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Small towns still exist

Deerwood, Minnesota has a population of 524 or 580 people, depending on which end of town you come through to read the sign. Main Street has two churches, unless you count the Deerstand Bar which was a church but now has kegs where the alter used to be, two gas stations, a bank, the Deerwood Motel, True Value Hardware, and an American Legion with Friday fish fries and dances. There aren't any stop lights but on busy weekends one of the 1.5 city police officers sits in his car at the intersection by the train tracks and waves traffic along. City Hall doubles as the auditorium with rummage sales and wedding receptions on the weekends. At the hardware store the owners know everyone by name and they have a Rolodex with peoples names in it and little slips of paper whey they write down what you bought and bill you at the end of the month.

A town like Deerwood takes care of its own so when I called the hospital yesterday to ask how my neighbor, Vi, was doing the clerk at the front desk said, "Well, I know Vi and honey I will put you through to the nurses' station but they won't give you any information unless you're a relative. But didn't you say you were a cousin, not a neighbor?"

Vi's closest relative is an 80 year old step-daughter who lives 3 hours away so the nurse was probably happy to hear from more family and didn't push me for details. She was more than happy to give Vi's cousin from The Twin Cities an update on her condition: mild pneumonia but improving steadily.

The day before when I had stopped by Vi's to visit she didn't answer the door. Even at 95 years old she usually gets up every morning at 8:00 am, makes coffee and settles in to watch baseball so I knew something was wrong. When she finally let me in I could tell she wasn't doing well so I called for an ambulance and off she went to the hospital in the neighboring town.

Worried that she wouldn't get many visitors my dad called Northwoods, the florist 3 blocks from the hospital, and ordered flowers. The owner said, "Oh of course! We know Vi very well and we'll make sure to put together something she'll like and get it over there yet today."

The whole thing almost makes me want to live in a small town...but not quite.



Big news. Well, big news in the form of a little person...

...Sister is having a bebe! In the tradition of illustrious bloggers such as Dolce and Crissy, Sister has begun referring to the baby as a food item: Stromboli. Dolce has her cupcake and Crissy had Taco. We don't know yet if Stromboli is a boy or a girl but the parents are pretty convinced it is a boy. I'd like for it to be a girl, just to see my brother-in-law turn into a mushy gushy puddle. The picture above is Stromboli after 3 months of swimmin' around. I know its kinda blurry but treat it like a Monet...just let your eyes cross a little and you can totally see the face and hand!

So far I've done a decent job of holding back on buying baby gifts but I have a feeling that will all change when I find out if I'm having a niece of a nephew. My stylish 6 month old neighbor Josie rocks these and the boy version are just as cute. Since Sister is the one who tried to teach me to hawk a loogie when I was in middle school, I somehow doubt she'll need any Mom Spit, but you never know. She also already has a purse veeeeewwy similar to this diaper bag so maybe she'll just convert her giant tote for baby useage. Hard to say...either way, I can't wait to do some serious spoiling of this kid once it pops it way into the world.

Keep on growing, Stromboli! We can't wait to meet you.


Copper reflections

Lest you think our office is all chaos and messiness, here's the building in the morning after an early morning storm.

...and there I am. Can you see me?


Office fight

Yeah, I know what the title says but no one got in a fight at the office yesterday (sorry to disappoint if you were looking forward to some drama). Instead, I got in a fight with the the actual space. We just could not seem to get along. First, I went to print something for a meeting and found this sign:

"Ok," I thought, "I can be adaptable." So I sent my printing job to the other machine I use sometimes and there, I found this:

Yup. It's not plugged in to anything. Why? Because of our miiiiiiiiiinor deconstruction project.

No big deal.
I went back to my computer, installed another printer and went to get my papers. Here is what I found this time.

An accordion, JUST like the kind we used to make in grade school! Oh and you can't miss page 2...

All in all it was a very successful attempt to print three pages, wouldn't you say?



Ebbie is a scamp. See below.

"Crap. I knew my plastic bag fetish would land me here eventually. I'm so ashamed..."

