Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Everyday’ Category

Read Full Post »

This year for our birthdays Husby and I decided to buy each other tickets to a concert.  Not just any concert.  A concert that might never be presented again.  Willie Nelson & Family and Alison Krauss & Union Station.  A Toofer!  (That translates to two-for-one.)  Not only that, there was a special treat we weren’t expecting.  A guy named Dan Smalley opened for the two headliners.  A Threefer!

Before I continue, I want it known I’m not a huge fan of country music.  For example, I don’t tune into country music stations on the radio and have never bought country music albums/CDs.  If I’m going to listen to country music it’s got to be old school country and western music because someone makes me listen to it.  And if someone makes me listen to old school country and western music, I’ll probably like it.

Interestingly enough, the Target Center in Minneapolis (where the concert was held) is kitty-corner to my old stomping ground, First Avenue.  I took a picture and my heart went back almost forty years.  That’s a whole ‘nother post though.

Prince, Boy George, PIL, Morris Day, U2, The Suburbs, etc. etc. etc.  First Avenue in the ’80s was AWESOME!

After soaking in the city life for the first time in a long time (with all its reminiscing), I was ready for the Willie/Alison concert with Husby.

Dan Smalley has been performing for over two decades and I was impressed.  He’s written his own songs and they’re of the old-timey type.  Sad, lonesome, and drunk.  I love that stuff!  I couldn’t get a good photo or find an appropriate video for him as he’s up and coming, so I encourage you to find him on Facebook.  Google him too.  Videos on those platforms are available.

Alison Krauss is a mixture of bluegrass, country, and gospel.  She’s one of Husby’s all-time favorites.  I’ve heard some of her recordings and she’s also a featured musical artist in the movie O Brother Where Art Thou, one of my favorite films.  Her voice is clear like a sheet of freshly frozen ice on a Nordic lake.  If angels actually sing they’d sound just like her.  She also plays an excellent violin/fiddle.  (If you don’t know, violin and fiddle are the same instrument, played in different ways.  Alison plays the instrument perfectly no matter what.)

This isn’t the best picture, but I tried to get the whole band in it.  There’s Alison, shining like an angel, and I especially liked one of her back-up singers (also slide guitar player) looking like a dad who just got off of his day job at the office.  All of the players were so, so talented.

If you’d like to have a listen to a sample of Alison’s work, here is one of Husby’s favorites…

Plus, the girl’s cute as a button!

Then there’s Willie.  I’d say he’s as big of a legend as…I don’t know country legends too much.  But he’s up there for sure.

A sparse, yet superb, band.  Percussions had a snare drum, bongos, and shaky things.  Willie’s sister Bobbie (88 years old) is a master on the piano.  Bass and harmonica were awesome.  Willie’s guitar playing was spectacular, of course.

To see Willie Nelson at eighty-six years of age walk out onto the stage was a sight to behold.  He’s eighty-six frickin’ years old!  The performance he gave was stupendous and the fans were wild for him.

This is probably less than half of the arena, which was packed all the way around.

He sang the favorites, plucked the strings, gave way to his talented band, tossed his hat into the audience, tossed his bandanna (and several others) into the audience, and gave an excellent performance all the way around.  He even had some special back-stage guests (radio contest winners?) come out and sing a chorus with him.  He was entertaining and gracious.  He’s a true performer.

Husby and I were seated in a spot where we could see some of the backstage activity.  When Willie finished his performance he walked off and greeted several people backstage and stepped into his bus.  The end.

I don’t know how many concerts he did on his tour before Minneapolis, but he was going to Nebraska next.  After the Nebraska concert he cancelled some or the rest of his tour due to medical issues.  I hope all is well with Willie.

Not being a big country music fan I walked away from this concert with joy in my heart.  Dedicated and inspirational musicians, whether leads or back-ups, always make me happy.  Country music, classical music, punk music…it doesn’t matter.  Music, if done well, is the language of the universe.

And now, though it wasn’t done at the concert, I’d like to present my favorite songs*, Willie Nelson style…

Make me cry every time.

Thanks Dan Smalley, Alison Krauss, and Willie Nelson, for making a magical birthday for me and Husby.

*What’ll I Do was written by Irving Berlin in 1923.

