Archive for January, 2013

It’s a chilly 2 degrees F today, with a windchill of -17.  Do people in Hawaii even know what a windchill factor is?  Suffice it to say we’re having weather fit for perfect preservation.

The missing link, preserved in a block of ice. Apparently.

With such bone-chilling weather it’s hard to imagine that in a few short months I will be outside doing summer shows and festivals, selling my wares. As a matter of fact I’ve already received two applications. One of the shows I’ve decided to bypass, but the other leaves me on the fence and riddled with anxiety over the decision to apply or not. My gut says pass it up, but my head says take a chance.

I was up late last night, scrolling through a list of craft fairs and festivals to take place in Wisconsin this summer. Why do I favor Wisconsin shows more than my own home state of Minnesota? Well, for one thing when I do a show in a different state it’s like I’m having a working vacation. For another thing Wisconsin has a smaller sales tax than Minnesota, which is nice when it comes to filing a sales tax return.

Now is the time of year I have to make some decisions. Business decisions. It makes me feel like such a grown-up, and I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not. I’m waiting patiently for a copy of Midwest Art Fairs to arrive at my house so I can really dig into the festival scene and schedule my summer travels from one craft show to another, to another…

Don’t forget, a schedule of my travels will appear in the 2013 Events page.  It’s empty now, but not for long.  I hope.

Stay warm!

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Wordless Wednesday

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The Getaway

Once upon a time there was a boy and a girl.  One day they put on their traveling clothes all ready for an adventure.  They set out into the white, barren land in which they lived.  Before too long they found themselves in a most beautiful land which was warm and full of color.  They looked at each other and smiled.

A lady from this magical land gave them both an elixir.  They tasted the concoction and it was so delicious they drank it all up.  The lady gave them another, and the boy and girl sipped the elixir as they set out to explore this beautiful, colorful land.

They wandered deeper into the color and sound of this magical place.  They left no breadcrumbs behind for they didn’t care if they ever returned to the place from which they came.  The elixir they drank started to have a strange effect and made the boy and girl feel more adventurous than ever.

Oh the things they saw!  The lights and sounds and colors made the boy and girl feel alive and excited.  When something caught their eyes they would sit and converse.  Yes!  They interacted with lobster fishermen and even ducks!  The wonderful thing about conversing with those who lived in this land was that they paid the boy and girl for spending time with them.  It wasn’t as if they were desperate for company.  No, they were just grateful to have the pleasure of visiting with such nice people like the boy and girl.  After all, the boy and girl were known for their pleasantries and fine manners.

Deeper into the land they went and got glimpses of their pasts.  They met Jed, Jethro, Elly Mae and Granny.  They also met Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tinman, and Cowardly Lion.  The boy and girl thought these characters were long gone from their lives, but in the magical land they came to life and entertained the boy and girl as good hosts and hostesses often do.

All the while the boy and girl were exploring the girl kept expecting to see her brother, who had died from a terrible malady some time ago.  She couldn’t see him, but felt his presence in this swirling atmosphere.  The elixir the girl drank made his presence seem stronger, but still no matter how hard she looked she couldn’t see him.

His presence was all around her though, and she felt it very strongly when she happened across Alfred Hitchcock.  Surely her brother must be near, as she knew he occupied the same space as Mr. Hitchcock.  For a brief moment she wondered, is this strange land heaven?

The boy returned with some more of the elixir and when she drank it her eyes fell upon yet another who could surely find her brother.  Michael Jackson.  The King of Pop.  There he was in the midst of flashing lights, his music blaring.  The girl sat down next to him and though he couldn’t bring her brother to light he entertained her beyond her greatest expectations.  He too, like the others she had visited, gave her money for her company.  Lots of it.  She swooned in the midst of the noise and when he asked her on many occasions “Who’s bad?” she always answered I am!

The girl never found her brother even though she knew he was near.  When the boy met up with her again they feasted upon the most delicious food they could find and in their delirious states they decided it was time to find their way home again.

They vowed to return soon to the magical land of light and sound, to sip the enchanted elixir, and to visit with the inhabitants.  If you ever want to escape the dreariness of your regular life there is a place not too far away where make-believe becomes real, where fuzziness is clarity, and those who share your passion are never far away.  Find it and enjoy it to the hilt.

