Saturday, May 11, 2013

Favorite Place

 Dust off those dashboards and flex the fingers! It's a blog challenge! Of course you can write about anything you want, but some of us are choosing to start with our favorite place. As someone who aspires to travel often, this is a daunting task. I could try to write about London, or wax poetic about Westminster Abbey, a place I could sit and observe for a full day and still feel I was missing something critical. I cannot always travel, so it's important to have an easy-access space where one can still capture the sense of relaxation or delight or soul searching that one tends to do in their favorite place. So far my favorite near-at-hand place is my back porch. It's my first mid-western three-season porch, and it's not perfect yet as my favorite space, but it will be.

In Fargo where wind and mosquitoes can drive a person indoors early in the evening, three season porches are almost a necessity! Our 1916 home located on a busy street so the covered front porch doesn't offer a lot of privacy, though it is nice enough on lazy summer evenings when traffic dies down for the day. The back yard is over-run with weeds and cluttered with a hot tub, a swingset, a sandbox. I will only mention in passing the dogs and the dirty little bombs they drop to further the point that this is not where I want to spend my time reading a book. Considering I can't leave the house at 8 pm for a casual stroll or a relaxing drive, the   back porch has often been my escape. It's three sides have nine windows (two next to the door, four on the long wall and three opposite the door). I love the feeling the pulley/weight mechanisms in the old windows, the sturdy sight of the framed screens snapped in to place, and the way the brittle glass rattles when I have to shut them. Unfortunately, they aren't energy efficient by any stretch of the imagination, but I wouldn't change them for anything.

When we bought the house, the porch had a grey painted floor and mint green walls. It was rather hideous. A few years ago, I enlisted some help from the family and we painted that sucker a dark brick red. I love it! It's a pop of color when we drive up at night and the porch light is on. It's a bit unexpected especially contrasted to the grey, white, and black outside. I love the way the red contrasts all the white trim inside, though, and I really don't care if it's keeping in character with the 1916s design or not.

In the past, I had an armchair out there that I picked up at a rummage sale. It was a faux distressed shabby chic sorta thing with a springy seat and wood arms. I'd sit out on the porch, open all the windows, and let the summer night sooth me. It was, however, not very comfortable for reading and it didn't take long for pets to ruin it. Another problem was once I was sitting in the chair, I could not see outside well. It was just too low.
I had candle stands out there, a bookshelf, and other decor to make it more cozy. McKenna had a table and chair where she could do her art work and use PlayDoh. It was a decent place to get out of the house but not be subjected to all the annoyances already mentioned. After she went to sleep, I often slipped out there to decompress from the day. I'd listen to the elm trees and the wind and catch the buzz of the baseball game two blocks away, the fireworks from the FargoDome, and, my favorite, the music from SideStreet Bar & Grill wafting upriver on the hot dark night.

The porch has fallen into a state of chaos this year. The Shih-Tzus have peed and pooped on the floor, strewn garbage through out it more than once, and their muddy paw prints are all over. It contains our recycling bins, a catch all cabinet for junk, and piles of crap to sell at a garage sale or to donate at Savers.
My chair has been tossed out and a plastic outdoor storage bench is in its place. The trees have all been cut down by the city and I have only one scraggly looking pine to judge the wind speeds.

I think one of the first priorities of spring now will be to restore my get-away into a serene paradise again. I don't know if I want to wait to find cool pieces at garage sales again, though. It might take an investment to find furnishings that allow me to see out, are dog-proof, and kid friendly. No white linen couches, in other words, though doesn't that sound relaxing?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Untitled reflection

She's nestled quietly in my lap, and I notice her legs,
at once thin, yet muscular.
Busy bruises scattered at intervals
in various shades of purple
mottle the otherwise smooth expanse
of peachy protection that, even at rest,
practically pulsates with the energy of a six-year-old.
This is just the beginning, I think,
and I grieve for her loss of innocence.


I was thinking of The Flea and came up with this...

The Tear

The tear burgeoned rebelliously,
bursting through the duct,
surging across the lower lid,
and skating to a halt in the shadowed corner of my eye.

Fighting against my will,
its salty sting insisted its presence be felt
just before it burst through
the bars of my lashes and
to its death,
the evidence of its triumph
marring my cheek
much to my shame.

Friday, April 08, 2011

To Do

*Post a pic of the plant Genyo gave me a while back which is one of the three still clearly living. One was DOA after I forgot it on the patio last fall. The verdict is out on the other yet. *Transplant plant from Genyo. Perhaps before picture. *Post pics from Girls Weekend in Itasca. *Plan a weekend road trip. Duluth I'm thinking. *Stop procrastinating with lists and grade the papers


I think I'll start this up again. Just maybe. After finals? As the mood strikes? I haz one follower. I doubt she cares when I start. No pressure. Nice.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

It's a two-fer!

Yea. I haven't been on the blog in a long time...but it came up in a conversation, so here I am, writing a second post for the night! I was stumbling and came across Jim Carrey's website. It's a feast for the eyes so I was happily clicking around to watch things glow and move. Then I clicked on a link that opened Mr. Carrey's twitter page. I skimmed through it and thought, how funny it would be to read a Jim Carrey tweet. And then I felt dirty.

