Raised to Profess Social Justice and Faith!

Just 108 years ago, my ancestors came as strong-willed, hardworking and God--loving intellectuals from Europe.  They came to pursue the promise of land, freedom and education for their children, and a brighter future than they fear they faced in the political and social climate of Germany.   Here they encountered the lies and broken promises many immigrants to America faced.  My family largely worked themselves to death in the squalid conditions of the packinghouse industry, bluecollar workers who broke their hearts and backs for my white-collar future.

My BlueCollar Beloveds and I desire to live a life exemplifying the Christian
walk, a walk we feel is entirely compatible with intellectual endeavor, good humor, and activism. We consider ourselves "blue sheep" of the Religious Left and embrace a fiscally liberal, pro-labor, egalitarian philosophy which values an active fight for social justice.  Our faith in Jesus Christ emboldens us to fight against poverty, injustice, discrimination, ignorance, intolerance, arrogance, greed, racism, sexism and oppression in all its institutions.  Our family lives an afflicted victory thruogh which we seek to encourage, enlighten and bring hope and joy to others through Spirit-led works of the hand, heart and mind.  We invite you into our family and welcome you to join us in our endeavors for the good!!!!....



zombiebadhairday.jpgQUOTE OF THE WEEK

Writing is a socially acceptable form
of schizophrenia. 

~E.L. Doctorow


Visit MN Progressive Project
A Communtiy Conversation on Progressive Politics


Visit the Webrary: Good Books We Recommend


View the author's profile

"There are times when, desptie the attitude of the body,
the soul is on its knees"
--Victor Hugo

Archive Newer | Older

Monday, May 31, 2010

World No Tobacco Day Today


Hubby is now a non-smoker!  Hurray for him!

World No Tobacco Day

31 May 2010

On 31st May each year WHO celebrates World No Tobacco Day, highlighting the health risks associated with tobacco use and advocating for effective policies to reduce consumption. Tobacco use is the second cause of death globally (after hypertension) and is currently responsible for killing one in 10 adults worldwide.

The theme for World No Tobacco Day 2010 is gender and tobacco, with an emphasis on marketing to women. WHO will use the day to draw particular attention to the harmful effects of tobacco marketing and smoke on women and girls.

The World Health Assembly created World No Tobacco Day in 1987 to draw global attention to the tobacco epidemic and its lethal effects. It provides an opportunity to highlight specific tobacco control messages and to promote adherence to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Tobacco use is the number one preventable epidemic that the health community faces.

Mon, May 31, 2010 | link

Saturday, May 29, 2010

in Heaven there is no beer, that's why...


Sat, May 29, 2010 | link

Friday, May 28, 2010

how I make the sausages...
My web host has been having technical difficulties in the software I use all week.  You''l just have to take the psychedelic nature of my blog posts with a grain of salt (or shot of ...) until the problem is resolved.

Fri, May 28, 2010 | link

School Picnic!

What I remember about elementary school end o’ year picnics from my childhood: burnt hotdogs, warm lemonade, the duck pond game (with useless plastic object prizes that I’d love for a few hours then discard to the family “junk drawer”), silly musicians singing songs featuring animal noises, a constant scolding chorus of “Wait your turn!” cutting through the cacophony of laughter and screams, sweaty parents, ants, mayhem, crowds.

Yah, in 30 years nothing’s changed.

Actually, that makes me glad.

Toe and Roo go to a great St. Paul Public School preschool, only four blocks from home, across the street from our church.  Every year, they almost don’t.  As the education budget in MN gets squeezed, school staff gets shaved away and the D of E threatens to close the school doors.  It’s a little neighborhood school—originally meant to house only grades pre-K through 3--built back when they designed the schools especially for the wee folks who would attend them.  Everything is miniaturized, from the itty bitty bathroom fixtures to the waist-high cloakroom hooks and tiny auditorium stage.  It feels like a playhouse school, and it is shaded by trees on a tree-lined street of houses only blocks from the park and the lake.  This place truly is what a person would envision when they hear “neighborhood school,” and we have been so lucky that community and educator lobbying helped it survive the chopping block.

This year Tovi is graduating on to his big boy school, Kindergarten at another great neighborhood St. Paul Public school (not our neighborhood, but that’s another story), so the school picnic was a great chance to say thank you to all the wonderful people who made this place a rich part of our life in the Eastside community.  So, thanks Miss Claire (and Mike) and Miss Mary and Miss Jennifer and Sue and bus dude par excellence Mauricio, thanks miss Heidi and nurse Ann and all the parents and staff who stood up for our school and who did so much for little Toe while he was there.  We know you will take good care of Roo, too!


With fair Miss Claire at the duck pond, Roo is a winner every time!


Ready-to-go-Toe practices patience in the bouncy slide line…


With fair Miss Claire at the duck pond, Roo is a winner every time!