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Dive Night is a once monthly adventure undertaken by me and Husby, along with our friends Ruthie and Ray. Each couple alternates choosing a restaurant, one which must come under the category of “dive.” Our definition of dive: a neighborhood gathering spot with a laid-back atmosphere and good food. We’ll find the interesting hang-outs in the Minneapolis/St Paul area. Casual attire required. A sip of beer or wine doesn’t hurt either.

I’ve been sitting on this post for two months with severe anxiety that I wouldn’t be able to do the VFW experience justice.

Ruthie and Ray had previously visited the White Bear Lake VFW and found it so endearing they decided to invite us to experience it with them.  There was one catch ~ we had to go on a Thursday night rather than a Friday as we usually do.  We huffed out our compromise and agreed.  What made Thursday night the better pick?  You’ll find out soon.

The place was occupied with more people than I guessed it would be.  Probably because it was Thursday.  Don’t worry, I’ll get to that.  It’s also bigger than I thought it would be.

What’s a dive bar without pull tabs?

As I said before, this post has been sitting in my queue for a couple of months ~ when we went the VFW was even decorated for Christmas.

The food was surprisingly good. I’m not sure why I was expecting less, but I was very pleased with the taste and quantity of food.

We started out with some onion rings that contained just the right amount of grease, enough to leave spots on the paper liner, and artichoke dip that was scrumptious.

Onion rings, crispy and golden brown. I didn’t get a picture until they had been nearly eaten up. The basket was mounded full of fried goodness.

Really good artichoke dip and pita bread.

Husby started his meal with a “side” salad. The thing was enormous! He reported it to be cold and crispy and flavorful.

Sandwiches and burgers come with chips, but I asked to have fries substituted. I don’t know if it was a misunderstanding or what, but I got a huge basket of fries plus chips with my meal. I shared the fries with everyone because there were too many for just me. I think the waitress put me down for an entire appetizer-sized order of fries. They were pretty good though, and I’m glad I got them.

Onion ring not included with the fries.

Ray and Husby both got the bacon cheeseburger. They were juicy and hot with plenty of bacon. Ruthie and I had the half sandwich and a cup of potato bacon soup. Our sandwiches, ham and cheese melt for me and turkey bacon melt for Ruthie, were made on a very tasty pretzel roll and were very flavorful, but could have been hotter. The soup was fabulous and very hot.

The bacon cheeseburger with chips.

Half sandwich and a cup of soup, with chips of course.

We were all really pleased with our meals, with the exception of the luke-warm temperature of the sandwiches Ruthie and I had.  After being satiated with good food and a libation, we were on to the highlight of the evening…V-I-N-G-O!

VINGO is exactly like BINGO except they use a V for Veteran.  OK, I’ll let that one go.  When it comes to those who have served our country I’ll pretty much let them have their way.  Three Thursdays a month the White Bear Lake VFW offers the fun and excitement of VINGO.  The interesting thing about this VINGO game was that winners got jello shots.  Yes, you heard me right.

I’ve never had a jello shot in my life, and I recall them from the ’80s as being slurped out of a test tube-type vessel.  The VFW jello shots were served in little plastic condiment cups with covers.  The jello shot guy walked around with a crate of these things, handing them out to the winners of the game, and even to those who didn’t, because they wanted to get rid of as many jello shots as they could.

The shots were as firm as regular jello.  We loosened them from the plastic cup with a fork, then chewed/swished/swallowed the whole thing at once.  I really wanted it to taste good, but it didn’t.  As I’ve never had a jello shot before that night I had nothing to compare it to, so I don’t know if these were badly made or if jello shots in general taste like medicine.

Is this what a jello shot is supposed to look like?

Husby ended up eating his with a fork.

One of our favorite parts of the evening was when VINGO time was over the jello shot guy had a lot of shots left over, so he asked everyone who wanted a shot to raise their hand. Of course everyone wanted one, including the table full of gray-haired ladies sitting next to us. Interestingly, they took their shot cups from the guy, put them in their purses, and left. We imagined them going home and eating that spiked jello in bed for a nightcap. Can you get pulled over for open bottle if you’re driving with a jello shot in your purse?

Our evening at the White Bear Lake VFW was one for the records. We had a blast playing VINGO, drinking eating horrific jello shots, and enjoying some truly delicious food.  The people working there are really nice and friendly too.  If you’re ever in the White Bear Lake area be sure to stop by.  This dive gets four thumbs up!

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Wordless Wednesday

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