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The Murder Mystery Company: Totally 80s Totally Murder Review

November 22, 2016
Totally 80s Totally Murder Review

I was recently invited to a production of The Murder Mystery Company Totally 80s Totally Murder to review . The show took place at a Stillwater Knights of Columbus and people came from as far as Hastings, Maple Grove, Plymouth, Crystal and Hopkins. If you’re not from around the Twin Cities, that’s quite a hike for a Minnesotan to make on a Saturday in November. The place was packed, since the show had been sold out. I went with Leigh, my partner in most crimes, and even though she was on time I was late. Sadly, we skipped the offer of getting our picture taken when we walked in. It was my fault, I turned down the offer, and I really regret that I did. It would have been a lot of fun to have a picture of Leigh and myself dressed up in our best 80s outfits.

Let me back up a bit. The show we saw was Totally 80s Totally Murder. In a nutshell the show was about some of our favorite 80s icons. The audience was encouraged to dress in their best 80s fashion and OMG that was fun.

For me it was easy, I came of age in the 80s. I wore every fad fashion that came along during that glorious time. From headbands, crimped hair, bangles, bandanas tied around my ankle, to pink and purple make up, and especially Big Hair, I did it all. I lived in a ripped sweatshirt turned inside out and let’s not forget about the leg warmers and shoulder pads. I had it all. And because I like to hang on to things I will never wear again I still had most of it.

Leigh on the other hand, was born in the 80s so she had to fake it for the most part. She looked more like Madonna than Madonna ever did in the 80s. And she managed to crimp her hair without a hair crimper!

Totally 80s Totally Murder Review

As I said, we got there a little late. The tickets clearly state to arrive 20 minutes before the show starts, we got there about 10 minutes after the show started. I suspect we missed some directions. We were immediately seated with an incredibly enthusiastic table of women ranging in age from 28 to 60. Everyone was super excited, pumped up and dressed in their best 80s outfits.

I have to say, getting ready for this event was more fun than I have had in ages. I can’t remember the last time I wore so much makeup, and it was awesome!

If you follow me on Facebook, you can see all of my tweets with pictures as I was getting ready.

We were seated as a couple of the actors were talking to each other in the front of the room, they were arguing about something though I am not sure what it was. Coming into it a little late it was still possible to catch up. There were a few main characters – Poison – a rocker and our host who has an unnecessary almost cockney accent, Pat Minotaur – a rocker who only wants to rock and roll all night (and who has an amazing voice), Cindy – you know the kind, she just wants to have fun, Johnny – the victim and Detective P Nes. In addition to these main characters, participants from the audience played along too.

At our table the participant was Trish Hughes, a super model from the 80s who also happened to be the love interest of some of the 80s. Of course it was the 80s and everyone was sleeping with everyone else. Sadly the person who was chosen to play the super model quit about 10 minutes in which sort of confused the members of the audience who were supposed to ask her questions for clues to solve the mystery.

I’ve never been to one of these murder mystery dinner theaters before but those at my table had and they all said it was done a little differently here. That there was much more audience involvement at this version.

We were given a book with some basic info about the character at our table, she did not know if she was the murderer. Neither did the other participants. We were also given a wad of fake money with some questions written on them. The idea that we were supposed to go from table to table asking questions of the other participants (who did not know if they were the murdered) and actors. It was a bit confusing and most people didn’t bother asking questions. Instead they talked about how crazy everyone looked in their great get ups. Oh, and they went to the bar for drinks.

I forgot to mention, this was all happening over a three course meal, which was surprisingly good for a Knights of Columbus.

Each table was to submit their best educated guess about who murdered Johnny and why. Our table came in dead last, which was pretty hilarious. Our guess? In the kitchen with the rope by Ms Scarlet.

I’m not usually one for participating in anything, but this was a lot of fun. It was something completely different to do on a Saturday night and it was a great way to meet a ton of new people. People who all have a great sense of humor in their mullets, spandex and hair spray.

Even if participatory dinner theater isn’t your thing, you really should give this a try, it was such a fun experience and so much better than going to the movies or hanging out at the neighborhood bar.

#NaBloPoMo Dumb Shit I Do politics Things that piss me off

Post Election Pledge

November 9, 2016

Now that the Great Presidential Campaign of 2016 is over (even if we don’t know the results yet) can we all make this post election pledge to get along with one another?

Post Election Pledge:

I promise to treat everyone with kindness, consideration and respect, no matter who they voted for this election.

I will not hold it against them if they voted for someone other than the person for whom I voted. 

I will let it go and do my best to mend friendships that have been torn asunder by this presidential race. 

I will no longer unfriend people for having a different opinion than my own.

This election has done more to divide our nation than anything I can think of. On the one side you have the people who worship the most seasoned politician (and not in a good way) ever, someone who is corrupt, reckless and more of an insider than anyone who has ever held office. Why they believe she is going to do anything different than the status quo is beyond me. On the other side you have all the deplorables who support a candidate who is vile, temperamental and so unfit to be President of the United States it isn’t even funny. It’s not. I know I’ve made all kinds of jokes about him not being fit, but it really isn’t funny when you think how close he came to being president.

Is it even possible to bridge this gap between left and right, red and blue, liberal and conservative, deplorable and corrupt?