Ready-to-go-Toe practices patience in the bouncy slide line…



Fri, May 28, 2010 | link

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Baby Daddy

Father’s Day is the next stop of the American gift train, and far be it from me to favor a gender.  So lest you think this blog is all about the mommies, I have dug deep to help you help you in the search for the perfect way to honor the man who brought the sperm.  First.  Know your audience:

Some Common Types of Daddies:

the scary dad (aka prison dads, restraining order dads, dads on the edge)

the DIY dad (aka dads with nail guns, self-surgery dads, garage/basement/workshop/backyard absentee dads, Menards’ dads, dad who wear Dickies’ brand)

the Sportsman dad (aka dads who kill Bambi, whirligig dads, “Gone Fishin” door sign dads, mini-golfers, flannel dads)

the Geek dad (aka Nintendo/Blackberry/online dads, gadget dads, the techie, dads who read Manga, Top Gear dads)

the absentee dad (aka COLD DAD,  Mr. Stonewall, the witholder, the workaholic dad, CIA dads)  

the silver fox (aka dads who date, metrosexual dads, Grecian Formula dads, dads who do not wear plaid shirts, Viagra dads)

depressive unemployed dad (aka “Couch Dad”, chronically fatigued dads, dads who cry at your recital, yell-at-the-TV dads, dads who let you eat Doritos for dinner)

granola dad (aka hand-hewn log cabin dads, farmers’ market dads, squatty potty dads, Gore-Tex/North Face dads, dads who wear Birkenstocks and read The Urban Homesteader, Tiger Milk protein shake and raw almonds dads)

brooding intellectual dad (aka NPR dad, goatee and espresso dads,  dads who vote, complaint blog dads, “look it up in the dictionary” dads, dads who wear berets/scarves in summer, dads who make you analyze The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe for its Judeo-Christian allegory or no goodnight kiss, dad against “The Man”)

piggyback dad (aka the Flapjack Maker, grillin’ dad, cornball, the goofball, the jokester, perpetually happy dad, Trampoline dads, Dads who give Mom headaches, lithium dads)

Mr. Mom (post 1995 aka:  dads who cook, puppet theatre dads, Dads reliving their childhoods, sensitive dads, former mama’s-boy dads, henpecked dads, see also: unemployed dads)

(Honorable mention to)The Baby Daddy (Barry White dads, “uncle” dads, see-that-guy-over-there dads, dads who ask, “how old are you now, Baby?”)

Now, equipped with a glimpse into the American male psyche, let’s talk gifts:

The Wallet Bottle Opener
Free dad of the hassle and danger of opening beer with his teeth while at work or in the car.  This engraveable opener (sugg: Roy, don’t forget the child support is always due on the 3rd Friday of the month) will be a tool of convenience and a keepsake any dad will love.

Frog Prince Tchotchke
Remind dad that without mom is nothing more than a toad.

Grillslinger (TM) BBQ Toolbelt and Tools
Just like John Wayne, dad can feel manly while basically packin’ kitchen utensils.  So realistic, you’d swear dad was ready for a block party shoot-out.  Note: NOT SUITABLE FOR EASTSIDE DADS.

The Executive Punching Bag

Some dads deal with stress by getting angry and violent.  If your dad is one of those, consider this.  For the office, his den at home, or next to his easy chair to work off that anger and frustration!  Perfect for the scary dad who has everything (that will fit in his cell).

Personalized Daddy bear on the Throne Keepsake
Because who wouldn’t want a gift that reminds them they defecate? He is the king of the family, the boss of the office, the hero on the playground. We all love him so why not give him his own special throne? Add remote, crown, newspaper, laptop. A beary unique Father's Day gift for him!




Some dads deal with stress by getting angry and violent.  If your dad is one of those, consider this.  For the office, his den at home, or next to his easy chair to work off that anger and frustration!  Perfect for the scary dad who has everything (that will fit in his cell).

Personalized Daddy bear on the Throne Keepsake
Because who wouldn’t want a gift that reminds them they defecate? He is the king of the family, the boss of the office, the hero on the playground. We all love him so why not give him his own special throne? Add remote, crown, newspaper, laptop. A beary unique Father's Day gift for him!




Wed, May 26, 2010 | link

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A boy and his hog...

Roo, 3, practices for Sturgis 2030.

Tue, May 25, 2010 | link

God is Green

This NASA photo of the Gulf BP oil spill left me breathless.  Or maybe I am having trouble breathing because almost 70% of the earth's oxygen comes from ocean phytoplankton, and they are all dying (and they're not just dying because of the recent spill of course--the little critters have been croaking out for years)?  Whatever the exact reason, the breathless definitions of 1. not breathing 2. gripped with emotion 3. oppressive because of no fresh air...they all fit how I felt when I saw it.

I really like breathing, so this spill is an especially troubling event to me.  I also really like animals, so, double it. And finally, I really like journalist Peter Daou, and when he hints in his article on
green-bashing that Christian folk (okay, he indicts Jim Hoft, but still...) may be particularly guilty of not supporting environmentalism, it just out and out made me sad. 

