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Archive for February, 2014

Charlotte and I send e-mails to each other throughout our work days.  We’re always up to date with each other and provide each other with pleasant diversions from our jobs, of which neither of us are particularly fond.  Chat chat chat, that’s all we do all day in between meetings and client orientations.  Thursday was a day like any other for Charlotte and me, sending innocuous notes back and forth like bored school girls.  Midway through the day the phone rang and caller ID identified Charlotte’s work number.  Why would she be calling me when we’ve been writing back and forth?  It had to be one of those calls.

There’s nothing worse than getting one of those phone calls.  You know, the ones that come in the middle of the night or from someone you don’t normally hear from.  The calls that get your adrenaline pumping and your nerve up to hear the worst news you could possibly imagine.

Charlotte’s husband, Pinky, had been in an accident.  Or as I heard it, “an explosion.”  She was going to rush to the county hospital, and I told her I’d meet her there.  We had no idea what to expect, what kind of explosion it was, or if Pinky was dead or alive.  I called my boss and told her I was leaving and arrived at the hospital within a half hour.

The emergency room guard gave me a pass to see Pinky, which was a good sign because I wouldn’t have gotten one if he was in surgery or otherwise unable to receive visitors.  I beat Charlotte there so I was the first family member Pinky saw since the accident.

He was laying on the gurney with a steady stream of saline dripping into both eyes.  He was conscious and coherent.  I was relieved for that.  Charlotte arrived shortly after I did and she was even more relieved that he could tell the story.

Pinky is a bus driver.  It’s wintertime in Minnesota and it’s not uncommon for vehicles to struggle starting in this cold, cold weather.  Pinky’s bus didn’t start, so he went to tighten the bolts on the battery.  Pow.  The battery done blowed up right in his face.

Charlotte and I kept him company in the emergency room while the staff spent hours irrigating his eyes and face.  He looked amazingly well; in fact, I’d say he looked like he had a little sunburn, and that’s about it.  There were some lacerations and bumps on his forehead, but nothing that required plastic surgery or even stitches.  Charlotte is kind of excited that her husband might have a little bit of scarring on his face – very manly!  There was also corneal damage in both eyes that is predicted to start healing within forty-eight hours and continue to heal to normal.

We got word today that Pinky will survive this incident, won’t lose his eyesight or dashing good looks, and definitely won’t end up looking like the Joker.

The Joker got his eerie smile from a vat of chemicals not unlike battery acid.

Pinky’s a badass for beating the odds and we’re all very relieved this episode didn’t cause more damage that it did.  One very important thing to mention ~ Pinky was wearing protective eyeware when he was working on the battery.  It most likely saved him from being blinded forever.  Good thing Pinky considers safety first, contrary to his personal hero, Red Green, who takes all risks imaginable.

Red Green ~ Pinky’s hero, but not role model.

Tomorrow is Pinky’s birthday and he’s feeling well enough to have a birthday celebration.  We’ll gather and toast forkfuls of flourless chocolate cake to Pinky’s life and be grateful he’s alive to tell the tale.

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Surviving The Winter of 2014

OK, it’s been two weeks since I last posted anything and I feel just terrible.  Not because I haven’t been entertaining the masses, but because I haven’t written.  I want to write, but I don’t write.  I read, but I don’t write.  What’s wrong with me?

Today the answer came to me.  It’s this dang winter that’s bringing me down.  I hate it when all people can talk about is the weather, and I hate it even more when people in Minnesota complain about snow and cold because, seriously, you live in Minnesota and what do you expect?  But this winter is different.  This winter even has me complaining.

It’s been bitterly cold and massively snowy for three solid months.  A lot of people might think “bitterly cold” is anything at the freezing mark (32 degrees F), but I’m talking sub-zero freaking degrees…for months on end.  OK, maybe not sub-zero for three months solid, but I can’t remember the last time we reached a wind-chill factor over twenty degrees F.

I love winter.  Really, I do.  It’s a wonderful time to lie dormant like everything else.  It’s quiet time.  It’s cozy time.  But people around here are obsessed and have turned ugly for the fact that they can’t even go outside without their faces hurting.  Everyone’s crabby.  And those that aren’t crabby are sickeningly positive saying how beautiful the world is covered with the pure white snow and glistening ice.  We all know the people who are being positive are just trying to compensate for the car that won’t start or the driveway that needs shoveling before going to work.

There’s going to be a day not too far in the future when everyone around here will be complaining about the heat and humidity and they’ll be wishing for a sub-zero day with -75% humidity.

Me, personally?  I’m crabby too.  I’m stir crazy and just wishing I could get to the day job on a road that isn’t coated with two inches of ice.  I’m tired of shivering.  I’m tired of hearing, “cold enough for you?”  I’m tired of listening to people who are tired of this winter.

There.  I’m ashamed of this rant but I got it out of my system.  I’ve had enough of this winter.  I would like some temperatures above 25 degrees F.  I would love the wind to die down to about 5 mph.  March is my least favorite month of the year, but I hope this year it brings a little bit of warmth.  Minnesota can surely use it.