You see, I'm not fond of celebrity watching nor most of the celeb-reality shows out there. That is not to say I don't watch any reality TV. Oh no! Shows like Hoarders inspire me to live my life better. Survivor, American Idol, Project Runway, and The Amazing Race give me someone to cheer for. Oh sure, I went through a phase and read all the entertainment rags, watched The Osbournes, and obsessed forever about all things Bon Jovi, but I realized I would much rather live my life than watch someone else live theirs! Shows like Sweet Sixteen, Housewives of... series and The Kardashians don't hold my interest at all. I have absolutely no desire to watch their supposedly fab lives and their drama.

And that, quite simply, is why I decided not to follow Jim's tweets. He is a very funny man, and I'm sure his tweets would be giggle-worthy, but I just can't do it. There will be no celebrity tweets for me, thank you.

Love it!

Cutist damn library I've ever seen. I want one of my own. Who is going to donate a red brit-style telly booth for me to get started? I'll put it on the corner where my elm used to be, and you're welcome to visit it!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Reasons to be on your cell phone in class

  • You spot a fire or other campus hazard that has not yet been reported.

  • You are texting your personal banker about your plans to wire massive funds to your instructor's retirement fund.

  • You have a rare hearing impairment that is rectified only through the use of Verizon's 3G network.

Any additions, dear readers?

Monday, August 10, 2009


School is starting? ALREADY?

I've been "off the grid" in my own way this summer. Not much has happened on this blog, clearly. I have been avoiding Facebook and MySpace as well.

Now it is time to dust off the books, purge the emails, sort the files, edit & copy syllabi. I'm looking forward to getting into my new office space and getting all that set up. Time to refocus, re-energize, and get to work!

Friday, June 12, 2009

6 days. 40 in-car hours. 2400 miles. 8 states.

McKenna and I took our first summer road trip. We left Thursday and returned Tuesday. It was, overall, uneventful. We encountered tornadic weather near Kansas City, Missouri, and the Jeep quit just as I entered the exit ramp in Moorhead. Somewhere near Uniontown, in southern Indiana, the echoes of a 4-year old's meltdown are probably still reverberating in the trees and hills. But that was it.

States we drove through: ND, MN, WI, IL, IN, KY, MI, IA

We pretty much drove all day, got to a hotel, ate, swam and slept. Still, we drove by interesting places; the scenery around Louisville, Kentucky, is pretty. Fort Knox and the Patton museum sounded intriguing. In St. Louis, we drove around the Arch. St. Charles, Missouri is probably worth another look! In fact, St. Louis definitely looked like somewhere I would like to visit.

I highly recommend the KOA in Oak Grove, Missouri, as the cabin was super clean, the grounds inviting, and the people friendly. The Comfort Suites in Albert Lea also deserves a nod; i was quoted $98 a night for either a smoking/Queen room or a non-smoking/King. The gal at the desk then offered us the jacuzzi executive suite for the same price. However, when she printed the invoice, it was actually $84! Whoohoo!

Friday, May 22, 2009


As much as I grumbled about the cat in recent years, today was a sad day. Cody had to be put to sleep. We're still not sure how we'll break it to McKenna.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

No title is forthcoming

I was cleaning the kitchen this morning and decided it was time to wipe down the fridge. Look for yourself:

McKenna has been practicing her smiley faces on our black fridge using Chalk Ink, one of the greatest inventions ever! I use it to make my shopping and to-do lists:

Generally getting to draw here keeps her occupied when I'm in the kitchen, and it can be wiped off pretty easily so she can start fresh each day. She often practices her name here as well, but clearly smiley faces were the them of this week. We're thrilled because she has not really seemed to like coloring in general.
The practice of letting our daughter doodle all over our fridge, however, has backfired. Twice. Once she took a permanent marker and wrote all over my mom's white fridge door. A few weeks later, she used crayon on her bedroom wall next to her bed. Both times, while we generally shook our heads in dismay and scrubbed like crazy, she cried in great distress because, in her words, we were erasing her "decorations." Oh, make that three time: she also "decorated" her pants with an ink pen.
Since then, though, she has learned to limit her decorations to the fridge, and we get to enjoy new colorful patterns and to watch her grow artistically.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Green Thumb

I do not have a green thumb. I have two houseplants I've kept alive for at least five years and one I've had for a little over a month (thanks, Jenyo). Today, however, with the help of the in-laws, we have a little garden patch in one corner of our backyard, tucked behind the hot tub. We have 20 strawberry plants, a row of corn, a row of carrots, 7 pepper plants, 4 or so cucumber plants, lil' pumpkins, a couple of beans, peas and tomato plants. We also planted a about a dozen perennials around the flowerbeds (2 sides of house anyways). The tulips on the south side are in bloom. We now only need to add wood chips to the beds and some under the tree by the garage, and that should be it for planting and landscaping this year. The weather was absolutely gorgeous as you know if you live in the F-M area. I hope you all got to soak up some rays today.

Front flower bed:

North side:

South side:

garden shot 1 (strawberries take up most of corner; start of corn and carrot rows that run along the fence are marked by the short trellis):

garden shot 2 (beans, peas, pepper, pumpkin and my clematis vines):

Part II

Tootsie under the lilac bushes. I love how they create a shaded archway for my old girl:
I have no idea what these are. It is the only surviving plant from the previous owners. It looks like a mini Vietnamese jungle, assuming I know what that might plausibly look like based on extensive movie viewing.

This is a snowball something or other shrub. I hope it perks up.

I love hostas. Low maintenance. Big Leaves. Simple.

Garish. That's why I picked this one: