Monday, April 28, 2008

A (Very) Crisp Game of Softball

Weather whining, part two: We are two weeks away from the last frost date of the season, and what did we wear to Laurel's softball game tonight? Heavy coats, mittens and blankets. What did the players wear?

Laurel insisted that she wasn't cold out there on the mound -- I can't imagine how she had enough grip in her hands to hold on to the ball, let alone pitch it. She had a good game, so we'll take it. Unfortunately, the score didn't reflect that, but the season is just getting going -- maybe I should say thawing out -- I do hope the team can develop another pitcher. Right now, Laurel is carrying the load. She's a strong player, but she shouldn't have to be a machine.

Keep throwing the heat, punkin. You're great!

Callum's Big Adventure

What is it about the end of April? All we try to do is go to the Horse Expo over at the fairgrounds without freezing our behinds off, but this weekend made three out of five years where the weather was dreadful. One of my daughter's friends said it nicely on Saturday: "What a pig of a day!" But aside from the freezing rain, horizontal snow, gale winds and biting cold, we had a blast!

We (meaning Barb Anderson, the trainer ...) brought Callum and Niamh as part of the contingent for the American Warmblood Society. In addition to getting cooed over by passersby at the stalls, it meant that twice a day, they got ridden in the colisseum during the parade of breeds and the breed demonstrations. What quickly became clear is that Callum loves to show off -- he decided soon on that all these people were there to see him. He wasn't perfect, not by a long shot!, but once he got in the ring, he was magnificent:

Rolling, uphill canter, canter half-passes, extended and medium trots that were breath-taking, even an unauthorized lead change ;-] That's Niamh, his older sister, with him in the second and fourth photos. They were buddies for the weekend -- more like a two-headed horse, actually.

For future reference, things that Callum does not like:

Carriages with teams of horses that jingle, jangle, jingle
Fast-stepping gaited horses, Paso Finos in particular
Miniature horses
Horses wearing costumes with tassels
Horses wearing costumes with bells
Horses/riders wearing furry horns (no, I have no idea -- they might have been with the Norwegian Fjords or maybe the Icelandics)
The stallion in the stall behind him

For future reference, things that Callum does like:

His stall
His hay
His water
Little girls with sugar cubes

Thanks to big Meredith for riding him on Friday, when a certain mean mom wouldn't let little Meredith skip school. A huge, huge piece of gratitude to Barb for making it all happen.

For the record? Little Meredith is brave and terrific and her mean mom loves her and couldn't be more proud.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Time out for a bit of silliness

Not everyone is impressed ...

... but, if you live with and are tolerated by cats, this is a terrificly funny video. Watch it with the sound turned up.

Separately, our household had quite the busy weekend -- I'm going to sleep on it and then get back to the keyboard.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Let's Review, Shall We?

In these days of overly lean staffing, doing my job is, at its best, like herding cats. Tonight, however, it was like herding cats blindfolded: it was only with luck and perserverance that I made it through the shift: paralysis over story placement (A depends on B, which depends on what happens with C and D, but then what about E and F?), missing pieces (where's the copy? where's the art?). I knew the wheels had come off when images of mergansers were turned in as photos of loons. How could something like this happen in Minnesota of all places? Let's review:


Not a loon*:


Not a loon**:

Everything worked out fine -- can you say 'file photo'? -- I wound up with a lovely picture of a

for a story about how the birds are stacking up on area lakes -- like fishing boats on opening weekend -- waiting for the ice up north to finish going out. Odd thing for such a solitary creature.

The daily miracle occurred yet again and another newspaper made it to the press. Now, as the evening fades in my rear-view mirror, and the alcohol takes effect, it's another war story.

* common merganser
** red-breasted merganser

Monday, April 14, 2008

Did I Hear That Right?

Boy, did I get an earful on Saturday afternoon. I was driving Laurel and one of her friends to a birthday party -- more on that in a moment -- and I was aghast at the conversation in the back seat. This, from a 13-year-old girl (not mine, thankfully): "Xxyjyj has the cutest white bag. It has an L and a V on it, like a Louis Vuitton bag. I'd rather have a Chanel bag, I think. And a Tiffany necklace, a silver 'A' with diamonds on it, like Elle Woods [Reese Witherspoon's character in the Legally Blonde movies] And Xxyjyj is so nice. Her dad is so rich. He owns a company." When it became clear that it would scandalize her -- and Laurel, for that matter -- to be escorted into this place where the party was, you better believe I did it. Seeing as it was a sports bar (!!), I'd have done it anyway. Had said sports bar's regular patrons been there, my kid would not have been. At least the mom of the birthday girl (not Xxyjyj) had reserved it. Thank heaven for the smoking ban. The mom? Wouldn't even look at me when I introduced myself. I thought she'd stuck a dead fish in my hand when I realized it was hers. She took the present and followed the girls back to the party. Let's hope she was preoccupied with keeping an eye on 20 girls.

End graf, new thought:

Late Friday night, I was on an emergency ice cream run for Laurel's sleepover (Mom! We need chocolatechipcookiedough! Please!*) and there, in the frozen food aisle, I heard "Are you from Rome?" There stood a man with sad eyes and a bit of an accent and I think he was being genuine. We chatted for a couple of minutes, it soon became clear he was a bit lonely and looking for company -- no, I don't think that kind -- and he couldn't believe I wasn't Italian. I couldn't believe he lived in Coon Rapids! He had gotten back from Paris and Rome after visiting relatives two days before, just in time for the storm. He was on NWA's first nonstop flight from Paris to Minneapolis and showed me the key ring that he got from the flight attendant, engraved and dated. He showed me his leftover Euro coins -- 1,000 Euros was $1,500, he said, shaking his head. He was so earnest, it was very sweet.

Or not. But I choose to think he was. Whatever, it brightened my week. I hope he finds someone to talk to.

*yay! she remembers some of her manners! Just teasing, honey. You know I love you.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Solid Gold Lexus

It was a year ago today that I held my dog in my arms as we sent him on ahead. I would give up a lot to be able to trip over him in the kitchen again and I miss him every day. Sweet Lexie, perfectly perfect. Young again, forever:

Good boy.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Odds & Ends

The little yarn shop in Anoka closed its doors yesterday. While the very friendly owner emphasized that she is not going out of business, that's she's going to try a different approach to selling her yarn, it still hurts my heart to see it -- or any small store -- go dark. It was sunny, charming,* well-stocked and everything else such a shop should be. I got a terrific deal on some Nature Wool — gray, naturally — and on a couple of patterns. I think the yarn is destined to become this or maybe this — with a collar, not a hood. Momma doesn't do hoods.

I haven't been doing much knitting, thanks to a monster case of sore hands. EEK! The last thing I need is carpal tunnel. Not that I haven't been reading about knitting, of course. I started "The Friday Night Knitting Club," soon to be a movie, from what I hear. More than one of the snippet reviews in the book — a cheap-o copy from Target — compare it to "Steel Magnolias," so we'll see.

Meredith has been ill for a couple of weeks. I'm so glad to see her get her mojo back! Tomorrow will be her first day back to school. I love you, Sweetpea!

*I aspire to be described as sunny and charming someday ...
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