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.

Wisconsin Dells, by way of Marrakech

After two weeks at home juggling New York connections for a jet-set client, I took an early morning drive from land-locked Hampshire to arrive at the heavenly still waters of the Holiday Shores Campground & Resort in the heart of the Wisconsin Dells in time for a sun-kissed afternoon in the shallows of the Wisconsin River. Goodness — what a pick-me-up.

My dear friends Kathi and Jeff, hostess and host extraordinaire and sound-board for all things related to near-adult children and stepchildren, were entertaining for July Fourth with a bevy of close friends, thus justifying my holiday weekend sojourn (I was back in the Village of Cardboard Boxes two nights later).

* * *

Does this sound like the Minnesota Transplant you’ve come to know (and, oh, you must admit, love)?

Probably not. It’s a bit too Vogue for me. I was imitating Hamish Bowles (Hamish? What a lovely name, an Anglicised form of Scottish Gaelic Seumas) as he recounted one of his recent trips in the May issue. Here’s his prose verbatim:

After three weeks on the road for the fashion collections in London, Milan, and Paris, I took a dawn flight from gray and glacial Orly to arrive at the heavenly Riad Madani in the heart of the Marrakech medina in time for a sun-kissed breakfast. Goodness — what a pick-me-up.

My dear friend Gordon Watson, purveyor of twentieth-century furniture and exquisite objects to the likes of Madonna, Mick Jagger, Valentino, and Donna Karan, among others, was celebrating a Very Big Birthday with a bevy of close friends, thus justifying my moonlight flit (I was back in the City of Light the following evening).

As I read about the Moroccan city of Marrakech, I thought, “How exotic. I wonder if I could do that with my recent trip to the less exotic but no less tantalizing Wisconsin Dells.” Sometime a writer needs to try on a new style, don’t you agree? Let’s proceed.

The Thursday-night festivities were far too much fun, and on the morrow, not quite at my freshest, I leaped back into my hosts’ pontoon with a couple of friends, my Beloved and three young studs (our progeny for the most part), and we hightailed it to the bewitching Sandbar, the destination of dozens of other Dells denizens. (The water level was increasing almost unnoticeably but incrementally, thereby erasing whatever temporary shore existed earlier in the week.) The crowd made do with neon lawn chairs and scrubbed-clean boat decks — we were bound to get wet anyway — and established a tableau of Purple Haze and native beers (some with limes sprouting festively from the necks).

We didn’t make it until the fireworks blossomed later, but we hadn’t meant to: We accomplished our goal of chilling lazily in the sunshine, absorbing one of summer’s all-too-rare near-perfect days.

‘Careless Whisper’ makes a rocky comeback

Monica Lee:

While working out together earlier this week, I remarked on some bit of music my Adored stepson chose to get us PUMPED UP (think Hans and Franz), and he said he liked covers. The music was some Godsmack cover (I don’t remember which one, Pink Floyd?), and at almost the same moment, we both said, “Like that old Wham! song, ‘Careless Whisper.’ And with that intro, I bring you the first moment my stepson and I realized we occasionally had the same taste in music:

Originally posted on Minnesota Transplant:

Remember George Michael? The guy from Wham!? (Yeah, Wham! with an exclamation point.) The very poppy band from the 1980s?

I was sitting at the kitchen table doing some work (yes, no rest for the weary, even on a holiday weekend, not when we have a convention coming up in two weeks), and 14-year-old Cas is messing around with his Ipod. With the speaker on. So I can hear it. (I am in the kitchen, after all, not my office.)

And some very guitary strains of a familiar song start playing. And I start singing the words. “I feel so unsure as I take your hand and lead you to the dance floor…”

Cas looks at me like I’m crazy. “You know this song?”

“Um, yeah, I guess. But not like this. This is a remake. I think it’s …” and I wait for the chorus. “Yes, it’s ‘Careless Whisper’!”


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A month with a lot of exclamation points (!)

July arrives, and poof! 2014 is half over. Heck, it’s already July 2nd before I realize July is here! (That’s what Mercury in retrograde does to a person — thank goodness that’s done). Here’s what I’m looking forward to this month:

  • Happy birthday, youngest nephew! I remember the moment you were born, six years ago today. I’m still thrilled to have been included in the delivery room receiving party for all three of my sister’s sons.
  • Fireworks over the water! Sitting in a pontoon on the river last Fourth of July in the Wisconsin Dells, I had what I consider the best seat in the house, and I think I’ll get to have that same view this year.
  • Corn on the cob! The local garden store starts stocking fresh corn on the cob in early July, and my mouth is already watering.
  • Another milestone birthday! My stepson leaves his teenage years behind when he turns 20 this month. Wow!
  • Family reunion! My mother’s family will gather once again to eat Chex mix and exchange entertaining stories, and I can’t wait.

I’m sure — I know — a lot of other events are in store in the coming month and second half of 2014. I’m excited! What are you excited about?