What worries me most is that no matter who wins, this divide will remain.

I was looking forward to the end of the election because I want social media to be the fun place it used to be some 15 months ago. I’m tired of labels like racist, misogynist, xenophobe being thrown around so casually that they really have no meaning left. I’m tired of the words email, server, FBI, Foundation, Benghazi, pneumonia. More than anything I am tired of the hypocrisy and blind support from both sides.

I won’t lecture you that just because you support a candidate, you support their behavior. No, it’s much more likely you’re supporting their policies because you believe they will do more to make this country of ours a better place.

As it should be.

I’ve had enough. I’ve kept my mouth shut (for the most part) when people post misleading memes, articles and quotes attributed to the other’s candidate. I’m tired of the populace reposting anything that coincides with their belief without bothering to check if it’s actually accurate or true. I’m tired of the hatred, vitriol and downright stupidity on both sides of this coin.

The reality is they’re both horrible candidates. And I get why people talk them up and put the other down. It’s about winning the election. However, the election is over and now it’s time to get on with life.

Thankfully, we live in a country that has checks and balances. Our country will survive no matter who wins the election. I’m not sure we, the people, can survive if we don’t do something to actively stop this divided hatred.

Can we all promise that on Wednesday, after all the votes have been counted and a clear winner has been chosen, that we all do our best to put this horrible election behind us and get along with our fellow American? No matter who you voted for, can you promise to treat everyone with kindness, consideration and respect? Is it possible to stop judging others because they voted for a candidate who was not yours?

I know, I know, what was I thinking.

 

74 Days of Positivity Dumb Shit I Do Minnesota Nice Things I Really Like Winter Writing

74 Days of Positivity

October 19, 2016
74 Days of Positivity

It’s almost Halloween which means it’s almost winter here in Minnesota so I’ve decided to have 74 days of positivity. If you’re missing the obvious connection, that’s okay. I’ll explain. When the days start to get shorter I start to get this overwhelming urge to hibernate. I don’t necessarily want to sleep, I just don’t want to do anything. I tend to get down. I won’t use the word depressed, because I don’t think that’s what it is. I tend to get negative, especially around the holidays. It seems to set in earlier and earlier each year. By the time How the Grinch Stole Christmas is on TV (usually before Thanksgiving) I’m so sick of all the heart warming bullshit I could just puke.

The holidays tend to suck.

I’m overworked, I’m tired, I’m crabby, etc… Every year I tell myself I’m not going to get all worked up about the holidays, I’m going to delegate some of the work, I’m going to chill the hell out and just enjoy everyone. I tell myself that, right around this time of year, and then as soon as Halloween is over I fall down the rabbit hole and don’t emerge until after Valentine’s Day.

I become more snarky during the holidays, and I’m sick of it.

74 Days of Positivity

I want to enjoy the holidays and all that this beautiful time of year has to offer. I love winter, but I hate the snow. The truth is, I don’t even hate the snow, I hate shoveling the snow.

I can do something about that. I have a child who is able, I can certainly teach her to use the shovel or the snow blower. Sure, I’ll have to endure all kinds of eye rolling, but I’m getting the eye rolling now. May as well make it worth her while. Or mine, as the case may be.

Truth be told, I haven’t fully examined why I hate this time of year so much. It could be that my family is severely fractured. I don’t like it, but I don’t want to fix it either. And, while I think I have let that go, it’s still bothering me so clearly I haven’t. It could be that I’m used to being broke during the holidays. While this has been true in the past, and might be this year too, the reality is I’m doing ok.

I think there are a lot of ghosts of Christmas Pasts that I just assume will make a show even though I have complete control over who shows up and who doesn’t.

It could also be that since I turned 50 I’ve been making a lot of big changes in my life and this is one I need to make.

I’m generally a pretty happy person. Sure, I have my moments and I tend to worry about things that are generally outside of my control, but for the most part I can laugh through much of it. Even if there’s a fair amount of anger underlying my laughter.

I’m tired of being angry. It hasn’t served me very well.

So, for the next 74 days, until the end of the year, I’ll be practicing more positivity.

It could take the form of yoga, going out with the girls (after I meet some girls to hang out with or wrangle the ones I used to hang out with before I isolated myself), it could mean taking time to read instead of doing the same old thing each night of watching TV and hanging out on Facebook.

I’m not really sure how this is going to work, I just know that I’m open to anything that comes along in the next 74 days and plan to look at any and all opportunities as just that – opportunities.

I’m going to actively enjoy life, dammit, instead of just letting it pass me by.

I also expect to piss a few people off while I do this. I’m not sure why, but isn’t that how it always seems? You do something good for yourself and it upsets the applecart?

Blogging Books Dumb Shit I Do WTF?

What a Difference a Coat of Paint Makes!

October 17, 2016
What a difference a coat of paint makes

I painted my office this weekend and OMG — what a difference a coat of paint makes! I didn’t have plans to paint my office this weekend, but I’ve been listening to You Are a Badass this past week and it seemed like the thing to do.

Wondering how a coat of paint makes you a badass?

It doesn’t really, but when you hate your office, because you have slowly started hating what you do each day, you realize you need to make some changes to your day to day life.

