Category Archives: Travel

Getting the Lard Out

I have become wary of telling Husband what I want, or if I like something, because he takes it on himself to make certain I get  it.  Sometimes  I just make an offhand comment about liking something, with no expectation of getting it, and Husband takes it to heart and feels responsible  for it.   I think it has something to do with his being an older brother of a younger sister and feeling responsible for her happiness. My father was the same way with me.  One can only be considered spoiled under these circumstances if one comes to expect such treatment.  I don’t expect it, so I am not spoiled!

Last week I took the last jar of home-rendered lard out of the freezer as I needed it for pie crusts. I told Husband that we would need to render more lard some time. I didn’t mean that I wanted to do it right away, but that was how Husband interpreted it, and he set to work finding some pork fat for me to render.  I came home for lunch to find a disgruntled man who had been unsuccessful in finding any pork fat from our usual sources. He even phoned butcher shops in Fargo, Brookings, and Canby, MN.   I assured him that it wasn’t a crisis, and that it was fine if we didn’t find any.  There are lots of good pie crust recipes that don’t call for lard. Husband was still  fretful. I just hoped he would forget about it and stop ruminating.

Yesterday while I was in my meetings, Husband chanced on a farmers market on Nicollet Avenue, and found a source for leaf lard and pork fat from a guy who raises hogs in New Richmond, WI.  He and Husband talked lard and, after several phone calls back to the farm to check on supplies, he and Husband arranged for us to pick up 10 pounds of leaf lard and other pork fat from him at the Minneapolis Farmers Market on Saturday morning.   Lard crisis averted.  It remains to be seen what Husband will ruminate about next.

What have you gone to extremes to find or accomplish? What is your favorite pie crust?  What do you ruminate about?

Right or Wrong

Today marks the anniversary of Christopher Columbus landing on an island near the Bahamas and believing he was in  Asia. My, was he wrong.  No one in my father’s family was ever wrong, so they thought.  They believed they were really French.  They just couldn’t reconcile themselves to be Dutch.  In reality, they are Frisian, but how do you explain what that means? I never expected Ronald Reagan to be elected president. My, was I wrong.

When have you been really, really, right? When have you been really, really, wrong?

Taking My Show On The Road

The following is an excerpt from an article in our local paper, The Dickinson Press, for September 17, 2019, written by reporter Josiah Cuellar.

“An 18-wheeler loaded with a massive, four-ton potato, on its annual tour of the country, stopped by The Hub at West Dakota Oils which was having their grand reopening Tuesday, Sept. 17.  The Big Idaho Potato crew filled up and welcomed the public to get photos and ask questions to the truck driver, Melissa Bradford, and the “Tater Twins,” Kaylee Wells and Jessica Coulthard.  “No two potatoes look alike, neither do the Tater Twins,” Wells said.  “It’s just a really fun campaign,” Coulthard added. The annual tour began in 2012, and the popularity of it keeps bringing the colossal spud back. “They built the potato truck to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Idaho Potato Commission,” Coulthard said,  “It was originally supposed to be one-year tour, but it got so popular they just kept it going.”  While every trip in the giant, potato-shaped truck is unique, this year’s tour is extra special because it features the first all-female group. “We are the first all-female team that they had on tour,” Wells said. “We get to show other women that you can do anything that you put your mind to, that you can succeed in a man’s world; you can do whatever you want.””

Ok. I think this is pretty silly and weirdly wonderful.  No matter what happens in the next few weeks in Washington, I think it is important to remember that this is what makes us a great nation.

What would you like to load up on a big truck and take on tour? Where would you take it?

Aliens Among Us?

Back to my rant on reactionary headlines. Now I’m seeing news that some videos from quite a few years ago have been leaked from Navy archives, videos that the Navy says are “real”.  They show unidentified objects that have never been explained.  So now aliens exist and are among us according to the headlines.

Personally I’m not willing to say that we are the only life in the universe. As Matthew McConaughey says in the movie, Contact

However, I’m pretty sure that if there is other life in the universe, the human race doesn’t have it within itself to RECOGNIZE that life. I think that our definition of life is too small.  Even our definition of life is based on what we currently believe to be life:  “the condition that distinguishes animals and plants form inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity and continual change preceding death.”

I’m also pretty sure that any kind of life/civilization that can get to Earth is/will be way more advanced than we can imagine. So I’m not really concerned that the Navy video is really aliens – if aliens are here, they are advanced enough to keep themselves hidden from us.  For all we know, aliens do walk among us and we’ll probably never figure it out?

What place in the universe would you like to visit?

Strawberry Fields Forever

In the news today, Strawberry Fields, the spot that sparked John Lennon’s imagination and led to their great song will be opening to the public soon. You will be able to walk the gardens and grounds and there is a visitor center with interactive exhibits that highlight Lennon’s early life.

According to the story, about 60,000 visitors gather at the gates to Strawberry Fields every year.

What spot inspired by song would YOU like to visit?

Staying Connected

Day Three of the Fair — first day for YA and I together. As we were sitting on the bus at the Park n Ride, YA says “I left my phone in the car”.  The bus driver had already announced that as soon as the bus was full, he was taking off even it was a little early.  When I asked YA if she wanted to go retrieve her phone, the driver made another announcement; YA didn’t want to wait for the next bus so said she didn’t need her phone.

I almost laughed out loud. I shoved her off the bus and we sprinted back to the car, grabbed her phone and made it back to the bus before it left, although we had to stand at that point.  I couldn’t think of anything worse than spending 8 hours with a young person who didn’t have their phone, even if it meant waiting for the next bus.  A couple of hours later, while she was taking pictures of bunnies, she thanked me for going back for the phone.

Any essential items you need to take if you’re spending a day out and about?

Leading Me Astray and Egging Me On

Daughter has done it again. She has cast out her net of excitement and wild ideas and caught me.

The other day she sent a photo via text. It was identical to the header photo, which is a shot of Hallstatt, Austria. “Mom!! Isn’t this place beautiful? Wouldn’t this be nice over Christmas!! We fly to Munich and then take the train. I’ll pay for my own airline ticket. Just think of the Christmas markets!”  She says this at a very rapid pace.

I said a trip like that takes a lot of planning. She replies, “Ok.  Let’s go the Christmas of 2020!! We will have lots of time to plan and save our money. Oh, Mom! Think of the Christmas markets!”  I feel myself sliding down the slippery slope to consider this seriously.  Daughter knows that if I am in favor of something like this, it will happen. Husband always says he wants his two beauties to be happy, and Daughter knows if I agree to something, her father will go along with it.

Husband chimes in “I think that is a historically interesting place.  The Celts settled there, and there are ancient salt mines.” He then goes to the basement to get a book about the region.

I think, well, it isn’t that far from the area of Germany where Husband’s family hales from. Maybe we could visit Stuttgart and Wurttemberg as long as we were there. Husband has always wanted to do that.  I tell her I will contact our travel agent and get her working on it.

This is how we ended up in Europe three years ago. Daughter gets an idea, and then we just run with it. There are very few people who can propel me on adventures like my daughter can.

How do people convince you to do things you wouldn’t normally do?  Who in your family was (or is) good at getting you into trouble?