Thursday, January 28, 2010

Surfing on a Thursday

Look what I found, clicking around the Web. I'm not usually fond of these kinds of things, but this one is kinda sweet. Find it here.

Then there's this cowl, at She Shoots Sheep Shots. It has the ever-popular two-fer of being lovely as well as feeding that wee craving for instant gratification. (You know you want some. It's January.) She used Silk Garden Chunky and Misti Alpaca Super Chunky. Very nice.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Goldilocks, the Holy Grail and the Impossible Dream

That's right. It's time to paint the short hallway from the front door to the kitchen. Anyone who's been to a [insert favorite home improvement store here] knows the number of color choices is staggering, even after ruling out the horrid ones. After guessing how the colors might shift once they left the well-lit paint displays and hit the shadowy walls at home, these were my best guesses — I mean the finalists (all are Ralph Lauren paints). Palette A, which looked lovely next to the canoeing poster, but totally not so good otherwise:

Palette B, warmer and more of what I was thinking in the first place but still iffy. In their favor, the colors also coordinate with the wallpaper in the kitchen.

Nothing said I'M IT, ME ME ME, but three samples went on the walls on Saturday night. It was either do that or do laundry.

Pay no attention to that Grandma wallpaper. That is coming off posthaste, hopefully as part of this project. But I digress. Sample No. 1, Mango Gold, at the top, is, um, very mango-y. Nearly radioactive. Can't do it. The middle one, Composed (no joke!), is the best of the three, but not quite there. As for contestant No. 3, Chamois. Hopes were high, but hmm ... well ... golly. Come to find out, our Home Depot is tossing Ralph Lauren over for Martha Stewart, so maybe I'll give the ol' gal a try. Her color sense is pretty good.

Then it will be time for the gloss, semi-gloss, satin, eggshell, matte or flat dilemma. I'm throwing in with satin. Or eggshell.

Today's head-scratcher: The most common of reference books is now illegal in one school district in California. You'll have to read it to believe it. I'm slack-jawed.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Great Day for a Race

We could've hunkered down for the day, the temperatures were on the underside of zero again on Saturday. But there we were, up at Giants Ridge, near Biwabik, for my other favorite child's heat in the high school invitational nordic races. There were more than 1,300 skiers over two days, so I knew there would be a lot of people there, but I was surprised at the crowd of spectators. The lodges were packed and the start/finish line area was frequently shoulder to shoulder as well (Non-racers were not allowed to scatter out along the course). You'd think all the body heat would help warm things up, but no such luck. Not having up-to-date, high-tech cold-weather wear, I went the onion route: layers, layers and layers. The woman working in the coffee shop looked a little taken back. "Oh, I see you aren't skiing today," she said.

Nope. So I didn't have to get pre-race jitters, either. Unlike a certain daughter, who got some coaching while dropping her drawers and snapping in:

Then it was time for the warm cape and funneling into the starting gate and some encouraging words from the other coach.

Always a last-minute equipment malfunction, natch. Nothing a good hard stomp on the binding didn't fix, however.

And then, there she was, just her and her butterflies. No warm cape, just her UnderArmor and her school colors (notice how 15-year-olds can wear skintight blocks of color and pull it off). A pair of skiers were beeped onto the course every 20 seconds (it sounded just like the Olympics).

A good launch and then she disappeared for 5K.

As a mom, a k a an embarrassment to my children, I was so proud of her. I only wish my camera battery hadn't frozen — I don't have any photos of her crossing the finish line, which was on the other side of that green fence. I had just enough juice left to get a quick photo of these kids from Northfield, who would start dancing in a huddle from time to time. It was pretty funny.

A few things worth mentioning:

• I haven't seen that many pairs of mukluks in one place ever. They truly are the best boot ever. I love mine.

• It was great to see how all the kids cheered each other on. They'd watch the clock and dash back out when their 'mates were due back at the finish and scream just as loudly to get them across the line as they did when they set off at the start.

• Controlled chaos is an amazing thing. People were coming, going, coming, going and it all worked.

• Look both ways — and again— when crossing from the lodge to the spectator line. It's nuts out there.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

No More Waiting

Driving to work yesterday, it felt like I was going to an execution -- it was the day everyone knew would bring the announcement. We've known for several weeks that it was coming, but it was still awful. Less an execution than a sad, reluctant divorce, actually — because when you spend your evenings, weekends and holidays with the same folks for years and years, they become a bit like family: the squabbling, hilarity, compassion, inspiration and brilliance, all on deadline no less.

Now begins the 10 days of speculation* and dark humor: Who will take a (very meager) buyout? Who will wait to be shown the door? Who will get the handful of new jobs that are supposed to blunt the hemorrhage? (Who thinks it will work?) Who is going to do all the extra work (for less pay, less time off and frozen pensions)? Who needs a cabana boy who would pour good gin and dark beer, but who would never, ever split a prepositional phrase in a headline?

Because this is a smart group, they will manage the change just fine and I hope that, next year at this time, they wonder why they didn't leave sooner. I offer them the shooting star I saw on New Year's Eve. Here's to possibilities.

*no whispering, please. that is rude.
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