Lightning

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Wide-lightening

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Lightning

By Joanie Buettgen

Have you ever thought that your life is boring? I used to tell myself that. Sometimes, it feels like I’m coasting through life. And, when I least expect it, my journey takes an unexpected hair pin turn.

This year seemed like a mad roller coaster ride. I try to enjoy this transitional period because you never know when it will level out.

Since April, I’ve attended three baby showers. My second grandson was born. Then, we baptized our two grandsons. A month later, he was hospitalized with croup. In May and June, we celebrated four birthdays, attended three wedding showers. Finally, we gained a new son-in-law as we celebrated our daughter’s wedding.

Just when I thought my summer was winding down, to a nice comfortable pace, we were hit by a fluke storm. In August our home was hit by lightning

I used to think that cleaning up after dinner was tedious, and had a lack luster quality about it. I no longer think that way. I was washing the supper dishes when a freak storm hit. As it blew through town, I peeked out the kitchen window and noticed swirling, dark clouds overhead.

Then I heard it. Saw it. And felt it.

It was a lightning strike.

Afterwards, Mark and I noticed a nasty odor which smelt like burnt electrical wires.

Mark and I yelled in unison, “What the heck was that?!”

Mark came rushing into the kitchen, “That was way too close.”

“I saw the flash!” I screamed. “It was right in front of the window!”

A few minutes later, a light drizzle lingered. Then, Mark ventured outdoors to assess any possible damage to our home.

It sure was a funny sight to see Mark, this big, burly guy standing in the driveway holding a child size red umbrella. As he walked around our home, he surveyed the roof for signs of damage. The last thing we needed was a large, gaping hole on our new roof. As he finished the inspection, I noticed he had a scowl on his red, bearded face.

Once inside we trudged upstairs and followed the odor to my chick cave. In the closet, we noticed a gaping hole the size of a melon.

The next day our appliances went hay-wire. And many of them acted like the TV in the movie Poltergeist. Our blender and paper shredder only worked in reverse. Our bathroom light fixture smelt like something died. Our computer tower showed no life force. And our phones were dead.

To add to this excitement my beloved coffee maker had no brewing spirit. I was thankful my neighbor Idona came over with an extra coffee pot. She knew I’d never survive without my first cup of coffee in the morning. What a great friend!

But the biggest lost was our gas stove. The digital read-out on the front panel was bland and black.

If you never have the pleasure of experiencing this kind of phenomenon, you’ll need to know that the appliances start to have a mind of their own and then break down-gradually over time. My beloved dishwasher doesn’t wash. We’re praying that our washer and dryer hang on until after the holidays.

The next day after the storm, I called the insurance adjuster. “You need the roof inspected and your stove too.”

A week later, the Sears repair man came. “Well, I’ll have to order a new part for your stove. Hopefully, that’ll do it.”

“Hopefully?” I said. My head started to throb.  “What happens if that doesn’t do the trick?”

“Hopefully, that should fix it.” He replied.

It took two weeks for the part to come UPS. I called the Sears guy and set up an appointment for the installation.

Cooking became a daily challenge.

When the stove repairman arrived he set to work. I continued talking on our new phone.

Then I heard a comment that should never be expressed to a homeowner.

“Oops.” The repairman said to himself.

I immediately hung up the phone. “What did you say?”

“Well…at first I heard a pop. Then I saw a spark. Then your stove caught on fire.”

My head started to throb. Again.

“Now, what do we do?” I asked nervously.

“Well…you need a new stove.”

“No kidding!” I said.

Weeks later, and with the best price quote in hand, I let Mark have the task of choosing just the right stove. I wanted and needed all the bells and whistles that we had before.

“How’d it go?” I asked Mark.

“Well, it’ll take a month for them to deliver our stove.” He said.

“Ugg…” was my reply, and I grabbed the empty Advil bottle.

Two months later, our new stove was installed.

Thank God that August and September were warm. While waiting for the stove to arrive, we had to cook all of our food outside on our gas grill. Our neighbors must have thought we were crazy frying eggs and bacon outside.