Most of us Judeo-Christian faithful believe nothing like the Gateway Pundit's spooky anti-earth conservatism (or all the crazies who bought into the
2009 Values Voters Summit seminar,
GLOBAL WARMING HYSTERIA: THE NEW FACE OF THE "PRO-DEATH" AGENDA).  Most of us believe that environmental stewardship is biblical (yes it is!):

Read Psalm 104:5-30 which says much, including: 
You cause the grass to grow for the cattle, and plants for people to use, to bring forth food from the earth, and wine to gladden the human heart, oil to make the face shine, and bread to strengthen the human heart.

Does this mean I worship the earth? No.  Does this mean I value any other of creation on earth above human beings?  Of course not.  Does this mean I believe we have a God-given right to just use and abuse the crap out of the world and wait for God to usher in a new one. No. no. no.

It means I worship the One who created the world, and I do so by lovingly and respectfully caring for God’s creation within the limits of my best abilities--and I support others who legislate and lobby for my government to do likewise.  And here are some other Christians and Jews who feel the same:

California's Interfaith Power & Light

CIPL seeks to be faithful stewards of Creation by responding to global warming through the promotion of energy conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy. This ministry intends to protect the earth's ecosystems, safeguard public health, and ensure sufficient, sustainable energy for all.  CIPL is a faith based organization and stipulates that every major spiritual tradition calls on us to be faithful stewards of Creation. We have a responsibility to protect the earth for our children and future generations. Global warming is a crisis that has severe environmental, social, moral, economic and spiritual consequences. Current patterns of climatic warming point to increases in heat-related illnesses and deaths, increased heat stress for crops, and greater energy needs for cooling. CIPL helps educate congregations on the theological basis for eco-stewardship and assists them in implementing programs to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and become more energy efficient – therefore helping to mitigate the harmful effects of global warming. Working together, individuals and communities of faith can model to the rest of the world how.

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America/Journal of Lutheran Ethics

Heavy reliance on fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas) together with ecologically damaging land use patterns have produced grave threats to justice, peace, and the integrity of creation. The related challenges posed by global warming and climate change are unprecedented in human history.

Evangelical Environmental Network

The Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN) is a non-profit organization that seeks to educate, inspire, and mobilize Christians in their effort to care for God's creation, to be faithful stewards of God's provision, and to advocate for actions and policies that honor God and protect the environment.  EEN's work is grounded in the Bible's teaching on the responsibility of God's people to "tend the garden" and in a desire to be faithful to Jesus Christ and to follow Him. EEN publishes materials to equip and inspire individuals, families, and churches; and seeks to educate and mobilize people to make a difference in their churches and communities, and to speak out on national and international policies that affect our ability to preach the Gospel, protect life, and care for God's Creation.

Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL) 

Judaism has a tradition of ethical concern for both the natural resources that support life, and the financial resources that support religious and educational projects. Both are called “stewardship,” and both imply conservation. Wasted energy is not only poor stewardship of funds, but wasted natural resources, causing unnecessary pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

Tue, May 25, 2010 | link

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Week in Re-View
Moist MN summer blows in on the jetstream like the belch of a sweaty giant.  Also, Pentecost rides in on the wind.  I predict pre-K naked waterplay by 3 p.m.  Missed 6 a.m. writing project dealine due to Nazarene turkey hangover (see Saturday).  Later: Moose hunt @ the Minnesota Zoo

Church charity dinner/auction successfully raises all funds needed for cost-free outreach Vacation Bible School program. Personally I think it was the 15 lbs. of Mrs. Wilkes' Sweet Potato Casserole I baked for the event that filled the coffers, but it may also have been Pastor "Sugar Man" Steve's charismatic auctioneering. Missed another 6 a.m. writing project deadline due to I don't give a rat's tiny...

Cryptic message left in backyard:
I'm big and I'm red.
I can hold Jeff, Murray, Sam, and Anthony.
I can take Captain Featherswrod anywhere, and you too..
You have the power!
Thanks, mystery giver, for Roo's new Wiggles Big Red Car!

Minnesota Nurses Association votes to strike.  Call non-union management RN sister at United Hospital and leave Woody Guthrie songs on her voicemail.  Toe registers for fall Kindergarten at Battle Creek Elementary "Kindergarten Roundup" and Open House. Circular school hallways teeming with hollerin' 5 year-olds remniscient of NASCAR event, causing many parental headaches.  Toe excercises natural hospitality instinct and invites soft-spoken principal to come play Super Mario Brothers at his house this weekend.

Wednesday, Tuesday, Monday:
Already a blur...

Sun, May 23, 2010 | link

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Brethren
It's so much better without the audio...










"...and triumphantly he rode out on a donkey."

Thu, May 20, 2010 | link

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

much needed comic relief
nakedwednesday.jpgWhat, you don't have Naked Wednesdays at your house?  How about early morning indoor baseball or a dangerous and highspeed trampoline-top sport called Flingin'-Flangin' Frisbee?  Or phonecalls from schoolteachers saying, Your son just told me "My Daddy is foxy!" How about someone who calls a band-aid an " icky sticky owie pig" (sorta makes sense when you think about it. really. really. hard.) or who greets people with a fist bump and a Knock me some knuckle!

