Friday, May 30, 2008

New to Blogging?

Welcome. Here are a few things to know about this blog. First of all, it's way fun. Play Daze is my creation. I write and you get to read. I thank you for being here. Some blogs have multiple writers -- but I didn't set Play Daze up that way. I also made up this blog's title and the URL -

How can you comment? I have had this question come by more than once. Look at the bottom of each article for the word "comments". Click there and key in your comment. Ahead of doing so you'll need a Google Account. Simply go to this link and it will walk you through the steps. 

What is a Google account? A "Google account" is a way for you to choose and set-up a screen name, user name and password. This way your comments won't appear with your own name. No one can change them either. A screen name can be likened to a "handle". My screen name for instance, is SAS. I choose to be an anonymous mother living in the Midwest, but you can use whatever name you want. No mention of anything else about you is required. The account enables you to comment on this blog or any that is hosted by Google. Google is the name of the company that drives most of the search engine business in the world and owns the site where this blog lives.

I could make things easier for you and open my blog to all comments - meaning "no Google account" needed. However, I like to be able to see the comments before they are posted. This enables me to make sure everyone's privacy is kept and keeps all comments nice. I appreciate all comments. Thanks for taking the time to read this information!!

Don't know what a "handle" is? Well, listen to this song, Convoy, originally by C.W. McCall and you'll figure it out.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Zoo Music Must

In the 1970s my Aunt KT played this album, Peter, Paul and Mommy, on her stereo for my little sister and me. I remember sitting on her gold shag carpet and loving each song - but the tune about the boa constrictor was the most exciting. Could a boa really swallow a person?
For zoo goers, you must have Boa Constrictor and Going to the Zoo cranked on your way to and from the zoo. This is truly one of the best kids' albums out there.

Zoo Tripping

St. Paul - Last Monday I asked my 4-year old son EN what he wanted to do? "How about going to the Como Zoo?" Why not? We packed up some lunch and headed over. The Como is one of only two free zoos in the country. Throughout our visit I kept thinking how incredible it is that everyone has free access.

It was a perfect overcast day that lead to rain. This meant, not too many people. Some of the exhibits were under construction, but that was good to see. The polar bears will have a new home in 2010 and Sparky the Sea Lion and friends will have a refurbished habitat pool in another month. The Orangutan and her baby were not on exhibit either. These are all good excuses to return sooner than later.

We spent more time at the Birds Exhibit than ever before. The Flamingos are truly dazzling. They are completely different looking than anything I see on a daily basis. The nesting Swan Goose and her drake were so tranquil and natural in color by comparison. They seemed more like a real Minnesota bird, but I learned that they're native to China, Mongolia and Russia.

The Lion den was active on this day too. The male and female were sleeping near each other by the front of the den and then daddy woke up! He looked like I usually feel in the morning. His mane was completely messy, his eyes tired and he stood in place and roared over and over. He then sauntered over to a spot in the back of his pen and urinated. Mama soon awakened with a big yawn or two and did some of the same - with much less drama and some female candor. The male continued to entertain us all as he mounted a log and grated his front claws on the bark for a few minutes. I heard others comment on how his eyes seemed to connect with theirs. "He's looking at me watch him." I noticed it too and I couldn't help but to think of the 2005 movie Madagascar, where Alex the Lion is the greatest ham of all (great movie for kids and adults).

The big surprise for me was the Tropical Encounters Exhibit. Tropical Encounters was my favorite part of the zoo and normally I'm not enamored with reptiles, insects or fish. This steamy rainforest was blooming with creatures from South America. For the first time, I took a liking to a Snake - the Anaconda. The Emerald Green Boa, brilliant green beyond any plant. Also on view, the Leaf Cutter Ant habitat and an extensive tank stocked with Stingrays and swimming Arrau River Turtles. This only covers a corner of what's living here -- and let's not forget the exotic plants. An interpreter was on staff to answer questions like, "Can a boa constrictor really swallow a human?" It felt exciting to meet the "live" version of all the critters EN and I had been reading about in children's books. I also realized the more I knew about the animals ahead of time, the more fun it was to see them.

EN l and I loved our time at the zoo and really appreciated everything we took in. I commend all zoos for their fundraising efforts to keep certain species alive. I thank them for sharing these beautiful plant and animal lives with all of us, everywhere. Donations for the Como Zoo are always welcome and suggested at $2 per adult, $1 per child. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Bloomin' Weedy II

One inspires the other.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Bloomin' Weedy

For an easy bouquet, prettier weeds can be loosely arranged in a small vase along with a large hosta leaf. I used an antique porcelain cream pitcher. Very nice when flowers aren't affordable or within reach, or you simply want to enliven your space. 

Saturday, May 24, 2008


One of my favorite things to do is make cards out of really cool papers. I sometimes use my own photography, a copy of a vintage photo or create a collage effect from magazines or objects. For this little gem, I've been working with some nice colored card stock, metallic ink, vellum and old buttons. The photo for this card was featured with some poetry of mine in an earlier blog entry. Final product is 3.5" x 5.5".  Other supplies included 3M poster tape (I swear by it - forget using a glue stick), pinking shears, thread to match card stock and of course silk ribbon to wrap around the clear vellum envelope. (this is getting enclosed with a gift). I didn't like the way I wrote my first "happy birthday", so I re-did the vellum overlay. If you ever get a card like this from me, know how much fun I had making it and know how much I love you

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Rash

Treat yourself kindly when you fall. 
Accept the moment for it's what you have.
Wear it if you must.

Like a vine, it's crept to my outside skin, 
my largest organ for all the world to see.
It's clinging to my face and neck, calling out,
love me, take care of me. 

The sun did not take it away. 
It baked the stress into my skin and body.
Nettles, cilantro, mint, ghee -- 
and honey all slathered 
to soothe this pain.

I went to bed young and I awakened older
and wiser. I thought it was the lines of sleep, 
but there's no snapping back. 
Dry old leaves and heavy 
thick patches of skin.

I am afraid to wash away the honey. 
What if it doesn't work?
No one will treat me less kind.
No one will love me less. 
But I will know.

Are the scars of pain and the road to healing one in
the same?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Flower's Power

My 4-year old son has definitely helped me discover the animal lover inside. I was near tears when we had to give up Flower, an orphaned baby squirrel who'd been in our care for about six hours last Friday. After a $600 date with the mechanic this past spring, my feelings for squirrels weren't quite on the 'A' list either. Allegedly, a large gray squirrel with bionic teeth who was angry about the cold spring weather chewed through a thick bundle of our Jeep's electrical wires. Our baby squirrel lived up to the rodent or mega-chewer status as well. He quickly became a caged pet who thoroughly enjoyed sawing through fat orange carrots. I'm sure a bundle of wires would have worked in a pinch.

How did I know the squirrel was an orphan, you say? I didn't. My conversation with the Humane Society went something like this ... "And he walked right up to my son like a trained animal and wouldn't leave, my son kept backing up and the squirrel kept moving forward. Then he made himself at home on our stoop and refused to leave ... he let me put him in a net and I fished him up a very tall tree ... soon he was down the tree again and back in our yard trying to get some attention." Apparently nature did it right again. The Humane Society told me this behavior is quite common. These critters innately leave the nest and seek help if abandoned.

I have a new respect and love for squirrels after holding the trembling Flower in my gloved hands. My son and I were both reminded that it is good to help a being in need, but it feels a little sad too*. I couldn't help think that Flower reached out to my son because he sensed Gabriel's kind heart. Flower will end up a normal nut-eating tree swinging sort of squirrel instead of -- well, attacked by a predator or locked in a cage as an overgrown unhappy rodent (who might actually dream of chewing through wires, hmm...), or worse yet, the victim of a trap in some one's attic. Lucky for Flower that the Humane Society in our area offers squirrel rehab. Lucky for us that we got to experience Flower first hand.

*As a child who grew up in the 70s, I have to say the Grizzly Adams theme song (click & listen) covers some of the feelings I was having on this day.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

New Deal at the Weisman

Minneapolis - My visit to the Weisman Art Museum, University of MN, last week purposely coincided with the opening of its new exhibit, By the People, For the People: New Deal Art and a lecture by Erica Doss. Ms. Doss is chair of the Department of American Studies at the University of Notre Dame and "a leading historian of American art and visual culture" according to the Weisman's web site.

Ms. Doss began her talk entitled Picturing New Deal America: The Visual Arts and National Identity, 1933-1945, by explaining how the WPA (Works Progress Administration) was organized. She quickly toggled among the screens of her Mac driven media show and discussed works and artists that were likely new to many. The audience remained silently engaged with ears perked toward the front of the high-ceilinged lecture hall. The audience questions were perfect - as if written into the script. "Who owns this art?" "What happened to the art when the program was cut?" "Could we have another WPA program today?" 

I had never considered the New Deal or the WPA a subject of interest. But this art history was truly fascinating. You might relate WPA art to the stunning photography that helped make Dorothea Lange famous, Migrant Mother, 1936. But the WPA was so much more. It was a time for real artists to reach the masses. It was art by the people and for the people instead of art for the elite alone. Works ranged from films, graphic arts, posters, sculptures, and easel paintings to U.S post office murals. Not every artist supported the New Deal ideals and some of the pieces conveyed this, whether stylized or abstract.