I’m happy to report that our roof is fine. And the electrical work is finished. Our new stove is installed and is in working order

But as I write this, I noticed our frig is moaning and groaning at me.

Joanie Buettgen has been published: Café’ of Dreams, More.com, Minnesota Moments Magazine, Thankful-Home.tv, Carver County Historical Society, Kansas City BBQ Society, Carver County News, National Barn Alliance, and Ridgeview Medical Center newsletter.

Memberships: National Society of Newspaper Columnists, Toastmaster’s, Minnesota Newspaper Association, Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop attendee.

Social Networking: Blog:https://joanie19.wordpress.com, http://twitter.com/joaniebuettgen,www.linkedin/com/in/joaniebuettgen.

My Little Girl

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The bride and groom sign the book after their ...

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My Little Girl

By Joanie Buettgen
Copyright 2011
All mothers dream of their daughter’s wedding day. Typically, the average ceremony takes a year to plan and prepare. Last summer, we knew, we needed the expertise of a planner. It was our hope and dream to have a lovely and uneventful day.
The day started out with black skies and threatening storms. An old wives tale states, If it rains on your wedding day, it’s good luck. So after the storms stopped, baby blue skies appeared.
Then there was a knock at the door.
A white-haired gentleman appeared and introduced himself as our driver. I noticed that he had parked a green and white trolley on the street. It was complete with vintage detailing, wooden seats and full of charm. This vehicle would transport the bride and her maids to the church. I followed close behind the trolley to make sure I got to the church on time. Typically, this route would have taken ten minutes on the freeway. Today the road was a parking lot. Our driver was then directed to take all the side roads leading to the church. This route caused us to be 30 minutes late.
We finally arrived at the ceremony site for some quick photos. Then we were rushed into a secret room. Rene’ (my daughter) didn’t want Jim to see her before she walked down the aisle. As the guests arrived, they were greeted and handed paper fan programs. The temperature was 93 degrees and humid.
After the bridal party had made their entrance, the ceremony began. As it progressed I noticed Joe, the best man, sweating profusely. Jim, the groom, kept glancing back and forth at his best friend. Suddenly, Joe collapsed. All of the groomsmen rushed to his side and offered him water. After a few minutes, they dashed Joe out to a cool hallway.
The wedding ceremony and the bridal party tried to continue.
Then Karrie, the maid of honor, blacked out. She was rushed out by the Kassie, the matron of honor, who was five months pregnant. After a cool drink, the matrons returned to their spot.
Finally, Rene’ and Jim were pronounced man and wife. Then they headed out to sign their marriage certificate. At the altar, the matron of honor and maid of honor grabbed the only groomsmen left, and with huge smiles on all of their faces, they walked out.
In the lobby, our guests waited for the paramedics to transported Joe to the hospital. We found out later that he was diabetic, and had not consumed any food or water. Joe never did make it back to the reception.
We arrived at the venue, and greeted with table lines in cool summer colors of lemon yellow, lime green, and fuschia. The tables were decorated with tall, white coach lanterns with bright green pillar candles. They were tied with hot pink ribbon, and they had wooden table numbers glued to the ribbon. It was so hot that even in the air-conditioned room the wooden numbers fell off.
At a reception table, there was a three-tiered cupcake station. It was complete with white, footed, ceramic stands tied with bright pink ribbon. And off to one side,  were cute  boxes tied with lime green and yellow ribbon. These cupcakes were gifts, for our guests, to take home and enjoy.
As the happy couple entered the room, Rene’ asked, “The cupcakes don’t resemble what I had picked out.”
Her mother-in-law, Kim stated, “We had an emergency. Tom (the baker) was found unconscious at his apartment and was rushed to the hospital. So, we had another baker step in yesterday, and they baked and decorated these.”
All night long we all line-danced, drank wine, and toasted the lovely couple.
After their honeymoon we had a gift opening. Many close family members were present and we all shared the drama that had occurred that day.
My tears flowed easily as we said our good byes and drove away.
Sadly, the next day they were headed back to South Dakota to start their new life together.
A week has passed and all the decorations and her dress are being stored for the time being. It was then that I re-read the card that Rene’ gave us. She literally handed Mark and I this memory card, as she was about to walk down the aisle.
It read: I know that you’ve been thinking about this day your entire life and now it is here. Thank you for a strong example of what it takes to have successful marriage. And lastly, thank you for being with me today. Your little girl, Rene’.
Joanie Buettgen is “Just another columnist trying out this new stuff.”
Published: Cafe’ of Dreams, More.comMinnesota Moments Magazine, Thankful-Home.tv, Carver County Historical Society, Kansas City BBQ Society, Carver County News, National Barn Alliance, and Ridgeview Medical Center newsletter.
Memberships: National Society of Newspaper Columnists, Toastmaster’s, Minnesota Newspaper Association, Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop attendee.