My office was originally my bedroom, but when my daughter moved her bedroom upstairs (because she couldn’t move it downstairs – long story short, the contractor got paid and then never did the work, so the room isn’t up to code, so she can’t sleep down there), where my office had been, I moved my office into my bedroom and my bedroom into my daughter’s old bedroom.

Why musical rooms?

This house has like 5 grounded outlets. All the rest of the outlets are the two pronged type. Also, there was no outlet even remotely close to a window in my bedroom so I couldn’t use a window air conditioner. The daughter has a grounded outlet right by the window so it made more sense to make that my bedroom and my poorly outlet-ed bedroom my office.

Whew! Did you catch all that?

Old houses might be charming, but they suck when it comes to using modern day technology in them.

What a Difference a Coat of Paint Makes

When my daughter moved upstairs we painted that room and her old bedroom/my new bedroom, but after all that painting I didn’t want to paint anymore and just put all my office crap in the old bedroom.

I have a lot of crap.

Because I can shut the door, the room attracts even more crap.

Getting back to the book…

So I’m listening to You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero and she’s talking about being more positive and how to bring out the best in you and reaching your full potential all that other good stuff.

If you’ve read this blog for very long (or just look at the name of the blog) you can probably tell I don’t get into all that self help/feel good shit.

In fact, I bought the book a couple of years ago and it never quite made its way onto my cell phone to listen to on my walk.

And then it did and it was like the universe was trying to tell me something.

PAINT YOUR OFFICE

That’s what the book was saying, at that moment, to me.

So I did.

Actually, here’s how it went. I lost a couple of big gigs several months ago. This happens all the time and I can usually replace them pretty quickly. In fact I did, and then I lost that one too. Both times they wanted an in-house writer and I live a couple thousand miles from the office.

I dusted off my resume and started looking for a real job.

And it was cool because this time there is actually a real title for the job I do – social media manager – and I started applying like a mad woman.

I figured I’d have a completely new job in no time. Screw this freelancing stuff, I was going to have an actual job. I started day dreaming about it going into an office, decorating my cube and having real people to talk to during the day besides my dogs.

I even had a few interviews.

And then nothing happened. Oh, I got offered all kinds of jobs, just none of them had anything to do with social media management. I get offered a job at Farmer’s Insurance every other day. I also get offered a job to sell meat on the street.

Seriously —  Meat On The Street.

I hadn’t planned on getting depressed looking to replace one or two gigs, but here I was, the only jobs I could get was selling insurance (which I have already tried) and selling Meat On The Street.

I don’t even buy meat on the street because I am pretty sure that’s how you get e.coli, and I don’t want e.coli, and I certainly don’t want to be responsible for all the people who are willing to buy meat on the street for their e.coli.

So I started listening to self help books to at least make me think I was doing something productive.

Come to think about it, I don’t think it says anywhere in that book to paint your office. I might have just come up with that on my own. But it makes sense if you think about it – I hated my office because it was such a horrible shade of orange and it was so cluttered it was like working in a storage locker or something.

You Are A Badass talks about how you should have faith, be open to anything, and to go with the flow.

If you know me, I am not really a go with the flow kind of person. I like my routine, I like to know what to expect each day. And each day I was getting offered a job selling Meat On The Street.

Saturday morning I decided to go with the flow and paint my damn office. It took me two days, and pretty much all of seasons 1-3 of The Walking Dead, but I finished it last night and I am thrilled with the results.

Not only do I have a much nicer (and more calming) color of paint on my walls, but in the process was forced to get rid of a lot of the clutter.

Of course, most of the clutter is still on my dining room table, but that will give me something to do next weekend.

Which has got to be better then selling Meat On The Street.

 

 

 

Advice Dumb Shit I Do Minnesota Things I Really Like Winter

Storing Geraniums over the Winter

October 13, 2016
Storing Geraniums over the Winter

Did you know you’re supposed to be storing geraniums over the winter? Did you know that these incredibly hardy plants can last for decades if stored properly? That’s right, there is no need to purchase new geraniums each year. Geraniums are actually perennials even though they are grown as annuals in many parts of the country.

I love geraniums because their blooms are bursting with color that seem to last well into the fall. Geraniums have a lovely, delicate fragrance and it’s really challenging to kill them. They can handle being over-watered and under-watered. If you have a cabin up north, you don’t need to worry about hiring the neighbor kid to water them while you’re away for the weekend. They’ll endure under considerable neglect.

Storing Geraniums over the Winter

Overwintering geraniums is pretty easy. There are three ways to store your geraniums: keep them blooming and growing, letting them go dormant and making cuttings from them. I prefer letting my geraniums go dormant because it’s the easiest way.

Potted Geraniums – This method is generally for geraniums that have been planted in the ground during the growing season. Dig up the plant and place in a put with ample room for the rootball. Prune it back a bit and water thoroughly. Keep the plant in a cool and well lit area in your home. You’ll want as much sunlight as possible so a southern facing window works well. There still may not be enough light so the plant may get a little spindly or leggy. You can use a plant light if you prefer.

storing geraniums over the winter

Make them go Dormant – This is my preferred method of wintering my geraniums, mostly because it is the easiest and because I have a cat who eats houseplants. Many sites will tell you to water the plant during its dormancy, and that may work. I don’t bother. I pull the pots in before the first freeze and place them all in a dark area of the basement. I actually put them in an unused shower in the basement so I can shut the door and keep the cat out.

