it. With the price of tickets, parking and very small souvenirs for the kids, I was out over $60. (and I’m a member.)

The best part? If you ask the kids, it was seeing the costumes. They loved seeing the “real” Chewbacca, snowtrooper, etc. (“Mom, is that the REAL Yoda?”) For me, I thought it was seeing the props and models. The whole series of films is represented here, and the difference between the props when there was no money, i.e. the first film, is pretty astonishing. The models were so large and intricate in the pre-CG days. Sigh…those kids today don’t know what they’re missing. (curmudgeon – ed.)

Other stuff:
I started watching “Curb Your Enthusiasm” over the weekend…holy mac, that’s some crazy funny, man. (I know, everyone already knows this, but those of us not in the tax bracket to afford premium cable must make do.)

My love of all clothing black is punishing me as the mercury has crossed 90° in St. Paul. Dark hair + dark clothes + 91° = stumbling and mumbling while brain cooks inside my head. (Without even the good part of my brain on drugs…what a rip.)

Off to swim now, Lone Reader. Be cool, my babies!

Friday, July 25, 2008

These Aren't the Droids You're Looking For

Today is Star Wars day - I'm taking my Star Wars obsessed son (and his sister) to the Science Museum to see the big Star Wars exhibit. (That's him above, as L'il Darth last year.) Wish me luck 'cuz it's gonna be super crowded. I'll let you know how it was. May the Force be with you, man!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Too Tired to Criticize?

Help is on its way! With the Instant Art Critique Phrase Generator you'll never be at a loss for words again - pull one of these phrases out the next time your anemia kicks in while you're faced with a really challenging artwork and watch the crowd nod knowingly.

The Dark Knight and the Tuna Melt Basket

Last night I went to see The Dark Night, the new Batman movie. It was good and intense and I'm not a Batman sort of gal. Will Heath Ledger get a posthumous Oscar nomination? I don't think he was that good.

The real news is that I went to see it at the Vali-Hi Drive In. Dang O' Dell - that was some fun. It was so much old-timey classic summer fun. We got there about a half hour before dusk, which is pretty crucial, since the place gets really crowded. All around us, people were setting up with chairs, coolers and blankets. The night was cool and kids were sprawled out everywhere - in the beds of pick ups, on tops of minivans and in the back seats. It was really swell. At the concessions stand they have a black and white photo booth, which was super groovy as well. Back in the day, Lawrence, Kansas had a Woolworth's in downtown and, for me, the prime attraction there was the photo booth. I have sooo many photo strips of me and my friends, boyfriend and just me. There are pics of me holding up the check I won from the local radio station, me in my oh-so-groovy giant shades, me in a bathing suit - wha? That'll NEVER happen again! And why was I downtown in a bathing suit?!

When that Woolworth's closed, I bought the sign that said "Visit Woolworth's Luncheonette" for just 10 bucks. It was super cool, until it fell off the wall, hit me on the head and broke. (You know I have a giant head, Lone Reader.) It can be repaired, I'm sure.

Today I'm off to take the kids to the Mill City Museum. My young 'uns really love it -- I'm not sure why. It is good, but let's face it, it's not as good as an art museum. We'll have fun; you should, too!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Elvis Cake and NJ Cops

I. What a busy weekend that was, Lone Reader! I worked a lot - the gallery I work for had an opening, and lots of kids stuff, too. Sunday was our annual block party. I am in charge of the fishing pond -- you know, the thing where little kids cast over the top of a booth and catch some kind of small treat of prize that they then pull over the top. My sister "loaned" me the fish pond from her block party 2 years ago. She neglected to tell me that the user of the booth must store the is a beast. It's three full sheets of marine grade plywood hinged together. It is ridiculously over sized. And marine grade? Are we going to be having the block party during a hurricane? If so, at least 10 people could huddle behind the fishing pond and feel very safe.

II. This week my goal is to start working on my latest bacon creation. I'm either going to make bacon brittle or attempt an Elvis cake. The problem is that I'm not sure who would eat either. The Elvis cake has been in my head for quite sometime -- a peanut butter cake with banana frosting and crispy bacon filling. I make a wicked good caramel frosting and I think I'll use that as the binder for the bacon. You know, I don't think it'll taste bad, I just think it'll be sooo rich and sweet that two bites will put the taster into a diabetic coma.

And I just realized that I shouldn't say "this week my goal is" because of course I work, I'm a parent, a homeowner, etc. I don't just sit around dreaming of bacon and bon bons all day, Lone Reader - oh no! I work while I dream of bacon.