Blazing Belmont BBQ Weekend

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Blazing Belmont BBQ Weekend

By Joanie Buettgen

Copyright 2011

When Minnesotans discuss Canterbury Park, in Shakopee, Minnesota horse betting is at the top of the list. The high rollers bet big bucks and it’s anyone’s guess who really comes out ahead.

Last weekend, the ponies weren’t the only ones being showcased at this race park. Great barbeque took center stage for the Blazing Belmont BBQ Weekend event. I knew I had to I travel far to taste my first Kansas City BBQ Society event of the summer. And boy, am I glad I took the 50 minute commute. As I jumped out of my chick truck, the air was filled with smelly smoke. And my foodie frenzy kicked into hyper-drive.

The best part of this fun-filled weekend was meeting and greeting local judges and cooks from the Midwest. As I ventured down the parking lot isles the cooks stood around each other and talked “Q”.

As I rounded the corner I came across our local Watertown team of Gary and Joyce Harding, Jeff Larson, and Lynn and Peter Arthur Haering.

As I toured the parking lot, many cooks had parked their campers and trucks earlier in the day. I noticed stacks of charcoal bags, pickup trucks with loads of cut wood, and a variety of long-handled cooking utensils that they had spread out on their make-shift tables. Last week the temperature soared to a scorching 105 degrees. The contestants for this event checked their temperature gauges to make sure they registered a slow and low 225 degrees.

On Friday night it had finally cooled down to a balmy 75 degrees. And it made for a perfect night in Minnesota. Our dreaded mosquito’s had yet to arrive.

Then I noticed a short grey-haired guy. His name was Perry Vining-Event Coordinator for Blazing Belmont and BBQ Weekend. I noticed Vining was riding in and around the race track in a golf cart. As he jumped out of the cart, I thought he looked like a short version of a ZZ Top band member. Vining sported a well-worn hat that was covered with many bling metals. At these barbeque events, the promoters and representatives schedule a Friday night cooks meeting before the big day. As Vining entered the cook’s tent the participants quickly gathered for important information to be distributed and to have any questions answered.

With 70 BBQ cooks in attendance and about a dozen BBQ judges, we all sat and discussed the stellar food which was to come. Finally, Vining went through some house-keeping rules for the competition and steps which needed to be followed for our success.

On Friday we judged the following: Tasty chicken, hot chili, BBQ sauce, and tender steak. Saturday’s judging included, moist chicken, tasty ribs, pulled pork, brisket, a variety of seafood, and yummy desserts.

Our KCBS representative was Dennis Polson from Kansas. As Polson went through the rules of this event he mentioned that there would be an issue when the horses are coming down the gravel path to the race track. This path was next to the parking lot where the cooks where to cross to get their entries to the judges tent on time. Polson stated, “Make sure to put your number on top of the clam. We had an issue at an event where a champion BBQ cook put it on the bottom! Please don’t do it. And from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. it’s quiet time each night.”

Finally, Vining spelled out the rules and then mentioned, “We have three team champions here at Canterbury this year. This could turn into a premier event in the northwest. We hope this turns into a yearly event.”

With the cooks stoking up their stoves, and anticipating their two-hour naps during the night, they left the tent to try to get some sleep.

On Saturday, Vining was busy as usual with last minute details. I approached him on the run, and then we slipped into his “A” frame trailer, and chatted about his involvement in BBQ. “The first time I judged was 4-5 years ago. It was in Mason City, Iowa. Three years ago I was the Event Coordinator at Big Island Rendezvous BBQ Festival in Albert Lea. I like being in the background at these events. For T.V. what needs to be in front is the BBQ event. We do these events for the cooks first. Then, the second most important job is the judges and then the public.”

Vining’s accomplishments are numerous. “I like to create an event and try to create one that involves the spectator. We have to make it spectator friendly. This is the first year at Canterbury Park. Because of their full support this was an event beyond everyone’s expectations. The other thing is, I think it’s important that there is a mid-range winner, say $500. And at my events, for the teams that come in the middle, say someone that’s a newbie, and is thinking, ‘I want some of my money back.’ It’s a pride thing. We do it to reward those cooks that try so hard to be a good at BBQ.”

A big part of these cooking events is seeing old friends that you only come in contact with at KCBS events. Chuck Harding of Blaine, is a Master Judge. Harding was just the man to talk to about his passion for judging great BBQ. “I enjoy meeting new judges and seeing old friends.” When I asked Harding about a funny story, he had this to say. “There was this young lady, Rose Hilk, who called me Larry for 6-8 years. She finally looked at my name badge and it said, ‘Chuck’! ‘Why is your name Chuck?’ I always call you Larry.’” “I enjoy the bantering back and forth”, said Harding. “I finally straightened her out. Now, she calls me Larry/Chuck!”

With the sweet smell of apple, hickory and assorted flavored woods lingering in the night air, it was time for me to head home and dream of Saturday’s fun events.

Finally, the big day arrived. Early in the morning the horses and jockeys were doing laps around the track. I ventured away from the hustle and bustle of the upcoming event, and meandered through the lines of vendors and cooks. There were many business owners from Wisconsin, Iowa, and Hugo, Minn. just to name a few.

These events aren’t just for BBQ. I came across a Jack Daniel’s Chili Tent from South Dakota. Some of the names were fun too. Such as Magnum Pig, Oinkin Boinkin BBQ, and Mustang Sally Tailgating Championship BBQ Team. While waiting for another event to start I walked around.

I noticed during the two days that my nostrils kept flaring open, trying to take in all the smoky smells that filled the air. It was intoxicating. And this made me hungry. In closing, I’d like to add that these fun-filled events aren’t just for horsing around.

 

Joanie Buettgen Just another columnist trying out this new stuff. Published: More.com, Minnesota Moments Magazine, Thankful-Home.tv, Carver County Historical Society, Kansas City BBQ Society, Carver County News, National Barn Alliance, and Ridgeview Medical Center newsletter. Memberships: National Society of Newspaper Columnists, Toastmaster’s, Minnesota Newspaper Association, Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop attendee. Social Networking: Blog:https://joanie19.wordpress.com, http://twitter.com/joaniebuettgen, http://www.linkedin/com/in/joaniebuettgen.

Peace of Mind

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Peace of mind

By Joanie Buettgen

Copyright 2011

Last Tuesday I had to clear my head of the dust and dirt. Our neighborhood street is currently being re-routed with a new road. The loud noise and the daily challenge of avoiding the busy bobcats and thunderous heavy equipment vehicles make an interesting atmosphere.

To make matters worse the water in our house was due to be turned off last week from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. With no running water this seemed like a good excuse to go window shopping.

All women just want and need no loud noises, no distractions, and no interruptions. I thought today might just be a quiet one. I was hopeful.

You see our life has been a little crazy lately. Our oldest daughter, Melissa, is due with her second child in June. She, like many mothers has been experiencing false labor pains.

To make our life even more exciting, our second daughter Rene’, is getting married in July.

