Pickle Butts And Shut Up

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I made pickle wraps for No.8 Sis’ birthday party today. I schmeared a  slice of ham with soft cream cheese, and then rolled it around a big dill pickle. I repeated that about 6-8 times.

I sliced the wrapped pickles into 1/4 inch slices and served them as appetizers.

PICKLE WRAPS

PICKLE WRAPS

I know these aren’t very pretty, but they taste so good! And the bonus is that the two ends of the wrapped pickles, the pickle butts, were totally unpresentable, so I got to eat them all. Breakfast of champions.

Many years ago, I was visiting Mom in Elizabeth Fairchild. I think that’s what her one-bedroom apartment in St. Paul was called, anyway.

A bunch of other relatives were there, too, including No.1 Sis and her son, Dude. Dude had had enough of family time and wanted directions to get home to Rochester.

No.1 Sis was trying to give Dude directions, but Mom kept interrupting with an alternate route. Keep in mind, Mom had quit driving by then, and was probably trying to direct Dude via some twisty-turning bus route.

Eventually, No.1 lost her temper and shouted at Mom, “Shut up! Shut up! SHUT UP!”

That put a little damper on our Mother’s Day celebration.

A couple of unnamed sisters (1 and 8) were in the habit of telling me to shut up, too. Not nice.

With the encouragement of my therapist, Dr. Ima Shrink, I told them they couldn’t tell me to shut up anymore. Now they follow the letter of the law, if not the spirit.

When we played cards last weekend, I didn’t hear “shut up” once. I was shushed a time or two, asked if I was STILL talking once, and had to endure many eye-rolls while I was talking. So today’s party should fun. I’m just saying.

Stay tuned…

Red Wing, Minnesota

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I met 3 of my 5 sisters in Red Wing, Minnesota last Wednesday. No.2 Sis, No.4 Sis, No.7 Sis and I wanted to go to the nearby casino.

I was the biggest loser, of course, but that doesn’t bother me. Since the casino is on the Native American reservation, I figure all the monies I lose are reparations for my ancestors stealing Native lands. And since my Mom’s people came over on the Mayflower, I have 300-plus years of land-grabbing to make up for.

After losing at the casino (No.7 was the big winner, since she only lost $15) we went back into the town of Red Wing to see the world’s largest boot. It’s located at the Red Wing Shoe Museum. It’s a size 638D, and they say it’s too big for the Statue of Liberty to wear. How is it that I’ve lived an hour away from Red Wing for most of my life and I never knew it housed the world’s largest boot?

WORLD'S LARGEST BOOT

WORLD’S LARGEST BOOT

FROM LEFT, ME, NO.4, NO.2, AND NO.7

FROM LEFT, ME, NO.4, NO.2, AND NO.7

After the Red Wing Shoe Museum, we went to a local confectionary. It was full of the whimsical fairy-tale paintings of Juliet Crozier, including this one of The Old Lady Who Lived In a Shoe. How apropos.

THE OLD LADY WHO LIVED IN A SHOE, BY JULIET CROZIER

THE OLD LADY WHO LIVED IN A SHOE, BY JULIET CROZIER

We also had a fun oil and vinegar tasting at this shop. We each left with multiple bottles of both flavored oil and vinegar. I think my grocery list this week will be full of greens for salads. Quite unusual for me.

RED WING OLIVE OILS AND VINEGARS

RED WING OLIVE OILS AND VINEGARS

Oh, my. It turns out Red Wing has another “world’s largest”. At the Red Wing Pottery Museum we saw one of the three world’s largest jugs. It holds 70 gallons.

NO.2 SIS STANDING BY WORLD'S LARGEST JUG

NO.2 SIS STANDING BY WORLD’S LARGEST JUG

Back at home, I decided to unbox my new crockpot and make some slow-cooked beef fajitas. They turned out pretty good. When I took the liner out of the crockpot to clean it, I saw this.

OOPS

OOPS

The packing cardboard had been between the heater and crock throughout the 5 hour cooking cycle. I didn’t burn down the place, but my neighbors would be so scared if they knew me better.

Stay tuned…

 

 

 

Toastmasters, Because I Love Toast

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I was getting ready to come home from Costa Rica with No.1 and No.2 Sis. They were talking about their membership in Toastmasters. I said I wanted to join, because who doesn’t love toast?

Of course, Toastmasters is about making speeches, not about making toast. Now that I’ll be joining  No.2 Sis’ Toastmaster club tomorrow, I’m having some feelings. And you know I hate feelings. Especially these feelings. Fear, anxiety, terror, PANIC!

I didn’t have trouble getting up and speaking in front of people until 7th grade. We had to make a speech in front the class about any topic. I gave a humorous speech about why cats are better pets than dogs. Apparently, I’m no Henny Youngman (Steve Martin? Chris Rock?) because it got no laughs at all.

Hello

Also, the teacher, a very mean and vicious nun (aren’t they all?) shamed me in front of the class for using a little off-color humor. Like the lack of laughs wasn’t humiliating enough.

Then in 9th grade, we all had to take a speech class. I researched the hell out of all my topics, and gave some very dry, humorless speeches. In a small, shaky voice. I’d get an A for prep and a C for delivery.

No.5 Bro was in the same class, and he’d just go up in front of the class and wing it (and even get laughs). He’d get a D for prep and an A for delivery. If only we’d been able to combine my research with his confidence.

So tomorrow I begin facing one of my biggest fears, public speaking. Even though he never joined Toastmasters, I think I need to call No.5 Bro for some tips. I hope none of them involve first getting stoned (not that my brother ever did that…wink, wink).

Stay tuned…

 

Gravity Checker

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Seen on Pinterest: I hate gravity. It always brings me down.