Some of the art served as helpful propaganda for the FDR administration as well. These visual stories, imbued with the era's ideal norms, purported icons of intelligent working boss men, brawny male laborers and wholesome women. I wonder how artists might re-create their work today? Mama might be wielding the hammer, and Daddy, the apron.

Today many museums own WPA art simply because it got left behind when programs were cut in 1945. According to Ms. Doss, WPA art was literally thrown out by the U.S. government branches that housed the many programs. Fortunately much of it was also auctioned off in large bales and consequently bought up by art dealers. By the 1960s, many of them had started to sell off their WPA collections. Along the way, some artists sold their work directly into the hands of the people.

Dewey Albinson was one of many American painters who produced a range of work for the WPA. His subject matter included some Minneapolis scenes, two of which are on display in the Minnesota section of By the People, For the People. Mr. Albinson's style owns refreshing colors and quick brush strokes, as seen in "Bohemian Flats", 1934. This easel oil painting on canvas, commissioned by the University of MN, features Minneapolis's poor Bohemian artist and immigrant quarters. The city had been trying to move this community off of its Mississippi river front locale for years.

Three more of Mr. Albinson's paintings are on permanent display at the Minneapolis American Swedish Institute. ASI Curator, Curt Pederson, says a Dewey Albinson retrospective is on schedule for April 2009. "It will feature paintings and drawings from the private collection of Dewey's family; son, daughter, nephew." The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, also holds a WPA collection. The Weisman will be hosting a Walker guest lecture in June. 

If you're looking, WPA art is accessible all across America today. Kudos to the Weisman for pulling its collection out of storage and giving it a lot of fresh air. More kudos to the Weisman for curating a cohesive exhibit theme on such an extensive subject. If the busy opening party, well-attended lecture and the full parking ramp are indicators of the potential interest in this subject, I foresee a very busy run for By the People, For the People

Photos copyright 2008 by SAS, except Migrant Mother, 1936 which is public domain.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Water Energy

Pure source energy!
The sun was shining and the grass was green.
She pulled out the white board and buttons and began to play.
Last night the dream was of a walled boardwalk ... and turning
the corner, the ocean was there. 
She disappeared into it like a small button.
And today, seeing the lake lifted her once again.

Click & Listen: Theme from Mahogany

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Spring Herbed Eggs

I've been buying fresh chicken eggs from the farm near our house. They are so wonderful that they need to be eaten as a 
main course. 

Of course they make a good cookie all the 
better. This simple recipe highlights the rich and subtle flavors of 
farm fresh eggs and lets their flavor shine. 

Spring Herbed Eggs

Start with Organic Free Range Eggs & Fresh Herbs

Beat 3 eggs.
Next, splash in some water and beat all together with a fork.

Chop 4-5 basil leaves, 4 chive sprigs and about 6 grape tomatoes in half.

Heat non-stick frying pan to medium heat. Coat with non-stick cooking spray or olive oil if you think the eggs might stick to your pan. Allow eggs to cook until solidified. When mostly cooked, sprinkle the herbs and tomatoes over the eggs. Flip half the eggs over to form a half circle or omelette shape. Allow to fully cook until tender. (optional) Sprinkle with freshly ground red, black and white peppercorns.

Serve with greens tossed in freshly squeezed lime juice and flax seed oil. Use to taste, or 1 TBS of each for every 1 1/2 cups of greens. Sprinkle with leftover herbs.

Sunday, May 11, 2008


i was tagged by Inspirasana 

i am: wanting things my way
i think: i should be sleeping
i know: that i long to write
i have: it all
i wish: for shhhhh!!!
i hate: intolerance
i miss: talking to Gram
i fear: silverfish*
i feel: excited 
i hear: my son sleeping
i smell: cold wetness of rainy night
i crave: homemade raspberry blueberry 
preserves on good toasted wheat bread with butter
i search: for answers
i wonder: why?
i regret: very little
i love: my son
i ache: in my shoulders
i care: about not killing insects more than i used to
i always: want chocolate or really really good coffee 
with half and half
i am not: so serious 
i believe: in food
i dance: to make my husband laugh
i sing: but cannot remember the words 
i cry: when i don't get my way
i don't always: put my shoes away
i fight: very rarely anymore
i write: to be me
i win: according to me
i lose: things all the time

*a wingless, silver-gray thysanuran insect, 
Lepisma saccharina - KILL THESE!!