With all these fun events, a shopping excursion was the ticket to my peace of mind. It always works. And my checkbook loves my virtual getaway.

Typically these short jaunts are quiet and uninteresting.

But today was different. The culprit, at the mall, was a cell phone user.

Now, one wouldn’t think this plastic, credit card size gizmo, should cause me pain. But it did.

While I was in a large department store, wandering in and around the sale racks, I heard it.

I peeked around trying to locate the annoying noise. Then I noticed a young woman had a cell phone attached to her head. The loud ring tone was followed by a loud conversation. As I meandered around the display racks, I constantly heard the phone. I felt like I was being tracked by a hound dog.

I know many people agree with me when I complain. We just try to block them out. The trouble is we can’t.

My question is, “When did it become okay to share, in public, a personal phone conversation?”

These numerous cell phone junkies are clueless when it comes to keeping their private conversations, private. I’ve had the displeasure of hearing many personal cell phone calls in the most intimate of places. The women’s rest room was the worse.

Meanwhile, while I was trying to shop, the cell phone chick seemed to follow my wandering path. As I wove in and out of every isle she loomed right behind me, chattering nonstop.

I noticed a quiet area and a man asleep in a chair. He was patiently waiting for his wife. I decided to sit down on the couch. I noticed he occasionally popped open one eye to see if his wife was standing over him.

Then minutes later, the cell chick appeared from behind a clothes rack. Her conversation with her girlfriend went something like this. “So…he called and said, ‘do you talk much on the cell phone’?”

“I told him…no, not really!”

I snickered to myself. The chair man smiled with his eyes closed.

Then with her gibberish she continued. “I think this guy wants to marry me. He wants me to become his Jewish bride. And have his baby.”

My jaw dropped.

My sleepy male couch companion suddenly opened both eyes. We both looked at each other in shock.

A few minutes later I heard her coming again. She suddenly appeared in the swim suit department.

Her conversation continued about her soon to be boyfriend.

“Where else would I be? I’m shopping.” She shouted to her invisible cell phone girlfriend.

The man and I looked at each other and rolled our eyes. She finally left the swim suit section with a sales girl chasing her.

“Is there anything else you’re looking for?” The annoyed sales girl asked.

“Nope. Just browsing.” Said the cell phone chick.

Then my cell phone rang.

“Have you talked to Melissa today?” Rene asked.

“Not today.” I said.

“She’s dilated!” said Rene’.

“I’m not too excited. Baby’s come when they’re ready. And Melissa isn’t due until June 14. I tried to hold back my feelings.

We said our “Good byes.” Then I hung up my cell phone.

I tried to continue shopping. But I couldn’t.  

Then I called Melissa. “How are you?”

“I’m going on a walk. The doctor says if the baby comes now, he’ll be fine.”

I felt a need to go home and wait by the phone.

Afterwards, I had to laugh at myself remembering my dissatisfaction with the cell phone chick.

I think I’ll keep my trusted cell phone charged. You never know when you’ll receive that emergency family call.

Joanie Buettgen

Just another columnist trying out this new stuff.

Published: More.com, Minnesota Moments Magazine, Thankful-Home.tv, Carver County Historical Society, Kansas City BBQ Society, Carver County News, National Barn Alliance, and Ridgeview Medical Center newsletter.

Memberships: National Society of Newspaper Columnists, Toastmaster’s, Minnesota Newspaper Association, Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop attendee.

Social Networking: Blog:https://joanie19.wordpress.com, http://twitter.com/joaniebuettgen, www.linkedin/com/in/joaniebuettgen.

No Pain-No Gain

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No Pain No Gain

By Joanie Buettgen

Copyright 2011

“Why does my butt hurt”?  I asked myself early one morning.

I stopped and thought, “Well, I went back to work.” You see, my body was not used to doing manual labor.”  

But, boy, the pain I feel, feels great.

The next day, one of my friends, Wanda shouted, “You’re working?  Woohoo!”

