Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Uninspired

Top 5 reasons I've used for not blogging in recent months:

1 - Too much on my mind, but none of it worth writing about
2 - Too much going on, but none of it worth writing about
3 - Not enough going on - definitely not worth writing about
4 - I want a new template, theme or a defined topic but don't know what those should be
5 - Hardly anyone stops by anymore anyway!

I think I should shut it down, at least until I get some inspiration. If you see the blog vanish in future weeks, just know that I'm DEFINITELY not leaving Facebook. Or if you have any brilliant ideas to inspire, lay 'em on me!
Spell-checked by Sandra @ 7/22/2009 | 40 comments

Friday, July 10, 2009

Bones, livers and organs = awesome

The old line about a rose by any other name, smelling just as sweet, is a problem for me. Names matter. I've never been able to date men named Dick or Randy. I think those people breeding Shih Tzus with poodles and calling them Shit-a-poos are beyond moronic. And, I've always railed against the BARF diet for dogs, purely because of the name. I'm sorry but if you give something a stupid name, you're going to have a tough time winning me over.

Of course BARF makes me think of bulemia first. Then it makes me think of dogs wretching up raw meat all over the house. So, I never looked into it until Bear crossed my path. Bear turns out to be the MOST finicky dog ever. He won't touch dog food, dry or canned, or dog treats. The first week he was here, the only thing I managed to get him to eat was fried hamburger or fried beef liver. AND I had to feed it to him from my hand - he wouldn't eat from a bowl or the floor. He went days and DAYS without eating until I did things his way. So I was frying up burgers or liver twice a day for a while there.

Anyway, someone suggested I look into the BARF diet, and I decided to get over my name aversion, I did some reading, and decided to try it. Bear has now had raw hamburger, chicken quarters, beef necks, beef livers, pork necks, turkey necks, you name it. And he's eaten everything. Bones and all. As long as the bones are raw (NOT cooked) a dog's digestive system has no problem with the bones. And he now eats from his bowl. Or he'll clean all of the meat off a beef neck and then spend the evening happily gnawing on the bone. So it's food AND entertainment, all in one.

It's all a bit bloody and gristly and gross. And you have to shop for weird meat parts on a regular basis. But they say it's the ancestral diet of all canines. Could be. I'm still struggling with the idea of giving raw eggs, shells and all... so I'm not 100% with the program yet, but I'm getting close. Bear's gaining weight, his fur is growing and getting more glossy, and if I'm not mistaken, his eyes look clearer.

I'd just like to change the diet's name to something a bit more mellifluous. Maybe I'll call it the Bones And Meat diet... BAM!! Or the Bones, Livers, Organs, Other Meats diet... BLOOM. Or maybe just the Caveman diet. Anyway... seems some dog people get almost religious about feeding raw - all I can say so far is that I'm pleasantly surprised at how much Bear likes it, and seems to be thriving on it. 3 weeks ago I couldn't have even guessed at how much a packet of turkey necks costs. Now I'm turning into some kind of expert on where to buy the best gizzards. Weird.
Spell-checked by Sandra @ 7/10/2009 | 10 comments

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Baby's First 5K

Well today was the day. The day I signed up for a few weeks ago, thinking I had plenty of time to prepare. The Independence Day Races, around Lake Harriet. Here's a pic of Lake Harriet, for those of you who aren't from 'round here. The Start/Finish Line was just outside this pic, to the right. Anyway, here's what I learned from my first 5K:


1. Apparently, only dorks and newbies wear the shirt you're given for the race. Everyone wears their own sassy sexy running gear. I realized my mistake immediately upon arrival.

2. Groups that sprint past you, laughing and easily holding in-depth discussions of stock options or anti-virus software, while your lungs are about to explode and you can hear the fluttering of angels wings coming for you... suck. But you wish you were one of them. I know a thing or two about stock options.

3. People on the sidelines who cheer you on saying, "Woooooo!!!! You're almost there, keep going, keep going!" are lovely. Only they shouldn't say that if you aren't really almost there. A mile to go, in my book, isn't almost there.

4. Old people, people twice my size, and people pushing strollers full of multiple children passed me. For me, this was a lesson in humility, in not judging people's capabilities by their appearance, and in how much room for improvement I have. Oh boy.