Gravity has brought me down a couple of times recently. The first time was in the grass, so I wasn’t hurt.

The second time, I was crossing the main road and tripped over absolutely nothing. And I went down hard, mostly on the more arthritic of my two knees. We were near a blind corner, so No.2 Sis quickly hauled me to my feet and I limped to the side of the road.

In a few days, the bruise blossomed into this.

KNEE BLOSSOM

KNEE BLOSSOM

I needed a vacation from Paradise.

Our good friend and Soul Sister, “V”, flew into Costa Rica to see us, and we all went to a rented house in Esterillos Oeste, near the Pacific coast.

THE BEACH AT ESTERILLOS OESTE

We found the house on Airbnb. It was a Tico-American hybrid (had screens, but couldn’t flush the toilet paper) with three bedrooms, a refreshing pool, and an ocean view.

ESTERILLOS OESTE RENTAL

ESTERILLOS OESTE RENTAL

It also had a back veranda with a gorgeous jungle view, and a semi-feral veranda cat named “Buster”.

After we came home to San Luis, No.2 Sis wasn’t feeling well, so we asked our amigo/driver, Roberto, to take us to Liberia. No.2 was hospitalized, and No.1 and I found ourselves on a fiesta parade route any time we tried to do anything.

COSTA RICAN TRAFFIC JAM

COSTA RICAN TRAFFIC JAM

No.2 was released from the hospital a few days later, with a diagnosis (you’ll have to ask her) and about six prescriptions.

No.2 misses her house, her kids and her grandkids (not in that order). No.1 Sis and I were the only ones planning on staying in Costa Rica permanently anyway, but we’ve all decided to go back to the USA for good. We leave tomorrow.

I have mixed feelings about returning. On one hand, I’m worried about finances (the USA is so expensive) and the political climate (Goddess help us). On the other hand, I’m excited to see my women, my posse, my Soul Sisters (you know who you are)!

Home tomorrow!!!

Stay tuned…

 

 

 

 

 

Tamarindo, Costa Rica

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January and February are the “windy season” in Costa Rica, at least near Lake Arenal where we live.

No.1 Sis was barely handling the 30 mile-per-hour wind. Then it escalated to 60 miles-per-hour and sustained that speed constantly for four days.

We lost power, we lost the internet, we lost the phone, we lost half a dozen trees, we lost the ability to go outside for a walk… and No.1 Sis lost her freaking mind.

She booked the last hotel room she could find in Tamarindo, and told us she was leaving. No.2 Sis and I could come along if we wanted to, but no matter what, she was getting out.

So we called our driver, Roberto, and went to Tamarindo, on the southern Pacific coast.

We stayed at the Mono Loco (The Crazy Monkey).

MONO LOCO

MONO LOCO POOL

We walked around town, and went to a different restaurant for every meal. Such a nice change from living in a town that’s two blocks long and has only two restaurants.

MAYAN STATUE

MAYAN STATUE

This restaurant’s replica of a pre-columbian statue is holding an axe in one hand and a human head in the other. Gosh, I wish I could’ve known the ancient Mayans. They seem like such a cozy people.

PLAYA TAMARINDO

PLAYA TAMARINDO

We went to the beach. A beach! We sat in the shade and used 100 SPF sunblock. We all got sunburned. It was awesome!

We went to a casino in Tamarindo, too. No.1 Sis and I lost; No.2 Sis won. Not that much fun.

After a few days, No.2 Sis and I were ready to return to San Luis. I’m not too sure No.1 Sis was ready, but she came home with us anyway.

The winds are back down to 30 miles-per-hour, and the sun comes out occasionally.

I think we’ll make it.

RAINBOW OVER LAKE ARENAL

RAINBOW OVER LAKE ARENAL

 

Stay tuned…

Double-Z Card, or 334

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I made this cute Double-Z card (tutorial here) for my niece’s upcoming 5th birthday.

Double-Z card (2)

I remember my conversation with her on her last birthday. She was pulling out the first instrument, an ear examination thingy, out of her new doctor’s bag.

Me: That helps you look in people’s ears.

Niece: Yes. It’s an otoscope.

Me: Um…I…er…I didn’t know that.

Shown up by a four-year-old.

Anyway, change of subject, I’ve had to rethink my house decluttering attitude a bit. I’ve lately been focusing on how to make money off of my junk (insert dirty joke here) instead of just getting rid of it. That’s led to too much of “I’ll save this and sell it later”.

I’ve decided I must just focus on getting rid of stuff again, and forget about selling it.

I must also admit that I looked on e-bay to try find prices for what I have to sell, and found that my junk probably wouldn’t sell at all. Apparently, my junk is nothing special.

So, I set a goal of getting rid of 30 bags, boxes, etc, in April. No.2 Sis came over Saturday and we played “Hoarders”. I set on a chair, going through boxes, and handing stuff off to her with instructions like, “Keep, donate, garbage, recycling, etc”.

We added 2 more boxes of books to the 4 bags from last week and made a run over to Half Price Books and sold them for $37.

Yes, I know I said I wasn’t going to sell stuff, but this was quick and easy.

We also packed up 4 boxes and 1 bag of donations and dropped them at Goodwill.

2 boxes books.

5 boxes/bags donated.

2 bags recycling.

1 bag garbage.

Total: 10 bags/boxes so far in April, which brings my total to 334 bags, boxes and small pieces of furniture cleared out of the house since January, 2014.

Stay tuned…

p.s. Lest you think this sisterly help is all one-sided, I must inform you that I went to No.2 Sis’ house on Sunday and helped her install kitchen cabinet hardware. It looks smashing!