I had to explain to her that it was only temporary. But, it was just what the doctor ordered. This ongoing encouragement from friends is what I needed to push me forward. You see, I’ve been unemployed for 20 months.  

I used to work at the Carver County News. I loved my job. Then, the crash hit in 2009. Like many of us, I found myself in job transition. Yes, that’s what they call it now.  

When an unfortunate event happens to you, you are keenly aware of the impact. Slowly, you accept the situation. Then, you take action.

Many times during this difficult period I‘ve asked myself, “What’s next in my job search?”

It was then that my mind started to explore new avenues of work. I told myself that I could go back to my old reliable routine of office positions. I had success with these in the past, and they might turn into new leads. But, I hit many dead ends. I was frustrated and lost.

This tension only intensified when, well-meaning friends, would announce that our neighbors had found work. I was jealous.

As the weeks progressed, I was told to network with people. This involved introducing myself to complete strangers. These meetings were held in and around the Twin Cities. This was hard. I’ve always prided myself on being self-sufficient. And I thought asking for help was a sign of weakness. I was wrong.

I believed people wanted to help. So, I continued to attend gatherings of this kind, ask questions, research new leads, and be open to friendly suggestions. That helped.

I used to dream of the day when I would announce to family and friends that I had landed a paid position. I didn’t care where, what, when or how. I wanted a pay check!

Many times I was told to go back to school. One local college had a price tag of $40,000.  I knew they were crazy. And avoided them at all cost.

Then I started volunteering at Ridgeview Medical Center and the Carver County Historical Society.  In these positions, I met new friends, and in turn they helped me on my journey.

I was told to find my passion. Writing this column has kept my sanity. 

Now, that spring has arrived I feel renewed. And I believe I will soon be employed.

As I continue to be open to new possibilities, I know my time will come. I feel a sense of calm. My husband feels it too.

Today, I start a temporary job with the hope of being hired. My mind is full of hope.

So this column is dedicated to all my friends, neighbors, and family members who gave me their love and support.

Good luck to all of you in your job search.

Published: More.com, Minnesota Moments Magazine, Thankful-Home.tv, Carver County Historical Society, Kansas City BBQ Society, Carver County News, National Barn Alliance, and Ridgeview Medical Center newsletter.

Memberships: National Society of Newspaper Columnists, Toastmaster’s, Minnesota Newspaper Association, Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop attendee.

Social Networking: Blog:https://joanie19.wordpress.com, http://twitter.com/joaniebuettgen, www.linkedin/com/in/joaniebuettgen.

The Big Blow Out

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The Big Blow Out

By Joanie Buettgen

Copyright 2011

Our Minnesota blizzard started Sunday morning, and didn’t quit until Monday night. We had six inches of grey snow on the ground. Then Mother Nature decided we needed twelve more.

Many northerners pride themselves with being resourceful. But this winter has tried the patience of any saint. We’ve all had quite enough of this winter. Then we took a vote. Spring needs to come, now.

I’ve even overheard people counting down the days until Easter. That too will be late this year.

I constantly ask myself, “Can anyone blame us for being grumpy?”

As many of you know, Minnesota has extreme weather. Some examples of are, arctic cold fronts, spring floods, and summer tornadoes. This state is not for the weak.

Typically, days before it hits, the media starts the hype. Our Weather Channel has frequent updates. People flock to stores. The schools start to close early.

Finally, last Sunday the blast hit. During the whiteout I decided to shovel off our deck. As the inches piled up I tried to push the snow off. This was a slow and tedious process. The more I shoveled the more it piled up. I tried to throw the wet snow. It blew back in my face. I gave up and went inside.

Then I noticed my neck. I usually don’t care about it, but today I did. The pain started as an annoying twinge, then a throb, and the swelling grabbed me by the throat. I opened a large bottle of Tylenol, and took three.

What caused this pain? Heavy snow was the culprit. Forty-eight hours later, the landscape looked like a white king-size comforter. And many roof tops resembled jet puffed marshmallows.

As I peeked around the neighborhood, I thought I saw a house. Then I took another look and noticed ten foot high snow piles, everywhere.