III. To conclude today's post, I thought I'd offer you another TRUE STORY:

One time when I was but a lass, I went to NYC with my dear friend. We had many adventures and misadventures, including me losing all my money, seeing INXS general admission at Madison Square Garden, me eating leftover fries from a stranger's plate in the shadow of Lady Liberty, and hearing a small tourist child ask his mother, "Mom, is that a real bag lady?" while I was sitting on a stoop in SoHo. The biggest adventure was when we somehow got on the wrong bus in Grand Central and ended up somewhere in Tiny Town, NJ being told by the bus driver to get off, this was the end of the line. We had no idea where we were, and we sat on the bench at the bus stop for quite awhile, trying to figure out how this had happened, blaming each other, the bus system, the damn driver and Reagan for this predicament. (It WAS the 80s.) Finally someone told us that although the bus to either the city or Tom's River (where my aunt lived) wouldn't come until morning,we might be able to catch one in the next burg over. So, after 12 hours hoofing it around the city, we started walking around the 'burbs.

It was pretty late at night and very dark. We were walking along, exhausted and defeated, but at least moving forward. We were staying at my aunt's house, but she was out of town or we would've called her for help. We really didn't have any idea where we were headed or what was in the next town that was so great, but hey, staying on the bench all night didn't sound so good either.

We were walking along a good-sized road, but no one was around. Eventually the businesses faded and we started to walk by a big dark baseball field. A car drove by, slowly. It was a car full of guys. They rolled down the window and asked us if we wanted a ride. "Nope! We're good, but thanks!" we cheerily responded, hoping that we sounded brave and like we were highly trained in the martial arts. They drove away and then appeared again, slowing down and yelling at us. We kept walking. The car pulled a bit ahead ahead of us and stopped. The passenger door opened and a guy started to get out of the car. My heart was pounding as I calculated which way to run - the baseball field seemed like a certain fate, but running down the road didn't seem to be a good idea either. Suddenly a short blast of a siren sounded behind us. The cavalry had arrived! (Well, okay, it was a small-town cop, but he was like Jesus and Superman combined to us.)

The guys scrambled back into their car as the cop yelled to us, "Are they bothering you girls?" I yelled yes, my friend yelled, "We're getting in!" (Smart girl.) The car of nasty guys peeled out and sped away. We climbed in the back of the squad car and took off in pursuit, but lost them eventually. Finally the policeman gave us a lecture about girls walking at night, and asked where we lived. "Kansas" was the reply. He was in hysterics. He told us he could drive us to the station at the edge of his district and we'd transfer to another squad car to take us back to my aunt's house. At each stop, every cop heard the story of the two teenaged girls from Kansas alone in the big city. Who cares? We were escorted safely home by some of New Jersey's finest.

We slept hard that night and boarded a bus for the adventures of the big city a few short hours later.

Don't let the haters bring you down, man. Wait a minute -- there's got to be a more elegant way to say that. Ah, who cares...for the most part, life is pretty good.

Friday, July 18, 2008

I'm Back

My grandmother's service went well, although seeing the cardboard box her cremated remains were in placed in the ground by my uncle was really difficult. She is finally next to her beloved husband though, and that is gratifying. After the burial, we had a memorial service on the porch of her lake home, sitting and facing the view that she so adored for all those years. My grandparents built a home in the Adirondacks in the 50s and this is where so many of my childhood summers were spent. Being out on the porch with about 50 friends and family, telling stories was just the way she would've wanted to be remembered. She was a kind and gracious woman, always looking out for the least among us. She was generous and funny, quick witted and loving.

I didn't end up speaking during the memorial service, but stayed and shared stories at the luncheon that followed.

My relative who is in the hospital is steadily improving, although he may have some lasting brain damage. Like so many things in life, it's a "wait and see" kinda thing.

I have tons of work to do and get my kids back in half an hour. I can't wait...I have missed them so much. Tonight we'll make a yummy dinner (after four days of traveling and airport food, I am craving healthy stuff) and maybe rent a movie and snuggle on the couch. I am so grateful that are healthy happy children.

Thanks for all the love and support, Lone Reader. This has been a hard summer for me and you've been a source of strength for me. Peace out...

Monday, July 14, 2008


Well, my relative is going to live. He may or not have brain damage. He is currently really struggling with memory loss, anger and some paralysis. It is so profoundly sad.