I don’t think about the plants until spring. Let me repeat that. I don’t water them, I don’t hang them upside down and I don’t let them have any light. They are out of sight and out of mind.

When spring comes I bring them outside into the shade at first, and soak them as they are moved into more and more light. After about a week I put them back into direct sunlight and pretty much forget about them until fall when it’s time to overwinter them again. Of course I prune them each season and clip any dead blooms off the plant. I’ve used this method for over 15 years and have beautiful geraniums.

Storing geraniums for the winter

Cuttings – I’ve made cuttings from many plants, but not geraniums. I’m sure it works wonderfully because the plant is so hardy, I just haven’t had a reason to do it yet. Basically cut 3 or 4 inch cuttings and remove any leaves from the bottom of the cutting. Place into a pot filled with vermiculite. Make sure the drainage is good. You can place the cutting into a plastic bag to keep the cutting humid. Rooting should happen in about 6 to 8 weeks. Once they have rooted repot them into potting soil. Keep them in a cool well lit place until it’s warm enough to put them outside.

Pretty simple. Geraniums are one of my all time favorite flowers because they are so easy to care for, and their stunning blooms last and last.

Advice Dumb Shit I Do People politics Things that piss me off WTF?

OMG Stop Unfriending Each Other!!

October 12, 2016
Stop Unfriending Each Other!!

For the love of Pete, stop unfriending each other!! Every five minutes someone is challenging their Facebook friends and followers to unfriend them if they hold a different opinion about Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.

If you support that lying, misogynistic, groping dumbass – well just unfriend me now“, or “If you think she actually supports women then you can just unfriend me right now, in fact, I’ll do it for you“, or “if you’re planning on voting for this douchebag, I want you to unfriend me” and on and on.

picard

Additionally, people keep posting how so much more qualified Hillary Clinton is compared to Donald Trump, as if that is even a consideration.

Let’s Break it Down

Let me first say — I don’t like either of them and I’m not supporting or defending either’s behavior — but here’s the thing:

It’s not about their qualifications or their experience.

You can argue it should be, and you would still be wrong.

It’s about their agenda and what path they want to lead this country on.

People aren’t supporting Donald Trump because they also want to grope women without permission, they are not supporting Trump because they are racists (though it is certain that some racists support Trump, just as some of them support Hillary Clinton), people support Trump because they don’t like the direction they think Hillary will take this country.

Conversely, Hillary’s supporters are not women haters and they are not necessarily liars (though, again, there are probably many people who support Hillary who lie), it isn’t that they are liars that make them want to support her. They support her because they like the campaign promises she is making and foolishly believe she might be able to keep them.

 

via SIZZLE

They’re Both Deplorable!

This is an interesting campaign because usually the candidate’s qualifications are pretty equal. At least they both, usually, have some experience in public office. Here that is not the case. Here we have a candidate who is probably more qualified than any candidate in history running against someone who has absolutely no political experience.

This is why many people can’t understand why anyone with a brain might vote for someone like Trump (among a whole bunch of other issues). It’s not even that they don’t like Hillary (even though so many people have some really intense negative feelings about her), it’s that they don’t like the policies she plans on putting forward.

It is precisely because they have different agendas (and different parties) that they can both be deplorable and people will still vote for them. Their actions don’t matter. It’s disgusting, but it’s the truth.

Here’s an excellent article about why people will vote for Trump.

Stop Unfriending Each Other!!

Telling someone to unfriend you because you don’t agree with them on one subject is incredibly arrogant. Do you really think you have that much clout that you can wave your Facebook friendship in front of them and believe it will motivate them to change their deeply held beliefs? Are you that self absorbed? Are we still in middle school?

God, it’s like Facebook has turned into Mean Girls. Do this or you are out of the club!

Unfriending someone because they don’t like Hillary or because they plan on voting for Trump is a waste of time, though it will cull your friends to a more homogenous list. And I suppose that’s always more fun – to have friends who think the exact same way that you do.

Dumb Shit I Do Minnesota Nice

I Made My Mother Cry… Again

September 9, 2016
I made my mother cry again

Today I visited my mother in the nursing home. I go every week and usually it’s an okay experience for both of us. Not today. Today I made my mother cry… again. I didn’t mean to do it, but I walked into it nonetheless.

I’ve always been the one who made my mother cry. My father made her cry quite a bit, too, but he didn’t do it on purpose, I did. My brother just frustrated my mother. He made her yell.

I resented my mother when I was a child because I had to take care of her while my dad went to the gay bar each night to “get away”, as he put it. I had to listen to my mother express all the anger she felt towards my father every single night. I wasn’t old enough to drive and didn’t have anyplace to go even if I could actually leave. Because my brother didn’t want to deal with her, and he could drive, he left. There was no one left to fetch her drinks except me.

My mom had a stroke when I was 4 years old. It left her brain damaged with poor reasoning skills, no short term memory and a lot of mobility issues. It subsequently caused all kinds of addiction issues but I didn’t understand any of that at the time. I was just pissed off that I had to sit with her and fetch her drinks while everyone else seemed to be having a good time.

