The Snot-mobile

No comments »

I saw a huge, old cabin-cruiser of a car on the freeway this morning. It reminded me of the first car that I bought without my parents’ advice.

I was living in Winona, a lovely little town in southeastern Minnesota at the time. I hated it. It was backwards and provincial and isolated.

Well it was isolated for me, because I went without a car for 9 months. There was only one cab, and an occasional bus. When I wanted to see friends or family, I had to call the cab, and hope it took me downtown in time to catch the Greyhound bus to Rochester.

One of my co-workers, Hi, was trying to sell me his car for $1500. It was a nice-looking, low-mileage tank from the 1970’s. It was big and heavy. And it was way, WAY out of my price range, so I kept walking, busing and cabbing.


Then, one day at work, Hi said he’d drop the price to $300. Wow, what a deal!

Turns out, he’d been broadsided at an intersection the day before. The whole passenger side was caved in, the doors were mangled shut, and the frame was bent so far out of shape that the doors could never be fixed. I snapped it right up.

I drove it to Dad’s and parked it in front of his house, with the good side showing. I told him all about the wonderful deal I’d made without his help. He asked a few questions about mileage and such, and grudgingly conceded that I’d gotten a good bargain. Later, I showed the family the other side of the car.

When No.8 Sis saw the car for the first time, she dubbed it “The Snot-mobile”, due to its unfortunate yellow-green color. It didn’t stop her from wanting to be chauffeured around, though.

Often, when I was driving down the road, people would stare and point at the right side of my lovely new car. If we pulled up together at a red light, they’d roll down their window and ask what happened. I’d reply, “What? What are you talking about?” They’d say, “The big dent…” “Oh my god, my car has a dent?”, I’d yelp, and act all freaked out. I don’t know what they thought, but it was fun for me.

And really, that’s all that counts.

Stay tuned…



Weed Walk

No comments »

I participated in an outdoor seminar offered by The Master Herbalist. We hiked around a park while he pointed out native Minnesotan plants that have some herbal uses. He called it a “Wild Plant Walk’, but I think “Weed Walk” pretty much summed it up.

Here are a few of the weeds, I mean wild plants, we learned about.

Disclaimer: Some parts of some of these plants are edible, some parts are medicinal, and some parts are poisonous! As a beginning student of herbalism, I will not assume any liability if you eat, drink or smoke these wild plants or any others. If you want to forage for wild plants, get expert help beforehand!

Wild bergamot

Wild bergamot is a member of the mint family, and has a scent like oregano. It was used by some Native American tribes to scent sweat lodge fires, and by others to flavor meat.

Wild grape vines and wild rose

Only a small percentage of wild grape vines actually produce fruit, but the tendrils of the grape vine are also edible.

Rose hips are edible, too, but you eat the skin only, not the inner part.

Pleurisy root and alien seed pods

Pleurisy root is used to help heal respiratory infections, pneumonia, and pleurisy.

Those seed pods are freaky. Don’t they look like little aliens could burst out of them at any minute? I don’t remember what they’re called, but I suggest you stay away from them.

The Master Herbalist, the other students, and I walked around the park looking at, sniffing, touching and photographing weeds for almost two hours. By that time, dusk was falling and the bugs were attacking us with a vengeance, in spite of the natural bug spray provided by The Master H.

The Master H.  warned us, if we had cats, to shower right when we got home. The bug spray was made of catnip and other essential oils. Indeed, Bella Cat went insane when I got home and attacked me in a most vicious and unladylike manner! First the kamikaze mosquitoes, and then the catnip crazed feline.

Ahh, it was so nice to shower off the sunscreen, the catnip, the sweat and the pollen of the day. Pure bliss.

Stay tuned…

Repeat Disclaimer, just to be sure: Some parts of some of these plants are edible, some parts are medicinal, and some parts are poisonous! As a beginning student of herbalism, I will not assume any liability if you eat, drink or smoke these wild plants or any others. If you want to forage for wild plants, get expert help beforehand!


Progress, or Lack Thereof

No comments »

I needed to get into a locked document while working at The Company today. Do you think asking the IT manager or “one of his minions” to help me was unprofessional?


