Archive for April, 2011

Random Thoughts.


Like that poor kid above, Today I am the victim of a bad haircut. I knew it was going to be bad when my regular stylist wasn’t working, and instead of saying “I’ll come back another day,” I thought “Heck, what’s the worst that could happen?” I hated going to work today, pinheaded as I looked, and the weight of the melting snow did nothing for my style. Sometimes life is just kinda crazy.

For those of you who don’t live in Duluth, you should know that it’s been snowing/raining here all day. April 27. It will make you appreciate where you live a whole lot more. That’s the kind of spring we’re having. Bad hair, wet snow. Doesn’t get much worse than that.

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On Saturday I read that the Salvation Army was running low on donations, especially clothing. I went through my closet and found a bunch of things I no longer wear (probably bought them there in the first place!) and dropped them off at their West End store. The in-store supply didn’t look any lower than usual to me, but it’s not something I pay a lot of attention to. Afterwards, I drove to the Salvation Army store in Superior, and they were jammed to the rafters with clothes! They had so many clothing items that they’d rearranged the store in order to make room for all the racks.

What gives? Don’t they share? Isn’t one Salvation Army helping another Salvation Army? Do they not subscribe to the “brother’s keeper” theory? Did the Duluth store send all their clothing to the Superior store? How could one have a ton of clothing and the other advertise that they needed more? Baffling.

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I celebrated my 63rd birthday last week. I’m amazed that I’ve lived this long. Or that the number is so high. Once, in a moment of confusion and hubris, I took out a calculator to see if I’d made a mistake. But no. It’s 63 all right. Considering the confusion of my childhood and the misery of my teenage years, I’m sort of happy to be 63. All that wasted angst! I find that life gets better and happier. True, there are some medical issues I’d rather not mention, but in the scheme of things they are minor and manageable, and life seems pretty darned good.

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What are you reading these days? I just went through a series of books about women who should not have gotten married or had children. One that comes to mind is “Self Storage,” by Gayle Brandeis. While the cover was beautiful, the story was disappointing. There were a few others whose names I’ve forgotten. I hope this isn’t the way of current fiction! I’m in the middle of “Hidden,” by Richard Jaskunas, and this woman absolutely should never have gotten married. A better story than “Self Storage,” though the cover isn’t as engaging.

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Had a really good laugh at work this morning, courtesy of my friend Tracy. Though she didn’t have to come to work as a victim of a bad haircut, she was a victim of poor lighting, and sent me this photo from her desk:

Some days, you just kinda want to stay in bed.

2 Recipes Just In Time For Easter!


Last Sunday we held a baby shower for my niece Courtney, who’s due in early June. What fun! We have one beautiful baby in the family, but she lives in Plymouth, so we felt we needed a local baby, and Courtney and Joe granted our request. Can’t wait to see this new one. We don’t know if it’s a he or she yet, but we don’t care. We just one another baby we can pass around at parties!

Since we were having a brunch, we decided to serve some baked egg dishes. We also served Mimosas and other stuff, including the cake shown above, so it was all quite nice. Both these recipes are very good, pretty easy, and I think they’d be great for an Easter brunch, too.

This one’s from Kraft Foods (dot com) and has to be assembled the day before  baking. Though the directions called for a vegetable spray to be used in the pan, everything ended up sticking. Next time I’ll use actual vegetable oil or one of those Crisco sticks. Stuck or not, this was really good! It would also be good for overnight guests. You could make it the night ahead and pop it into the oven in the morning.

Do Ahead Egg Bake

8 eggs

3 cups milk

8 cups french bread cubes, cut about 3/4″ size

1 pkg (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

12 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

1 pkg (8 oz) shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided

1 day ahead: Whisk the eggs and milk in a large bowl until well blended. Stir in the bread. Add the spinach, bacon and 1-1/2 cups of cheese; mix lightly. Pour the mixture into a greased 9×13″ baking dish or cake pan. Top with remaining cheese. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight. Uncover and bake at 350° for 48-50 minutes or until the top is puffed and golden brown.

This next one is from the Bisquick people, which reminds me of my uncle Don, who once told us (very little) kids that he knew a German guy who went around with his pants unzipped so he could Bisquick. You know, that’s high hilarity for and sophisticated humor when you’re 10. (Kinda still makes me laugh.)

Since we had three dishes with meat in them, I wanted one vegetarian dish for the party, so I substituted the diced ham for a tall can of mushrooms, and it worked out just fine. This would be a nice side dish, too. Buy your eggs from someone who raises chickens in their back yard. They are so beautiful (the eggs AND the chickens) and they taste wonderful. And you’ll never see a more brilliantly yellow yolk.

Easy Garden Bake

1-1/4 cups chopped zucchini. (Leave the skins on. I used green and yellow varieties.)

1 cup chopped tomato

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped green pepper (red would be good, too)

1 cup diced ham

1 cup grated Parmesan or cheddar cheese (I used half a cup each)

1 cup milk

2 eggs

1/2 cup Bisquick baking mix (“Hey, your fly’s open…”)

1/2 teaspoon salt (seems excessive if you’re using ham, but use more if you choose mushrooms instead)

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Grease a 9×13″ cake pan or baking dish. Lay the zucchini across the bottom of the pan, and then add tomato, onion, green pepper, ham and cheese. Beat remaining ingredients until smooth. Pour mixture evenly into the pan, over the vegetables, ham and cheese. Bake at 350° until knife inserted in center comes out clean. (About 35 minutes.) Cool 5 minutes before serving.

So there you have it. Something to do with all those eggs you’ve been buying. Don’t forget to color some, too, so you can make egg salad on Monday. You know what they say: When life hands you eggs…

Happy spring!

Mental Detours


I love that process that happens when you set out to find one thing, but you come away with quite another. Like when you go to the dictionary to look up a word, but then you see another word that suddenly reminds you of your dad’s office, where you used to fold paper fans out of every invoice on his desk, and where you first learned that particular word, and then you wonder if that other lumber company is still around so you look them up in the phone book and see that they are, and you think, “huh,” and then you forgot the first word you were looking up.

Or you go to Target to find some pretty new throw pillows for your couch, and you get to Target and start thinking geez, I don’t even like that couch, but you look halfheartedly at pillows anyway, and decide they are too much to spend for a couch you might replace soon if you get a nice tax return, so you wander around the store and remember that you could use some sandals for summer but you don’t like any of they ones they have, so you eventually go through checkout with a new skillet and you’re pretty happy with your find.

There’s probably a name for this occurrence, aside from schizophrenic thinking, but I don’t know what it is. It seems goofy and convoluted, but when you go back and retrace your mental steps, there is a sweet kind of logic to it.

It happened again today as I was thinking about what kind of new (to me) car I would buy in June, when I will have some available cash. My current car is 17 years old and looks it, though it would probably run another 17 if it had to. My goal is to upgrade my car and drive to Deadwood, South Dakota. (Probably not in the same day.)

After watching all 3 seasons of Deadwood, I want to see the town. I particularly want to see the graves of Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane. I want to walk down its main street.

So on my way to find out information about Deadwood, I clicked here and there and suddenly found myself in Vineland, New Jersey, visiting George Daynor and the Palace of Depression. Not sure how I got there, and I know New Jersey isn’t between Duluth and Deadwood, but I was fascinated by his story.

George Daynor was not depressed so much as he was just plain goofy, but I’m guessing there is also some logic in his seemingly confused-thinking. I’m guessing George Daynor was the kind of guy who went out one morning to fill the tank with gas, and limped back home with an eighth a tank and about 500 pounds of colored glass.

It probably made perfect sense to him.

Go have a look!