Oh, now I get why God made boys.   The world is entirely too serious without them.

Wed, May 19, 2010 | link

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Poobah King
Happy 36th Birthday, Andy...

Dear nephew/little bro hybrid.  Our childhood was more A Tree Grows in Brooklyn meets Huck Finn than Mayberry RFD, but we blossomed.  Like beautifully purpled and fetid stinkweed, hardy and a bit noxious perhaps.  Would we have wanted the adventure any other way?  Still, you were the King Poobah of our youth, and you had your day on the throne.

Random memories include:

Playing in the train yard below the bluffs, hopping in boxcars, discussions with bums and murky interior of the mighty Mississippi’s limestone caves.  Waving to planes buzzing Holman field, the stink off the barges in the hot hot summer.

The bus rides, the bike rides, the hikes through the traffic and skyways of downtown St. Paul, endless hours in the beautifully cool and cavernous Main Branch library, the circulation aide rolling her eyes at the mountainous stacks of books we could barely carry—obviously disgusted with the MELSA no-limit lending policy for kids.  We cleaned out whole sections of the juvenile rooms at a time, then raided the main stacks: Nostradamus, Astral Projection, horrible and brutal stories of the most ghoulish Crusades, Ogden Nash, True Crime.

We played “emergency” and our patients were always bloody.  The carpet and walls were destroyed by splashes and spills of crimson Mercurochrome we swiped from the medicine cabinet to make the injured baby dolls red with gore.  Our Ken and Barbie had a discordant relationship—we had Barbie chop off all her long golden locks to protest…something unfair to girls—and Ken, well he was a self-righteous tyrant, always chastising poor self-loathing Skipper for going out in so short a skirt on a school night.

In our imaginary games we were always parentless and disenfranchised from the world: servants in an evil king’s castle, orphaned stowaways on a mercenary ship, boxcar children.  We were pale, wan, unwanted.  If we had known much about Solzhenitsyn by then, we would have probably imagined ourselves a frigid, lonely Russian gulag too.

And because we were gifted with knowing minds, oh, the awful psychological warfare we waged on the adults! Telling Mom/Grandma, “You know, you can will yourself to die!” and her mock horror reply, “Don’t tell me how!  I might accidentally do it!”  She knew us well.

Finally, the rainy grade school mornings when no one was home, we’d stay in and watch Phil Donahue, serve ourselves heavily sugared coffee and cheese toast in front of the old console TV, practicing for our inevitable grownup angst.

You are truly Huck now, Captain.  Your tales of the River are adventurous and haunting, but your mind is strong and well-prepared.

Tue, May 18, 2010 | link

Monday, May 17, 2010

Our Autism Odyssey: The Book of Missing You

Doh Dog found her family.  Despite the happy circumstances, Toe has taken it hard.  There’s been some sadness and crying, some staring pensively out windows, waiting, watching, wailing.  Doh and Toe had one of those love-at-first sight friendships.  Just looking at the two of them together generated twosome kinds of thoughts:  buddy movies, sidekicks, a boy and his dog, man’s best friend.  At least, for Toe’s sake, we have some pictures.  Poor lad.  First the Swedes were gone, then Kayla and Karl, then Jude, then Jimmy changing classes.  Uncle Jimbo flying in and out.  Uncle Poopy so fascinating and so far away.  Now Doh, gone for good.

It’s especially hard for a boy like Toe to be separated from someone he cares about.  Kids with autism are often so very literal and visual.  Most of us can feel the presence and comfort of real love across endless miles and decades of time through a complexity of thought and imagination.  For Toe, if the object of his longing isn’t standing right before his eyes, it’s hard to feel anything but bereft and empty, as though nothing again will ever fill that hounddog-sized hole.  My little mourner.  He falls so hard.

Recently we started keeping a small scrapbook we call The Book of Missing You.  Toe has a special place on a high shelf (Roo-proofing) in the living room where he keeps it for when he needs it.  Mostly it is filled with paper printed photos of all the beloveds (read: dogs, cats, people) Toe struggles with missing so much in their absences.  Toe colors in it and practices letters—he makes it his own with Lightning McQueen stickers or wobbily-drawn smiley faces.  It's not quite the same as the randomness and sahred posession of a family album--this book is like a little place that Toe can go to in his head and be where he needs to be.

In The Book, there’s Pastor Steve eating cake in the church basement. There’s  Nico the dog (his current PCA’s Husky with whom he frequents the dog park to play “hatch”) and Conan the cat.  There are pictures of Toe smiling and laughing and hugging all the girls and boys and critters it’s hard for him to be without.  When Toe is low, he takes down his book and pages through it.  This usually generates a big grin and lots of excited talk:  That’s Jude and Tovi going to the Zoo!  Look, Mommy, Nico has one eye and one brown eye—I love that! And through that I think our little tenderfoot is learning just a little bit about that great big monstrous grownup thing called grief—hopefully the part that there is joy in the remembering.

