year in review: some 2009 stats

94: books read
39: blog posts
16: quarts of pickles canned
14: quarts of tomatoes canned
8: houseguests (though some of those were here multiple times)
5: weeks without a working computer at home
4: major furniture items bought
3 1/2: rooms redone (the kitchen is still in progress)
3: vacations/trips (2 to Wisconsin, 1 to Duluth)
3: kids’ birthday parties attended
3: months of Olive in preschool
2: parties thrown
2: trips to the movie theater
2: months without a car
1: car totalled
1: car bought
1: bout with bedbugs
1: case of pneumonia (Olive’s, not mine – though as a mom, what’s the difference?)

All in all? Not a year I’m very sad to see gone. In fact, good riddance. Because really, I want these stats to look very different on December 31, 2010. I want to see more parties thrown, more vacations (including one to California), more blog posts, more yummy things canned (jam, hot sauce, applesauce, salsa…), less homeprojects and NO bedbugs. Also, no broken cars or computers. Actually, I’d like to see the addition of a netbook to my possessions, quite frankly.

So adieu, 2009 – I wish I could say that with fondness, but ah, well. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.


25 things about me

1) I like Minnesota better than California. (I know most of you think this means I’m crazy).

2) I turned domestic(er) when I moved here – all of a sudden I have a vegetable garden and find myself canning and making jam, pickles, and cheese. I have no idea how this happened.

3) I love food. I read Bon Apetit and Gourmet and wish I could be Ruth Reichl. Cooking is the best way to soothe me, and it gets my creative juices all fired up.

4) I love being organized (but it almost never happens). There is such a feeling of power that comes with checking off items on a To-Do list and getting things done.

5) I let Olive watch waaaaay too much TV and I have serious Mom guilt over it.

6) I want to be a writer when I grow up.

7) I blog in the meantime.

8) And occasionally gather up the courage to submit something somewhere.

9) I don’t go in for calling an odd number that called you to find out who it was. If they didn’t leave a message, it means something. And all too often I’m the one who misdialed and would prefer my anonymity. 😉

10) Jeff gave me a ring on our first date. Not an engagement ring – but part of the set that included my wedding band and engagement ring. At the time I didn’t know that, of course. But I was still puzzlingly okay with the fact that he gave me a ring ON OUR FIRST DATE.

11) I have an awful time returning phone calls. I always want to – and mean to – but I wait too long to find that “perfect” moment – when Olive’s busy with something, when I’ll have more than ten minutes to talk, after I’ve started the laundry, after we’ve finished dinner. Note to self – THE PERFECT MOMENT NEVER COMES. JUST CALL ALREADY.

12) Being in a sorority was one of the best things I’ve ever done – though I have lots of regrets about things I did (and didn’t) do. And no, none of them are what you’re thinking.

13) I only like to watch happy things. Movies, I mean. If I watch anything too dramatic, serious, violent, scary – I get nightmares. It’s like the emotional imprint of what I’ve seen sticks in my psyche. Thus I watch kid movies and chick flicks.

14) I learned to crochet when I was 7 and knit when I was 23 and now I can’t stop either one (though I prefer knitting, crochet is an awful lot faster).

15) I am way overthinking these answers.

16) I love tea. A good strong cup of black tea with sugar and milk is my favorite stress reliever. Herbal is good, too – but I do love me some black.

17) I read books voraciously. Really, I devour them. A book every day or so if I let myself. Mostly novels, but whatever piques my curiosity. I am currently loving Maeve Binchy and Elizabeth Berg.

18) Playing hostess is one of my favorite things. I love prepping the house, making goodies, creating a warm atmosphere, connecting people. My pumpkin donut party is about my favorite thing each year.

19) I love people. Really and truly, and more deeply than I think I ever show.

20) Mostly it’s hidden because I am deeply afraid of people not liking me. I know that’s so junior high, but it’s true. I tend to assume that people don’t until they prove otherwise.

21) I am really trying to show love more, and to be as kind a person as I know how. But it’s awfully hard, and I fail a lot.