This isn't exact, but here's approximately how I did:

Mile One - ran solidly and steadily, took about 8 minutes
Mile Two - a very ouchy stomach cramp appeared. I slowed down, walked, got my breath, and generally fell way behind the crowd. About 14 minutes.
Mile Three - couldn't shake the cramp but wanted to be done so badly I started walking faster and faster until I was running again. About 12 minutes.

The last tenth of a mile stretch toward the finish line, it took everything to just keep one foot moving in front of the other. I dragged my ass over the line and collapsed in the grass. The perky announcer fellow with the microphone said, "Well, hey. You finished!"

Hmm. This running stuff is hard. Really hard. But I love how I feel afterwards. I love wearing spandex clothes. And I like the idea of having goals, achievable goals to work toward. With running, you see improvements in a fairly satisfying timeframe, too. For instance, today I noticed that I must be stretching correctly (and enough) because I didn't have any shin or knee pain. Big improvement. If I hadn't had the pain in my side, I think it would have been a decent run. Apparently I need to research how/what to eat before a race better...I thought I was ok with just a banana beforehand, but obviously NOT. Hmm.

Anyway... running. I have a hella lotta work to do. Dang!
Spell-checked by Sandra @ 7/04/2009 | 10 comments

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

She was 96 in dog years

Strange how these things work sometimes - just eight days after Bear's arrival, it was suddenly time for Turner to go. In the end it wasn't her physical ailments that were too much, it was what my vet called her Canine Cognitive Dysfunction... and what I called doggy dementia. She'd been having bouts of standing in corners or standing for long periods of time with her head in the closet, or of forgetting which way the front door opened and being unable to figure out how to come inside. Until last night, the dementia was manageable, though. Maybe being ill over the weekend made something snap, but last night she was just terribly anxious and confused - pacing, looking for places to hide, darting her head around wildly as if to say, "I don't know where I am or what's going on!" That was when I decided the old girl had had enough.

I only had Turner for eight months, and she slept for most of it. I guess that was all she needed - a soft place to sleep. I so wish I could have done more for her, or made her life more 'fun' ... but I couldn't make her young again, so I have to take comfort in knowing that she knew she was safe and cared for while she was with me. No matter how many times I've helped animals cross over, and no matter how right it's been to do so, it's still always sad.

At least I'm not dogless now. I'm so glad Bear is here -he is flopsy and funny and sweet. I have another big Collie-shaped hole in my heart now... but I've sworn off the Collie Rescue site at least until I can get Bear healthy and strong.

Gah - dogs! Not many things in life wreak such havoc with your heartstrings as a dog.
Spell-checked by Sandra @ 6/24/2009 | 15 comments

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Bear has landed



My head is still in a whirl, so much happened this last weekend, and so quickly!

First of all, Bear needed a new home pronto, because his foster mom is having hip surgery soon. Secondly, the rescue group didn't have another foster home available and they knew that if they boarded him at a kennel, he wouldn't eat. In the weeks prior to getting a foster home, he plummeted to 38 pounds while at the dog pound. Thirdly, his foster mom wanted me to take him so badly, she offered to make the four hour drive up from Iowa with him. So I caved!

He's an exceptionally sweet boy. The cats love him. He's gentle and calm. His paws are gi-normous. He and Turner seem quite comfortable together, although there's very little exchange of affection between the two. Sort of like an old married couple. Here's a typical scene:

We've only had one little misunderstanding. Last night I had just sunk into a lovely hot bubble bath when he came plodding into the bathroom. He looked me sharply in the eye and said, 'WOOF.' I said, "Well hi!" and proceeded to close my eyes and enjoy my bath. He turned and plodded away. A few moments later I heard what sounded like my neighbors running their hose, watering plants just outside my dining room windows. Weird, I thought, since it's been raining all evening. Wow, it sure was gushing. A veritable endless flood that went on, and on, and on. It took me a few seconds to figure out what it was.

"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!" I yelled, scrambling out of the tub, grabbing a towel, sloshing water everywhere, "No! No! No no no no nooooo!"

Too late. Apparently, 'WOOF.' means "You and your precious hardwood floors have ten seconds to let me outside. This is not a drill."

So I will have more respect for the single 'WOOF' from now on, BUT, if that doesn't fix the problem, we're getting a CRATE and starting doggy kindergarten training all over again. They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks, but in my opinion, peeing outside is NOT a terribly tricky trick.