I leave tomorrow for NY and my grandmother's memorial is on Wednesday morning. I am being pressed to speak and I really don't want to. I dunno what's going to happen. I do know that big family visiting stresses me mightily under the best of circumstances and this is surely not that. Think of me on Wednesday, Lone Reader and send me and my family some good thoughts. Thanks.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


I am so very, very sad. The same week my family is gathering in upstate NY to celebrate the 90+ years my grandmother was on this Earth, we're now struggling to comprehend the magnitude of hopelessness in a 12-year-old boy.

The ICU doctors are fighting for his life and he is blanketed by the love and compassion and prayers of his family. Thanks for listening, Lone Reader. Helplessness is a horrible, horrible feeling.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Go see the Art of Sweat Rhythm Fest at Patrick's tonight!

My dear friend Todd Harper (who is ironically husband to a queen, yet himself not a king) is curating a show tonight and tomorrow night at Patrick's Cabaret in Minneapolis. It's called the Art of Sweat Rhythm Fest #3 and it sounds amazing. I listened to his interview on KFAI's Art Matters last night and I'm really looking forward to seeing the show. I'm flying solo tonight, so if you're a friend of mine come say hi! (If you're not a friend, then don't because if you're a stalker I'd just have to change my blog again.)

Other than that, it's been a horrific day...3 hours of sleep, feel like a large animal is sitting on my chest, I'm gonna hurl, and so much work yet to be done. I am SO looking forward to a little downtime tonight. sigh. I am really gonna miss my kids when I go to NY, Lone Reader. But tonight I shall distract myself with music and beats...always good.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Sonic in St. Paul!

Yes, the first Sonic in Minnesota is in my hometown, St. Paul. It opened about 3 weeks ago. I have to say, I loves me some Sonic. Why? One reason, pal: I love soda. Sonic has a mind-blowing array of shoices of sugar-free bevs, from limeade to Diet Sprite, Dr. Pepper and Coke. You can get fresh limes, cherries and or lemons in any drink and a whole host of flavors added. Oh my stars, as Samantha Stevens would say. It's too fab.

Combine the choices with the ice, and it's all good, baby. That's right...I said the ice. Pellet ice. Me likey.

Hey!! This is my 100th post. Gee, I wish it was about something more substantial than my obsession with sodey-cokes. Hmmm...shall we discuss the intersection of Hegelian dialectic and conspiracy theories in globalization studies? Nah...I'm gonna get me some Diet Coke with lemons and cherries.

Stuff You Never Asked (or cared about)

1. My life now:
Yes, chaos reigns supreme at the Shack de Whack. I leave for NY on Tuesday morning, and before then I must: write several grants, do some freelance editing, bake a cake, wrap presents, go to a board retreat, hear an old friend play at Patrick’s Cabaret Friday night, hear a friend’s son play at Trotter’s on Saturday night, purchase supplies for the block party the weekend I get back, purchase art supplies for a kids art class I’m teaching when I get back, get my hair done and pack. sigh. Life is a little cuckoo britches if you catch my drift. On the plus side, I had a divine birthday. Thanks to Amy, Andy, Paul, Sydney, Isabelle, Alison, Zoe and Simon – it was super. I’m a little caked-out, though, right now.

2. My life then:
In honor of my b-day I offer these RANDOM MEMORIES of childhood:

Shows I loved: Sigmund and the Sea Monsters, Wonder Bug, Electra Woman & Dynagirl, and Password. (the new one isn’t nearly as good.) I loved turning on Channel 11 at my grandparents’ house in Park Ridge, New Jersey and watching stupid Magilla Gorilla and the Monkees, interspersed with Tom Carvel and his ads for Fudgie the Whale and Cookie Puss.

Shows I hated that my brother loved: Tom and Jerry, Dukes of Hazzard, and Superstars.(boys.)

Instrument played as child: coronet. Why? I wanted a flute (just like every girl in class did!) but they ran out. I was left with coronet or trombone. Me with the T-rex arms really can’t make a go of it on trombone. (or coronet, come to think of it…)

Weirdest injury: sliding into base in my front yard, I unearthed a sharp bone shard that the dog had buried. It hit me at just the right angle to tear into my knee, exposing my bones underneath. Yuck.

Weirdest friendship: me and Kirsten (at age 8) signed pacts to get each other mummified when we died. I think this may not be legal, and I’m pretty glad we’ve lost touch.

Books I loved: so many, but especially creepy and or tragic stories like Alive, The Endless Steppe, Sybil, and of course Anne Frank. I read The Biography of Malcolm X when I was 10 and asked my grandmother, “What’s a doobie?” I don’t think she knew.