Mon, May 17, 2010 | link

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Roo has finally gone to the dogs.

Sun, May 16, 2010 | link

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Doh! There goes Saturday...
doh.jpgAs I have often admitted, I am the canine Harriet Tubman of East Saint Paul.  I can't help myself, and honestly I was born into the role (my sister, The Cat Tamer of Como, will attest to the fact that our parents indeed started it all).

We run an underground railroad of runaway stray city mutts here at the BCD house, and I am proud to say have a 100% success rate for finding them either their proper owners or loving new homes (not ours, as much as we'd like it).  I am not sure why we are a beaming beacon to the strays of the world--they always show up here.  Maybe it is the smell of fellow dogkind eminating from our backyard (although almost half the houses on our block also have dogs).  Maybe it is the laughter of little boys, or the fact that we spend a great deal of time outside--or that I have a giant "sucker" tatooed on my forehead.  Who can say?  Knock, and we will open.

Doh dog (pictured here)  is our first bum of the spring, a foxhound/beagle mix that Toe named instantly.  He looked at her and said, "Doh dog there lost her family.  We need to find them!"  OMG, I've passed it to him through my DNA.

Anyway, we will now spend our lovely weekend canvassing the area, looking for Doh Dog's true home.  She is listed on Craiglist MN Lost and Found, The Humane Society Found Animal site, and Foxhound MN Rescue.  Without chips or tags, you never know, so if'n you need a hound, please contact me!  Here are some photos we call Getting to Know Doh...


Air Doh.  This dog can JUMP!


Conversations with Doh:  Doh is calm, well-mannered and gentle with kids.  She is nicely trained but prefers bbq chicken pizza over Purina dog biscuits as a treat (East Side!).


Right at home Doh:  this dog made instant friends with ours, and goes with the flow.  She is definitel a laid back hound who rarely barks although she likes to play "tackle" is on constant "ear alert."

Sat, May 15, 2010 | link

Friday, May 14, 2010

Fat Cheek Friday
fatcheekfriday.jpgAhhhh, we made it through another week!  We don't really say  TGIF around here because, as Twitter Jesus says, "Enough! We know it's a miracle already!" 

Instead, for us it is Fat Cheek Friday, the day that puts the chubb in the cheeks of BlueCollar Boys(including Hub).  Tonight, bring on the homemade pizza with fatcheekfriday2.jpgextra cheese, the cuddles and board games, and family movie night ! 

Hope you have a wonderful Fat Cheek Friday of your own (unless you are on the South Beach Diet or reading Sylvia Plath for pleasure, of course)!

Fri, May 14, 2010 | link

Thursday, May 13, 2010

my bionic bladder: phase 2
bionicbladder.2.jpgIs this more of me than you ever hoped to see?  Well, I can't help myself.  I am, in my heart, stuck in the thrid grade where I never ever had anything super exciting to share for show and tell, so here it is:  my bionic bladder. Actually this is only one of my two bionic bladder parts--the other one is even cooler (how millenial am I??)--but I don't want to spend all of S&T bragging about myself.  If you send me photos of your bionic parts, I would be happy to share them too.

Yesterday I had my third post-surgical follow-up with the intense, compassionate and unearthly beautiful Dr. Bollywood, my surgeon.  This woman is an enigma: she looks like Delacroix's Orphan Girl at the Cemetary and has the heart and soul of suffering Mary at the Cross. We spent the entire scheduled 45 minute appointment talking about our babies (she has a 4 year old cherubic daughter and newly arrived fraternal twins).

Remember the Bionic Woman, the episode where her amazing and reliable miracle ear starting acting up? Poor superhero, she thought she was going crazy, hearing voices.  No one could understand. The whipsering chatter and frightening screeches ringing in her cochlea were really harshing her ability to fight crime and be her super self. 

That's kinda what's happened with me.  Well, except I don't really use my bladder to fight crime--much. Yeah, my bionic bits have to be redone next month.  The first set were apparently of Pakistani quality and Dr. B. is heartbroken.


But don't despair for me.  Get this: Dr. B leaves her three babes, goes to a conference in Chicago to study a newly reworked bionic bladder device that has just been released, takes a course on how to do the surgery for it and gets certified, all so she can do cutting edge surgery on me!  Apparently she felt I deserved a better part, something that would  hold up to the threat of flus and colds spread by pre-K children and has a chance against the errant karate chops of hyperactive boys.  It can withstand 8 times the abuse of my previous part. 

So come June I will be even more a robo-girl! 

Thu, May 13, 2010 | link

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Kemosabe Deutsch

I can't believe the entire Duden's German dictionary is free online now.  Foreign language study for college kids these days is such a Kuchenlauf (if you don't know what that means, you won't find it here).  Do you have any idea how much money I paid for my 5 kilo blindingly yellow Duden's?  Do you?  Have you any idea what lugging that beast in a backpack across the miles of graduate seminars on 19th Century Austrian Literature did to my vertebrae?  Hmmm? 