Wish me luck with this!
Spell-checked by Sandra @ 6/17/2009 | 15 comments

Thursday, June 11, 2009

I'm jest a girl who cain't say no


I saw this Petfinder post a few days ago... and just inquired. Just inquired. I was sure he'd already have a home, or one pending. Nope.

The rescue organization somehow persuaded me to fill out an application this morning - I don't know how that happened. I got approved. I told them again, I was only inquiring, but they're all excited now, thrilled at the prospect of me taking him. I did not say I was taking him!!!!

I guess... assuming I get an all-clear from the doctor next week... I guess.

And then somebody please put a parental control on my computer so I can't access Petfinder ever, ever again. Please?
Spell-checked by Sandra @ 6/11/2009 | 12 comments

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Bullets

I have a random assortment of things clattering around in my brain today, maybe it'll help to organize them a little...

  • A tip for the ladies - trust me on this: NEVER do your breast self-exam on a Friday night. If you should find anything out of the ordinary there won't be a darn thing you can do about it until Monday morning except worry and fret. After an anxious weekend, I finally got in to see my Dr. yesterday, where he confirmed multiple lumps and got me an appointment at the Breast Center for next week. But take it from me, if you make it your habit to always check yourself on a Monday morning, you'll spare yourself an entire weekend of annoying, pointless, helpless-feeling frustration. I still have a week of that ahead of me, but I could have skipped the whole last weekend of it if I'd known this tip.

  • Another thing you just have to trust me on: after receiving a diagnosis of numerous breast lumps, the idea that a hazelnut Thai Bubble Tea sounds delicious is really not a good one. Something about the gelatinous tapioca balls just seemed...wrong. Maybe just order a soda.

  • I'm also really confused and irritated by the fact that I weighed 8 pounds more on the clinic's scale than I do at home. Ok, subtract a pound for clothes but still, what the heck. Do they deliberately set those scales to mess with your mind? That's just cruel.

  • On another subject, I totally aced the College Boards or whatever they're called and got signed up for my first quarter of school, starting July 20th. In the interim, I'm going to attempt to "test out" of some college classes. I've never done this before, but I'll let you know how tough it is. I'm starting with the easiest one possible, a course called "Keyboarding I" - I figure if I fail that, there's no point in attempting any more test outs, let alone on something difficult like Accounting Principles II or Macroenonomics. I'm very curious to see how these go.

  • I got a magnificent "prancing" gait out of Turner this weekend, probably partly due to the new glucosamine she's taking, and partly due to our arriving at Petco as several other big dogs were coming in too. She LOVES meeting other dogs. I go back and forth on the subject of getting her a companion. I suspect that one of these days I'll cave... let me get clear of these lumps and few college classes first, and then it'll probably be time.

That's all I have today - that and wanting to complain about three solid days of 50-degree weather, but it's Minnesota and there's no point in complaining. Sigh!

Spell-checked by Sandra @ 6/09/2009 | 9 comments

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Two out of three

Last I night had a very specific, atmospheric, realistic dream about winning the Minnesota State Lottery. Today, that dream came true.

In my dream, I was sitting where I sit right now - at my computer. I pulled up the winning lottery numbers and compared them to my ticket. Every. single. one. matched. Including the Powerball.

I had just won 98 million dollars.

I was speechless. I didn't know who to call first, or what to do. I was in a state of shock.

Dumbfounded and clearly running on auto-pilot, I toggled over to the Victoria's Secret website that I'd apparently viewed last, and immediately ordered the pretty berry-pink bra that only moments earlier I'd decided against, thinking I didn't have $50 to throw away. Well... hell. I could afford it now.

Then I made myself a veggie burger with lots of sauteed portobello mushrooms, took it out on my patio, and just processed... processed how my life had just changed into a different life. I was a gazillionaire. Nothing was every going to be the same. Oh my god. WOOOOOOOOOO!

And then I woke up. I was not the holder of a winning ticket. Heck, I wasn't even the holder of a ticket. Darn... it was such a nice dream.

But just for kicks, this morning I went on the Victoria's Secret website, and seeing that the berry-pink bra is now on clearance for $15, I thought, "Hey! In my dream, this was the FIRST THING I bought. If I buy it, my dream came true." So I bought it.

And now, just a few minutes ago, I made a Gardenburger and loaded it with awesome sauteed portobellos, and enjoyed it out on the patio, to complete the dream. So who knows, maybe the money is on it's way. I am definitely buying a ticket tonight.