"Don't make me get down! There are a full two inches here for me to be standing on and it isn't like this TV cost much or anything, right?"

"I thought I told you to change the station. Must I do everything myself? [Sigh.]"

"I'm cute. Love me."


Night inside-out

Saturday I decided I wanted to stay in, relax, and just be alone. After a crazy night Friday I needed to re-charge and just breathe. I grabbed Australia from a Redbox and decided to stop by Highland Grill for an order of their strawberry french toast to go. Sitting at the bar waiting for my breakfast dinner the hostess said, "You look nice! You must be going out tonight." I laughed and when she looked at me strangely I said, "No, no. This is it. The main event. French toast for dinner, an epic romance movie and a glass of wine." She thought that sounded glorious and even gave me an entire coffee cup full of the homemade fresh mascapone whipped cream on the side for my food. Mmm.

After the food had been eaten and the movie watched I realized I didn't actually want to stay in, relax, and just be alone. I wanted to go out. I wanted to be around people. I had a serious case of ants in the pants. At 11:00 I was so bored I figured I should probably just go to sleep and happened.


An old friend wanted to go grab a drink so in about 30 seconds flat I had changed out of my sweats and was out the door. You couldn't even tell I had been a bum with a cat on my lap all night. We had a great time laughing, catching up, and making friends with our awesome waitress. And I couldn't have been happier that my night had turned from inside to out.
Photo from Google Images.


Front yard naps

The Stanford House has a pretty nice lawn*, if I do say so myself. Clearly these two pairs agree that it is the perfect place to take a little snooze. The next door neighbor girls, 'S' and her baby sister 'J' were taking advantage of my shade along with Albert and his brother, Jackson (who you haven't met yet.)

*Please note that the grass looks a little brown because, well, it was but after two weeks of extensive watering and fertilizing it now looks a-maz-ing: green and lush and perfect (and since it belongs to the daughter of a Toro exec, it probably should.)

ALSO...if you need some good music to get you through your Friday check out Sister's "EZ Listenin!" mix. It's over a year old but I still love it...


If this is Austin...

I've been doing some calls for a side project at work but since I'm calling during the day I basically have to leave about 45 voicemails in a row. I should probably mention that I hate voicemails with a passion. I hate leaving them, listening to them, forwarding them, everything about them I hate.

As soon as the machine beeps I get all flustered and can barely remember my own name, much less why I've called, so for this project I have made myself two scripts: one for if someone answers (almost never) and one for when the machine answers (almost always). Until yesterday there were no problems with the script but then a few messages on peoples's machines made me start laughing so much I almost had to hang up in the middle of my script.

First one: "Hi! You've reached my house. It's here, I'm not. Leave me a message and a call back is guaranteeeed! From me, not my house. Thanks!"

The second one said, "Hi, I'm not here right now so leave me a message and I'll call you back. Unless this is the Menards delivery truck. Then you should call my cell phone at ___-___ because I just work in downtown Podunk* and I can be there in five minutes so don't leave, make sure you call me. On my cell phone. Thanks."
*Generic name of small MN town

At first I thought I would be able to make it all the way through leaving my voicemail without losing it but his twangy MN accent kept going through my head and THEN I started thinking of that country song where a guy uses his voicemail to try to get a girl back and I almost lost it. I had to pause. So I wouldn't laugh.
Maybe he and Blake Shelton compare notes?


"It's better not to exist and to give damanges for having to exist"

An article I read Monday in The Oregonian hit me hard but I knew I couldn't give it justice if I wrote about my reactions to it. I knew Nick over at Our Jacob would be the man for the job so head over and check out his post, "It's better not to exist and to give damages for having to exist."


Got milk?