Friday, May 2, 2008

It's Not that Easy Being Green: A Concert at Lunch Time

Imagine a broad bodied female opera singer whose days for showing off her legs are over by most standards. She sports black lacey biking shorts that close around her knee. Her hair is short and an unknown blondish color. Her make-up is simple and not of notice, yet her short green dress is a lose fitting tent-like fashion with great appeal. Her plunging neck line is dramatically studded with large black shining faux jewels. It tastefully ends in just-the-right spot. Black lines form a whirly pattern that moves in controlled directions across the green silky fabric. She is a one-of-a-kind chanteuse who left her day job to sing for all of us on a day when her composer friend asked her to. Mary's lyrics contrast with what one would normally expect from an operatic soprano, but that is exactly why the composer put these poems to music for Mary. She is appropriately loud and talented without question and I wanted to shout "you go girl" -- yet I was sitting with a crowd of all ages, not in an Irish Pub. Zero had every woman laughing and smiling and connected throughout the song. Don't we all wish we could hang it up and walk out of the house just being

poem by Beverly Rollwagen, music by Sarah Miller, sung by Mary Ohm

She just wants to feel light. She
begins with her hair and cuts it so 
short her ears look like the Buddha's
with lobes as long as tongues. She looks 
ridiculous, but without the distraction
of hair, she has a lot more time to
think. She eliminates makeup, then
stockings and heels, and stops eating
food she has to cook. She wears the 
loose comfortable robe of a priest. Her
life looks different now. She spends 
more and more time alone; she finds her 
old friends to be a heavy load, asking
questions she can't answer like, "What
are you doing?" when she is busy being.
Inside she carries a great nothingness, a 
zero, the zero at the beginning.

It's Not that Easy Being Green, sung by Kermit the Frog

The Missing Casserole Dish

We live a very wild life here in our small Midwestern suburb so you can imagine the turmoil that a misplaced Le Creuset casserole dish could muster. My kitchen is small and this was very strange! On a whim, and expecting an "I don't know" answer ... I asked my husband Sven (yes, he is very Norwegian) if he knew what happened to my 9 x 12 blue ceramic casserole pan ....?? "Why yes," he said, "it's in the Jeep." 

You see, Sven rises early for his work routine and I don't usually see him before he leaves. Apparently he sneaked this wedding gift out of the house by cover of his Bemidji Woolen Mills flannel vest. But there's more. The winter night before, he'd been at the out-of-neighborhood grocery store buying up Spam, cans of cream of mushroom soup and bags of tater tots. Then he stashed the evidence in the frozen entrails of his Jeep. 

Earlier in the week, he and his is co-conspirator Shep, had plotted to make a casserole in their work's test kitchen bread oven. I am not sure why I got so angry about Sven spending $25 on ingredients with empty nutrition, at a time when our budget was tight, but I did. What else was he keeping from me? Trips to the work vending machine and late-night conversations with decoy buddies?

I told some friends about this a couple of weeks later. It's something you only want your really good ones to know. "You mean he just sneaked out of the house with a casserole pan under his arm ... in the darkness of morning?" Roger asked. "And then he made a hot dish with a co-worker and didn't tell you? Oh golly, he shared it with others too?" said Peggy. I knew Roger and Peggy were right. I overreacted. Thank goodness for level-headed friends and good conversation over a potluck dinner. 

To boot, Sven and Shep received some sharp comments from the boss. Ms. Oberholster said it was a BREAD test kitchen, not a SPAM baking demonstration -- "Our business relies on the simple wholesome goodness and the smell of bread and pastries after all. What were you boys thinkin?" 

Men, dreaming of a hot steamy plate of food for lunch in the middle of winter. I tell ya - it's trouble. The blue casserole pan hasn't been out of the house since.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Fun for Under $5

Last summer I bought my herbs late - but this year I vowed to get my herbs early ... like a good-earth-loving-together sort of stay-at-home mama with a planner! My grocery store was selling herbs from the not too-far suburb of Prairieville. Love to support the locals, don't ya know. Well, I had so much fun with the basil that I had to get cilantro. We have had fish with HERBS three times this week (and I am talking fresh fish - no exploding microwave fish sticks), fresh organic cole slaw (a friend I used to work with drove me up the wall by calling it COLD slaw in a nasal voice - hello!) with HERBS three times this week and of course organic omega-3 enriched eggs with HERBS. The brilliant green hue of these plants just cuts straight to my passion for color each time I see them. My verdant babies sleep inside at night and are invited onto the warm and sunny front step each a.m. By the way ... letting the herbs in and out is as close as I plan to owning a pet this year, unless it is a ChiaPet.

Blog Archive