My father died 10 years ago and she’s been in a nursing home pretty much ever since. The nursing home is located 40 minutes away so I only get out there once a week, which is still a helluva lot more often than anyone else goes out to see her.

Which is neither here nor there because she can’t remember if I was there or not. I can’t tell you how often people have suggested to me that I don’t go out as frequently as I do.

Sorry, I can’t. I’m a glutton for punishment.

Today was pretty normal. When I walked in she complained of feeling sick to her stomach. She complains of this only to me. To the staff she feels just fine. The staff (who are wonderfully caring) and I have determined that it is me that brings on the stomach ache.

Mom is captivated by the election which is good because without it to talk about we’d just sit and stare at each other. Usually she will ask how I am doing, I will reply “fine” and then we have nothing left to discuss. Instead we talk about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. And even that conversation only takes a few minutes because she thinks they are both horrible candidates, and so do I. What more is there to say?

She asked if I was still doing the same job. She isn’t really sure what I do even though I tell her just about every time I visit. She’s never used the internet and has no idea what a web page or blog is so that she can’t remember it is no big deal. She then asked what my brother was doing.

“The same thing, mom.”

And then she says this:

“What happened to you two?”

I’m not sure where this is going, I should, but I wasn’t expecting it and she’s often delusional. For the last several visits she’s been convinced my brother is in the CIA (he’s not, though I suppose if he was I might not know it) and that I have been writing all of Donald Trump’s speeches. If she still believes that, it’s a fair question.

“What do you mean?” I say.

“Why are you two such failures?” she asks, “you were given an excellent education, you have no excuse for not being successful.”

Now I have a choice. I can answer her question honestly or I can lie to her. I’m feeling like I was just sucker punched so I choose the honesty route, though I try to temper it as best I can without pointing fingers at anyone.

“Well, when you are a child in a chronic state of depression and no one addresses it, it can be difficult to get your shit together and become a success,” I say. “I can’t speak for (my brother) but I know for me it was just about surviving each day.”

And then she starts crying.

“That’s not fair,” she says, “you can’t blame it on me.”

And then I go and undo a nice chunk of what my therapist has tried to fix over the last year and a half.

“It’s not your fault mom, it was a crappy situation,” I say, thinking I should try to physically comfort her by hugging her, but I just can’t bring myself to do it so I stare at the wall behind her while she collects herself. “No one could have done anything.”

 

Dumb Shit I Do Food Pets

I’m Just Making a Sandwich

September 8, 2016
I'm just making a sandwich

I’m just a girl, I’m just making a sandwich. Isn’t that how it goes? Ugh. Lunchtime around these parts is pretty exciting if you’re of the 4 legged variety. Whatever it is that I am having is 1000% better than what is in their bowl. I know this because when I am late for lunch they will come and remind me that – Hey! It’s time to eat!!!!

For most of the summer I’ve been eating healthy. And by eating healthy I mean I’ve stopped eating carbs, at least the bad carbs and that included bread. Eating healthy, or at least healthier, is easy in the summer. Fruits and veggies are abundant and because it’s hot a chilled salad is always rather refreshing.

Unless you’re a dog or a cat in which case – blech!

But it was cold earlier this week. Colder, and not humid, so it felt downright cold even though it was probably about 70°.  Anyway, because it felt cold I wanted something a little more comforty feeling. I didn’t want to go all out and do something like soup, because that’s messy and I’ll spill on myself, but I did want something that made me feel warm inside. Even if only emotionally.

School started for the daughter several weeks ago but for most everyone else it started this week so I actually did the back to school thing and picked up some bread, even though my daughter gets the hot lunch at school. I like to be prepared. Really, I like the idea of being prepared if I took the time to actually do it. I also like the idea of being the kind of mom that packs the school lunch each day even though she won’t eat it if I do.

I’m Just Making a Sandwich

I picked up square cheese (what we call Kraft Singles) and some Oscar Mayer bologna (I’m totally singing the song… My bologna has a first name, it’s O S C A R….) and even some bread filled with all kinds of nuts and seeds and shit (this is why the daughter will not eat the sandwiches I make for her). It’s high in protein, low in carbs and sorta tastes like spongy cardboard. Because I was at Sam’s Club when I bought it I have two loaves of it.

As I am unpacking I am wondering why I got all this bread.

This is the actual conversation in my head:

Me: Why did I get so much bread?

Me: I don’t know, it was stupid thing to do, no one eats it.

Me: I wonder if Alex needs any bread?

Me: You should probably, at least freeze one of the loaves.

Me: Good plan, that way I can wait until it’s all freezer burnt and even I won’t eat it and I can throw it away when I need to make space in the freezer.

So, because I have so much bread, and no one will eat bread with seeds and nuts and shit all over it I decided to make a sandwich out of it.

Did I mention the daughter doesn’t like bologna either? She loves square cheese, however.