Last night I had a dream I was back on the farm in Bertha, visiting Liz. Everyone was running around trying to finish getting supper ready for the 15 or so people who had showed up for a Sunday meal together. "Grab the milk, will ya Cal?" Someone paused long enough to shout at me so I started to look for the milk. It wasn't in the fridge or in the pantry or in the cooler on the porch. No milk anywhere. So, I hopped in my car, drove into town and tried to buy some at the grocery store only they didn't have any either. Logically, I bought some goldfish crackers instead.
By the time I got back to the farm everyone was sitting down to eat, waiting for me. "Where in the world have you been?"
"You were out of milk so I went into town to get some but I couldn't find it there, either. I'm sorry." Everyone looked at me in silence.
"Sweetie," Liz's mom said, "this is a dairy farm." After one more beat of dead quiet everyone started laughing.
Only I would go to the store to buy milk in the middle of a dairy farm. Don't hold it against me? (It was just a dream...)


From the desk of Toto

Toto's Shopping List
Me: Studded collar
Dorothy: Purse to match shoes.
Tinman: Lube job
Scarecrow: Hooked on Phonics
Lion: Flea Collar
Glinda: Glitter hairspray
Wicked Witch: Prozac

Maybe he should pick up a GPS for the flying monkeys while he's out. The wicked witch might need a mop, too, not to give away the end of the movie. I'm not sayin, I'm just sayin...

Taken from a notepad for sale at: Merchant of Oz
Photo from Google Images


Won't you be my neighbor...

It's really too bad I didn't have my camera with me when I went on a walk with Elissa tonight because then I would have had a photo of myself sprawling in some flower bushes that perfectly matched my purple shirt. It was amazing, really. We also made friends with about 4.5 dogs (some of them were really little), picked out two $1m+ houses side by side to buy sometime in the near future (near future = next lifetime) and were attacked by some ridiculously overgrown arborvitaes. Overall a very successful walk.



My mind is ALL over the place so here are is an amalgamation of random snippets:
1) The word amalgamation has been stuck in my head all morning.
2) When I opened the door to the garage this morning a green caterpillar fell directly into the palm of my hand. He is now living on my peony plant.
3) Last night I drank electrified wine. No seriously. It was at a reception at the Bakken Museum and they put an electric charge in it, claiming "that's what Ben Franklin used to do for entertainment before there was MTV."
4) In my parking garage there is a possessed elevator. It just kept opening and closing, dinging over and over on the 2nd floor. My bad knee kind of hates the ghost possessing it, too, because I had to take the stairs. (If I had an elevator at home I wouldn't say that I hate this ghost because it would follow me home and possess that one but I don't have an elevator at home so I think I'm safe.
5) Amalgamation. Amalgamate. Amalgamating. (It's still stuck.)


Niiiiice hips

Walking out of the store with my arms full of four giant bags of stuff I crossed the parking lot to my car. A man walking toward me slowed down, pulled the cigar out of his mouth and said, "Mmm mmm. You've got some niiiice hips." My response hovered somewhere between "Huh?" "Ooook..." and "Pfft!" I looked down to avoid eye contact and realized that there is no way this guy could even see my hips! My plastic shopping bags had formed what looked like a giant intertube around my middle.
What is the correct response to something like that? "Thanks, I work out." Or maybe, "You know it! Workin what I've got." I have no idea. And I'm still slightly disturbed.

(Photo from Google Images)


Unrequited love

Last week this was the front page of the U of M's website. And I think I might have fallen in love.
Ok,'s more of a crush than true love (a slightly stalkerish crush if we're honest since I've never actually met the guy in person). My Sister thinks he's cute too but she's all married and stuff so I get to call dibs, even though she's older. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I run into this guy on campus but with one of the top five largest student bodies in the country what are the chances it'll actually happen? There are over 50,000 students on campus and then when you add in faculty and staff it starts to seem fairly hopeless. No one in my office knows him (yes, I might have asked around) but maybe one of you do. If so, please send him to me, preferably all wrapped up with a bow, mmmk?


Vote for me?