Read Full Post »

Art Fest Adventures

I’ve been doing craft shows, art fairs and wine festivals for over twenty years.  It’s not, nor has it ever been my sole livelihood, but I make a nice little bit of pocket money for my efforts.  Plus, I like creating what I sell, and throughout these last two decades I’ve found that other people like what I create too.

There’s a lady I know, and have known for most of my life.  I was at a craft show in a town nearby to her home, and at her previous request to let her know where I was doing shows this year I let her know about this particular event.  This lady has seen my works at other events, has received my works as Christmas gifts, and has even commissioned me to create things for her to give as gifts to her friends/employees.

Lady came to my booth about an hour before the event was to close.  She wondered if the canopy, table, and table coverings were provided by the people sponsoring the show.  “No,” I said kindly.  This is all mine.  Charlotte was helping me that day and told Lady that the only things provided by the show organizers were four spray-painted marks on the grass indicating where we would set up.

Lady was pretty impressed by that.  Then, for some reason that completely blindsided me, she said, “do you make all of this yourself?”  I looked at her with an expression that said do you even know me?  “Well, yeah,” I replied.  Lady responded with, “you should put up a big sign that says this is all handmade!”

Of course I assumed, considering the items I make, that people understand I make it all myself.  As I continued to look at this woman incredulously, she went on to say, “I thought you just bought all of this from a cheap store and sold it at much higher prices.”

That comment wouldn’t shock me coming from a complete stranger.  That comment wouldn’t offend me coming from someone who doesn’t understand the artisan fair thing.  I stared at Lady, whom I’ve known for decades, in awe, wondering why she thought I would build a business (LLC) and even get a federal trademark for my business (®) if I just spent my afternoons at the Dollar Store buying items and repricing them.

 

 

Here’s Charlotte, helping me to sell my HANDMADE items at a craft fair.

Well, I guess it just goes to show you, it’s always something.*  Either you spend your days creating things that may bring joy into the world, or your customers think you’re trying to rip them off with cheap shit made in China.

I guess Lady hasn’t been paying much attention to me these last forty-five years.  Only cheap China-made gifts for her this Christmas, I guess.

 

*Thank you, Roseanne Rosannadanna, for pointing out “it’s always something.”

 

Read Full Post »

Kitchen Adventures

Who doesn’t love a good kitchen adventure?  Whenever I enter the kitchen I always expect the unexpected.  That’s not to say I’m a bad cook, but with Husby being such a good cook I “let” him spend more time in the kitchen than I do.  Because of that I get a little out of practice.

My latest adventures started with making Milano cookies, from scratch.  OK, so they’re not actually Milano cookies, but same diff.  I thought it would be fun to try something new.  They were putzy, but well worth it.

First you make the dough tubes.

Bake dough tubes until they turn into oval cookies.

Top one cookie with chocolate and top with another cookie and you’ve got so much cookie goodness you won’t believe it.  The putzy part comes with the baking time – 15 minutes per pan times about 5 pans.  When it comes to cookies that’s too long, because who wants to wait to eat a cookie?  It was so worth it though.  They were much more substantial than the store-bought kind, and Husby said he liked them better!  I did too.

For Easter I thought I’d make some homemade buttermint candies.  I made them once before, but forgot how 5 1/4 cups of powdered sugar can make the kitchen covered with sweet dust.

I thought the pictures could capture how utterly dusty things got, but compared to what I saw in real life these pictures are pretty tame.  However, the end results were great.  These little pillows of sweetness are set out to dry for at least 8 hours before serving or storing.  Another long wait!

Last, but not least, an important PSA for those who prepare food with hands versus utensils.  Secure your jewels, or this might happen when you’re mixing your meatloaf with your bare hands.

Luckily I noticed it before the mixing was complete.  Diamonds and gold aren’t great for the digestion.

Time spent in the kitchen is never wasted time.  Despite the time (anxiously awaiting the finished product), mess, and occasional jewelry mishap I’d have to say making food is something everyone should know how to do.  Adventures happen everywhere, even in the kitchen.  Enjoy!

 

Read Full Post »

Read Full Post »

My excuse for not blogging is for the birds.  Actually the birds have inspired me to finally write a post.  It’s kind of a long story, so hold on tight.