Who says dreams can't come true? I already made two-thirds of it happen myself, I don't see why the Universe can't meet me a third of the way here.
Spell-checked by Sandra @ 6/03/2009 | 6 comments

Monday, June 1, 2009

A few snaps from the yard

At last, some things are growing in my yard. My amateur photo-taking, as always, does not do justice to anything, because for the life of me I can never get in focus. But I'm so pleased with how everything is shaping up in the yard, especially the Blue Scabiosa I added. I think I'll add a ton more of it next year.

So classic and simple, but I love geraniums:

View of the new fence from across the street. If you look closely, you can see Geronimo about to shimmy under, to come see what I'm doing across the street. The fence doesn't even remotely contain him, he's already found several spots where the ground dips a bit, and he simply squeezes under like Peter Rabbit.

I planted my first rose. It's eventually going to climb up the fence and take over, I hope - but look, it's already blooming like crazy! It really likes the coffee grounds I give it each morning.

What gardening successes are you having this year?

Spell-checked by Sandra @ 6/01/2009 | 8 comments

Friday, May 29, 2009

School Daze!

Back in ancient times, err, I mean the 1980's... I went to college and studied English Literature. It was good for the soul to spend entire semesters analyzing the Aesthetic Movement, or the beauty of iambic pentameter, sure. I ate it up. But I didn't learn a dang thing toward making an income later. Only through sheer dumb luck did I land a job in banking, where I stayed, ne'er to call upon my vast knowledge of Keats ever, ever again.

So... I've decided to get a Business Administration degree. I know ~ snore!! Yep, I'm going back to school. I'm meeting with an admissions rep on Wednesday to evaluate how many credits I need, what classes, and what I can test out on (CLEP). I work for a company that offers tuition reimbursement and after 19 years of ignoring that great and generous benefit, I'm finally going to take advantage of it.

I don't think I'll go to cheerleading tryouts this time around, though.
Spell-checked by Sandra @ 5/29/2009 | 9 comments

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Return Of The Voice In The Hall

Some of you may recall this post from last July. My second set of tenants in several years had been telling me at length that my rental property was haunted, which I highly doubted, but then one evening while I was there alone, I heard a rather loud woman's voice in the hallway myself. To this day, I can't explain it, I only know that I heard it. I won't say beyond all doubt that there is no logical explanation - only that I couldn't find one, and I was definitely the only person in the house at the time.

Anyway. I decided not to mention it to the new tenants, two women in their 20's. Why spook them unnecessarily if there was a rational, scientific explanation? Why make them think their landlord is a loon? Why set them up to imagine things, right?

Well, guess what. Five months into their tenancy, and just as I was starting to think, "Whew! Maybe we all imagined it!" I got the call. They had been experiencing it, from day one, and just hadn't known how to tell me, because they seriously wondered if they were losing their marbles. Only because I bit on a clue dropped in conversation back in January, did they finally tell me. They then described in detail the footsteps, a woman's voice, shadows in the hall, doors and cupboards closing - exactly as two prior sets of tenants had described. Exactly. And none of these people knew each other. Gah.

Anyway, their lease is up at the end of July, and surprise surprise - they are moving out. In fact, one of them already moved last week, and the other has a friend's burly boyfriend staying with her until the lease ends. I feel like I'm a character in a very cheesy 70's horror movie, or an episode of Scooby Doo, because from now on, every time I rent the place out, I guess I have a responsibility to tell all prospective tenants, "Oh by the way... there's just one little thing that wasn't in the ad..."

How weird is this? And equally weird to me, the other side of the duplex is completely clear. I lived on the other side myself, for 16 years, with nary a bump in the night, and the current tenants of my old side actually think this is all complete rubbish. I probably would too, if so many tenants hadn't told such identical stories over the years...and if I hadn't heard that voice echoing down that hall myself last summer. Yikes!

Hey, so, does anyone want to rent a lovely two-bedroom duplex in the historic Tangletown area of Minneapolis this August? It has hardwood floors and a super nice landlady! Pets ok.
Spell-checked by Sandra @ 5/27/2009 | 12 comments

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Only MOSTLY dead


"It just so happens that this blog here is only MOSTLY dead. There's a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive. With all dead, well, with all dead there's usually only one thing you can do."