22) Olive is the planet around which I revolve, and I like it that way.

23) Being married is really hard. And I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Jeff is a pretty wonderful man.

24) I struggle a lot in my faith and have serious doubts and reservations. All that I know that I know that I know is that there is a God and he loves each and all of us deeply.

25) My heart’s deepest longing is for community, and that’s why I think I’ll eventually plant back into a church… and it’s why I love Facebook (which is where this list originated).


some of the best gifts I’ve ever received

  • the way cats run sideways sometimes
  • little kids singing when they think no one’s listening
  • rings around the moon on certain nights
  • the way, on occasion, snow sparkles like glitter
  • seeing the moment the lights go on downtown
  • Bill Cosby
  • when puppies run and their back end gets going faster than the front
  • the green flash
  • books where, when you’re finished reading, you miss the characters like they were lifelong friends
  • coming back to life

>hunt & gather

>My newest Twin Cities find… hunt & gather. I know what I said about vintage shops (sorry, sadira!) but this place is turning me around. It’s fun, it’s kitschy, the prices are reasonable and for the first time in my life I understand what people get at antique shops.

My favorite finds are:

  1. This typewriter key jewelry: I’m dying to get one of these necklaces with an E on it.
  2. These change purses. I had been on a mission to find something to hold my business cards, and here’s what I found:I also could not resist getting this one, which is on its way to katie who will appreciate the caustic wit. Don’t you just love how they’re looking at him all dreamy-eyed??
  3. A framed lithograph of a French calligraphy alphabet. The writer and bibliophile in me just sang when I saw it.
  4. A jar of old buttons.



Inspired by the Twin Cities Metro magazine, here are my top 13 (why stop at ten???) favorite foods around the Twin Cities. (yes, this is out of the archive).

1. The london broil sarnie (with an old speckled hen) at Brit’s Pub
2. Sonny’s olive oil ice cream at Crema Cafe
3. Smoked salmon spread on flatbread and the BBQ chicken and jack cheese sandwich at Famous Dave’s
4. Oatmeal with fruit (or just about anything) at French Meadow Bakery
5. Risotto (autumn especially – with yams, swiss chard, roma tomatoes and mushrooms) followed by cheesecake at Good Earth
6. The prosciutto and St Andre cheese with greens sandwich at Lucia’s Bakery (plus any pastry they make!)
7. Quiche (any kind) at the Turtle Bread Company
8. Sangria at El Meson
9. A cheddar polish sausage hot off the grill at the Minneapolis Farmer’s Market
10. The curry turkey burger with sweet potato fries at Highland Grill
11. Scrambled eggs, pancakes and bacon at Our Kitchen
12. Vanilla brandy gelato at Fat Lorenzo’s
13. Sesame-crusted seared ahi and maple glazed carrots at Twin Cities Grill



>Things I am grateful for today:

  1. I did not freak out when Olive did #2 in the bathtub, nor when she showed up naked with her diaper in hand.
  2. Nearing the end of my latest knitting project, with only a few visible errors.
  3. The new issues of O and Real Simple sitting on the endtable, waiting for me.
  4. Living in Minneapolis… Linden Hills, Wild Rumpus, Lake Calhoun, and many other beloved haunts visited today.
  5. Olive cracking up with six month old Olivia at Wonderment – five whole minutes of babies with the giggles.
  6. I did not step on the dead wasp on the back hall stairs when I went shoelessly down to change loads of laundry.
  7. My dear friend Kristi and her darling hubby just bought a house VERRRRRRY close to us. Hip hip hooray!!
  8. My darling hubby, who is willing to work extra hours for us. I’m still nuts about him after four years.
  9. Olive woke up after only half an hour, so I got to hold her, rock her, and kiss her soft little fuzzy head some more.
  10. A nice quiet house all to my self for a bit.
  11. Finding the perfect gift for not one but a number of people – when I wasn’t even looking.
  12. Building excitement and anticipation of returning home to SoCal in 12 days.
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