Current temperature: 8 degrees F.  Wind: 34 mph.  Windchill factor: -35 degrees F.

Sun and blue skies give the illusion of warmth. Trust me, it’s not warm.

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You know my friend Ruthie?  The girl half of the couple with whom Husby and I go out on Dive Nights?  She holds a tradition of giving me chocolates for a Christmas gift.  This year she gave me a very impressive-sized box of truffles.

Ruthie knows I love sweets.  What she might not know is that I’m still working on that box of truffles.  Oh, they’re almost gone, but I’ve been savoring them for nearly two months.

When I retire for the evening I usually like to read for a little bit.  I’m still working on the Harry Potter series; I’ve finally reached the last one, The Deathly Hallows.  The other night Husby and I were laying in bed reading our separate books.  I surprised him by saying, “chocolate?” and offered him one of the Christmas truffles Ruthie gave me.  You see, reading chocolates are darn near the best chocolates you can eat.

A tray of truffles (one of five!) given to me by Ruthie at Christmastime. Such a wonderful accompaniment on my evening journeys to Hogwarts.

Husby was gracious and only ate one of the truffles I offered him, but I could tell he wanted to make chocolate a regular part of his bedtime reading.

See that one in the middle? It’s caramel, my favorite.

Thank you, Ruthie, for a winter of indulgent nights with creamy chocolate.  Thank you, JK Rowling, for whisking me away on the Hogwarts Express.

Winter evenings with a good book and some good chocolate…what could be better than that?

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A Brief Escape

You know how much I complain about the day job? How it takes up too much of my time and how much I wish my retirement would occur next week rather than twenty-one months from now?  How the clientele gives me a bad feeling about our society in general and how the pissiness of the people I work with just drags me down?

You might feel the same way about your day job too.  Sometimes it’s just a necessary evil we have to endure to be responsible adults.  We have to pay bills, after all.

For those of us who are working strictly for a paycheck there has to be some kind of respite.  Something to take us away from what pushes us into a circle of hell that affects the way we think and relate to our skewed vision of the world.

OK, I’m being a little dramatic.  My point is, if we’re not completely happy, or at least content in our jobs, we have to find a way to escape, physically and mentally.  That’s when I put on my walking shoes and hit the skyways of St. Paul.

Today you get to see a little of what I see when I go off in search of endorphins in the middle of my day.

Fun artwork in the First National Bank Building.

The defunct but still lit up Galtier Theater entrance.

A view from the skyway to another skyway.

I love this space. So clean, fresh, and unusually peaceful for being downtown.

See that building in the shadows? I want to buy it and make it into a single family dwelling…for myself.

That shiny blue monstrosity is where I spend my hours working the day job. It used to be a beautiful department store. Mom and Dad took us to that department store to see Santa when we were kids. Once in a while I’ll see a glimpse of an original element of the building and have flashbacks.

A place for corporate drones to have happy hour after working for the man. I’ve never seen it open for business during business hours. I have no idea what the name of this place is or what it’s like when it’s open.

One of my favorite buildings in downtown St. Paul. The Pioneer Building. It’s been turned into apartments and I would totally live there.

That gorgeous arched window of the Pioneer Building as seen from the inside.

My favorite doorway. It belongs to that building I want to buy and make into my own urban mansion.

It’s all about finding beauty and serenity wherever you can. It’s all about finding an inner life and living it for a few minutes here and there throughout the mundane work day.  It’s all about making the best of a bad situation until you can go home and live a life you want to live twenty-four hours a day instead of six.

Do you love your job?  If not, do you escape somehow throughout the day?

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Wordless Wednesday

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Picture this: a young woman in her early twenties decked out in leather pants and thigh-high boots and only a camisole covering her upper body.  Her long hair is brushed away from one side of her face and held fast with a sparkly barrette.  The other side of her face is partly covered by the long mane of intentionally chaotic hair.  She’s heading into a popular danceteria in Minneapolis to watch one of her favorite bands play live.  The Suburbs.  The dance floor will be packed with hot, sweaty bodies, hers included, slam dancing to Baby Heartbeat and Music for the Boys.

That young woman was me.  Those were days that will remain in my mind as some of the most fun days of my life.  But things are different now.  I’m older, and slam dancing is not only unfashionable, but also dangerous for someone who may or may not have the brittle bones of a woman in her fifties.  However, being a woman in my fifties doesn’t keep me from loving the music of my youth.  I wear jeans and a sweater instead of leather pants and thigh-high boots.  I have a neat little bob hairdo instead of a longer, wilder mane.  But in my head and heart I’m still that slam-dancing girl.  I remember what it was like to walk into the dark, smoky venue that was First Avenue.  I remember the adrenaline and the thumping bass that became one with my own heartbeat.

My little DiscMan and über fancy speakers set up in Craftland

I got home early from work today and headed straight for Craftland.  While listening to the music I slam-danced to thirty plus years ago to I deplasticized and flattened 144 bottle caps for future drink charms and magnets.

The beginning of a beautiful craft.

Doing a different thing to the same music.  Recalling old times while living my present life.  All is good.

Remember yourself this weekend.

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Wordless Wednesday

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