I haven't abandoned my blog. I've been contemplatin' changes for it, reconfigurin' it, oh and unrelated to blogging, but since Spring came I've been outside gardenin'...lots of gardenin'. I've been pondering how to give my blogging more structure. Structure? Well, yeah... I'm that kind of person, I need structure. I can't tell you how many times I've wished I just always knew what to blog about on Mondays, had a funny story every Tuesday, a photo for Wednesdays, something along the lines of a Thursday Thirteen (only let's face it, that's like nine too many most of the time, which is why we all quit doing that), oh and I wish I had something wise or witty on Fridays or Saturdays, and then something about squirrels, but only on Sundays. That'd be great!

I've noticed that most of us are pretty "tapped out" on the blog topics lately. Not that any of our lives are boring, but we've hit ruts. After you've posted a million pics of the animals or kids, ranted about the annoying people in your life, raved about good things, bellyached about chores/weather/whatever, it's only natural that you'd eventually hit a point where you'd feel you have nothing new to say. But... you do. Remember when you started your blog? We all started because we enjoyed writing, and we liked finding the humor/angst/meaning in our daily minutia. We liked reading about other people's lives, whether they were similar or totally different, it was the posts about daily life we all enjoyed most, no? Quite a few of us have met in person as a result of our little blogs, which for me personally, has been nothing but positive!

So I'm thinking of using my own blogger block days to help get us rolling again. Us meaning me and you, if the shoe fits. I like reading what you all have to say, and maybe we need to nudge each other with topics. I'm going to start throwing random topic seeds out, and if you're in a rut that day - please, take it and grow something out of it. It may seem mundane, it may seem like something utterly unworthy of internet space, but do it anyway. It will probably be more interesting than you think. AND, if it's dull, you can blame me for having suggested you write about it. Bonus!

So tell me THIS: what blog subject(s) in your past received the MOST comments, and why do you think that was? For me, it was when Laddie passed away, bad dates, the ghost at my rental property, and some random bullet point lists I've posted. Looking back at that, well, that gets me thinkin'... I do have a Part 2 to that ghost story. Think I'll work on that for tomorrow. Now looking back at a much-loved post of YOURS, might there be a Part 2 that you could add for our reading pleasure?
Spell-checked by Sandra @ 5/26/2009 | 12 comments

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A tip for movie night

I read the ingredients of my Orville Redenbacher's popcorn tonight and noticed it's made with palm oil, which I just recently learned is one of the most unhealthy types of oil, because it is very high in saturated fat. Orville's ingredients also listed artificial flavors and preservatives, and I just thought, "Ugh. Popcorn should be so simple. Popcorn, butter, salt. End of story." At least since the Popcorn Workers Lung scare, they don't use Diacetyl anymore, but all the same, it occurred to me that I could probably make my own microwave popcorn, so I Googled it.

I got this technique from Alton Brown:

Do-it-yourself Microwave Popcorn
1/4 cup unpopped popping corn
1-2 teaspoons vegetable oil or melted butter
Paper lunch bag
Scotch tape
seasonings

Alton recommended stapling the bag shut, but that sounds a little dangerous to me. I found other sites suggesting tape. Toss the popcorn with melted butter or vegetable oil (EVOO is good) to coat and place in the paper bag. Fold the top of the bag over twice and seal with a strip of tape. Place the bag in the microwave, standing upright, rather than on it's side, and microwave on high until there are about 5 seconds between pops - roughly 2-3 minutes.

A one pound bag of unpopped corn costs approximately a dollar, and will make about 50 bags of microwave popcorn - 50 bags! Plus, when you make your own you can season it just the way you like, with salt, black pepper, garlic powder, parmesan cheese, turmeric, cinnamon & sugar, etc. Give it a try!

Spell-checked by Sandra @ 5/16/2009 | 11 comments

Thursday, May 7, 2009

On the home front

I decided against buying the foreclosed house. Upon closer examination of the Truth In Housing document, I just got nervous. That's all I can say, I chickened out. Lately I've been feeling a huge compulsion to do something entrepreneurial, or at least something creative...but that house won't be it. For starters, it had no furnace - only incorrectly installed electric baseboard heaters. No ductwork for a furnace either. I've never seen such a thing in Minnesota, that's just madness. So, common sense prevailed. I'll be sorry if the place ends up being bulldozed to the ground, but I have to walk away.

Closer to home, my new fenced front yard is supposed to go in on Saturday. No more getting fully dressed in the middle of the night to take Turner out on her leash for her 3 am calls of nature. I can just open the door and let her go. I cannot wait.