A little while ago we thought spring had sprung in the Midwest.  And then came a snowstorm.  In mid April.  Not really unusual, but bothersome for those of us who live in regions of long, cold, snowy winters.  April is the time for blooming daffodils, not five inches worth of wet, sticky snow.  Right?  But it happens sometimes, and it happened again this year.

Because it was supposed to be spring, the birds were abundant as they are in the springtime.  And then it snowed and it seemed they didn’t know how to react to it.  Luckily Husby still had the feeders full of seeds for them to fortify themselves.  And they did.  All of them.  Dozens of them flocking to our backyard. There were cardinals, sparrows, chickadees, finches, juncos, red-winged blackbirds, even ducks.  Either they perched on the feeders or pecked at the seeds that had fallen on the crusty snow.

Of course springtime brings in the robins.  There were indeed robins in the mix of all the other birds; however, they don’t normally eat seeds.  They like worms and bugs in and on the ground.  The robins were at their wit’s end because alas, the ground that was snow-free a day ago was now covered with the aforementioned five inches of freshly plopped wet snow.

There was a robin who wasn’t happy with the lack of a green, springtime ground (containing the worms and bugs) and started to demand justice at our back door.

I don’t know if it was just one bird, but it wasn’t just one time.  The robin(s) returned several times, and with the plethora of other birds flocking the feeders and ground below, I started feeling a little like Tippi Hedren.

Here’s the thing…

Husby has been hearing a tap-tap-tap on the bedroom window lately.  That would be a second-story window.  Every now and then he sees a robin, tapping on and brushing his wings against the window.  I haven’t witnessed this, but the ledge outside the window has robin droppings, and the window itself has feather marks.  Dirty feather marks.  Not like the feathery passing of Jack Frost, because Jack Frost is gone by now.

I haven’t noticed the robin(s) at our back door since the snow has gone, but the upstairs window continues to have visitors.

Robins are a welcome sign of spring, but yikes – don’t peer into my windows!

I still haven’t captured a picture of the bird(s) at the bedroom window, but Husby sees the feathered, peering bird from time to time.

It’s kinda creepy,

Read Full Post »

MaryAnn Loves Pickles

MaryAnn and I have been friends since 7th grade and can still stand each other, if you can believe that.  I don’t know how anyone can stand me after all those years, but MaryAnn just grows more loveable as the years pass.

There’s one thing about MaryAnn that I wish I could change, because it would make us that much more compatible.  She’s not a sweets person.  She likes candies, cookies, cakes, pies, but in limited quantities.  For example, you’ll never know MaryAnn to eat a half pound of cream filled chocolates in one sitting, unlike me, who can go through two pounds of the same.  MaryAnn has a salty tooth, and her favorite salty thing is pickles.  She loves pickles.  She makes pickles.  At the MN State Fair she spends money to eat a giant pickle on a stick.

That said, I finally got the opportunity to celebrate MaryAnn’s birthday with her, months after the facts.  As a change of pace, instead of taking her out to lunch I invited her to my house for an afternoon of girl time.  I prepared snacks, sandwiches, and also served the birthday girl some much wine.

But who has a birthday without a birthday cake?  MaryAnn loves salty more than sweet.  MaryAnn wants pickles.  Thanks to Google I found a recipe for pickle cupcakes.  Yes, there is such a thing, and for my good friend of many years I would make those pickle cupcakes just for her.  Not only that, I would make those pickle cupcakes with the pickles she made!

It was mostly for a joke.  After all, who ever heard of pickle cupcakes?  How good could they be?  How bad would they be.  As MaryAnn is a gracious guest she hesitantly approached the culinary experiment I presented, just for her, in honor of her.  She’s a good friend.

As you know you must sniff all questionable food before you eat it…

And then, taste…

OK, it looks like she’s ready to barf there, but she didn’t.  Even I, who thought pickle cupcakes would be truly barf-worthy, thought they were actually pretty good.  The combination of pickle batter and a cream cheese frosting was actually…good.

Unfortunately I didn’t get a photo of MaryAnn’s delighted face when she tasted the special treat I made for her.  Trust me, she didn’t barf.

If you’d like to try these unusual cupcakes, visit Delish.  Despite my not being paid to promote the website, I recommend it for many wonderful recipes.  An absolute go-to if you’re searching for all things delicious.

Happy Birthday, MaryAnn.  May there be many more pickles in your future!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: