No gilded lily

gilded lily

“To gild refined gold, to paint the lily,
To throw a perfume on the violet,
To smooth the ice, or add another hue
Unto the rainbow, or with taper-light
To seek the beauteous eye of heaven to garnish,
Is wasteful and ridiculous excess.”

~ Shakespeare


Summertime indulgence

After investing in a bottle of Rumchata for my very special rhubarb crisp (which reminds me, I’ve got more rhubarb in the garden, I should make that again — is rhubarb still good after July Fourth?), I came up with another use for it.

[Lowering voice]: This recipe is not for children or calorie counters, but it is sinfully delicious and offers the added bonus of creating a very laid-back mood, which is perfect for a summer weekend. And the weekend is upon us.

Tip: Use a double-walled whiskey glass to keep your hot little hands from prematurely melting your cool adult beverage.

adult malt

Adult Malt


  • 1-1/2 shots of Rumchata
  • 1 shot of vanilla vodka
  • 1 shot of Kahlua
  • 1 scoop of vanilla ice cream
  • several ice cubes


  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender with a strong constitution. Blend. Pour into a glass and drink immediately. Enjoy more than one at your own risk.

Follow the bouncing ball

Monica Lee:

The weather is unseasonably mild here in northern Illinois. Instead of oppressive heat and constant whir of air conditioners, it’s nice enough to leave the windows and doors open. My office overlooks the neighbor’s driveway basketball hoop and with the window open, I can hear all kinds of kid conversations. I am reminded of this post from a couple of years ago …

Originally posted on Minnesota Transplant:

With March comes madness. About basketball. Seeds and brackets. Betting pools and media darlings. Sweet sixteen and final four.

Don’t care.

But what I do find interesting is now that it’s March, kids in my neighborhood come outside and play basketball in the driveways.

Love this.

They’re getting fresh air and exercise, and they’re not turning into gobs of fat in front of an iPad/computer/television screen. There are six driveway basketball hoops within 100 yards of my office window. If it’s even reasonably decent out after school, I can hear the thump, thump, thump of the ball bouncing on the asphalt, the middle-school trash talking and the whoops of triumph while I work. During one evening earlier this week, I saw flirting when two boys and a girl were playing basketball across the street. Lots of chasing and screaming, all in good fun.

It reminds me of spring and youth…

View original 204 more words

Wednesday night distraction

You know all those lotions and potions sitting around smelling good and gathering dust?

I put mine to good use tonight by washing my Beloved’s feet. He needed some love and a distraction, so I dug up the organic bubble bath (probably not really organic with all that lather) and menthol foot cream (just for feet? really?) and the dish washing tub from the camper.

Mmm, warm water. Bubbles. A little exfoliator. Lotion.

It wasn’t nearly as nice as those upscale pedicure chairs at Luxor Nails, but it was still pretty nice.

feet washing

When I am an old oenophile …

Some things get better with age.

Wine, for example.

I attended a wine tasting party yesterday afternoon, and though the day was fairly unremarkable weatherwise, it was warm inside the house. There were 20+ people there, and it is July afterall.

Standing there in my sundress at the kitchen island sipping delicious wine and nibbling on cheese and chocolate (good wine pairings you know), I began to glow. Then I started to perspire, as it’s said. Then I was sweating. Like I was a Baptist minister at a summer revival in the heart of the South with 100 more souls to save. Alleluia! Whew, I was hot!

In any other decade, I would have been self-conscious: Are my pits wet? Do other people see me mopping my upper lip? Is there sweat dripping down my hairline?

One of the gifts of middle age, though, is the increasing disregard for what other people think. (This is what makes shopping at Wal-Mart so endlessly interesting for some less enlightened people. Those women who have no business wearing tube tops and skin-tight leggings have reached an age where they don’t care what other people think.)

This concept is the whole premise of the Red Hat Society which was founded on the Jenny Joseph poem with the line, “When I am an old woman I shall wear purple/With a red hat that doesn’t go and doesn’t suit me.”

It’s quite freeing, actually. At yesterday’s party, instead of feeling self-conscious of my increasing state of wetness, I looked around and noticed everyone else was dripping wet, too.

And talking. And eating. And laughing. And generally having a good time. (It was a wine tasting. How can you have a bad time?)

That careless attitude of self-confidence in the face of weird hats and perspiration?

Another one of those things that gets better with age.

My own personal tsunami

“Being on tour is like being in limbo. It’s like going from nowhere to nowhere.”

~ Bob Dylan

While I haven’t been on tour the past week, I feel a little like Minnesota native Bob Dylan might: In limbo.

Going from nowhere to nowhere (like a rolling stone?), I feel like I’ve been treading in pudding. A colleague suggested to me that everyone chooses their own personal tsunami — an event that turns the world upside down — as an opportunity for transformation.

Isn’t it interesting to view a giant wave of water that flattens everything in its path as an opportunity?

The times, they are a-changin’.

Growth is an erratic forward movement: two steps forward, one step back. Remember that and be very gentle with yourself.”

~ Julia Cameron


Minnesota Transplant gets pissy about health care again

You know those old people who are so consumed with their health and the health of their friends and neighbors, that’s all they can talk about? Yeah, this post is going to be like that.

What a week.

We all have weeks like this, I know, and it’s my turn. Everything seems to happen at once. I can’t get into it all here, but let’s say this: I do not look forward to be ever more involved with the health care system as I age.

Here’s one thing I can tell you: Don’t sit around in your wet swimsuit after swimming in the Wisconsin River at the Wisconsin Dells. A big no-no. I was warned, too, and I arrogantly thought, pooh-pooh, I’m impervious. Well, the pooh-pooh was tougher than me, and I got a urinary tract infection. Not fun.

Some women suffer all the time from UTIs, as they’re known in the business (that’s the health care business to you). Thank God I’m not one of those women. I’ve never popped so much cranberry extract and Advil in my life. I couldn’t even drink coffee — coffee, man! the elixir of the gods! — because it aggravated my already urgent need to go.

So a visit to my primary care doctor was in order. Since I hadn’t seen him since my last health care debacle (click here for that story, brilliantly told), he insisted he see me in person.

Thank God he got me in 4 hours after I called. I could. Not. Have. Waited. If you know what I mean.

All I wanted was a simple prescription for antibiotics, but I had to be weighed (down 9 pounds from two years ago — yay for me!), blood pressure cuffed (118/78, thank you very much), temperature checked (boringly 98.3 degrees) and pulse monitored (83 beats per minute, which I thought was sorta high but I guess is uneventfully average).

Anyway, it turns out that my menopausal chemistry apparently sets me up for a greater risk of UTIs (so that decision to sit around in a wet swimsuit after wading in the unsavory waters of the Wisconsin River was even worse for someone old enough to know better).

Click, click and the prescription was issued and I picked it up at the pharmacy literally 10 minutes later and consumed the first dose with the bottle of water also purchased at said pharmacy.


I should be grateful because the system worked as it was designed and my problem has been solved. As a side note, I’m reading Diana Gabaldon’s Dragonfly in Amber (yes, that makes me, what? six books behind this week’s best seller?), and the main character who’s traveled back in time to the mid-1700s has an interest in healing properties of herbs, which comes in real handy when doctors of the time have to perform amputations with whiskey for anesthesia and the idea of “comfort” in a hospital means having a bed at all, let alone a private suite. Thank goodness modern health care isn’t that.

But, and there’s always a but with me: I can’t wait to see the bill. See, my doctor, as gentle and helpful as he was, wouldn’t have gotten paid if he simply wrote a prescription without seeing me. So he had to get me into his office on a week in which is was highly inconvenient for me to be there (because of everything else that was happening in my life, which I just can’t get into here). And now I’ll have to pay for the privilege of being told what I already knew.

What a pisser.

If you know what I mean. And if you’ve ever had a UTI, you do.