I have all of next week off from work - a stay-cation, yes! Nine straight days, at home. My week's project list is daunting, so let's hope I can stay to task. Gardening, Spring cleaning, and running/going to the gym will be top priorities. I may take Turner for her first dog park experience. I'm definitely taking her to the groomer for a spa day.

Anyone else taking a stay-cation this year? It's all the rage, apparently.
Spell-checked by Sandra @ 5/07/2009 | 8 comments

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A typical morning around here

Isn't this a nice face to wake up to?


It would be a nice face to get up and go for a walk with too....if she wasn't such a slug-a-bed. Turner is a typical teen-ager. She'd stay in bed 'til noon if you'd let her. COME ON, TURNER - let's go for a walk!!!!


Nudge, nudge, poke poke - hellllloooooooo?!


Guess not. Once she's got the bed to herself, there's no moving her. I guess we can all identify.
Spell-checked by Sandra @ 5/05/2009 | 9 comments

Saturday, May 2, 2009

It's called a clutch because you're supposed to hold on to it

So this morning I was up bright and early with a long list of things I wanted to accomplish. Amongst other things, I loaded up the car with donations for the thrift shop, and my shovel, to dig up some hostas at a co-worker's house. I set my little black Isaac Mizrahi clutch wallet on top of the car as I arranged things in the back seat, making a note to myself not to forget it before I got in the car. Oh, and I decided to put out my recycling. It's good to recycle.

When I got to my first stop, Home Depot, what did I realize? Well you guessed it, I had gone and left my wallet on top of the car. And of course, it was no longer there. I'd just driven on the freeway, after all. Ugh.

I flew back home, with bated breath, crossing my fingers that it was on the floor of the garage. Or in the alley. Please, please, please -- be there. My driver's license, my credit cards, some cash, my library and gym cards, everything was in that wallet. It wasn't there.

So, I drove back to Home Depot, retracing the route I'd taken earlier, carefully scanning the road. No sign. I wondered, would the bank even be able to close out my cards, since I had no identification? How long would it take to get a new debit card? Don't driver's licenses take a month? How was I going to buy beer tonight? Holy cow, this was TERRIBLE!

I returned home with a cunning plan. I'd place a book on my car, similar in size and weight to that wallet, make the trip again, and see where it slid off. Brilliant, right? Sure enough on the sharp slope at the end of my alley, the book slid right off - so my wallet must have fallen off there too - ugh, why wasn't it there?! Clearly my plans for the day were canceled. It occurred to me that I had an old expired driver's license that I could probably use at the bank, though. I'd go get that.

Well, to my great joy, when I got home there was a message on my answering machine. "Uh...yeah - Sandra, my husband found your wallet while he was walking the dog a little while ago. It was at the end of your alley. We live a block away - we'll be home if you want to come and get it!"

I am so flipping lucky! My faith in humanity and the good people of the Nokomis neighborhood went up a major notch. There are honest people out there. There are dorks who drive across town with their wallets on top of their cars...but thank goodness, there are honest people too.
Spell-checked by Sandra @ 5/02/2009 | 10 comments

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Big decision!

You know that feeling when you're completely and utterly torn as to what to do about something?

There's this house two blocks away from mine...for years now, every time I've walked by it I've wondered about it. It's different. It was clearly lived in by artists of some sort, there were sculptures and huge boulders in the yard, and it just a lot of unique flourishes here and there. When I recently noticed it had a "for sale" sign, I immediately went online, just out of curiosity, to see if there were photos of the inside.

To my SHOCK, it's a foreclosure, listed at $50K. This is a house two blocks from Lake Nokomis, in a safe, scenic neighborhood where nothing else is selling for under $200k. $50K???

I had a realtor take me through the place last night, and it's one CRAZY old house. Built in 1918, apparently it had a long-time owner who didn't believe in pulling permits, and just occasionally decided to add more rooms, add electrical breakers, or install gas appliances themselves. The floor plan is nuts. In it's favor: there's a loft over the living room, french doors, a sun room, a cedar-shake roof, a large roof-top patio area, another brick patio in the garden, beautiful landscaping, tall pine trees, and a TON of decorating potential. Going against it: the electrical, plumbing and additions need to be inspected and brought up to code. The kitchen and bath have been stripped. The place needs new floors, insulation, exterior siding work, maybe a new roof. Cosmetic work everywhere.