So if you plan to vacation up north, come prepared. Our state is no place for wussies!

Joanie Buettgen is “Just another columnist trying out this new stuff.” Published: More.com, Minnesota Moments Magazine, Thankful-Home.tv, Carver County Historical Society, Kansas City BBQ Society, Carver County News, National Barn Alliance, and Ridgeview Medical Center newsletter. Memberships: National Society of Newspaper Columnists, Toastmaster’s, Minnesota Newspaper Association, Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop attendee. Social Networking: Blog:https://joanie19.wordpress.com, http://twitter.com/joaniebuettgen, http://www.linkedin/com/in/joaniebuettgen.

Chocolate Orbs

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Chocolate Orbs

By Joanie Buettgen

 Copyright 2011

Few things bother me, as much as my eyes. They’re small.

In magazines, I see gorgeous models painted to perfection. And I’ve noticed their look is almost, doe like. Their long lashes touch the top of their brows. Their almond shaped orbs sit perfectly spaced on their face. Their chestnut color is envious.

With this picture in my mind, I decided to invest in some new makeup to enhance my features. One day, I wandered into a store. I cruised up and down the aisles searching the vast of array of colors. I noticed many products which included a package of “Physician’s Formula Eyes.” I felt I needed a cosmetologist not a doctor to help me with this dilemma.

Even today’s Hollywood’s celebrities, like Drew Barrymore, are cashing in on the claim of a perfect set of “Smokey Eyes.” After my purchase of a complete set of sultry shades, I headed home.

As I sat on a chair, next to a sun-filled window, I thought I was ready to tackle this face. Then I turned over the shadow compartment, and read the application directions.

First step “Lid compartment.” Next, “crease compartment.” Finally, “brow compartment.” I fought this process. And wondered why I needed a diagram.

Then I checked the sales receipt and asked myself, “How much did I spend on this?” I thought about returning to the store. But they were closed.

I sat and starred at the plastic case. It included shades of light brown, dark brown, cream brown. I wondered how many of these were really necessary. The small sticker, on the package read, #401 Chocolate Mousse. I didn’t know if I should eat the shadow or try to apply it to my eye lid.

After flipping back and forth, I decided I needed to take the plunge, and try to start applying this makeup mess. Then I glanced over their blueprint diagram. They told me I would achieve a perfect application of shadow, and perfectly shaped “pencil thin” eyebrows. Again, I asked myself, “Did they lie to me, just to get me to buy their product?”

After the initial shock wore off, I looked into the magnifying mirror. I looked like a clown, with two black eyes.

I think I’ll go back to savoring my Valentine’s Day Godiva’s. I know they are perfect.

Just another columnist trying out this new stuff. Published: More.com, Minnesota Moments Magazine, Thankful-Home.tv, Carver County Historical Society, Kansas City BBQ Society, Carver County News, National Barn Alliance, and Ridgeview Medical Center newsletter. Memberships: National Society of Newspaper Columnists, Toastmaster’s, Minnesota Newspaper Association, Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop attendee. Social Networking: Blog:https://joanie19.wordpress.com, http://twitter.com/joaniebuettgen, http://www.linkedin/com/in/joaniebuettgen.

Black Gold

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Black Gold

By Joanie Buettgen

Copyright 2011

The first cup of Joe in the morning is always the best! I wake up and immediately fantasize about my stainless steel stud coffee machine. Then I trudge down stairs in my bunny slippers, turn on the kitchen light, and reach for my favorite Folgers. I take a big sniff and anticipate a great tasting mug.

Then I approach the kitchen sink, turn on the cold tap water, and let it run for a couple of minutes. This is the most important step to secure a perfect pot. And I want to make sure those nasty chlorine chemicals have been flushed down the drain.