Well, if you're under 35 or so I guess you'll never know--just CLICK! And don't even get me started on iGoogle's Word Monkey.  It's like I spent my youth studying Morse Code and then old Alexander Graham Bell comes along and just invents the damned telephone.

I'm over it.

One thing language software can't teach you though is Kemosabe Deutsch.  This is the brutalized version of German akin to Pidgin English which occurs when you are intimate enough with the Muttersprache to butcher it for your own convenience and amusement (ie: Kuchenlauf). 

Some examples of Kemosabe Deutsch in the BCD Haus:

(literally: fire starter; used practically to indicate a tool for igniting grills and campfires, figuratively for "troublemaker")

Kuchenlauf (literally: cake walk; non-existent in German, but used to describe a particular disdain for how easy someone has it)

...every Tom, Dick and Heike  (dismissive expression for the racially Anglo-Saxon masses--which admittedly includes the author of this blog)

Franken-(prefix for anything freakish or humanly contrived, as in a bizarre home-built motorcyle being a Frankencycle or a hideously handcrafted homesewn dress being a Frankenkleid)

-leh (suffix when added to the end of a word to make the object diminutive and adorable, as in That's my little Reub'leh!)

Haufenmist (literally "manure heap;" smack talk for anything that is bunkola)

Wunder- (literally “wonder,” used in KD as a prefix denoting awesomeness—as in, That is some flipping Wunderbeer!)

Gestänk (neologism using real German prefix “Ge-“ meaning the collective form of something; this particular paring with "stank" refers to “really smelly public arena”)

So if you are thinking my Big Ten education went to waste, think again, Buckmeister!

Tue, May 11, 2010 | link

Monday, May 10, 2010

Clover, Church, Chopsticks, Kierkegaard: A BCD Weekend
clover.jpgSince I spent the weekend trying to suck the very marrow out of what Hubby calls Mother's Day Immunity (the brief break in the space/time continuum occuring during the 48 hours of Mother's Day weekend; this breech of nature allows the mom to guiltessly cloak herself in a veil of ignorance to the more menial and unsavory tasks of household maintenance--ie: wiping giant boogies from little noses, short-order cooking 3 squares, swabbing decks, digging that scary goop out of the drain after the dishes are washed, back-breaking scullery work of any kind, etc.), I had time to enjoy the finer pursuits.


Toe, Roo and I have been cultivating a new friendship with one of those misplaced mutant city critters, a giant and voracious jackrabbit we call Clover.  Clover comes several times a day to gobble up our weeds--slurping the stems like spaghetti--scratch his haunches, twitch his telephone tower ears and leave behind enormous piles of his highly toxi poop.  The lads love Clover (who is about as big as Skeeter but with more of a Schwarzenegger build), and watch for him out the window at his peak visiting hours of dusk and dawn.  Who says you can't keep close to nature in the city?

I also had time to embark on reading several new books, all gifts: one a novel by a favorite author (thanks, Hubby!), one a newer biography on the sad life of Keirkegaard (thanks, Uncle Jimbo!), and one a how-to book on making the most adorable marzipan farm animals.  Yeah, Roo is making me read that last one.  On top of that, I got to wade through some church bidness. As the web administrator for our FCON's first website, I took some time to continue working on its design and development, and also managed to complete the desktop publishing for our community outreach programs and upcoming dinner/auction fundraiser for VBS.

Since my express wish to Hub was that I wanted nothing to do with commerce or crowds for Mother's Day, after church we went to a family farm in Elk River for baby animal weekend. Besides the typical farm beasts, there were also kittens, puppies and lots of other adorable critters to enjoy.  Nothing against Clover, but the boys couldn't have loved anything more, and the beautiful weather and endless views of green were exactly what we wanted.  Also, moms got in free!

Lastly, since the men of the house took over the cooking, we had a lot of intersting mealtimes.  Hub decided to have Boys Chopstick Luncheon to teach the lads how to use the utensils.  AS you can see from the photos, they mastered the "grape-spearing" and "double dragon pretzel fling" techniques beautifully.  We'll see how they do when I ask them all to apply their skills to my lemongrass fishball soup next week.



We ended the weekend with a lot of cuddling and giggling and family silly time after which the lads dropped like flies and I could begin to center myself for another year of this monumental thing called mothering.  I hope I make it!
Mon, May 10, 2010 | link

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

Toe presented me with this early Mother's Day gift--his art which he calls "Flowers on Fire."  What more could I want?

Remembering with joy the wonderful moms who left this world too soon and who are no doubt busy preparing a new home for us with the King…

Mom, Amy B. and Mom Galvin

And wishing love and blessings for the great moms that bring so much happiness to the here and now!  Happy Mother’s Day!

Tante Donna, Katybird, Tante Linda, Laura Mae, Tante Chicken, Ms. Megan, Tante Lynn, Little Nikki, Amy D., Poots, Gretchen, Mom Schaus, Rachel, Grandma Evelyn, Peg, Miss Cheri, MrsPastor (Stephanie), Miss Jane, Brabara W., Schaetzchen (LN), and many more...

Good work, sisters!

Sat, May 8, 2010 | link

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Mother of All Gifts

With only 2 shopping days left till Mo’s Day, you’d better get a move on to find the perfect gift for the woman who bore you (or that other lady).  It’s not just enough to know what kind of gifts moms out there crave and expect these days, first you have to know what kind of mom you are dealing with.  So, with my servant’s heart as always, I have prepared for you the following pointers:


1.       The gardener (sometimes known as the compost mom, the Ball Jar mom, or the chicken fat lady or simply: grizzly mom)

2.       The shopaholic (moms who buy you gifts for mother’s day even though they are the moms)

3.       The alcoholic (known prior to 1980 as “cocktail moms”)

4.       The foodie (known prior to 2002 as “moms who can cook” or “non-dieting moms”)

5.       The wine connoisseur (see #3)

6.       The fashionista (basically any mom who does not primarily wear pastel sweat pants or embroidered jumpers)

7.       The feminista (moms who don’t want you to “label” them as moms, as if that defines them)

8.       The nature lover (rockhound moms, moms who make you make bird feeders out of pinecones and peanut butter, moms who make you ride in their bike trailers)
The sports fan (moms who tailgate)

10.   The cowgirl  (dairy moms, rodeo moms, swap meet moms)

11.   Theatre junkie moms (moms who wear black turtlenecks year round and gave you nightmares by reading Kafka’s Metamorphosis to you as a bedtime story)

12.   Hippie moms (march on Washington moms, cloth diapers moms, moms who never eat sugar)

13.   Crafty moms (moms with gel pens, moms who turn a potato and a tea light into the empty tomb of Jesus for Easter, moms who need more than one Rubbermaid tote to carry their pinking shears)

Now that you have that roadmap to help you (no thanks required), here are some hot mom gifts for 2010 to get your creative juices flowing.  Good luck!

aRecycled LP Record Bowl   Drag mom kicking and screaming into the green movement by giving her recycled material gifts, while at the same time reminding her she is from an era long gone by.

aBooze and Beer Holster Now here’s one for the cowgirl, the sportsfan, the wine connoisseur and the “cocktail mom” all in one!  Also, not having to lug that 40 ounce malt liquor bottle around with her everywhere will help tame the arthritis in her hands.

aPersonalized Heavy Core Baseball Bat (East Side Moms only)

aSubversive Cross Stitch  Also know as stitch n' bitch, these fanciful craft kits will help mom through those emotional outbursts of the “Change”

aPhrenology Head Model for Personality Analysis  Because you know that mom hasn’t got a stinking clue as to what you are thinking and it is driving her to her grave.

aThe Genius All Star Action Figure Set   Even moms like to get a new set of dolls.  With these there is the added bonus of creative play, in which she can cast her failure children as one of many of the world’s giant thinkers!

Fri, May 7, 2010 | link

Thursday, May 6, 2010



Lucky me—life has never a dull moment.  You may know that my medical condition flares up and down unexpectedly and at will, expanding and contracting unknowably like the universe, yawning outward and retracting is claws into my body like a hot living, breathing thing.

May is fire season in my faulty genetic  code, and I am smelling smoke.

When you have a capricious disorder, you sort of come to be prepared for anything in your body, every time there’s a medical meltdown.  I’d be lying if I didn’t say though that part of you each time worries a little that this time will be the worst time: the small tinder growing into the fire out of control, the 4 alarms engulfing the whole mountain.  Smokey sitting next to the charred remnants of you on an upturned log, wheezing his big beary wheeze.  Ashes to ashes.

Who can know?  Sola Deus.  God alone.

I can have a flareup 10-15 times a year.  Once I was in a state of flames 25 days out of 30 for 13 straight months.  One year, the year Toe was born, I only flared up twice—tiny little bearable flare-ups, like campfires for roasting weenies and marshmallows really.

Eleven years into autonomic neuropathy, even the medical team just stands back and lets your bad spells burn themselves out.  They compassionately offer drugs and therapies to ride it out, make radical suggestions based on fringe new theories and conspiratorial drug company claims, but mostly they just call me.  I would say come in and see me, but why waste your minimal energy coming in here?  A sick too sick to see the doctor.  Your world-renown untouchable celebrity neurologist feels like a failure. That’s when you know you’ve crossed over to truly pathetic.

Anyway, Hub is my fireman.  Toe and Roo are his sidekicks.  Passing through the kitchen they see me grimace as I shuck the corn.  Toe says, Mommy those corns are making you look, too tired.  You come sit by Tovi on the couch and play Kung Fu Panda! When it takes an eternity for me to get through my morning routine, a stray handsome hand slips a cool glass of iced tea and an Advil bottle through the bathroom door and leaves it on the sink.  Roo appears off the schoolbus carrying a bouquet of tissue flowers and a big grin.  The loudest three boys on earth become soft-spoken and organized. They eat cereal and make me soup and bring the book nook to my bed.  And we all come through the flames together.


Thu, May 6, 2010 | link

National Day of Prayer
DC_Webcast_5_6_10.jpgDespite Supreme Court Rulings and viral internet stories of its cancellation, the 59th annual Natioanl Day of Prayer is being observed today.  View the live webcast from D.C. starting NOW (8 a.m. CST), join the millions of American Christians observing this day, sign the petition to support this historic event or donate to the NDP defense effort, all at the above link.

We were made to pray for such a time as this!

Thu, May 6, 2010 | link

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Cupcake Comfort

A friend led us on our first blessed pilgrimage to the Cupcake Café in Minneapolis.  We were taken as at treat to soothe in icing and homey goodness the wounds of a couple of challenging weeks in the BCD house.  Behold the healing power of cupcakes, in nearly 100 varieties.  Frosting fanatic Roo, a sucker for the seductive colors of nature, chose and knocked back two of the Robin's Egg variety (a seasonal spring offering of tender white cake iced with a lightly minted birdegg blue top), while little tippler Toe went for the Kirsch alcohol-enriched Chocolate Covered Cherry party cake (I think it was that big red cherry on top, but then again it was cocktail hour...).  It was a fun break in the routine and an amazing bakery.


Droolers can salivate while watching like crazed peeping Toms as the bakers bake and forst the cakes behind a huge plate glass window (a bonus for the gluten free who can only enjoy the cupcakes vicarioulsy).


My personal cupcake Everest:  the lemon raspberry.  When I am able to recreate the taste and texture of this masterpiece in a gluten free eggless cake that doesn't taste like a mealy garbanzo bean, I'll feel accomplished.

Wed, May 5, 2010 | link

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Quitter

Aw, look at him.  Hub at 19, growing into manhood.  An international traveler, a scholar of East Asia, a compassionate young Christian.  A new smoker.

Hubby has now been smoking for 19 years--this habit being one of  2 nasty things he brought home from a year in Thailand (the other being an intestinal parasite). 

Hubby would want me to pause here and mention all the fabulous things he also brought home from a year in Thailand, lest you look negatively upon his wonderful experiences abroad: fluency in the language, training as a kickboxer, a heart for the gentle-spirited Thai people and their beautiful culture, a renewed appreciation for life after several near-death experiences on high speed motorbikes and rickety tuk tuks, the skills to roast lizard on a stick over an open fire, a third eye in the top of his head to keep vigilant for dropping geckos, a taste for
Singha (the champagne of beers), mouse dropping chilis ("prik kee nu", yes they call them THAT) and mango salad (hot enough to take the roof off your mouth), and an energized interest in political science after having witnessed first hand a major third world governmental coup.  Oh, and he has a lovely portait of King Rama framed in 24 karat gold he got for like $2.

But now, with his explicit permission, let's say sawatdee* cigarettes and put our hands togehter in prayer for Hubby's newest, most intense and LAST smoking cessation program, starting today.  With God's help, the watchful encouragement of his longtime internist Dr. Feisty, and a specially designed quit plan made for him (and including
Chantix), I know my handsome Marlboro man can do it!    Chan rak khun!

*I have been warned on threat of being blog-grounded to mention there will be no such "sawatdee" to Singha, a golden kingdom treat forever welcome in our refriderator (in wholesome moderation, of course--great for beer batter and tempura!).

Tue, May 4, 2010 | link

Monday, May 3, 2010


After a long weekend of defending the realm, Sir Roo falls down on the job.

We're still not sure how the elephant died.

Mon, May 3, 2010 | link

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Ladies' Luncheon

It’s so adorable when church ladies get together to lunch.  Of course, the word luncheon implies more than just slamming a half-sub and without taking off your jacket (men!), but something more refined.  Christian ladies lunch with a purpose, usually at cheerfully-dressed long tables in church basements, typically on a variety of fruits and salads and always something deviled.

The Church of the Nazarene ladies spent their luncheon taking back the apron from a cruel woman-hating world.  We reclaimed it for the awesome thing it is: handy tool, decorative art, fond memory-evoking maternal icon.  We ate, celebrated the rewards and joys of having a servant’s heart, read apron poetry and told our favorite apron stories.  There were crafts involved, of course—apron-themed—including handmade aprons for all (some more bedazzling than others—not all of us have the girly skills to sew).  We talked about the new trends of Apronistas and vintage apron collecting, and of course came out of there even more cutting edge than we already are.  Go sisters.


The view from my seat...lucky me!


One of the many very good reasons to be a Christian lady.


Apron itinerary (breakout sessions for offtrack betting omitted).


My BlueCollar Apron.


A lesser-known function of aprons: torturing teens.


Our gang's slogan...

Sat, May 1, 2010 | link

Archive Newer | Older

Click above for archive posts grouped monthy...

Contact us

Post Comments  View Comments

aUpdated August 2009

©Angela R. Braun, June 2009  test

HomeBlogroll and FavesBlueCollar BelovedsThe WebrarySolomon's Porch: Faith and IllnessLiviing on the EastsidePicturing Tobias