3. Get a life, Velma:
My new haiku entitled Joey Chestnut Rules

Kobayashi’s done
He lost the Nathan’s challenge
Suck it sideways, dude

Happy rain day, Lone Reader! Keep hope alive!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Happy Birthday to Beck! and me!

It’s my birthday. With whom do I share this day? Creator of Coca Cola Dr. Pemberton, Angelica Huston, Kevin Bacon, Beck (!), Jeffrey Tambor and Raffi. A pretty good crowd, I guess. I have to really question astrology, though. Can there be just twelve cookie cutters for the whole world? It seems highly unlikely.

So how will I celebrate? Well, I’m gonna work (because I’m a grown-up) then what…have dinner with my kids, then go to O’Gara’s to hear some live music. Not too shabby, especially when compared with some of the birthdays of my youth. (Hopping on your bike, pedaling to the grocery store to buy a cake with your own money then eating it with two plastic forks with your best gal pal.) (Love to Robin...)

The kids woke me up at 6, saying, “Happy Birthday! Now you stay in bed while we make you breakfast!” Okay, you convinced me. Will you bring me lunch and dinner in bed too? ‘Cuz I am tired, man. Birthday week is a little draining, Lone Reader. And sweet, too. (mom guilt kicking in -ed.)

So thanks, friends, for your love and support during the past year. The world has cracked open for me and things are more beautiful, challenging, funny and sweet than ever. This year is gonna be big, man. Lotsa good ahead. And it’s gonna be a good day. (I don’t think I’ll have to use my AK.)

Celebrate something today, groovy ghoulies!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Oh no!

Yes, Lone Reader, it is after midnight. And, after wrestling with the castle Bundt cake pan for 10 minutes, my kids' birthday cake finally came out of the pan. In pieces. And this was not just any ol' cake mix cake, no sir. It was a pound of butter and 8 eggs. It necessitated buying cake flour, zesting lemons to get 1/4 cup of zest, three giant bowls, emulsifying the butter into the eggs in batches in the food processor, sifting and all that jazz. sigh. I've made this cake in this pan before, and never had a problem. Too humid in my kitchen? Bad mojo from my dog? I dunno why it happened.

I can either attempt to bake another cake (in normal pans, believe me!) or just go on an emergency Costco run in the morning. I'll see when the kids get up what they'll tolerate. Somehow, I doubt they'll go for a birthday trifle. Oh well. At least I baked it the night before.

Wish me luck!

Friday, July 4, 2008

May the Fourth Be With You

Joey Chestnut Repeats!

So to speak. It was a killer, with the new rules of a 10 minute limit really forcing the competitors to come out of the gate at top speed. Regulation time ended in an unprecedented tie, leading to a five dog eat-off. I thought Kobayashi looked good in regulation, relaxed and focused, while Chestnut was really hurting. In the timed tie-breaker, though, it was all Chestnut. He won by a dog.

A Fourth of July poem:
Hip, hip, hooray
the mustard belt will stay!
Suck on that Kobayashi.

Alright, it needs some work.

Happy Independence Day, Lone Reader!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Bring It On, Takeru!

Can you feel the excitement building? It's almost time for that Fourth of July tradition, the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Competition. I always cheer for Crazy Legs Conti, 'cause I love an underdog and a white guy with dreads, no less. My daughter likes Sonya "the Black Widow" Thomas because she's the only female in it. Will my son favor "Eater X" because of the obvious Speed Racer reference? Will he back Takeru Kobayashi, the most awe-inspiring competitive eater in history? In 2006 we saw Patrick Bertoletti win a qualifier at the Mall of America. (Yeah, I took kids to see it, so what? It was educational...about how not to eat.)

I'll be watching at noon on ESPN. Find details online, and read more about the contestants at the International Federation of Competitive Eating. No "reversals of fortune" for you, Lone Reader!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Birthday mania begins!

Today is my daughter's birthday. The 6th is her friend party. The evening of the 6th is a family party for her and her brother. My birthday is July 8th. I'm celebrating on July 9th. My son's birthday is on the 10th. His friend party is on the 13th, which is also my mother's birthday.

Sweet Jesus - October was apparently a month to get busy in my family. It's ridiculous. (And I strongly discourage anyone from having her first child on the Fourth of July weekend -- just try to find an obstetrics nurse, my friend.)

Make a wish Lone Reader!

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