I’m so excited that I finally got the front, outside water spigot on this week! I found a handy-water-valve-opening-tool.

handy-water-valve-opening-tool 2

I went in from the front, instead of overhead, twisted the head of the broom under the half-opened valve handle, and pushed it the rest of the way up. Sweet success! No more linking three hoses together to run the water from the back of the house.

Rocky 2, the maple tree in front, is responding very well to the consistent watering. This is the first time since I planted (that is, paid someone to plant) him six years ago that I’ve seen real growth. The day lilies are doing well, too.

The window box, um, not a huge success. The celosia died a while back. The sweet potato vine has spread across the box, but it refuses to vine.

The petunias are still blooming, but the foliage looks very skimpy.

And the irises I planted look great, but there seems to be something foreign mixed in with them. It looks like corn. I’m going to wait and see how that pans out.

On the herbal study course, I’ve definitely made a lot of progress. I’ve turned in 11 lessons since the beginning of July, and I have 2 more that I just need to type up and send in. Unfortunately, The Master Herbalist hasn’t had time to check them and give me feedback. He’s in the process of moving his clinic to a new location.

I did take a seminar with him a couple of weeks ago, though. He called it a “Wild Plant Walk”, but I called it a “Weed Walk”. He took us to a park and pointed out various weeds native to Minnesota that have healing properties. I’ll tell you all about that later.

The worst news I have about my progress, or lack thereof, is about getting out of debt. My chiropractor, Dr. Doogie, is leaving the practice. She bought into a clinic in another suburb. So I went to Dr. Touch-Feely instead.

Dr. Touch-Feely is the owner of the chiropractic practice that I’ve been going to for years. I really like him, because he has an incredibly healing touch, and he knows his stuff! I haven’t been able to see him much because he’s semi-retired.

Now that Dr. Doogie’s leaving, Dr. Touchy-Feely has increased his hours, and I’m going to be seeing him. Twice a week. For six weeks. At $80 a pop. So, I’ll be another grand, give-or-take, in debt. Sigh. A Queen’s gotta do what a Queen’s gotta do.

Oh well, at least I won’t have to buy groceries for Thanksgiving dinner in a few months. My two sweet potatoes and three ears of corn should ready by then.

Stay tuned…




WAC 2015, August

No comments »

About 25 years ago, my sisters and I started the Women’s Adventure Club. We each invited one friend, and we took turns planning a once-a-month, secret adventure for the group.

Now, when I say “adventure”, keep in mind that we were a pretty low-key bunch of women. We just wanted to get out of the house, meet each others friends, and try something a little different.

We had a twenty dollar limit, it had to be kept a surprise, and it couldn’t focus on eating. So much for the plan to make people try the peach syrup on their Perkins pancakes, instead of always reaching for the maple.

Our intrepid group of adventurers tried canoeing, pistol shooting, archery, ice-skating, a walking tour of Summit Avenue mansions, a play put on by the historical society, and horseback riding ( there were injuries).

We also took a riverboat cruise, watched professional wrestling (lots of fake- I hope- blood), took in a play at the Guthrie theater, attended a Queen Ida concert, and took a fall tour of a nature center.

The Women’s Adventure Club had come up a few times in conversation recently, so I floated the idea of reviving it as WAC (Women’s Adventure Club) 2015. The sisters were all for it, and the nieces are old enough to participate now, too. If we each invite a friend, we will have more members than we can handle.

I took the first turn at planning. I invited all the women to meet me at the Burnsville Center Sears men’s department this past Saturday at noon. That was to keep them in the dark about our true plans.

Out of our potentially humongous group, 8 women arrived at Sears. Then, in two cars, we drove over to the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Indian reservation (say that 10 times fast—hell, say that one time fast) for their big annual wacipi (pow wow).

It was hot as blazes, and there was no shade, so we just set up our camp chairs near the metal bleachers. We didn’t have to wait long for the Grand Entry. It was a long, colorful parade of the veteran’s color guard, followed by all the dancers who would later compete, along with a few babies in costume dancing along to the drumbeat.


The Grand Entry took a while, then there were lots speeches, and a couple more smaller parades honoring veterans and the tribe members that passed away in the previous year.

We saw a few of the men’s dances, and then, melting in the heat, we decided to call it a day. We’d been in the sun for over 2 hours, and we were approaching our limits of endurance.