Professional Beggars (except they don’t get paid for it)

So I go about making my sandwich and before I get the mayonnaise out of the fridge I can feel the steely, half shut eyed gaze of Dini on me. Dini vomits everything she eats except for Fancy Feast classic. It sucks because Dini is a bitch and this time in the kitchen was the only time when she was nice. I’d give her a small piece of the meat and she wouldn’t glare at me for a little while. It worked out nicely.

dog and cat begging for food

Within seconds I hear the click, click, click of Stanley and then the rush of air as Ruby bursts through the door and pushes Stanley over. All are now in my tiny little kitchen waiting for me to give them a taste of whatever it is I’m making. Even if it does have seeds and nuts and shit all over it.

dogs and cat begging for food

Better Things To Do

Except Zelda. Zelda doesn’t beg. I don’t know if it’s just because she hasn’t figured out begging or if she doesn’t like what I’m having. Zelda isn’t all that picky, she just likes different things. She’s all over cabbage and potato chips. She loves Ritz Crackers and those little Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers, but for some reason, bologna and cheese doesn’t do it for her so she’s over by the back door staring at my shoes.

White fluffy cat staring at sandals

I make my sandwich, and I even give everyone – including Dini, but not Zelda – a small piece of bologna and hope Dini doesn’t vomit. The previous week had been a particularly bad week of vomiting so I don’t want to rock that boat, but so far this week she’s managed to keep everything but hairballs down.

animals begging for my lunch cute

Like most Americans I eat at my desk, so I carried my plate into the office, carefully stepping over Stanley who lies down in the doorways so I don’t forget about him. They were there before I was.

Except for Zelda, she was in the other room watching her stories.

white fluffy cat watching TV holding remote

The bread wasn’t bad, it was a little chewy and I had to pick a lot of the seeds and nuts and shit out of my teeth, but considering I have two loaves to eat it’s tolerable.

Yes, I gave them all some of the sandwich and Dini didn’t puke any of it up!

 

Dumb Shit I Do Pets Things that piss me off

No One Ever Said there Would Be this Much Cat Vomit!!

August 15, 2016
cat vomit

Lately I’ve been thinking about all the crap I’ve cleaned up in my lifetime, and it’s a lot. And while cat vomit is not technically crap, it falls into the same category of things I’d rather not touch with my bare hands, which puts it at the same level as doo-doo.

No one ever said there would be this much cat vomit.

Dini, our 13 year old cat, was stung by a wasp this past spring. I posted this update on Facebook after it all went down:

Last Sunday Maddie and I were having lunch when Dini the cat started to hock up a furball. Dini was on the porch at the time so I just shut the door and let her get it out of her system while we finished lunch without having to hear and see the whole thing.

Except it wasn’t a furball. When I opened the door a couple of minutes later Dini was lying on the ground, all flattened on her side and breathing rapidly. She was clearly in distress and unresponsive. 

Dini was in anaphylactic shock.

We scooped her up in a towel and got her down to the Animal Emergency Hospital where they immediately gave her some epinephrine. They weren’t sure if she was in shock or had thrown a clot because both presented similarly but the epi wouldn’t make the clot worse (and a clot had a really poor outcome) so they hedged their bets and were right.

Her breathing regulated and she was given some steroids which I was sent home with in pill form. 4 days later and a shredded arm from giving pills to her and today she finally ate some real food (instead of the baby food I was using to giver her crushed up pill in.)

The doc thinks she ate a bug on accident or got stung. It happened so fast and thankfully we were home and she was near us. If she had been in the basement we wouldn’t have known what was going on. She didn’t make any noise. 

Cats don’t present with a swollen face like dogs do, they just go down. If you see your cat suddenly vomit, lose their bowels and start panting rapidly get them to the animal hospital as fast as you can.

It was scary, and I wasn’t sure we’d be bringing the cat home. Dini is pretty much an outdoor cat. She has been going outside at night since we got her, at least during the warm months. In the winter she stays inside and just skulks around the house hating on everything. Dini isn’t a cuddly cat. She hates Zelda and tolerates the dogs. She does not like to be picked up and only wants to be pet in one place, though that place changes as she sees fit. Basically I feed her and stay out of her way.

At least that’s how it was until she got stung. Ever since that time she hasn’t been able to hold down most food. I had been feeding her dry food, but she couldn’t hold that down at all. I switched to wet food, but soon found that any texture to it would make her vomit. I started buying wet food, not really paying attention to the brand. I purchased Fancy Feast because it was in a smaller can than the other cat foods, but I also knew she liked the Friskies shreds so I picked up some of that, too. At first she could only keep it down if I pureed a mixtures of the two in my Nutri Bullet.

Pureeing cat food in the Nutri Bullet isn’t really pleasant. Cleaning it is even worse. So, I started pureeing several cans at a time and storing it in a container in the fridge. The problem was unless I planned it right I’d run out of pureed food in the middle of the night, not something I wanted to do half asleep. I gave some Fancy Feast because I had half a can opened in the fridge, leftover from Zelda who will and can eat any kind of cat food. Turns out Dini could keep it down!  She can only tolerate the Fancy Feast Classic recipes, not the grilled, chunky, roasted or other variations, just the classic. I started buying Fancy Feast in bulk when it came on sale at the pet store and at Sam’s Club.

If she just ate the Fancy Feast, all of our problems would be solved. Well, most of them anyway.

If she were to work with me and just eat the Fancy Feast, I wouldn’t be writing this post. She doesn’t do that. It doesn’t matter that now Zelda has to eat canned food, she doesn’t care. It doesn’t matter to her that now I have to feed the cats like 12 times a day because you can’t leave wet food out for too long and they only eat a tiny portion of their food at a time and then the dogs eat it.

