Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Fishing in Minnesota

First - Most - Biggest. This is the fishing challenge - $1 for the first fish caught, $1 for the most fish caught, and $1 for the biggest. So far I am about $50 in the hole - even though I have caught the biggest on numerous outings this summer. The trick is to catch the first - that puts pressure on the opponent to hustle and try for the most. The biggest is mostly luck.

Before I go on with my story, I must digress with Bass Fishing 101. There are 3 varieties of Bass - Largemouth, Smallmouth, and Rock Bass. Largemouth Bass are the challenging ones to catch, and according to one fisherman up here, Rock Bass shouldn't even be allowed in the count because they are the smaller of the three and are scavengers. Smallmouth put up the biggest fight. Bass usually reside in shallow water where bullrush, cattail, or lily pads grow just off the shoreline. The best bait is either plastic worms with really wiggly tails that move as you reel the line in or plastic lizards that have four legs and a tail that wiggle - a real attraction for any fish. This bait comes in an assortment of colors, spots, textures, or ridges and may even contain oils, salt, or scents that can hardly be resisted. The technique is to cast your wiggly little morsel into the bull rushes or under the lily pads and reel in slowly. If attracted, the Bass will attack - then you set the hook. On a slow day, your arm gets plenty of exercise.

Back to my story. On Monday, husband and I went to Sauer Lake for a few hours of Bass hunting. We can hardly contain ourselves to get our lines in the water so we can claim the first fish. I won. I tried the bullrushes, and they weren't doing much for me except snaging my hook, so I tried deeper water just behind the boat - and wahlah - the first Bass. Cha Ching. (For the PETA sympathizers, this was a catch and release day. No fish were injured or eaten.) Then I caught a second - and then a third Bass. Husband was getting a little irked. Then he caught one too - let the games begin. My next two catches were little Sunfish - which husband wouldn't count in the haul. "Anyone can catch a Sunfish." Bass catching cooled off a little, so we went to another lake. This is where my luck soured - husband pulled in the kingfish of all - the biggest. He made me take a picture - which I will post - some day. And so, husband rules again with the most - 10 in all to my 6 (it was really 8 with my sunnies) but at least I caught the FIRST.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


The Fourth of July is a day to honor our country, celebrate with friends, and drink America's finest beer. But wait, America can't claim a beer anymore - our great American beers are owned by foreign countries. OK, then we can be patriotic, socialize, and drink anything we want.

On the Fourth of July, husband and I visited 3 different houses and met many new friends. We were very patriotic - husband in his flag look-a-like polo shirt and me in anything I could squeeze into. (note to self - buy something red, white, and blue with stars and stripes for 2010)

The first stop was a cottage on Lake Sallie - the mission was for husband to talk golf with a pretty young thing who was a golf star in high school and college. I talked to the mom and got a tour of the beach. Loved it - want to buy the cottage and the pontoon that was parked at the dock - not for sale - will be passed down to children. We sat there for awhile, soaking in the sun and the crystal blue water, and rubbing the ears of an adorable Golden Retriever.

Then off to a house across the street for a bar-b-que with a man we met playing golf. (golf is a great social networking medium - and you don't riddle your conversation with LOL and OMG - but that's another topic) This man, John, has a live menagerie of animals that he inherited when his wife passed away a few years ago.

There is Gimlet, a parrot, who is 40 years old (did you know parrots can live to be 80 or 90? - one must make sure they are named in the trust) Gimlet was a little shy. She did not like all the people invading her space. And, according to John, she was a little pissed at him for taking her from her Arizona environment she knew so well and transporting her to Minnesota. She punished him by destroying her perch. However, she enjoyed the rib he gave to her at the party. She held it in her claw, ate all the meat off with her beak, and then ceremoniously threw it on the floor - kind of like in a Jewish wedding. She did the same with the corn on the cob.

Then there were the 3 cats, Taffy, Casper, and Mulligan. Taffy was the same color as her name, and she disappeared shortly after we arrived - I hope it wasn't my perfume. It might have been husband's vibes as he glared at her sitting on the counter precariously close to the food. Casper was enjoying a ripe old age of 17 and spent most of her time nestled in her comfy bed under the end table. She ventured out to eat and then wash her face back in her nest. Mulligan had a deformed left leg, but was able to get around as well as any of the other cats. She was rescued from some insane two-legged animal who had thrown her out into traffic to get rid of her. She was definately enjoying the last laugh.

Then we walked out to the porch and encountered two Doberman Pinchers. After we were properly introduced to them, we became their best friends. The large one - like a small pony - was named Bear. Bear and his smaller twin liked hovering around the men who sat outside and told golfing lies. The women remained inside gabbing about books, gift stores, and food preparation. I preferred playing with the pets.

After dinner husband and I ventured over to Lake Pelican to visit Jeff and another couple. Lake Pelican is like the Scottsdale of Arizona. Jeff was entertaining another couple with red wine and a beautiful sunset on his porch. The wife of the other couple has a PhD at some Iowa University. I put on my best academic personna and held my own conversing with this woman who was dressed in an all white linen pantsuit with a white and red shawl draped around her shoulders. She had the perfect hair, milky complexion, and diamond baguettes on her fingers. In her ears were the striped portion of the flag - in rubies, diamonds, and sapphires. I felt a little underdressed.