I perked up a bit when I saw there was a shopping opportunity, and I bought a couple pairs of earrings. I hope my BFF “T” is okay with that, as I used the cash I’d withdrawn to pay her for cleaning the house this week.

All agreed, we had a lot of fun, and going to a pow wow was something most of us had never done before. A successful adventure! I wonder what No.2 Sis is planning for September?

Stay tuned…



Studio Progress; 282

No comments »

I tackled another pile in the Studio.


I spent a while sorting through it until I felt it was done “enough”. Then I took a picture of it and loaded it onto this blog. Hmm, not done enough after all.

I went through the pile that was left over. Packed up a few more things for give-away. There! Took a picture. Crap. It still looked like crap.

I thought back to when I first started this decluttering process, and realized that I used to get rid of things until it hurt! It hasn’t hurt in a while.

I went through the left-over pile again and put things in give-away boxes until it hurt, at least a little. I probably should have kept going until it hurt a lot, but I didn’t. Still, I loaded 2 boxes of stuff to donate, filled 2 bags of recycling, and threw away a negligible amount of garbage.


Finally, an “after” picture I can take a little pride in.

My total bag count (bags, boxes and small pieces of furniture gotten rid of since January, 2014) is now 282.

Next pile that I work on, I’m going to make sure it hurts a lot!!!

Stay tuned…

p.s. I made $0, nada, zilch, nuttin’, extra in July.


Earrings and the Virgin Mary

No comments »

I should be cleaning the house, doing my weekly maintenance, but I’m making jewelry instead. A girl woman queen has to have her fun.

I bought some beads in Stillwater several weeks ago, and ideas for jewelry have been percolating since then. I got some silver, shell, and unakite beads, and a Virgin Mary pendant.

Beads purchased in Stillwater

I bought the shell beads to go with the necklace shown above. I have no idea why I bought the Virgin Mary pendant.

Shell earrings-1

I added hematite dangles to the shell earrings.

hematite earrings blue chalcedony earrings 2

I put hematite dangles on one pair of the silver earrings and blue chalcedony dangles on the other.


unakite earrings

And I dangled the unakite beads from vintage chain.

As long as I had the jewelry tools out, I repaired a broken necklace. I just used a round-nose pliers to open the loop on the crimp, and slipped the chain back in. Then I closed up the loop. Easy-peasy!

Necklace repair

Got any ideas for me regarding the use of the Virgin Mary pendant?

Stay tuned…

p.s. I shared this at Chic on a Shoestring.


Pulling a Musical

No comments »

Once upon a time, on Father’s Day, I sent my Dad the gift of a hammock.

He wrote me a thank-you note, telling me he had gone right out to his deck at his North Carolina lake home and put the hammock up. Unfortunately, he said, it had thrown him immediately, and he feared he had pulled a leg musical.

Spelling never was Dad’s strong suit.

I thought of the episode with my Dad while I was up on a step stool, leaning over the water softener, and pulling on the water valve handle with all my might. I think I may have pulled a side musical.

If you remember, I had forgotten where the the shut-off valve for the front outside water was for a few years. I recently discovered it in my utility closet. It was hiding directly behind another pipe, and I couldn’t reach it.

I went to Home Depot and bought this handy water-valve-opening tool. You hold on to the handles, slip the hook under the valve lever arm, and pull up. Be careful to not poke your eyes out with the sharpened ends of the handles.

handy water-valve-opening tool

Okay, it’s really an outdoor plant hanger. But the Home Depot guy said they didn’t have any handy water-valve-opening tools.

So I set up the step stool, leaned over the water softener, contorted my body so I could see the water valve handle, and hooked it with the handy yadda-yadda, and pulled. And pulled and pulled and pulled until my side ached and the water softener lid buckled.

Don’t worry, the water softener lid is molded plastic and popped right back up once I got off of it.

The valve handle had come up 45 degrees from vertical, so it looked like it was halfway open, at least. I ran to check the outside spigot on the front of the house. Nope, not even a trickle. I guess it has to be all the way open before I can have water.

I bundled the 3 hoses to the back yard, linked them all together, and snaked them to the front yard to water Rocky 2, the new crimson barberry shrubs, and all the other plants.

Time for plan B, whatever that may be. I’ll get back to you on that.

Stay tuned…