The dogs, specifically Stanley the Bassador, actually eat more cat food than they do dog food.

Sigh.

I’m in a constant state of feeding someone, putting up gates and then enduring the dance that Stanley the Bassador does when he knows there’s food leftover on the floor with his name on it.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Because you see, even though Dini can keep down the Fancy Feast (and I am grateful for Purina for making the one food she can keep down), she still tries to eat other things like the dog food and small rodents she kills outside.

This morning I woke up to a bloody mess of vomit in front of the back door. I only noticed it because I smeared it all over the floor when I went to let the dogs out.

I know I’m supposed to be empathetic to this cat. It has to suck that she can’t keep food down, but dammit she needs to work with me on this. I either need to get those pet food bowls that close when the wrong animal is using them or get everyone on a schedule of when they have to eat and take the food away when the time is up. No more put-everyone’s-food-out-and-let-them-sort-it-out, because Dini will crunch up the huge dog food kibbles (and then puke them up on my window ledges, on the couch, dining room chairs, in the laundry room where the light is really bad and have I mentioned if you are barefoot and you step on it you can literally glide across the floor and if planned properly do a triple lutz?). She could care less if I tell her not to, she’s going to do what she wants.

Because she’s a cat, dammit.

I’d be cool with the cat vomit, I actually said to a friend – “I’ve gotten used to the cat vomit, it’s just something I do before my morning coffee” the other day, but Stanley has been leaking a lot lately too and that’s just more than I can stand. Twice this week, I’ve had to take apart the couch and wash it because he got on it and must have sneezed or laughed too hard at something on TV (wait, that’s me). I don’t know why he leaks, he’s 13 or 91 in dog years. Either way, it’s a huge pain in the ass to clean up all of this crap. This afternoon, I noticed some dirt on the kitchen floor, it looked like the dirt that comes out of my sneakers – mud that gets caught in the tread and then dries and falls out onto the floor. There were some chewed up dog kibbles as well so I swept it up. Except it wasn’t dried and it wasn’t mud. Someone’s butt leaked poop. I don’t know who it was, and I don’t care, I’m just sick of cleaning it up.

If someone had told me there would be this much cat vomit I might have never had kids. You see my kids are the cat lovers, not me. I’m a dog person or a cat-who-thinks-she’s-a-dog-person. It’s been 10 years since my youngest kid was in diapers, and it’s also been 10 years since I had to change my mother’s diaper (thank goodness she’s in a wonderful care facility), I thought I was done with all this crap. I don’t think it ever stops. I have come to understand that life is just about cleaning up crap from those you love.

Contests Dumb Shit I Do

Bad Moms Contest – What’s Your Bad Mom Moment?

July 14, 2016
Bad Moms Contest - What's Your Bad Mom Moment?

In honor of the upcoming movie Bad Moms, I’m hosting a #BabMomMoment contest! Share your Bad Mom Moment in the comments for a chance to win tickets to an advance screening of Bad Moms on Thursday, July 21st at AMC Southdale.

Sorry, the tickets are for MN Bad Moms only, unless you feel like making a road trip which could turn out to be another Bad Mom Moment in the making.

Dads, feel free to share your Bad Dad Moments too.

As for me, I have too many Bad Mom Moments to count but not enough of the bad mom moments like the ones in the movie. However, my son would tell you that one of my Bad Mom Moments was when my BFF Stella came to town several years ago and we all got to drinking and such and the next thing you know I’m in the basement with Stella play Garage Band. Nothing really bad happened, unless you count embarrassing the heck out of my son and daughter, and Stella’s kids. To this day he loves to share that story with anyone willing to listen.

Of course I tell my son that he had it easy. I grew up in the 70s, with a gay day who was in the closet until he had a few drinks. You’ve haven’t been embarrassed until your dad and his two friends do YMCA in their Speedo’s in front of you, your brother, his friend and of course Stella.

Bad Moms Contest – What’s Your Bad Mom Moment?

Share it in the comments below. The top five stories will win a pair of tickets to see Bad Moms at the AMC in Southdale on July 21st.

About Bad Moms

In this new comedy from the writers of The Hangover, Amy has a seemingly perfect life – a great marriage, over-achieving kids, beautiful home and a career. However she’s over-worked, over-committed and exhausted to the point that she’s about to snap. Fed up, she joins forces with two other over-stressed moms on a quest to liberate themselves from conventional responsibilities – going on a wild, un-mom-like binge of long overdue freedom, fun and self-indulgence – putting them on a collision course with PTA Queen Bee Gwendolyn and her clique of devoted perfect moms.

 

Dumb Shit I Do Food Minnesota

Authentic Minnesota Tater Tot Hot Dish

March 3, 2016
Tater Tot Hot Dish

Authentic Minnesota Tater Tot Hot Dish

A few weeks ago a Buzzfeed quiz was making the rounds. It was clickbait titled: This Food Test Will Determine If You’re Actually From Minnesota. Being a Minnesotan, I clicked on it to see if I was actually from Minnesota.

I scored a 12 out of 12, but being Minnesotan I’m not going to toot my horn about it.

Minnesotans eat weird food

There was a lot of discussion amongst my Minnesotan friends on Facebook about the foods in the quiz. The one getting most of the attention was the Taco Salad. Apparently we’re freaks in Minnesota because we put Western dressing and Doritos on our taco salads. I vividly remember the Taco Salad with Western dressing and Doritos. My mother rarely cooked due to her stroke. Her repertoire of recipes she had the dexterity to prepare included putting the cloves in the ham and ripping up iceberg lettuce for a salad. Mostly these were physical therapy exercises she hated, so the job of making the nightly salad fell to me.

I don’t know who found the recipe, but I was instructed to put all the ingredients together for said taco salad. I didn’t normally like salad as a youngster, but this one was pretty darn good. However, it was only good with Western dressing – which we always had on hand because my brother liked to smother my container of cottage cheese in it (it’s gross that way, don’t try it), taco salad with plain old French dressing is disgusting.

I’m so off course…

Anyway, the discussion on Facebook was about the taco salad even though the question underneath the taco salad question was about Tater Tot Hot Dish. I knew what Tater Tot Hot Dish was, but had never tried one – let alone prepared one. I went out with a boy in high school who once mentioned he was looking forward to dinner because his mom made Tater Tot Hot Dish. I asked what it was and was immediately disgusted. At my house we didn’t eat such things. My dad, in all of his efforts to prevent my mother from becoming completely agoraphobic, signed them up for a cooking class at Th’rice, now commonly known as Cooks of Crocus Hill or just Cooks. They were given red three-ring binders with all kinds of recipes they attempted.

Cooking Class

I’m not really sure how much my mother tried, she complained about going every week, but my dad seemed to enjoy it. He was a pretty good cook before they took the class and even better afterwards. In fact, he cooked so much after the fact much of what he prepared had to go in the freezer. The problem with that was that my father never labeled a damn thing and was pretty careless about dating things. They took the cooking class in the late 70s. When my brother got married in the late 80 there was an impromptu gathering of friends at my parent’s cabin, in a pinch dad pulled out a huge tray of Beef bourguignon that had been prepared back in the days of the cooking class. Most of the guests were polite enough, and I don’t recall anyone actually getting sick, but I do recall the toilet getting stopped up with many napkins full of the stuff.

So Tater Tot Hot Dish was something I’d never experienced.

Always on the lookout for something easy, tasty and that the kids would eat I vowed to give it a try.

And you know what? It’s not that bad with a few tweaks.

Authentic Minnesota Tater Tot Hot Dish

Here’s the original recipe I used from Food.com:

1 lb ground beef

1 can Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup (staple of Minnesota pantries)

1 can vegetables (corn, peas, beans)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

While the oven is preheating, brown the ground beef (seasoning to taste as you cook) and drain off the grease.

Spread the beef in the bottom of a 2 to 2 1/2 quart baking dish.

Drain the liquid off the vegetables and spread them over the meat.

Using a rubber spatula, spread the cans of soup over the top of the vegetables and meat. Use the soup as is, straight from the can. Do NOT mix it with anything.

Arrange a layer of tater tots over the top of that.

Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.

Top with your favorite variety of shredded cheese as you serve.

Easy enough, but I really hate canned vegetables. The veggies are too soggy and there is too much salt in them. I prefer frozen veggies so that’s what I used. Using beans or corn seemed odd to me knowing they were going to be smothered in Cream of Mushroom soup, so I opted for peas.

Hamburger for Tater Tot Hot Dish

 

I browned the ground beef, drained it and added the peas and garlic to it in the casserole dish. If I learned anything from my parents cooking class it’s that garlic makes everything better.

Tater Tot Hot Dish mushroom soup

 

As a Minnesotan I’m used to putting Cream of Mushroom soup in just about everything I make, but honestly it didn’t seem that appealing in this recipe. I was also trying to clean out the fridge and had some leftover sour cream from taco night a month or so ago, so I mixed it in with 2 cans of soup (because one didn’t seem like enough) then spread it on top like the recipe instructed. Pretty gross, right? ** I know it says not to mix the soup with anything up in the recipe, but it’s okay if you do, it won’t ruin it and makes it much better**

Tater Tot Hot Dish

From there it was all about arranging the Tater Tots on the top. Turns out I don’t have OCD at all as half way through all I wanted to do was throw them on and spread them around, but I didn’t, I persevered.

After that I tossed it in the oven and waited 50 minutes. Except at 350° Tater Tots will never get crisp on the outside so after the 50 minutes I cooked it for another 15 at 425°. I sprinkled a little cheese on top, although I was a little hesitant about it, but then figured what the hell, it’s already an unhealthy mess.

Here’s the finished Tater Tot Hot Dish.

 

Tater Tot Hot Dish

As I stated before, I don’t like tooting my horn, but this Tater Tot hot dish was the bomb! Seriously, if you’re in need of comfort food, this is the definition of comfort food. It’s got everything going for it (and the sour cream and garlic really helped make it something worthwhile) from the creamy soup to the crunchy potato, it has it all and then some.

Full discloser, the daughter said it was “meh”, she ate it all, and got herself seconds so I’m assuming the “meh” is just the 13 year old talking. The dogs absolutely loved it, but I realize that doesn’t mean much.

Have you made Tater Tot hot dish before and if you have your own tweaks, what are they?

 

Tater Tot Hot Dish