Next, I grab the filter. It’s a special paper that assures optimum extractions of the coffee’s taste. And it has a superior stay-in-place design that prevents the grounds from overflowing. During this first step the hot water sprinkles over the fresh grounds and then into the carafe. But if the cone is not secured firmly you’ll hear a hissing sound, there will be no brew and a big mess. As I sit at my kitchen table, I’m confident that I have taken every step to the perfect cup. Then I wait for the machine to beep.

After the toot I grab my favorite ceramic mug, grab the pot, and pour my first goblet of gold. As a true connoisseur I savor that first sip. It’s just like heaven.

But not today, today it tasted like sludge. I spit the contents out into the kitchen sink.

What could have gone wrong? I did everything right. Then it hit me. Has it really been 4 years since I bought this blasted machine?

 I know a decent cup of Joe is on the horizon. Maybe the donut shop down the street will have the perfect cup.

Just another columnist trying out this new stuff. Published: More.com, Minnesota Moments Magazine, Thankful-Home.tv, Carver County Historical Society, Kansas City BBQ Society, Carver County News, National Barn Alliance, and Ridgeview Medical Center newsletter. Memberships: National Society of Newspaper Columnists, Toastmaster’s, Minnesota Newspaper Association, Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop attendee. Social Networking: Blog:https://joanie19.wordpress.com, http://twitter.com/joaniebuettgen, http://www.linkedin/com/in/joaniebuettgen.

Readers

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Readers

By Joanie Buettgen

Copyright 2011

On my coffee table sits three sets of eye glasses. They’re all mine. They’re there because I’m obsessed with being able to see.

For instance I have two pairs of readers in my chick cave (office). One set is gold rimmed, the other black. The ebony pair sits close at hand on a coffee stand, just in case.

The next hot spot for my spectacles is the bedroom. I have a sexy pair on my nightstand. Don’t ask me why I chose the zebra style, I was just feeling frisky that day. My plan included this wild print hoping for any animal urge to hit me. My husband is still waiting for the African woman to appear.

I remember in my 30s looking at old people and thinking…”I’m never, ever, going to wear glasses that sit on the end of my nose.”

I was wrong.

As I approached my 40s, I strained to read the alarm clock. I had hoped the reason for the blur was the early morning hours. Denial was part of my sight problem.

A few years later, I made an appointment for the Optometrist. After the initial exam, eye dilation drops, and the final assessment, they sent me home. My pupils looked like saucers. The problem was the receptionist didn’t tell me that I should have had someone to drive me home. It rained that day. It was impossible to drive my truck back home when my pupils were huge.

The good news, after that appointment, was I just needed a pair of specs. I thought to myself…”This shouldn’t be a big deal. I just wanted to get in, get out and get going.”

The ability to distinguish and read close objects should be simple. All I wanted was to see. Standing in the Snyder’s store, I found myself confused. Then I noticed the octagon stand with various varieties of readers to choose from. To make it more difficult there were different strengths too. Some of the individual sets allow you to actually put them on your face. Others were cemented into a hard plastic case and impossible to break in to. I opted for the easy way out. Off to the side, there stood a stand which allowed you to try them on. The different strengths included: 1.50, 2.25 and 300. I chose the 2.25 two-come. The price was 10 bucks a pop. I left the store feeling hopeful.

At home I put the metal frames on. Then they started to slide like a sled down my nose. My husband often refers to my appendage as a ski slope. I wondered if he had been right all these years. Throughout the night I constantly batted myself in the eye. I tried to reposition them and bend the frame. Looking in the mirror later I noticed that they were lopsided. And I wondered if anybody noticed.

Of all the things I miss as I get older I miss my eyesight the most!

Just another columnist trying out this new stuff.

Published: More.com, Minnesota Moments Magazine, Thankful-Home.tv, Carver County Historical Society, Kansas City BBQ Society, Carver County News, National Barn Alliance, and Ridgeview Medical Center newsletter.

Memberships: National Society of Newspaper Columnists, Toastmaster’s, Minnesota Newspaper Association, Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop attendee.

Social Networking: Blog:https://joanie19.wordpress.com, http://twitter.com/joaniebuettgen, www.linkedin/com/in/joaniebuettgen.