Still...the realtor thought I could probably get the place for $40K, then spend another $40K on renovations to get it up to code and quite liveable. That'd be an unbelievably cheap house. With tons of character. I could sell my house and move in once the rehab was done, and have one-third of the house payment I do today -- OR I could just sell the place for a healthy profit.

Then again it could be a money pit. With ghosts. Or worse, spiders. Maybe it should just be leveled and a new house built there. It's a gamble. Part of me sort of likes the idea of having a big project, though - I don't know why!

So today I'm debating whether I should even pay an inspector to look at it for me. I guess that is the only way to really know the facts. Deep down maybe I already know it won't be a good inspection. But then again....gah, I'm so torn!
Spell-checked by Sandra @ 4/30/2009 | 11 comments

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Great Chicken Debacle of Aught Nine

On Thursday of this week, Popeye's Chicken ran a national ad campaign promoting a special one-day deal: EIGHT pieces of chicken for only $4.99, in honor of Earth Day. Since, as we all know, consuming fried chicken saves the planet. It stabilizes the polar ice caps and cuts down on carbon emissions. Huh?? Ok, maybe Popeye's ecological logic needs a little work, but the fact is that they ran tv ads on every channel, about their big Earth Day chicken special.

It was the best of times...then suddenly - it was the worst of times. Turns out that the Popeye's in Minneapolis (the ONLY Popeye's in Minnesota, by the way) chose not to participate in the national promotion. They hung handmade signs in the windows saying, "Sorry, we decided NOT to participate in the special you saw on tv. "

And they thought they'd get away with that??

Well, when the chicken lovers of Minnesota 'flocked' to Popeye's for that $4.99 special, only to learn that there wasn't one...all I can say is that ALL CHICKEN HELL broke loose!! The angry hungry hoards went clucking mad!! Police officers had to control an enraged crowd to prevent a full-blown riot in the streets! Check it out:



Good lord. There must be some mighty powerful addictive chemicals added to that chicken. I've never been to a Popeye's - can it really be better than crack, as these people would have me believe? Anyway, I must say, that for the first time since November, when winter's chill froze my heart and filled me with bitterness for this place, this story brought a warm glowing feeling about Minneapolis creeping over me. A little thaw took place.

I especially love the adorable guy in the Obama hat who, despite there being no $4.99 deal, bought a great big bag of chicken anyway. Nice to see people so passionate about doing their bit for Earth Day.
Spell-checked by Sandra @ 4/24/2009 | 9 comments

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Randomness

I've been attempting to get a pouffy ponytail recently, like these:


It shouldn't be complicated. But I can never get it to look like these. I just can't figure it out. Hmm.

Oh and I read recently about how blogs (and bloggers) often get stuck in a closed loop, constantly reading and linking to the same group of blogs. I'm very guilty of this, and in fact don't even make it to most of my old standard stops recently...partly because I've been so busy at work, partly because I'm FaceBooking more, and partly because I'm just in a rut. So in an effort to combat the blogging equivalent of inbreeding, here are links to three blogs I love but have never linked to before. They aren’t exactly ‘personal blogs’ - they’re more in the home decor/gardening vein - but are definitely link-worthy! I hope you like them, and I'm hoping you'll share a similar favorite back.

Absolutely Beautiful Things - this blog is pure eye candy, and inspires me to do some new stylish home projects. I loved her idea of a wall of framed vintage travel posters, I'm doing it!!

Posie Gets Cozy - this Portland blogger makes me want to get gardening so desperately, I can taste it. She also has two cute Corgi dogs.

Creature Comforts - another eye candy site to get lost in. Free downloadable art, cheap chic, DIY ideas and daily inspiration.

Nothing much else to report... still running most mornings (yeah!), still feeding Turner off of the floor (oh yeah!) and still waiting for REAL SPRING WEATHER to arrive. So far, Spring Aught Nine has been a total rip-off in my books. I'm wearing skirts and open-toed shoes, psyching myself into believing it's Spring, but it's rarely been much above 32 as I've left for work in the morning, and I'm still cold and miserable. Probably best not to get started on this topic. A co-worker in L.A. was just bitching to me yesterday about the heat and I literally wanted to reach over the phone lines and smack them. Argghhhh. So what's it like in your neck of the woods?

Spell-checked by Sandra @ 4/22/2009 | 14 comments