It's a Friday. You're wishing you got to leave at noon and head up north to the cabin (kind of like I do..ha! sorry. had to do it.) but instead you're stuck at work. Need to kill some time?
So, here's the deal. I was recently selected as a finalist for the Pioneer Press store trooper tryouts. The store troopers are kind of like secret shoppers who try out and review deals/products around the Twin Cities. There were 30 of us picked out of 300 applicants to do an audition at the Mall of America last weekend and now you can vote online. A group of panelist will choose most of the winners but votes will also decide a fan favorite who will automatically become a store trooper. If you have a few minutes to vote for me I'd appreciate it! Winners to be announced this Sunday in the paper and of course I'll let you know if I make it in.

Here is the link and I'm in the second row on the far right. Select the vote circle under my picture and remember to enter the security code at the top of the page. You can vote more than once!


Sometimes you stumble upon a song that says exactly what you needed to hear. Yesterday Working Girl 2 posted her work jams playlist and on that playlist was a song that said, well, exactly what I needed to hear. It was "Shine" by Anna Nalick. There are a few people who read Sidenote who I think need to hear it too so here it is...


Tied together

There are millions of people in the world but there are one or two that you are tied to and the spirits will cross you back and forth, threading so many knots until they catch and you finally get it right.
-Native American saying


Catscientious objector

The other day I washed my sheets and I think the Crack Fairy sprinkled something in my drier to make me sleep better because the past two nights I've been out like a light. It has been GLORIOUS, considering I'm usually up 2-3 times a night depending on a) how much water I drank after work and b) how bored Ebs gets.
The little scamp decided she really likes the bed without the sheets and just her on the bed.

When I insisted on putting the sheets back on she protested. Apparently my cat is a conscientious objector when it comes to bedding.


Out on the town II

Like I said yesterday, every once in a while Kelsey and I do actually muster up the motivation to go out. This weekend it actually happened Friday AND Saturday night. Impressive, I know.
There must have been something in the water at these places (or firewater) because everywhere we went there were cute bartenders. Saturday we were hanging out, very much enjoying the people watching at The Local when I said, "Hey, look at that bartender. He is cahute!"
Kelsey looked, turned back to me and said,"You took your contacts out, didn't you?"
"Yeah, why?"
She laughed. "Because we went to grade school with him..."
"Well he is still cute," I said as I squinted.


Out on the town

Sometimes Kelsey and I get adventurous and we go out on the weekend. To a bar. At night. I know, it sounds a little strange for two 24 year olds to go out but we all know we're actually little old ladies so its ok for us. Or maybe that should be the other way around...
So Friday night we went to Bulldog and after waiting eleventy billion hours for a table (ok maybe it was like 5 minutes but whatever) two spots opened up at the bar and since the bartender was cute and had been flirting with us for the eleventy billion hours (aka 5 minutes) we'd been standing there, we snagged the barstools and ordered us some drinks (and by some drinks I mean one each...the whole time we were there). Now, the aforementioned cute bartender introduced himself as either Justin or Joseph but neither of us can be totally sure because again, we're senile and it was loud in that place. LOUD. He continued to flirt with us calling Kelsey "Blondie" (like she has never gotten that before) and me "California" (again with the originality). Given the nicknames he chose we should not have been surprised when he fully launched himself into bartender cliche mood but somehow it still caught us unaware. It happened when I asked him for the tab and he pretended to pout, asking, "Where are you guys going next?"
"We're not sure yet," I lied through my teeth knowing full well it was fast approaching bedtime and neither of us would be going anywhere but home next.
"Aww, well, you should come back at like 1:30. I think it's going to rain and I rode my motorcycle to work." Oh Ju...Jo..Jawhateveryournameis. Of course you rode your motorcycle to work. And of course you had to tell us that.
"That's what cabs are for, buddy," I said (notice my ingenious method of avoiding saying his actual name). Now you may think I was being rude but really I was just deflecting so neither of us would have to admit we would be SOUND asleep by 1:30am. Sound. Asleep.
We smiled prettily at him while he tried to figure out if he had just been shot down, or maybe he was trying to figure out why he hadn't thought of taking a cab but either way we gave him a tidy tip and skipped off to bed like good little girls. It was 10:00pm.
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Sidenote by Sidenote Cal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
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