Somewhere between the sun going down and the moon coming up we climbed aboard Jeff's pontoon, bottles of Cabernert in hand, and set sail with the other residents to the north end of the lake for the fireworks display. It was quite a sight. The moon was bright in the sky, there were fireworks going off all around the lake's perimeter, and lights shone in the castle-like homes along the beach. When the main display started, we tuned in to a radio channel that played patriotic songs (unfortunately, no "Coming to America" by Neil Diamond) We had awesome front row seats and the wine even mellowed Ms. PhD. Once the grand finale was over, we slowly crept back to Jeff's house, unable to find it in the dark. It's amazing how wine can press against your bladder when you know you can't make it to the bathroom. After a few passes along the beach, we docked under the canopy and ran to the house.

New and old friends, cold beverages, and a land we love, all make for an awesome Fourth of July.

Friday, July 3, 2009


My mother's favorite word was "shit" - as in, "Shit, I just dripped mustard on my blouse." or "Shit, the dog threw up again." My father disclosed this surprising tidbit to me one day when I became middle-aged. It's funny the things we learn about family when we become adults. My mother would have never used the shit word in front of the children - in fact she never shared the not-so-nice words and happenings in the family with her only daughter. My favorite expletive as a teenager was "crap" - as in "Crap, my hair looks awful." or "Crap, I can't find my keys." My mother hated it when I said crap, and admonished me with a stern "Barbara!" Crap is a word used for simple adolescent inconveniences and just doesn't have the same emphasis that shit does. Crap is too quick, hard, dried up. Shit, on the other hand, kind of rolls off your tongue and you can daw it out for emphasis, like shiiiiiiiit. You can even make it a two-syllable word, like "shee-iit." Shit is the graduate word for crap. It is fresh, to the point, and saying it makes you feel better, no matter what the problem is. Then there are the phrases "holy crap" and "holy shit." Both have a bigger bang to them. "Holy" is sacred - it's righteous, and is used when there is a need to emphasize a revered situation. When used with crap, the phrase emulates a feeling of astonishment, amazement - such as "Holy crap, do you mean she ran the entire 26-mile marathon?" or "Holy crap, I can't believe my cell phone charges are that much." On the other hand, "holy shit" is used when something is to be sanctified or blessed. It stirs up a steamy freshness in our emotions; for example, "Holy shit, Rachael on 'Days of Our Lives' just died!" or "Holy shit, there was another plane crash!" My daughter recently said to her mother, "Holy shit, Michael Jackson just died!" Choose your expletives well.

A Dilemma

For the past 4 weeks I have walked the treadmill at 4 mph for two and a quarter miles, done 20 sit ups, and worked my arms, waist and legs with free weights every day. In addition to all of that, I have cut my consumption of food in half and walked 18 holes of golf whenever the weather cooperates. But, alas, alak, my shorts are still tight. Ok, I confess that I did have a brownie fudge blizzard on Saturday (it was yummy) and had a few slices of pizza last week (the best cheesy pizza ever), but those minimal indiscretions should not keep the fat cells packed tightly on my belly and buttocks. The culprit could be old-age hormones (or lack of) kicking in - damn hormones. But then again, it might be the extra calories in the adult beverages I've been enjoying during happy hour. Maybe that is the reason my jeans and capri's do not stretch as much as they used to. So, my dilemma is this - do I give up the bottles and cans for a more svelte body - or resign myself to being a happy and healthy, chubby old lady and just buy bigger clothes. I'm blaming it on the hormones.

Golf in Minnesota

Playing golf in Minnesota is challenging, to say the least. The day can start out beautiful, with blue skies, puffy clouds, a little breeze, and temperatures in the 70's. Then a storm will blow in and drench us with rain. There is one executive golf course that husband and I play. The first day we played, the rain started to pour when we were on hole #7. We slopped our way through #9 back to the truck. The other day we made it to #11 before we felt the little drips of rain, and made it back to cover before the downpour. Last week we actually completed the entire 18. That day happened to be a bit muggy and warm. Actually it was extremely humid and hot. Along about hole #6 - when it would normally start to rain - I was met instead by a small deer fly. I must have smelled particularly sweet with sweat that day. These little creatures love to torment you by circling around and around your head, coming close to your ear so they make sure you know they are still there. You can swat the air, jump up and down, and even run like a maniac, but the persistent pest continues to circle your head like a halo. At times, they will nestle in between your ear and hat and take a ride for awhile. The golf course deer fly thought it was such fun tormenting me, he called his friends and family in for the ride. The entire network of deer flies continued their game of touch and go with my arms, neck, and ears until I was ready to roll around on the grass. Then I discovered that after they suck the blood from your veins, they become somewhat lethargic. That's when I would swat them and scurry them off to the insect-maker in the sky. Despite the halo of deer flies, I managed to par holes #16 and #17 and - no rain.

Why A View From My Window?

When I wake up in the morning I open all the blinds so the beautiful ouside can enter into my life. I love looking out windows - any windows - windows that look out on to a sparkling swimming pool - windows that have a view of majestic mountains - windows that celebrate the setting of the sun - windows that bring the colorful flowers into the kitchen - windows that spy on the neighbors. I have a little window by the head of my bed in our trailer. I open that window at night so I can smell the cool evening air and gaze up at the sky filled with twinkling tiny dots that grant wishes. I wish for happiness for my children - I have wishes for my future - I wish for good fortune and good health. Sometimes in the morning, swift clouds wipe away the tiny dots and a bright blue sky peeks through - the dawning of a new day. Wishes are tapping on the window and sometimes they come in to the world inside. The view from my window may be filled with wishes, consumed by ideals, and enhanced by an imagination, but this is my view, and I embrace it.